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Monday, January 30, 2012

TTM: Leland Irving

   Leland Irving, a 1st round pick in 2006, made his NHL debut on December 16th, 2011 in a shootout loss vs the Florida Panthers.  In his next start, he earned the victory against the Vancouver Canucks and was 3:01 away from his first career shutout.  In the AHL last season, Irving posted a 2.30 GAA and a .913 Save percentage.  This season in the AHL, before being called up in December, Irivng had a 2.30 GAA and a .914 save percentage.  Irving is getting a chance at the back-up role while Henrik Karlsson is out with an injury.  
On the SASE, $1.03 was added by a postage meter, even though it had enough postage on it.  It was sent from within Canada and was under the 30gr weight.  So not only did Mr. Irving sign my pictures, and kept a copy of both as offered, he added extra, and unnecessary, postage.  It's the thought that counts and I thank Mr. Irving for ensure they pictures get back to me.

TTM: Kevin Todd

  Kevin Todd set a New Jersey Devils record for points by a rookie, since broken by Scott Gomez, with 63 points in 1991-92.  He earned a spot on the NHL's All-Rookie team.  Kevin was unable to reproduce that success.  He played 383 career games while playing for 5 franchises.  Mr. Todd signed 4 of 4.  



Friday, January 27, 2012

TTM: Jeff Hackett

  Jeff Hackett, over the course of 15 season and 6 franchises, played 500 NHL games.  Hackett never had much luck and often played on poor teams.  In 2003-04, after signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hackett finally had the chance to star on a contendor.  After a hot start, Hackett began to struggle and on January 22nd, 2004, he was diagnosed with Vertigo.  Hackett would never play in the NHL again.
  The Hackett genes run strong between the pipes as Jeff's nephew, Matt Hackett, made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild this season.  Mr. Hackett signed 3 of 3 and kept a copy of the picture as offered.  Thank you Mr. Hackett.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TTM: Marc Fortier

Marc Fortier was one of those players I latched onto as a kid.  He was my new favourite player, for a week or two.   Fortier scored 201 points in the QMJHL but was signed as a undrafted free agent by the Quebec Nordiques in 1987.  His best season was 1988-89 when he scored 20 goals in 59 games.  I was reminded of him while surfing youtube.  Watch this video and predict how many penalties he would have received if it was in 2011.  Mr. Fortier is currently the General Manager of his former QMJHL team, the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.

Where was I?

  I went for a day trip to Inuvik and I got back 12 days later.  We shouldn't have made the trip, the weather was bad and it was suppose to get worse, but we thought we'd make it back that night or maybe the next day at worst.  The blizzard raged on for 3 days, it even made the news.  Luckily, the company I work for had an extra staff house in Inuvik.  The cheapest hotel in town is $184 per night, so we saved over $2000 by staying in the staff house.  In the north, not all towns are connect by year round roads.  The town I live in has a winter ice road for 3-4 months a year.  It might be the only official road in North America that is located on the Arctic Ocean.  That road was wiped out by the blizzard.  So even after the 3 day blizzard subsided, I had to wait another 9 days while they remade the road.  I also had to leave the truck in Inuvik since it broke down three times and my boss wanted me to get back home ASAP.  I got a ride home in a 18-wheeler, just like on that Ice Road Truckers show, which by the way is coming to town to film next week.  That's just life in the North.
  So I haven't given up on posting TTMs or trying to finish the 88-89 OPC Tribute set.  It'll get done... eventually.

Friday, January 13, 2012

TTM: Mike Ridley

  Mike Ridley scored 758 points in 866 NHL games.  His best season was 1988-89 when he scored 41 goals and 89 points.  One thing Mike Ridley didn't do enough of was take shots.  Six times in his career he had a shooting percentage over 20% and his career mark of 19.3% is good for 10th all-time.
  My first attempt to Mr. Ridley was a RTS, but my second attempt scored 2 of 2, in 21 days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

88-89 OPC Tribute: Gaborik, Quick, Yzerman

  Marian Gaborik  has scored more goals so far this season, 23, than he did all of last year, 22.  The Rangers hope Gaborik can remain healthy for the entire season.  He has only played more than 65 games in two of the past seven seasons.

#78 - Marian Gaborik

  Jonathan Quick has himself in the early running for the Vezina trophy.  He leads the league in shutouts (6) and is top 5 in Save Percent (.934) and Goals Against Average (1.93).  Quick is a unrestricted free agent after the season.   Cha-Ching!

#79 - Jonathan Quick

  Steve Yzerman was inducted to the HHOF in 2009.  In his career, he has won three Stanley Cups, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a Canada Cup.  He retired with 692 goals, 1063 assists and 1755 points.  Good for 8th, 7th and 6th on their respective all-time lists.  Yzermna is currently the Vice President and General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightening.

#117 - Steve Yzerman

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TTM: Gilles Gratton

  Gilles Gratton is known more for his off ice personality than what he did on the ice.  "Gratoony the Loony" once refused to play since the moon was not lined up with Jupiter.  He was also known to growl at opposing players and to hang around the rink in the buff.  What he'll be best remember for is his hockey mask.  Often voted as one of the top hockey masks of all-time, his tiger mask has been attributed helping turning goalie masks from just a piece of equipment, into a work of art.
I sent Mr. Gratton a card and 2 copies of a picture.  He kept a copy of the picture as offered and sent back a signed picture and 2 cards.  He added the New York Rangers card.  He also sent a letter back answering my questions.  Mr. Gratton does not have the Tiger mask.  He left it at the arena when he retired.  It is currently in the HHOF. He has asked for the mask but the HHOF won't release it.  It really is an awesome mask.

  Check out the interview The Score did with Gilles Gratton.  It's funny that the two pictures I used to make my picture to TTM, are both featured in the video.  I guess The Score uses the same search engines as me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

TTM: Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco was a 2nd round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2011.  While Jurco is best known as a youtube sensation, he has put together a solid year in 2011-12.  He has 45pts in 30 games with the Saint John Seadogs and also had 8pts in 5 games at the WJC with Slovakia.  More impressive than his stats, is his signature.  He added 13 to both cards, which is his current number for the Seadogs.  Mr. Jurco signed 2 of 2 and kept a copy of each picture as offered.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

TTM: Pekka Rinne

  A 4 of 3 return from 2010-11 Vezina Finalist Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators.  Pekka signed both cards and signed 2 pictures, one personalized.  I had sent 2 copies of the picture with the offer he could keep the extra, but he signed both and returned them.  Nashville continues to be an offensively-challenged team.  They'll only go as far a Rinne carries them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

88-89 OPC Tribute: Karlsson, Campbell, and Neely

Erik Karlsson is currently leading all NHL defencemen in points and in All-Star balloting.  The Senators traded up, 18th overall to 15th, in the 2008 draft to select Karlsson.  Could a Norris Trophy be in his future?  Speaking of Norris Trophy candidates, Brian Campbell has found his game in Florida, after three subpar seasons in Chicago.  Although he helped the Hawks win a Cup in 2010, Campbell was viewed as a major disappointment after signing a large contract in 2008.

#75 - Erik Karlsson
#77 - Brian Campbell

  Cam Neely was inducted into the HHOF after a career shorten by knee injuries.  During the 1991 playoffs Cam Neely injured his knee on a hit by Ulf Samuelsson.  Neely played 22 games over the next two seasons.  In 1993-94, Neely scored 50 goals in 49 games and won the Bill Masterson Trophy.  Neely retired in 1996 after scoring 395 goals in 726 games.  His career 0.544 goals per game is 15th best all-time.  He currently the Vice President of the Boston Bruins.

#116 - Cam Neely

TTM: Craig Janney

  Craig Janney was one of the top set-up men of the early 1990s, being in the top 10 for assists four straight seasons.  Janney played in the 1988 Olympics for Team USA and also made it the Stanley Cup final the same season with the Boston Bruins.  Janney never made it back to the Finals.  In 1994, Janney refused to report to the Vancouver Canucks after being awarded as compensation for the signing of Petr Nedved.  The Blues made a trade to get Janney back from the Canucks.  The Canucks would make it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that season.  Janney would be traded during the next season to Winnipeg.   
  Mr. Janney signed 3 of 3 I sent him and also signed and returned the extra copy of the picture I sent.  I admit it seems kind of random to put Craig Janney as a St. Louis Blue on a 85-86 OPC card, but I wanted a Janney signature on a Blues card and I didn't have any of him as a Blue.  I had just finished the 86-86 OPC template and felt the need to use it.  I wish I used a different design.  Maybe then he would have kept a copy.  The player keeping a copy is almost as a big of deal of getting an autograph return for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Forgotten: Bob Mason

Bob Mason played in 145 career NHL games, played in the Olympics and was a member of Team USA for the 1987 Canada Cup.   Yet he has a total of 2 NHL cards.  Those cards are from the 2004-05 ITG Franchise set, almost 14 years after his last NHL game.  Bob Mason couldn't even crack the 1990-91 Pro Set edition.  So we'll right those wrongs and present to you the 1984-85 OPC Bob Mason rookie card.  Bob Mason is best known for his spread eagle stance after allowing the series winning goal in quadruple overtime in Game 7 versus the New York Islander in 1987.   Sport is cruel, as there is always a loser, no matter how well they played.  Today Mr Mason is in his 10th year as the goaltending coach for the Minnesota Wild.  He has helped the Wild win a William Jennings trophy and a Wild goalie has led the league in save percentage twice during his tenure.  

TTM: Milt Schmidt

Milt Schmidt is one of the all-time great Boston Bruins.  He was involved with the Boston Bruins from 1936 to 1975, as a player, coach and general manager.  Milt won 2 Stanley Cups as a player and 2 more as a GM.  Is he known as being part of the "Kraut Line", playing alongside childhood friends, and fellow HHOFers, Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer.  I sent Milt $5, which he donates to Cancer Research.  I read that he won't sign for free due to so many of his cards showing up on ebay.