Sunday, January 27, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #11 Ray Bourque

He won the Stanley Cup in his final NHL game.... but he didn't win it with the franchise he was synonymous with.

Ray Bourque holds records for most career goals, assists, and points by a defenseman in the NHL and is the 11th highest scoring player in history. In total, Bourque scored 1,579 points (410 goals, 1,169 assists) in 1,612 games. He also scored 180 more points in 214 playoff games.

A five-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman, Bourque also holds the career record for shots on goal with 6,206 shots, nearly one thousand ahead of the Marcel Dionne.

After 21 seasons with the Boston Bruins, Ray Bourque went to Colorado and successfully ended his quest for the Stanley Cup championship in 2001. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, he will always be involved in a debate regarding Boston's best defenseman.... Raymond Bourque or Bobby Orr?

My only Ray Bourque hard-signed autograph is of him in his unfamiliar Colorado Avalanche jersey. But as the card is from 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup's Stanley Cup Signatures /50 subset, it would be impossible to feature him in the Bruins jersey... which isn't a bad thing considering I'm a life-long Montreal Canadiens fan!

Friday, January 25, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #12 Mark Recchi

Does Mark Recchi deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

I've asked this to various people over the years. Most people quickly think of reasons why he shouldn't be inducted to the HHOF but here is a list of why he should be:

  • 3 Stanley Cup Championships (1991, 2006, 2011)
  • 50+ Goal Scorer (1992-93)
  • 100+ Point Scorer (3 times)
  • All-Star Game MVP (1996-97)
  • 12th Highest Scorer in NHL History
  • 500+ Career Goals
  • 900+ Career Assists
  • 1,500+ Career Points
  • 1,600+ Career Games
  • Finalist for Lester B. Pearson Trophy as NHLPA MVP

With 1,533 points (577 goals, 956 assists) in 1,652 games, Mark Recchi is the 12th highest scorer in NHL history. An exceptionally consistent player over his career, Recchi was known for his no-nonsense attitude, top level skill, and his distinctive skating style.

From 2002-03 In The Game Be A Player comes this hard-signed autograph of Mark Recchi during one of his stints with the Philadelphia Flyers. A three-time winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers MVP, Recchi will become eligible for HHOF induction in 2014.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #13 Paul Coffey

Averaging more than one point per game during a career is quite amazing... even more so when you're a defenseman!

Paul Coffey scored 1,531 points (396 goals, 1,135 assists) in 1,409 games. Mainly known for his time in Edmonton, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, Coffey compiled these totals while playing for nine teams over his career.

Currently, ranked second all-time among NHL defencemen in career goals, assists, and points behind Ray Bourque, Coffey won four Stanley Cups and the Norris Trophy three times. He played in numerous All-Star games and was an integral part of Team Canada through the 1980's and 1990's.

Paul Coffey holds the record for most goals in a season by a defenseman with 48 goals in 1985-86. He was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Edmonton Oilers retired his uniform number 7 in 2005.

In one of his familiar uniforms (although an Oilers autographed card would be more desirable in my opinion), the only Paul Coffey hard-signed autograph in my collection shows him as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. From 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup comes this Stanley Cup Signatures /50 card of the famed rear-guard.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #14 Stan Mikita

He was so good for such a long time... as consistent as they come.

Stan Mikita is a Chicago Blackhawks legend and one of the first cards I ever remember pulling from a pack, when I was a kid and Mikita was entering his final season.

A winner of every major trophy, including the Stanley Cup in 1961, Stan Mikita was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. He scored 1,467 points (541 goals, 926 assists) in 1,394 games. He was also a member of Canada's famed 1972 Summit Series team.

Definitely a rarity these days, only Nicklas Lidstrom, Alex Delvecchio, and Steve Yzerman had a longer career playing for only a single team.

My lone Stan Mikita hard-signed autograph comes from 1999-2000 Upper Deck Retro. It's from the Inkredible subset and features the Chicago legend with his distinctive signature.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #15 Bryan Trottier

With each post as I get closer to #1, the players get more elite.

Bryan Trottier won 4 Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders, 2 Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and his 7th Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche.

Trottier's 18-year career was full of great achievements. A 50 goal season, numerous 100+ point seasons, many All-Star games, a Calder Trophy, a Hart Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and an Art Ross Trophy. As the 15th highest-scorer in NHL history, Bryan Trottier scored 1,425 points (524 goals, 901 assists) in 1,279 games.

At the time of his retirement, his point total ranked 6th in NHL history. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

Considering he's such a gracious signed in person, it was surprising that he was one of the harder autographs for me to obtain as a pack-pulled autograph. From 2010-11 In The Game Enshrined comes this great portrait shot of the great Bryan Trottier featuring his stylish signature.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #16 Adam Oates

The only player in NHL history to centre three 50-goal scorers.

Although people remember Adam Oates helping Brett Hull attain ridiculous goal-scorer numbers they often forget that he helped Cam Neely and Peter Bondra reach the 50+ goal mark too. Surprisingly, Hull and Oates only spent two and a half seasons together in St. Louis.

Adams Oates is currently the 16th highest scorer in NHL history with 1,420 points (341 goals, 1,079 assists) in 1,337 games. He is one of the rare players to score over 1,000 assists in his career. He played in a total of five NHL All-Star Games and was a six-time finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, Oates is now the head coach of the Washington Capitals.

Best remembered for his time in St. Louis and Boston (he also played for Detroit, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Washington, and Edmonton), I have a hard-signed autograph of Adam Oates in each of his key uniforms. From 2007-08 Upper Deck SP Authentic is a Sign of the Times autograph in his Bruins uniform and from 2009-10 Upper Deck SP Authentic is a Sign of the Times autograph of Oates in his St. Louis Blues jersey.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #17 Doug Gilmour


He wasn't a big guy but he played like one for many years. Despite being only 5'10" and 175 pounds, Doug Gilmour wasn't afraid of physical play and posted 100+ PIMs on three separate occasions.

And he could score too! The 17th highest scorer in NHL history, Doug Gilmour scored 1,414 points (450 goals, 964 assists) in 1,474 games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, the Selke Trophy for the 1992-93 season, and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

When I think of Doug Gilmour, I think of his time with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, and the Toronto Maple Leafs (and to a lesser extent, the Montreal Canadiens). I was surprised to be reminded that he also played for Chicago, New Jersey, and Buffalo.

I've had some luck with Doug Gilmour autographs on high-end pack breaks. From 2006-07 In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia 7th Edition comes this dual autograph /50 of Doug Gilmour with Steve Yzerman. From 2007-08 In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia 8th Edition is this Doug Gilmour jersey/auto silver /30 and finally from 2009-10 Upper Deck The Cup comes this hard-signed Gilmour signature /50 from the Enshrinements subset.

Monday, January 7, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #18 Dale Hawerchuk

The Winnipeg Jets selected Dale Hawerchuk first overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft ahead of future Hall of Famers Ron Francis and Grant Fuhr.

He became the youngest NHL player in history to reach 100 points (since broken by Sidney Crosby) and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1982. The 18th highest scorer in NHL history, Hawerchuk was a prodigy from the first time he put skates on his feet. Although he retired due to injuries at age 34, Hawerchuk compiled 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, Dale Hawerchuk is currently the head coach of the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

'Ducky' has followed me around over my collecting years. I have four Dale Hawerchuk hard-signed autographs in my collection. The first is from 1996-97 Pinnacle Be A Player wearing his All-Star jersey for the Philadelphia Flyers. From 2000-01 Upper Deck Legends comes an Epic Signatures autograph card and from 2006-07 Upper Deck Parkhurst is Hawerchuk in his traditional Winnipeg Jets uniform. My favourite Hawerchuk autograph is from 2007-08 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee. It's a 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee autographed buy-back rookie card of Dale Hawerchuk! Older OPC cards were randomly inserted in packs that year and I was lucky enough to get this case-hit.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #19 Teemu Selanne

The NHL lock-out has ended. That means Teemu Selanne will climb higher than 19th on the all-time NHL scoring list. Imagine where he'd be on the list if he hadn't been part of three work stoppages in his long career.

After arriving on the NHL scene with a 76-goal, 132 points season to start his career, Selanne has been scoring at an incredible pace for most of his career. He is the oldest player to score 45 goals in one season, the oldest player in NHL history to score a shootout goal, and the oldest NHL player to collect 20 goals or more in one season.

The second Finnish Flash (Jari Kurri being the first), Teemu Selanne has 1,406 points (663 goals, 743 assists) in 1,341 games. With one Stanley Cup and three Olympic medals, Selanne is a no-brainer for the Hockey Hall of Fame when he finally does retire.

With his long, flowing signature, Teemu Selanne is a great addition to any collection. For my hard-signed 1,000 point card project, I have a Teemu Selanne Sign of the Times autograph from 2002-03 Upper Deck SP Authentic. In addition, I have a sticker autograph of Selanne from In The Game's Canada vs. the World.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #20 Jari Kurri

The first player from Finland to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (2001), Jari Kurri is most often remembered for his unforgettable time as Wayne Gretzky's right winger on the fire-wagon Edmonton Oilers teams on the 1980's.

The 20th highest scorer in NHL history with 1,398 points (601 goals, 797 assists) in 1,251 games, Kurri also had 233 points in the NHL playoffs and won five Stanley Cups.

Although his career ended without much fanfare with stops in Anaheim, New York, and Colorado after big success in Edmonton and Los Angeles, Kurri was the original Finnish Flash with six 100+ point seasons. He is one of the few players to score 70 goals and twice topped 130 points in a season.

I have two hard-signed Jari Kurri autographed cards in my collection but it seems odd that neither of them picture him in his Edmonton Oilers uniform. From 1995-96 Upper Deck Be A Player comes this Kurri autograph from the Global Training subset and from 1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player comes a hard-signed signature of Jari Kurri during his final NHL season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Friday, January 4, 2013

1,000 Point NHL Player Autographs - #21 Luc Robitaille

Luc Robitaille retired in 2006 as the highest scoring left winger in NHL history.

Often remembered as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, over three separate stints, Robitaille went elsewhere to win a Stanley Cup (2001-02 with Detroit) before winning a Cup with Los Angeles in a management position as the President of Business Operations.

The 21st highest scoring player in NHL history with 1,394 points (668 goals, 726 assists) in 1,431 games, Luc Robitaille went from small beginnings as the 171st overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft to big things. He won the Calder Trophy in 1987, was a multiple All-Star, and a 3-time 50+ goal scorer.

Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, Luc Robitaille was joined by Steve Yzerman, Brian Leetch, and Brett Hull.

As shown by my Luc Robitaille autograph collection, his signature hasn't changed much over the past decade. From 2002-03 In The Game Be A Player Signature comes a hard-signed auto of Luc Robitaille during his time with Detroit. From 2007-08 In The Game Ultimate comes an auto/stick silver /30 of Robitaille and from 2011-12 Panini Limited comes a hard-signed autograph /25 from the Retired Numbers subset.