Thursday, December 27, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #22 Brett Hull

The Golden Brett!

Son of the great Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet and fellow 1,000+ point scorer, Brett Hull was one of the reasons that the hockey card collecting craze took off in the early 1990's. Everyone wanted the 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee rookie card of Brett Hull.

His career total of 741 goals is the third highest in NHL history and he is one of five players to score 50 goals in 50 games. He was a member of two Stanley Cup winning teams (Dallas and Detroit) and is a past winner of the Hart and Lady Byng trophies.

With 1,391 points (741 goals, 650 assists) in 1,269 games, there is no doubt that Brett Hull was a premier sniper in the NHL. Hull even added another 103 goals in 202 playoff games.

Brett Hull currently serves as the Dallas Stars executive vice president and alternate governor.

I was lucky enough to pull a hard-signed autograph of Brett Hull from 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions. However, that card was a short-print and it was a no-brainer to sell it on eBay for $200+. Using some of the proceeds (about $20), I acquired this 2011-12 Panini Private Signings hard-signed autograph card of Hull in his classic St. Louis Blues uniform only days after I sold the high priced short-print.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #23 Mike Modano

The all-time leading goal-scorer and points leader amongst American-born players in NHL history.

Although he's not eligible for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame until 2014, that fact alone makes Mike Modano a guarantee for the HHOF.

Modano was drafted 1st overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1988 and at the time of his retirement, was the last active player in the NHL who had played for the North Stars. He won the Stanley Cup in 1999 as a member of the Dallas Stars.

With 1,374 points (561 goals, 813 assists) in 1,499 games, Modano had his best years in the early 1990's including two 93-point seasons and one season in which he scored 50 goals.

I've been lucky enough to pull a few Mike Modano cards during my collecting career. From 2007-08 In The Game Ultimate comes an Ultimate Auto Silver /30 of Modano and from 2006-07 Upper Deck Sweet Shot comes a nice Signatures Shots autograph.

But the most memorable Mike Modano autograph in my collection was pulled in February 2001. I had just returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic. It was a typical Canadian snow storm and I got in my car to head home but needed to stop at a gas station first. It was late at night and I bought a pack of hockey cards not expecting too much. Shockingly, I pulled a Certified Autograph Issue 2000-01 Topps Stars hard-signed auto of Mike Modano. It was the highlight of my trip!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #24 Johnny Bucyk

After a short stint with the Detroit Red Wings at the beginning of his career, Johnny Bucyk was traded to the Boston Bruins in a deal involving Terry Sawchuk. And so the legend of 'The Chief' in Boston began.

Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981, Bucyk scored 1,369 points (556 goals, 813 assists) in 1,540 games. A two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy, he helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cups in the early 1970's.

Bucyk's name was engraved on the Stanley Cup for a 3rd with Boston in 2010-11 which was his 53rd consecutive season with the organization.

One of the greatest left wings in NHL history, Bucyk's signature has been easier to acquire in recent years. From 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite comes this hard-signed autograph /199 of Johnny Bucyk. Another of the great players to wear #9, he's currently the 24th highest scorer in NHL history.

Friday, December 14, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #25 Brendan Shanahan

The Top 25! When I started this project of collecting a hard-signed autograph of the 79 players with over 1,000 points I was never completely sure if I'd finish. But as I have counted up from Ray Whitney at #79 to Brendan Shanahan at #25, I get the feeling that I'm too close to my goal to stop.

The only player in NHL history with over 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes, Brendan Shanahan will be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame soon. It was a surprise that he didn't make it on the first ballot but some years the list is quite impressive.

With 1,354 points (656 goals, 698 assists) in 1,524 games, Shanahan was the epitome of a power forward. He won three Stanley Cup championships during his time with Detroit and was a key team member for whatever franchise he played for.

Now an executive with the NHL as chief player disciplinarian, Shanahan remains in the public eye. His legacy also includes the Shanahan Summit, a two-day conference in Toronto during the 2004–05 NHL lockout which discussed improvements to the flow and tempo of the game.

Brendan Shanahan has not signed a large number of cards considering his 21-year NHL career. And finding a nice one one at a reasonable price isn't easy. Surprisingly, I acquired this 2010-11 Panini Dominion hard-signed autograph /25 for about $15. Showing him in a Hartford Whalers uniform is a definite bonus. But the cold hard fact remains that Panini cards (even high-end) just don't seem to get as much respect on the secondary market. This card should not have sold for so little. But it's hard to complain when you're the beneficiary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #26 Guy Lafleur

"The Flower"

My favourite player growing up.

The wicked speed, the accuracy, and the flowing hair... Guy Lafleur was legendary the moment he first stepped on the ice for the Montreal Canadiens. It was his 4th year in the NHL before he became a superstar but everyone knew that it was inevitable.

During his career, mostly with Montreal, he scored 1,353 points (560 goals, 793 assists) in 1,127 games to rank 26th in NHL history. He also added another 134 points in 128 playoff games. Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, Lafleur is one of the few players who played after his induction as he had retired prematurely.

Still the Canadiens all-time leading scorer, Lafleur won three Art Ross Trophies (1976, 1977, 1978), two Hart Memorial Trophies (1977, 1978), three Lester B. Pearson Awards (1976, 1977, 1978), and one Conn Smythe Trophy (1977).

As one of my favourite players, it did take a little time to get some Lafleur autographs into my collection. From 2007-08 In The Game Ultimate comes this dual autograph/memorabilia card /24 featuring Lafleur with Jean Beliveau. Also from 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup comes this hard-signed Stanley Cup Signatures /50 autograph of Guy Lafleur in the bleu, blanc, et rouge.

Friday, November 30, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #27 Mats Sundin

He was the first European-born and trained player to be drafted 1st overall in the NHL Entry Draft. And although it was done in 1989 by the Quebec Nordiques, Mats Sundin will always be considered a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Despite playing four seasons in Quebec (and one in Vancouver), Sundin will be remembered for his 13 seasons in the blue and white. Scoring 1,349 points (564 goals, 785 assists) in 1,346 games, Sundin is the 27th highest scorer in NHL history.

He never succeeded in bringing glory to the Maple Leafs but he had greater success on the international stage winning an Olympic gold medal and three World Championships with Sweden. He is also the first Swede to score 500 goals and 1,000 points.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes this hard-signed Mats Sundin autograph from the Global Training subset. Appropriately signed in blue ink, this card was pack-pulled and is the only Mats Sundin autograph in my collection. As a Habs fan, one is definitely enough!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #28 Denis Savard

And with the first pick of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens select... Denis Savard!

Oh how things could have been different if that was the case.

However, history tells us that the Habs selected Doug Wickenheiser. Although Wickenheiser was a serviceable NHL'er (who passed away at age 37 due to cancer), he would always be remembered as the guy who was drafted instead of Denis Savard.

Savard was dazzling through the 1980's as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. With his great vision, spin-o-rama move, and speed, Denis Savard scored 1,338 points (473 goals, 865 assists) in 1,196 games. He added another 175 playoff points and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Often remembered as a Chicago Blackhawk (1980-90, 1994-97), Savard also played with Tampa Bay and the Montreal Canadiens. Savard was famously traded to the Habs for Chris Chelios in 1990 and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1992-93. From In The Game's Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge comes this Denis Savard hard-signed autograph/patch (bleu version). Although the Habs missed Chelios and his defensive domination, it was nice to see Savard in the red, white, and blue of the Canadiens, especially since he should have been there from the beginning of his career.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #29 Dave Andreychuk

He scored a lot of goals for a lot of teams over the span of many years.

Dave Andreychuk played into his early 40's and scored 1,338 points (640 goals, 698 assists) in 1,639 games. Although rarely the key offensive player on his teams, he did captain the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship in 2003-04.

The NHL's all-time leader in power-play goals with 274, Andreychuk was no stranger to the scoring sheet. Currently not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, his individual accomplishments may not be enough to some of the voting committee.

Never a player I cheered for, Andreychuk often played on the rival teams of my Montreal Canadiens (Toronto, Buffalo, Boston). Both Dave Andreychuk autographs in my collection were packed-pulled and are hard-signed. From 1996-97 Pinnacle Be A Player comes Andreychuk in his rarely seen New Jersey Devils uniform and from 2012 In The Game's Forever Rivals comes this hard-signed autograph from his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs (although his Leaf's logo is missing due to licensing issues between In The Game and the NHL).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #30 Mike Gartner

Blinding speed and a wicked shot, there were few better at scoring goals than Mike Gartner.

One of only six players to score over 700 goals, Gartner is also notable for what he didn't accomplish. He never won a Stanley Cup or an individual award. He was never named to a post-season All-Star team either. But with 1,335 points (708 goals, 627 assists) in 1,432 games, he was an easy induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

It's interesting to note that Mike Gartner also played on a line with Mark Messier in the WHA in 1978-79. He had a successful season and finished second to Wayne Gretzky for WHA Rookie-of-the-Year honours, the year before they all entered the NHL.

The lone hard-signed Mike Gartner card in my collection comes from 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions. Wearing the familiar red, white, and blue of the Washington Capitals, Gartner player there from 1979 to 1989 before being traded to Minnesota in a deal that included future 1,000 point scorers Larry Murphy and Dino Ciccarelli.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #31 Pierre Turgeon

The trajectories of the careers of Pierre Turgeon and Gilbert Perreault are very similar.

Both were selected 1st overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Both were brilliant playmakers. They're career NHL point totals only differ by one point!

With 1,327 points (515 goals, 812 assists) in 1,294 games, Pierre Turgeon squeaked by Gilbert Perreault to become the 31st highest scorer in NHL history. Often an All-Star and the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for the 1992-93 season, Turgeon has yet to get the call for the Hockey Hall of Fame but has a good chance at some time in the future.

Although he only spent one full season with the Montreal Canadiens, I still remember that time with pleasure. Honouring that short span of his career comes this regular and die-cut version of Pierre Turgeon's autograph from Upper Deck's 1995-96 Be A Player. In addition, I have Turgeon's hard-signed autograph from 2002-03 In The Game Be A Player in his Dallas Stars uniform.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #32 Gilbert Perreault

At the time of his retirement, Gilbert Perreault was the 6th highest scorer in NHL history. It just goes to show how many of today's players benefited from the fire-wagon hockey of the 1980's and early 1990's.

Currently the 32nd highest scorer in NHL history with 1,326 points (512 goals, 814 assists) in 1,191 games, Perreault played his last game in November 1986 and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

The most famous member of the French Connection line (with Rene Robert and Rick Martin), Perreault was known for his dazzling stick-handling. He also won the Calder Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy and was a perennial All-Star.

A great stick-handler... and amazing penmanship! Both Gilbert Perreault autographs in my collection were pack-pulled in the same collecting season. From 2005-06 Upper Deck Ultimate comes this Ultimate Signatures card along with a 2005-06 Ice Scripts autograph for Upper Deck Trilogy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #33 Alex Delvecchio

Although he played every one of his NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings and scored the 33rd most points in NHL history, Alex Delvecchio never led his team in scoring.

With 1,281 points (456 goals, 825 assists) in 1,549 games, Delvecchio was good for a long time. Twenty-four seasons to be exact. But when you play with Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich, and Ted Lindsay, it's not always easy to be the best each season.

Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977, Delvecchio won three Stanley Cups and captained the Red Wings for 12 seasons.

From 2011 In The Game Enshrined comes this stunning portrait of Delvecchio featuring his signature at the bottom. A stylish card from a beautiful set, it's the only Delvecchio card in my collection. In recent years, more cards of Delvecchio have appeared on the market making it easier for collectors to get their hands on a Delvecchio autograph.

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #34 Al MacInnis

It's hard to think of another defenseman who struck fear into opposing goaltenders like Al MacInnis did.

Famous for having the hardest shot in the NHL for a long time, MacInnis scored 1,274 points (340 goals, 934 assists) in 1,416 games over 23 seasons with Calgary and St. Louis. Only the fourth defenseman in NHL history to score 100 points in a season, MacInnis won the Conn Smythe Trophy, the James Norris Trophy, and the Stanley Cup.

An Olympic gold medal winner for Canada in 2002, MacInnis was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

One of the greatest athletes ever from Nova Scotia, Canada, Al MacInnis famously split goaltender Mike Liut's mask with a slapshot. Liut later stated, "There's hard and then there's Al MacInnis hard. I tried to get out of the way. If it happens too often, you have to sit down and re-evaluate what you're doing with your life."

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes one of the first hard-signed autographs that I ever pulled from a pack... a great shot of Al MacInnis with his infamous stick and his signature. In addition, from 2006-07 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection comes this hard-signed autograph of MacInnis from the year he was inducted to the HHOF.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #35 Jean Ratelle

At the time of his retirement, Jean Ratelle was the NHL's sixth all-time leading scorer. But the hobby has seem to forgotten him for the most part.

After a slow beginning to his career and undergoing major spinal cord surgery when he suffered a serious back injury at age 23, Ratelle's longevity in the league was in doubts. However, once healed and healthy, he became one of the most consistently great players the NHL has ever seen.

With 1,267 points (491 goals, 776 assists) in 1,281 games, Ratelle now ranks 35th on the all-time NHL scoring list. Although he never won a Stanley Cup, he was a key contributor to the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

My Jean Ratelle collection consists of a 2004-05 In The Game Heroes and Prospects sticker autograph as well as a 2004-05 In The Game NHL Franchises hard-signed autograph. Considering his stature as one of the NHL's greats, there aren't a lot of options for Ratelle autographs on the market. Due to this, prices for his autographed cards are higher than some other players on the list. However, it would be appreciated if the companies could show him more respect on cardboard in the future.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #36 Peter Stastny

Only one player scored more points in the 1980's than Peter Stastny... and that was of course, the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

When Peter Stastny defected from Czechoslovakia in 1980 with his brother Anton, they joined the Quebec Nordiques. At the time, it was shocking news in the hockey world and led to many others getting out from behind the Iron Curtain in future years.

Although he started his NHL career late, at the age of 24, Stastny racked up points extremely quickly. With 1,239 points (450 goals, 789 assists) in 977 games, Stastny was an offensive talent rarely seen at the time. Actually, he is the 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 1,000 points (682 games) behind Wayne Gretzky (424 games), Mario Lemieux (513 games), and Mike Bossy (656 games).

Due to the late start of his NHL career, Peter Stastny currently ranks only 36th all-time in NHL scoring. Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, Stastny is currently a politician in Slovakia.

From 2011-12 Panini Prime comes this hard-signed Peter Stastny autograph /99 from the Prime Signatures subset. In his classic Quebec Nordiques jersey, Stastny was a thorn-in-the-side of my Montreal Canadiens during the fire-wagon hockey of the 1980's.

Friday, October 26, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #37 Phil Housley

Maybe not winning a championship really does hurt your chances to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

With 1,232 points (338 goals, 894 assists), Phil Housley is the second leading scorer amongst U.S.-born players and the 4th highest scoring defenseman in NHL history. Unfortunately, he also holds the record for the most games played without winning the Stanley Cup.

After a great beginning to his career in Buffalo that lasted 8 seasons, Housley became a virtual hired-gun and played for 8 more teams in the next 13 seasons.

He remains outside of the HHOF to this day.

My Phil Housley collection of autographs ranges from hard-signed to sticker and from three different uniforms. From 2000-01 In The Game Signature Series comes Housley in a Calgary Flames uniform, from 2004-05 In The Game NHL Franchises comes a hard-signed Housley in his tradition Buffalo Sabres uniform, and from 2006-07 In The Game International Ice comes this sticker autograph of Housley during his time with Team USA. All cards were pack-pulled and show Housley's signature over a 6 year span.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #38 Norm Ullman

Considering he's the 38th highest scoring player in NHL history, I don't know much about Norm Ullman.

Although he scored 1,229 points (490 goals, 739 assists) in 1,410 games and played with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, his name seems to get lost in the shuffle. Despite spending his entire NHL career in two hockey crazy cities (Detroit and Toronto), he does not seem to get the level of respect which he deserves.

An 11-time All-Star, Ullman led the NHL in goals in 1964-65. He had 16 seasons of 20 or more goals and was the 5th player in history to score 1,000 points. Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982, Norm Ullman ranks as one of the greatest centres to ever play the game.

From 2001-02 Topps Archives comes this authentic hard-signed auto of Norm Ullman in the familiar jersey of the Detroit Red Wings. I acquired the card on eBay for $12 and it's worth noting that there are not a lot of Ullman autographs on the market. This certified Topps issue has a great vintage feel and fits nicely into my collection.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #39 Jean Beliveau

Jean Beliveau's name appears on the Stanley Cup 17 times!

17 times! Let that sink in.

With 10 Stanley Cup Championships as a player and 7 more as an executive, Jean Beliveau is a Montreal Canadiens legend. And not many individuals command the respect which he carries. In fact, during 1994 Beliveau was offered the position of Governor General of Canada but he declined.

A two-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's MVP, Jean Beliveau scored 1,219 points (507 goals, 712 assists) in 1,125 games. He also added another 176 points in 162 playoff games.

He retired in 1971 and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. In addition, in 1998 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian award given by Canada.

Being one of my all-time favourite players, it's not surprising that I have a number of Jean Beliveau autographs in my collection. I've also had the pleasure of meeting him in person twice and it's amazing that his trademark signature rarely changes. From In The Game 2005-06 Ultimate 6th Edition comes an Ultimate Autograph Silver /50 and an Auto Trifecta Silver /18 featuring not only his autograph but a piece of his jersey, stick, and skate. From In The Game 2007-08 Ultimate 8th Edition comes this Dual Auto/Dual Memorabilia Silver card /24 which he shares with fellow Hab and fellow 1,000+ point scorer Guy Lafleur. And finally, from 2000-01 Upper Deck Legends Epic Signatures comes this pair of hard-signed autographs of Le Gros Bill himself.

Monday, October 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #40 Jeremy Roenick

Possibly the most dominant player ever... in a video game.

Jeremy Roenick. NHL 94. EA Sports. Sega Genesis... 'nuff said!

Always out-spoken, often dominating, and always a competitor, Jeremy Roenick was one of the greatest Americans to ever play in the NHL. With 1,216 points (513 goals, 703 assists) in 1,363 games, Roenick was a young superstar in Chicago before moving on to help four other teams gain prominence.

Although never a Stanley Cup Champion, Roenick put together a phenomenal career. He stayed consistent through-out, although he never did approach his Chicago numbers later in his career... two 50-goal and three 100-point seasons.

From 2004-05 Upper Deck SP Authentic comes this hard-signed Sign of the Times signature. Featuring Roenick during his time with the Philadelphia Flyers, it also features his number 97 which became synonymous with him after he left Chicago and wasn't able to acquire number 27 in Phoenix.

Jeremy Roenick marks the half-way point on my journey to gather a hard-signed autographed hockey card of the 79 players in NHL history with 1,000 or more points. Being the 40th highest scorer in NHL history, Roenick is another great addition to my collection.

Friday, October 19, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #41 Larry Murphy

Larry Murphy scored a lot of points... for a lot of years... for a lot of teams.

In total, Murphy scored 1,216 points (287 goals, 929 assists) in 1,615 games for six NHL teams (Los Angeles, Washington, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Detroit). With four Stanley Cup Championships, a Memorial Cup, and a Canada Cup title, there was little surprise when he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Murphy is currently the fifth highest scoring defenceman in NHL history behind Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, and Phil Housley.

From In The Game's Decades "The 1980's" comes this hard-signed autograph of Larry Murphy in the uniform of the Washington Capitals. Murphy spent parts of 6 seasons in Washington early in his career and this is a nice addition to my 1,000 point player collection.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #42 Bobby Clarke

Love him. Hate him. There really is no middle ground.

Bobby Clarke had a career that most players could only dream of. Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987, Clarke scored 1,210 points (358 goals, 852 assists) in 1,144 games. A two-time Stanley Cup Champion and three-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's MVP, Clarke was a Philadelphia Flyer for life.

A solid defensive player to compliment his offensive prowess, Clarke will also be remembered by many as the player who slashed Valeri Kharlamov's ankle (and broke it) during the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia.

Three Bobby Clarke autographs are in my collection... all are from high-end products. From In The Game Superlative Volume I comes an auto/jersey silver version /50, from 2007-08 In The Game Ultimate 8th Edition comes an auto/jersey silver version /30, and from 2007-08 Upper Deck The Cup comes a Bobby Clarke autograph /50 from the Cup Enshrinements subset. Although most people still call him Bobby, it's interesting to note that he signs only Bob.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #43 Bernie Nicholls

Sometimes teammates click!

Of course, it's a lot easier when your teammate is named Wayne Gretzky.

Bernie Nicholls was a good player on the Los Angeles Kings during the mid-1980's and scored 40+ goals on two occasions. However, in 1988-89, during Wayne Gretzky's first season in Los Angeles, Nicholls put on one hell of a show. During that season, Bernie Nicholls scored 70 goals and 80 assists in 79 games. He became one of only 8 players in NHL history to score 70 goals in one season and one of only 5 to score 150 points.

With 1,209 points (475 goals, 734 assists) in 1,127 games, Bernie Nicholls had a great career. However, now 13 years into his retirement, it looks as if the Hall of Fame will not be calling.

From 2006-07 Upper Deck Parkhurst Hockey comes this stylish hard-signed autograph of Nicholls during his time with the Los Angeles Kings. Easily available in the $5 range, I won this card recently on eBay. Although he played for 6 teams during his 17-year career, Nicholls will always be remembered for that one magic season in the City of Angels.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #44 Vincent Damphousse

A good player for a long time, Vincent Damphousse is a rare player who excelled with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens during his tenure in the NHL. Although he also spent time in Edmonton and San Jose, Damphouuse will mostly be remembered during his time with the two central Canadian rivals.

Scoring 1,205 points (432 goals, 773 assists) in 1,378 games, many people would be surprised to know that Damphousse is the 44th highest scorer in NHL history. Although he never scored 50 goals or 100 points in a season, he passed the 90 point plateau four times in his career.

A potential Hall of Famer in the future, Damphousse will be held back by his lack of individual accomplishments, although he was a key member of the Montreal Canadiens most recent Stanley Cup Championship in 1993.

From 1998-99 In The Game Be A Player comes these two hard-signed autographed cards of Vincent Damphousse in the bleu-blanc-et-rouge of the Montreal Canadiens. These cards come near the end of his career with the Canadiens during the time when he served as team captain.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #45 Dino Ciccarelli

Undrafted by the NHL, Dino Ciccarelli proved a lot of teams wrong.

Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, Ciccarelli scored 1,200 points (608 goals, 592 assists) in 1,232 games. As with others on the list of the 79 NHL'ers with over 1,000 points, Ciccarelli rarely got much attention due to playing during in the era of Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Jagr, Lindros, etc.

A two-time 50 goal scorer and 100 point player, Ciccarelli is most often recognized for his days with the Minnesota North Stars and Detroit Red Wings. He also spent time with Washington, Tampa Bay, and retired after his final season with the Florida Panthers.

Ciccarelli in one of only 18 players in NHL history to score more than 600 goals.

From one of my favourite sets, this hard-signed Dino Ciccarelli card comes from 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player. Although there are not a lot of Ciccarelli autographed cards on the market, it would be rare to pay more than $10 for one them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #46 Rod Brind'Amour

The epitome of good!

What better way to describe the 46th highest scorer in NHL history with 1,184 points (452 goals, 732 assists) in 1,484 games.

Rod Brind'Amour captained the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006 and won the Frank Selke Trophy on two occasions as the NHL's best defensive forward but rarely got the accolades which his peers received. He never scored 40 goals or 100 points in a single season but had a fantastic career and lots of playoff success.

Does he deserve a place on the Hockey Hall of Fame? Only time will tell.

From 2001-02 In The Game Signature Series comes this gold parallel hard-signed autograph of Rod Brind'Amour. Considering his success and longevity, there are not a lot of hard-signed Brind'Amour cards on the market. Regardless of the quantity available, it's not difficult to find one of his autographs in the $3-$7 range.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #47 Sergei Fedorov

One of the greatest Russians to play in the NHL, Sergei Fedorov challenged the notion that players from 'across the pond' couldn't compete at a high level during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With 3 Stanley Cups and 176 points in 183 playoff games, he shattered that notion.

Although he played for many teams later in his career, Fedorov will always be known as a Detroit Red Wing. As part of one of the most dominant teams of the 1990's and 2000's, Fedorov scored most of his 1,179 NHL points (484 goals, 696 assists) during his time wearing the red and white.

Winnings medals at the Olympics, World Championships, World Cup, Goodwill Games, and World Junior Hockey Championships, Fedorov played for his country on many occasions over the years. He will also be an ambassador for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

From 2003-04 Upper Deck SP Authentic comes this hard-signed autograph of Sergei Fedorov from the Sign of the Times subset. There are relatively few options on the market for hard-signed cards of Fedorov and this is one of my favourite designs from the annual SOTT subset.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #48 Bobby Hull

The Golden Jet!

The blonde hair, the speed, and the hard slapshot. Rarely do nicknames suit a player so well as it did Bobby Hull. It also resulted in his son being called the Golden Brett.

Elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, Bobby Hull had an exceptional career. He retired with 1,170 points (610 goals, 560 assists) in 1,063 games. His totals do not include the 600+ points which he scored during his defection to the WHA in the mid-1970's.

In 1966, Bobby Hull became the first NHLer to surpass 50 goals in a season. However, due to feeling that he never was rewarded enough for his talents, he left the NHL for the upstart WHA and a $1,000,000 payday.

Both pulled from packs, I have two hard-signed Bobby Hull autographs to continue my pursuit of the 79 NHL players with 1,000 or more points. From 2006-07 Parkhurst and 2009-10 Upper Deck Ultimate come these perfect two examples of Hull's big flowing signature.

Higher up on the list and coming soon is his son, Brett Hull.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #49 Michel Goulet

Pure goal scorer. Prolific sniper. Flying Frenchman.

They all apply to Michel Goulet.

Michel Goulet, along with Peter Stastny, made the Quebec Nordiques a fearful team to play against in the mid-1980s. A frequent 50-goal/100-point scorer, Goulet scored 1,000 NHL points before he even played in 900 games.

An unfortunate concussion in the early 1990's robbed Goulet of climbing higher than 49th on the all-time NHL scoring list but with 1,152 points (548 goals, 604 assists) in 1,089 games, he earned induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.

Although Goulet never won a Stanley Cup as a player, he twice won Cups with the Colorado Avalanche as Director of Player Personnel.

From 2000-01 Upper Deck Legends comes this hard-signed autograph of Michel Goulet from the Epic Signatures subset. Sporting his trademark moustache and Nordiques jersey, Goulet was a nemesis of my Montreal Canadiens for many years. Currently there are not a lot of hard-signed Michel Goulet cards on the market... this one cost me around $10. Not a bad price for a player of his skill level.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #50 Nicklas Lidstrom

Now retired, Nicklas Lidstrom will be eligible for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Check that... Nicklas Lidstrom will be inducted to the HHOF in 2015! There's no doubt about it!

Lidstrom's hockey career runs like a list of highlights:
  • 20 NHL seasons
  • 4 Stanley Cups
  • 7 James Norris Memorial Trophies
  • 1 Conn Smythe Trophy
  • 12 NHL All-Star Games
  • 1st European-born/trained NHL captain to win Stanley Cup
  • 1st European player named playoff MVP
  • All-time leader in games played with only one NHL team
  • World Championship in 1991
  • 2006 Winter Olympics gold medal

And for the purposes of my quest to gather hard-signed autographs of the 79 players in the NHL with over 1,000 points, Lidstrom makes that list as well with 1,142 points (264 goals, 878 goals) in 1,564 games.

My collection already contained a Nicklas Lidstrom autograph from his 2011-12 In The Game Ultimate  11th Edition Lord Stanley's Mug Silver /14 card but it contains a sticker autograph to join the jersey piece. However, for less than $10, I was able to acquire a 1998-99 Upper Deck SP Authentic hard-signed autograph of Lidstrom to successfully move into the Top 50 of my collecting goal!

Monday, September 24, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #51 Bernie Federko

In 1986, a poll conducted by GOAL magazine named him the most overlooked talent in hockey.

Even today, with a Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 2002, Bernie Federko remains an overlooked player.

Bernie Federko played in exactly 1,000 games and all of them were with the St. Louis Blues, except for his 14th and final season. He managed to score 1,130 points (369 goals, 761 assists) in those games and holds many St. Louis Blues team records but rarely achieved league-wide accolades during his career. It's hard to stand out when you're competing against Gretzky, Lemieux, Stastny, Messier, Turgeon, Yzerman, Lafontaine, and so many more.

Ranking 51st on the all-time scoring list, Federko has autographed cards in various sets. In my collection is an In The Game Captain-C signature but it's a sticker autograph so it doesn't fit my criteria. However, from 2006-07 Upper Deck Parkhurst, I have a nice hard-signed autograph of Bernie Federko playing in his familiar St. Louis Blues uniform.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #52 Mike Bossy

It's almost hard to comprehend how good Mike Bossy was.

Ranking 52nd on the list of all-time NHL scorers, Bossy only played 752 games yet scored 1,126 points (573 goals, 553 assists). He also added another 85 goals and 75 assists in 129 playoff games while winning four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders. He was the ultimate goal scorer, scoring at a rate which made him the highest goals-per-game average career scorer in the modern era with .762 goals per game.

Mike Bossy scored 50+ goals in each of his ten seasons except for the final season when he scored 38 goals in only 63 games. He retired at the age of 30 due to back problems and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 when he was only 34 years of age.

In addition, he remains one of only five players to score 50 goals in 50 games.

With a stylish autograph, there's no reason to only have one of them in my collection. The first two cards (In The Game's 2004-05 Heroes and Prospects, 2005-06 Upper Deck SP Game-Used auto/jersey /75) contain sticker autographs of the mythical scorer. However, from 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures comes a nice hard-signed autograph of the New York Islanders legend.

A class individual, Mike Bossy had the bad luck of playing during Wayne Gretzky's time. He never got the amount of recognition that he deserved.

Friday, September 21, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #53 Joe Nieuwendyk

A lacrosse player?

In the old days, it was common for players to be both hockey and lacrosse players. What better way to build accuracy and a strong shot.

Joe Nieuwendyk turned his lacrosse talents into a brilliant on-ice career. With 1,126 points (564 goals, 562 assists) in 1,257 games, Nieuwendyk had one heck of a career. A two-time 50-goal scorer, Nieuwendyk was also great in the playoffs, as he scored 116 points in the post-season and captured Stanley Cups with Calgary, Dallas, and New Jersey.

Currently the General Manager of the Dallas Stars, Nieuwendyk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011. As noted in a previous post, Nieuwendyk was traded in 1995 for a rookie named Jarome Iginla who recently ended up on the 1,000 point list as well.

From 1996-97 Pinnacle Be A Player comes this hard-signed autograph of Joe Nieuwendyk during his time with the Dallas Stars. Although not a great design for autographed hockey cards, I'm lucky that this card features enough white space so the autograph is legible. Many other cards in this set are not ideal for autograph collectors due to black-on-black signatures.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #54 Darryl Sittler

To make the list of the 79 players in the NHL who have scored over 1,000 points, chances are that you've set a few records along the way. And some of those records may have a good chance of never being broken too.

How about 10 points in one game! 6 goals and 4 assists!

These days, it's a rare occurrence to see 10 goals in a game, let alone one player being involved in most or all of them. In addition, players rarely play more than 20-25 minutes per game, leaving less time to score those precious points.

Darryl Sittler accomplished the feat in an 11-4 victory over the Boston Bruins in 1976. In total, Sittler played 1,096 games and scored 1,121 points (484 goals, 637 assists). Although Sittler was a solid play-off performer, he never sipped from the Stanley Cup as he spent many seasons with mediocre teams in Toronto, Philadelphia, and Detroit. Sittler was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

From In The Game's 'Decades - 1980s' Series comes this hard-signed Darryl Sittler autograph. Since most of his career was spent with the Maple Leafs, it's odd to see him in the orange and black of the Philadelphia Flyers. Regardless, it meets my criteria for the project... although I may try to add a hard-signed auto of Sittler in a Toronto uniform in the future.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #55 Frank Mahovlich

'The Big M'

Although not terribly big by today's standards, at 6'1 and 205 lbs., Frank Mahovlich was a big man and a big scorer in the 1960's and 1970's for Toronto, Detroit, and Montreal.

And as I hit #55, Mahovlich is the first player to crack the 1,100 point mark as I count up the list. With 1,103 points (533 goals, 570 assists) in 1,181 games, Mahovlich won the Calder Trophy, won 6 Stanley Cups, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981, and was appointed a Senator by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1998.

Interestingly, Frank Mahovlich dealt with depression for a lot of his life. For years, Mahovlich had to cope with this illness while in the public eye... a rare situation before the age of the internet and 1,000 channels on television.

From 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures comes this hard-signed Frank Mahovlich autograph from the AKA Autographs subset which also contains his nickname. One of my favourite cards for years, this Mahovlich was pulled from a pack about 8 years ago. As a bonus, the card is also short-printed to /100.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #56 Glenn Anderson

Milestones like 1,000 NHL points are highlights to many careers. While some players hit the big ones, they also miss some big ones too.

I was quite surprised to learn that Glenn Anderson never scored 500 career NHL goals. In fact, he retired needing 2 more goals to reach that historical mark. He also finished 1 point shy of 1,100 for his career. Regardless, 1,099 points (498 goals, 601 assists) in 1,129 games is quite impressive.

Known for his speed during his career, Anderson scored 50 goals in a season twice and hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head on 6 occasions (Edmonton - 5, NY Rangers - 1). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

In my collection, I have a Glenn Anderson sticker autograph from In The Game's Canada vs. The World. But the really cool, hard-signed awesomeness comes from the 10-11 Upper Deck The Cup hard-signed Stanley Cup Signatures card which is numbered 50/50. A sleek signature with a great design from one of the hobby's high-end products.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #57 Theoren Fleury

The highs and the lows. Not many players have seen the type of life that Theoren Fleury has.

Battling addictions, dealing with childhood abuse, and the general lack of belief in his skills due to his small stature, Fleury battled them all and became a Stanley Cup winner, an Olympic gold medalist, a 50-goal scorer, a 100 point player, and so much more.

At the end of his NHL career, Theoren Fleury totalled 1,088 points (455 goals, 633 assists) in 1,084 games. He also averaged more than one point per game during his play-off career.

Theo Fleury hasn't signed many cards to date, however I was lucky enough to pull a hard-signed autograph from 1996-97 Pinnacle Be A Player. Although the placement of the signature isn't ideal, it's still a great addition to my collection. Although his Flames beat my Habs in the 1988-89 Stanley Cup Finals, Fleury was always a favourite player of mine... and his famous goal celebration against the Edmonton Oilers in 1991 will forever be hard to top!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #58 Daniel Alfredsson

Taking on the challenge of collecting hard-signed autographs of the 79 players in NHL history with over 1,000 points take some perseverance. Especially when you start blogging about it. There's a new level of commitment after that. Well, I've made it to the 58th highest scorer in NHL history. And Daniel Alfredsson knows a think about perseverance himself.

After undergoing back surgery in 2011, Daniel Alfredsson returned with a vengeance and turned the Ottawa Senators into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for the 2011-12 season. A recent member of the 1,000 point club, Alfredsson has scored 1,082 points (416 goals, 666 assists) in 1,131 games. Add in another 90 points in his career for the playoffs, a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and a reputation as the greatest player in Ottawa Senators history, Alfredsson has a good chance at joining the Hockey Hall of Fame after his career ends.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes the die-cut version of Daniel Alfredsson's Rookie Quotebook hard-signed autograph card. One of my favourites sets from the 1990's, it was the best chance of pulling hard-signed autographs from packs before it became an everyday occurrence. An inexpensive card to add to your collection, Alfredsson is a Swedish and Senators legend.

Monday, September 3, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #59 Joe Thornton

One of the recent players to join this list, Joe Thornton will move up quite a few more slots before his career is finished. Now, if he could only figure out a way to win a Stanley Cup.

Joe Thornton, although only 33, has played in 1,077 games and collected 1,078 points (324 goals, 754 assists). He also has a legitimate chance to make this list with only assists by the time he hangs up his skates.

A captain of both Boston and San Jose, Thornton is another player on the 1,000 NHL point list who has collected the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, and is a multiple All-Star. He has also tasted international success with an Olympic gold medal, a World Cup gold medal, a World Jr. Hockey gold medal, and a Spengler Cup championship.

An interesting note is that Joe Thornton is the only player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy while switching clubs in his award-winning season (2005–06). He is also just the third player in NHL history to record back-to-back 90 assist seasons. The other two are Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

From 2004-05 Upper Deck SP Authentic comes this stunning Sign of the Times hard-signed autograph of Thornton near the end of his career with the Boston Bruins. I also have an In The Game Superlative Volume One hard-signed auto/jersey /50 of Joe Thornton. Although the card was produced after his trade to San Jose, it states on the back of the card that it is a piece of Bruins memorabilia. Thornton has a stylish autograph and it can be picked up for a very reasonable amount.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #60 Jarome Iginla

Did you know that Jarome Iginla's full name is Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla. Chances are that of the 79 players with over 1,000 points in the NHL, he has the longest name! He was also the first black captain in NHL history.

With a trophy case which contains most of the awards which a player can win, Iginla just needs Stanley Cup play-off success. He has two Olympic gold medals, many other gold medals on the international stage, two Memorial Cup championships, the Art Ross Trophy, the King Clancy Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy, and on and on...

Jarome Iginla is also one of only 6 active players on the list of NHL'ers with over 1,000 points. With 1,073 points (516 goals, 557 assists) in 1,188 games, Iginla should not have much trouble moving higher than 60th on this list.

Jarome Iginla hasn't had much trouble scoring in the NHL and I haven't had much trouble pulling his hard-signed autographs from packs. From 2005-06 Upper Deck SP Authentic's Prestigious Pairings is a dual Jarome Iginla/Martin St. Louis autograph card /50. From 2009-10 Upper Deck Ultimate is Iginla's Ultimate Signatures auto. And from 2011-12 Panini Dominion, I pulled his All Decade jersey/auto /50 as well as his dual Got Your Number autograph /50 which paired him with Yvan Cournoyer.

As an interesting side note, Jarome Iginla was drafted by the Dallas Stars however before he played a game with them, he was traded to Calgary for Joe Nieuwendyk, who is also among the 79 players to score 1,000 NHL points.

Friday, August 31, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #61 Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Kings... but unlike the 2011-12 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Taylor only ever reaching the finals, where he was on the losing side in 1992-93 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Taylor was a member of the Triple Crown line with Charlie Simmer and Marcel Dionne. The line members each scored 100+ points during the 1980-81 season.

Dave Taylor played 1,111 games and scored 1,069 points (431 goals, 638 assists). Unbeknownst to me, Taylor was also a tough customer and racked up more than 1,500 penalty minutes during his career. He is also the lowest-drafted player to compile 1,000 career points, as he was drafted in the 15th round (210th overall) of the 1975 NHL draft.

The only Dave Taylor hard-signed autograph in my collection was pack-pulled almost 10 years ago from 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures. A great set, full of many Hall of Famers and memorable names, hobby boxes are extremely hard to find these days. A beautiful card and nice signature, this card can be found for between $5 and $10.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #62 Keith Tkachuk

Consistently good, consistently tough.

Keith Tkachuk was built to be a team captain. He was also built to score goals and wreak havoc on the ice for the opposing teams.

Tkachuk scored 538 goals and 1,065 points in his 1,201 NHL game career. In addition, he recorded over 2,200 penalty minutes, a testament to the all-around aspect of his game which also led to numerous appearances for his country (USA) in international tournaments.

Although he never won a Stanley Cup as a player, Tkachuk will be remembered for his physicality and his skill... and as the 62nd highest point scorer in NHL history.

From 1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player comes this hard-signed card of Keith Tkachuk from the early days of the Phoenix Coyotes. The card was signed after completion of a 52-goal season for Tkachuk. In addition, I have a 2011-12 In The Game Captain-C autograph of Tkachuk but it contains a sticker autograph. Both cards were pack pulled.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #63 Pat Verbeek

Although only 5'9, Pat Verbeek brought a big presence to the ice.

Not only did Verbeek score 1,063 points (522 goals, 541 assists) in 1,424 games but he also accumulated almost 3,000 penalty minutes. In fact, Verbeek is the only player in NHL history to score over 500 career goals and total 2,500 career penalty minutes.

Pat Verbeek played for 5 franchises and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 but his best years came as a member of the Hartford Whalers. During two of those seasons, he totalled back-to-back 40 goals/200 PIM seasons which would have been a fantasy hockey owner's dream!

Verbeek's signature has remained steady through-out the years as evidenced by these two hard-signed autographs. From 2000-01 Upper Deck comes this Epic Signatures auto and from 2011-12 Panini Limited comes this nice autograph from the Men of Mayhem subset. Both cards can be picked up for less than $5 if your timing is right.

Friday, August 24, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #64 Joe Mullen

The man from Hell's Kitchen!

Sounds like a great name for a movie. But no matter how tough it sounds, Joe Mullen made a career of being a scorer and rarely saw the penalty box during his 17 year career in the NHL.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, Joe Mullen won 3 Stanley Cups (Calgary, Pittsburgh X 2) and scored 1,063 points (502 goals, 561 assists) in 1,062 games. Twice a Lady Byng Trophy winner, Mullen is considered one of the greatest American-born hockey players to ever play the game.

Mullen's greatest season was 1988-89 as he scored 51 goals and 110 points as his Calgary Flames beat my Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals. Including the playoffs, Mullen scored 67 goals that season.

From 2007-08 and 2008-09 Upper Deck Ultimate are two Joe Mullen hard-signed autos. Both we bought for about $5 each a couple of years ago on eBay. I just couldn't believe how cheap they were so I had to buy them. In addition, from In The Game Decades The '80's comes this hard-signed autograph of Mullen which I pulled from a pack last year. The only thing to top-off this group of signatures would have been Mullen in a Penguins uniform.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #65 Denis Potvin

I never realized how good Denis Potvin was until I started writing this post.

I knew he was good and won 4 Stanley Cups with New York. But in the grand scheme, he was a New York Islander and I was a Montreal fan as a child and I just never paid any attention to his statistics.

Interestingly enough, Denis Potvin was drafted first overall in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft by the N.Y. Islanders, but within moments, Montreal Canadiens GM Sam Pollock tried to trade for him. Obviously, the offer was denied but history might have been much different otherwise.

Denis Potvin ranks 65th all-time in NHL points with 1,052 (310 goals, 742 assists) in 1,060 games all for the New York Islanders between 1973 and 1988. A defenseman scoring almost a point per game over his career is impressive. In addition he scored over 30 goals in a season three times and even passed the 100 point plateau in a season in 1978-79.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, Potvin, sporting his trademark helmet, is a great addition to any collection.

From 2007-08 Upper Deck The Cup comes this Cup Enshrinements hard-signed autograph. In addition, his 2006-07 Upper Deck Parkhurst hard-signed signature completes my collection of Denis Potvin autographs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #66 Henri Richard

The Pocket Rocket!

Although he never received the press which his older brother received, Henri was the one who crossed the 1,000 NHL point plateau. Maurice 'The Rocket' Richard finished his career only 35 points short of that distinction.

Henri Richard won 11 Stanley Cups, more than any other player in NHL history. Only one other athlete in North American professional sports has won 11 championships - Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.

Richard was named captain of the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and always wore the number 16 which was retired in 1975 by the Canadiens in his honour. Henri was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 with 358 goals and 688 assists for 1,046 points in 1,256 games.

From 2001-02 Topps Heritage comes this hard-signed auto of Henri Richard. Although Richard has autos in various products, it is often hard to get his signature without paying a reasonable amount. This is also one of the few Topps autograph cards in my collection.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #67 Bobby Smith

A favourite Montreal Canadien player of mine while growing up, Bobby Smith was a great all-around player who rarely got his due.

Bobby Smith spent his entire career with the Minnesota North Stars (twice) and the Montreal Canadiens between 1978 and 1993. During that span, he scored 1,036 points (357 goals, 679 assists) and had almost 1,000 PIMs. He also won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year and won a Stanley Cup in 1986.

An interesting note during Smith's career before the NHL is that in the 1977–78 OHL season, Smith set league records that still stand more than thirty years later for most assists (123) and most points (192) in a single season. The 20-year-old Smith beat out 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky for the OHL's scoring title. He was drafted first overall in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by Minnesota.

From 2004-05 In The Game NHL Franchises Series come this hard-signed Bobby Smith autograph during his time with the Minnesota North Stars. I purchased this card at the Sports Card Expo in Toronto, Ontario for less than $5 from a bargain bin. A great price for this skilled forward who ranks 67th on the NHL points scoring list.

Monday, August 6, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #68 Doug Weight

A projected star from his mid-teens, Doug Weight was one of the players that lived up to the hype.

Although most people expected him to be a New York Ranger for life... and not a man who played for six different NHL teams.

Weight won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06 and when he retired following the 2010-11 NHL season, he had 1,033 points (278 goals, 755 assists) in 1,238 games to rank 68th all-time in points.

From 2006-07 Upper Deck Trilogy, I had a sticker auto of Doug Weight but not the required hard-signed auto. For about $3, I was able to get my hands on a 1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times hard-signed signature of Doug Weight.  His autograph has deteriorated somewhat over the years but he has probably signed a lot of cards in the past 15 years... or the Trilogy card just didn't offer enough space on the sticker.

Doug Weight is eligible for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #69 Alexander Mogilny

Alexander the Great!

Well, that's what he was known as until the title was passed along to Alexander Ovechkin.

Surprisingly, not a 500-goal scorer and surprisingly not always involved in debate for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Mogilny was one of the great Russians (along with Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov) who took the game by storm in the early 1990's.

Although Mogilny never came close to matching his 1992-93 total of 76 goals in a season (only once again did he pass 50 goals in a season), his amazing totals of 1,032 points (473 goals, 559 assists) in only 990 games attest to the type of player he was.

Mogilny also won many awards in addition to medals on the international stage. Due to his Stanley Cup Championship, Olympic Gold Medal, World Championship Gold Medal, World Junior Championship Gold Medal, Lady Byng Trophy, and many All-Star appearances, Mogilny should eventually find his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes these two versions of Alexander Mogilny's Global Training hard-signed autographed card. The regular version was pulled from a pack during the 95-96 collecting season while I picked up the die-cut version for only $5 at the 2012 Spring Sports Card Expo in Toronto, Ontario. It was too good of a deal to pass up for this phenomenal Russian sniper.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #70 Brian Leetch

Brian Leetch... as steady and consistent as a player could be.

With awards too numerous to mention, this New York Ranger defenseman was the epitome of what everyone wanted in a defenseman as he could skate, shoot, and make plays. With 1,028 points (247 goals, 781 assists), he is one of the few defensemen to score more than 1,000 points in his career and is one of only five NHL defensemen to score 100 points in a season.

Although he played for a few other teams after he left the NY Rangers late in his career, he will always be remembered as a member of the red, white, and blue. During a ceremony after his retirement, longtime teammate Mark Messier referred to Leetch as the single "Greatest Ranger of All Time." Leetch was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

Brian Leetch has a very solid signature and has been a signer for numerous products over many years. I didn't realize I had pulled 4 of his autographs and already had a nice assortment in my collection until I went looking. With these autographs ranging from In The Game, Panini, and Upper Deck, it's not too difficult to acquire a top notch card of this great player.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #71 Alexei Kovalev

The enigma that is Alexei Kovalev.

Talented beyond words with his fantastic stick-handling, wrist shot, and playmaking skills, Kovalev is one of the most skilled players that the NHL has even seen. It's unfortunate that his desire has been questioned since his first season.

Regardless, Kovalev has won a Stanley Cup, Olympic medals, World Championship medals, and has played in many All-Star Games. He also ranks 71st all-time in NHL points with 1,024 points (428 goals, 596 assists) in 1,302 games.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes this great hard-signed autograph card of Alexei Kovalev during his youth with Team Russia. In addition, from In The Game, I have this 2003-04 Ultimate Memorabilia 4th Edition autograph /135. There aren't a lot of options out for there Kovalev autographs but he has a great signature which obviously hasn't changed much over the years.

Kovalev spent last season in the KHL and is still considered an active player. Recently, he expressed his desire to return for another season with the Montreal Canadiens.