1963-64 Parkhurst #12 – Bob Pulford

Yes! I did it! I now have 20 cards from the 1963-64 Parkhurst Hockey set. Twenty out of 99, 20%, one-fifth (1/5) of the complete set.

This card is of former Toronto Maple Leafs player Bob Pulford. Sometimes, I forget that Pulford had a pretty good playing career. For so long, he has been associated with the Chicago Blackhawks–as a coach, then a GM, then a coach again, then a GM again, then a Senior Vice President.

So, as it stands I have acquired 2 cards from this set in 2008, and 18 cards in 2009. I have 79 cards to go to complete this set. While I’d like to get 1 card a week in 2010, that’s probably unrealistic. Maybe when I finish grad school and re-enter the full-time work force (knock on wood), I’ll be able to afford some of the more pricey cards.

Thank you, David

I got to give a shout out and say “Thanks!” to David M. of Industry, Pennsylvania. David so kindly sent me three cards that I needed from the 1979-80 Topps set, including the sweet, unmarked checklist that you see here. And he didn’t even want anything for them either…just the satisfaction of helping out a fellow hockey collector.

I am now only 6 cards away from completing my 1979-80 Topps set. And yes, I do have the Gretzky–though I wouldn’t mind another one 🙂

1963-64 Parkhurst #49 – Ian Cushenan

The 19th card in my never-ending quest to complete a 1963-64 Pakrhurst set. This is only the 4th Red Wing I have in this set, and the first Red Wing I’ve picked up since July.

The back of the card has a special offer for a Stanley Cup replica–only 35 cents and 4 wrappers. Of course, 35 cents was a lot of money in 1963, as I think cards were only 5 cents a pack back then. But you got to wonder how big of a replica Stanley Cup that would have bought someone.

NHL SportsPicks 23 photos

McFarlane Toys has just released photos of NHL Series 23, due out in January 2010. This series will feature some brand-new sculpts, as well as some re-paints. Also, it will be the first time McFarlane Toys inflicts introduces their different “Collector Level” variations on unsuspecting eager hockey fans.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
This figure is a repaint of Martin Brodeur 2, released in NHL Series 9 (December 2004), but of course with a different head. Given his team’s Stanley Cup victory last spring, a figure of Fleury makes sense. Too bad it is not an action pose, though.

Alexander Ovechkin 4, Washington Capitals
About two weeks back, I mentioned how tired I was of Alexander Ovechkin having a figure in seemingly every other SportsPick assortment. Well, I take that back. This toy looks fantastic. Ovechkin celebrates a goal; stick raised, mouth open and teeth missing. Oh, and he’s rockin’ the playoff beard too.

Gordie Howe, Hartford Whalers
EPIC FAIL! What should have been my favorite figure in the series is in fact looking like it will be my least favorite. I don’t mind that the figure is a straight-up repaint of the Gordie Howe figure from Legends Series 6 (December 2007). But I wish the head sculpt was different. This Howe figure looks more like Reggie Dunlop from Slap Shot

…than Mr. Hockey at the end of his career:

If the figure looked more like Gordie here, then it would have been a winner.

Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs
Not much to say here. Good pose, glad they used the blue home uniform. Next up…

Bobby Orr 3, Boston Bruins
Bobby! According to their website, this “Bobby Orr action figure is based on his legendary 1970 season.” But big-time figure geeks will recognize this as another repaint-with-a-new head. This figure was originally Jean Beliveau way back from NHL Legends Series 2 (April 2005). Orr was 6-0, and Beliveau 6-3. Close enough in height to use one figure as another.

Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Another decent action pose. But what’s really got me excited is…

Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg Jets
Yay! A player in a uniform from a defunct NHL team! And I’m not being sarcastic, either. Who wouldn’t want this figure? Unfortunately for old-time hockey fans and those still holding a candle for the Jets, this figure will be one of the hardest to get in this series. Which brings me to our next topic.

Collector Level
Apparently, the occasional chase figure was not enough. In addition to normal chase figures (say, a player in his road uniform instead of his home uniform), there are even harder-to-get chase figures, known as “Collector Level”. The levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Premier, All Star and MVP. Here are the reported quantities of each “Collector Level” figure in NHL Series 23. Note that this information was reported by an online retailer, but has not been confirmed by McFarlane Toys:

Bronze – 1000-2000 – Bobby Orr in white jersey

Silver – 500-1000 – Marc-Andre Fleury – Gloves and stick at his feet, base painted to look like red carpeting.

Gold – 250-500 – Gordie Howe in Green Jersey – I am not sure how this will vary from the “normal” Gordie Howe in green jersey that is part of the regular assortment.

Premier – 100-250 – Alexander Ovechkin 4 in All Star Uniform.

All Star – 50-100 – Teemu Selanne in Jets uniform.

MVP – 1-50 – Gordie Howe in white jersey with Authentic Autograph

The “Classic Chase” figures will be of Schenn or Ovechkin in road (white) jerseys instead of the normal home jersey versions.

Personally, I don’t care one way or another about a figure having a signed base like the “MVP level” Gordie Howe figure mentioned above. But making a major paint variation like the Jets Selanne figure super-limited will aggravate a lot of fans. Most of the time, variants are cherry-picked before they even hit the shelves at your local Toys R Us. Why go through all the trouble to entice us, when all 50 to 100–or however many end up getting produced–are whisked away by toy store managers or stock room boys before you or I have a chance to get one? You know that you are not going to just walk into a Wal-mart and find a Gordie Howe with signed base figure just sitting on the shelf, waiting for you.

Perhaps this is a ploy to sell more cases of toys to consumers via online retailers. Again, according to the McFarlane website, “Every SportsPicks assortment case is guaranteed to receive a special Collector Level or Classic Chase figure.”

In other words, buy a sealed case and you will either get a Classic Chase (boo) or a “Collector Level” (yay) figure.

Knowing that I won’t get a Selanne figure puts me in a poor state of mind before bedtime…

UPDATE: Where are my manners? I was so irate about the predicted rarity of the Selanne-as-a-Jet figure that I forgot to link to McFarlane Toys article about NHL Series 23. Photos are courtesy of McFarlane Toys.

New Heroes & Prospects Set

In the Game’s annual Heroes & Prospects set will be released on January 27, 2010–which is also my 35th birthday.

Looking at the base card checklist, it appears that this season’s set will be heavy on the prospects and light on the heroes. Only 4 Heroes and 15 AHL Grads appear in the 150-card set. The other 131 cards are of Prospects.

What grabbed my attention was the inclusion of a Hero by the name of Larry Kwong. I had no idea who this gentlemen is, but after a little research leaned that he was the first Chinese-Canadian to play in the NHL, when he appeared in one minute of one game for the New York Rangers during the 1947-48 season.

As much as I would like to buy a box of cards by In the Game, their high price point–due to the inclusion of memorabilia and autograph cards–precludes me from doing so, I might still try to pick up a complete base set.

1963-64 Parkhurst #71 – William Harris

Another week, another Parkhurst card. This is my 18th step towards completing this 99-card set. A sweet looking card too–no creases or major corner wear. The gloss on the front is perfect. Probably the best card, condition-wise, that I’ve picked up from this set thus far.

The back of the card is intriguing. In 1963, one could mail away for an autographed puck for 30 cents plus 5 Parkhurst wrappers. You had your choice of Gordie Howe, Dave Keon or Jean Beliveau. I wonder if anyone ever got one of these (Al K.? Thom?). That is one thing that hockey cards are missing today–fun mail-away offers like this one and like the ones offered by Topps and OPC up to the 1990s.

81 cards to go, and I’ll have a complete set.

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.

Trio of Hawks Sign Extensions

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed three of their top players to contract extensions today. Forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have signed 5-year deals, while defenseman Duncan Keith has signed a 13-year pact.

Toews and Kane’s deals are worth $31.5 million ($6.3 big ones per year), while Keith’s deal was for $72 million ($5.54 mil per year).

Full stories about this can be found on NHL.com and the Blackhawks’ website.

This is exciting news for Blackhawks fans like myself, who would hate to see the team’s great young players end up signing elsewhere. Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa might be the best-paid players on the team, but Kane, Toews and Keith are the core.

This calls for another LOLTaves:

Upcoming Hockey Figures

Here’s a quick rundown of NHL SportsPicks Series 23 and 24 by McFarlane Toys.

NHL Series 23 – January 2010
Marc-Ander Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Alexander Ovechkin 4 (Washington Capitals)
Gordie Howe (Hartford Whalers)
Teemu Selanne 2 (Anaheim Ducks)
Bobby Orr 3 (Boston Bruins)
Luke Schenn (Toronto Maple Leafs)

NHL Series 24 – April 2010
Robyn Regehr (Calgary Flames)
Michael Cammalleri (Montreal Canadiens)
Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins)
John Tavares (New York Islanders)
Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto Maple Leafs)

NHL Series 23 seems to be a pretty typical assortment. I’m already tired of Ovechkin figures and Maple Leafs figures. A figure of Gordie Howe with the Hartford Whalers should be interesting, though a figure of him as a Houston Aeros would really rock.

Now, NHL Series 24 has my attention. McFarlane Toys is making figures of popular rookies John Tavares and Jonas Gustavsson while they are still rookies. Mike Cammaleri is currently second in scoring for Montreal, and Tim Thomas has more than established himself as a top-tier player.

But what really excites me is that there will be a figure of Blackahwks team captain Jonathan Toews. While there have been recent figures of retired ‘Hawks (Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr), this is the first figure of a current ‘Hawk since Nikolai Khabibulin was released in NHL Series Series 12 (May 2006).

Which leads me to ask, why no Blackhawks figures for so long? They have been among the hottest teams in hockey in the past two years. Patrick Kane won the Calder Trophy in 2008, but still has yet to be immortalized as a figure. Current stars Marian Hossa and Christobal Huet both appeared as SportsPicks in 2007; why not repaint them as Chicago players?

Either way, I’ll be looking to get a few of these. I’ve really slowed down on the SportsPicks as of late. I really need to get my hands on this one.