Book Review – Chris Chelios: Made in America

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.

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Book Review: The California Golden Seals

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.

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Re-Imagining the 1994 NHL Entry Draft

The 1994 NHL Entry Draft took place 25 years ago. Unlike the drafts from the prior few years, it did not boast a generational talent like Eric Lindros, who headlined the 1991 Draft. Nor was it particularly deep, like the 1990 or 1993 Drafts. The 1994 Draft did have two players who scored over 1000 points — one who will be in the Hockey Hall of Fame some day — and three future Calder Trophy winners. And yet, those players weren’t even drafted in the first round!

So, let’s pretend that we could re-do the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Who would be the new first-overall pick? 

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Helmet Holdouts: The Last Players Not to Wear Helmets in the NHL

Look around the NHL today, and you will notice that players without visors are few and far between. Such was the case with helmets 30 years ago. Seeing a helmetless player in 1989 was as unusual as seeing a visorless player today.

The NHL made helmets mandatory four decades ago. Any player who entered the league after June 1, 1979 had to wear a helmet, but any player who signed his first pro contract before then could opt out if they signed a waiver. During the 1978-79 season, about 30 percent of NHLers didn’t wear a helmet. Ten years later, though, and you could count on both hands how many helmetless players were left in the league. Here’s a rundown of those players, and why they chose to show their flow.

Read the full article at The Hockey News.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.

Blake’s Takes: Gold Medals & Game 7s

Every week in the Spring is another big week in hockey. This week, we saw a bunch of jerks move on to the conference finals and a prospect finesse his way into a contract. The World Championships are also starting this week and one country is particularly stacked. I also highlight a few potential additions to the Triple Gold Club.

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A Look at the Career of Gary Bettman

The NHL has evolved tremendously over the past 26 years — from a league of mainly Canadian athletes and meager television revenues, to a multi-national, multi-billion dollar league. At its helm since February 1, 1993 is Gary Bettman, a New York City raised attorney. Bettman’s mandate centered on growing the game, particularly in non-traditional regions of the U.S.

During Bettman’s tenure, the NHL has expanded by five teams; Florida, Nashville, Minnesota, Columbus, and Las Vegas, with a fifth coming to Seattle in 2021. Additionally, the original Winnipeg Jets and the Hartford Whalers moved to Phoenix and Carolina, respectively. These expansions, along with the recent success of teams such as Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, have increased viewership and participation in the U.S.

However, Bettman comes with his detractors. Continue reading “A Look at the Career of Gary Bettman”

The NHL’s 5 Most-Shocking First Round Playoff Upsets Since 1967

This past Tuesday saw perhaps the most-stunning upset in NHL playoff history. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 games in the 2018-19 regular season, were swept decisively by the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, who outscored them 19-8 in the process. 

Regular season success provides no guarantee for the postseason; as factors such as solid goaltending and special teams can power an underdog past the favorite in a seven-game series. Since the award was introduced in 1986, seven President’s Trophy winners have lost in the first round. Tampa Bay,  however, becomes the first recipient to be swept in their opening series. Here are the top five most shocking first round playoff upsets, since the expansion era began in 1967.

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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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Ted Lindsay: Remembering a Legend

On Monday, the fourth of March, 2019, the Detroit Red Wings and the world of hockey as a whole lost a true legend, Mr. Ted Lindsay. “Terrible Ted” was a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings during his career. He was the first player to skate a lap around the rink with the Stanley Cup, which has become a yearly tradition at the end of every NHL season. He collected the 1950 Art Ross trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer with 78 points in 69 games. Lindsay played 13 seasons with the Red Wings and three with the Black Hawks, retired in 1960, then made a one-year comeback with Detroit in 1964-65 so that he could retire with the Wings. Twenty-six years later in 1991, his number seven was hoisted up to the rafters in Joe Louis Arena. But Lindsay’s biggest accomplishments may have been off the ice. 

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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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