Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hounding Report: TTMs, Dallas Stars Practice, and Jamie Benn at Tom Thumb, December 28

Been a while since I've been here, hasn't it?

It's been a quiet few weeks on the hounding front but I got a few other items in via mail and trades.  After a stop up in Wichita Falls over Christmas, I was able to grab a pair of TTM's that came in.  I had mentioned the Ron Sutter success a while back, and I was finally able to grab it.  Also coming in were four cards signed by NASCAR driver Mark Martin in 136 days via Waltrip Racing.

I also worked a few 50/50 deals with people and picked up a few sigs and unsigned cards (including a couple GUs) in a gift from a Secret Santa exchange at the TTM board.  The gift exchange netted me Paul Bissonnette, Rob Ray, Dan Carcillo, Riley Cote, Eric Boulton, and Zac Rinaldo. As a fan of the fighters, this was an awesome addition.

I also stopped over at Arron's to pick up some baseball 50/50 stuff from over the summer from a few AAA games he hit up in Oklahoma City. From those, I picked up a Ryan Wheeler, four of Ben Paulsen, a Hernan Iribarren, a Steven Hensley, a Paul Clemens, a Reid Brignac, an Alex Castellanos, two of Matt Magill, a Tony Gwynn Jr., and a Glenn Dishman.

I also made a deal with Liz from Missouri, another TTM board member.  She had sent me a bunch of Dallas Stars stuff early in the season, while I sent my Blues stuff up to her.  In addition, she found a few signed cards for the Upper Deck Rookie Class sets I'm doing. So from those she sent me Patrik Berglund, Matt D'Agostini, Cory Schneider, Mark Fistric, Torrey Mitchell, Vladimir Sobotka, Drew Miller, and Kris Russell.  From the Blues, I got three Derek Roy, a Jay Bouwmeester, a Barret Jackman, and a Darren Pang.

Last but not least, Peter in Boston returned the stuff I sent for the Penguins, Blue Jackets, and Sabres.  In those were a Jared Boll, four Phil Bourque, a Chris Conner, two Matt D'Agostini, two Tyler Ennis, a Bob Errey, two Marcus Foligno, two Tony Granato, two Jack Johnson, a Jussi Jokinen, a Derek MacKenzie, a Jamie McBain, a Tyler Myers, a Ted Nolan, a Teppo Numminen, a Rob Ray, two Drew Stafford, a Henrik Tallinder, an R.J. Umberger, and a James Wisniewski.

So this put me at a net gain of 996 autographs on the season via hounding, TTM, trades, and pack pulls, minus those I sent out in trades or acquired specifically for other people.  For the first time in my graphing career, I hit 1000 for a calendar year as of today, three days before the end of 2013.

I picked up friend and TGC reader Chris this morning and we set off for Frisco to meet up with Arron and another friend, David.  We arrived pretty early, getting in at about 8:15, more than two hours ahead.  Our early arrival paid off though-- head coach Lindy Ruff signed for us, including the three  cards I had left of him.  Trevor Daley, currently on injured reserve, signed the lone card I had of him (for Liz).  Antoine Roussel was next through, putting the pen to two 2013-14 Stars Team Leaders cards, thus becoming the player to sign item #1000 on the season!  Ryan Garbutt signed the two cards I had for Liz, while Rich Peverley signed my final card for Harri, finally finishing off the cards I did for him.  Chris helped me out, getting an extra Peverley for me.  Aaron Rome was next, signing two cards I had for Liz.

And then the crowd hit.  All at once, we had about five guys all come through pretty quickly.  Cameron Gaunce signed the lone card I had of him, followed by Colton Sceviour, signing 8-- 3 for me, 3 for Eric in Rhode Island, and 2 for Gregg in Ohio.  Alex Goligoski was next, signing 4 for me and 2 more of mine that Chris got.  Of those six, four go to Liz and two to Andrew in New Jersey.  Brendan Dillon was the last of that whole group, signing the only card I had left of him.  The last player in was Sergei Gonchar, signing four.  I think I may finally be completely out of Gonchar cards, almost ten years after I bought most of them.  I picked up a ton at a store in Michigan after the Bruins acquired him, hoping I'd rack.  I did-- it just took longer than I expected.

While we waited to watch the players on the ice, I noticed assistant coach James Patrick chatting with someone at the opposite side of the rink.  Arron, David, and I figured we'd see if maybe he would sign.  After he got done chatting, he did, coming over and signing for us all, putting the pen to four of my cards.

After practice, I got Valeri Nichushkin on a puck for a friend of mine, Donald, from the Arlington Browns Backers group.  The only other player I got while exiting was Alex Chiasson.  Seems he's become a strict one-per: as he went to sign for David, he saw his four cards and said "I'm not signing all of those," doing just one.  I took that as my cue to pull a single one off, so I got him on one of his Prizm rookie cards, the Purple Cracked Ice one. It looks pretty nice in gold.  I tried to get Rich Peverley again, but unfortunately he recognized me, laughing and saying "I already got you earlier, smart guys." My current Chester A. Arthur chops-into-'stache combo is pretty distinctive looking, unfortunately.  At least he had a decent attitude about it, which is a refreshing change.

Also, we got Sceviour at the right time: we saw him walking out with his equipment, later finding out he had been sent to the AHL.

After that, we quickly jetted over to Tom Thumb in Frisco, where Jamie Benn was doing a signing. I was hoping it would be similar to how I heard the Brendan Morrow signing was last year-- small crowd, several freebies, he signed multiples, and you could loop the line multiple times.  Unfortunately this wasn't the case.  Benn has become a VERY tough autograph this year, taking the back door at practices, ignoring requests on the road, and in the rare event he does sign, he refuses to do it in blue.  He showed up late to the signing by about 15 minutes, but seemed to be in a decent mood, signing 8 for each of us with no problem.  His handlers were quite livid, making it VERY known that everyone is supposed to be limited to one autograph with only one trip through the line.  After getting out 8 cards each signed, we figured it best not to push our luck further and left.  I got my 8 all signed in gold-- 2 are mine, one goes to Nathan in Nova Scotia, one to Paul in Washington, and four to Eric in Rhode Island.

TOTALS for the Stars: 46 autographs; 1 for Donald, 2 for Gregg, 1 for Nathan, 1 for Paul, 1 for Harri, 2 for Andrew, 7 for Eric, 9 for Liz, and 22 for me.

Going for the Blues tomorrow if we can find their hotel.  I also have some cards coming soon-- I won a writing contest at SCF, getting me $100 off a purchase at, so I picked up a box of 13-14 Prizm hockey and one of ITG Enforcers 2.  I might do a live video break on the Enforcers box.  It's one of the super-ultra-mega-premium boxes with one pack per box and craploads of GU and auto stuff.  It only cost me $40 out of pocket and one written article, so I figured this would be the best time to take a shot on a product like it.

DECEMBER 29 UPDATE: The Blues are staying at the impossible hotel, so my day just completely opened up. Dammit.

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