Like many kids growing up in the 1980s, I played with G.I. Joe action figures. Each figure had an interesting code name like Snake-Eyes, Shipwreck, Roadblock or Cobra Commander, had a ton of poseability — including swivel-arm battle grip! — and came with some pretty cool weapons.
Another great thing about G.I. Joe action figures was that each one came with its own file card on the back of the toy packaging — a small profile about the character that you were supposed to cut out and save for future reference. Believe it or not, these file cards many times became a factor when deciding which figure to buy. As a nine-year old, standing in the toy aisle of K-Mart, with only enough scratch in my Ghostbusters wallet to get one figure, I had to make a tough choice each week. All the figures looked awesome, so the file cards told you what kind of character the toy was supposed to be, which made picking one easier.
So this got me thinking, what if NHL players had file cards that summed up what you needed to know about them? It would quickly get you up to speed if you haven’t been following their career, and help you decide if you were going to like them or not.
Yesterday was the birthday of Fred Rogers, the longtime host of the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And while Rogers passed away in 2003, the work that he accomplished during his lifetime lives on. His work in television had a positive influence on multiple generations of children. Rogers also convinced Congress to not cut funding for public television, and was a proponent of technology that would allow TV programs to be recorded for later viewing. All that, and he was once the “Celebrity Captain” of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Andy Bathgate, the Hall of Fame forward known best for his years with the New York Rangers, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. He spent 17 seasons in the NHL, scoring 973 points (349 G, 624 A) in 1.069 games. Bathgate was named to the NHL All-Star Team four times, won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and appeared in the annual NHL All-Star Game each year from 1957 to 1964. Here we take a look at Bathgate’s career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Andy Bathgate”
Hello Puck Junk readers. Sorry that I have not posted too much to this site lately. Truth be told, I’ve been doing some more writing for The Hockey News, and they just published what very well be my magnum opus: The Making of Sudden Death: An Oral History.
For those who don’t know — or vaguely remember — “Sudden Death” was an action film released in 1995, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film took place at the old Pittsburgh Civic Arena, and was set during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Sudden Death” featured a lot of Penguins personalities, such as Luc Robitaille, Jay Caufield, Mike Lange and Paul Steigerwald, and I spoke with many of them. I also talked with the director, writer and producer. You can read the article online here. Please take a look and let me know what you think. ■
It’s been quite some time since Puck Junk’s last installment of “The Lost Cards,” where we investigate the fate of hockey cards that should have been but never were. Today’s “no card” is of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
The checklist for the 2009-10 Upper Deck Series One Hockey set lists card number 48 as Kristopher Letang, back when it was still cool to have a three-syllable name. However, Letang actually is not in the set.
Mario is the big five-oh! All-time great Mario Lemieux is 50 years old today. Despite numerous ailments and injuries, plus a three-year retirement, Lemieux had one of the most remarkable NHL careers. He won six scoring titles, was league MVP three times, played in 10 NHL All-Star Games, was a First Team All-Star five times and a Second Team All-Star four times. The list goes on and on.
More importantly, he saved the struggling Penguins franchise numerous times. His stellar play was a big reason why the team won back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992. He purchased the team in the late 1990s, keeping the team in Pittsburgh. His comeback in 2000 also helped the struggling team by increasing interest (and ticket sales) for the Pens. Lemieux also helped secure the deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh. He has helped the Penguins off the ice as much as he did on the ice.
Jaromir Jagr’s 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier rookie card was one of the most sought-after hockey cards of the season. As far as Jagr RCs went, this was the one to have that year, especially in the United States, where we had to pay through the nose to get OPC Premier cards. Seriously. Full sets were selling for $125; sealed boxes $250. The Jagr card itself was a cool $15. But through some shrewd purchases and trades, I ended up with several.
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This is the first in what will hopefully become a regular podcast series on this website, hosted by Sal Barry and Tim Parish. For those who don’t know, Tim maintains a sports card blog called The Real DFG and hangs out on Twitter @TheRealDFG.
Today, Sal and Tim talk about:
The Chicago Blackhawks sweep of the Minnesota Wild
The new 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Hockey set
The 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee Hockey sets
How Pittsburgh was a big hockey town in the 1980s — and Chicago wasn’t
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. ■
O-Pee-Chee always tried to make their hockey cards as up-to-date as possible back in the 1970s and 1980s.. When a player was traded, the card company would communicate this fact on the front of the card. Sometimes they would have the photograph altered, and sometimes they’d add a line of text explaining the player’s whereabouts. On the 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee card of Tom Edur, it gave two contradictory explanations of the former Penguin’s current status.
Near the bottom-right corner of the card, it states “Now with Blues.” This is reinforced by the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins logo and team name have been replaced by that of the St. Louis Blues.
But in the lower-left corner, the card simultaneously states “Retired from active playing.”