Chris Chelios is the greatest American-born defenseman to play in the NHL. He may be the greatest American to ever play hockey at any position. Chelios spent 26 seasons in the NHL, breaking in with the Montreal Canadians at age 22 in 1984, winning numerous accolades along the way, and finally retiring at age 48 in 2010.
Also, Chris Chelios is my favorite hockey player of all-time. So, I am not sure why it took me this long to review “Chris Chelios: Made in America,” penned by Chelios and former USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen in 2014. Nor can I guarantee that this will be a totally unbiased review of his book.
Regardless of how you feel about Chelios — hockey fans either loved him or hated him for his physical, almost reckless style of play — his book is an enjoyable memoir of his storied career.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 6-5 in a game that came down to literally the last shot. Travis Konecky, shooting second-to-last, scored in the fifth round of the shootout. Then it was Brad Marchand’s turn for his shot. Only, he forgot to take the puck with him.
Marchand overskated the puck, and the Flyers won the game. This was after the Bruins blew a 5-2 lead, making Marchand’s mistake even more epic. He is the first player since the shootout was instituted in 2005 to overskate the puck on a shootout attempt.
“I was just trying to get going and just missed it,” Marchand told NHL.com. “I know the rule, you touch it on a penalty shot, it’s your shot. Unfortunate. It’s a tough way to lose on a play like that.”
But on Tuesday, Marchand — instead of showing a little bit of humility, or even taking a joke like he is sometimes willing to do — decided to tweet a photo of himself hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Earlier today, I was a guest on the SiriusXM NHL Radio talk show “Under Review,” hosted by Mick Kern and Peter Berce. We talk about the hockey movie “Mystery, Alaska” as well as my article for The Hockey News about that film. We also talk about the Puck Junk Podcast and the new line of Puck Junk t-shirts. The segment is a quick listen — just 15 minutes.
You can listen to “Under Review” everyday on SiriusXM Radio or online here. ■
It was the original Winter Classic. Two teams facing off and getting back to their roots, playing shinny outdoors on a frozen pond under a grey, wintry sky. Only in this story, one team is the New York Rangers and the other is a group of amateurs from a small town. Mystery, Alaska, the classic underdog story of pros versus joes, turns 20 this fall.
Why does the movie Mystery, Alaska resonate with fans two decades later? Perhaps because it is one of the few movies that gets its hockey right. With all due respect to The Mighty Ducks and Youngblood, there are no silly knuckle-pucks or ludicrous stick-swinging duels in this film. Many people with deep hockey roots were involved in the making of Mystery, Alaska – and it shows. Producers Howard and Karen Elise Baldwin were the owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the time and had previously owned the Hartford Whalers. Scriptwriter David E. Kelley was the son of an NHL executive and the captain of his hockey team at Princeton. Brad Turner, the film’s assistant hockey co-ordinator and hockey double for Russell Crowe, played briefly for the New York Islanders and had an eight-year career in the minors. Several former players from the University of Calgary also contributed as Rangers players or as hockey doubles for the Mystery characters.
The Baldwins’ first film to involve hockey was the Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick Sudden Death. It came out in 1995 and had a hearty serving of hockey action. But in Mystery, Alaska, hockey was the main course. Oddly enough, the idea for the film came during a meal.
Y’all ready for some pickin’n grinnin’??? If there was one thing I could collect more than hockey-related vinyl records, it would be guitars. Like, any guitars; doesn’t have be hockey-related. My wife put a cap on my collection, and I’d go real broke, real fast doing that. But I do want to share something that crosses my path that could be worth the cold, hard cash.
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Last week Thursday was National Video Game Day, so Ron Barr and I talked about sports video games, from Tennis for Two and Pong, to Double Dribble and NHL ’94, all the way to current games like Madden 20.
Collectors Corner airs Friday nights at 9:25 p.m. CST. Find a nearby radio station that carries Sports Byline USA here, or stream online here. You can also listen to past episodes here.Special thanks to Sports Byline USA for providing the audio clip.
The California Golden Seals have a long and storied history as the worst hockey franchise in the NHL’s 100-plus years of existence. So long and so storied, in fact, that it took author Steve Currier over 400 pages to document all of it in his book, “The California Golden Seals: A Tale of White Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams.” If you love a good story about a bad team, then this book is worth the read.
If you’re not scoring points in the game, you might as well score some points with the fans, and the Vancouver Canucks are doing exactly that. For the upcoming 2019-20 season, the British Columbia team is bringing back its storied “Black Stake” jersey for three games.
Hockey video games were far and few between in the 1980s, but that changed in the early 1990s. From 1990 to 1992, hockey games released for home video game consoles included Wayne Gretzky Hockey, Mario Lemieux Hockey, TV Sports Hockey, Hit the Ice, NHL Hockey and NHLPA Hockey ’93. By the fall of 1993, four more hockey video games came out: Pro Sport Hockey, Brett Hull Hockey, NHL Stanley Cup, and most notably, NHL ’94.
A fifth hockey video game was supposed to be released in fall of 1993, but it didn’t make the cut. Entitled Road to the Cup Hockey ’94, the game was going to feature an elaborate artificial intelligence system, full season mode and playoff brackets — and it might have even challenged NHL ’94 as history’s best hockey video game from the classic gaming era.
If you grew up playing video games in the 1980s and 1990s, you definitely have seen artwork by Tom DuBois. He is an illustrator from Chicago who created many of the iconic covers that graced video game boxes. Remember Bayou Billy and Castlevania III for Nintendo, Lethal Enforcers for Sega Genesis, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time for Super Nintendo? All of those games, and dozens more, featured DuBois’ art on the covers. But most importantly for hockey fans, he illustrated the cover art for Blades of Steel, which came out for Nintendo in 1988. Recently, DuBois spoke with me about how he got his start in creating video game artwork, including Blades of Steel – and how working on that game got him in trouble.