Blake’s Takes: ‘Canes Ink Keeps Flowing

This week, I had to scratch and claw to find five things worth writing about, but I did it. I could never disappointment my fans. This week, the Hurricanes dominated the news cycle after they re-signed GM Don Waddell, and after Waddell announced that captain, Justin Williams, is still mulling retirement. There were a few other diamonds in the rough like a big jersey retirement and a trophy malfunction.

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Five Hockey Rookie Card Bargains for Next Season

During the past season, several rookies like Elias Pettersson, Rasmus Dahiln, Andrei Svechnkiov and Brady Tkachuk were extremely popular with collectors based on their performance. Add them to the list of players who had breakout performances last season, but rookie cards from prior years like  Jordan Binnington, Nikita Kucherov, Dylan Larkin, and Mikko Rantanen. The better a player performs, the higher the demand for — and the cost of — his rookie card becomes. 

But collectors can still find several bargains out there, though these players’ rookie cards may not be bargains much longer. Here is a list of young NHLers that can still be considered bargains based on how they have developed with their teams and how they have been received by collectors up to this point.

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Blake’s Takes: The Offseason Madness Continues

I hope everyone had a fantastic Canada Day and Independence Day. As some of you may have noticed, there was no Blake’s Take’s last week. I’ve been traveling around Norway and Iceland so I didn’t have a chance to cover all the craziness that was the start of free agency until now. 

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Blake’s Takes: The Offseason Frenzy Begins

Last week, a few big-name players signed contract extensions, and superstars were traded. The NHL Awards and the NHL Draft also took place. Here are a few of the biggest headlines from one of the craziest weeks in hockey. 

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The Second Annual Puck Junk Awards

A.K.A. 6 NHL Awards We Still Want to See

Another NHL season is in the books, meaning it’s time for the annual postseason awards. Each year, the NHL gives its award to the best goalie, best defenseman, most (popular) valuable player, yada, yada, yada. What the NHL really needs is some fun awards, so last year I came up with the Puck Junk Awards, to recognize this year’s surprise goalie, toughest mofo and best (worst?) boomerang player, among others. Here are the winners of the 2019 Puck Junk Awards. 

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2019 Calder Cup Preview: Charlotte Checkers vs. Chicago Wolves

The 2019 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Finals start on Saturday (schedule here). The Charlotte Checkers, who are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, take on the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. AHL teams only play against teams within their conference during the regular season, so this is the first time this year that the Checkers will take on the Wolves. 

Jim Howard, Puck Junk’s resident “Caniac,” and Sal Barry, who has followed the Chicago Wolves the past 25 years, give their insight as to which team will win. Either way, it won’t be a sweep. 

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Blake’s Takes: Conference Finals and the World Championships

The might be the best time of the year to be a hockey fan. We are in the midst of the Conference Finals and the World Championships have started. I dive deep into both tournaments and bring back my award predictions.

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Year of the Pig, Part III: The Postseason

Part III in the recap of the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes’ season & run to the Conference Finals. But will there be a Part IV? 

Note: Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 first. 

In the Hurricanes first postseason game in a decade they fared OK, but played like a team that was still in the regular season, while a far more experienced Washington squad played “playoff hockey.” Andrei Svechnikov, being a rookie, didn’t know they were suppose to lose, and put up two goals to make the Canes look good. Game 2 ended tighter, but novice play in OT put them down 0-2 in the series. Another rookie, Warren Foegele, started to make a name for himself here (besides being the thief that stole all the E’s out of Petr Mrazek’s name).

Game 3 was in Raleigh, the first game in a generation of new fans. Continue reading “Year of the Pig, Part III: The Postseason”

Year of the Pig, Part II: Regular Season

Part II in a three-part retrospective on the
Carolina Hurricanes’ 2018-19 season. 

NOTE: Read Part I first if you haven’t done so already. 

Where was I? Oh yes, the vastly retooled Carolina Hurricanes began their pre-season with a bang, topping the powerhouse Lightning twice, the Stanley Cup Champion Capitals twice (to be fair, they were probably still drunk), and Western Conference BBQ rival Preds once and to a OT loss; outscoring their opponents 28 to 13!

Many of us longer-suffering fans were cautious because we’d seen decent preseason teams trip on the door step to the regular season, Continue reading “Year of the Pig, Part II: Regular Season”

Year of the Pig, Part I: The Offseason

Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard recaps the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2018-19 season — in three parts!

Last year, Tom Dundon became the new majority owner of the Carolina Hurricanes. Shortly after he stepped in, the hockey world sat up and took notice of the irreverent moves that he made. Let’s take a look at what happened since then and how it has impacted the Hurricanes’ organization this season. 

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