Sunday, April 3, 2016

23 TTM Returns

22 new NHL autographs bring the grand total of unique NHL player signatures in the collection up to 4,907 for 67.4% of everyone who has ever played in the league.

All the autographs from this post are TTM (trough the mail) returns. I also had an unusually high number of RTS (return to sender) letters with this batch, 10. Its more due to the fact that I've been using more untested addresses lately than ever before. As my want list shrinks, so does the ease of finding new players to write to. I actually get a lot of enjoyment from searching for whereabouts for retired players but as a student with a small budget, I really feel the high price of stamps and it is disappointing to see so many wasted stamps.

Justin Florek
Forward Justin Florek spent four seasons at North Michigan University before joining the Bruins in 2012. He scored 1 goal and 2 points in 4 NHL games with the 2013/14 Boston Bruins. In the summer of 2015 he signed with the New York Islanders as a free agent but has spent the entire 2015/16 season in the AHL with Bridgeport.

Mike Angelidis
In 2010 the Lightning signed Mike Angelidis as a free agent. He has spent the last five seasons playing in the AHL. Since making his NHL debut with the 2011/12 Lightning, Angelidis has played 14 games in the NHL. He's scored 2 goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nate Raduns
A St. Cloud State alumni, Nate Raduns signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent. He played 1 career NHL game with Philly; November 8, 2008 against the Ottawa Senators. The forward and Minnesota native was held pointless. Raduns retired in 2010. 

Chris Schmidt
Chris Schmidt played 10 career NHL games with the 2002/03 Los Angeles Kings. He had been drafted by LA way back in 1994 and spent most of his career in the minors. He spent enough time playing in Germany to get his citizenship and the Canadian-German represented his adopted nation at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. 

Chris Corrinet
A Princeton alumni, Chris Corrinet played 8 career NHL games with the 2001/02 Washington Capitals. He recorded 1 point in his short NHL career. Corrinet retired in 2005 and became a successful real estate developer in New York city. 

Jesse Fibiger
Defenceman Jesse Fibiger played 16 career NHL games with the 2002/03 San Jose Sharks. He was originally drafted by the Mighty Ducks in 1998 and spent four years at University of Minnesota-Duluth. He's now a successful mortgage expert in British Columbia.

J.P. Vigier
From 2000 to 2007 J.P. Vigier scored 23 goals and 46 points in 213 career NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers. Vigier was a free agent signing from Northern Michigan University.

Dean Sylvester
Dean Sylvester played almost 100 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers between 1999 and 2001. He also played 1 regular season and 4 playoff games for the Buffalo Sabres during the 1998/99 season. Sylvester scored a respectable 21 goals and 37 points in 96 career regular season NHL games. 

Kai Nurminen
Finnish forward Kai Nurminen spent two seasons in North America, one with the Kings organization and the other a couple years later with the Wild. He scored 16 goals and 27 points in 67 games with the 1996/97 LA Kings and 1 goal in 2 games with the 2000/01 Minnesota Wild. He represented Finland at the 1996 and 1997 World Hockey Championships.

Petteri Lehto
Defenceman Petteri Lehto spent just one season in North America. He played 6 NHL games with the 1984/85 Pittsburgh Penguins. Lehto represented Finland at the 1984 Olympics. He's currently an NHL player agent.

Everett Sanipass
The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Everett Sanipass 14th overall in 1986. From then until 1991 he played 164 NHL games between the Hawks and Quebec Nordiques.

Pekka Rautakallio
From 1975 to 1977 defenceman Pekka Rautakallio was lured away from Finland to the WHA to play with the Phoenix Roadrunners. From 1979 to 1982 he was once again lured away from Finland, this time to play in the NHL with the Atlanta and then the Calgary Flames. In 1982 he became the first Finnish player to play in the NHL All-Star game.

Kevin Kemp
Defenceman Kevin Kemp played 3 career NHL games with the 1980/81 Hartford Whalers. He had originally been drafted by the Maple Leafs in 1974. I asked Kemp what his personal highlight was from those 3 NHL games and he said it was playing in the old Montreal Forum.

Mike Murray
Forward Mike Murray played 1 career NHL game with the 1987/88 Philadelphia Flyers and was held pointless. Although his stay in the NHL was very brief, Muray had a lengthy pro hockey career, playing from 1986 to 2003. He's currently President and General Manager of the SPHL's Knoxville Ice Bears. 

Kris Manery
An undrafted University of Michiga alumni, from 1977 to 1981 Kris Manery scored 63 goals and 127 points in 250 career NHL games. He dressed with the Cleveland Barons, Minnesota North Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. His brother, Randy, also made it to the NHL.

Gord Kluzak
Big defenceman Gord Kluzak was drafted 1st overall by the Boston Bruins in 1982. Unfortunately for Kluzak, his career was cut short due to due chronic knee problems. He won the 1990 Bill Masterton Trophy and I picked this specific photo for a rather strange reason. It was the early 1990s Score hockey cards that got me into collecting and for some reason I remember having a pile of Kluzak cards with the pic of him winning the Masterton. When I was making a card to send him I just had to use the photo that I instinctively equate him with.

Brad Selwood
Defenceman Brad Selwood made his NHL debut with the 1970/71 Toronto Maple Leafs. He spent a couple seasons with the Maple Leafs before joining the WHA. From 1972 to 1979 Selwood played over 400 games in the rebel league, all with the New England Whalers. The defenceman was in the WHA for as long at it existed and in 1979 when the league folded he joined the LA Kings for a final season in the NHL. He was also briefly an NHL assistant coach with the 1982/83 Kings.

Rob Conn
Rob Conn played 2 games with the 1991/92 Chicago Blackhawks and 28 games with the 1995/96 Buffalo Sabres. He found success in the minors, winning the AHL Calder Cup in 1994 and 1996.

Morris Titanic
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Morris Titanic 12th overall in 1973. From 1974 to 1976 Titanic played 19 games in the NHL with the Sabres.

Iain Duncan
A Bowling Green State alumni, Iain Duncan played 127 regular season games with the Winnipeg Jets between 1987 and 1991. Duncan scored 34 goals and 89 points with the Jets. He had a great first season in the league, with the 1987/88 Jets Duncan scored 19 goals and 42 points in 62 games and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie team.

Garth Rizzuto
Garth Rizzuto scored 3 goals and 7 points in 37 career NHL games with the 1970/71 Vancouver Canucks. From 1972 to 1974 he played over 100 games in the WHA with Bobby Hull's Winnipeg Jets.

Brian Ford
Goalie Brian Ford played 3 NHL games with the 1983/84 Quebec Nordiques and 8 NHL games with the 1984/85 Pittsburgh Penguins. In 1983 and 1984 he was named AHL goalie of the year while playing with the Fredericton Express. In the short letters I write I do mention I blog all of my signatures. Mr. Ford checked it out and said it was a real trip down memory lane. Thanks Brian! I also think this was the third address I've tried sending him a TTM request to so its great to finally get one back. There aren't too many living goalies who I still need.

The 23rd autographs doesn't go into my NHL collection but my WHA collection.

Ray Adduono
Ray Adduono appeared in over 200 WHA games through 5 seasons. He was a member of the Cleveland Crusaders, San Diego Mariners, Minnesota Fighting Saints and Indianapolis Racers. He was almost a point per game player in the rebel league, scoring 45 goals and 197 points. I asked him what his favourite memory was from playing in the WHA and he said, "facing off against Gordie Howe when he and his sons played for the Houston Aeros."


I'm going to end this post with a little rant. I got this letter back from Alexey Marchenko and the Detroit Red Wings:
I'll sum it up, I sent Marchenko a custom index card to sign. Instead of actually taking the five seconds to sign it, it was returned with this letter that, unbelievably, says Marchenko will be happy to sign whatever I send him if I write to him at the address that,  I did in fact originally write to, and in which this letter was sent from!!??? The icing on the cake: "all mail must be postmarked no later than March 25, 2016 to be accepted this season," therefore my originally letter (sent Nov. 2015) was well within the deadline but now that deadline has passed so I can't even send him another letter this season. What the hell Detroit??? I really don't understand this, do I have to send a donation or bribe someone to get my card signed? I mean, for heaven's sake, how many requests can Alexey Marchenko get? It just makes absolutely no sense to me how they could return my card unsigned with a letter saying he's happy to sign whatever I send. Bummer. 
Thanks for absolutely nothing Marchenko and Detroit. Looks like I'll have to wait for him to leave town until I can get a signature. I guess this is a lesson to not send to any current Red Wings. Good thing I think Marchenko is the only one I need.
EDIT: A fellow collector (thanks Jeff) saw this post and gave me the answer. Apparently the Red Wings Foundation charges $10 per common player autograph. Why they didn't just say this in the letter they sent me back is beyond me. Furthermore, I do have a problem with the Foundation essentially holding Red Wings players hostage for their signatures. To start, I don't have US money laying around so getting it is a problem. Second, as a student $10 is not insignificant. I believe deeply in giving back to the community (I realized giving to a foundation is a good cause) but until I have a livable salary I do this through volunteer work. Third, I don't think its right for current players to charge because although I may be able to afford a little extra cash, kids that would normally send them letters can't. The retired guys I don't mind charging for signatures because its usually older guys wanting them. Finally, If I resort to buying signatures, I rarely pay over $1 for a common signature. Marchenko's autograph is just not worth $10, to me or most collectors. 

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