When the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second title in as many years, it didn’t take long for the Upper Deck Company to continue their tradition of issuing a limited-edition set to celebrate the achievement. Released in August 2017 was this 18-card Penguins Stanley Cup Championship set, featuring the players instrumental to the Pens’ pursuit and capture of Lord Stanley’s mug.
Pavel Datsyuk became the newest member of hockey’s Triple Gold Club on Sunday when the Olympic Athletes of Russia beat Germany 4-3 to win the Olympic gold medal. The Triple Gold Club is a list of hockey players who have won a Stanley Cup Championship, an IIHF World Championship gold medal and an Olympic gold medal. And with less than 30 members, it is probably the hardest “club” to get into.
Think about it. Players on teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs cannot compete in the World Championships, since they take place at the same time. Sure, a player might win the Cup one year, and then be on a crummy NHL team the next year that misses the playoffs or gets eliminated in the first round, and go on to win a gold medal in the World Championships.
But then there is the added challenge of winning a gold medal in the Olympics, which take place every four years didn’t include current NHLers this time around, and might not in the next one, either.
Thus, being a member of the Triple Gold Cup is just as much about skill — being talented enough to make a team a champion, like Sidney Crosby does — as it is about good timing.
Here is a rundown of every Triple Gold Club member and an explanation of how he got there. Continue reading “A History of the Triple Gold Club”
Rubber, Thread, Ink and Ice
When the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators in six games to claim the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship, they were the first team to win two Cups in a row since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.
Of course, with this championship win comes championship memorabilia and apparel, commemorating the Penguins’ modern-day dynasty. Here are a few keepsakes that you might want to make room for in your collection.
Game-Used Ice from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals
Ice from the Stanley Cup Finals was melted and encapsulated into crystal pucks and crystal Stanley Cups. These items were also available in 2016, and were popular enough to make a comeback in 2017.
Although, if the ice is melted, aren’t they actually selling you water?
Anyway, for $49.99, you can get a crystal puck filled with game-used ice, which comes with a nifty display case. A miniature miniature crystal Stanley Cup filled with ice costs $79.99 and comes with a black crate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a miniature Philip Pritchard to lug it around for you.
Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup Champions T-Shirt
There are a whole bunch of t-shirts touting the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships, but here are two of the most-creative designs. One uses cartoon illustrations of the Penguins core players, while the other lists out every player on the team’s championship roster, but using the backs of their jerseys…cuz, you know, back-to-back championships. ($27.99 & $31.99, plus free shipping with coupon code 30SHIP.)
2017 Stanley Cup Champions Patch
For $13, you can stitch this patch to your Penguins jersey, your favorite jacket or your backpack. The patch measures 4″ x 4.5″ and is embroidered.
Jake Guentzel Autographed Items
Rookie Jake Guentzel was the surprise of the 2017 playoffs, leading the league with 13 goals in the postseason. Perhaps an appropriate memento would be an autographed 2017 Stanley Cup Champions puck ($69.99) or a signed photograph of him raising the Cup ($99.99).
Framed Shadowbox with 10 Autographed Pucks
By far, this has got to be the coolest memorabilia piece for the 2017 Penguins Stanley Cup Champions. This framed shadowbox display has 10 pucks autographed by Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray, Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz. It is a bit pricey at $1,500 — but it is limited to just 50 editions. At 52″ x 18″, this bad boy will take up six-and-a-half square feet of wall space. But if you can spend $1,500 on something like this, you probably live in a mansion with lots of wall space….and that mansion is probably in Pittsburgh. ■
Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com, and save $10 with coupon code 10OFF2017.
Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup apparel at Fanatics.com and get free shipping on orders over $30 with coupon code 30SHIP.
It has been a long seven years, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have finally reclaimed the Stanley Cup. The Pens team that made back-to-back Finals appearances, losing in 2008 and winning in 2009, seemed poised to be an annual contender. Yet, the Penguins faltered, being adequate enough to make it into the playoffs, but not great enough to win it all.
That changed when Jim Rutherford was hired as the Penguins General Manager in 2014. He started re-building the team around cornerstones Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury. He made a blockbuster deal for Phil Kessel, as well as other trades, and made the controversial decision to fire Pens’ head coach Mike Johnston and replace him with their AHL coach, Mike Sullivan. It all worked out in the end.
For a more in-depth look at how the Penguins rebuilt themselves into a championship team, plus a recap of every players’ contributions, take a look at this interactive timeline. ■
Ice, Ice Baby! Consol Center Ice, Ice Baby!
What do you buy a die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan to celebrate the Pens’ 2016 Stanley Cup Championship? You could get them an autographed photo, a signed puck or a team-signed guitar. I’m not making the last one up.
Or you could get them some ice from the Consol Energy Center that has been melted down and put into a puck or a mini Stanley Cup. It’s the ice that the Penguins and Sharks skated on for Games One, Two and Five. This is great for Pens fans who like water that they can’t drink. And if Sidney Crosby spit on the ice in any of those games, it might even have his DNA! No, not really. All kidding aside, these are pretty nice.
The Crystal Puck looks fancy and comes in a posh blue box that bears the Stanley Cup Championship logo. It costs $49.99, with free shipping.
But I think I like the “Crystal Cup” better.
Like the real Stanley Cup, the Crystal “filled with ice” Cup comes with its own
coffin storage case. At $79.99 (with free shipping) it costs a bit more than the crystal puck, but I think the box makes it worthwhile. It lists out the years of the Penguins’ four Championships, their regular season record, the results in the first three rounds of the playoffs, and the game-by-game results of the Finals.
Update: this idea was popular enough to be revisited a year later, with ice from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals.
Yesterday, Gord Downie, lead signer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, announced on his band’s website that he has terminal brain cancer.
Hockey is not often the subject of songs, but this sad news reminds me of a song by The Tragically Hip called “Fifty Mission Cap,” which is actually about a Pro Set hockey card issued during the 1990s.
The tenth year of the NHL’s “Salary Cap Era” has wrapped up. To the surprise of perhaps no one, no team that had the highest-paid roster has won the Stanley Cup in the past decade. The Vancouver Cancucks — who were paid a league-high $70,975,000 in 2010-11 — almost did it when they came within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Above is an interactive chart that displays the highest-paid team and the Stanley Cup-wining team, plus the teams that scored the most goals, that allowed the fewest goals, and that had the best record during the regular season. The chart also notes where each team ranked overall in league payroll for that season.
To learn more, check out the interactive bar graph. ■
The Chicago Blackhawks are a modern-era dynasty, winning the Stanley Cup three times in six years. The journey started way back in 2002, when the team selected defenseman — and future Conn Smythe Trophy winner — Duncan Keith in the NHL Entry Draft.
Solid drafting has been the key to Chicago’s success. Of the 25 players who suited up for the Blackhawks in the 2015 playoffs, 12 were drafted between 2002 and 2013, while seven were acquired in trades and six others were signed as free agents.
For more detail on how this dynasty was crafted, plus a recap of how every player contributed to the ‘Hawks latest championship, check out this interactive timeline. ■
Blackhawks fans are a passionate bunch, so it takes something above and beyond your typical jersey or face paint to stand out in this sea of red. But lifelong ‘Hawks fan Michael Rigitano is anything but typical. After the team won the Stanley Cup in 2010, he exceeded the normal boundaries of fandom and descended into something much deeper. On a dare, he built a life-size replica of Lord Stanley’s Cup — using bottle caps. Many, many thousands of bottle caps.
Since then, the Bottle Cap Stanley Cup has had a life of its own. Rigitano — a college student who also teaches children and adults how to play hockey — and his trophy were guests at the United Center and have appeared on TV, on the radio and in newspapers around Chicago. His creation helped raise money for breast cancer research at a Chicago Steel (USHL) game. The NHL even arranged for the “Cap Cup,” as he calls it, to be photographed with the real deal.
I spoke with Rigitano to learn what drove him to undertake such a monumental task.
Sal Barry: I’m going to just cut right to it — why did you make a replica of the Stanley Cup out of bottle caps?
Michael Rigitano:. I was working in a bar in 2010. It all started with a ten dollar bet that I couldn’t make a Stanley Cup out of bottle caps. I ended up winning that money. Continue reading “An interview with Michael Rigitano, creator of the Bottle Cap Stanley Cup”
…with your hosts, Sal Barry & Tim Parish. Plus special guest Justin Godfrey.
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In Podcast #4, Sal, Tim (The Real DFG) and special guest Justin Godfrey preview the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, which start Wednesday night. Here’s a breakdown of the episode:
- We talk about the Chicago Blackhawks, including a wrap-up of their series against the Anaheim Ducks, and their prospects of beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals (0:01 to 18:34)
- Sal is then joined by Justin Godfrey, who blogs about the Tampa Bay Lightning on his website, The Hopeful Chase. Justin gives us a rundown on what to expect from the Bolts (18:35 to 28:48).
No card talk this week — because it’s the Cup! (And because Sal doesn’t have the dough to buy a box of Masterpieces yet.)
Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup this year? Leave a comment and tell us which team will win it all and why.