Here are today’s top headlines in the world of hockey:
Zoo penguins sue Upper Deck
Penguins at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (top) are suing Upper Deck for the unauthorized use of their photo on a hockey card (bottom). Click to enlarge.
A group of emperor penguins at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are suing card manufacturer Upper Deck over the unauthorized use of their image. The picture in question appears on a 2011-12 Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 insert card depicting former Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux with a group of emperor penguins. The picture was taken at the zoo in 1984 to accompany an article about Lemieux published during his rookie season.
“Our contract with the photographer clearly states that the picture in question was to be used solely for publication in the October 15, 1984 issue of Sports Illustrated,” stated Irwin, a penguin at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “Future use of the photograph would require further compensation, as agreed upon by all parties involved.”
It is rumored that the emperor penguins, who were originally paid for their participation with a bucket of krill, are seeking additional payments from both the photographer and from Upper Deck. “This isn’t just about us,” stated Irwin, “this is about the exploitation of Penguin Americans everywhere.”
Since 2009, Upper Deck has been sued by Major League Baseball, the Topps Trading Card Company and Yu-Gi-Oh licensor Konami. A lawyer for Upper Deck declined to comment, other than saying that he “thought those stupid birds would be dead by now.”
Dipietro sidelined with severed shadow
Rick Dipietro’s endless parade of injuries continues. During Thursday morning’s practice, Dipietro’s shadow was sliced by teammate P.A. Parenteau’s skate, sidelining the goaltender with what team doctors are calling a “severed shadow.”
This is just the latest injury to plague Dipietro, who in the past has sustained injuries to his hip, knee, groin and jaw. Team doctors are unsure if they should classify this ailment as an upper-body or lower-body injury, but state that Dipietro will need 8 to 12 weeks to recover.
New Upper Deck “Emporium” hockey cards only visible to certain collectors
Each box of Emporium hockey cards contains 1 card (top) that is visible only to collectors who can afford them. Each card comes with a certificate of authenticity (bottom). Click image to enlarge.
This month, hockey card manufacturer Upper Deck unveiled a new set – but only to select customers. “Our new Emporium brand hockey cards can only be seen by certain collectors,” states Upper Deck President Richard McWilliam. “You know, the ones with lots of money.”
Using a new light-refracting technology, the innovative cards are only visible to collectors who can afford them, and invisible to everyone else.
“Wow! Awesome!” said collector Dave Smith after opening a pack of Emporium. “I pulled this sick jersey/autograph combo card of Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. At least that’s what the [accompanying] certificate of authenticity says.”
Some collectors have complained that the new cards unfairly screen out collectors who normally couldn’t afford $1500 for a 1-card pack. The cards also have yet to catch on with young collectors.
“The box is empty,” said 6-year old Timmy Fitzsimmons. “There’s nothing inside it but air!” Upon hearing the 6-year old’s complaint, a spokesman from Upper Deck assured that the boy was merely too poor to see the cards.
Upper Deck to release “Sean Avery: Diary of an A-Hole” trading card set
The NHL has not had a bigger a-hole in its 95-year history than Sean Avery. Now, fans can collect every moment of Avery’s despicable career in a new card set entitled “Biography of an A-Hole.”
“From making disparaging comments about his ex-girlfriend to sucker-punching Ladislav Smid, who could think of a bigger jerk than Sean Avery?” states an Upper Deck press release about the new product. “This set promises to include all your favorite Avery moments, such as when he was suspended by the league and ostracized by his own team, demoted to the minors, and of course his legendary rivalry with Martin Brodeur. We hope that this set will continue to remind everyone what a complete piece of [expletive] Sean Avery has been during his 10-year NHL career.”
In order to receive the free 20-card set, collectors must go to their local card shop, act like they are too cool to collect cards, pick a fight with a 10-year old and then run when the 10-year old retaliates.
Man with Thrashers tattoo tries to be relevant
Almost one year since the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg, Atlanta resident Tom Markle still insists on flaunting his Thrashers tattoo. Markle – a hockey fan for three seasons – got the tattoo on his left shoulder before the start of the 2010-11 season.
“I thought that the team was going to be great last year,” admits Markle. “I had no idea they were going to relocate so soon. But if Winnipeg can get the Jets back, who knows–maybe the Thrashers will come back to Atlanta one day, too.”
According to those close to him, Markle refuses to cover his tattoo, showing it off any chance he gets. “I can’t help it if I’m a bit too retro for most mainstream hockey fans,” he claims. “Some people have Nordiques tattoos or Whalers tattoos. Like those people, I appreciate old time hockey.”
When asked what he thought of Atlanta’s prior NHL team, the Flames, Markle claimed to have “never heard of them,” but believes that “they were probably a sucky team, anyway.”
Panini’s new set features suspended players
Panini America’s new trading cards will feature an innovative insert set called “Shanabanned.” Seeded 1 in every 12 packs, each “Shanabanned” insert card will depict a player who has been suspended by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.
“Brendan Shanahan’s suspension videos have captured the imaginations of hockey fans since 2011,” stated a press release from Panini. “And collectors loved our ‘Tough Times’ insert set from last year’s Donruss product. We plan on featuring not just some, but each and every player who has felt the wrath of Sheriff Shanny during the season.”
Collectors are urged to keep an eye out for collectible “Shanabanned” inserts in the upcoming set of Donruss hockey cards. Subsets will include “Repeat Offenders!” – players who have been suspended more than once this season – and “Headshot Artists,” paying homage to players who target the head and neck area.
In other news…
Happy April Fools’ Day!
If you believed any of these stories, I have some Pro Set cards I’d like to sell you.