Saturday, November 10, 2012

J.F. Fortin, Damphousse and The Bulin Wall

In anticipation of a slew of autographs on the way and a large post to come I decided to blog what I received this past week. Here are the 18 additional autographs I was able to obtain.  

 Jean-Francois Fortin
Between 2001 and 2004 J.F. Fortin played 71 games for the Washington Capitals scoring 1 goal and 5 points.  The defeseman was drafted in the second round of the 1997 NHL draft by the Caps.  This is my favorite card of the post because its Fortin’s only certified autograph and these old Bowman autographs don’t pop up very often anymore. 
Vincent Damphousse and Niko Kapanen
Vincent Damphousse was a star playing during his prime.  He was an integral part of the Montreal Canadien’s 1993 Stanley Cup winning team.  That season he scored 39 goals for the Habs and then potted 11 more goals and 23 points in only 20 playoff games to claim the only Cup ring of his career.  The 3 time NHL All-Star, and 1991 All-Star game MVP, retired with over 1200 career points. 
Niko Kapanen spent a half a dozen years in the NHL and dressed in over 400 games.  He was a Dallas Star from 2001-2006, an Atlanta Thrasher and last played in the NHL as a Pheonix Coyote in 2008.  His best season was in 05/06 when he scored 14 goals and 35 points for the Stars.  With the Finish national team he won an Olympic silver medal in 2006 and a bronze in 2010.  He’s not the brother of former NHLer Sami Kapanen. 
Nikolai Khabibulin and John Grahame
Since the 04/05 lockout Nikolai Khabibulin’s career has been in decline.  He was, however, one of the best goaltenders in the world during his prime.  He won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and was an NHL All-Star in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003.  Internationally he backstopped Russia to an Olympic Gold in 1992 and bronze in 2002.  He was also named the Best Goaltender of the Olympics in 2002. 
John Grahame made a career in the NHL by being a backup goalie.  Between 1999 and 2008 he played for the Bruins, Lightning and Hurricanes.  He was a member of the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup winning team.  He retired from pro hockey in 2011 and is currently a goaltending coach. 
Alexei Yashin and Jeff Farkas
For a couple years Alexei Yashin was one of the most dynamic players in the NHL.  He will, however, best be remembered as being far from a fan favorite in each of the two cities he played in, Ottawa and Long Island.   As a Senator he sat out a full season, 99/00, after coming off the best year of his career with 44 goals.  He did not play because he refused to honour his existing contract with the Senators, seeking more money (another year of 3.6 million was, apparently, something he could not endure).  Inevitably he would end up fulfilling his contract in 00/01 and was gone that summer, getting the huge deal he desired from Charles Wang and the New York Islanders.  The Islanders gave up Chara and the #2 pick used for Spezza to get Yashin.  His career in Long Island was a disaster and he was bough out by the club in 2007.  
Between 2000 and 2002 Jeff Farkas played 13 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and in 2002/03 he saw 3 games of action for the Atlanta Thrashers.  His only NHL goal was scored as a Leaf in the 2000 playoffs.  His career was ended suddenly by a check in 2003 that very nearly paralyzed him.  Read about the life changing event here.
Dimitri Kalinin and Denis Shvidki
The Buffalo Sabres selected Dimitri Kalinin with their first round pick of the 1998 NHL draft.  He would spend seven seasons with Buffalo before being signed as a free agent by the Rangers in 2008.  He would split the next year between Broadway and Pheonix, it was his last campaign in the NHL.  Internationally he was won numerous World Championship medals with Russia and was a member of their 2010 Olympic squad. 
Denis Shvidki was selected 12th overall in 1999 NHL draft by the Florida Panthers.  Between 2000 and 2004 he played 76 games for the Panthers scoring 11 goals and 25 points. 
Connie Broden and Jake Hendrickson
Connie Broden certainly made the most of his 13 career NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens.  Because some of those games came in the 1957 and 1958 playoffs he was a member of 2 Stanley Cup winning teams. 
Known as Jack Hendrickson through his hockey career, he played 5 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the Original 6 era.  Henrickson wrote me a wonderful letter and mentioned that Gordie Howe was the nicest hockey player he ever played with.
Robin Burns and Norm Dube
Robin Burns saw just under 200 games of NHL action between the Penguins and Scouts in the 1970s. 
Norm Dube has quite possibly the worst signature in my collection.  He played 57 games in the NHL, all for the Kansas City Scouts. He also spent 3 years in the WHA with the Quebec Nordiques.

Ken Soldheim and Bill Lochead
Ken Soldheim made his NHL debut in 1981 with the Chicago Blackhawks and would go on to play 138 games in the NHL between the Hawks, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers. 
Bill Lochead was a sensational junior player who was drafted 9th overall by the Red Wings in the 1974 NHL draft and 2nd overall by the Indianapolis Racers in the WHA draft.  He chose the NHL and played over 300 games with the Red Wings.  He also suited up for the Colorado Rockies and New York Rangers.  
Ted Crowley and Karl Friesen
Ted Crowley played 21 games for the 93/94 Hartford Whalers, 7 games for the 98/99 Colorado Avalanche and 6 games for the 98/99 New York Islanders.  He was also a member of team USA’s 1994 Olympic team.
Karl Friesen played 4 games for the 86/87 New Jersey Devils.  Born in Winnipeg he would go on to play many years of hockey in Germany, getting his German citizenship and representing the country in the 1992 Olympics. 
David Steckel
I screwed up my letter to Steckel and included the wrong index card.  He was still nice enough to return my letter and include this autographed card, which will do just fine for my collection.  He’s one of a very limited group of full time NHLers who don’t have a certified autograph.  This card has "sample" stamped lightly on the back so Panini must have given him a stack.  

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