Blake’s Takes: There is a New Captain in Toronto

There was no shortage of storylines this week as the season is officially here. The Maple Leafs decided to name their next captain right before puck drop, we saw a few contract extensions handed out, as well as a little ice in St. Louis.  I’m excited for what this season has in store and the takes that will come with it.

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Why 1-Day NHL Contracts Are Stupid

Seriously, NHL teams! Stop it already! 

Yesterday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they signed goaltender Cam Ward to a one-day contract so that he can retire as a member of the Hurricanes.  I’ve always been irritated when teams do this; it’s trite and stinks of an NHL club wanting a photo op — and maybe to smooth things out a bit with jilted fans. It is time for the NHL to put an end to the one-day contracts. 

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Stan Mikita Funeral Prayer Card

Last year on this date, Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita passed away. This is the prayer card that was given out at his funeral a week later. The front has a black and white photo of Mr. Mikita, most likely taken at one of the Blackhawks Conventions. 

But instead of a prayer on the back, the card has a quote by  Mr. Mikita that reads “Keep your feet grounded and always remember where you came from.”

Great words to live by. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Blake’s Takes: Low Risk, High Reward

The past week in the NHL was relatively quiet, but there were a few stories that provided a bit of excitement. This week, I’ll examine one of the biggest extensions in league history for a goalie and multiple low risk, high reward signings that could impact the playoff race. I’ll also preview two more teams for the upcoming season.

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Every Blackhawks Third-Overall Pick

Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks placed third in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. Picking third overall never gets a generational talent like Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, who always go first overall. But picking third overall is still high enough to get a good — or even great — hockey player. 

Ever since the NHL instituted a draft in 1963, the Chicago Blackhawks have picked third-overall a total of five times. And in some years, the Blackhawks didn’t even have to play poorly to pick so high in the draft. Some of these third-overall draft picks fared better than others. Here is a look at how well the Blackhawks did with third place in the draft.

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The 10 Best Hockey Cards from 1988-89

Thirty years ago, the 1988-89 hockey season was winding down. Wayne Gretzky was in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings, while the Calgary Flames would go on to win their first Stanley Cup Championship. Hockey legends Marcel Dionne and Lanny McDonald retired at the end of the season, while Guy Lafleur successfully started his three-year comeback.

It was also a simpler time for hockey card collectors. There were only two mainstream hockey sets to collect — Topps and O-Pee-Chee — and there were not yet any Eric Lindros cards for speculators to hoard. In fact, the word “hockey cards” and “investments” weren’t even uttered in the same sentence back then.

The 1988-89 season was also when I first discovered hockey — and thus started collecting hockey cards. So, here is a look at the 10 best hockey cards from the 1988-89 season. These are not necessarily the most valuable or most-rare hockey cards from that year; rather, these are cards that have significance and should be in any serious hockey card collection.

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Seven Blackhawks Goalies Who Played in Only One NHL Game

One year ago today, emergency backup goaltender Scott Foster stepped in between the pipes for the Blackhawks after both Hawks goalies went down with injuries. Foster was perfect, stopping all seven shots that he faced.

Coincidentally, there have been exactly seven Chicago Blackhawks goalies who played in only one NHL game — Foster and six others. Here is a rundown of all seven Blackhawks goalies who had just one NHL game in their hockey careers. 

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Five Really-Lopsided NHL Trades

What makes a trade lopsided? Many hockey fans think it is when one team gets the better players, declaring that that team had “won” the trade. But getting the better players doesn’t necessarily mean that team always wins.

For example, look at the Wayne Gretzky trade. One could rightly surmise  that the Los Angeles Kings won that exchange, since they acquired the game’s greatest player in the deal. But consider that the Edmonton Oilers got $15 million in the trade, which allowed them to stay afloat, and won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with some of the assets they received. The Kings raised their profile exponentially with Gretzky on their team, but did not win a Stanley Cup Championship until 2012, long after that trade had any bearing. 

That trade doesn’t seem so lopsided anymore when you look at it that way, does it?

With today being the NHL trade deadline, here is a look at five lopsided trades, where one team clearly benefited, while the other got hosed. 

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Slapshot Radio Show – Jan. 28, 2019

Last week, I was a guest on a new radio show called Slapshot, hosted by Dave Baldin, who is an avid hockey card collector. Dave and I talked about why I started PuckJunk.com, overproduced hockey cards from the 1990s and being a Blackhawks fan during the team’s “dark days.” Plus, a fun story about Dale Tallon. 

Run time is 28 minutes — perfect for listening to on your lunch break. 

Special Thanks to Dave Baldin and 4680Q Niagara Online Radio for providing the clip. You can listen to more episodes of Slapshot here. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk