Saturday, March 20, 2021

Olivier Michaud Autographed Card

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I was window-licking on Ebay earlier today and saw this card, signed in blue sharpie like mine, go for anywhere from $7 to $30 to $70:
That's Olivier Michaud of the Montréal Canadiens on card #271 from In The Game's 2002-03 Be A Player First Edition set, which is not his rookie card, as he'd previously appeared in ITG's 2001-02 Be A Player Memorabilia, 2001-02 Parkhurst and 2001-02 Between The Pipes sets, as well as Topps' 2001-02 Bowman collection and no fewer than eight Upper Deck sets from the same year.

Michaud holds a special place in my heart, which is why I'm delighted to have him as #95 in my Habs Numbers Project, and not just because of his spectacular 14-save shutout performance in 18 minutes of play in his lone NHL game in 2001-02 that places him as the goalie with the best GAA in Habs history (0.00) - a pro-rated 47-save showing in a full game - but also because he led the LHJMQ Shawinigan Cataractes to first place in their division and the best defensive record in the league that season too, and I'm attached to the region because part of my family comes from there (both grandparents on my father's side). We were also both born on September 14th, albeit five years apart.

An undrafted free agent signing, he was out of the professional ranks after a sub-par showing with both the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs (6-5-1, 3.29 GAA and .893 save percentage, compared to Jaroslav Halak's 7-6-0, 2.29 and .927) and ECHL's Long Beach Ice Dogs (6-7-1, 3.40 and .888, compared to Halak's 11-4-2, 2.05 and .932 and Greg Hewitt's 17-14-6, 2.95 and .900) in 2005-06, despite having been decent in 2003-04 (4-7-3, 2.53 and .905 with the AHL Bulldogs) and 2004-05 (18-14-6, 2.54 and .918 with the ECHL Ice Dogs), and would keep in shape in the Québec semi-pro LNAH league for the next four seasons, all while acting as goaltending coach in Midget AAA (2007-10, 2018-present) and with the LHJMQ's Drummondville Voltigeurs (2010-present). He stopped getting paid to play before the age of 26 and is now one of the longest-tenured coaches in the province.

Let's be honest - he was not going to supplant José Theodore on that Canadiens roster, particularly not smack-dab in that Hart and Vezina season, and the team wanted to groom Yann Danis on its main farm team, but a number of teams could have used him in their system, including teams whose collective GAAs were at or below the .900 line such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins (off the top of my head).

Which is to say that I like the guy, but I wouldn't pay the exorbitant prices I saw on Ebay for this card, even if he is the second-youngest goalie to ever play in the NHL.

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