Gotta love The Onion

For those of you who don’t know, The Onion is the premier weekly satirical newspaper here in the U.S. of A.–sort of like Mad Magazine, but more sophisticated…and yet not pretentious. They poke fun at all things, like politics, current events and sports. Once in a while, they even dis’ on hockey, as evidenced by this photo:

The Onion also poked fun about the recent NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta.

NHL Series 20 lineup announced

McFarlane Toys recently announced the upcoming lineup of hockey figures that will comprise NHL Series 20:

– Daniel Briere (Philadelphia Flyers)

– Jarome Iginla 3 (Calgary Flames)

– Jonathan Cheechoo (San Jose Sharks)

– Nicklas Lindstrom 2 (Detroit Red Wings)

– Vesa Toskala (Toronto Maple Leafs)

– Daniel Sedin 2 (Vancouver Canucks)

You can read the full article on the McFarlane Toys website here.

2007-08 MVP Rookie Packs

Awesome! Today I got my 2007-2008 MVP Rookie Packs. If you redeemed your MVP redemption cards, then watch your mailbox–you should be getting your Rookie Packs soon.

I redeemed my redemption cards online on November 7. Two months later, I have these packs. There are 30 different rookie cards (numbered 351-380), and I have 12 packs (each contains 3 cards). It would be highly unlikely that I’d get all 30 cards that I need, and only 6 doubles. But if I get a lot of doubles, hopefully they will be of Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews.

Happy New Year

OK, so this post is a few days late, but I would like to wish the ten or so people who visit this website a Happy New Year.

When my school where I teach at went on break in mid-December, I had lofty aspirations to update this site five times a week…at least for a few weeks. After all, how can I expect to develop a following if I update this site once a week or less?

But that goal was lofty indeed. Even though I was free of work-related responsibilities, I still had to contend with family, friends and the holidays.

So, Puck Junk has not been updated all that much over the past two week. But I did manage to go to three Blackhawks games in December. I don’t think I’ve been to three games in the past three years. Of course, my seats were far from the action, so I didn’t bother taking many photos. I did snap a few before one of the games…

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Bobby Hull exclusive figure in Phoenix

On January 19, 2008, every fan attending the Phoenix Coyotes game will receive an exclusive SportsPick figure of Bobby Hull in his Winnipeg Jets jersey. The figure will be of the miniature variety, standing about 3 inches tall.

Both Todd McFarlane (the owner of McFarlane Toys) and Bobby Hull will be in attendance at that game, and will sign autographs during the first intermission. According to the article on Spawn.com, only the first 75 people or so will get an autograph.

This particular game will be special for Hull, as the Coyotes play the Chicago Blackhawks that night. Hull spent 15 years playing for the ‘Hawks, followed by seven years with the Winnipeg Jets. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes, but still honor former Jets players.

More photos of the figure can be seen here.

I am interested in acquiring one of these figures. If anyone would like to trade one, please Contact me.

Change to Upper Deck N.P.N. program

Today, I got a letter in the mail from Upper Deck, which read as follows:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your continued interest in Upper Deck’s “No Purchase Necessary” program. Upper Deck is pleased to announce that as of January 1, 2008, Upper Deck will be going to an online method of submitting entries. Upper Deck will no longer be accepting mail-in entries after December 1, 2007. To submit your entries beginning on January 1, 2008, please log on to npn.upperdeck.com.

Sincerely,

The Upper Deck Company

The letter was signed by “T.R.L.”, which I think are the initials of their N.P.N. Manager. Either that, or they want me to watch MTV’s “Total Request Live”.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Upper Deck’s “No Purchase Necessary” Program, it was a chance for you to get an insert card without making a purchase. For a chance to “win” an insert card (such as a jersey card, a rookie card, an autographed card, etc.), you would actually have to write out by hand–no photocopies or other reproductions–your name, address, daytime phone number and evening phone number on an index card, and then send that in a hand-addressed envelope. They would only allow you to enter once per day, meaning that they’d discard one of your entries if they received two from you on the same day (or so they say).

When I first learned of the N.P.N. program in May of 2006, I would send an entry to Upper Deck every other day, in a vain attempt to win something. After 15 entries or so, I decided that it was a waste of stamps, and stopped. A month later, I got a 2005-06 Parkhurst autographed card. In the fall of 2006, I entered a few more times, just for the heck of it, but received nothing. A few weeks ago, I received an insert card from 2007-08 MVP. So, I guess they would keep all entries on file, and just pull from them every day or something.

Either way, it seemed like a waste of stamps and energy–who wants to *write out* their information for a *chance* to win? Ugh!

This new method sounds like it wouldn’t be much harder than sending an email or filling out an online form. I can deal with that. Of course, I don’t mind writing things out by hand–I send fan letters to hockey players, asking them to autograph a few cards, and I *always* handwrite those as they should be personal. Contest entries don’t need to be personal.

Overall, I think this is good news. While Upper Deck still holds an unhealthy and unfair monopoly on the hockey card industry, it is great to see them take great strides forward in customer service–first with their redemption programs, and now with their N.P.N. programs. Now I’ll have a chance to win some insert cards without wasting stamps.

New hockey 2-packs by McFarlane

McFarlane Toys has announced that they will release three hockey 2-packs that will be sold exclusively at Lowblaws stores in Canada. These will go on sale on December 26, 2007–a.k.a. “Boxing Day”.

Each pack contains previously-released figures, giving fans a second chance on a favorite player they might have missed. The 2-packs are:

— Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames) vs. Roberto Loungo (Vancouver Canucks)

— Sakiu Koivu (Montreal Canadiens) vs. Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils)

— Bryan McCabe (Toronto Maple Leafs) vs. Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators)

Since these are being sold only in Canada, they tend to focus on Canadian-based players, with the exception of Martin Brodeur–who has been the best goalie in the NHL for a while, as well as Team Canada’s goalie in the Olympics and such. Brodeur has not been available since 2004, so this is a good chance for fans to get a figure of him now.

You can see the full article on the Spawn.com website here.

Completed my 70-71 Topps set

Today, I went to a card show here in Chicago, and tracked down the last card I needed to complete my 1970-71 Topps Hockey card set…

Look, boys and girls–it’s Bobby Orr! Now my set is complete!

Many people, when building a set, put off buying the most expensive card until the end, hoping to find a deal. I think I did pretty good on this card. It currently “books” at $75, but I got it for $20. No, it is not a “Gem Mint PSA 10+++” grade or whatever…it is “raw”, it has a dinged corner. It is not perfect, as is the case with so many old hockey cards. But it still looks awesome, and for $20 how could I go wrong?

One thing I love about card shows is that you can see so much in one place. As much as I love buying things online, sometimes it is nice to just go out and get something on the spot, without any bidding or waiting…or shipping charges. Plus, you can always negotiate the price.

Upcoming McFarlane hockey toys

NHL Series 17
McFarlane Toys has added photos of NHL Series 17 to their website.

Due out in January of ’08, Series 17 will give us figures of Evgeny Malkin, Jason Blake, Ryan Miller and a new pose of Alexander Ovheckin–all wearing the new RBK Edge Jerseys.

Even more exciting is the inclusion of two more figures–Joe Sakic as a Quebec Nordique and Trevor Lindin wearing a retro Canucks uniform. And I don’t mean those weird “stick logo” jerseys–I mean the flying skate, baby!

I guess McFarlane Toys has to do something with all of those “obsolete” figure molds. The tooling for an action figure costs toy companies a lot of money. So, companies try to re-use tooling as much as possible, hence repaints, goalies that use the same pose, etc. Hopefully, we can grow to expect more “retro” figures using the “old style” of jerseys.

What are you waiting for? Check them out!

Hockey Goal Display Stand
Taking a cue from their success of last year’s Hockey Rink Playset, McFarlane Toys will also issue a Hockey Goal display stand. This is much needed, considering that all new goalie figures no longer include a net. Half the time, the best thing about adding a goalie figure to your collection was getting a “free net” with it. This new display, however, will be a vast improvement, as it will have room for both a goalie and a shooter. Better yet, it will come in both Classic (pictured) and Modern designs. More about those here.

Even more figures
McFarlane Toys has also announced the figures for NHL 19, NHL Legends 7 and NHL 3-inch Series Six. I won’t list them all here, but I think I speak for all of us in saying that it is awesome that they are making a figure of Guy Lafleur as a Nordique! You can read up on all this here–scroll about halfway down.

O Canada!

O Canada, the new hockey card set from In the Game, launches today. The focus of the set is on Canadian National Team players, as well as a few “formidable” International foes.

Sigh.

It’s times like this that I really miss competition between hockey card companies. Right now, Upper Deck pretty much runs the show, since they have the exclusive rights to make NHL hockey cards. I admire what ITG has done without having an NHL license, with their sets focusing on international play, or “Heroes and Prospects”.

But it seems that all the cards that ITG makes are so expensive, due to autograph and memorabilia inserts.

And guess what? Upper Deck cards are expensive too. Well, the Victory cards are cheap, but not very exciting.

I guess if I’m going to spend $80 on a box of hockey cards it’s going to be NHL hockey cards.

But maybe I can pick up a base set of these O Canada cards on the cheap.

Click here to find out everything you would want to know about the O Canada set.