Monday, July 4, 2016

Mail - 5,000 Autograph Milestone

Its been too long since my last post but I've been busy with new work, school and a summer move. 22 New NHL autographs and 1 WHA autograph to show in this post. The grand total of unique NHL signatures in the collection is now exactly 5,017 for 67% of everyone who has ever played in the league. With the 5,000 mark milestone reached my next goal is for 75% of everyone to play in the NHL. 

Jay Beagle
Since 2009 Jay Beagle has played over 300 NHL games with the Washington Capitals. He was an undrafted grinder who has carved out a solid career as a 3rd/4th line NHL player. He still hasn't gotten a certified autograph card. 

Eriah Hayes
From 2013 to 2015 Eriah Hayes played 19 NHL games with the San Jose Sharks and scored 1 goal. He was signed by the Sharks as an undrafted Minnesota State alumni.

Sam Carrick
Drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2010, Sam Carrick played 19 games for the team from 2014 to 2016. He was recently signed by the Chicago Blackhawks. His younger brother, Trevor, has also played in the NHL.

Aaron Volpatti
An undrafted Brown University alumni, Aaron Volpatti went on to play over 100 games in the NHL between 2010 and 2015. He was a member of the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals. This autograph is notable because I now only need one more player to complete the 2010/2011 debuts. The last player I need from the 149 debuts that season is Mark Fayne (who I've written to 3 times already). 

John Emmons
John emmons was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1993 but never suited up for the club. He spent four years at Yale University before starting his pro career in 1996. In 1993 and 1994 Emmons represented USA at the World Junior Championships. From 1999 to 2002 he played 85 games in the NHL, dressing for the Senators, Lightning and Bruins.

Dan Focht
Defenceman Dan Focht was drafted 11th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996 making him the first player ever drafted by the Coyotes. His six for six frame and 240 pound build made him such a desirable prospect but Focht never developed into a star player. He spent a while in the minors and from 2001 to 2004 he played just 82 career games in the NHL between the Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jeff Christian
 From 1991 to 1998 Jeff Christian played 18 career games in the NHL, scoring 2 goals and 4 points. He was a member of the Devils, Penguins and Coyotes. As you can see the, unfortunately Christian's marker was dying a little. It pales to another return I should have been able to post this week. Iiro Jarvi returned my request all the way from Europe but he used such a bad marker that you can barely tell he even signed it. This one is far from that bad and the scan actually makes it appear worse than it really is. 

Greg Brown
A Boston College alumni, Greg Brown represented USA at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. From 1990 to 1995 the defenceman played 100 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He played for the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. Since 2004 Brown has been an assistant/associate coach with Boston College. His brother, Doug, also played in the NHL.

Paul Cavallini
Defenceman Paul Cavallini is best remembered for representing the St. Louis Blues at the 1990 NHL All-Star game. It was a well deserved honour as Cavallini won the NHL Plus-Minus Award that season with a +38 rating. From 1986 to 1996 Cavallini played 564 regular season games in the NHL between the Capitals, Blues and Stars. His younger brother, Gino, also played in the NHL.

Doug Palazzari
One of the shortest players to make the NHL, at 5'.05" Doug Palazzari went undrafted but gained attention due to stellar career at Colorado College from 1970 to 1974. In 1973 and 1974 he was a member of America's World Championship Hockey teams. The son of NHLer Aldo Palazzari,  from 1974 to 1979 Doug played just over 100 NHL games with the St. Louis Blues and in 1976 was named to USA's Canada Cup team. After retiring he became deeply involved in USA Hockey and in 2000 Palazzari was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bruce Major
A University of Main alumni, Bruce Major played 4 NHL games with the 1990/91 Quebec Nordiques. 

Bill Riley
A native of Amherst, Nova Scotia Bill Riley played three years of senior hockey in BC after his junior career was over. It was in the senior leagues that Washington found Riley and made him just the third black hockey player ever to play in the NHL. Doing a little reading about Mr. Riley, one thing is clear is that he's a great person and ambassador to the game. I think from this wonderful signature alone you can tell Riley is someone that would be a joy to meet. 

Bob Dupuis
Bob Dupuis is notable for two things. In 1980 he was Team Canada's goalie at the Winter Olympics and later in the year he was signed and played 1 NHL game with the 1979/80 expansion Edmonton Oilers. 

David H. Jensen
There were two NHL players named David Jensen who played during the 1980s. They actually both played on the 1984 US Olympic team, which I'm sure confused a number of people. This David Jensen played 18 career NHL games with the Minnesota North Stars from 1984 to 1986. In 1986 he also represented USA at the World Hockey Championships.

Timo Blomqvist
From 1981 to 1987 defenceman Timo Blomqvist played 243 regular season games in the NHL. He spent most of that time with the Capitals but ended his North Amrican career a New Jersey Devils. He later captain team Finland at the 1988 Winter Olympics, leading the team to a Silver medal. He also represented Finland at the 1992 Olympics.

Randy Johnston
Defenceman Randy Johnston played 4 games with the 1979/80 New York Islanders, a team that went on to win the Stanley Cup that season. He put up great numbers in the minors but was in a strong Islanders organization until he retired in 1983. 

Lawrence Sacharuk
In Larry Sacharuk's last season of junior hockey, while a member of the Saskatoon Blades, the defenceman scored 50 goals. According to Greatest Hockey Legends, that makes him the only rearguard to accomplish such a feat in a professional or major junior league, surpassing even Bobby Orr for the record. From 1972 to 1977 Sacharuk played over 150 games in the NHL and scored 20 goals from the blueline but wasn't able to stick in the league. His shot, however, was still known as one of the hardest around. Sacharuk also later played 15 games in the WHA for the Indianapolis Racers.

Bob Berry
Bob Berry made his NHL debut with the 1968/69 Montreal Canadiens, playing two games for a club that went on to claim their second Stanley Cup in as many years. It was with LA that Berry found his game. With the LA Kings Berry was an NHL All-Star in 1973 and 1974. He scored a career high 36 goals for the 1972/73 Kings. After retiring he returned to the NHL as a head coach and spent time as bench boss for the LA Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

Terry Murray
From 1972 to 1982 defenceman Terry Murray played over 300 games in the NHL. He played for the California Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals. 

Ian Cushenan
I've heard that Cushenan is a tough signer so I was thrilled to get this request back. The only strange thing about this return is that Cushenan seems to have wanted to keep my index card so he (or a helper/relative) scanned it and printed a copy, which he then signed and sent to me. I usually double check tough old signers to make sure the autograph is legit and this one is as it matches all examples I have of Cushenan's signature. He was known as a tough defenceman and from 1956 to 1964 Cushenan played 129 games in the NHL's Orignial Six era. He was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings. He's most notable for winning the Stanley Cup with the 1959 Montreal Canadiens and being named an NHL All-Star in 1958 while with Chicago.

Kelly Burnett
I had tried sending to Burnett once before and this was such a quick return that I have to believe the post office lost the first one. Kelly Burnett scored 1 goal in 3 career NHL games with the 1952/53 New York Rangers. He wrote back that his career highlight was scoring a goal in his first NHL game.

Rey Comeau
Rey Comeau made his NHL debut with the 1971/72 Montreal Canadiens but couldn't become a regular on the star-studded roster. From 1972 to 1978 he became an impact player for the Atlanta Flames. Comeau also spent a couple season with the Colorado Rockies before retiring in 1981 with well over 500 games played in the NHL. This was a different return. Comeau kept the index I made and instead of sending me a signed card to replace it, he included 13 old cards! I had a hard time deciding which to keep for the collection but this one had, in my opinion, the nicest signature. 


Richard Dumas
This one goes into the ever growing WHA collection of guys who played in the Rebel League but not the NHL. Richard Dumas appeared very briefly in 1 WHA game with the 1974/75 Chicago Cougars. In his note he said that he got invited to a Cougars training camp and from there was assigned to their farm club in Long Island. He said that in addition to playing in that game he also dressed as a backup in 8 more WHA games over his two years with the organization. 

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