Speculating on Athletes is a Bad Idea

Recently, I saw a brief write up on “success” of Upper Deck’s 2017-18 SP Authentic, in part because collectors are chasing Upper Deck’s buyback of Connor McHockeyJesus’ Young Guns rookie card. Not just because it’s his rookie card, but because they have also been autographed and numbered only to 97. Aren’t we lucky that McDavid doesn’t wear a jersey number like 2? 

While there are more reasons to buy a box of these cards, like some handsome autograph and jersey swatch hits, these ultra-rare McDavid cards are fetching upwards of $3,000 at card shows. That’s like five times more than I paid for the Volvo I used to drive. Now, it is pretty exciting to pull a rare card like that from a pack; I was mildly excited when I pulled a McDavid Young Guns RC from a Series One pack a few years ago, let it lay around on my dining room table unprotected for two weeks, and then sold it on eBay for $150 so I could buy an expensive-ass bicycle seat (pun not intended), and Sal can hate me forever for not selling it to him. What-evs!

But should you purchase the card of a young player at such an exorbitant price? He’s got his whole career ahead of him, however long or short that may be. 

History is generally cyclical. There have been other young athletes who have put up promising careers only to derail them due to personality issues, off-field antics, or REEEEEALLY poor decisions made when they play in some of the most stuffy, old fashioned, conservative sports on the planet. Let’s look at three such athletes.

Continue reading “Speculating on Athletes is a Bad Idea”

Record: The Chemistry was Just Right!

The story of the 1979-80 New York Islanders

“Dynasty” is a word that’s been tossed around in the hockey world a lot in the last decade. What does it take for a team to be a dynasty in the NHL today? Two Championships in three years like the L.A. Kings? Three Cups in six years like the Blackhawks? Two in back-to-back seasons like the Penguins? The fact that you can’t spell “dynasty” without “nasty” like the Bruins? 

While we ponder this, it’s impossible to deny teams like the Oilers’ winning five Cups in seven years, and the Islanders gobbling up four in a row in the 1980s were clearly dynasties. When the Islanders won their first of four straight Stanley Cup Championships, did they know they were on the precipice of greatness? I guess it’s easy to look back and think they may have had an idea that something special was just beginning to brew, but every team that lifts the Cup probably thinks they’re going to repeat the feat next year.

When recently digging through a local record shop, I came across this “audio yearbook” from 1980 celebrating the New York Islanders first Stanley Cup Championship.  Continue reading “Record: The Chemistry was Just Right!”

1979 N.Y. Islanders Christmas Album

The gift that keeps on giving…even though no one asked for it!

Happy Holi-Chris-Kawan-Hana-whatever! I’m back to bring you hilarious joy as you decorate the domicile or as you just get around to throwing out the rotting Jack-o-lantern with some quality throw back “puck juck” from 1979!

These days, a lot of our hockey teams produce fun little videos celebrating the time of year and thanking the fans; it’s nice — and awkward as hell. The Boston Bruins put out a spectacular video in 2013, the San Jose Sharks owned 2014 with their ode to Holiday Sweaters, and the awkward nod to capitalism thanks to the Calgary Flames in 2015.

But, before we had the interwebs to entertain us with these holiday greetings, what cheer would we receive from our boys? Enter the 1979-80 New York Islanders!  Continue reading “1979 N.Y. Islanders Christmas Album”

Interview: Hockey Documentary Filmmaker Dale Morrisey

Dale Morrisey shoots footage for his new film, “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans.”

Dale Morrisey is a filmmaker with a passion for hockey documentaries. His latest work, entitled “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans,” takes a long look at a long-forgotten NHL team. The Americans pre-date the “Original Six” Era and contributed more to the long-term success of the NHL than most would credit them for. At the same time, the Americans were a horrible team, struggling for years, first in New York City and then finally Brooklyn.

Morrisey, 45, was born in Oshawa and is, in his words, “a long-suffering Maple Leafs fan.” He previously wrote and directed documentaries “The Father of Hockey” (2014) and “Hockey’s Lost Boy” (2016). Recently, he spoke about his newest work, and why anyone should care about a team that’s been dead for over 75 years.

Sal Barry: Please explain the meaning behind your film’s title, “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans.”

Dale Morrisey: That’s from Thomas Wolfe’s short story “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” which appeared in the New Yorker magazine in 1935. The gist of the story is that it takes an entire lifetime to know Brooklyn, and even then, you wouldn’t know all of it. So, we played off of that, because the Brooklyn Americans area forgotten team, and only someone who was around back then would really know and understand who they were.

SB: The Americans have been gone for how long now?

DM: About 76 years.

SB: Why would anyone care to know about the Americans today?

DM: That’s a good question; I’ve been asked it a lot. Continue reading “Interview: Hockey Documentary Filmmaker Dale Morrisey”

Puck Junk Podcast #20 – Nov. 30, 2016

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

In the latest Puck Junk Podcast, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) talk about:

Playing fantasy hockey on Topps Skate

The Vegas Golden Knights’ name, color, jersey and logo

Gerard Gallant being fired by the Florida Panthers

Lighthouse Hockey’s campaign to make N.Y. Islanders’ third-string goalie J.F. Berube an NHL All-Star Game captain

Podcast #20 weighs in at 55:31, so have a seat before you click play.

Theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

So, what do you think about the new Vegas team, the Panthers firing Gallant or the push to get J.F. Berube into the 2017 All-Star Game? Leave a comment below. ■

Ralph Macchio: Celebrity Hockey Captain

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1991-92 Pro Set Platinum #295 – Ralph Macchio, New York Islanders Celebrity Captain

Today, a former New York Islanders captain celebrates his 55th birthday. No, not Denis Potvin, though he did just turn 63 about a week ago. Nor is it the birthday of Clark Gillies, Brent Sutter or Patrick Flatley. Today is the birthday of former New York Islanders Celebrity Captain Ralph Macchio. Yup, The Karate Kid himself once donned the “C” for the Islanders. Well, sort of.

Back in the 1991-92 season, as a part of the NHL’s 75th Anniversary celebration, all teams appointed a celebrity captain. Continue reading “Ralph Macchio: Celebrity Hockey Captain”

My Quest for a Fish Sticks Jersey

Not Available in Your Freezer Section

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2016: My “Fish Sticks” jersey still fits me. Good  thing it’s an extra large…

Back in the late 1990s, I went to an art and design school called Columbia College. It was located in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, the southern part of downtown. Everything was expensive; only the really rich (business men, doctors and lawyers) or the really poor (college students and homeless people) lived downtown. I was always looking for cheap forms of entertainment. One day, that cheap thrill was getting an Islanders “Fish Sticks” jersey on clearance!

Continue reading “My Quest for a Fish Sticks Jersey”

Career In Cards: Al Arbour

Arbour_HeaderAl Arbour, who passed away at age 82 on August 28, had a long career as a professional hockey player, and an even longer career as an NHL coach. Arbour broke into the NHL during the Original Six Era and played pro for 18 seasons between the NHL and the minor leagues. But he is best known for his success behind the bench: 22 seasons, one Jack Adams Award, second all-time in wins and four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.

Here is a look at both of Arbour’s careers — as a player and as a coach — illustrated with various hockey cards and collectibles issued over six decades. Continue reading “Career In Cards: Al Arbour”

The one you wish you could throw back

YashinWe all have regrets in life. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault but our own; sometimes fate just has a funny sense of humor. It could be a job we took that quickly turned sour; it could be that person you woke up next to the morning after a night on the town, celebrating your team winning the Stanley Cup. Or it could be great hit in a pack of cards that lights up your face…until you read the name. Continue reading “The one you wish you could throw back”

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell SheetThis 8.5″ x 11″ sell sheet was used to solicit the “Limited 165 picture card series” of 1985-86 Topps Hockey to retailers. Unlike the sell sheet used in 1981-82, this one uses four colors (black, blue, red and light blue) instead of just red and blue. It also gave a sneak peek at a new feature for Topps in ’85-86. Continue reading “1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet”