Monday, January 30, 2017

Mail - Kane & Toews

A couple big names, some KHL certs, a program and a few TTM returns round out this mail post. These KHL certs are great considering how hard it is to reach players in Russia and I have a few more on the way. The Country is literally a giant black hole for TTM requests. I've even tried using the native language and no luck. Its a fitting coincidence that I add Kane and Toews to the collection together. They made their NHL debuts on the same season and have gone on to have so much success together. They're also two of the last certified autographs I needed, left to the very end because of their relatively high secondary market prices yet neither are rare. Lucky for me these come via a lucky Christmas break. The only hockey cards I got for Xmas was a little blaster of Upper Deck. Last year my dear mother had gotten me the same thing and I pulled a Jack Eichel canvas YG that I was able to trade for my Sidney Crosby autograph. The lucky streak continued into this year and I pulled a Patrick Laine canvas YG, what are the odds!? I quickly flipped that for this Kane and Toews and couldn't be happier. 

The 18 new autographs featured in this post make the grand total of unique NHL signatures 5,232 for 70.3% of everyone who has ever played in the NHL.

Patrick Kane
The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Patrick Kane 1st overall in 2007. The incredibly skilled Kane won the Calder Trophy in 2008 as NHL rookie of the year and hasn't looked back since. He helped the Hawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In 2013 he was awarded the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. In 2016 he won the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Art Ross Trophy, tearing up the NHL with 46 goals and 106 points in 82 games. Internationally, he won a Silver at the 2010 Olympics with USA.

Jonathan Toews
The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews 3rd overall in 2006 and since then all he's done is win. Captain of the Hawks since 2008, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 as playoff MVP and has lead the Hawks to 3 Stanley Cups. Internationally, he's won Gold twice at the Olympics and twice at the World Junior Championships as well as once at the World Championships and World Cup.

Dan Sexton
Dan Sexton was never drafted but was signed as a free agent in 2009 by the Anaheim Ducks after two seasons in college with Bowling Green State University. From 2009 to 2011 Sexton scored 13 goals and 32 points in 88 career NHL games. He's been in the KHL since 2013. Internationally, Sexton represented America at the 2015 World Championships, winning a Bronze.

Alexandre Bolduc
Alexandre Bolduc was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2003 but would never play for the club. He made his NHL debut with the 2008/09 Vancouver Canucks. From 2008 to 2015 Bolduc played 65 regular season and 3 playoff games in the NHL. He was a member of both the Canucks and later Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.

Kari Jalonen
From 1982 to 1984 Kari Jalonen scored 9 goals and 15 points in 37 regular season NHL games playing with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. Jalonen played 3 games for the 1983/84 Oilers, Gretzky's team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season, but without Jalonen, who didn't qualify to get his name anywhere near the Trophy. Internationally, Jalonen represented Finland at the 1981 Canada Cup and World Championships in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987 and 1989.

Steve Pinizzotto
Undrafted forward Steve Pinizzotto made his NHL debut with the 2012/13 Vancouver Canucks as a 28 year old rookie. He had worked his way up from college to the ECHL to the AHL and finally the big leagues. He won the Calder Cup in the AHL with the Hershey Bears in 2009 and 2010. Washington property at the time, he came painfully close to making his NHL debut for that club, dressing for a pregame warmup but being scratched right before game time. He would later play 12 NHL games with the 12/13 Canucks and from 2013 to 2015 he played another 24 games in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers.

Tim Conboy
From 2007 to 2010 Tim Conboy played 59 regular season games in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes. The tough customer recorded 6 assists and 121 penalty minutes. Conboy had originally been drafted by the Sharks in 2002 but was never able to break out of their AHL club.
His autograph is really messing with my mind. I can't decide if its the normal bunch of quick scribbles or an amazingly cool signature. If I stare at it long enough I can see every letter in his name...

Lasse Kukkonen
From 2003 to 2009 defenceman Lasse Kukkonen played 159 regular season games in the NHL, dressing with the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. Kukkonen has had tremendous success internationally with Finland. At the Olympics, he won a Silver in 2006 and Bronze in 2010 and 2014. At the World Championships he won a Gold in 2011, Silver in 2007 & 2016 and Bronze in 2006. He also won a Silver medal as a minor at the 2001 World Junior Championships.

Keith Aldridge
Defenceman Keith Aldridge played 4 career NHL games with the 1999/2000 Dallas Stars. He was an undrafted Lake Superior State University alumni. Aldridge had a great college career, he was a NCAA All-Star and a finalist for the 1996 Hobey Baker Award.

Dave Chyzowski
Dave Chyzowski is perhaps most notable for being drafted 2nd overall in 1989, right behind Hall of Famer Mats Sundin. Unfortunately for the Islanders, Chyzowski didn't have near as much success. From 1989 to 1997 he played 126 regular season games in the NHL, dressing for the Islanders and Blackhawks. Known for his powerful shot, Chyzowski scored 56 goals in just 68 games with the WHL's Kamloops Blazers in his draft year but only went on to record 15 goals in his entire NHL career, unable to adjust to the next level. 

Shawn Byram
Shawn Byram played 4 games with the 1990/91 New York Islanders and 1 game with the 1991/92 Chicago Blackhawks for a total of 5 career games in the NHL.

Mike Eaves
From 1978 to 1986 Mike Eaves scored 83 goals and 226 points in 324 regular season NHL games but had to end his career early due to a head injury. The University of Wisconsin alumni was a member of the Minnesota North Stars and Calgary Flames. Internationally, he represented USA at the 1976 and 1978 World Championships and 1981 Canada Cup. He later turned to coached and was an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames, Philly Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. A hockey family, his two sons, Patrick and Ben, both played in the NHL as well as his brother, Murray.

Dennis Sobchuk
I was thrilled to get a response from Dennis Sobchuk. In fact, even with Kane and Toews in this mailpost, Sobchuk is my runaway favourite autograph of the post. I'm a big fan of hockey history, particularly the rivalry between the NHL and WHA in the 1970s. Sobchuk was actually a big part of this story. He would have been the runaway 1st overall pick of the 1974 NHL draft but instead of wait to be chosen, he signed a $1 Million contract in the WHA, a huge contract for a teenager at this time. He's one of the game's pioneers for today's big earners because Sobchuk opened the door for many other young players to sign big deals in the Rebel League instead of go to the NHL and play for a fraction of that. Sobchuk recorded 331 points in 348 career WHA games but only went on to play 35 games in the NHL after the WHA folded.

Ernie Godden
Ernie Godden scored 1 goal and 2 points in 5 career games in the NHL with the 1981/82 Toronto Maple Leafs. Godden absolutely destroyed the OHL in his last season of junior, scoring a record 87 goals in just 68 games with the 1980/81 Windsor Spitfires. 

Don Gillen
Don Gillen scored a goal in his first NHL game with the 1979/80 Philly Flyers, what would be his only game with the club. In 1981 he was traded to the Whalers and spent more time in the NHL there. Gillen played 34 NHL games with the 1981/82 Hartford Whalers, recording 5 points. He was a tough customer who recorded 372 penalty minutes in his last season of junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The "before" pic of next 3 autographs:
A 1964/65 Vancouver Canucks WHL program, featuring Bill Burega and his fascmile signature on the cover. It was signed by 9 members the opposing team, the Victoria Maple Leafs. 

Eddie Mazur
From 1951 to 1957 Eddie Mazur played 107 regular season and 25 playoff games in the NHL, dressing for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks. He actually played in 3 consecutive playoffs with the Canadiens; 1951, 1952 and 1953 before ever appearing in a regular season game. In 1953 he scored 2 goals and 4 points in 7 games, helping the Habs win the Stanley Cup, the only time Mazur would get his name on the trophy. Mazur passed away in 1995 at 65.

Gord Redahl
Gord Redahl played 18 games in the NHL with the 1958/59 Boston Bruins. Although his NHL career was brief, Redahl was a star in the WHL, one of the best leagues around when the NHL was only limited to 6 teams. Redahl passed away in 2011.

John Sleaver
 John Sleaver played 1 game with the 1953/54 Chicago Blackhawks and 12 games with the 1956/57 Hawks, scoring 1 goal in his 13 career NHL games. He passed away in 2001 at 67.

Extras from the program added to tradelist: Dan Belisle and Lou Jankowski. Also ended up with autographs of minor leaguers Bob Taylor and Rollie Wilcox whom I don't collect. 


Autographs #19-22 of the post fall outside of the NHL collection.
There's 3 for the WHA only collection and 1 for the NHL "backup only" collection.

Jean-Yves Cartier
Defenceman Jean-Yves Cartier recorded 3 assists in 15 career WHA games with the 1972/73 Quebec Nordiques. The Quebec native had played for the University of Michigan before joining the Nords.

Rejean Giroux
From 1972 to 1974 Rejean Giroux scored 15 goals and 33 points in 71 career WHA games with the Quebec Nordiques. Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1972, Giroux opted to sign with his hometown and newly created Nordiques. Giroux later signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1974 but was never able to crack their roster. His son, Alexandre Giroux, was also a pro hockey player who played in the NHL.

Bruce Abbey
Defenceman Bruce Abbey recorded 1 goal in 17 career WHA games with the 1975/76 Cincinnati Stingers. He was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1971 NHL draft but opted for 4 years of college at Michigan Tech before turning pro in the WHA.

Jamie Hodson
Jamie Hodson appeared in 1 NHL game as as backup goalie with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2002/03 season. He was drafted by the Leafs in the 1998 draft and played pro hockey until retiring in 2008.

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