Monday, August 13, 2018

Mail featuring Spinner Spencer


Quality beats out quantity in this mail post. With the recent purchase of our first house, my buying has been stalled but I have some additions to share thanks to a couple trades and a gift. Thanks to Gary, Ken and Jerry for helping with these additions and making this mail post possible.

With these 10 new NHL players signatures, the grand total now stands at 5,888 unique NHL player signatures for 77% of everyone to ever play in the league.

                            Brian Spencer
From 1969 to 1979 Brian "Spinner" Spencer played over 500 games in the NHL. His career was marked by personal tragedy. Spencer's father was shot and killed when his father demanded the local tv station play his son's first NHL game. Spencer's life after hockey quickly spiraled out of control. He was an alcoholic who became addicted to drugs as well. He was shot and killed in 1988 in a drug deal gone bad. Spencer was only 38. His life was so turbulent that it became a movie, Gross Misconduct: The Life of Brian Spencer. I find his life an incredibly interesting/sad story and had been looking to add his signature for some time. Very happy to add this one. 

                            Kraig Nienhuis
So many things I like about this addition. Nienhuis's story, how I came to add it and the fact that he has such a kick ass signature. A big thanks to Ken, who emailed me letting me know he'd be meeting Kraig at a golf tournament and would be able to get a signature for me. A fellow hockey fan, Ken sent this to me expecting nothing in return. Thanks again Ken! From 1985 to 1988 Nienhuis scored 20 goals and 36 points in 87 NHL games with the Boston Bruins. He played pro hockey for another decade after that then retired from hockey to become a rock star. He's the front man for his band, 9 House, and has opened for a number of legendary musicians. 

                           Harvey Bennett Sr.
Harvey Bennett tended net in 25 NHL games with the 1944/45 Boston Bruins. That was his only season in the NHL but he kept playing professionally, mostly in the AHL, until 1959. The AHL Hall of Famer has one notable feat in the NHL. He surrendered Maurice Richard's 50th goal, making the Rocket the first ever player to accomplish the 50 goal mark. Bennett had three sons; Curt, Bill and Harvey Jr. who went on to play in the NHL as well. Harvey Sr. passed away in 2004.

                            Jimmy Peters Sr.
From 1945 to 1954 Jim Peters was an NHL regular. He scored 275 points in 574 games playing for the Canadiens, Bruins, Red Wings and Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup three times, with the Detroit Red Wings in 1950 and 1954 and with the Montreal Canadiens in 1946. His son, also named Jim Peters, would go onto play in the NHL as well.

                                Joe Szura
From 1967 to 1969 Joe Szura scored 10 goals and 25 points in 90 NHL games with the expansion Oakland Seals. He later played over 100 games in the WHA, dressing with the LA Sharks and Houston Aeros. Szura passed away in 2006.

                               Kerry Ketter
Kerry Ketter played 41 NHL games with the 1972/73 Atlanta Flame and 48 WHA games with the 1975/76 Edmonton Oilers. I had tried writing to Ketter a couple times but to no avail so happy to finally add his signature.

                              Paul Shakes
Paul Shakes spent 1 season in the NHL, playing 21 games with the 1973/74 California Golden Seals.

                            Larry Wright
Larry Wright was drafted 8th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1971. From 1971 to 1978 he played 106 games in the NHL, dressing with Philly, California and Detroit.

                               Buck Jones
From 1938 to 1943 Alvin "Buck" Jones played 50 games in the NHL. The defenseman played for the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Jones passed away in 2007.

                    Rich Leduc
Rich Leduc was a fringe NHL player on a strong franchise when the WHA gave him, like many other players, a huge opportunity. Leduc fully embraced that opportunity and became a WHA Hall of Famer. From 1972 to 1974 he played 33 NHL games with the Boston Bruins. From 1974 until the league folded, Leduc was a point-per-game producer in the rebel league. In 1976/77 he scored 52 goals and 107 points in 81 games with the Cincinnati Stingers. In 1979, Leduc returned to the NHL, playing a couple seasons with the Quebec Nordiques.

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                            Rene Rancourt
Rene Rancourt just retired but for over 40 years he sung the national anthem before Boston Bruins games. The team even awarded him a Stanley Cup ring in 2011. He's very well known to Bruins fans. When my girlfriend and I were in Boston a few years ago, we attended a Bruins came and met Rancourt between intermissions. We got a photo but he was too busy to sign then and I had wanted an autograph since. This was a very quick return and he seems to be a class act all the way.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mail - 30 NHL & Lots of "Oddballs" Autographs


30 New NHL autograph added. These come to me via the usual combination of TTM requests, trades and some purchases. Special shout-out to Matt for sending me a few graphs he new I needed and looking for nothing in return.

The grand total of unique NHL player signatures now stands at 5,908 for 77.6% of everyone to ever play in the league since it was created in 1917.


                                Fred Arthur
This isn't added to my official total but I'll display in the collection for now. Fred Arthur signed it that he wouldn't sign it. I thought about it a little bit and I collect autographs because of the link to the player. I guess this note is a link to Fred so I'll keep in in the collection for now, at least until I can find a team signed item from the 1981/82 Philadelphia Flyers. He won't sign because he's a doctor. While I have to respect personal wishes, its not like he's under any kind of obligation to sign, its very disheartening for a dedicated fan such as myself that he won't. There's no law saying he can't so its a personal choice and I've had other doctors sign for me. I believe some even use a variation of their signature for hockey requests. Furthermore, he did sign autographs while he played so they are out there, just for those with deeper pockets. I wrote him a long letter explaining my collection and how I never sell. This is the first time I've gotten anything back from him at all so I guess I can chalk that up as a positive. I'll keep monitoring his career and when he retires I'll be sure to try again. 

                         Mike Hordy
From 1978 to 1980 Mike Hordy played 11 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders. He played 9 regular season games for the 1980 Stanley Cup winning Islanders but it wasn't enough to get his name on the trophy.
               Andrei Lomakin
Russian forward Andrei Lomakin was 27 when he made his NHL debut with the 1991/92 Philadelphia Flyers. He was later claimed by the expansion Florida Panthers and remained with the team until 1995. Lomakin scored 42 goals and 104 points in 215 regular season NHL games. Internationally, he represented the Soviet Union at the World Juniors, Canada Cup, Olympics and World Championships. Lomakin was just 42 when he passed away in 2006. 

                    Jan Nemecek
Czech defenseman Jan Nemecek was originally drafted by the LA Kings in 1994. From 1998 to 2000 he played 7 NHL games with the Kings, scoring 1 goal.

                              Burke Henry
From 2002 to 2004 Burke Henry played 39 NHL games with the Chicago Blackahawks. He had originally been drafted by the New York Rangers in 1997 and traded to the Hawks in 2001. He was known as a tough customer and is notable for winning the AHL's Calder Cup in 2000 with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

                           Kyle Cumiskey
From 2006 to 2015 Kyle Cumiskey played 139 regular season games in the NHL. He spent the majority of that time with the Colorado Avalanche save for a few games with the Blackhawks. It was that handful of games with Chicago that got Cumiskey the Stanley Cup in 2015. He appeared in 7 regular season and 9 playoff games with the Hawks that season. If you're wondering, I used a picture of him in the AHL with the Albany River Rats because that is the time period the autograph is from (#28).

                                Randy Jones
From 2003 to 2012 Randy Jones played nearly 400 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. Jones suited up for the Flyers, Kings, Lightning and Jets. He's also notable for winning the AHL's Calder Cup in 2005 with the Philadelphia Phantoms. 

                       Rocky Saganiuk
From 1978 to 1984 Rocky Saganiuk scored 57 goals and 122 points in 259 career NHL games. He spent most of that time with the Toronto Maple Leafs but last appeared in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

                                Phil Samis
Phil Samis played 5 NHL playoff games with the 1947/48 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2 regular season games with the 1949/50 Toronto Maple Leafs. He won the Memorial Cup in 1945, the Stanley Cup in 1948 and the Calder Cup in 1951. 90 year old Samis is currently too ill to sign so I picked this up from his earlier days.

                        Jim McElmury
From 1972 to 1978 Jim McElmury played 180 games in the NHL. The defenseman was a member of the North Stars, Scouts and Rockies. Internationally, he represented the United States at the 1972 Olympics and 1971 and 1977 World Championships.

                        Rick Lapointe
From 1975 to 1986, defenseman Rick Lapointe scored 220 points in 664 career regular season games in the NHL. He played for the Red Wings, Flyers, Blues, Nordiques and Kings. He passed away in 1999 at only 44 from a heart attack. 

                          Gary Lupul
From 1979 to 1986 Gary Lupul scored 70 goals and 145 points in just under 300 regular season games in the NHL. He spent his entire career with the Vancouver Canucks, helping them reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1982. Lupul died in 2007 at just 48.

                              Brad Chartrand
I'm not a big fan of multi signed cards but this will have to do for Brad Chartrand until I can find an upgrade. From 1999 to 2004 Brad Chartrand played over 200 NHL games with the LA Kings.

                   Jesse Puljujarvi
Swedish forward Jesse Puljujarvi was drafted 4th overall by the Oilers in 2016. He's played just shy of 100 NHL games so far and continues to develop his potential. Internationally, he's represented Sweden at the World Juniors and World Championships.

               Alexander Nylander
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Alexander Nylander 8th overall in 2016. He's since scored a goal and an assist in 7 NHL games with the Sabres. He has strong bloodlines, father Michael and brother William have both played in the NHL.

                 Joonas Korpisalo
Since 2015, Finn Joonas Korpisalo has tended net in 63 NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

                 Gustav Forsling
Defenseman Gustav Forsling was originally drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 2014 but later traded to Chicago. With the Hawks, the Swede has played 79 NHL games since 2016.

                       Nic Dowd
A St. Cloud State alumni, Nic Dowd made his NHL debut with the 2015/16 LA Kings. The following year he spent a full season with the Kings, playing 70 games in 2016/17. He was traded halfway through the 2017/18 season and finished the year with the Vancouver Canucks. 

                       Matthew Tkachuk
Son of long time NHLer Keith Tkachuk, Matthew was drafted 6th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2016. He's quickly blossomed into a scoring threat and netted 24 goals last season. Internationally, he won Bronze at the 2016 World Juniors with USA.

                 Mike Vecchione
Undrafted forward Mike Vecchione spent 4 years playing hockey at Union College, a small liberal arts college in New York. He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers and played 2 NHL games with the club in 2016/17. The silver autograph on this one looks great in person but I really dislike the obnoxious thickness of these cards, it makes them hard to store and just looks odd.

                     Troy Stecher
Defenseman Troy Stecher was signed by the Vancouver Canucks as an undrafted University of North Dakota product. He's played a couple full seasons in the NHL with Vancouver and recently signed a contract extension.

                       Julius Honka
Finnish born defenseman Julius Honka was drafted 14th overall in 2014. He's played just shy of 60 NHL games with the Stars so far. Internationally, he helped Finland win Gold at the 2014 World Junior Championships. He also represented Finland at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships.

                   Jordan Schmaltz
Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz was drafted 25th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2012. He's since played 22 NHL games with the franchise. His brother, Nick, has also played in the NHL.

                Andreas Athanasiou
Andreas Athanasiou became a full time member of the Detroit Red Wings in 2015. He's scored 43 goals and 76 points in 172 career NHL games.

                  Travis Sanheim
Defenseman Travis Sanheim was drafted 17th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2014. He's played one season, 49 games, with the Flyers. Internationally, he represented Canada at the 2016 World Juniors.

                    Haydn Fleury
Drafted 7th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014, defenseman Haydn Fleury has played 1 season, 67 games, in the NHL.

                   Denis Gurianov
Russian forward Denis Gurianov was drafted 12th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2015. He played 1 game for the Stars in 2016/17 and continues to develop in the AHL. 

                      Riley Barber
Riley Barber played 3 NHL games with the 2016/17 Washington Capitals. Internationally, he represented USA twice at the World Junior Championships, winning Gold in 2013. His father, Don Barber, is a former NHL player.

                   Andrew Poturalski
Undrafted forward Andrew Poturalski played 2 NHL games with the 2016/17 Carolina Hurricanes. He was an NCAA All-Star, All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist with the University of New Hampshire.

                 Alex Nedeljkovic
Drafted 37th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014, Alex Nedeljkovic tended goal for 1 NHL game with the 2016/17 Hurricanes. Internationally, he won a bronze at the 2016 World Juniors with the United States.

               Vladislav Kamenev
Russian forward Vladislav Kamenev played 2 NHL games with the 2016/17 Nashville Predators. He was later traded to Colorado and played 3 NHL games with the 2017/18 Avalanche. Internationally, he won Silver at the 2015 and 2016 World Juniors with Russia.

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                    Dean Lombardi
Dean Lombardi was General Manager of the San Jose Sharks from 1996 to 2003 and later GM of the Los Angeles Kings from 2006 to 2017. He won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 with LA.
                            Keith Gretzky
I'm very happy to add a Keith Gretzky autograph to my hockey collection as an "oddball." Keith didn't make it to the NHL, but his last name makes him a notable hockey figure. I now have a signature of all 3 Gretzky brothers. Still have to pick up a Walter signature. Another interesting thing about this card is that its an NHL licensed card of a player, Keith, who never played in the NHL. Although his impact as a player was minimal, he's been working his way up the management side and is currently Assistant GM of the Edmonton Oilers.

                          Jack Chipchase
Defenseman Jack Chipchase was a career minor leaguer who had a brief taste of the WHA. He played 4 games with the 1972/73 Philadelphia Blazers.

                             Frank Rochon
From 1973 to 1977 Frank Rochon scored 71 goals and 131 points in 255 WHA games. He played for the Chicago Cougars, Denver Spurs, Ottawa Civics and Indianapolis Racers.

                                    Al Shaver
Al Shaver is remembered as the long-time voice of the Minnesota North Stars. He was awarded the Hockey Hall of Fame's Foster Hewitt Award in 1993.

                       Bret Hart
I was pumped to see Bret Hart on the checklist for this set but as usual, Upper Deck did a piss poor job of creating cardboard. There are a number of pictures our there with Hart in a hockey jersey yet they had to use this generic picture that was likely cheaper and easier to obtain. I also don't understand why they felt these cards needed a 'memorabilia' piece. Just one of a number of examples of UD producing a substandard product. Hart has a deep connection with hockey, lending his name to and owning the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

                 Santino Marella
I'm starting to dabble more and more in custom cards. This one also has a little write up on the back explaining Santino's hockey connection. As you can see, he sported a NY Rangers jersey in the ring. I recently got a little nostalgic for the WWF/WWE, which I loved as a kid, so expect to see more wrestling/hockey in the future. Just sent out a dozen more requests like this.


And to end, a few baseball additions. Of course, all have hockey connections. Here, I've scanned the autograph and the card I display it with that mentions hockey. See all my baseball-hockey autographs here

                                                                       Paul Molitor
The accompanying card notes that Paul, "Might have been a hockey player if he hadn't been a baseball player."

                                                         Terry Steinbach
Steinbach was a terrific hockey player who turned down hockey scholarships to play baseball.

                                                                Greg Bird
Greg Bird did indeed play hockey as a youth.

                                          Russell Martin
A Canadian, naturally Martin grew up playing hockey as well. 

                                                       Mike Pagliarulo
Pagliarulo actually has a couple hockey cards that mentions how big of a Boston Bruins fan he is. 

                                                   Michael Soroka
Soroka grew up a hockey goalie and has a hockey background. His father played in the WHL.

                                                         Jameson Taillon
Taillon has a hockey background with his father having been a goalie.

                                                           Hunter Dozier
The accompanying Topps card notes that Dozier, "Likes pro hockey."

                                                                  Jon Harris
"Professional hockey enthusiast."

                                                          Donnie Dewees
"Professional hockey fan" 

                                                          Cody Asche
"Fan of professional hockey."