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

Blake’s Takes: Lawsuits and Lightning

It was a relatively-quiet week in the hockey world, but I was able to uncover a few stories worth talking about, including Mike Peluso’s lawsuit against the New Jesey Devils and a revived Dallas Stars.

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New faces and a few surprises revitalize annual Blackhawks Convention

The Blackhawks Convention has been a must-do for ’Hawks fans ever since the show started in 2008. This year, it took place on July 27-29 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago.

It was the 11th year for the popular show, where fans have the opportunity to meet and get autographs from players, shop for hockey merchandise and attend panel discussions. There is also an interactive room with activities like floor hockey, as well as a display from the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a tried-and-true format that hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years. So, what could the Blackhawks do this year to mix things up and make the show feel fresh again?

For starters, the Blackhawks brought back two of its most iconic players: Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios. The pair were the most popular Blackhawks players during the 1990s, but neither had been a part of the Blackhawks Convention until now.

“It always seemed that the Convention was at the same time as something that I had already planned,” said Roenick, who played with the Blackhawks from 1988 to 1996. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Why the Chicago Blackhawks 2019 Winter Classic Jersey is a Winner

[Photo Credit: Adidas]
What’s black and white and red all over?

Not the new Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic jerseys! Those are black and white — but red is nowhere to be found. Yesterday, the team unveiled the jerseys that they will wear at the Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins on January 1, 2019, and I absolutely love this design.  Continue reading “Why the Chicago Blackhawks 2019 Winter Classic Jersey is a Winner”

The Quenneville Era is Over in Chicago

Coach Q Fired After 10 Seasons.
Will His Replacement Last 10 Months?

The biggest news in the hockey world on Tuesday — and probably for this entire week — was the firing of Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. Because when a team fires the second-winningest coach in NHL history, it’s kind of a big deal. 

Quenneville’s departure comes on the heels of a five-game losing streak and a 6-6-3 record to start the 2018-19 season. Jeremy Colliton, the head coach of the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, was named Quenneville’s successor. Assistant coaches Ulf Samuelsson and Kevin Dineen were also let go, while Barry Smith was moved from the ‘Hawks front office to an assistant coaching role. 

Like a lot of Blackhawks fans, I am disappointed that Coach Q was fired. Quenneville was to the Blackhawks what Mike Ditka was to the Bears or Phil Jackson was to the Bulls.  Continue reading “The Quenneville Era is Over in Chicago”