Collecting Carbonneau

I’ve never talked about collecting Carbonneau stuff until now, because although of course I do it, there’s still something about collecting that strikes me as embarrassing. Although I realize quite a few NHL players themselves collect their own and other player’s stuff, when people like me do it, it’s different. It feels kind of geeky and faintly neurotic, but we do it anyway because, well, we’re sort of obsessed. But what collector hasn’t had the nightmare fantasy of his favorite player miraculously showing up for a visit, and discovering all the stuff on display and fleeing in horror? Anyway I know my husband David has that fear about our Joe Sakic bathroom…At any rate, I will now set my pride aside and address this actually pretty interesting topic.



The Top Ten List

Jersey Detail1. (tie) 1984-85 game-worn Montreal home jersey, autographed
and 2000 game-used Sher-Wood stick, autographed

Although it took me a year to decide to part with the money to buy this jersey, which I found online, I fell madly in love with it at first sight when it was finally in my hands. The dealer who sold it to me said much later (and because it was long after the sale, I’m sure he was being sincere) it was one of the most beautiful Habs sweaters he had ever acquired. It is a terrible mess and everyone I show it to is amazed at the wear. I cannot tell you how much I love this jersey. Guy autographed it for me on March 23, 2000.

The Sher-Wood, although it got much less ice time and is not so rare and precious, ties for first because Guy gave it to me as a present. How priceless is that? It was used on March 5, 2000 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, in a game against the Detroit Red Wings, during which Guy broke his wrist.

3. Making Guy Carbonneau laugh

Allow me to put an experience on this list, which is acceptable because it was also captured on film by my beloved photographer friend, Brad Amodeo, and therefore is a sort of "collectible." Not every fan gets a chance to see what a delightful laugh Carbo has, much less to be the reason it occurred. I know this should be on the list because if my house was on fire I would grab this photo along with the jersey and the stick.

4. 1997-98 game-worn Stars home jersey, autographed

One of the benefits of this web site has been my getting to be known by people all over the world as a Carbo fan. One of these dear people e-mailed me when he learned of the availability of this jersey. I couldn’t resist. It too is beautiful, the best feature being a tear from the neck hole down to the logo, which Guy told me happened in a fight. Also signed on the strap on March 23, 2000. Also deeply loved by me.

Artis Detail5. 1988 game-used Artis stick, inscribed by Guy

This stick was used in a game at the Montreal Forum on December 17, 1988 against the New York Rangers. It’s particularly cool because Guy wrote on it the date and "1 but. 2 passes. 3i étoiles." (1 goal, 2 assists, 3rd star) He had better luck with this stick than my beloved Sher-wood!

6. "La Petite Histoire de Mon Frère Guy," interview with Denis Carbonneau, Montreal 7 Jours, December 30, 1995

This truly is my favorite article ever about Guy, and I have only a photocopy of it, sent to me by a charming professor from Hull, Quebec whom I met online. In the story, Guy’s brother Denis shares tales from their youth as well as his insights into Guy’s career. It’s delightful and completely hilarious, just like Denis, who by coincidence e-mailed me for the first time only a couple of weeks after I read the interview. Which is the other reason it holds such sentimental value for me.

7. Video of Game 5 of the 1998 Western Conference Finals, Dallas vs. Detroit

Actually, the treasure here specifically is Guy’s famous Shift, and the commentary afterward by ESPN’s Gary Thorne, Bill Clement and Barry Melrose, who all recognized the amazing grit and effort mustered by the oldest Star to score the tying goal of Dallas’s last win of the playoffs. In truth, Carbo should have been given both a goal and an assist. It was this play that truly won my soul over to Guy Carbonneau. I know I’m not the only one that replays this game from time to time just for the glory of it.

8. "La Cruelle Épreuve de Guy Carbonneau," Dernière Heure, 3 September 1994

This is another rare article, and one which shows an intimate view of what happened when Guy was traded from Montreal to St. Louis. In fact, it’s so personal I haven’t wanted to post it on the site just because the scenes it describes are almost too private. Suffice it to say, Carbonneau’s pain and grief during this time, and his continued love of his teammates and the spirit of the Canadiens, are deeply moving. I’m glad I didn’t have to read this until happier days had arrived.

9. Video of December 19, 1982 Game, Montreal vs. Edmonton (Carbonneau’s Rookie Year)

Although I wish the video were clearer, it’s still a wonderful thing to watch Guy as a rookie play against Gretzky and the Oilers in their heyday. Carbonneau may have been faster (everyone was, the way they played way back before the invention of the neutral zone trap, etc.), but there is much in his style that hasn’t changed a bit. And he may have been 22, but he wasn’t afraid to tirade in the Great One’s face or beat him in the faceoff circle.

Coloring Book 10. Canadiens Coloring Book

The mere existence of a Carbonneau coloring book amuses me no end. The fact that it depicts him washing his car with some neighbor kids is a perfect illustration of how Montreal fans feel about their hockey. Obsessed. Just the way it should be. The coloring book is awfully goofy but it’s also kind of sweet. (And let’s admit, who among us would say no if asked to help Guy wash his car?)

Honorable Mention: This is also not technically a collectible, but my daughter Katie, currently studying art at the University of Wisconsin, gave me a wonderful original pencil drawing for Mothers Day 1999 which is a composite of several of my favorite Carbonneau photos. Think of what this will be worth after first, Guy enters the Hall, and second, Katie becomes famous!


Stuff No Serious Carbo Collector Should Be Without

…in my humble opinion, that is. Most of these items are not particularly rare, but they are neat to have.

Guy at 16Anything from Guy’s Junior Days: You must have at least one program or magazine or media guide from Carbonneau’s years with the Chicoutimi Saguéneens (1976-1980). Carbo could have been a much bigger star in the NHL if he hadn’t sacrificed his offensive skills for the sake of the team; it’s therefore rather satisfying to contemplate his junior days when he got hat tricks every couple of weeks along with the accompanying accolades. What numbers…sigh.

Here Come the Vees: The History of the Nova Scotia Voyageurs: This book, by Jeffrey W. Kent, is worth owning for actual documentation and photos of Carbo’s stint in the minors.

1982-83 Steinberg Card #2: This predates Guy’s official rookie card and is pretty cool. It’s a little bit hard to find.

Les Canadiens Magazine, Dec. 86-Jan. 87: This is the issue in which Guy is the cover story; the article is very good, nice photos too.

Goal Magazine, February 1987: This issue includes an excellent article by Glenn Cole entitled, "Who is Guy Carbonneau?" with really fine illustrations.

Videotape #1, "Mere Players," of Ken Dryden’s series "Home Game": This awesome video covers the pregame activities as well as a match between the Canadiens and the Oilers at the Forum in 1988. Carbonneau and his teammates prepare for battle, Ken analyzes the pregame Ritual, and there is a fantastic dissection of Guy scoring on Grant Fuhr. You will watch it over and over.Ace Pin

1991 Ace NHL Carbonneau Pin: I’ve only seen a couple of these for sale, they are not well known and therefore cool to own. The pin is like a mini trading card, complete with a few stats on the back.

1989-90 Provigo figurine: This 3" plastic figurine, distributed by a supermarket in Quebec, is very common (try eBay any given week). It bears a better resemblance to the man than most Starting Lineups do to their subjects. The nose is good, that’s important.

BAP CardLes Canadiens Magazine, 1993-94 Vol. 3: This has to be the best cover ever done of Carbonneau, possibly the best photo, a black and white of him on the faceoff.

1995-96 Topps Stadium Club Medalists Card #M12: As far as fancy cards go, there aren’t too many of them with Carbo; this is a nice one.

1997-98 Be A Player Prismatic Autograph #194: My personal favorite for Guy’s best looking card. An excellent design, great photograph, all around spiffy.

Any Dallas Stars Ticket Featuring Carbonneau: Kudos to the graphic design department in Dallas, the tickets they design are beauties. The Carbos are all nice, but the best so far was the one from Home Game 4 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals, also known as the terrifying and exultant seventh game in which the Stars came back from a 3-2 deficit to beat Colorado.


Growth ChartDiane’s Wish List

No, I don’t have everything. And most of the things on this list I never will acquire. But since you asked:

A Game Worn Carbonneau Saguenéens Jersey: Hey, Guy himself doesn’t even have one of these, what makes me think I’ll ever find one?

1989-90 Kraft Growth Chart: I’ve seen photos of this thing in ads, but never seen one for sale. It’s not that it’s all that great a poster, it just bugs me that it evades me. Follow-up, 3/3/01: I did locate one of these from a great dealer in Québec--actually, it is a really great poster, if you can get past the teddy bears!

Two Minutes with Any of Guy’s Three Cup Rings: And I wouldn’t put them in my ears, à la Patrick Roy, either…I imagine I’d be too freaked out even to put them on my fingers. Just one of those silly things a fan dreams of seeing with her own eyes.

TacksGame Used Tacks: No one can tell me Carbo doesn’t have the coolest skates in the league. I know a guy who owns a pair but he seems to love them so much he’ll be buried in them, so I need another source! It is my life’s mission to eventually own a pair, and I’m serious.

A Program from Guy’s Induction into the Hall of Fame (not yet available): As Wayne said in "Wayne’s World," "It will be mine, OH YES, it will be mine." Hopefully to be acquired in person, if there’s any way I can swing it.