Monday, September 1, 2014

Brian Elliott

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Brian Elliott
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 14
Percentage: 23%

Currently with the St. Louis Blues. 

Fan letter sent: December 30, 2013. 

Autographs received: February 20, 2014.

With Ryan Miller out of the picture, Brian Elliott looks set to take over the number one goaltending job for the St. Louis Blues. He neatly signed all three cards sent in thin blue marker, adding 30 next to his name.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nick Schultz

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Nick Schultz
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 13
Percentage: 21%

Currently with the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Fan letter sent: December 30, 2013. 

Autographs received: February 15, 2014.

Honestly, I needed to take a little break from this blog. That "little break" ended up being almost five months. But the important thing to remember about blogging is that if you don't feel like doing it, your work will suffer and your readers will notice.

That said, I have a STACK of autographed cards that I acquired over the summer, so expect an update to this blog every day for the foreseeable future.

When I wrote to Nick Schultz in December 2013, he was still with the Edmonton Oilers. Shortly after I received these cards, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Earlier this summer, he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent.

Schultz signed all four cards sent in a black Sharpie marker that seems to be running out of ink. Turnaround time was about six weeks.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chris Kotsopoulos

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Chris Kotsopoulos
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 12
Percentage: 20%

Retired player. Currently a broadcaster for WQUN (Quinnipac University) in Connecticut.

Fan letter sent: January 21, 2014.

Autographs received: February 14, 2014.

On the same day I that received autographed cards from Raphael Diaz, I also received signed cards from former NHLer Chris Kotsopoulos. Coincidentally, I sent letters out to both of them on the exact same day.

Kotsopoulos broke into the NHL with the New York Rangers, spent the next four seasons with the Hartford Whalers and then the four after that with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings, but only played two games with them -- and the rest in the AHL -- in the final year of his career.

Kotsopolous kindly signed my four OPC trading cards in black Sharpie marker. He now works as a broadcaster, doing color commentary for college hockey games for WQUN. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raphael Diaz

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Raphael Diaz
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 11
Percentage: 18%

Currently with the New York Rangers.

Fan letter sent: January 21, 2014.

Autographs received: February 14, 2014.

Raphael Diaz was traded two times this season. He started the 2013-14 campaign with the Montreal Canadiens. In February, he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks and then re-traded in March to the New York Rangers. Diaz also played for Team Switzerland in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Diaz signed both of my cards in blue Sharpie marker. I received them shortly after he was traded to the Canucks.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

FAILURE - Anton Stralman

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Anton Stralman

Currently with the New York Rangers.

Request letter sent: January 2, 2014.

Unsigned cards received: February 4, 2014.

This was my third -- and so far final -- failure from the Rangers this season. I sent Anton Stralman two cards, thinking that maybe I had a shot.

But, as expected, I got back my cards unsigned. I also got this generic Rangers card that features a group shot and says "This is New York Hockey." The card is the height of a standard trading card but the width of three-and-a-half cards. I guess that, like Cam Talbot, Stralman doesn't rate high enough to get his own team card to be sent back to anyone who writes him a fan letter. Never mind the fact that he's in his third season with the Rangers. Or perhaps he got so many fan letters this year that the Rangers' PR office ran out of Stalman cards to send, panicked, and sent me this group photo instead.

Still, the Rangers are pathetic when dealing with fan mail. So are the New Jersey Devils, as long as I'm on the topic.

In the next few days, I will feature some actual TTM successes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FAILURE - Cam Talbot

hockey cardCam Talbot

Currently with the New York Rangers.

Request letter sent: January 4, 2014.

Unsigned cards received: February 4, 2014.

The Rangers are terrible when it comes to responding to fan mail. Since 2006, I've only had successes with coach Jon Tortorella in 2011 and winger Nigel Dawes in 2009. Back in the 1990s, I got through to Bob Froese and Wayne Presley amid the multiple failures.

Since backup goaltender Cam Talbot is playing in his first NHL season with the Blueshirts, I thought that perhaps he would sign some cards for me.

Nope!

Not only did I get my two cards back unsigned, but the Rangers front office person who "answered" my letter -- and misspelled my name on the envelope -- included this tall card of Henrik Lundqvist.

In other words, I wrote to the Rangers' rookie backup goaltender and got a card of their starting goaltender. But I know better than to write to King Henrik.

Bottom line: writing to New York Rangers players is a waste of postage. These tall cards are kind of neat, though.

Monday, April 7, 2014

FAILURE - Rick Nash

hockey cardRick Nash

Currently with the New York Rangers.

Request letter sent: December 27, 2013.

Unsigned cards received: February 4, 2014.

It has been a long time -- almost two months -- since I've last updated this blog. I wasn't getting many TTM successes because I haven't sent out a lot of letter this season. Other things have kept me busy, and frankly, I needed to take a bit of a break from this blog. But now I'm back for the time being.

The New York Rangers are one of the worst teams to write to for autographs. Most of the time, players do not sign anything you mail them. It was like that in the 1990s, and it is still like that today.

But when Rick Nash was with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he always responded to autograph requests. Since starting this blog during the 2006-07 season, I've received five successes with Nash: early 2007, late 2007, early 2008, late 2008 and early 2010. I also have one request from 2011 that was never returned.

So I figured that since Nash was so fan-friendly in Columbus, perhaps it was worth a shot writing to him in the Big Apple.

But that was not the case. I received my 2012-13 OPC card unsigned, as well as this tall, team-issued card. The back of the card has facts about Nash, a short form letter thanking me for my support and a facsimilie autograph.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Greg Andrusak

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Greg Andrusak

Retired player.

Autographed insert card.

Purchased at a card show in late 2013.

Greg Andrusak played 12 years of pro hockey, though only 28 games were in the NHL: 16 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and 9 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The rest of his career was spent in the minor leagues or in Europe.

Andrusak played for the Chicago Wolves during the 1999-2000 season. That year, the team won their second Turner Cup Championship.

This is another card from the 1994 Classic 4 Sport set. It is signed in blue Sharpie marker and hand-numbered 2840 / 2960. Why it would be "limited" to 2960 is beyond me. Andrusak is pictured here with the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the "old" International Hockey League.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Todd Marchant

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Todd Marchant

Retired player. Currently the Director of Player Development with the Anaheim Ducks.

Autographed insert card.

Purchased at a card show in late 2013.

Todd Marchant, drafted in 1993 by the New York Rangers, had an impressive career. He played 16 seasons in the NHL, appearing in 1,195 games. It was a stable career too, as he did not change teams often in that span. Marchant won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

This card is from the Classic 4 Sport set issued in 1994. It pictures Marchant with the Cape Breton Oilers, is signed in blue Sharpie marker, and hand-numbered 857 / 3100. I think I paid $1 for this card, which was well worth it considering Marchant's impressive NHL resume.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ryan Whitney

hockey cardRyan Whitney

Currently with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL).

Autograph found in a pack of Beehive trading cards

Ryan Whitney has been an NHL regular since the 2005-06 season. But this year he was sent to the minors after six games with the Florida Panthers.

This card is from the 2005-06 Beehive Hockey set. I bought a box last year and got this card in one of the packs. It is signed in blue Sharpie marker and on-card -- not on a sticker, though that might have been OK since it might have enhanced the "scrapbook" feel of this Signature Scrapbook card.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rob Flick

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Rob Flick
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 10
Percentage: 16%

Currently with the Providence Bruins (AHL).

Fan letter sent: January 4, 2014.

Autographs received: January 31, 2014.

Center Rob Flick was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, but spent all of his pro career in the minors with both the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) and the Toledo Walleye (ECHL). He is currently in the Boston Bruins' system, playing for their AHL affiliate in Providence.

Flick signed both of my cards in black Sharpie marker. He wrote 26, his uniform number on the 2011-12 card (left). On the 2012-13 card, he put 4 under his signature, which doesn't make sense; he wore 26 for the IceHogs and 10 for the Bruins, so I'm not sure where 4 came from. I'm still glad that he signed the card, though. I now have eight cards from this set autographed.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blake Geoffrion

hockey cardBlake Geoffrion

Retired player. Currently a pro scout with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fan letter sent: November 23, 2012.

Autographs received: January 29, 2014.

Blake Geoffrion, as you may have guessed from his name, comes from a long line of hockey players. He was a fourth generation NHL player. His father Dan played in the NHL, as did his grandfather Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion. What I didn't know is that Blake's great grandfather was Howie Morenz.Although Blake's career was cut short due to a skull injury, it is fortunate that he got to play some games for the Montreal Canadiens.

Geoffrion was a WCHA First Team All-Star and won the Hobey Baker Trophy as the top collegiate player in 2009-10. He now works as a pro scout for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This return took a while, which is understandable given that Geoffrion got injured, had to retire and then change careers. Seeing how much happened over the past year, it was still very thoughtful to autograph my card. Curiously, the Canadian stamp I put on my return envelope "worked," as the U.S. Post Office postmarked it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ben Simon

hockey cardBen Simon
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 9
Percentage: 15%

Currently the head coach of the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL).

Fan letter sent: January 21, 2014.

Autographs received: January 28, 2014.

Ben Simon was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1997, but he never played for that team. He did play for the AHL's Chicago Wolves in the early-to-mid 2000s, so he is known in Chicago. Simon worked as an assistant coach with the Rockford IceHogs -- the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate -- during the past two years. He is now the head coach of the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones.

Simon autographed my card in black Sharpie marker. He personalized it "To Sal, All the best!" A very nice return from the former Chicago hockey player.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Martin St. Pierre

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Martin St. Pierre
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 8
Percentage: 13%

Currently with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL).

Fan letter sent: January 2, 2014.

Autographs received: January 25, 2014.

Martin St. Pierre was the Rockford IceHog's team captain during the 2012-13 season. He is now with the Montreal Canadiens organization, currently playing for their AHL affiliate in Hamilton. He did play one game for the Habs this year so far, though.

St. Pierre has played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. He's also played in Finland, Austria and Russia.

St. Pierre autographed my three cards in the dreaded ballpoint pen -- though it does look  good on the retro-esque IceHogs card from 2012-13.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Benoit Cote

hockey cardBenoit Cote

Retired player.

Signed insert card. Given to me by a fellow autograph collector. 

Benoit Cote was selected in the 9th round, 237th overall, by the Florida Panthers in the the 1997 NHL Entry draft.

Somehow, that merited him inclusion in Boman's 160-card prospect set from 1997. Like, pretty much anyone picked, say, 1 to 236.

The card is a certified autograph, nicely signed in blue Sharpie marker. Cote also added #28 below his name.

After playing major junior, Cote played college hockey in Canada, followed by senior amateur hockey. He retired from playing after 2005-06.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Freddie Hamilton

hockey cardFreddie Hamilton

Currently with the Worcester Sharks (AHL).

Autograph given to me by a friend in 2013.

Freddie Hamilton made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks this year. He spent all of last season and most of this season with the Worcester Sharks.

Last fall, a friend of mine (who asked to remain anonymous) got this card signed in-person by Hamilton before a Worcester Sharks game. So, thanks to my "friend" for this card.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Cliff Koroll

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Cliff Koroll

Retired player.

Autographs purchased on eBay late last year.

Cliff Koroll spent his entire career with the Chicago Black Hawks -- first as a player, then as an assistant coach. After one year in the minors with the Dallas Black Hawks, Koroll skated 11 seasons for Chicago, scoring 462 points in 814 games.  After retiring in 1980, he worked for the 'Hawks as an assistant coach for six seasons (1980-81 to 1983-84 and then 1985-86 to 1986-87).

Both of these postcards are signed in blue Sharpie marker. They were part of a group of Black Hawks postcards that I purchased, mostly unsigned, on eBay last year.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dave Bolland

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Dave Bolland

Currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fan letter sent: December 30, 2013.

Autographs received: January 24, 2014.

Dave Bolland scored the game-winning goal in the series-clinching game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. His goal made it onto the cover of Sports Illustrated -- and into the nightmares of Bruins' fans for years to come.

Not long after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, Bolland was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was off to a decent start -- 10 points in 15 games -- but then sustained an ankle injury, causing him to miss the rest of the season thus far.

Bolland signed all four cards in black Sharpie marker, adding his number 36 inside of the "D." My favorite of the bunch is the 2010-11 Upper Deck card that shows Bolland celebrating a goal during the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. I even did a more in-depth writeup about this cool card over on Puck Junk.

This is the third success I have had with Bolland; he also signed cards for me through the mail in 2009 and 2010.


2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 7
Percentage: 11%

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Niklas Hjalmarsson

hockey cardNiklas Hjalmarsson
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 6
Percentage: 10%

Currently with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Fan letter sent: January 2, 2014.

Autographs received: January 22, 2014.

Niklas Hjalmarsson is one of the best defensemen for the Chicago Blackhawks -- third on the depth chart after Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, but most nights he is out against other teams' top forwards. He will play for Team Sweden in the 2014 Winter Olympics later this month.

Hjalmarsson autographed one of my cards in black Sharpie marker, but kept the other three! I'm a little bummed about this, because one of the cards was his 2008-09 Champ's rookie card. He did the same thing two years ago, when he signed one card (also in black) but kept two.

Regardless, it was very cool to get a reply from such a talented player.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dylan Olsen

hockey cardDylan Olsen
2013-14 TTM Stats
Letters sent: 60
Successes: 5
Percentage: 8%

Currently with the Florida Panthers.

Fan letter sent: January 2, 2014.

Autographs received: January 22, 2014.

Dylan Olsen was selected in the first round (28th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009. He did not really catch on with the team, and was recently traded to the Florida Panthers. Not coincidentally, Dale Tallon -- the Panthers' GM -- was the GM with the 'Hawks when Olsen was drafted.

Olsen signed this 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs team card in black Sharpie marker, adding his number 3 below his autograph. I also wrote to Olsen last season, and that was successful too.