Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2018-19 Season

Becoming a coach in the NHL may arguably be harder than becoming a player in the NHL. While the NHL has roughly 700 jobs for players — not counting call-ups from the minors — there are only 31 jobs for head coaches. Making the task even more daunting is that there is no clear path to become an NHL coach.

Sometimes, an accomplished NHL player is given a shot as an assistant coach when they retire. Other times, a player might spend their entire career in the minor leagues, retire from playing, and then work their way up through those same ranks again, finally appearing in the NHL, but as a coach. Some NHL head coaches never even played minor pro, instead opting to coach once their junior careers wrapped up. 

But all of these men have been involved in hockey before they became an NHL head coach, and therefore have at least one card chronicling their career. So, here is a look at every 2018-19 NHL head coach’s rookie trading card.  Continue reading “Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2018-19 Season”

Book Review: Cap in Hand

You might think a book about the salary cap would as exciting as watching the ice freeze before an outdoor hockey game — and you would be wrong. “Cap in Hand: How Salary Caps are Killing Pro Sports and Why the Free Market Could Save Them” is a new book by Bruce Dowgiggin that expertly explains why salary caps and the promise of parity are killing sports in North America.

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Box Break: 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

At last! It’s finally here! The annual hockey set builders dream release, better known as 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee. Upper Deck has had the O-Pee-Chee brand back in circulation since the 2006-07 season and shows no signs of letting up. The annual monster set features 500 base cards plus an additional 100 short-printed cards that feature Marquee Rookies, League Leaders, Team Checklists, and Season Highlights. With a selection of 600 cards, you are bound to get a card of your favorite player — even if it happens to be Scott Foster.

For 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee, hobby boxes feature 24 packs of cards with ten cards in each pack. 240 cards isn’t bad when you consider a box will generally run you about $70 (so roughly $.30/card). This year’s design actually uses quite a bit of real estate devoted to the player photo, unlike some other years. The fronts feature an action shot of the player with the team logo on the bottom corner. The borders on the base cards is a light gray/white color with an interior border around the photo that features a cut out on top for the team name and on the bottom for the O-Pee-Chee logo and the player name. The position is also located on the bottom above the brand logo but is very small.

The backs (assuming anyone cares) are dominated by that corrugated cardboard color with black text. There is another inset border like the front that surrounds the player name, vitals, card number, and statistics. If you are looking for career stats, you will find most of them in their entirety on the back of O-Pee-Chee cards.

Enough about the design — lets get to the good stuff. 

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Wilson Deserved 20-Game Suspension

20 games is a long time to learn a lesson

Capitals RW Tom Wilson [Photo credit: Michael Miller]
Capitals forward Tom Wilson received a 20-game suspension on Wednesday for delivering an illegal hit to the head to Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in a preseason game on September 30. It is a decision that has been met with both resounding praise and harsh criticism over the past day. 

Wilson is not a bad person, nor is he a bad player. In fact, he was awarded the Bob Probert Bowl in the First Annual Puck Junk Awards earlier this year for possessing that formidable balance of skill and aggression. 

However, his hit on Sunqvist was egregious and inexcusable. So, the NHL handing Wilson a 20-game suspension was the right thing to do. Here’s why. 

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How Players Fared After Ditching Their Beards

It was an end of an era this week when Brent Burns helped Joe Thornton shave off his beard. [Photo Credit: Brent Burns/Twitter]
Not since the bearded women in Monty Python’s Life of Brian has a beard been as famous as the one belonging to the San Jose Sharks’ “Jumbo” Joe Thornton. Its removal earlier this week marked the end of an era, but will such a move affect his All-Star caliber abilities? Let’s look at a few similar cases as we pray for the best.

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The Best 2018-19 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items

Another NHL season is upon us — and with that, another slew  of free game-night giveaway items. Some of them are embarrassingly practical, with 16 of the 31 teams giving away magnet schedules. That’s great if you don’t have your smart phone handy and happen to be standing near the fridge, or wherever one sticks a magnet schedule. 

On the other hand, much of the free swag is downright strange. The Arizona Coyotes will give away an Oliver Ekman-Larsson kids cape on “Superhero Night.” And yes, they’re calling it a “kids cape” — because an adult-sized Oliver Ekman-Larsson superhero cape would  be weird. 

But not nearly as weird as this Joe Thornton bobblehead figure.

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Box Break: 2018-19 MVP Hockey

NOTE: Veteran blogger Tim Parish — a.k.a. “The Real DFG” is now sharing his wit and sarcasm as a writer for Puck Junk. Please welcome him in the comments below. 

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentleman.  Yes, the hockey season is upon us. With training camps about done, I figured it is a fine time to break the first box of the year.

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