Re-Imagining the 1994 NHL Entry Draft

The 1994 NHL Entry Draft took place 25 years ago. Unlike the drafts from the prior few years, it did not boast a generational talent like Eric Lindros, who headlined the 1991 Draft. Nor was it particularly deep, like the 1990 or 1993 Drafts. The 1994 Draft did have two players who scored over 1000 points — one who will be in the Hockey Hall of Fame some day — and three future Calder Trophy winners. And yet, those players weren’t even drafted in the first round!

So, let’s pretend that we could re-do the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Who would be the new first-overall pick? 

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Canucks Bring Back the Black Skate

If you’re not scoring points in the game, you might as well score some points with the fans, and the Vancouver Canucks are doing exactly that. For the upcoming 2019-20 season, the British Columbia team is bringing back its storied “Black Stake” jersey for three games. 

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The Second Annual Puck Junk Awards

A.K.A. 6 NHL Awards We Still Want to See

Another NHL season is in the books, meaning it’s time for the annual postseason awards. Each year, the NHL gives its award to the best goalie, best defenseman, most (popular) valuable player, yada, yada, yada. What the NHL really needs is some fun awards, so last year I came up with the Puck Junk Awards, to recognize this year’s surprise goalie, toughest mofo and best (worst?) boomerang player, among others. Here are the winners of the 2019 Puck Junk Awards. 

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Blake’s Takes: Blue No More

The St. Louis Blues did it. They won their first-ever Stanley Cup. This week’s Blake’s Takes looks at how the Blues conquered hockey’s Mt. Everest and who the key players were along the way. I also highlight the first few major moves of the offseason.

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The Trials and Tribulations of a Teenage Card Show Promoter

Illustration by Shellie Lewis.

For 3 ½ years, I was a card show promoter. At the same time, I was also a teenager. Thus, I was a teenage card show promoter. I know, it sounds like the title of a bad B-movie or a cheesy pulp novel, but the story you are about to read is 100 percent true. From early 1992 to mid-1995, I organized a monthly get-together known to collectors around Chicago as the “First Friday Show,” fueled by a few postage stamps and my passion for sports cards.

Read thefull article at Sports Collectors Digest. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Blake’s Takes: Boston Forces Game 7

Last week was a big one for the hockey community. We saw another missed call in a major moment as well as the Bruins push the series to a Game 7. I dive deep into the Conn Smythe race as well as how the Bruins won Game 6. The one bit of news outside of Boston and St. Louis comes from Buffalo as one of the game’s best players is much richer.

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Helmet Holdouts: The Last Players Not to Wear Helmets in the NHL

Look around the NHL today, and you will notice that players without visors are few and far between. Such was the case with helmets 30 years ago. Seeing a helmetless player in 1989 was as unusual as seeing a visorless player today.

The NHL made helmets mandatory four decades ago. Any player who entered the league after June 1, 1979 had to wear a helmet, but any player who signed his first pro contract before then could opt out if they signed a waiver. During the 1978-79 season, about 30 percent of NHLers didn’t wear a helmet. Ten years later, though, and you could count on both hands how many helmetless players were left in the league. Here’s a rundown of those players, and why they chose to show their flow.

Read the full article at The Hockey News.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.

Blake’s Takes: Bruins Break Binnington

The Stanley Cup Finals continue. The Blues are now down 2-1 to the Bruins after Jake Binnington’s worst game as a pro. Torey Krug has put the Blues on notice and the Bruins’ powerplay continues to roll. We also have some exciting news in the AHL and ECHL.

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2019 Calder Cup Preview: Charlotte Checkers vs. Chicago Wolves

The 2019 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Finals start on Saturday (schedule here). The Charlotte Checkers, who are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, take on the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. AHL teams only play against teams within their conference during the regular season, so this is the first time this year that the Checkers will take on the Wolves. 

Jim Howard, Puck Junk’s resident “Caniac,” and Sal Barry, who has followed the Chicago Wolves the past 25 years, give their insight as to which team will win. Either way, it won’t be a sweep. 

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Blake’s Takes: The Cup Final is Here

Happy Memorial Day everyone! As the season comes to an end, there are only a few things worth writing about. This edition of Blake’s Takes will feature all Stanley Cup content with a little bit of the World Championships mixed in. Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: The Cup Final is Here”