Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NHL ALL-STAR GAME

Autographs not just for fans

The NHL All-Star Game provides a prime opportunity for the popular tradition of stick-swapping. Like NFL and pro soccer players who often trade jerseys on the field postgame, hockey stars collect each other's custom CCM and Bauer blades for their memorabilia showcases.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos estimates he has 50 sticks — "too many to name." His favorites are from his idol Joe Sakic and Teemu Selanne.

Stamkos said there's one priceless prize he wanted to bring home from Nashville* — a stick signed by future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, 43.

"I want to add him to my collection," Stamkos said.

He might have to get in line.

"I'm sure everyone will want a Jagr one," Oilers All-Star Taylor Hall said. "That's on the top of my list."

Players negotiate trades on the ice before faceoffs or after games, often coordinating requests and exchanges through team equipment staffs.

But events such as the World Championships, Olympics and All-Star Game can be like Christmas morning.

Joked Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, a first-time All-Star: "I'll come with a bag."

As a rookie, Stamkos learned from veteran Mark Recchi about adjusting to life in the NHL. But Recchi also gave Stamkos some prescient advice about sticks: start his collection early. Stamkos took it and got to scratch Selanne, Sakic and Nicklas Lidstrom off his list.

"You never know when you get that chance," Stamkos said.

Hedman remembers that about four or five years ago, he lined up next to Alex Ovechkin in a game awaiting a faceoff asking him if he could get one of the Capitals star's sticks. "Then it was game on," Hedman said, smiling.

When Hedman returned to the dressing room after the game, an Ovechkin stick was in his locker stall. The Ovechkin, Rob Blake and Selanne signed sticks are upstairs in Hedman's Tampa home, next to the stick from Hedman's first NHL goal.

"Everyone in the league is very, very nice," Hedman said. "There's never any problems."

Penguins icon Sidney Crosby said he gets asked fairly often for one of his sticks, either for opposing players or one of their family members. He understands, recalling how after his first NHL game, he got a stick from future Hall of Fame goalie Marty Brodeur. "That one was pretty cool," Crosby said.

Hall made sure to snag several at the World Championships with the Canadian team last year, including one from Crosby.

"I'm trying to start a collection so that when I retire, whether it's in my cottage or whatever it is, it's just a cool little collection of sticks from the best players," Hall said.

When Bishop joined the Lightning, he asked for ones from Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Stamkos.

"It's a good chance to play with those guys you grew up watching," Bishop said. "It doesn't get much better than that. I've always been a fan and always will be."

Stamkos said it has been interesting to see the dynamic change.

Once, he was a nervous rookie asking for a star's stick. Now, as a five-time All-Star and two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner as the league's top goal scorer, Stamkos sees his stick is a hot commodity.

"Now that guys want mine, it's pretty cool," he said. "You can do a trade."

Jagr said he's getting a lot more requests for sticks this season, his 22nd in the NHL. "People think I'm not going to play anymore," he said.

Jagr, who doesn't collect signed sticks, said the reason he doesn't give many of his away is because he spends 15 to 20 minutes of work on each one to make them game-ready. "It's not easy," he said.

When told that Stamkos hoped to get one of his sticks during All-Star weekend, Jagr chuckled:

"He better have a lot of money ready."

*Editor's note: We'll let you know if Stamkos got his prize.

Autographs not just for fans 01/31/16 [Last modified: Sunday, January 31, 2016 9:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]