Remembering Six Forgotten NHL Awards

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With the 2016 NHL Awards Show taking place tomorrow, the internet has been abuzz with which players should win certain awards, or why a particular trophy should be renamed. But I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the NHL’s forgotten awards. Each of these six awards were given out at different times over the NHL’s 99-year history, but all were discontinued for one reason or another. It’s time for a little NHL history.

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Penguins’ Stanley Cup Finals Ice for Sale

Ice, Ice Baby! Consol Center Ice, Ice Baby!

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What do you buy a die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan to celebrate the Pens’ 2016 Stanley Cup Championship? You could get them an autographed photo, a signed puck or a team-signed guitar. I’m not making the last one up.

Or you could get them some ice from the Consol Energy Center that has been melted down and put into a puck or a mini Stanley Cup. It’s the ice that the Penguins and Sharks skated on for Games One, Two and Five. This is great for Pens fans who like water that they can’t drink. And if Sidney Crosby spit on the ice in any of those games, it might even have his DNA! No, not really. All kidding aside, these are pretty nice.

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The Crystal Puck looks fancy and comes in a posh blue box that bears the Stanley Cup Championship logo. It costs $49.99, with free shipping.

But I think I like the “Crystal Cup” better.

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Like the real Stanley Cup, the Crystal “filled with ice” Cup comes with its own coffin storage case. At $79.99 (with free shipping) it costs a bit more than the crystal puck, but I think the box makes it worthwhile. It lists out the years of the Penguins’ four Championships, their regular season record, the results in the first three rounds of the playoffs, and the game-by-game results of the Finals.

The ice-filled Crystal Puck and Crystal Cup collectibles — as well as other Penguins Championship merchandise — are being sold by SportsMemorabilia.com. ■

Update: this idea was popular enough to be revisited a year later, with ice from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals.

Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin Discusses the New e-Pack Hockey Cards

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Upper Deck made waves in the trading card industry last week, releasing a new digital trading card platform called e-Pack. Unlike other digital trading cards, e-Pack cards have physical counterparts. Well, the hits and inserts do anyway, while the base cards exist only in digital form. However, base cards can be upgraded for foil parallels, and these foil parallels, along with the hits, can be shipped to the collector, making e-Pack the first of its kind in the trading card world.

Chris Carlin, senior marketing and social media manager of Upper Deck, had a discussion with me about the new e-Pack platform, why collectors should be excited, while retailers shouldn’t be worried, and how e-Pack will succeed where others have not.

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A History of Enforcers in All-Star Games

John Scott’s selection to the 2016 NHL All-Star Game is not without precedent. Having a guy known more for punching than puckhandling play in the NHL All-Star Game, while rare, has happened on several occasions.

Then there is the curious case of Chris Nilan, whose near-appearance in the 1991 All-Star Game was, until now, the most controversial selection ever made.

But neither Scott, or Nilan before him, would have been the first pugilist to play in an NHL All-Star Game. Continue reading “A History of Enforcers in All-Star Games”

Top 10 Hockey Card and Collectible Stories of 2015

While 2015 was not quite as tumultuous as 2014 was for hockey cards and collectibles, this was by no means an “off year.” Two highly-touted draft picks made their NHL debut — one causing hockey card sales to skyrocket, the other making an unconventional decision. Two new hockey collectibles books came out. And there were toys…lots and lots of toys.

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Trading Card Explosion Article for The Hockey News

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Twenty-five years ago, the trading card landscape was changed forever when three new companies entered the hockey card market. I recently wrote an article for The Hockey News about this crazy time — when people were stockpiling Sergei Fedorov rookie cards like they were gold bullion — and how it eventually led to the 1992 NHL players’ strike The article is in THN’s 2015-16 Season Preview issue, but you can also read it (for free!) at the THN website here. Check it out, and let me know your favorite memory of the 1990-91 season. 

Blackhawks 2015-16 Season Preview

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Happy first day of the 2015-16 NHL season! While I’ll still be updating Puck Junk as regularly as possible, I am now writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for lthe website Chicagoist. Today, they published my first article, which is a preview of the Blackhawks 2015-16 season. You should all check it out. I even throw in a little hockey trivia you can use to impress your friends. If you do read it, let me know your thoughts; do you think the ‘Hawks can win the Stanley Cup again this year? 

Dominik Hasek’s Blackhawks Debut

hasek_1990_1Dominik Hasek’s final game with the Chicago Blackhawks was Game 4 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. But when was his Blackhawks debut?

True, Hasek played in his first official NHL game as a member of the Blackhawks on November 6, 1990. He may have even appeared in a preseason game before then. But Hasek’s debut with the Blackhawks came on September 15, 1990 — 25 years ago today — when he took part in the team’s annual Red-White Scrimmage.

This wasn’t an official game. No ticket stubs exist, as it was free to get in, and no newspapers recapped it the next day. All that we have is this roster that was typed out, photocopied and passed out to fans during the first period.

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The New Upper Deck Replacement Policy

Upper Deck LogoUpper Deck’s policy on replacing damaged cards has changed. They will still replace damaged cards up to a year from the date of the card’s manufacture, but you can no longer just drop the cards in the mail; the process is a bit more involved.

I’ve documented my most-recent return of defective cards to Upper Deck, so you know what to do — and how long it will take – if you get damaged cards in your latest box break.

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The NHL’s Big Spenders vs. Big Winners: An Interactive Chart

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Click the above image to activate the bar graph. Not working? Click here.

The tenth year of the NHL’s “Salary Cap Era” has wrapped up. To the surprise of perhaps no one, no team that had the highest-paid roster has won the Stanley Cup in the past decade. The Vancouver Cancucks — who were paid a league-high $70,975,000 in 2010-11 — almost did it when they came within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Above is an interactive chart that displays the highest-paid team and the Stanley Cup-wining team, plus the teams that scored the most goals, that allowed the fewest goals, and that had the best record during the regular season. The chart also notes where each team ranked overall in league payroll for that season.

To learn more, check out the interactive bar graph. ■


SOURCES

Salary data from USA Today (2005-06 to 2013-14) and and NHL Numbers (2014-15).
Special thanks to Hockey’s Cap.