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.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #72 Brian Bellows

Brian Bellows was good. Brian Bellows was not great though.

After a solid career with the Minnesota North Stars and Montreal Canadiens, Bellows had a few unremarkable stops before retiring in 1999. He retired with 1,022 points (485 goals, 537 assists) in 1,188 games as well as another 122 points in 143 playoff games including a Stanley Cup victory with Montreal in 1993.

Although remembered as a goal-scorer (he had 55 goals in 1989-90), Bellows had a great all-around game. However, he never received the recognition which many other players would have received for being the 72nd highest scorer in NHL history. Although popular during his career, he often played 2nd fiddle to others on his team.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes this hard-signed autograph of Brian Bellows during his short time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition, from 1998-99 In The Game Be A Player comes this hard-signed gold parallel auto of Bellows with the Washington Capitals. Although these fit nicely into my collection of the seventy-nine 1,000+ point scorers in NHL history, it would have been nice to have a copy with him in his North Stars or Habs jersey.

As an interesting note, part-way through the 1983–84 season, Bellows was named interim captain (due to a Craig Hartsburg injury) for the remainder of the season. At 19 years and 4 months, Bellows became the youngest captain in NHL history. However, because he was an interim captain, Sidney Crosby is still considered the youngest captain in history.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #73 Rod Gilbert

I don't know much about Rob Gilbert other than he played for the New York Rangers.

Gilbert retired before I started watching hockey religiously and although he was a great player, he never gained the notoriety of others from his era. It might be because he never won a Stanley Cup and he never scored 50 goals or 100 points in a season.

Regardless, Gilbert played for Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series and collected 1,021 points (406 goals, 615 assists) in his NHL career to rank 73rd in points all-time. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

I pulled a Rod Gilbert/Brad Park/Ed Giacomin In The Game Ultimate 11th Edition Triple Autograph /9 from a pack at the Sports Card Expo this year. Although a cool card, it's hard to tell sometimes if the ITG Ultimate autographs are stickers but I believe that this one contains stickers. Luckily, I also have a hard-signed Rod Gilbert autograph from 2010-11 Panini Dominion /50.

Gilbert autographs are not plentiful in the market place but hopefully these cards will lead to more collectors discovering his great career.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #74 Dale Hunter

The Nuisance!

No better word described Dale Hunter on the ice.

But as a player, there were few that were able to do what he could do in every area of the game... good  and bad.

Dale Hunter is the NHL record holder for requiring the most games (1,308) to score 1,000 points by a forward. He also hold the record for having the most penalty minutes when reaching that point. By amassing 3,565 penalty minutes, Hunter also currently has the second-most penalty minutes in NHL history.

Most people remember Hunter for the 1993 Patrick Division Semifinals between Washington and the New York Islanders while although Hunter was leading his team with seven goals, he was suspended 21 games for viciously checking and separating the shoulder of Pierre Turgeon.

When he retired, Hunter had scored 1,020 points (323 goals, 697 assists) in 1,407 games. Now, the OHL London Knights owner, coach, and general manager, Hunter is famous for getting young players ready for the NHL.

From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes this die-cut hard-signed autograph card of Dale Hunter from the Ice Wars subset. Always a favourite set of mine when I was younger, this was one of the first sets to contain an autograph card in every pack.

As an interesting side note is that Hunter was traded to the Washington Capitals along with Clint Malarchuk in return for two players and a 1987 first-round draft pick. The Quebec Nordiques used that selection to draft Joe Sakic.