Why I love hockey and hate movie sequels

Thursday, I watched the movie Tron Legacy. Never mind that there were 13 perfectly good hockey games on Center Ice last night–I really wanted to see the new Tron flick, and finally had the chance to do so. I loved the original Tron from 1982, and could not wait to see what an updated take on this film would be like.

Well, I hated it.

I probably have not hated a sequel this much since Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice. Continue reading “Why I love hockey and hate movie sequels”

RC, or Not RC…? That is the Question

Do you consider stickers “Rookie Cards?” 

Sure, stickers lack the rigidity of their cardboard cousins, though some stickers have stiff backings.

Maybe they are not “cards” per say, but why don’t stickers carry the coveted RC designation?

Both stickers and cards are printed on paper. Stickers usually don’t have stats, but many old hockey cards didn’t have stats either.

In order to be considered a “rookie card” by Beckett’s standards, a card has to adhere to the following 3 guidelines. Continue reading “RC, or Not RC…? That is the Question”

How Many Licks Does It Take?

Remember that old commercial where the boy asks Mr. Owl “how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

Well, getting my new issue of Beckett Hockey Magazine, I wondered how many minutes it would take me to read this magazine.

In the past, I’ve complained that Beckett is 80% price guide, 8% advertisements and only 12% content that you actually read–and yet I subscribed to it because I got it for $3 an issue.

Is it worth it? I guess that depends on how long it entertains me.

Thus, I decided to time myself reading the new issue of Beckett Hockey. I read all the articles and even the advertisements–those are of interest to hockey card collectors. And though I flipped through the price guide, I didn’t read that part page-by-page–that’s pretty unrealistic, as no one would read the price guide page-by-page, line-by line like they would a book or mag.

So, how long does it take to get to the end of a Beckett Hockey Magazine?

For me, 22 minutes, 34 seconds…and 57 one-hundredths of a second (if you want to get all “Olympic Time Trials” about it). I made sure not to just skim the pages, but actually read them.

I guess 22-plus minutes isn’t a bad read. However, it was the content itself that was lacking:

  • The lead-off article “Behind the Scenes at the NHL Rookie Showcase” was a lot of boring photos of the players just standing around, off ice. The photos were also small and dark, as if taken with a camera phone. Actual action shots would be, you know, more interesting.
  • “10 Reasons  to Collect P.K. Subban” was stretching things a bit. Is the fact that a promo card featuring Subban sold for $25 a “reason” to collect his cards?
  • Short articles about the upcoming Score and ITG Ultimate Memorabilia cards, and the already-out WHA Hall of Fame set. Although many bloggers, including myself, have already talked about these sets, you can’t fault a print publicaton for being slow when compared to the internet.
  • “Readers Write” is usually an interesting part of the mag, because it answers hockey card-related questions. This time, only one question…plus a reader telling us what he got in a break of 2009-10 SP Game Used, and how much he sold each card for. Yawn.
  • And there are other short articles, like “Super Collector”–where a guy talks about his Anze Kopitar collection–and the “Top 20 Hot Singles.” A few other “blurbs” here and there.

Twenty-two minutes well spent? I’m not so sure. I wish there was just more interesting stuff to read besides box breakdowns, previews of products we already know about and being told why I should collect a player that everyone is going to collect. Talk about a set from 30 years ago, or some obscure small release we might have missed from 2000. Anything is better than “What We Got in a Box of Premier.”

The Beckett / Craig Ferguson Conspiracy

I must be a sucker. Yesterday, a telemarketer from Beckett Publications, named “Sid“–but probably really named Samir–called me and asked if I wanted to renew my subscription to Beckett Hockey Magazine. And I said “yes.”

Now, I was about to tell Sid (Samir) that I do not wish to subscribe to Beckett Hockey, because the magazine is really just inflated card values and regurgitated press releases from Upper Deck.

But the problem was, I kept thinking of Sid, the cursing rabbit puppet from “The Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” Ferguson voices the foul-mouthed, Scottish-accented puppet.

With my defenses down, Sid (Samir) dropped the bomb on me: TWO years of Beckett Hockey for $36. That’s $3 per issue, plus I would get two free card gradings.

Hmmmm….maybe $3 an issue isn’t too much to satisfy my morbid curiosity. So, I caved in and bought a two-year subscription. Perhaps if enough of us buy in, Beckett will print thoughtful articles again instead of the usual “They Say / We Say” nonsense.

Now, most normal people don’t think of a cursing rabbit puppet from late night television when they hear the name “Sid”. But most normal people don’t blog about trading cards based on the 5th most popular sport in the U.S., either.

But here’s where things got freaky. While doing a Google Image Search to find a few pictures of Sid the Rabbit, I came across a video of an interview with Craig Ferguson, regarding his voice acting work in the film How to Train Your Dragon.

Sure, nothing weird there–until I clicked play to watch the video and an ad for Beckett appeared!

Beckett has found a way to use my enjoyment of Craig Ferguson’s comedy against me. Am I crazy, or is this the beginning of a conspiracy theory?


In other news not related to Beckett, Craig Ferguson or conspiracy theories…you might want to check out this contest over on Fuji’s blog.

LeBron in Miami = Good for Chicago Hockey

Lebron James likes to talk about himselfLebron James signing with the Miami Heat is the best thing that could have happened for hockey in Chicago.Actually, it doesn’t really matter where James ended up–so long as it was not with the Chicago Bulls.

Think about it. Right now the Chicago Blackhawks are the “Number Two” team in Chicago, right after the Bears. Football is so popular in Chicago, that only a dynastic performance by another Sports team would unseat them–like the Chicago Bulls did in the 1990s when they won 6 NBA titles (And yes, “Sports” is a proper noun in Chicago.)

If the biggest free agent in NBA history signed with the Bulls, it would elevate their status to at least that of the Blackhawks. And if Lebron led the Bulls to one or more NBA titles, then they could easily unseat the Bears as the team in Chicago.

Besides, a raving egotist like LeBron would only draw attention to himself–and thus to the Bulls–and away from the Blackhawks and hockey.

The ‘Hawks earned all the attention they are getting in Chicago right now. They won the Stanley Cup. They have a marketable group of young players signed for a long time. And they have legions of new fans.

LeBron James being on the Chicago Bulls would have negated those factors.

In order for hockey to succeed in the Windy City, the Blackhawks have to be great, and all the other sports teams here need to be bad. That is the harsh reality of Chicago Sports. Hockey will continue to grow in Chicago, but only if the Blackhawks remain competitive and the other Sports don’t provide any big distractions.

5 reasons why Hockey is better than Soccer

As much as I admire soccer for being the world’s most popular sport, I just can’t get into it. Watching it bores me. Getting out of bed at 6 a.m. to watch the World Cup does not entice me.

Plain and simple, soccer is not as good as hockey. Why? I’ll give you five reasons why hockey is better than soccer.  Continue reading “5 reasons why Hockey is better than Soccer”

6 ways ‘Hawks Cup win could have been better

Chicago BlackhawksAs you know, my favorite hockey team won the Stanley Cup this year. I’m happy. Hell, I’m ecstatic. Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal. Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. And Antti Niemi proved that he was the real deal.

Still, there are several ways that this year’s Cup victory could have been better for this longtime Blackhawks fan—6 ways, to be exact. Continue reading “6 ways ‘Hawks Cup win could have been better”

Carcillo = Dumb

Daniel Carcillo…dumb, dumb, dumb Carcillo. I was a fan of this guy when he played for Phoenix, but now I understand why they traded him away to Philladelpia. He would take stupid penalties when the game was on the line for the Coyotes, and still does so, as evidenced by his sucker punch of the Washington Capitals winger Matt Bradley. Not only did he get a boatload of penalties, he got a four-game suspension too. This video nicely sums it up:

Granted, the announcers are for the Capitals, so they are biased against Carcillo, saying that the right call was made: 2 minutes for cross-checking, 2 minutes for instigating, 5 minutes for fighting, a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

But it is even worse listening to the Philadelphia announcers, who are surprised that Matt Bradley didn’t even get a penalty.

“Matt Bradley did drop his gloves to fight, and Carcillo was quicker to get that punch in,” says Flyers color commentator Steve Coates. Nice way to spin it, Steve. You and Flyers play-by-play guy Jim Jackson would have a great career at Fox News if you ever tire of hockey.

Bradley dropped his gloves after Carcillo dropped his own left glove to grab Bradley by the collar. By the time Bradley is dropping his own gloves, Carcillo is already throwing a punch. Don’t believe it? Take a look at this screen shot:

Now, Mr. Coates, does Bradley look ready to fight? Was Carcillo really that much quicker to get his punch in–and therefore the better fighter–or was it a sucker-punch?

And what would be said if he tried to do something like this to George Parros or Derek Boogard? Real enforcers want it to be a fair fight. This was neither fair nor a fight.

If Carcillo does not want to get bodychecked, he can join a no-check men’s recreational league. But if he wants to be among the best tough guys, he has to learn the difference between an enforcer and a goon.

When hype meets frostbite

Living in Chicago and being a Blackhawks fan, you would think that I would be dying to go to this season’s NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

To tell the truth, I did want to go to this game really bad. As my sister asked me, “How many times can you say you’ve seen a hockey game at Wrigley Field?” That raised a good point. Continue reading “When hype meets frostbite”