Wax Stain Wednesday will be a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some amazing experiences to share with us. These posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.This week’s TTM really has me wondering if Sam my mailman is trying to tell me something. For the third time in a row, I have received an autograph of a Montreal Canadien in the mail. Instead of a player from Canadiens past, this one was from their current captain Brian Gionta.
Gionta was named captain of the historic franchise at the beginning of the season which made me wonder, is this a first? So I did some research, the obvious choice, is Brian Gionta the shortest captain in Montreal history? The answer is no. The shortest captain in Montreal history is George Hainsworth (yes the goalie). Back in the 1932-33 Hainsworth replaced Sylvio Mantha as captain for the one season, before Mantha was renamed captain the following year. Is Brian Gionta the first American captain? Again, the answer is no. Chris Chelios was the first American captain of the Canadiens when he was named co-captain with Guy Carbonneau back in the 89-90 season. So as it stands, I see nothing ground-breaking about Gionta being named captain of the Canadiens. However, he could be the first non-Canadian captain to lift the Cup for the Canadiens, but time will tell when that happens. If you know of something else, please let me know!
It is hard to come up with a player who has benefited more from the post-lockout rule changes than Gionta. Prior to the lockout, Brian’s career best was 21 goals and the season following the lockout he scored 48 goals. Since the 48 goal season, his numbers have dropped a little but he did finish with 29 goals this season which makes it 7 straight 20+ goal seasons for Gionta. I feel his success has really paved the way for some of the younger small players like Nathan Gerbe, Brad Marchand, Patrick Kane, and Tyler Ennis. As GM’s see guys like Gionta become successful in the NHL it gives them hope to take chances on players like Gerbe and Marchand who would have been passed over prior to the lockout.
Before Gionta, there were guys like Theoren Fleury and Cliff Ronning, but they were really considered to be exceptions and played like they were 6 inches taller than they actually were. I am sure we can all think of a player who seemed to have all the gifts except size and was never really given a serious shot to play in the NHL because of it. For me, that player is Guyle Fielder, he is arguably the best minor-league hockey player of all-time and scored 1929 career points despite being 5’ 9” and weighing 165 lbs.
I mailed Gionta two cards and he signed both of them. The first card was from the 05-06 UD Ice set. This set has 100 base cards and then 168 short printed rookie cards. Included in those rookie cards is a $3500 Crosby RC.
The second Gionta card is from the 07-08 UD Victory set. A much lower quality set than the Ice set, but I chose this card because this was the first set I built after getting back into collecting again.