Sal is moving…

Sorry, no pictures…but I promise that this is interesting and worth reading.

Recently, I took one giant stride towards “acting like an adult” when I decided to move in with my girlfriend Shellie. More accurately, we decided to move in with each other. But she isn’t moving in at my place, and I’m not moving in at hers; instead, we are getting a “new” place together.

I am both excited and overwhelmed. So much to do…so little time to do extracurricular stuff, like update Puck Junk with new articles.

My planned move day is this Saturday. In the interim, I have been slowly moving things to the new place, which is conveniently 1/2 block away from my current place of residence.

I have been a man of many hobbies, from collecting GI Joe and Star Wars figures, to collecting vintage Transformers–including rare Japanese imports. And, let us not forget hockey cards and collectibles. Right now, hockey seems to be my “big thing”. I’ve never gotten tired of collecting hockey cards…but there have been years when I have taken a break from it. Eight years ago, I was really into Transformers. Four years ago, my number one hobby was GI Joe action figures (from the 1980s to present).

In the past few years, I have sold off much of my toy collection. Many times, I’d ask myself “Why did I buy this?” As in, “Why did I buy these bootleg Transformers toys?” Or, “Why did I buy four of this particular GI Joe figure?”. Or “Why the hell did I decide to start collecting Captain Power, Ronin Warriors, etc. etc?”

However, I have never regretted purchasing a hockey card. Sure, I’ve sold or traded cards, but only my doubles, or to get cards I really wanted. My Pro Set cards from 1990-91 are as meaningful to me now as they were back in 1990-91.

So, I’ve decided to concentrate most of my collecting efforts on hockey cards. There is just so much variety, so much history…so much undiscovered cool stuff out there, that I feel that this is a hobby I’ll never bore of. After all, it has been almost two decades.

Back to my move. One of the bedrooms in this new apartment will be for my stuff–a haven for Sal, and where no dogs shall roam (my girlfriend has three basset hounds–good dogs, but old cards do smell like gum, and dogs like to chew on things). One of my big plans for this room is to “consolidate the collection”. I have a lot of binders full of complete hockey sets–some of them are here, but most are at my Grandma’s house. Once I am settled in, I am going to purchase some tall bookshelves to store and showcase my card collection. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and I am excited that I finally can.

I’m also going to frame and hang many of the autographed photos I’ve acquired throughout the years, including Denis Savard, Patrick Roy, Doug Wilson, Gump Worsley, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Al MacInnis.

My goal is for this room to look cool–but not too cluttered.

So, I won’t be updating this site for at least a week. I won’t have internet access at my new place until at least the middle of next week. Until then, I’ll be unpacking, building shelves, and doing the other two hundred things that need doing when you move to a new place.

Luc Bourdon is dead

bourdon_ripVancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon died on Thursday when he crashed his motorcycle into a semi truck. The Hockey News article regarding this can bee seen here.

Coincidentally, I traded away two Luc Bourdon cards earlier in the week–a Young Guns, and a game used card.

Upon hearing the news of his death this morning (via The Hockey News email newsletter, I of course was both surprised and a bit sad. I never saw this guy play, but I’m always sad when stuff like this happens. I was bummed when Jon Kordic died in 1992, and when Gaetan Duchense died last year.

It’s even sadder when it is someone who never got a chance to realize their true potential.

A player’s death always has one negative, albeit short term, impact in the hobby. All of a sudden, a card that was selling for $1 becomes a $10 card. This has already begun on eBay–not even 24 hours after his death. I saw Bourdon’s OPC rookie card from last year, with an asking price of $20–that’s more than what Evgeny Malkin’s RC in that set is worth. Some of Bourdon’s autographed stuff is going for over $30 now. I’m sure most of it would have sold for only $5 two days before.

When a player plays well, we try and cash in. When a player makes it into the Hall of Fame, we also try to cash in. And, when a player passes away–sometimes tragically–some people try to cash in on that too. That is one trend in the hobby that I never enjoy.

A ton of Young Guns

This week, I picked up a bunch of Upper Deck Young Guns rookie cards from various years.


I *finally* got a Patrick Kane Young Guns card! I hope to get another one for my collection soon. I hate paying more than $10 for a “new” card, but I had to have this one (I paid a *lot* more than $10 for it, that’s for sure).

I also purchased a large lot of Young Guns from various seasons. Below are some of my favorites…


Atlanta Thrashers prospect Ondrej Pavelec has done well in the AHL this season with the Chicago Wolves, my other hometown team.


Brett Sterling has been tearing things up for the Chicago Wolves for the past two seasons.


Dustin Byfuglien has become one of my favorite Chicago Blackhawks players. He’s normally a defenseman, but has been kicking butt as a forward.


Adam Burish led the team in penalties this past season, and is one of the unsung heroes on the Blackhawks.


This Patrick O’Sullivan rookie card brings me closer to completing my 2006-07 Upper Deck set.


Same goes with this Niklas Backstrom RC. Three more Young Guns, and I’ll have the whole 2006-07 Upper Deck hockey set.


Ryan Kesler was fourth on the Canucks in scoring, right behind team captain Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins. His career seems to be on the upswing.


Alas, poor Tuomo Ruutu. I get your rookie card after you got traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.


Technically, this Tyler Arnason Young Guns card was not his
rookie card.


I like the look of this Jordan Leopold rookie card, with the full body shot in the foreground, and the close up ghosted in the background.


Pavel Datsyuk is an awesome player. Too bad this Young Guns rookie card has a slight “ding” on the top edge. Still cool to own, though.


Kristian Huselius was second on team scoring for the Calgary Flames this past season. Why exactly did the Florida Panthers trade him?


Third overall in scoring for Carolina this year, this Erik Cole rookie card has a Beckett value of $10. Who knew?

Stick it!


Recently, I completed my 1990-91 Panini hockey sticker set.
For some reason, I never got around to getting the last two I needed, Patrick Roy and Andy Moog, until now.

I used to buy Panini stickers diligently “back in the day”. They were easy to find, as most drug, convenience and grocery stores carried them. They were also very affordable; a pack of six stickers cost about a quarter or thirty cents. Finally, the sticker sets were larger than most hockey card sets–and all teams got “equal treatment”. Meaning, if there were 16 Blackhawks stickers, then there were 16 Nordiques stickers–and 16 stickers for every other team too.

I think I learned more about hockey during my first few years of fandom by collecting stickers–a lot of players were featured, and many times other aspects of the game (rules, signals, all-stars, stadiums, uniforms) were covered.

For these reasons, the Panini sticker albums were always a treat to collect. You could even trade with (or buy from) Panini the few stickers you needed to finish your set. I’m not sure why I didn’t just pick these two up for ten cents each back then. I probably forgot all about needing these two when the 1991-92 set came out.

This week, I plan on adding several articles about hockey stickers. Check back every day this week, as I have three sticker-related articles in the queue, ready for your enjoyment. First up is an article about where my hockey memorabilia collecting all began.

Hockey card haul

This past Saturday, I went to the twice-yearly Chicago Sun-Times Sports Collectors Convention. The show is held in March and November. Back in November, I purchased the one card I needed to complete my 1970-71 Topps Hockey Set. This time around, I had similar luck. Here’s some of the cards I picked up:


This 1969-70 Topps checklist is unmarked, and completes my set.


1969-70 Henri Richard – this was an upgrade, as the one I already have has a bad wax stain on the front. Now, my set is EX/NrMt overall.


I purchased this 1953-54 Parkhurst Leonard “Red” Kelly card for $10. I thought that seemed steep at first, since the card has three major creases. But then I remembered that this card is 55 years old! Suddenly, ten bucks didn’t seem like much for it.


That said, $15 for a 1951-52 Parkhurst Gus Bodnar card seemed like a pretty sweet deal, even though it is creased across the front.


I plan on getting this 1978-79 Topps Dale Tallon card signed at the upcoming Chicago Blackhawks convention in July.


Likewise, I will send this 1976-77 Topps card to Fred Stanfield to get autographed–I have had success with him in the past

Other highlights include:

  • Several Chris Chelios cards (I try and collect all of his cards)
  • A complete set of 1996-97 Leaf Hockey for $8
  • 1990-91 OHL complete set, 1990-91 WHL complete set and 1990-91 QMJHL complete set –all three for $10
  • Mario Lemieux “Bun Candy” 3-card set for $3
  • A Penguins puck–with the oldschool “scarf” logo–for $5
  • Numerous 2006-07 O-Pee-Chee inserts for 50 cents to a buck each.
  • Signed photos of Pat Lafontaine, Jari Kurri, Brian Hayward, Rick Tocchet and Bernie Parent–all for $5 each! (links are to scans)When I went to this show, I was just so in the zone. I was on my feet for seven hours straight–I did not break for lunch, nor did I have to use the restroom. I was thorough and methodical in my perusing of the dealer tables. I think I did pretty good, too. Some of the stuff I bought was impulse buys, like 3 issues of the old “Legends” magazine for $5 total, or the autographed photos. I set out to complete my 69-70 set and pick up a few “old as dirt” 1950s cards. I accomplished both of those goals, and got some other cool stuff too.

    Now, I just gotta sit down and put everything away…

Denis Savard Appearance

Chicago Blackhawks head coach and Hall of Famer Denis Savard will be signing autographs this upcoming Saturday, March 1, at the Kmart Super Center in Tinley Park (16300 Harlem Ave.) at 3 pm.

Hopefully, I will be able to attend this signing. I have an old photo of Savard, from the 1989-90 season, that I would love to get signed. The picture is 11″ x 14″, so it is too big to mail to him. I also have some cards I can (hopefully) get signed too.

UPDATE: I went to the signing, and have posted about it here.

Blackhawks Convention – July 18-20

Things just keep getting better and better for Chicago Blackhawks fans this year.

It’s as if the team wants people to like them.

A few days ago, the team announced that it will hold the first annual Blackhawks Convention, July 18-20, 2008. The convention will feature autograph sessions and photo opportunities with former players such as Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Denis Savard. New players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be there too. ‘Hawks broadcaster Eddie Olczyk will be the Honorary Chairman of the convention.

The full story can be read on the Blackhawks website here.

Semi-Pro trading cards

A classmate of mine from Second City (where I take improv lessons) gave me a three-pack of Semi-Pro trading cards.

And no, I don’t mean AHL or IHL trading cards from yesteryear.

These trading cards are based on the new Will Ferrell movie coming out on February 29. In the film, Ferrell plays the player/owner/coach of a minor-league basketball team that *could* become eligible to join the NBA if he can turn the team around.

Although Semi-Pro is a basketball movie–and this is a hockey site–these cards are just too cool not to show off:


Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon


Woody Harrelson as Ed Monix


André Benjamin as Clarence “Coffee Black” Withers

Produced by Upper Deck, these cards resemble the old Topps basketball cards from the 1970s, as that is when the film takes place.

Also included with the cards was a big pink stick of sugar free chewing gum. Yum!