Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Month of Mail - April 2019

The month of April saw 21 new NHL player autographs arrive in the mail. The grand total of unique NHL player autographs in the collection is now 6,103 for 80% of everyone to ever play in the league. Every single autograph can be seen on my Autograph Collection page, organized by year of debut. 

A number of TTM returns and some purchases to share. The ProCards come from the same person. I don't normally purchase 'common' signatures but these were all guys I had tried, most multiple times, writing to in the past. Furthermore, the prices were actually reasonable. I found the Lefebvre hidden in a small lot of autographs and the Tsygurov was one I'd been watching for some time. 

                       Barry MacKenzie
Defenseman Barry MacKenzie played 6 games in the NHL with the 1968/69 Minnesota North Stars. He's most notable for representing Canada at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, winning bronze medal in 1968. In 1999, MacKenzie was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. 

                        John A. Stewart
From 1970 to 1975 John Stewart played 250+ NHL games between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Flames and California Seals. He also spent a couple seasons in the WHA, dressing for the Cleveland Crusaders, Birmingham Bulls and Minnesota Fighting Saints. There were 2 players named John Stewart who played in the NHL, I now have both of their signatures.

                          Dan Gloor
Danny Gloor played 2 games in the NHL with the 1973/74 Vancouver Canucks. He was the 1972/73 IHL's rookie of the year when he scored 43 goals and 93 points in 73 games in his first season of pro hockey. He was a point-per-game pro player but was never able to make it at the top.

                         Paul Boutilier
I keep meticoulous notes on all my autograph requests sent. Since 2015 I had sent six requests to Mr. Boutilier at a number of different addresses. I finally got a hit - persistence! - and he event wrote back a nice little note. During the 1980s defenseman Paul Boutilier played 288 regular season games in the NHL dressing for the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, North Stars, Rangers and Jets. He won the Stanley Cup in 1983 with the Islanders.

                         Brian Tutt
Defenseman Brian Tutt was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980. He spent years playing pro until finally making his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals in 1989/90. He played 7 games for the Capitals, scoring 1 goal. Internationally, Tutt won a Silver medal with Canada at the 1992 Olympics and a bronze at the 1995 World Championships. 

                          Greg Stewart
Absolutely thrilled to finally add a Greg Stewart autograph. He completes the 2007/08 year of debuts for me, all 146 autographs can be viewed here. From 2007 to 2010 Greg Stewart played 26 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens. One interesting fact about Greg Stewart, he's one of the only post 2005/06 NHL players to NEVER received an official NHL rookie card. That's also one of the reasons his autograph took me so much time to find.

                           Denis Malgin
Swiss forward Denis Malgin has been playing with the Florida Panthers since the 2016/17 season. He's scored 24 goals and 48 points in 148 NHL games with Florida. Internationally, he's represented Switzerland at the World Juniors (2015 & 2016) and World Championships (2017). 

                     Erik Gustafsson (b. 1992)
In the past decade there have actually been two Swedish defenseman in the NHL named Erik Gustafsson. This Erik Gustafsson was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2012 but never signed with the club. In 2015, he signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent and has become one of their best offensive defensemen. He scored 60 points in 79 games during the 2018/19 season. Internationally, he's played for Sweden at 3 World Championships, bringing home a gold medal in 2018.

                   Denis Tsygurov
From 1993 to 1996 defenseman Denis Tsygurov played 51 NHL games between the Buffalo Sabres and LA Kings. He spent most of his career in native Russia and passed away in 2015 at just 43.
I had been eyeing this card for some time. When the buyer lowered his asking price, I decided to throw him an offer and I was finally able to land it for a price that I was comfortable with. First thing I did when I got his was free it from its authentication casing. I dislike big bulky things as I like to store in binders. I only collect to collect so I have no remorse in tossing the grading case.

                  Patrice Lefebvre
Patrice Lefebvre had an incredible junior career, so much so that in 2019 the QMJHL announced the top 10 players in league history and Lefebvre was one of them. He scored an incredible 187 goals and 595 points in the QMJHL. His short stature left him undrafted and Lefebvre travelled to France to start his pro hockey career in 1988. He spent years as a pro player, many in Las Vegas with the IHL's Thunder. He eventually reached the bigs and played 3 games in the NHL with the 1998/99 Washington Capitals as a 30 year old rookie.

                     Jeff Parker
From 1986 to 1991 Jeff Parker played 141 games in the NHL. He spent most of his career with the Buffalo Sabres but did play a handful of games with the Hartford Whalers. Parker passed away in 2017 and the New York Times later published an article about his fight with C.T.E. 

                      Kim Issel
Kim Issel was drafted 21st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 1986. He played 4 NHL games with the 1988/89 Oilers. He's been working as a police officer since hanging up his skates. 

                    Tom Bissett
Tom Bissett played 5 NHL games with the 1990/91 Detroit Red Wings. Internationally, he represented the United States at the 1992 and 1999 World Championships. 

                    Marc Laforge
Defenseman Marc Laforge played 9 NHL games with the 1989/90 Hartford Whalers and 5 NHL games with the 1993/94 Edmonton Oilers. He was a tough customer who accumulated over 3,000 penalty minutes playing pro hockey and whose junior career ended prematurely when he was indefinitely suspended from the OHL for an incident.

                    David Littman
In the early 1990s, David Littman played a couple NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres and 1 game with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He actually worked for EA Sports later in his career and helped produce the company's NHL video games.

                  Bobby Babcock
From 1990 to 1993 defenseman Bobby Babcock played 2 NHL games with the Washington Capitals.

                    Jaroslav Sevcik
Czech forward Jaroslav Sevcik played 13 NHL games with the 1989/90 Quebec Nordiques. He returned to play hockey in Europe but ended up settling down in Nova Scotia. I would have spent time living a short drive from him, but I was never able to track him down for an autograph. I couldn't get the right address or he doesn't respond to TTM. 

                       Dave Pasin
A Memorial Cup winner in junior with the Prince Albert Raiders, Dave Pasin was drafted 19th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1984. Pasin jumped directly into the NHL from junior, scoring 18 goals and 37 points in 71 NHL games with the 1985/86 Bruins. That was the extent of his career with Boston after being assigned to the AHL the following season. He only played 5 more games in the NHL, with the 1988/89 LA Kings. He spent most of the 1990s playing pro in Italy. 

                Max Middendorf
From 1986 to 1991 Max Middendorf played 13 games in the NHL. He suited up for the Quebec Nordiques and Edmonton Oilers. He won the AHL's Calder Cup in 1992 with the Adirondack Red Wings. Internationally, he represented the United States at the 1986 World Junior Championships and came home with a Bronze Medal.

                   Ralph Barahona
Ralph Barahona played 6 games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, scoring 2 goals and 4 points with the early 1990s Bruins. Barahona overcame all the odds to make the NHL. A native of Long Beach, California, he was undrafted and playing for a Division II college team when he was signed by the Bruins.

                      Al Tuer
From 1985 to 1991 Al Tuer played 57 games in the NHL. The defenseman played for the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars and Hartford Whalers. From 2001 to 2010 he returned to the NHL as a scout with the Calgary Flames. He later moved to the Florida Panthers and is currently the team's Directory of Pro Scouting.


                           Dick Todd
From 1980 to 1993 Dick Todd was head coach of the OHL's Peterborough Petes. He coached Team Canada's 1991 World Junior Championship squad to a gold medal. In 1993, he was named assistant coach of the New York Rangers, a position he held until 1998. Todd won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994 and has his name engraved on the trophy.

                       Rob Cookson
Rob Cookson started his NHL career in 1998 as a video coach with the Philadelphia Flyers. From 2001 to 2011 he was an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames and since 2016 he's been an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators.

                         Matt Shaw
Matt Shaw was an NHL assistant coach from 2009 to 2012 with the San Jose Sharks and from 2012 to 2013 with the New Jersey Devils.

                         John Van Horlick
Defenseman John Van Horlick played 2 games in the WHA with the 1975/76 Toronto Toros. This goes into my collection of WHA signatures from guys who played in that league but not the NHL.

                   Mike Jeffrey
Mike Jeffrey dressed in the NHL as a backup goalie for 2 regular season games with the 1988/89 Boston Bruins. He dressed as backup to Rejean Lemelin while the regular starter, Andy Moog, took time off to witness the birth of his child. Mike Jeffrey, a North Michigan University grad, only played 2 seasons of pro hockey before retiring.
This Mike Jeffrey autograph and the following autograph, Doug Gimour, go into my 'NHL Backups Only' collection. 

                   Darryl Gilmour
Darryl Gilmour never played in the NHL, but he dressed in at least 17 NHL games as a backup goalie with two different teams. He got his first taste of the NHL with the 1987/88 Philadelphia Flyers, dressing as a backup to Mark Laforest. Gilmour later dressed for 16 NHL games as a backup with the 1991/92 LA Kings. Wayne Gretzky and Kelly Hrudey's Kings were on a hot streak and unfortunately for Gilmour, he spent the entire time on the bench. Most goalies in his situations would have gotten into at least one game but Gilmour was unlucky and so remains off all of the official all time NHL player lists even though he was a member of the Kings for way longer than some one game wonders. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Month of Mail - March 2019

This month's mail includes 15 new NHL player signatures. The grand total now stands at 6,082 unique NHL player signatures for 80% of everyone to ever play in the NHL.

I was tickled pink this month to get a letter back for Russia. The country is a black hole for TTM requests and of many tries, this is the first one I've EVER gotten back. I had sent to Shafronov c/o his KHL team and included a card of Shaldybin, who just so happens to be an assistant coach on the same club. To my delight, both came back signed. These were two of the very last living Russian NHL players I needed to find.

                             King Clancy
Francis "King" Clancy played in the NHL from 1921-1938. He's an NHL legend who was the league's top scoring defenseman of all-time when he retired. He won the Stanley Cup 3 times as a player and another 3 times as a coach. Clancy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958. This autograph was a direct result of tirelessly searching ebay at night while I watch TV. I go through a mental list of key word searches and grabbed this cut for $20! I'm sure its authentic so that's a steal in my books.

                            Keith Wright
Keith Wright played 1 NHL game with the inaugural 1967/68 Philadelphia Flyers. Returns like this really make me question the reliability of the postal system. I know I've had many letters lost over the years but for many others I only have suspicion. I've tried Wright at this address 4 times over a period of many years. This one came back in record time and Wright noted that he was always happy to sign. Makes me wonder what on earth happened to the first 3 requests.

                        Ian McKegney
Ian McKengney played 3 NHL games with the 1976/77 Chicago Blackhawks. He took a very unconventional route to the NHL, playing 4 seasons at the University of Waterloo then a year in Sweden before signing with Chicago. His younger adopted brother, Tony McKegney, also played in the NHL.

                            Chris Felix
From 1988 to 1991 Chris Felix played in 35 regular season and 2 playoff games with the Washington Capitals. The defenseman recorded 13 points during his short NHL career. He's also notable for representing Canada at the 1988 Olympics.

                    Konstantin Shafranov
Kazakhstan native Konstantin Shafranov scored 2 goals and 3 points in 5 career NHL games with the 1996/97 St. Louis Blues. Internationally, he represented Kazakhstan at the Olympics in 1998 and 2006. 

                      Evgeny Shaldybin
Russian defenseman Evgeny Shaldybin scored 1 goal in 3 career NHL games with the 1996/97 Boston Bruins. He spent 4 seasons in North American and the rest of his career was spent in Russia, where he played until 2011.
This return also completes the 1996/97 year of debuts, 107/107.

                           David Rittich
David Rittich was never drafted. A late bloomer, he was signed by the Calgary Flames as a free agent in his mid 20s. He's entering his second season as a full time member of the Flames. Internationally, he represented Czech Republic at the 2018 World Championships.

                 Garrett Burnett
Garrett Burnett was a feared enforcer who played 39 NHL games with the 2003/04 Anaheim Ducks. He recorded 1 goal and 184 penalty minutes in his NHL career. Burnett once racked up 506 penalty minutes in just 58 games with the AHL's Kentucky Thoroughblades in 1999/00. Interesting fact about Burnett, he did some acting in Vancouver during off seasons and had a small role as a commando soldier in the movie Mr. Magoo.

                Bryce Lampman
From 2003 to 2007 defenseman Bryce Lampman played 10 games in the NHL, all with the New York Rangers. Internationally, he represented the USA at the 2002 World Junior Championships.

                Steve Richmond
Defenseman Steve Richmond attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1982 and was later signed as a free agent. From 1983 to 1989 he played in 159 regular season NHL games, dressing with the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings. He was briefly a teammate of Wayne Gretzky's while with the Kings. His son, Danny, also played in the NHL. Steve Richmond recently won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals as their director of player development. He had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup with the 2018 team.

                    Brad Miller
From 1988 to 1994 defenseman Brad Miller played 82 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames. 

                     Ed Patterson
From 1993 to 1997 Ed Patterson played 68 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He posted 3 goals and 6 points through his NHL career.

                   Mark Major
Mark Major was a tough grinder who was drafted 25th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988. He toiled in the minors, became a free agent, was signed by the Boston Bruins, remained in the minors and was eventually signed by the Detroit Red Wings. He made his NHL debut with the 1996/97 Red Wings, playing 2 career NHL games. He didn't record any points but did have 1 fight in the NHL, with Toronto's Tie Domi.

                      William Nylander
The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted William Nylander 8th overall in 2014. His father, Michael, and brother, Alexander, have also played in the NHL. William is in his fourth season as a Maple Leaf. Internationally, he has represented Sweden at the World Juniors and World Championships. He won a Gold medal at the 2017 World Championships with Sweden.

                Brandon Montour
Defenseman Brandon Montour spent his first three seasons in the NHL playing for the Anaheim Ducks but was recently traded to the Buffalo Sabres. He is of Native American (Mohawk) ancestry and also excelled at lacrosse growing up.


                         David Quinn
David Quinn has been the head coach of the New York Rangers since 2018. He did have a brief pro hockey career as a player but only reached the NHL behind the bench. He had previously served as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche but most of his experience came in the NCAA or with the national hockey program in America.

                          Julien Brisebois
Julien Brisebois started his NHL executive career with the Montreal Canadiens, rising to the role of VP of Hockey Administration and GM of the team's AHL affiliate. In 2010, he was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning to be the team's assistant GM. When Steve Yzerman left the team in 2018, Brisebois was promoted to General Manager.

              Mike McNamara
Defenseman Mike McNamara played 19 games in the WHA with the 1972/73 Quebec Nordiques. In the 1980s he moved to Switzerland to play hockey and stayed in the country as a coach. He continues to live and work in Europe. This signatures goes into the WHA autograph collection of guys who played in the rebel league but not the NHL.

                    Renata Fast
Renata Fast played with the Canadian national women's team at the 2017 World Championships and 2018 Olympics. She brought home a Silver medal from both tournaments. This goes with my Women of Hockey autographs.

                     Phil Pritchard
This is a super random hockey autograph in that I certainly don't have a binder/category for it but at the same time he's a very notable figure in the game. He's the 'Keeper of the Cup.' 
This is the fourth 'oddball' hockey autograph I have from this year's Goodwin set. I also picked up  Olly Postanin and Jacob Ardown autographs, two guys made famous from their hockey related youtube channel - "On the Bench." I also picked up a Nikko Landeros autograph, the first ever certified sledge hockey autograph card. 

                                  Jeren Kendall
Jaren Kendall currently plays in the Los Angeles Dodges system. As the card notes, Kendall "Played high school hockey."
This autograph and the next two go into my Baseball-Hockey autograph collection.

                                   Jake Burger
Jake Burger is a prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization. He was a 2017 first round pick who has a hockey backround. As the second card notes, he "Became White Sox fan while visiting Chicago for youth hockey tournament."

                                 Josh Naylor
Josh Naylor is current in the San Diego Padres organization. A Canadian, its noted on the second card that he "Played hockey until he was 13."