Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Steve Smith Autograph Card

(team links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)

I've featured Steve Smith before, both with the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks, essentially glossing over the three seasons he played with the Calgary Flames after coming back from retirement in the late 1990s; I will not right that wrong today, instead featuring him shirtless during his time with Chicago, on card #S123 from Upper Deck's 1995-96 Be A Player collection:
It somehow seems fitting, what with his losing his job as assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres, seemingly the short print in head coach Ralph Krueger's firing.

Most articles detailing the firing seem to celebrate it, deriding Krueger's previous job as president of a soccer team - the Southampton Saints of the Premier League - and minimizing his achievements as head coach in Austria as well as with the Swiss Team - oftentimes the only team to beat powerhouse editions of Team Canada - and Team Europe, which finished second to Canada at the 2016 World Cup (when most pundits didn't see them finishig in the top-four). I've even seem some mock his having written a book on motivation when he was fired in the midst of a 12-game losing streak.

I have no idea if Smith - a "classically-trained" NHL veteran and assistant-coach - fully endorsed Krueger's innovative methods (that seemingly work better with hard-working underdogs than overpaid, overhyped and over-rated underachievers), but at the very least he has probably learned a few new tricks to add to his arsenal, after working under Brian Sutter (Calgary, 1997-98), Tom Renney (Edmonton, 2009-12), Krueger (Edmonton, 2012-13), Dallas Eakins (Edmonton, 2013-14), Bill Peters (Carolina Hurricanes, 2014-18), and Phil Housley (Buffalo, 2018-19), though as I venture a guess that he may have learned the bulk of his knowledge playing a leadership role under Glen Sather and John Muckler while winning three Stanley Cups as a player with the Oilers, and Mike Keenan (Cup Final), Darryl Sutter (Conference Final) and Craig Hartsburg with the Hawks.

He's the type of guy whose pedigree will land him a new job next season, possibly perhaps under Darryl Sutter again, this time in Calgary.

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