Sunday, March 13, 2016

March Mail Highlighted by Russians & Czechs

35 autographs to show in this mail post. The total of unique NHL player autographs in my collection is now 4,868 for 67% of everyone who's ever played in the league. Coming close to the 5,000 milestone I've had my eye on for a while.

The first two autographs are my only purchases of late. Vlad has been on my want list for along time so I'm thrilled to pick up his only certified autograph. Next up are a bunch of TTM returns. There are also 9 autographs that come from a trade with an autograph collector from the Czech Republic.

Also in the mail this week were a couple sheets of German and Russian stamps. I hope to turn these into some TTM successes. I haven't had much success with sending to Russia but there are a number of former NHLers in the country that I need.

Vladimir Konstantinov
Vladimir Konstantinov's tragic story is well known in the hockey world. He was a star Russian defenceman who lead the league in plus/minus, was runner up to the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman and won the Stanley Cup in his last year of hockey. Less than a week after winning the Cup Konstantinov was paralyzed in a car accident. This is Konstantinov's only certified autograph and it was high on my wantlist for a long time.

Dmitry Korobov
Belarus native Dmitry Korobov was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. The defenceman played 3 NHL games with the 2013/14 Lightning. He's spent the last two seasons in the KHL. With Russia being a black hole for TTM autographs, I jumped on this Korobov KHL certified autograph when it became available at a reasonable price.

Darren Archibald
Darren Archibald scored 1 goal and 3 points in 16 career NHL games with the 2013/14 Vancouver Canucks. He was an undrafted free agent signing who played his junior hockey in the OHL with Barrie and Niagara. 

Chris Tanev
Since 2011 defenceman Chris Tanev has played nearly 300 games in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks. He was an undrafted free agent signing from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Tanev recently signed a five year extension with the Canucks. 

Brandon Davidson
Drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NHL draft, Brandon Davidson has spent the entire 2015/16 season in the NHL with Edmonton. The defenceman had a breakout season in 2014/15 and made the NHL squad. Davidson was not only an underdog prospect, he successfully defeated cancer in 2013 when he was diagnosed during his first season of pro hockey. 

Bryce Van Brabant
Bryce Van Brabant played 6 games in the NHL at the end of the 2013/14 season with the Calgary Flames. He was signed by the Flames as a free agent at the end of the 2013/14 season after Van Brabant finished his third year at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. He's since spent two years with the Flames but has spent all of that time in the AHL. I have to give kudos to Van Brabant for the gorgeous signature. 

Johan Sundstrom
Swedish centerman Johan Sundstrom played 11 NHL games with the 2013/14 New York Islanders. Drafted 50th overall by the Islanders in 2011, in 2012 he help Sweden win a Gold at the World Junior Championships. Sundstrom spent three years in the Islanders organization and in 2015 returned to Sweden. 

Damian Surma
Damian Surma played 1 game for the 2002/03 and 2003/04 Carolina Hurricanes. He actually recorded a goal and an assist in his 2 career NHL games. Surma had been drafted by Carolina in 1999 and he kept playing pro hockey until 2014.

Jason Ryznar
A University of Michigan alumni, Jason Ryznar played 8 games in the NHL with the 2005/06 New Jersey Devils. He spent two years in the Devils organization, one in the Minnesota Wild organization and retired from pro hockey in 2010. 

Eric Healey
Eric Healey played 2 career NHL games with the 2005/06 Boston Bruins as a 30 year old rookie. He was a free agent signing who had finished his college hockey career with R.P.I. in 1998. Healey made his NHL debut in his eight season of pro hockey, recording 2 penalty minutes and no points in his short stint with the Bruins. He retired from hockey in 2011.

Ryan Tobler
Ryan Tobler played 4 career NHL games with the 2001/02 Tampa Bay Lightning. He didn't score any points in his short NHL career but did record a fight with NHL heavyweight Peter Worrell. 

Jan Mertzig
Swedish defenceman Jan Mertzig played 23 games in the NHL with the 1998/99 New York Rangers.

Rusty Fitzgerald
From 1994 to 1996 Rusty Fitzgerald scored 2 goals and 4 points in 25 career regular season games in the NHL with Pittsburgh. His little brother, Zack, briefly played in the NHL in 2008.

Joaquin Gage
From 1994 to 1996 Joaquin Gage played 18 games in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers. Over four years later and after a stint with the Canadian National team, Gage returned to the NHL, playing 5 games with the 2000/01 Edmonton Oilers for a total of 23 career NHL games. 

Ken Holland
Since 1997 Ken Holland has been General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings and has found so much success in the role that a lot of people don't even know he had a short career as an NHL goalie. Originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in 1975, Holland played a game for the 1980/81 Hartford Whalers and 3 with the 1983/84 Detroit Red Wings. As GM with Detroit he won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

Marc Behrend
Marc Behrend had a stellar junior career at the University of Wisconsin. He was USA's goalie at the 1984 Olympics, playing in 4 games. From 1984 to 1986 he played 39 games in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets. He became a firefighter after retiring from hockey.

Peter Ambroziak
Peter Ambroziak recorded 1 assist in 12 career NHL games with the 1994/95 Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres had drafted Ambroziak in the fourth round of the 1991 NHL draft.

Steve Tuttle
From 1988 to 1991 Steve Tuttle scored 28 goals and 56 points in 144 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues. He was a University of Wisconsin alumni who had been drafted by the Blues in 1984.

Jim Ennis
Drafted by the Oilers after his first season at Boston University, defenceman Jim Ennis played 5 games in the NHL with the 1987/88 Edmonton Oilers. In 1989 he was traded from the Oilers to Hartford for Norm Maciver. Maciver went on to have a long NHL career while Ennis never played in the NHL for the Whalers. Ennis retired in 1990 after just one year in the Whalers system. 

Todd Strueby
In 1982,  Strueby was a member of Canada's fist World Junior Championship Gold medal winning team. From 1981 to 1983 Todd Strueby played 5 games with Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers. He recorded an assist in his only game for the 1983/84 Oilers, a team that went on to win the Stanley Cup. Stueby was traded to New York in 1985 but never played in the Big Apple. His son, Matt, recently played pro hockey as well but never made it to the big leagues.

Dave Logan
From 1975 to 1981 Dave Logan played over 200 games in the NHL. He spent most of that time with the Chicago Blackhawks but finished his NHL career with a brief stint as a Vancouver Canuck. The defenceman recorded 5 goals, 34 points and 35 fights at the NHL level.

Bob Murray (b. 1948)
I noted the birthdate because this is a different Bob Murray than the current Ducks GM, who also played in the NHL. This Bob Murray played 204 regular season+playoff games in the NHL between 1973 and 1977. He was a member of the Atlanta Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

Victor Netchaev (aka Viktor Nechaev)
Victor Netchaev made NHL history October 1982 when he became the first player from the Soviet Union to play in the NHL. A couple days later he became the first Soviet to score a goal in the NHL. Netchaev grew up in Siberia and at one point played for the tier 1 Leningrad Red Army team. At 27 he was allowed to leave Russia when he married an American student. At the time he was an average player in a tier 3 USSR league but the LA Kings got wind of his arrival and drafted him in 1982. Netchaev only played 3 career NHL games with the Kings and his North American hockey career was very brief. He does, however, hold an important note in NHL history being the first trained Russian to make it to the NHL. Netchaev's name is spelled so many ways I've lost track. I used this spelling on the card because it was how it was listed with the address I found and appears to be how he currently spells his name. I did ask in my letter if there was a correct spelling but he didn't say.

Greg Joly
Defenceman Greg Joly is most notable for being drafted 1st overall in 1974 by both the NHL's Washington Capitals and WHA's Phoenix Roadrunners. He signed with Capitals but only spent two season in Washingon. Joly was a high scoring junior player and lead the Regina Pats to the Memorial Cup in 1974 but wasn't able to translate that success to the NHL level. Joly spent most of his NHL career with the Red Wings. From 1974 to 1983 he played 365 regular season games in the NHL.

Ron Serafini
Ron Serafini played 2 games in the NHL with the 1973/74 California Golden Seals. He later played 16 games in the WHA with the 1975/76 Cincinnati Stingers.

John Newberry
From 1983 to 1986 John Newberry played 24 career regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He played for the Montreal Canadiens and Hartford Whalers. Unfortunately, as you can see this suffered some water damage along the way. The autograph itself is perfect so if the condition bothers me in the future I can easily make a custom cut with the signature. 

Steve Valiquette
From 1999 to 2010 Steve Valiquette played 46 games in the NHL. He played for the Islanders, Oilers and Rangers. Valiquette was a full time member of the Rangers for three seasons but didn't see much action as Henrik Lundqvist's backup. I'm happy to finally check Valiquette off my want list because I have a special place for goalie graphs and I've tried writing to Valiquette multiple times with no success. 

Alfie Michaud
An undrafted University of Main alumni, goalie Alfie Michaud played 2 NHL games with the 1999/00 Vancouver Canucks. 

Marek Posmyk
Czech defenceman Marek Posmyk was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 36th overall in 1996. He came to North America a year later and spent a couple seasons in the Leafs organization before being traded to the Lightning. It was the trade that brought Darcy Tucker to the Leafs. Posmyk played 18 NHL games with the 1999/00 Lighting and 1 game with the 2000/01 Lightning. 

Tomas Kurka
From 2002 to 2004 Tomas Kurka scored 3 goals and 5 points in 17 career NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina had drafted the Czech forward with the 32nd overall pick of the 2000 NHL draft. 

Vaclav Pletka
Czech forward Vaclav Pletka played 1 game in the NHL with the 2001/02 Philadelphia Flyers. He's still playing pro hockey at 36 and has spent his entire career in his native Czech Republic save for 2 seasons in North America with the Philly organization.

Tomas Zizka
From 2002 to 2004 Czech defenceman Tomas Zizka played 25 games in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings drafted Zizka in 1998 and convinced him to come to North America in 2001. He still plays pro hockey in his native Czech Republic. 

Michal Sivek
Drafted 29th overall by the Capitals in 1999, Sivek was traded to Pittsburgh in the Jaromir Jagr trade. With Pittsburgh, Sivek played 38 games in the NHL with their 2002/03 team. The Czech forward recorded 3 goals and 6 points. Unfortunately, you can see that Sivek really doesn't have much of an autograph.

Martin Prochazka
Czech forward Martin Prochazka played 29 games with the 1997/98 Toronto Maple Leafs and 3 games with the 1999/00 Atlanta Thrashers. He scored 2 goals and 7 points in his 32 career NHL games. Prochazka won a Gold medal at the 1998 Olympics with Czech Republic. 

Bobby Simpson
From 1976 to 1983 Bobby Simpson played 175 regular season games in the NHL. He was a member of the Flames, Blues and Penguins. I do have a TTM request out to Mr. Simpson so its possible that you'll see an upgraded Simpson autograph in the years of debut soon. 


As usual, I'll finish with my newly acquired hockey autographs that don't fall into my NHL player collection. Four additional signatures make 39 total autographs in this post. One for my WHA collection, one the NHL assistant coaches collection and two for the NHL officials collection.

Gene Peacosh
From 1972 to 1977 Gene Peacosh played 367 regular season games in the WHA. He suited up for the New York Raiders, New York Golden Blades, Jersey Devils, San Diego Mariners, Edmonton Oilers and Indianapolis Racers in his long WHA career. He was a good player and scored 165 goals and 330 points in his five seasons in the WHA. Before that he was a member of the Johnstown Jets in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was the team that inspired the Chiefs from the movie Slapshot.

Jim Hulton
From 2008 to 2011 Jim Hulton was assistant coach of the Florida Panthers. He's currently head coach of the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders. At last count I think I have about 20 autographs of guys who only made it to the NHL as assistant coaches.

Bob Langdon
From 2000 to 2006 Bob Langdon refereed 66 NHL games, spending most of his time in the AHL. If you have a few minutes, this is a pretty great read from reddit. Langdon went online and freely answered fan questions with some legendary replies like; "Darcy Tucker was a dick on the ice," "there was a guy in Hamilton, who would go to the games whenever I was in town, between anthems when it was all quiet he would yell 'You suck Langdon,' same time, every game," "I think I called Tie Domi a midget once. Then Pat Quinn yelled at me." Landgon actually answered my letter with replies (favourite moments) similar to what he said on the message board so it was definitely him. Great guy and I'm glad to add his autograph to my small but growing NHL officials collection. 

Don Koharski
Guys like Don Koharski are the reason I also collect NHL official autographs. Like him or not, if you watched NHL hockey in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s then you know exactly who Koharski is. With 1,719 regular season games and 13 Stanley Cup finals refereed, he has certainly had an impact in the NHL and is one of the most successful referees in league history.
If you watch Sportscenter Top 10s then you've also likely seen Koharski in the infamous clip from 1988 where Sabres head coach Jim Schoenfeld and Koharski got into a scuffle after a game and Schoenfeld called Koharski a fat pig and taunting him to ,"have another doughnut." 

No comments:

Post a Comment