I wasn’t going to touch this…

…but I have to say something about Patrick Kane being arrested early Sunday morning. I mean it isn’t every day that the Blackhawks make the front page…

…and the back page…

…of both local newspapers in Chicago.

Usually, that kind of stuff is reserved for when a Chicago Bears player gets in trouble for bringing a gun into a night club. Or when a Chicago Bulls player is revealed to have cheated on his college entrance exam. Or–in all fairness to the media–when a White Sox player pitches a perfect game.

But here he is, Patrick Kane, the golden boy of Chicago hockey. And now he has his own mugshot. I tell ya, kids grow up so fast these days.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Patrick Kane and his cousin were arrested in Buffalo after beating up a cab driver. As reported, the 20-year-old Kane and his 21-year-old cousin James took a cab home from the downtown club district in Buffalo. The fare was $13.80. The Kane cousins paid him $15, but got mad when the cabbie gave them back a dollar but informed them that he did not have twenty cents change. The Kane cousins punched the cab driver repeatedly and broke his glasses. Someone saw what was going on, and called the cops. Or so the story goes.

And just like that, little Kaner has a rap sheet. Not as long as Bob Probert’s rap sheet, but hey–Kane is only 20. Give him time.

Anyway, here are a few collected articles about this incident:

Kane arrested, pleads not guilty to robbery charge (NHL.com)

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane arrested in Buffalo, NY (The Hockey News)

Tough-guy act doesn’t befit Kane (Chicago Tribune)

Kane hires high-powered defense attorney (The Buffalo News)

But Len Ziehm, the ‘Hawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, doesn’t believe the hype:

Hard to Fathom (Chicago Sun-Times)

A day later, the cab driver’s lawyer is downplaying what happened:

Attorneys downplay allegations against Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane (Chicago Tribune)

So what do I think? It is hard for me to imagine that Patrick Kane would do such a thing. But then again, my judgment is clouded because I’m a Blackhawks fan. Many athletes–hockey players included–have done boneheaded things. Maybe Kane is one of them.

By the way, Kane will appear on the box cover of Electronic Art’s “NHL ’10” video game when it is released on September 15. Perhaps this incident was caused by the “EA Box Cover Curse”? You know, when a player appears on the cover of a video game and then has a bad year that very same season?

Though I wonder if EA should modify the box art a bit…

NOTE: For those who were wondering, the Chicago Bears player I referred to is Tank Johnson, the Bulls player is Derrick Rose and the White Sox player is Mark Buehrle.

Thanks, Mark

A few days ago, I got some cards in the mail from Mark, a fellow blogger who maintains a site called Stats-On-The-Back.

Attached was a note that read:

Sal, 1 Cubs team set + every hockey card I own. Enjoy.

Mark was giving away some of his baseball card collection, and gave me a complete Chicago Cubs team set from the 1986 Fleer series. But he also gave me, and I quote “every hockey card” that he owned–all 19 of them. No complaints here. As the saying goes, “Give me your tired, your poor, your Pro Set.”

Let’s take a look at some of the cooler cards, shall we? Besides the 1990-91 Pro Set Gordie Howe card we see above, Mark also sent me…

2009 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary #1039 – Detroit Red Wings
Well, here’s a card I haven’t seen before. Apparently, this is part of a 2,500 card (yes, 2,500!) 20th Anniversary set inserted in the various Upper Deck baseball cards. I wonder if anyone out there is crazy enough to try to collect the entire set. If so, send me your hockey doubles.

1984-85 Topps #158 – Tom Barrasso
How about that? A vintage card. Barrasso won the Calder and the Vezina in 1984, and was named a 1st team All-Star, as shown on this card. He would later help the Penguins win two Stanley Cups. Speaking of which…

1991-92 Pro Set #319 – Pittsburgh Penguins
Da na na na na nah – HEY! Da na na na na nah – HEY! As long as we’re on the topic of Penguins…

1993-94 EA Sports #104 – Ulf Samuelsson
This is from a set of cards released by Electronic Arts in conjunction with the video game NHL ’94. About six months ago, I wrote a retrospective for Beckett about the game and card set. You can read that review in its entirety here.

Ummmm…uhhhhh, this isn’t a hockey card…

1990-91 Bowman Hat Tricks #1 – Brett Hull
OK, this is more like it. Nothing like a Topps-era glossy insert, eh?

Now, onto that Cubs set. I’ve scanned the cards of the three most popular Cubs of that era–at least among me and my classmates circa 1986.

Ryne Sandberg
All-Star, Golden Glove and Hall of Fame member. I think Sandberg was every kid’s favorite Cub in the 1980s.

Rick Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe was the 1979 NL Rookie of the Year award winner, and also won the Cy Young in 1984.

Keith Moreland
The guy was a power hitter back in the day.

So, thanks for the freebies, Mark. This Cubs team set is greatly appreciated, as are the hockey cards.

1963-64 Parkhurst #28 – Jean Gauthier

I’ve finally added a Montreal Canadiens player to my upstart 1963-64 Parkhurst set-in-progress. I purchased this card at the same time I purchased the Pete Goegan card. It has a few medium creases on the front, as well as some dirt (above his head, to the right).

But like the Goegan card, this Gauthier card cost me the princely sum of $3.24, including shipping (the dealer only charged me $2.50 to ship the two cards, then mailed them in a plain, stamped envelope).

Maybe when I’m rich, famous, or rich AND famous I’ll be able to afford a near-mint version of this card. Until then, I’ll just have to settle for this war-torn veteran.

And yes, for those keeping score at home, this is the 6th card in the set I started a year ago. Only 93 more cards to go.

2009 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three

July 19, 2009

Shellie and I arrived at the convention around 8:30 am. I headed off to the VIP signing session that I had won, while Shellie went to wait in line for Murray Bannerman.

At 9 am sharp, we finally learned who will be signing for us–Stan Mikita! While I did get his autograph last year, I don’t mind getting it again this year. Mikita nicely signed this 8″ by 10″ photograph.

Look familiar? The same photo was used on a 1990-91 Pro Set card. Continue reading “2009 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three”

2009 Blackhawks Convention – Day One

Chicago, IL
July 17, 2009

July 17 to 19 was the Second Annual Chicago Blackhawks Convention. Sure, it’s the middle of July, but for 10,000 of us, all we thought about for the next three days was hockey.

As is my luck, Shellie and I were running a bit late, as we got there just before 5 pm. We could not get into the Grand Ballroom because to see the “Opening Ceremonies”, where they introduce the players who are attending the Con. Continue reading “2009 Blackhawks Convention – Day One”

2008-09 Champ’s Hockey box breakdown

Back in April, I purchased a box of 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey. It was somewhat of a weak moment. I had just received my income tax return, and I went to a new card shop that I had never visited before. The dealer told me that he’d sell me a box of Champ’s for $100, including tax, if I paid him in cash.

Now, normally I don’t buy high-end stuff. I’m the guy who’s on the sidelines, watching some other schlub open up expensive packs and boxes and getting the good autograph cards, while I seldom buy anything more expensive than regular Upper Deck. For once, I wanted to open an expensive box of something, and I was intrigued by this Champ’s product, with all the dinosaur bones and whatnot.

So, like the beer drinker who for once had enough to buy a bottle of fine scotch, I bought a box of Champ’s. I meant to post this box breakdown sooner, but got sidetracked and then forgot. Today, I found the post-it note that listed what was inside this box:

Post It Note

As you can see, I got three “hits” in this box. First the autographed cards:

How about that? I got a hard-signed autograph card of Steve Stamkos, who was probably the most anticipated rookie from the 2008-09 season. No, he did not win the Calder, but getting a Stamkos ‘graph is pretty awesome, and preferable to an autograph of, say…

Jon Filewich. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of this guy. I sure didn’t until I got an autograph of him. He played 5 games in 2007-08 for the Penguins, and has been in the minors ever since. Maybe in 5 years he’ll become the next Maxime Talbot. Or not.

But speaking of Penguins, I got a pretty rad jersey card:

I nearly lost it when I got this Mario Lemieux jersey swatch card. I normally detest jersey cards, because I never get any good ones. Well, I think this one is pretty impressive.

Getting a Stamkos autograph and a Lemieux jersey card made this a worthwhile break. Too bad the other autograph was not of a more, ahem, significant player–but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right?

As for the other cards (base, minis, etc.) nothing really stood out in my break. Overall, I like the set, but wonder why the mini set has more cards than the standard-sized set.

I still need quite a few base, rookies, mini rookies and Natural History–yes, I am crazy enough that one day I will own the entire mini set, including all 191 of the Natural History cards. (Plus, I need an extra copy of C295 African Wild Dog to give to my girlfriend, who did a report and presentation in college recently about the wild dogs).

I’ll write a set review once I complete the standard-sized set.

Until then, I leave you with a card of arguably the second greatest goalie ever. Arguably.

1963-64 Parkhurst #43 – Pete Goegan

Another card for my fledgling 1963-64 Parkhurst set. Admittedly, I am a bit disappointed in its condition. In the eBay auction, it looked OK, but once I received it I see it has a lot of creases, even more than the Gordie Howe card that I bought last year. Most likely, I did not scrutinize the photo in the eBay auction as good as I could have. No matter, as I paid a grand total of $3.24 for this card, including shipping. Yes, it is not the greatest-looking card in the world, but I am a collector on a budget. Not to sound defensive, or anything.

And this makes 5 cards out of 99.

Daddy Dearest

2004-05 Upper Deck card #196 – Denis Brodeur

2004-05 Upper Deck card #196 - Denis BrodeurDuring the 2004-05 lockout, Upper Deck was at a loss for “Young Guns”. Since the NHL “wasn’t happening” that year, there was no fresh infusion of talent to depict on their hockey cards. At a loss for players to include in their “Young Guns” subset, Upper Deck made an interesting move, and created cards of people who were long overdue for one. Some of the cards – such as those of Lord Stanley, Hobey Baker and Cammi Granato -made sense. One interesting, if not questionable, inclusion in that year’s “Young Guns” set though was a card of Denis Brodeur – the father of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. Continue reading “Daddy Dearest”