Saturday, March 21, 2015

Brian Mullen Autograph Card

Brian Mullen was an above-average NHLer (in today's parlance, a ''top-six forward'') and brother of Hall Of Famer and three-time Stanley Cup winner Joe Mullen, who retired as the all-time leading American points collector in the NHL (since passed). Brian played a more rugged style, while Joe's was based more on finesse, but both played in All-Star Games.

Growing up in Hell's Kitchen (Midtown Manhattan), the Mullen brothers were immersed in the New York Rangers' universe; their father even got Brian a job as the visiting team's stick boy at Madison Square Garden, which got him an opportunity to shoot pucks at Atlanta Flames (and Team USA Miracle On Ice gold medalist) Jim Craig once.

He played College Hockey for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers under legendary coach Bob Johnson (who coached Joe on the Cup-winning 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins) after being drafted in the seventh round (128th overall) by the Winnipeg Jets in 1980; there were still fine players available at that point, including Andy Moog (132nd), Doug Lidster (133rd), Steve Penney (166th), Randy Cunneyworth (167th), Patrik Sundstrom (175t), Hakan Loob (181st), and Andy Brickley (210th).

He scored over 25 goals five times (with a high of 32 in 1984-85), and topped the 60-point mark six times (with a high of 71 - in 69 games - that same year).

After five seasons in Winnipeg, he spent four years with the Rangers, then one each with the San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders, that year where they ousted the two-time defending champion Pens in 1993. He suffered a stroke prior to the 1993-94 season, and tried to come back, but a seizure laid those hopes to waste and he retired after accruing 260 goals, 362 assists and 622 points in 832 games.

He wore #19 for  the first ten of his eleven NHL seasons, and here he is with the Jets, wearing their former purplish-blue away uniform:
It's card #26 from Panini's 2012-13 Classics Signatures set (the signed insert version, signed on-card in blue sharpie - you can tell because the spot where the signature is was airbrushed white to show him where to sign). I'm not sure if I'd classify that set as higher-mid-range or lower-premium, but boxes are still available for around $60 for 30 cards, with 5 or 6 autographs per. This one was from a group break.

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