We’re starting a new, semi-regular feature on Puck Junk called “Zero-Game Goalies,” where we take a look at hockey goalies who got an NHL trading card, but never played in an NHL game. This phenomenon occurs when a goalie gets called up from the minors to be the backup goalie for an NHL team, but never sets foot on the ice during the game. Just being on the bench as a backup qualifies a goalie for inclusion in a set of NHL trading cards, so from time to time you come across a trading card of such a goalie and ask, “Who is this guy?”
Today’s zero-game goalie is Daniel Altshuller, who was a backup for the Carolina Hurricanes.
They say that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Or at least that’s what Paul McCartney says before he plays “Wonderwall” at his concert. Sometimes just getting someone to talk about you and recognize your existence is flattery in and of itself. This is what the Carolina Hurricanes (and more importantly their fans) found out as they were finishing up yet another home win on Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.
A lot has happened in RaleighWood with the Carolina Hurricanes over the past year. Caniacs were over the MOON late last year with the idea that some dude named Chuck Greenburg was seriously interested in finally buying our team from the curmudgeonly Peter Karmanos Jr. PK had previously won our team the Stanley Cup before firing all of his smart, hockey-minded adult sons who then sued him because he was using their inheritance to prop up the Hurricanes, and telling all of the fan to shut their yaps and be patient when it came to improving the team. Which he didn’t do.
So yeah, we were excited to have someone young, and passionate, very sports-minded, was probably gonna install a Lazy River in the PNC Arena, and damn we were so excited about having a new “dad!”
But Karmanos gonna Karmanos; and instead of patiently letting Chucky get together the money for the purchase, PK dogged him publicly to hurry up and then jacked the price up on him. If there was a local, low-budget horror film made about this, it would be titled, “Karmanos: The Hands of Fate.” Caniac Nation was livid at Karmanos for this act of selfish greed, but damned if he didn’t have ANOTHER buyer waiting the wings and we didn’t even know it!
Enter the Dragon Tom Dundon. Carolina exclaimed a collective “WHO?” before running to Google for info of what to expect. And there wasn’t much to say. All we could really figure out was that he made a metric butt-ton of money from a number of ventures, most notably for a sub-prime auto loan company and his only real financial connection to sports was being part owner to an indoor driving range franchise called Top Golf. Ok, so no Lazy River in PNC…we get a Putt-Putt? Still, he had enough money to call Peter Karmanos his Lil’ Bitch and got him out of the driver seat, so the guy was already our First Star for the month of December. In the half a year since, we’ve learned a lot about him and he is learning a lot about hockey.
Bonjour, Puck-Heads! Today we’re classying up the joint and looking at some hockey-related wines. Coming from the hands of 300-game-winning goalie Cam Ward and Olympic Silver Medalist defenseman Tim Gleason, Vinyard 36 is more than just an indulgent hobby, it’s a passion. Both Ward and Gleason get their hands dirty and are hands-on in the production of this very fine juice. (I have no evidence that they stomp on the grapes with their own bare feet, but I don’t have any evidence against it, either.)
On a lovely Saturday in early March, I was invited to a wine tasting hosted by Mr. Gleason here in Raleigh for a rare chance to try the literal fruits of his labor, ask some questions and get a better understanding of his post-hockey passion. Finding a bottle can also be difficult, since it’s a rather small operation. It’s no Paul Masson, but they don’t need Orson Wells shilling their wares anyway.
One hundred percent of NHL players will tell you that their top goal is to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug over their head, skate around in a circle screaming, and wondering who they’re gonna spray first in the face with champagne. OK, cool squad goals bro. I can say 100% because Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Semin are playing in the KHL these days, and they only give a damn about money. The second goal for every player is to make the playoffs; just to get that extra patch on their jersey and at least play some late-April hockey.
Now that Ron Hainsey’s Ultimate Ironman Streak of playing so many seasons on so many bad teams — and having made his tee time on the golf course by April 15 — is over, let’s look at the top eight players currently in the NHL who have yet to make the playoffs and could take up Ron’s mantle of misfortune:
This Carolina Hurricanes team set was issued during the 2003-04 season. The cards are quite large, measuring 4.25″ wide by 5.5″ tall and have an unusual matte finish on the front. The 23 cards in the set give us a good look at many of the players who would win the Stanley Cup two seasons later.
Remember when you were in elementary school and you saw your first grade teacher at the grocery store for the first time, and exclaimed, “Mrs. Dethnoll, what are you doing here?”
“I’m shopping for groceries, just like you!”
“You are? I thought you just lived at the school!”
Even though we’re all grown-ass adults hacking away at our 9-to-5 jobs and drinking kale smoothies (ugh, seriously this stuff is gross!), we sometimes forget that those of us on this earth living the dream of playing hockey for a living exist outside of the rink as well. Pro athletes have lives, likes and dislikes, clothes they enjoy wearing that don’t have an itchy fight strap, pets that need walking or scooping after, and, most importantly, food they love eating!