The Las Vegas Golden Knights had a very successful inaugural season, first winning 51 regular season games, then powering its way to the Stanley Cup Finals. No, the Knights didn’t win in the Finals — that would have been a little too perfect — but the team was still inspiring and made many new fans along the way. So, it is only natural that Upper Deck would capitalize on the team’s popularity and success and release a Vegas Knights boxed set. Anyone who found themselves cheering for the gray and gold should definitely give this set a look.
If you have read any of my previous stories on Puck Junk, you may already know that I am not one to collect, or suggest that you collect, the same way that most people do. Whether you prefer completing sets, buying inexpensive RC’s, high end RC’s, specific teams, specific players, or memorabilia cards, you should consider collecting certified autographed cards. Over the years since certified autographs were first produced, they have changed quite a bit and now include many unique multiple autographed versions and even dual autographed rookie cards.
In this week’s Blake’s Takes, I look at the increase in offense this season, Erik Karlsson’s recent resurgence, and say goodbye to Rick Nash.
It was a relatively-quiet week in the hockey world, but I was able to uncover a few stories worth talking about, including Mike Peluso’s lawsuit against the New Jesey Devils and a revived Dallas Stars.
Player not working? Listen to it on SoundCloud.
Last week, I was a guest on the radio talk show Sports Byline USA, hosted by Ron Barr. Those of you who played the video game NHL ’94 or some of the other early games by EA Sports will of course remember Barr, who was literally “in the game,” introducing the teams and players.
Barr and I talked about NHL ’94 and the game’s enduring popularity 25 years later, the NHL94.com website and the “Pixelated Heroes” documentary. We then talk about the sports memorabilia industry and some of the gimmicks that trading card companies use today to stimulate sales.
Run time is EXACTLY 15 minutes, so grab a beverage, click play and enjoy! ■
Special thanks to Ron Barr and Sports Byline USA for the audio clip.
On the surface, the 2018 calendar year may have seemed a bit slow when it came to hockey cards and collectibles. Only one company makes licensed NHL hockey cards, so there is no real head-to-head competition. Still, that didn’t stop one card company from foiling the plans of another. Plus, there was plenty of competition in a record-breaking auction. A few other significant happenings took place in the world of hockey collecting. Here is my list of the top hockey collectible stories for 2018.
Happy New Year! Before we get into new content for 2019, I wanted to do a recap of Puck Junk’s most-read articles of 2018, and a brief update on what’s been going on with this website.
First, I am happy to report that readership at Puck Junk was at an all-time high in 2018. Traffic for this site grew about 37% between 2017 and 2018. And let me assure you, it is much more gratifying to write when more people read what I put up here.
The increase in readership was in big part because several new writers have joined the Puck Junk team, giving their unique perspectives on hockey and hockey collectibles. Their fine work has made it possible to update Puck Junk more frequently since the start of the 2018-19 season; perhaps you have noticed that this site has been updated almost every day since October?
Also, a lot of you wanted to know what happened to the Puck Junk Podcast and if it is going to return. It has been over a year since co-host Tim Parish and I recorded our last podcast. There are several reasons why the show has gone on hiatus, but basically it boils down to lack of time, technical problems and a decision for me to focus more on writing. Look, I love producing audio and video content, but those take substantially more time, and get substantially less traffic than a well-written article. But to answer the question, I think the Puck Junk Podcast will make its return sometimes this month, once I complete a large side project.
Anyway, below are the top articles that were published on Puck Junk during the 2018 calendar year. If you missed any of these, be sure to give it a read.
A Look at Each Inductee and Their Rookie Cards
The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted perhaps its most diverse group of honorees on November 12. Consider Martin St. Louis, who at 5 feet 8 inches was passed over in the NHL Draft because he was thought to be too small, and yet ended up being a leading scorer even at the twilight of his career. Then there is hulking, 6-foot-3-inch Aleksander Yakushev, who never played in the NHL but dominated during international play for the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Jayna Hefford was a mainstay for Canada’s international women’s team for 17 seasons, winning 12 gold medals, as well as becoming the all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Headlining the players’ category was Martin Brodeur, who is the all-time leader for NHL goalies in wins, shutouts and games played.
Inducted in the builders’ category was Willie O’Ree, who broke hockey’s color barrier 60 years ago as a player with the Boston Bruins, and then helped others follow in his footsteps for the past 20 years. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was also inducted as a builder for the growth the league has enjoyed over the past quarter century.
“He Will Take a Hit to Make a Play”
The first to the podium that night was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He is the longest-serving active commissioner of any pro sports league, and the only active pro sports commissioner to be inducted into a Hall of Fame.
“To imagine myself as a permanent part of this magical place is overwhelming,” Bettman said, “and I am thrilled to be enshrined in this Hall with this group of exceptional honorees.”
Bettman was the only 2018 inductee who never played hockey, but still took a humorous look at what kind of player he would have been: “The hockey scouting report on me would be something like this: lousy skater, not much of a shooter, you’re not going to outwork him, he’ll be strong in the corners and in front of the net, and he will take a hit to make a play.”
When Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner in February 1993, the league was a mess. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
This week, I write about the controversy hovering over Dallas, my trip to the Great Lakes Invitational, and tomorrow’s Winter Classic!
Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: Drama in Dallas and the Over-Promotion of the Winter Classic”