Well, I guess with the new season starting, it's about time to show off some ink I got in Arizona last March. I've had everything scanned and ready to show off for months now, I just never got around to it. Anyway, here we go.
My wife and kids and I took our annual Spring vacation to my extended family's vacation home in Chandler, AZ. There's always a few things we like to do for our three girls, like Legoland Discovery Center and Butterfly Wonderland, but for me, it's always Chicago Cubs Spring Training and the Arizona Coyotes. We were able to get tickets to see them play the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators, and even got upgraded to on-the-glass seats for the Hurricanes game.
As always, after the game, I hung around near the exit of the players' underground parking lot, where a few guys are always good about stopping to sign autographs. I've done this for a couple years now, and is a great experience, and with a struggling Coyotes team, the crowd was pretty small. Night one, I got Shane Doan, Connor Murphy, Tobias Rieder, and Jakob Chychrun, and night two, I got Doan, Murphy, Anthony Duclair, and Louis Domingue.
Here are the goods from each guy:
That's all for last year. We are planning another trip in late March, and will be there when they take on the St. Louis Blues. I'll see what I can get at that time, but with Doan and Murphy, the two most reliable signers, no longer with the team, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Well, I haven't posted too many TTM successes the past few weeks, mostly because I haven't gotten many at all, which may have to do with the fact that I haven't sent out hardly any at all. Either way, here's what I've gotten in the mail during the time since my last TTM post:
Right alongside my Mike Lange puck is a brand new addition that I am super excited about, an autographed puck of Penguins superstar Phil Kessel from a private signing at Total Sports Enterprises.
The item was actually purchased back in May. TSE had announced that Kessel had agreed to a signing, but it all depended on the Penguins' playoff run, as to when the event would take place. Well, the Penguins went the distance, and it ended up being August before the signing happened, but I now finally have this great puck to add to my expanding Penguins puck collection.
I should probably write more about Kessel, but this video says it all:
"Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion." - Barack Obama
While most of my autographed pucks are from players, this one is of a broadcaster. While perusing through items on Total Sports Enterprises' website, equipped with my coupon code, I came across this autographed puck from long-time Pittsburgh Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange, and just had to have it.
Lange began calling Penguins games for both radio and television in 1974, but left the team after just one season due to the organization's financial instability. He would return for the 1976-77 season and called all televised games until the team went in a different direction in 2006, not renewing his contract. Many Penguins fans were not happy at all with the decision, but he would soon sign on to do the team's radio broadcasts alongside former Penguin and two-time Stanley Cup Champ, Phil Bourque. 2016-17 was his 40th consecutive year calling Penguins games.
Lange is most known for many of his trademark expressions, such as "He doesn't know whether to cry or wind his watch," "He beat him like a rented mule," "Buy Sam a drink, and get his dog one, too," and "Scratch my back with a hacksaw," among others. I honestly have no idea what many of them mean, but his two most famous ones are more clear, "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building (Penguins win the game)" and the one I got inscribed of the puck, "HEEEEEEEE SHOTS AND SCORES!!! (Penguins goal.)"
I got a great chance to see a great band a couple weeks ago, when Hellyeah came to the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo. The group consists of Chad Gray (Mudvayne) on vocals, Vinnie Paul (Pantera, Damageplan) on drums, Tom Maxwell (Nothingface) on guitar, Christian Brady on guitar, and Kyle Sanders on bass. While the line-up might read as a super-group side project, Hellyeah is the full-time band of all five members, having released five albums in the last 10 years.
Having released their fifth album, "Unden!able" just last year, Hellyeah kicked off the show with its opening track "X," and that set the stage for what was to come. With the style of vocals that they do, it can sometimes be tough to replicate on the stage, especially when done repeatedly on tour, but Gray really brought his very best to this show. He is able to really scream on the songs that need it, and he is also able to tone it down when other songs of theirs, like "Love Falls" call for him to sing. As a lifelong Pantera fan, it was also great for me to see Vinnie Paul in person, as that is the main reason that brought me there. Despite being at it for so long, and all he has had to deal with during his career, the dude lives heavy metal, and was absolutely amazing to see live.
I also stopped by the merch stand after the show, as any good fan would, to further support the band, and walked away with a really cool item to go right on my wall. I've noticed that one item bands have begun to really use a lot is decorated drum heads. It allows them to print an image of the band on something that looks music-related, and makes a really cool collectible. They had two different options, but featuring Vinnie Paul, and I picked this one up, that is autographed by him, along with the year, and an "X," which may be in reference to the song that they opened the show with.
Opening the show was Cane Hill, a metal band out of New Orleans, and they were followed by Kyng, who I became a HUGE fan of by the end of the night. Kyng is a three piece metal band from Los Angeles, and is on the verge of a major breakthrough in the genre. I would describe them as what you would get if you took Mastodon and had Brad Delp from Boston singing for them. The vocals from singer/guitarist Eddie Veliz were amazing, bassist Tony Castaneda contributed to some amazing two-part harmionies, and drummer Pepe Clarke was an absolute animal from start to finish. They are a phenomenal band, and you all should check them out, if you have not already.
Like with Hellyeah, I made a stop to their merch table, which wasn't even staffed until after their set. The reason is, Kyng is a three-piece outfit in every aspect. From travel, to sound check, to management, to merch, the band members do it all. So, when I was able to purchase something from them, it was Veliz who was selling their wares, not some hired hand. I got to tell him straight to his face how great I thought they were, and purchased a cd and a shirt. The shirt, by the way, was perfect, as it is a take-off of the L.A. Kings silver and black logo, which is perfect for me as a hockey fan.
I also got to meet all three band members, which was really cool, and had them sign my cd cover. Each one of them ended up having a different colored Sharpie, which made the cd cover look even cooler. I also got pictures take with Veliz and Castaneda. I could have gotten a picture with Clarke, as well, but most everyone had already left, and I was just happy to have all three sign my cd cover.
What a great show! I got to see some great bands, listen to some great music, and get some great ink! The next concert on the horizon is Reverend Horton Heat on Sept. 4. Not sure what the autograph or memorabilia possibilities will be there, but either way, it'll be a blast!
A few weeks ago, when free agency began in the NHL, and players began signing with their new teams, it was a great time for autograph collectors, as many memorabilia companies were discounting items of players on their now-former teams.
I actually managed to get a signed photo that actually fits the criteria of both a current and former team from Your Sports Memorabilia Store, with this Brandon Saad 8x10 of him raising the Stanley Cup. He won two Cups in Chicago (2013 & 2015) before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets The summer following his second Stanley cup win. Two years later, they shipped him back to Chicago in a deal that brought 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin to Columbus. This photo is perfect, as it is a great addition to my Stanley Cup photo collection, and it once again shows him on his current team.
I was also able to get my hands on an item I had been wanting for a long time, with this signed 8x10 of former Boston Bruin Gregory Campbell. While he did put in a few years in the NHL, he is fondly remembered for one moment in particular, when he finished his shift during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals after an Evgeni Malkin slapshot broke his leg. The Bruins were on the penalty kill, and Campbell ended up skating on his broken leg for over a minute, successfully killing the penalty before he was able to make it to the bench. He was never a big-name player, but to me, that moment epitomizes the toughness and dedication of a hockey player. This photo is of the moment when he is picking himself up off the ice right after blocking Malkin's shot, and is the perfect image to capture this moment.