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.