Thursday, June 28, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #75 Pat Lafontaine

La-La-La-La-Lafontaine! I can still hear Rick Jeanneret announcing Pat Lafontaine's name after a big scoring play.

Pat Lafontaine is one of only 5 players to have scored over 1,000 points and played in fewer than 1,000 games. With 1,013 points (468 goals, 545 assists) in 865 games, Lafontaine was a rare elite scorer. He would have ascended higher on the leaderboard but was forced to retire early due to concussions. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003, he is most remembered for his 1987 playoff goal in the 4th overtime period of the 7th and decisive game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, known as the "Easter Epic".

Although I've been lucky enough to pull some beautiful patches and great cards from In The Game (ITG Superlative I Gold Patch #/10, ITG Enshrined Complete Jersey #/9), I never was able to pull an autograph of the great Lafontaine from a pack.

Luckily, this project has allowed me to fill that hole in my collection.

From 2011-12 Panini comes this great Private Signings hard-signed autograph of Pat Lafontaine. The Private Signings cards are a great addition to the Panini line-up. Not necessarily linked to any one particular product, the Private Signings autographs are inserted into all brands and are technically included as bonus cards. Lafontaine's signature looks great on the simple yet effective design.

Patty Lafontaine, #75 on the list of the top 1,000 point scorers in the NHL!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #76 Steve Larmer

Taking on a big project like this takes patience, perseverance, and effort... and some cash too!

And if there is a player who knows a lot about perseverance and effort, it's Steve Larmer.

From 1982 to 1993, Larmer played in 884 consecutive games for the Chicago Blackhawks, an NHL record for most consecutive games played with the same team (3rd longest consecutive-games streak in NHL history). He may have broken the record but a contract dispute in 1994 ended his streak.

Larmer won the Calder Trophy as well as the Stanley Cup and was as consistent as they come. With 1,012 points (441 goals, 571 assists) in 1,006 games, he ranks 76th all-time in points.

Steve Larmer also represented my first small problem in this quest for hard-signed autographed cards of the 79 NHL'ers with 1,000+ points. From In The Game's 2006-07 International Ice, I already had a Larmer autograph in my collection. Unfortunately, it was a sticker auto. There weren't a lot of options on eBay but I managed to get this 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions hard-signed auto and it was easy on the wallet. It's also interesting to note that his autograph has remained virtually unchanged in the 5 years between when these cards were produced.

Another interesting note is that Steve Larmer does not appear on his own rookie card. In a blunder by OPC in 1983-84, Steve Larmer appears on Steve Ludzik's card and Ludzik appears on Larmer's rookie card.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #77 Lanny McDonald

The man, the moustache, the legend.

As I grew up in the 1980's, there were two guys synonymous with the word moustache, Rollie Fingers and Lanny McDonald.

On the list of 1,000 point players from bottom to the top, Lanny McDonald comes in at #77 with a career total of 500 goals and 506 assists for 1,006 points in 1,111 games. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, McDonald played for Toronto, Colorado, and Calgary.

Although he never scored 100 points in a season, McDonald was always a contributor. His best known offensive season was 1982-83 when he finished 2nd to Wayne Gretzky in goals with 66 on the season.

Another card from the great Upper Deck 2004-05 Legendary Signatures set, this hard-signed Lanny McDonald card was acquired through eBay. It features a picture of McDonald near the end of his career during his time with the Calgary Flames.

This would have also been around the time he scored in the last game of the playoffs against Patrick Roy. The goal broke Montreal's back in the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals and is often seen today in highlight packages.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #78 Brian Propp

Known as a solid contributor, Brian Propp joined the 1,000 Point Club during the 1993-94 season, his final one, with the Hartford Whalers. Known first and foremost as a Philadelphia Flyer, Propp had his best seasons with the Orange and Black.

Although he never scored 50 goals or 100 points in a season, Propp had many 40-goal and 90-point seasons during the 1980's and was a 5-time All-Star. After bried stints with Boston, Minnesota, Hartford, and some time in Europe, Propp retired in 1994-95 after cracking both the 1,000 game and 1,000 point plateaus with a total of 1,016 games and 1,004 points (425 goals, 579 assists). He also scored an amazing 148 points during his 160 Playoff games.

As a Montreal Canadiens fan, he will always be remembered as the player who crashed to the ice after the "did he or didn't he" elbow which Chris Chelios threw in his direction during the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

From the 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures set, comes this Brian Propp hard-signed autograph. Always a favourite with collectors, the set contains many of the greatest to ever play the game. I acquired the card from eBay for just over $10. Although not heavily collected, Propp has not signed a lot of cards over the past decade and due to that, the demand remains solid for this long-time Flyer great.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #79 Ray Whitney

The most recent member of the 1,000 NHL points club is Phoenix Coyotes forward Ray Whitney. Completing the task in his 1,226th game, Whitney's ascension to the group is partially due to skill and partially due to longevity.

With 365 goals and 638 assists for 1,003 points, Whitney is likely to move up 15-20 more spots on the list if he continues to play into 2012-13 and beyond. Drafted by San Jose in the 2nd Round of the NHL Entry Draft in 1991, Whitney has played for San Jose, Edmonton, Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Carolina, and Phoenix. With 77 points in 2011-12, it's very likely this 2005-06 Stanley Cup Champion will be back for at least one more season.

From 1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player comes this hard-signed autograph of Ray Whitney during his time with the Florida Panthers. A relatively easy-to-find card, this one has been in my collection for years. Often under-rated and under-appreciated, Whitney's cards have never been in great demand. However, he's the first check-mark on my list of hard-signed autographed cards of the 79 1,000 NHL point producers.