Book Review: The Big 50 Boston Bruins

Espo, Orr and 48 more 

Author Fluto Shinzawa had the difficult task of taking the Boston Bruins’ 92-year history and boiling it down into his book “The Big 50: Boston Bruins: The Men and Moments that Made the Boston Bruins.” (Though it is too bad that someone couldn’t boil down the book’s title to less than 14 words.) As the title abundantly suggests, the book reads like a highlight reel of the Bruins’ best players and defining moments. But Shinzawa doesn’t just focus on the high points; some of the team’s darker moments are spotlighted. 

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National Hockey Card Day is Saturday

Get Free Hockey Cards on February 18

Doughnut lovers have National Doughnut Day. Vinyl aficionados have Record Store Day. Hockey card collectors have a day of our own, too. Saturday, February 18 is National Hockey Card Day. Set your alarm, grab some coffee and head out to your local card shop – or maybe a few card shops — and get some free hockey cards. 

National Hockey Card Day, or NHCD as us cool kids abbreviate it, started in Canada in 2009 and in the U.S. in 2012. Collectors who visit a participating card shop can get a free pack of exclusive Upper Deck hockey cards. Each pack has five cards. A bonus card can also be acquired by making a $10 purchase. 

Here are the details on National Hockey Card Day in each country.  Continue reading “National Hockey Card Day is Saturday”

The First Time I Watched Slap Shot

Last night, the NHL Network televised the film Slap Shot in celebration of its 40th anniversary. I probably lost count of how many times I have seen this film. However, I have never forgotten the very first time that I saw Slap Shot.

Because people tend to be a bit older when they first see Slap Shot — due to it being Rated-R — they remember when, where and who they were with. 

Slap Shot wasn’t a movie that you randomly caught on TV one night. Either your friends made you watch it, or you sought it out on your own. 

The first time I saw Slap Shot, it was under a bit of unusual circumstances. In fact, it was a perfect storm that I actually got to see the movie that night, as I saw it at the house of two teammates who had a mother who didn’t let her kids watch anything cool.  Continue reading “The First Time I Watched Slap Shot”

1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey promo card

Upper Deck issued a promotional card of Wayne Gretzky to show what their upcoming 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey set would look like. The promo card is nearly identical to the card of Gretzky found in packs later that fall. However, there is one small difference that is quite obvious when you know what to look for. 

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NHL fails to televise Marleau’s 500th goal

Center Ice subscribers who wanted to see Patrick Marleau score his 500th career goal Thursday night were denied the opportunity. For reasons unknown, the game was not televised on Center Ice, the subscription service that lets fans watch every out-of-market NHL game. 

Well, every game except the one where a 19-year NHL veteran, on the brink of becoming the 45th player in NHL history to score 500 goals, scored his 500th goal. 

But hey — the Oilers-Predators, Jets-Stars and Leafs-Blues games had two feeds each on Center Ice. 

The channel that was supposed to show the Sharks-Canucks game instead showed the list of the games on Center Ice that night. (Note the text at the very top of the screen.)

As a Center Ice subscriber, I expected to watch the Sharks-Canucks game live. That is why I pay for Center Ice. I was hoping to see Marleau score his milestone goal Thursday night. Instead, I got to see it online after the fact. 

I am in Chicago — about 2,160 miles from San Jose and 2,200 miles from Vancouver — so it is safe to say that I am not in either team’s broadcast territory and subject to blackouts. I figured that this might have been a problem with my cable provider, Comcast.

But on Twitter, I found out that this problem wasn’t isolated to Chicago or to Comcast subscribers.  Continue reading “NHL fails to televise Marleau’s 500th goal”

1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey Variations

Four cards in 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey have variants. Cards of Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Sergio Momesso and Mike Sillinger were produced with two different numbers on the back.

Below are pictures of each of the four cards’ fronts, plus pictures of both back variants. 

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Justin Bieber Custom Hockey Cards

The NHL held a celebrity hockey game, called the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout, prior to the All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday. Unfortunately, the game was only shown online, and while the webcast could have been so much better, the game was still fun to watch. 

Singer, songwriter and pop icon Justin Bieber was among the celebrity hockey players, and while I am not a fan of his music, I will admit that he did very well for himself in the game. Bieber’s skating was solid, and though his slap shots left a lot to be desired, he drew a penalty, assisted on a goal and popped in an empty-netter at the end of the game. 

So, I decided to make some custom Justin Bieber hockey cards, because he was arguably the most-skilled celebrity at the All-Star Celebrity Shootout.

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NHL Bungles Its Own Celebrity Game

Some guy with 91 million fans played in the Celebrity NHL All-Star Game. Too bad it wasn’t on TV.

Sometimes, the level of amateurishness displayed by the NHL in 2017 surprises me. The league held a celebrity all-star game on Saturday prior to the NHL Skills Competition. One player in the game was international pop sensation Justin Bieber. And yet, the NHL didn’t even bother to televise this game — not even on the NHL Network, which just ran a bunch of talking heads in that time slot.

The NHL streamed the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout on its website, and did a lousy job of it too, wasting the opportunity to raise the game’s profile and hopefully get a few new fans in the process. 

The two teams — named Team Gretzky (home) and Team Lemieux (away) — had a lot of retired greats in the lineup, like Joe Sakic, Luc Robitaille, Sergei Fedorov, Peter Forsberg, Borje Salming and Larry Robinson. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux served as the coaches. Current stars Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid played, too. Celebrities like actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and movie director/producer Jerry Bruckheimer also laced them up.

And did I mention singer/hearthrob Justin Bieber? Bieber has 91.5 million followers on Twitter — about 86 million more followers than the NHL. He even tweeted Continue reading “NHL Bungles Its Own Celebrity Game”

Will More Parallels Save e-Pack Hockey?

Upper Deck announced some changes yesterday to their e-Pack platform as a means to reduce the potential glut of insert and parallel hockey cards available on the secondary market. In a nutshell, physical insert and parallel cards obtained through e-Pack can now be combined to make an even more-limited parallel of the same card. This is bad news for those who are already sick of parallel cards, and even worse news for those who enjoyed scooping up cheap hockey cards as a result of e-Pack. So, will this move save e-Pack?

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