Hockey enthusiast who pays the bills as a traveling geologist. More of a lover than a fighter, he's a fairly cheap date; just ask his wife. He'd prefer to be outside in the rain that stuck in the office on a beautiful day.
S’up, y’all? Let’s look at another box of cards I wasn’t willing to pay full price for. This is another “four cards per pack, eight packs per box” hobby box which seems to be the going rate for products sitting around the just-above-C-note suggested retail price.
Upper Deck Trilogy Hockey has been around for a quite a while now, at least since 2003-04, and has typically put out some quality cards, with exciting hits above the Upper Deck Series One and Series Two bench mark. Have they kept the ball rolling this year, or have these cards taken a step back?
A lot has happened in RaleighWood with the Carolina Hurricanes over the past year. Caniacs were over the MOON late last year with the idea that some dude named Chuck Greenburg was seriously interested in finally buying our team from the curmudgeonly Peter Karmanos Jr. PK had previously won our team the Stanley Cup before firing all of his smart, hockey-minded adult sons who then sued him because he was using their inheritance to prop up the Hurricanes, and telling all of the fan to shut their yaps and be patient when it came to improving the team. Which he didn’t do.
So yeah, we were excited to have someone young, and passionate, very sports-minded, was probably gonna install a Lazy River in the PNC Arena, and damn we were so excited about having a new “dad!”
But Karmanos gonna Karmanos; and instead of patiently letting Chucky get together the money for the purchase, PK dogged him publicly to hurry up and then jacked the price up on him. If there was a local, low-budget horror film made about this, it would be titled, “Karmanos: The Hands of Fate.” Caniac Nation was livid at Karmanos for this act of selfish greed, but damned if he didn’t have ANOTHER buyer waiting the wings and we didn’t even know it!
Enter the Dragon Tom Dundon. Carolina exclaimed a collective “WHO?” before running to Google for info of what to expect. And there wasn’t much to say. All we could really figure out was that he made a metric butt-ton of money from a number of ventures, most notably for a sub-prime auto loan company and his only real financial connection to sports was being part owner to an indoor driving range franchise called Top Golf. Ok, so no Lazy River in PNC…we get a Putt-Putt? Still, he had enough money to call Peter Karmanos his Lil’ Bitch and got him out of the driver seat, so the guy was already our First Star for the month of December. In the half a year since, we’ve learned a lot about him and he is learning a lot about hockey.
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From the 1976 to 1989, there was a baseball player named Dale Murphy who was the face of the Atlanta Braves franchise, for some reason. He was expected to provide much of the offensive support for a terrible team, and in return took a lot of money. After only one postseason appearance in 1982, the Braves finally wised up and dumped his ass onto the Philadelphia Phillies in 1990, thus putting Atlanta on the road to an impressive stretch of Pennant wins in the National League.
Philadelphia, however, floundered like a seafood restaurant that has to hide its sanitation grade. Then the Phillies wised up and dumped him on the Colorado Rockies in 1993, lightening their load. Then the Phillies had a very memorable World Series run. But don’t weep for the Rockies; after Murphy retired they found their berth in the playoff in 1995.
“Dynasty” is a word that’s been tossed around in the hockey world a lot in the last decade. What does it take for a team to be a dynasty in the NHL today? Two Championships in three years like the L.A. Kings? Three Cups in six years like the Blackhawks? Two in back-to-back seasons like the Penguins? The fact that you can’t spell “dynasty” without “nasty” like the Bruins?
While we ponder this, it’s impossible to deny teams like the Oilers’ winning five Cups in seven years, and the Islanders gobbling up four in a row in the 1980s were clearly dynasties. When the Islanders won their first of four straight Stanley Cup Championships, did they know they were on the precipice of greatness? I guess it’s easy to look back and think they may have had an idea that something special was just beginning to brew, but every team that lifts the Cup probably thinks they’re going to repeat the feat next year.
Last month, when ordering my box of Upper Deck Series 2 to make fun of, I also tossed in a box of SP Game Used since it was on sale. I actually wrestled with purchasing this item verses a box of Artifacts that were at a similar price point, both on sale. Eventually I gauged that the SPGU would have a better value in the promised “hits.” With only one pack per box, let’s see if that holds true…
Bonjour, Puck-Heads! Today we’re classying up the joint and looking at some hockey-related wines. Coming from the hands of 300-game-winning goalie Cam Ward and Olympic Silver Medalist defenseman Tim Gleason, Vinyard 36 is more than just an indulgent hobby, it’s a passion. Both Ward and Gleason get their hands dirty and are hands-on in the production of this very fine juice. (I have no evidence that they stomp on the grapes with their own bare feet, but I don’t have any evidence against it, either.)
On a lovely Saturday in early March, I was invited to a wine tasting hosted by Mr. Gleason here in Raleigh for a rare chance to try the literal fruits of his labor, ask some questions and get a better understanding of his post-hockey passion. Finding a bottle can also be difficult, since it’s a rather small operation. It’s no Paul Masson, but they don’t need Orson Wells shilling their wares anyway.
As the NHL season slowly slips away from us (because some of our teams couldn’t find the postseason if it was water and they fell off a boat), it’s nice to have Upper Deck around to remind us of the good times and the crazy moments like a high school yearbook. And much like a high school yearbook, even good photographers can take bad pictures. Let’s look at some now!
The gift that keeps on giving…even though no one asked for it!
Happy Holi-Chris-Kawan-Hana-whatever! I’m back to bring you hilarious joy as you decorate the domicile or as you just get around to throwing out the rotting Jack-o-lantern with some quality throw back “puck juck” from 1979!
These days, a lot of our hockey teams produce fun little videos celebrating the time of year and thanking the fans; it’s nice — and awkward as hell. The Boston Bruins put out a spectacular video in 2013, the San Jose Sharks owned 2014 with their ode to Holiday Sweaters, and the awkward nod to capitalism thanks to the Calgary Flames in 2015.
You can smell the turkey cooking, you’re already gearing up for the assault of family members you haven’t seen in a year and still don’t want to, the air is getting crisp even in Carolina, and there’s a collective groan out of the Windy City as the Blackhawks are announced as participants in yet another outdoor game. Must be time to make fun of Upper Deck’s latest flagship set of hockey cards!
UD made it tough for me this year; almost every pack I opened had one card I could laugh at. I doubt they read these posts for the sake of tossing me a softball, but I piled up 36 cards out of one hobby box to poke fun at and I’ve pared it down to a baker’s dozen.