Why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the Greatest NHL Awards Show Ever

Tomorrow is the 2017 NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. During the show, the Vegas Golden Knights will also reveal who they selected in the expansion draft. If you haven’t already thought about that, do so now; a show that will heap praise upon the NHL’s best players will also highlight those not good enough to stay on their current teams.  

The NHL Awards have been cringe-worthy in its attempts to be funny for as long as we care to remember– with B-list comics making D-list jokes — while also seemingly trying to pander to non-hockey fans. Adding in expansion draft “revelations” can only make this year’s award show even worse. 

This got me thinking about the 1997 NHL Awards Show, which conveniently took place 20 years ago (people love anniversaries, as do I). The NHL Awards in 1997 tried to be funny, but in a sweet way, and succeeded where current NHL Awards shows do not. The 1997 show was hosted by Ron MacLean, who is serious but has a sense of humor. The 1997 NHL Awards Show had a good mix of celebrities who actually liked hockey as award presenters, jokes that aren’t bad and some humorous segments that introduced the awards nominees. Future rap sensation Drake even made a cameo as a 10-year old boy. 

But the best were these comedy sketches that served as “bumpers” before and after commercial breaks. I dare the NHL to once again at least attempt something as funny as “The Wig Helmet.” Read on, and you’ll soon understand what I mean.  Here is a rundown, with images and video clips, on why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the best NHL Awards Show — ever!  Continue reading “Why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the Greatest NHL Awards Show Ever”

New Penguins 2017 Championship Items

Rubber, Thread, Ink and Ice

When the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators in six games to claim the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship, they were the first team to win two Cups in a row since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. 

Of course, with this championship win comes championship memorabilia and apparel, commemorating the Penguins’ modern-day dynasty. Here are a few keepsakes that you might want to make room for in your collection.

Game-Used Ice from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals

Ice from the Stanley Cup Finals was melted and encapsulated into crystal pucks and crystal Stanley Cups. These items were also available in 2016, and were popular enough to make a comeback in 2017. 

Although, if the ice is melted, aren’t they actually selling you water? 

Anyway, for $49.99, you can get a crystal puck filled with game-used ice, which comes with a nifty display case. A miniature miniature crystal Stanley Cup filled with ice costs $79.99 and comes with a black crate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a miniature Philip Pritchard to lug it around for you. 

Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup Champions T-Shirt

There are a whole bunch of t-shirts touting the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships, but here are two of the most-creative designs. One uses cartoon illustrations of the Penguins core players, while the other lists out every player on the team’s championship roster, but using the backs of their jerseys…cuz, you know, back-to-back championships. ($27.99 & $31.99, plus free shipping with coupon code 30SHIP.)

2017 Stanley Cup Champions Patch

For $13, you can stitch this patch to your Penguins jersey, your favorite jacket or your backpack. The patch measures 4″ x 4.5″ and is embroidered. 

Jake Guentzel Autographed Items

Rookie Jake Guentzel was the surprise of the 2017 playoffs, leading the league with 13 goals in the postseason. Perhaps an appropriate memento would be an autographed 2017 Stanley Cup Champions puck ($69.99) or a signed photograph of him raising the Cup ($99.99). 

Framed Shadowbox with 10 Autographed Pucks

By far, this has got to be the coolest memorabilia piece for the 2017 Penguins Stanley Cup Champions. This framed shadowbox display has 10 pucks autographed by  Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray, Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz. It is a bit pricey at $1,500 — but it is limited to just 50 editions. At 52″ x 18″, this bad boy will take up six-and-a-half square feet of wall space. But if you can spend $1,500 on something like this, you probably live in a mansion with lots of wall space….and that mansion is probably in Pittsburgh. 


Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com, and save $10 with coupon code 10OFF2017. 


Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup apparel at Fanatics.com and get free shipping on orders over $30 with coupon code 30SHIP.

Book Review: They Don’t Play Hockey in Heaven

They Don't Play Hockey in Heaven

“I know what you’re thinking,” my friend told me when he loaned me this book, “the title is depressing. But the book isn’t.” Well, that’s mostly true. 

“They Don’t Play Hockey in Heaven: A Dream, a Team, and My Comeback Season” is the story of Ken Baker, a former NCAA goalie and NHL prospect whose pro hockey aspirations were cut short by an undiagnosed brain tumor. Baker quits hockey and settles into a career as a journalist, interviewing celebrities for publications like People and US Weekly. But the effects of his tumor worsen, making Baker suicidal. Soon after, his brain tumor is discovered; most of it is removed, the rest is rendered benign by medication. He gets married and is about to settle into the “happily ever after.” That is, until Baker has what he refers to as “The Dream.”

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Patrick Kane

The exact same photograph of Patrick Kane was used on two different hockey cards during the 2011-12 season. At first, I thought this could have been an honest mistake. But then my research led to an unusual conclusion: what if one card company deliberately decided to use the same photograph to troll their competitor? 

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Another Break, Another Brodeur

A short while ago, my online retailer of choice offered a case break of 2015-16 Upper Deck Black, and I’m guessing the 30 spots were not selling as quickly as they’d hoped. It was the day of the scheduled break, most of the spots were still open and so they PUT IT ON SALE! A pretty decent chunk off, too. Since I had a little money to spare, felt like gambling and never owned any UD Black hockey cards before, I decided to buy a spot. 

Time rolls around, the video feed starts and I see my name next to the Maples Leafs. OK, this is promising. Oh wait, they have to run the randomizer and shake up the teams. Shake, shake, shake….

Oh sweet, now I’ve got the Oilers!  Continue reading “Another Break, Another Brodeur”

Upper Deck Answers My Burning Questions

Upper Deck Logo

Back in March, I wrote a long-winded opinion piece on how Upper Deck can improve their Series One and Series Two hockey card sets. But I hate to just wish for things; I want them to happen. So I forwarded my article to Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager. 

Not only did Chris read my article, but he actually addressed all of my points. As collectors, many times we believe that the card companies can make what we think are a few easy changes that will make us happier.  Well, it turns out that those changes aren’t always easy to make as they might seem — and they won’t necessarily make collecting better, either. 

Here’s a summary of each point from my prior article, along with Chris’ response to each one. Maybe you will learn something; I know I did. 

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Review: 2015-16 Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins Team Set

Almost every season since 2000-01, Choice Marketing has issued a team set of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2015-16 Wilkes-Barre Penguins set is worth a look from hockey card collectors because of the nice design and, more importantly, because many of the players in this set went on to play in the NHL. 

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Book Review: The Code

“The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL” is a book that I wanted to read for a long time. Recently, I found it at a used book store and snapped it up. Now, I wish I had read this book back in 2006 when it first came out. “The Code” explains the culture of fighting in hockey, including the hidden subtexts that I never knew about. 

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Puck Junk Podcast #24 – May 12, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish

It’s been two weeks, so get ready for a super-sized podcast. In this episode, Sal and Tim talk about the second round of the 2017 NHL playoffs, including the Penguins-Capitals series, Upper Deck’s new Bounty program with SP Authentic, and Goon: Last of the Enforcers finally getting a U.S. release date. Other topics discussed include Grandeur Hockey Coins, and Sal’s long-unfulfilled wish for a Youngblood sequel.

Podcast #24 is 1 hour and 23 minutes of hockey goodness. 

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG

Book Review: Father Bauer and the Great Experiment

“Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey” chronicles the life of Catholic priest David Bauer, who forever changed Canada’s international ice hockey program. Bauer, the younger brother of former Boston Bruins star Bobby Bauer, was himself a star player in junior hockey. But the younger Bauer decided against turning pro, and instead became a priest and then a hockey coach soon after. His decision wouldn’t just change his life, but the landscape of Canada’s Olympic Team for 30 years. 

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