Happy New Year! Before we get into new content for 2019, I wanted to do a recap of Puck Junk’s most-read articles of 2018, and a brief update on what’s been going on with this website.
First, I am happy to report that readership at Puck Junk was at an all-time high in 2018. Traffic for this site grew about 37% between 2017 and 2018. And let me assure you, it is much more gratifying to write when more people read what I put up here.
The increase in readership was in big part because several new writers have joined the Puck Junk team, giving their unique perspectives on hockey and hockey collectibles. Their fine work has made it possible to update Puck Junk more frequently since the start of the 2018-19 season; perhaps you have noticed that this site has been updated almost every day since October?
Also, a lot of you wanted to know what happened to the Puck Junk Podcast and if it is going to return. It has been over a year since co-host Tim Parish and I recorded our last podcast. There are several reasons why the show has gone on hiatus, but basically it boils down to lack of time, technical problems and a decision for me to focus more on writing. Look, I love producing audio and video content, but those take substantially more time, and get substantially less traffic than a well-written article. But to answer the question, I think the Puck Junk Podcast will make its return sometimes this month, once I complete a large side project.
Anyway, below are the top articles that were published on Puck Junk during the 2018 calendar year. If you missed any of these, be sure to give it a read.
Continue reading “Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2018”
A Look at Each Inductee and Their Rookie Cards
The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted perhaps its most diverse group of honorees on November 12. Consider Martin St. Louis, who at 5 feet 8 inches was passed over in the NHL Draft because he was thought to be too small, and yet ended up being a leading scorer even at the twilight of his career. Then there is hulking, 6-foot-3-inch Aleksander Yakushev, who never played in the NHL but dominated during international play for the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Jayna Hefford was a mainstay for Canada’s international women’s team for 17 seasons, winning 12 gold medals, as well as becoming the all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Headlining the players’ category was Martin Brodeur, who is the all-time leader for NHL goalies in wins, shutouts and games played.
Inducted in the builders’ category was Willie O’Ree, who broke hockey’s color barrier 60 years ago as a player with the Boston Bruins, and then helped others follow in his footsteps for the past 20 years. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was also inducted as a builder for the growth the league has enjoyed over the past quarter century.
“He Will Take a Hit to Make a Play”
The first to the podium that night was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He is the longest-serving active commissioner of any pro sports league, and the only active pro sports commissioner to be inducted into a Hall of Fame.
“To imagine myself as a permanent part of this magical place is overwhelming,” Bettman said, “and I am thrilled to be enshrined in this Hall with this group of exceptional honorees.”
Bettman was the only 2018 inductee who never played hockey, but still took a humorous look at what kind of player he would have been: “The hockey scouting report on me would be something like this: lousy skater, not much of a shooter, you’re not going to outwork him, he’ll be strong in the corners and in front of the net, and he will take a hit to make a play.”
When Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner in February 1993, the league was a mess. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
This week, I write about the controversy hovering over Dallas, my trip to the Great Lakes Invitational, and tomorrow’s Winter Classic!
Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: Drama in Dallas and the Over-Promotion of the Winter Classic”
Upper Deck is giving away a free, six-card set of Winter Classic hockey cards this weekend at the Winter Classic Fan Festival in Chicago. The fest is at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millenium Park, Saturday, December 29 to Monday, December 31. The fest runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Fans who drop by the Upper Deck booth will get a pack containing six cards.
The checklist is as follows:
Continue reading “Upper Deck Giving Away Winter Classic Card Set in Chicago This Weekend”
This week, another first, more coaching rumors and the World Junior Championships.
Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: From Appleton to Q”
The Blackhawks Convention has been a must-do for ’Hawks fans ever since the show started in 2008. This year, it took place on July 27-29 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago.
It was the 11th year for the popular show, where fans have the opportunity to meet and get autographs from players, shop for hockey merchandise and attend panel discussions. There is also an interactive room with activities like floor hockey, as well as a display from the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a tried-and-true format that hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years. So, what could the Blackhawks do this year to mix things up and make the show feel fresh again?
For starters, the Blackhawks brought back two of its most iconic players: Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios. The pair were the most popular Blackhawks players during the 1990s, but neither had been a part of the Blackhawks Convention until now.
“It always seemed that the Convention was at the same time as something that I had already planned,” said Roenick, who played with the Blackhawks from 1988 to 1996. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
On this week’s Blake’s Takes, I’ll mostly be bragging about predictions I made that are coming true. Plus, a rant on how much I hate ESPN. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: Being Right…and a Mascot Fight!”
Last month, I purchased two full boxes of 2018-19 Panini NHL Stickers. My first box had quite a few foil stickers, and very few duplicates. So I was excited to open the second box of Panini stickers, and hoped that the collation would be as good as the first box.
Continue reading “2018-19 Panini NHL Sticker Collection Box Break #2”
The NHL made the announcement yesterday that for the first time, official game pucks to be used in this season’s NHL Winter Classic game will feature a new technology using a thermochromic coating. Thermo-what, you ask? To put it in the simplest terms, PPG — yes the Pittsburgh-based paint company that sponsors the Penguins’ home arena and is advertised as the official paint of the NHL — has developed a coating that changes color based on temperature. That’s right — color changing pucks.
Where have we seen this phenomenon before? Continue reading “The Thermochromic Puck: Hockey’s Latest and Greatest Achievement”
Welcome to Blake’s Takes, where I look at the players and teams that stood out to me during the past week of hockey.
Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: New and Unloved Teams”