Thursday, October 31, 2013

86-87 OPC John Vanbiesbrouck Rookie

Even though I am a hard-core Devils fan, even I sometime forge that the Beezer was a Devil. We were able to hold on to him for the final two season of his career. While he only spend two years, he was on the roster when we lost to the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals in 2001 and our more forgettable 2002 season. During his two seasons with the Devils he complied an amazing 1.78 G.A.A and a .924 save percentage. Of course he only played 9 games during that span but he was 6-3-0 with the club including a 4-0-0 record during the 2000-01 season. 

What Beezer is probably best remembered for is winning the Vezina in 85-86 with the Rangers or his solid seasons with the Panthers including carrying them to the Cup finals in 1996. What is neat about the Cup run in 1996, there were only 6 players out of the 24 players who had more penalty minutes than the Beezer did during the playoffs. He only had 10 regular season PIM and he managed to double that total in the playoffs in only 22 games.  

1986-87 OPC John Vanbiesbrouck Rookie
It took John over a 100 games to get his first NHL card which seems like a travesty especially since he had won the Vezina and lead the league in win by the time his first card it the printing press. What does he get for all his efforts, a rookie card featuring him at a public skate! As I have mentioned before and lots of other bloggers have, it is a shame that many players were overlooked for cards over the years and though this is a pretty bad case I don't know many that would top poor Ken Daneyko. But I will save that for another day.

I picked this card up the same time as the Lemieux 2nd year card and one other pair I hope to share in my next post. Like the Lemieux this one is in pretty great shape, a little corner wear on the top left and bottom right but otherwise it is a nice rookie. Definitely felt this belonged in my collection if not for being a rookie of a former Devil, then because it is an example of one of the best American goalies in NHL history and an inspiration to many other future goalies. John is currently 11th all-time in regular season wins with 374 and that is tops among all American born goalies.

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