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.