Antti Niemi joined his third team this season when he was picked up on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens earlier this week. He started the year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but after three weeks and three bad games was put on waivers and claimed by the Florida Panthers. Three weeks and two bad games later, Niemi was again put on waivers and was picked up by the Habs, whose top two goaltenders are currently injured.
So short was Niemi’s stay in Florida that he didn’t eve have a chance to customize his goalie mask. Instead, he just wore a plain white mask — the mask that simultaneously states “I’m new around here,” and “I won’t be here long.”
We all knows what happens to a first-round draft pick who goes on to an exceptional career in the NHL. They rack up accolades and are talked about even long after their playing days have ended. But what about the players who don’t make it? What are their careers or lives like after the shot at NHL stardom is long past? “Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote,” written by Terry Ryan in 2014, is a hilarious autobiography of a highly-touted prospect who didn’t pan out. But just because Ryan only played in eight NHL games is no reason to ignore his 228-page memoir. In fact, that’s all the more reason to read it.
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:
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In Puck Junk Podcast #12, Sal Barry and Tim Parish discuss the Subban-Weber trade, some of the Blackhawks’ free agent signings, the upcoming Chicago Blackhawks Convention and the problem with Case Breaks.
Total Time is 1 hour 6 minutes, so get comfy before you hit play!
John Scott’s selection to the 2016 NHL All-Star Game is not without precedent. Having a guy known more for punching than puckhandling play in the NHL All-Star Game, while rare, has happened on several occasions.
Then there is the curious case of Chris Nilan, whose near-appearance in the 1991 All-Star Game was, until now, the most controversial selection ever made.
Steve Galvao is a good old Canadian kid who grew up loving hockey and collecting hockey cards. To see more of Steve’s work, visit his website, the Shoebox Collection. You can view his earlier blog posts here. Follow Steve on Twitter @galvaost. ■
Elmer Lach, a former Montreal Canadien and an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, died on Saturday at the age of 97. He was the oldest living former member of the Les Habitants at the time of his passing. Lach played in the NHL from 1940 to 1954, and was the center of the “Punch Line” with Maurice Richard and Toe Blake on his wings. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, and had his jersey number, 16, retired by the Habs in 2009. Despite all these accolades, Lach remained humble and fan-friendly, and always signed autographs for anyone who wrote to him. Continue reading “Thank You, Elmer Lach”