2.04.2007

Dealing with the Rangers

In further proof that morning skates are definitely better for collecting autographs, I was unable to add autographed pucks from New York’s Jaromir Jagr, Henrik Lundqvist and Brendan Shanahan during a game-time hounding session.

Multiple reliable sources, though, told me that all of the Rangers’ Big Three were somewhat-willing signers during the morning session. Supposedly, Jagr was cheerfully (for him) signing away until some kid, employed by one of Tampa’s dealers, forcefully thrust a McFarlane base nearly into his chest. At that point, two hounds told me, he shut it down.


Though I wasn’t there to witness the interaction, it doesn’t surprise me. From what I’ve seen, the lack of respect, an absence of manners and an ignorance of the players are the standard operating procedures down here for the dealers. That’s too bad, too. I guess, in their irrational exuberance (thank you, Alan Greenspan) to add another 50 cents to their pockets, that they just can't help themselves.

Not only have these dealers made the hobby more difficult, just by adding numbers to the crowds, but incidents like that, especially involving a player of Jagr’s caliber, only reinforce the usual reluctance to sign.

Having said that, though, I won’t complain. Another eight pucks, including ones signed by Petr Prucha and Martin Straka (shown above), were added to the collection, raising the total to 1,170. We also added six autographs (two pucks and four cards) from Fedor Tyutin. And, as an obscurity, Rangers rookie Daniel Girardi signed a London Knights puck. He played on the 2005 Memorial Cup-winning team.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you don't mind me asking, where do you go to get these Rangers autographs? My family and I go to a lot of games but can never figure out when or where to go... Thanks, Kim :)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

Kim:

Not a problem. Most NHL team stay at hotels within walking distance of the Forum.

The day before a game, I usually call, in no particular order, the Hyatt Regency, Embassy Suites, Marriott Waterside, Sheraton Riverwalk and the Westin Harbour Island and ask whether a guest, usually a role player on a team (I never ask for the big stars), has arrived.

If not, consult the Yellow Pages and/or Web sites and call any four-star hotel or resort within 25-30 miles of Tampa.

Once you've found the team, the best times to get them are game day mornings, between 9:15 and 10:30, at the hotel or later in the day, between 3:30 and 4:45 p.m. at the hotel.

Make sure, too, you bring your own pen or Sharpie. If you don't know the identity of the players, it's best to bring a team item, such as a poster, a team sheet (a piece of paper with a team's logo suffices) or some downloaded picture (check the team's web sites for these items)to get signed. Jerseys, though costly, work well, too.

Consistently asking "Who's that?" will likely lead to scorn and lecturing about doing your homework. Just ask the dealers who have foolishly asked me for identities.

Now, if you're looking for Wayne Gretzky next Tuesday, expect a crowd at the Coyotes hotel and to be disappointed. Gretzky seldom stays with the team and, moreso, rarely signs for crowds bigger than four or five people.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous bri said...

Next time a player (ahemCujoahem) accuses you of being a dealer, I am strongly suggesting you employ one or both of the following:

1) state calmly and politely, "my son and I have 1,170 pucks" (substitute the actual number that exist at that time). offer to show the player a digital photograph if they continue to show their disbelief.

2) point to the dealers! say, "that's a dealer, that's a dealer, that's a dealer. now would you still mind?" when I was a hound roughly 10 years ago, I hated dealers as they were screwing it up for us and made my skin crawl.

also any pics of the huge collection or parts of it, say, on a wall? might be fun to share in a later edition of the blog :-]

3:04 AM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

Some seem interested, more like "You have that many pucks?" Other's couldn't care less. They've heard it all.

I used to point out dealers, but that often alienated everyone. And, really, I don't want to ruin the access we have.

Sadly, it's become part of the drill, uh, hobby.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

What items was Jagr signing? I was told he won't sign pucks or anything sold by Steiner.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

it was awhile ago, seeing that we're talking about the 2006-07 season here, but I believe he was signing some 8x10s, McFarlane bases and some pucks.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Hi Puckhound.

Thanks for answering my inquiry above.

You wrote that Daniel Girardi signed a London Knights puck. What is a good source for pucks such as these? I know where I can get NHL Official Game Pucks and Replica Pucks, but I really want these "unconventional" pucks, perhaps AHL or International.

Also, Tyutin sigend a lot of things. Are they usually nice like that? My experiences have been 1 item per person, especially the star players. Reaction?

1:35 AM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

I get most of my OHL team pucks from the Erie Otters or Saginaw Spirit Web sites. There's no cross-border shipping delays with either team.

The American Hockey League's Web site is a good source for AHL pucks. So is River City Sports.

With these sites, expect to pay about $5, plus shipping, for pucks.

If you can buy bulk, and I'm talking about two dozen pucks at the least, check out Anderson Enterprises KPT. You can get pucks here for less than $3, not including shipping.

I often find obscure pucks at mega flea markets. You can get good prices, because often these folks aren't real sure what they have.

As for players signing habits, it's going to depend upon the player.

Big names or those with big egos seldom sign but if they do, they're a strict one-per.

I'd say most players will sign multiples, within reason. I do see some folks getting nine-boards signed, which, to me, is a bit selfish.

I try to ask for no more than four at a time, be it cards or pucks. For the most part, though, it's pretty easy to get a couple of autographs from every player.

I hope this answers your questions.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

1:16 PM  

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