Seems like a long time since I've gotten around to posting my mail. Since the last mail post I've acquired 61 new signatures for a grand total of 3,673 unique NHL player autographs.
If one had to make a list of the NHL's all-time best players then you would not get too far down anyone's list without seeing Lafleur. The Hockey Hall of Famer won numerous Stanley Cups and has his name on almost all the big trophies; the Hart, Art Ross, Lester Pearson and Conn Smythe. The steady demand for his autograph is a testament to his legacy. Even his low end signatures sell for good money.
Alex Ovechkin's autograph was never a top priority on my wantlist because they're so common. Since I'm getting close to completing all the 2005/2006 debuts I thought it was time to acquire one so I set my max price at 20$, which I was able to stay under, shipping included. His signatures haven't been selling for close to as much as Crosby autographs, which I doubt I'll be able to find for under $50 or $60.
From 1972 to 1985 Jim Schoenfeld was a solid NHL defenceman. He spent most of his career in Buffalo, serving as team captain for a number of seasons. He also dressed for the Red Wings and Bruins later on in his career. After hanging up his skates he immediately stepped behind the bench and since 1985 he has been head coach of the Sabres, Devils, Capitals and Coyotes. You may remember seeing highlights on Sportscenter of Schoenfeld calling referee Don Koharski a 'fat pig' during the 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs while Schoefeld was New Jersey's head coach. He's been involved with the New York Rangers since 2002 and is currently the team's Assistant General Manager.
Michael Holmqvist was selected by Anaheim with the 18th overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft. He stayed in Sweden until 2003, playing 21 games for the 03/04 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He was later traded to the Blackhawks and between 2005 and 2007 he played 135 more NHL games with Chicago.
Swedish forward Mathias Tjarnqvist scored 13 goals and 32 points in 173 career NHL games. He played for the Dallas Stars from 2003 to 2007 and the Phoenix Coyotes from 2007 to 2008. His older brother Daniel also played in the NHL.
Finnish defenceman Kari Haakana spent almost his entire career in Europe. He played 13 games for the 2002/2003 Edmonton Oilers.
Peter Nordstrom spent all but one season of his pro hockey career in Sweden. He came to North America for about half of the 1998/1999 season, seeing 2 games with the Boston Bruins but spending most of his time in the AHL.
Originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in 1993, Per Svartvadet remained in Sweden until the Thrashers came calling in 1999. Between 1999 and 2003 he played 247 NHL games for Atlanta. He scored 17 goals and 51 points through his NHL career.
This card has a story with it. I had originally sent Podkonicky a custom index card to sign. He returned my index signed but like many players also included some extras. I usually toss the extras into one of my many shoeboxes of them. In this case I decided to keep one of the extras instead of the index because it is actually a certified autograph from the Czech OFS company. He must have kept some for himself, whatever the case its the only one I've seen. He played 6 games for the 2000/2001 Florida Panthers and 2 games for the 2003/2004 Washington Capitals.
Due to the thickness of The Cup cards I try to avoid them but this happens to be Colin McDonald's only certified autogrpah. He played 2 games for the 2009/10 Edmonton Oilers and 5 games for the 2011/12 Pittsburgh Penguins. Since signing with the Islanders in the summer of 2012 he has found a home in the NHL, becoming a full time NY Islander. His father, Gerry, also played in the NHL.
James Neal exploded with 40 goals and 81 points for the 2011/2012 Pittsburgh Penguins. He has scored 20+ goals a season 6 times in the NHL since making his debut with the 2008/09 Dallas Stars.
After making his NHL debut with the 2001/2002 Boston Bruins, Andy Hilbert would go onto play 300+ games in the NHL. He dressed for the Bruins, Blackhawks, Penguins and Wild but is most memorable from his time with the New York Islanders. He was a full time Islander for 3 seasons, from 2006 to 2009. This card, which is his only certified autograph, took me a rather long time to find.
Between 2005 and 2010 Staffan Kronwall played 66 games in the NHL. The Swedish defenseman dressed for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames. He's the younger brother of NHL player Niklas Kronwall.
Undrafted Michigan Tech alumni Chris Durno spent time in the minor leagues for the Blackhawks and Ducks but made his NHL debut with the Avalanche in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010 he played 43 games for Colorado, scoring 4 goals and 8 points. He later signed with the Lightning and then Hurricanes but was unable to crack their NHL rosters.
Between 2003 and 2008 Simon Gamache scored 6 goals and 13 points in 48 career NHL games. He saw time with the Atlanta Thrashers, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Since making his NHL debut with the 2005/2006 New York Islanders Bruno Gervais has played 400+ games in the NHL. He spent most of his career in Long Island but also suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers.
Finnish forward Oskar Osala played 2 games for the 2008/2009 Washington Capitals and 1 game for the 2009/2010 Carolina Hurricanes.
Ken Hodge jr.
Ken Hodge jr. received his first certified autograph card in ITG's recent Decades set. He played just over 150 NHL games between the Minnesota North Stars, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. He only had one notable season in the NHL, scoring 30 goals and 59 points in just 70 games for the 1990/1991 Boston Bruins. He was even named to the NHL All-Rookie team that season. His father is former NHL star Ken Hodge.
Drafted 50th overall by the Predators in 2012, Colton Sissons recently made his NHL debut with Nashville.
An undfrafted Quebec native, Marc Rodgers entered the pro hockey scene in 1992 but wasn't able to crack the NHL until a 21 game stint with the 1999/2000 Detroit Red Wings. The 27 year old rookie recorded a goal and assist with the Wings, it was his one and only season in the NHL.
How great of a name is Michael Wall for an NHL goalie? Mike Wall saw the ice in 4 NHL games with the 2006/2007 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He was traded to the Avalanche later that season but never made it back to the NHL.
An undrafted University of Denver alumni, Peter Mannino appeared in 3 games for the 2008/2009 New York Islanders, 2 games for the 2010/2011 Atlanta Thrashers and 1 game for the 2011/2012 Winnipeg Jets. He and Michael Wall are rare cases in that almost every new NHL goalie since the lockout has had a certified autograph.
Defenseman Brett Skinner was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 3rd round of the 2002 NHL draft. The University of Denver alumni signed with the Canucks and spent the 05/06 season with their AHL affiliate in Manitoba. Before seeing any time in the NHL he was traded to the Ducks and later to the Bruins in 2007. In 2008 he was signed by the Islanders and finally made his NHL debut, playing 11 games for the 2008/09 team. He was traded to the Thrashers before season's end and later signed with the Avalanche but never made it back to the NHL.
An Ohio State alumni, Tyson Strachan made his NHL debut with the 2008/2009 St. Louis Blues. Since then he has played over 130 games between the Blues, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals.
Since making his debut in 2008 Darroll Powe has played nearly 400 games in the NHL. He's played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers. He's an undrafted Princeton University alumni.
Originally drafted by the New York Islanders, Jared Spurgeon was signed by the Minnesota Wild as a free agent in 2010. He was soon recalled to the Wild and has since played over 200 games for the club.
Originally drafted by Chicago in 1996, Jeff Paul toured around the minor leagues before making his NHL debut with the 2002/2003 Colorado Avalanche. He played just 2 games for the club, his only time in the NHL. He's currently an assistant coach with the OHL's London Knights.
Jeff Giuliano is an undrafted Boston College alumni who was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Kings in the summer of 2002. Between 2005 and 2008 he played 101 NHL games for the club
Mike Hoffman has played 8 games in the NHL since making his debut with the 2011/2012 Ottawa Senators. In junior he was the QMJHL 2010 MVP as a Saint John Sea Dog.
Russian Alexei Kaigorodov only played 6 pro hockey games in North America, all with the 2006/2007 Ottawa Senators.
Though the 1990's Sheldon Kennedy played over 300 games in the NHL. He played for the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. He was a solid hockey player but is best known for speaking out against his WHL coach Graham James, who sexually abused Kennedy. His book, Why I Didn't Say Anything - The Sheldon Kennedy Story, is on my to read list.
Keith Crowder made his pro hockey debut with the WHA's 1978/79 Birmingham Bulls. Between 1980 and 1989 he played over 600 games for the Boston Bruins. He scored 30+ goals in a season on 3 separate occasions with Boston. Crowder spent one season with the Los Angeles Kings before retiring in 1990.
Murray Anderson was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1969 but was unable to crack their powerhouse roster. His only season in the NHL came with the inaugural 1974/75 Washington Capitals. In 40 career NHL games the defenceman recorded 1 assist and was a +/- -40 on a bad Caps team.
Harvie Pocza played 3 games for the Washington Capitals in the early 1980s.
Selected 18th overall by Washington in the 1975 NHL draft, Alex Forsyth played just 1 NHL game, in 1976/77 for the Capitals.
Between 1975 and 1979 Ken Breitenbach played 76 regular season and playoff games with the Buffalo Sabres. The defenceman recorded 15 points.
From 1990 to 1992 Jay Mazur played just over 50 career regular season and playoff games with the Vancouver Canucks.
After suiting up for Canada in the 1984 Olympics Carey Wilson jumped right to the NHL and remained there until 1993. He played 600+ regular season and playoff games between the Calgary Flames, HartfordWhalers and New York Rangers. His father, Jerry, also played in the NHL.
Garry Lariviere spent the first few years of his hockey career playing in the WHA with the Phoenix Roadrunners and Quebec Nordiques. He followed the Nords into the NHL and then moved to Edmonton, playing for the pre dynasty team of 1980-83. He played well over 200 games in both the NHL and WHA. He spent a few years as an NHL assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs after retiring as a player.
Between 1986 and 1994 Herb Raglan played 375 regular season and playoff games in the NHL. He dressed for the St. Louis Blues, Quebec Nordiques, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators. His father, Rags, also played in the NHL.
Alain Cote (b. 1967)
Between 1985 and 1994 Alain Cote played 130 regular season and playoff games in the NHL. He suited up for the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Quebec Nordiques.
Ian Kidd played 20 games for the Vancouver Canucks in the late 1980s.
Although Darren Boyka was born and raised in Winnipeg he spent most of his pro hockey career in Finland. He was even inducted into the country's Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006. Boyko played 1 game in the NHL, for his hometown 1988/1989 Winnipeg Jets.
Dineen grew up with hockey in his blood. His father, Bill, was a long time NHL player and his brothers, Kevin and Peter, also established themselves as quality NHL players. Between 1983 and 1995 Gord played well over 500 NHL games. He suited up for the Islanders, North Stars, Penguins and Senators. Although Dineen was awarded a 1991 Stanley Cup ring as a Penguin he failed to qualify for his name to be engraved on the trophy. He's currently an assistant coach in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies.
Through the 1980's Pierre Aubry played well over 200 games in the NHL. He was with the Quebec Nordiques from 1980-1984 and then the Detroit Red Wings until 1985.
Between 1981 and 1987 Craig Levie played 199 regular season and playoff games in the NHL. He dressed for the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota North Stars, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.
Between 1986 and 1992 Brian Dobbin played 65 NHL games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins.
Dave Hutchison started his career in the WHA with the Philadelphia and then Vancouver Blazers. From 1974 to 1984 he was an NHL regular, playing 600+ games between the Kings, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks and Devils.
Michigan State grad Bobby Reynolds scored 1 goal and 2 points in 7 career NHL games with the 1989/90 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tim Trimper made his NHL debut with the 1979/80 Chicago Blackhawks. From 1980 to 1984 he played for the Winnipeg Jets and then finished his NHL career with the 1984/85 Minnesota North Stars. I'll add that I find the autograph a pretty weak signature from someone of his era.
Hector Marini played 164 regular season and playoff games in the NHL. Between 1979 and 1984 he dressed for the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. He claimed the Stanley Cup with the 1981 and 1982 Islanders.
Dallas Gaume recorded a goal and an assist in 4 career NHL games with the 1988/89 Hartford Whalers. After retiring as a player he spent over a decade as a coach with the WHL's Red Deer Rebels.
Darrell Anholt played just 1 game in the NHL, suiting up for the 1983/1984 Chicago Blackhawks.
Kevin Krook played 3 career NHL games, all for the 1978/1979 Colorado Rockies.
Lyle Moffat spent time with the 1974/75 Toronto Maple Leafs and then jumped to the WHA, playing with the Winnipeg Jets for 4 years. He played his fifth season with the team when they moved to the NHL in 1979/80. He played a total of 96 games in the NHL, scoring 12 goals and 28 points.
Between 1972 and 1974 Len Fontaine played 46 games for the Detroit Red Wings. The forward scored 8 goals and 19 points. He later played 21 games for the WHA's 1974/75 Michigan Stags.
Between 1948 and 1960 Dave Creighton played well over 500 games in the NHL. He played for 4 of the Original 6 teams; Boston, Chicago, New York and Toronto.
Between 1955 and 1971 Marc Reaume played in 350+ NHL games. He spent most of his career with the Maple Leafs in the 1950s but later played for the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.
Between 1952 and 1958 Frank Martin played nearly 300 games in the NHL. He dressed for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Through the 1950s Glen Skov played 700+ NHL regular season and playoff games. He split the majority of his career between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks but also had a brief stint with the Montreal Canadiens before retiring in 1961. He won the Stanley Cup with the 1952, 1954 and 1955 Detroit Red Wings.
Jerry Toppazzini was an NHL regular through the 1950s and 1960s. He played in over 800 regular season and playoff games, all during the Original 6 era. No easy task. He also dressed in 3 NHL All-Star game and had a brother, Zellio, who also dressed in the NHL. Like Frank Martin and Glen Skov I was able to buy a cheap authentic index and make a custom index. All 3 players had recently passed away.
As always I'll end the mail post with some autographs that fall outside of my NHL player collection.
Remember when the Florida Panthers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals? It was 1996 and PEI born netminder Todd MacDonald was their third string goalie. He later dressed in a handful of games as the Panthers' backup goalie. He also answered a couple questions for me. See his bio here, from my other blog.
Jim Shaw spent a couple of seasons in the WHA with the Toronto Toros.
Brian Derksen played 1 WHA game for the Los Angeles Sharks in 1973/74.
Bob Roselle played 1 game in the WHA for the 1975/76 Indianapolis Racers. He included a great note and mentioned how he was scouted and signed by Racers' scout and hockey legend Doug Harvey.
Although he never played a single game of pro hockey, Geoff Ward has been able to rise up the ranks to NHL coach. He has been a Boston Bruins assistant coach since 2007, getting his name on the Stanley Cup with the 2011 champs. Great signature.
From 1992 to 1996 Chuck Grillo was General Manager of the San Jose Sharks. He's now a scout with the Pittsburgh Penguins