Local collectible experts Classic Auctions held an event today where fans could meet emerging star Lars Eller of the Montreal Canadiens.
Lars Eller was traded to Montreal before the 2010-11 season, in a controversial (at the time) move that sent beloved goalie Jaroslav Halak to the Blues. Halak had been the star of the previous playoffs, leading the Canadiens to upset wins over the Penguins and Capitals before the small Habs were pummeled by the bigger Philadelphia Flyers in the semi-finals.
In return, the Canadiens got in Eller a 13th overall draft choice from 2007. I liked Eller from the start (I’ve been wearing a #81 t-shirt for a few years now) and admired how he fought for the puck along the boards, rarely giving it up. But he seemed to miss the finisher instinct that would allow him to score more, which led many fans to dismiss him as a low return asset.
It surely didn’t help that former coach Jacques Martin kept bouncing him around the 3rd and 4th line, and insisted on playing him on the wing (he’s a natural centre). Any time he got to play centre, he played a great game or shift or whatever amount of time he spent there. But always he’d end up back on the wing. But current coach Michel Therrien seems to want to let him play centre, and with rookie wingers Alex Galchenyuk (another natural centre playing out of position) and Brendan Gallagher, he’s found his place on the team and seems to be much better at finishing plays and racking in the points. Fans got a first taste of Eller the scorer on January 4th 2012 when he scored four goals in a game against the Winnipeg Jets. He worked really hard for the last 2 years, crediting a sports psychologist with helping him build his confidence, and seems to be on the cusp of a great career. While he’ll most likely never bring in top line points, he’s got a bright future as a solid second centre, and is definitely a big part of the future of the Canadiens.
The event took place at Classic Auctions’s headquarters. When I got there, a line of about 25 people was there, and it took me about 25 minutes before I got a chance to have my meeting with Lars. I bought a beautiful picture of him celebrating after a goal that he signed, and got my picture taken with him. I look like a midget next to him! (I’m only 5’8″). Many girls there were totally breath taken by his looks (he IS a handsome kid). In fact, I asked the girl behind me to take a picture of Lars and I, and she was shaking so much that they all came out blurry. Thankfully, the staff was super kind and let me do a retake! He’s a very nice guy, and was super gracious to everyone present.
Check out Classic Auctions’ website. They’ve got some very rare stuff, like Stanley Cup rings, and even a couple of items signed by Lord Stanley himself! Wow!
I’ll be on the look put for more events by these guys.
- Video: Eller gets credit for bizarre Canucks own-goal (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- Who Is Montreal Canadiens’ Future No. 1 Center: Lars Eller or Alex Galchenyuk? (bleacherreport.com)
- Montreal’s “kid line” is on fire early (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)