Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kirsty Lingman Autograph Card

Since I featured her yesterday, I might as well show another Kirsty Lingman card, this time from Benchwarmer's 2012 National set, signed in black sharpie, manufactured at only 99 cases (12 boxes per case, 10 cards per box) for the 2012 National Sports Collectors' Convention held in Baltimore.

This time, she added both an ''x'' and an ''o'' at the end of her signature.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Kirsty Lingman Daizy Dukez Autograph Cards

After first posting one of Benchwarmer's 2012 Daizy Dukez autograph cards three weeks ago, I decided to go with two more - this time of the same model, although I fail to understand why in a 75-card sub-set of signed cards, they'd feel the need to feature the same model twice, wearing the same pants and underwear but a different tiny (torn) flimsy t-shirt sporting the brand's name.

But I ended up with both, the one in red (my favourite of the two) being card #72, and the one in blue being #65. Both are signed in black sharpie with a heart on top of the ''i'' in her last name, but the card I prefer has the added bonus of an ''x'' at the end!

For those who don't know, Kirsty Lingman (also known as Kirsty Lingman Santos) is a model from New Zealand who has been living in Las Vegas Los Angeles (standing corrected from the lady herself... priceless!) since 2001. She also writes for various music publications and is a rock photographer who has worked with or featured nearly a hundred acts, usually of the ''hard rock'' variety.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brent Bilodeau Autograph Card

There was a time when the Montréal Canadiens took their first round draft picks from the WHL, usually players of little discernible offensive talent who stood taller than 6 feet and weighed more than 200 pounds. As the only first-rounder of the class of 1991 to never play in the NHL, Brent Bilodeau sure fit the bill perfectly, although fans would probably have preferred any of the 100 players chosen after him to have played, including Glen Murray, Dean McAmmond, Ray Whitney, Zigmund Palffy, Sandis Ozolinsh, Steve Staios, Jozef Stumpel, Yanic Perreault, Chris Osgood, Igor Kravchuk, Alexei Zhitnik, Mike Knuble, Dmitri Yushkevich, Brian Holzinger, Dmitri Mironov, or Brian Savage.

But the draft can be unpredictable, and one mistake can happen. The Habs of the 1980s and 1990s, however, made it a habit that their first rounders would rarely pan out, so either their scouts were awful, or their player development was lacking. Who knows which department is most to blame?

And Bilodeau couldn't have been that bad, seeing as he dressed for Team Canada at the World Juniors and for the WHL All Stars at CHL All Star events...

Speaking of the WHL All Stars, this card from Classic's 1991-92 Draft Picks set (signed in blue sharpie, numbered 386/1000) sees him wearing that exact uniform.

I met him and got a card signed in the mid-90s, I'll have to find it and write about it sometime soon.

For now, he's an assistant coach in junior hockey, for the Tri-City Americans.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pavel Bure Autographed Card

I actually had to take this one out of the frame I'd put it in just to scan it...!
Pavel Bure was one of the flashiest players of his era - speed, skill, hard shot, and perhaps second only to Brett Hull as the 1990s ultimate goal-scoring machine. He usually got more goals than assists because his style of play was usually to grab a pass from a teammate and just skate ahead with it, beating every defender in sight to end up on a breakaway. Five 50-goal and two 60-goal seasons will attest that it worked very well.

He won the Calder trophy, the Maurice Richard trophy twice (would have gotten an extra one in 1994 had the award existed at the time), was a First and Second team All Star, and played in the All Star Game 6 times. His statistics were also impressive, as he scored 437 goals coupled with 342 assists (good for 779 points) in 702 NHL games to go with his 11 goals (and just one assist!) in 12 Olympic games.

He was named to the Hall Of Fame just a few weeks ago and for his talent alone, he was a shoe-in. However, I don't like when they induct players who don't have 1000 points or Stanley Cups, but he does have the 50-goal seasons and hardware I also think are essential. Plus, we all know that if he hadn't gotten those knee injuries which inevitably cut his career short but also took his greatest asset away - his speed - he would have gone to 1000 points while keeping a point-per-game pace. So his entry makes more sense than that of Mats Sundin, but isn't an obvious pick like Joe Sakic and Adam Oates.

Some think his mob connections should have hindered his chances... but what if they helped? Stranger things have happened.

Still, the Russian Rocket holds a place dear to my heart, in part because he signed this card in blue sharpie (with his number '10' tacked at the end) for me at the 1993 All Star Game, which was held a few blocks from where I lived, at the old Montréal Forum. He was among those who stayed the longest with us kids to sign cards and pictures, and to have his photo taken. He was a real gentleman, although he was pretty much a teenager then himself.

The card shows him in the classic, beautiful, black (away) 1980s Vancouver Canucks jersey, and is card #564 from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 2 (high numbers) set; it's his rookie card for this brand, but Upper Deck beat every other company by having him the previous season.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wade Redden Autograph Card

It seems that whenever the NHL and NHLPA finally agree to the NHL's terms for the next 5 to 7 years (it cannot be called a negotiation since only the players are budging), there will be a clause nicknamed after Wade Redden, one that will disallow teams to bury players in the minors to avoid counting their salary against the cap.

I, for one, am totally against this. If a player isn't worth his salary and becomes untradeable, it's not fair to hinder the team and its 23 other players and make it a sinking ship because of one cog, representing 5% of the team. If you can't bury him in the minors, you are stuck with a sub-par team, and blocked from attempting to improve it.

In any case, this card from Pinnacle's 1996-97 Be A Player set (card # LTH-9A, from the Link 2 History sub-set, die-cut version, signed in black sharpie) shows Redden after having won the gold medal at the World Juniors with Team Canada, and lists him as a member of the Ottawa Senators, who acquired his rights from the New York Islanders on January 23rd, 1996 along with Damian Rhodes for Don Beaupre, Martin Straka, and Bryan Berard.

Redden, despite having been buried in the AHL with the Connecticut Whale (and been their captain for the 2011-12 season) for the past two years has had an impressive career: two World Junior gold medals, a World Cup gold medal in 2004, silver at the 2005 World Championship where he was named the top defenseman, two NHL All-Star Games, the plus/minus award in 2005-06, a participation in the Olympics (2006), and 450 points so far in 994 NHL games.

By not assigning him to the Whale this season and instead having him be part of the NHL roster, the New York Rangers don't have to pay him, as he is considered to be locked out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Craig Martin Autographed Card

In the 1990s, the Québec junior league (LHJMQ) produced, essentially, three types of players: top-tier goalies (such as Martin Brodeur, Stéphane Fiset, Jocelyn Thibault, Jean-Sébastien Giguère, and Roberto Luongo), slick forwards (like Daniel Brière, Vincent Lecavalier, Simon Gagné, Éric Dazé and Brad Richards), and most of the NHL's tough guys/goons (among them Donald Brashear, Jason Doig, Georges Laraque, Peter Worrell, Mario Roberge, Enrico Ciccone, Gino Odjick, and André Roy).

Another one was Amherst, Nova Scotia's Craig Martin, who spent most of his time with the Hull Olympiques, and 35 games with the St. Hyacinthe Laser. In 221 Junior games, he managed to tally 127 points but, more impressively, he gathered 953 penalty minutes. That's pretty much a fighting major per game.

Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1990 (98th in total, six spots behind Ciccone), he ended up playing 20 games for them in 1994-95 after a few seasons of AHL and IHL play. He also played one game for the Florida Panthers... with a fighting major to show for it.

When he retired in 2006, he had played (in addition to the two aforementioned NHL teams) for 4 AHL teams, 4 IHL teams, 2 WCHL teams, the Berlin Capitals in Germany, the Adirondack IceHawks of the UHL, and two teams of the Québec semi-pro league formerly knows as the LHSPQ, now the LNAH.

It was during his time with the Laval Chiefs late in his career that I managed to get this card signed (in blue sharpie), from Classic's 1993-94 Pro Prospects set (card #78), showing him in the white (home) uniform of the Adirondack Red Wings.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Andy Delmore Autograph card

Honestly, I have trouble figuring out where defenseman Andy Delmore went wrong. He went undrafted after 4 seasons in Juniors, including a 21-goal, 59-point season in 1995-96 and a 78-point season in 1996-97, both for the Sarnia Sting.

The Philadelphia Flyers then signed him to a free agent contract, and he became the first rookie defenseman to ever score a hat trick in the playoffs. He then became a top-5 scoring threat (for defensemen), and even led the league in goals with 18 in 2002-03, tied with Sergei Gonchar and Nicklas Lidstrom.

He's still the only Flyers defenseman to score a playoff hat trick, and holds the team record for goals in a single playoff season, with 5. He's also won the Eddie Shore Award, the AHL's equivalent of the Norris trophy.

Among his other distinctions, though, lies the fact that he belonged to three straight NHL teams without ever playing for them: the San Jose Sharks got his rights from the Buffalo Sabres in 2004, but traded him the same day to the Boston Bruins, who never got to suit him up. After the 2004-05 lock-out, he then signed with the Detroit Red Wings, but the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed him off waivers before the season even started; he only played 7 games in Columbus before settling in the AHL for a few seasons and moving onto Europe, where he played in Germany in for two years, coming back to the AHL for a season split between two teams, and playing in Italy last year.

He's currently in an Austrian league.

This card is from Signature Rookies' 1995-96 Draft 96 set (card #7, numbered 2858/4500), and was signed in blue sharpie. I'm not sure if it was a lazy signature or if he was just trying to not have it hidden by the Sting's black, Bruins-like uniform, but he didn't waste a lot of ink on the card, that's for sure!

Paul Gaustad: 3 Autographed 4X6 Pictures

Now that I have time to start unpacking my things, I came across this neat return I hadn't talked about yet...

Paul Gaustad is nicknamed ''Goose'' because, at 6'5'' and nearly 220 pounds, he towers over most NHL players, and also happens to be stronger than they are. After starting as a fourth-liner/enforcer in 2005, Gaustad climbed his way into becoming the Buffalo Sabres' best (and only decent) face-off man, winning over 60% of them in his past two seasons there.

I sent him these three pictures on December 21st, 2011, care of the Sabres. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked when they traded him to the Nashville Predators two months later (February 27th, 2012), but I did get these back, signed in ball point pen with his jersey number (28) at the end, in April, 2012.

As usual, I did my best to send him pictures featuring different uniforms - all of them with the Associate Captain's 'A' - to get away from redundancy, and to display the many jerseys the Sabres keep throwing at us year in and year out...

Firstly, a design reminiscent of their best look, the 1980s:
Back then, white was for the home uniform; now it serves for away games. The colours work very well together, I just really hate the jersey number appearing (and taking over too much space) in front, football-style; it's already on the shoulders and back (and now also on helmets), what more do you need?

Secondly, a hybrid of their 1980s jersey with the late-2000s slug design:
The team liked the piping, front-numbering and the darker blue, the fans hated the slug and wanted the old logo back. In the name of compromise, this is what came about. Gaustad makes it look good, though.

And lastly, the ''College-style'' lettering crushing the logo on the Sabres' best use of blue-and-yellow/gold:
Seriously, these colours with the original logo would have been a perfect match, for a jersey that looks so modern and yet so classic, that screams 'Sabres' (a lot more than it should 'Buffalo', anyway).

Now I won't say I never thought Gaustad would ever get traded; in today's NHL, most players will play for 5 different teams, or more. But as a Fargo, North Dakota native, I would have seen him with the Minnesota Wild more than the Preds. Heck, with the Philadelphia Flyers, considering his physical style of play.

What I really would have wanted, though, was him with my hometown Montréal Canadiens, centering the third line, with Zenon Konopka centering the fourth - two monsters who intimidate but are also among the league leaders in face-offs won. You can't go wrong with starting most plays in possession of the puck, and physical giants who can actually play the game are also always welcome. Throw in additional minutes on short powerplays posted in front of the net obstructing the goalie's view and you'd have yourself a winner, methinks.

Perhaps another time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Craig Rivet Autographed Team Postcard

Like Jeff Hackett, Craig Rivet didn't seemed too pleased to sign an autograph to someone barely 5 years younger than him when I met him at the team Jamboree in 2002. On the other hand, he did seem moody for most of his (parts of) 12 seasons here, be it in restaurants, in the media, or in comments he'd make just to piss people off, like when he re-signed with the San Jose Sharks in 2007 (''Playing here sure beats playing in Montréal, if only because I don't have to remove snow from my car every day'').

He was a dependable stay-at-home defensive defenseman who never backed out of rough play, but rarely initiated it, either. He was a close friend to captain Saku Koivu, and like all of Koivu's friends, was eventually traded after a conflict with a head coach. Rivet's trade to San Jose, however, netted the Habs (even more dependable) rear-end Josh Gorges and (a first-round pick who became) young power forward Max Pacioretty, so I'll take trades like that any day.

In any event, Rivet signed this team-issued postcard for me in blue sharpie, and even though it isn't too clear, he added his jersey number (52) - it's more obvious on the back of the card, which displays a fac-simile autograph.

After playing for the Habs and Sharks, Rivet had a short stint as captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and was claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He now plays in the ECHL, for the Elmira Jackals.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cam Atkinson Swatch Card

Although he was chosen in the 6th round by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008 (157th overall), Cam Atkinson has proven to be a goal-scoring machine at every level - particularly of the hat trick variety.

In 2009-10, he led all NCAA scorers with 30 goals in 42 games for the Boston College Eagles (he scored 31 in 38 the following year, but didn't lead). During a 10-game stretch in 2009-10, he scored three hat tricks.

In his first stint with the AHL's Springfield Falcons following his collegiate career, he scored 3 goals and added two assists for 5 points in 5 games. In his actual rookie season, he played in the All-Star Game and when called up to the NHL, he went 7-7-14 in 27 games including... a hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche.

I got this little gem of a card on Ebay two weeks ago for a cool $4. It's from Panini's 2011-12 Prime set (card #45 in the Prime Time Rookie sub-set, numbered 6/25), and features an amazing 3-colour swatch involving multiple stitching that came from the (game-worn) jersey's arms.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

David Belitski Autograph Card

David Belitski was a moderately successful goalie in the OHL, with two winning seasons (out of 4) with the Kitchener Rangers but an unfortunate GAA over 4.00 for his career in juniors which led to his not being drafted by NHL teams and a career that was spent mostly in second-tier leagues in Germany, but also with 4 ECHL teams, 3 games with the AHL's Toronto Roadrunners, and 11 games in 2000-01 in the WPHL with the Lake Charles Ice Pirates - a team and league I had no idea even existed. (Now I want cards of them). He seems to have retired after a 3-game stint with the ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings in 2006-07, filling in for then-Vancouver Canucks' prospect Julien Ellis.

And you know what? That's fine, because that's more pro games than I will (likely) ever play. And perhaps more tourism than I'll ever live to see, as well.

This is card #3 in Signature Rookies' 1995-96 Draft 96 set of signed cards to be inserted in packs of random brands/random pack cubes, was signed in skinny blue sharpie (with his jersey number #1 added), and is numbered 3373/4500. It sees him sporting the Rangers' white (home) jersey, and Louisville equipment which I never particularly liked: the gloves seemed like pale imitations of the ones Brian's made, and the blocker and pads looked and felt like Vaughn knock-offs, particularly Vaughn's Legacy 2000 series - which may explain why very few marquee NHL goalies wore them (I was a Brian's man myself). Cool, simple mask, though.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paige Peterson Autograph Card

It's been a long time since I've made a model post, even though I've been falling on quite a few signed cards of late...

In that regard, I decided to feature someone I'd already talked about, Paige Peterson. The car is from Benchwarmer's 2012 Daisy Dukez set (card #52). For a little less than $100 (a little more after Canadian/Québec taxes...), a box of these usually lands you roughly 10 autographed cards and a shot at other types of memorabilia cards, such as some with embedded pieces of clothing, including the famous Daisy Duke shorts. They even got Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke herself) in the set!

I tried to find out more about Paige Peterson that I hadn't gotten into the last time around, but it seems she hasn't been in any movies since 2008's Meet the Spartans, and Benchwarmer's the only steady job she's got (good on them for sticking with her even after her arrest). Speaking of that, I don't know what ever came out of that domestic dispute, either - whether they're still together, if she did jail time, nothing.

I wish her the best...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Henry Fonda Swatch Card

Sometimes a story and an actor are a perfect match, and for terrific actors, it can happen more than once. In Henry Fonda's case, there may have been more than a half dozen such cases, the most renowned possibly being The Grapes Of Wrath, 12 Angry Men and Once Upon A Time In The West.

The Grapes Of Wrath is probably the one that struck me the most, seeing as John Steinbeck's book is a classic in itself, with a ton of amazing quotes that still ring true today:
Seems like the government's got more interest in a dead man than a live one.
That's why when I saw this card on Ebay going for just about the same amount as the stamp that's on it (ok, fine, a dollar), I just had to take it. It's from Panini's 2010 Century Collection (card #6, Hollywood Materials sub-set, numbered 57/250) in Donruss Americana packs. It contains a swatch of what could be a jacket, pants, or maybe a couch, I'm really not sure - but it's thick, hard, and rough.

In addition to acting up a storm on the screen and on Broadway, he also upped the gene pool by fathering Peter Fonda and Jane Fonda, also film legends.

Martin Biron Autographed Card

I think he could have been a decent, consistent #1 goalie in the NHL, but unfortunately for Martin Biron, he was with the Buffalo Sabres overlapping both the Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller eras, two of the best goalies of their generations (Hasek, in my opinion, trailing only Patrick Roy in the 90s - well ahead of Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph - and Miller in a top-5 that includes Henrik Lundqvist, Miikka Kiprusoff, Roberto Luongo and one of Tomas Vokoun or José Theodore for his own decade).

As a matter of fact, the Sabres had so much faith in Biron that they made him the 16th overall pick in 1995, in the first round despite having Hasek already in nets. The only goalie chosen before him was Jean-Sébastien Giguère. Both were nominated as the CHL's Goalie Of The Year in 1995 - Biron won.

In his first few years in Buffalo, Biron wore #00 - the same he wore in juniors, as can be attested by this card, #16 in Classic's 1995-96 Hockey Draft 95 set where he's sporting the Beauport Harfangs' black (away) jersey; however, a glitch in the NHL's statistics software forced a rule that limited jersey numbers to be between 1 and 98 (Wayne Gretzky's 99 was retired league-wide), at which point Biron switched to #43, which he still holds.

Apart from the numbers thing, Biron might also be remembered for his performance against my hometown Montréal Canadiens in 2007-08, when he dominated Carey Price in winning the series 4-1, never making less than 30 saves per game. His Philadelphia Flyers may have lost in the Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but his performance against the Habs was the most dominating of that year's playoffs.

After a brief stint with the New York Islanders, he moved on to be Lundqvist's backup with the New York Rangers, a position he still holds today. Or would, if there were a season.

I got him to sign this card in blue sharpie in the late 90s when he appeared at a hockey school where I was teaching. We played a scrimmage against one another that finished 15-12 for my team; as far as NHL players go, Patrick Lebeau scored 5 goals on him, while Benoit Hogue and Sylvain Turgeon each scored 3 on me.

I had a huge stash of this exact card (still do, actually, probably 35 or 40 of them), and had originally planned on getting more signed, but in the end I chickened out and was too shy to ask for more than a couple.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ian Gordon Autograph Card

Never drafted in the NHL, Ian Gordon still managed to make his way through the ''prospects'' set 1995-96 Draft Day (card #13) by Signature Rookies. It is signed in thin blue sharpie, and numbered 330/4500 and sees him wearing the Saskatoon Blades' white (home) jersey.

After his stint in juniors, first with the Swift Current Broncos, then the Blades, Gordon went on to play parts of two seasons with the AHL's Saint John Flames, then three-and-a-half years in the IHL with three different teams, before moving onto the German League. Not only has he won a league championship with the Frankfurt Lions, he's actually still playing this season, having appeared in 10 games so far with the Ingolstadt ERC, with former NHL prospect Tyler Bouck, going 6-4-0 with a 2.39 GAA, .911 save % and one shutout.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Craig Billington Autograph Card

Still sifting though my stuff after my summer move, slowly but surely finding what I need and classifying them in binders, alphabetically...

Almost a month to the day after my last Craig Billington post comes this one, this time with the Colorado Avalanche, coming off a 11-8-2 season (2.65 GAA, .909 save %).

You'll notice he's pretty much in the same position as the last card, too, next to his right post - although last time seemed more like an action shot, whereas this looks like a warm-up situation. This time, it's Pinnacle Brands manufacturing the 1997-98 Be A Player set (the previous Billington was by Upper Deck and didn't own the rights to showcase NHL jerseys, this time, for card #138, Pinnacle does but chooses not to!), showing him in the Avs' white (home) jersey.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shane Kenny Autograph Card

It seems Sal's at his last ''NHL Bust'' post for a while, and once again, I too have the exact same Shane Kenny card! That's the sixth post of identical players we've shared recently!

A second-round choice of the Philadelphia Flyers, 48th overall in 1995, concluded his OHL career by playing 59 games with the Sarnia Sting after three-plus seasons with the Owen Sound Platers, in which the 6'3'', 230-lbs defenseman averaged more than half a point per game, and two penalty minutes per.

He never played in the NHL; instead, he bounced from minor league to minor league, playing 24 games in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, a bunch in the UHL, IHL, and ECHL, parts of two years in Holland, and two stints in the Québec Senior League (now the NAHL) with the Laval Chiefs. I strongly recommend the documentary The Chiefs to understand how bad an ordeal that was - sleeping in 'lost' rooms at the arena, sharing bunk beds while rats roam around, with a prison in the backyard. I played there myself, in 1995-96 as a third-string goalie/relief goon with the Laval Titans, but also as a student and later assistant-teacher (for goalies) at the Jacques St-Jean hockey school.

This card, showing Kenny with the Platers' white (home) jersey, is from Signature Rookies' 1995-96 Draft 96 set (card #10, numbered #1165/4500 - Sal has #3085 or 3055, it's hard to decipher). Sal complained a tad about Kenny's signature (in thin blue sharpie), which seems just to be his initials; on the other hand, he did have 4500 of these to sign (and maybe others, as he may have been asked to sign or similar sets by the same company like Kevin Bolibruck), so one has to realize he probably didn't want to go all-out.