One hundred percent of NHL players will tell you that their top goal is to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug over their head, skate around in a circle screaming, and wondering who they’re gonna spray first in the face with champagne. OK, cool squad goals bro. I can say 100% because Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Semin are playing in the KHL these days, and they only give a damn about money. The second goal for every player is to make the playoffs; just to get that extra patch on their jersey and at least play some late-April hockey.
Now that Ron Hainsey’s Ultimate Ironman Streak of playing so many seasons on so many bad teams — and having made his tee time on the golf course by April 15 — is over, let’s look at the top eight players currently in the NHL who have yet to make the playoffs and could take up Ron’s mantle of misfortune:
On Monday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2017 class of inductees: players Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Dainielle Goyette; Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs; and former Canadian collegiate coach Clark Drake.
Neither Jacobs or Drake had any hockey cards made of them, for somewhat obvious reasons: most colleges do not make cards of their athletes, let alone coaches, while owners aren’t popular enough to be included in trading card sets. (And if Jacobs ever had a trading card with his picture, what awful things would Bruins fans do to it?)
Obviously, Selanne, Kariya, Andreychuk and Recchi had hundreds of hockey cards made during their illustrious careers, since they all played in the 1990s and 2000s, when cards were printed like money. Even Goyette had over a dozen trading cards, which is surprising since there really are not many cards made of women hockey players.
Here’s a quick look at each player’s rookie cards — along with a few interesting cards thrown in for fun:
All-Star. Author. MVP. Enforcer. John Scott may be the only one who can claim to be all of the above. In his new autobiography, “A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut,” Scott takes us through his journey on how he went from a fourth-line enforcer to All-Star MVP. Anyone who wanted a tell-all about last year’s drama surrounding Scott’s controversial inclusion in the NHL All-Star Game will get that here — and more.
Happy New Year! With the holidays and other obligations requiring my focus over the past few weeks, I needed to take a little break from Puck Junk and turn my attention elsewhere. But now I am back on track and ready to start writing about hockey goodness once again in 2017.
Before we get on with the new, I thought it would be good to take a look back at the year that was 2016. Yes, a lot of cool people died — rest in peace, Princess Leia and Ziggy Stardust — and a mean Oompa Loompa was elected as U.S. President.
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What a week for hockey collectors! In this episode, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) discuss the new “Topps NHL Skate” digital trading card app, Connor McDavid’s exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck Authenticated and Jack Eichel’s arrangement with Leaf Trading Cards — and how collectors can get non-Leaf cards signed by him. Lots of awesome stuff here, so kick back, grab a beverage and hit that play button!
Total podcast time is 39 minutes 41 seconds.
Kickin’ theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.
What do you think of the new Topps Skate digital trading card app? Or the Connor McDavid exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck? Or with Leaf charging $75 to $125 for Jack Eichel to autograph your hockey cards? Leave a comment and let us know! ■
It is not uncommon for a trading card company to sometimes spell a player’s name wrong. And occasionally, a card company might flub the player’s position, such as listing him as a defenseman when he’s really a forward. Heck, we all make mistakes. But showing a player on a team he never played for? Well, that’s a mistake that you would have to go out of your way to make. And that’s exactly what card company Topps did in 1974, when they pictured Jacques Lemaire with the Buffalo Sabres — a team that he never played for. Continue reading “Card of the Week: Paper Sabre”
You know what grinds my gears in the card collecting world? Absolute laziness fortified with an attitude that no one will notice. On Friday evening, I’m sitting back in my dapper, leather high-back Georgian wing chair, enjoying a freshly poured adult beverage consisting of Scotch old enough legally buy itself and nothing more, when my phone pinged with a message.
It was an email from an online sport card retailer that I frequent, directing my attention to a sale. I adjusted my pashmina afghan, tipped my yachting cap back on my brow, and dove in to see what wares awaited my eyes.
No NHL players can boast appearing on a hockey card 12 years before their career began — except Patrick Kane. On Sylvain Turgeon’s 1994-95 Pinnacle hockey card, you see the Senators winger trying not to fall flat on his face in a game against the Sabres from the previous year. This photo actually makes for a pretty good metaphor for the Senators’ 1993-94 season, when they went 14-61-9 in 84 games.
Now, take a closer look at the wide-eyed kid in the stands.
In the opening pages of “Black Ice,” a 12-year old Valmore James is teaching himself to ice skate after-hours in a darkened hockey arena. Meanwhile, his pet dog is making a game of emerging from the shadows, knocking James to the ice, and running away. James believes that if he could learn to skate while dodging a charging Doberman, he would be able to avoid getting hit when playing hockey.
But during his career, it was other hockey players who would try to avoid getting hit by James. In his autobiography, “Black Ice: The Val James Story,” we follow James, as he makes the unlikely journey as a young man, transplanted from Florida to New York, who learns how to play hockey as a teenager and becomes the first African American to skate in the NHL. We also learn about the endless racially-charged hatred that he had to endure because of the color of his skin. Continue reading “Book Review: Black Ice: The Val James Story”