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.