Collectors Corner #51: The National is Postponed

In this episode of the Collectors Corner, Sal Barry and Ron Barr talk about the postponement of the National Sports Collectors Convention and the cancellation of the American Hockey League season. They also discuss the upcoming Virtual Sports Card Con

Collectors Corner airs Friday nights at 9:25 p.m. CST. Find a nearby radio station that carries Sports Byline USA here, or stream online here.  You can also listen to past episodes here.Special thanks to Sports Byline USA for providing the audio clip.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.

Follow Sports Byline USA on Twitter @SportsBylineUSA

Hockey Road Trip Across the Carolinas

Hello, hockey nerds! Today, I’m hopefully going to wow all of you, and maybe inspire some of you to go on a Hockey Road Trip. Over the summer, Tom Dundon, The Most Interesting Man in Hockey, reached an agreement with the Greenville (South Carolina) Swamp Rabbits to become the ECHL affiliates of the (North) Carolina Hurricanes. This made a lot of sense as they are only little more than an hour’s drive from Charlotte where the Calder Cup Champion AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers play. Almost as soon as this was announced, my friends and I waited with bated breath for the schedules of all three teams to be published and looked for a time to visit on a Lost Hockey Weekend Roadtrip. That perfect weekend ended up being January 17 to 19, 2020.

My wife, my best friend and I planned this weekend because all three teams were playing at home on consecutive days; the Canes played on Friday, the Bog Bunnies on Saturday, and the Checkers on Sunday afternoon, which was all too perfect because with a three hour drive back, it meant that we only had spent one night out of town and without having to take a day off of work!

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Collectors Corner #18 – The Trimmed Card Scandal


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In this episode of Collectors Corner, Ron Barr and I talk about the Stanley Cup Finals and Calder Cup Finals, the Topps of the Class promotion, Panini’s Fathers Day weekend and the PWCC trimmed card scandal. The clip is just under 10 minutes long, so give it a listen! 

“Collectors Corner” airs Friday nights at 9:25 p.m. CST. Find a nearby radio station that carries Sports Byline USA here, or stream online here.  You can also listen to past episodes here.

Special thanks to Sports Byline USA for providing the audio clip. 

Review: 1987-88 Flint Spirits Team Set

The Flint Spirits had a great 1987-88 season. Much of that success was owed to future NHLer John Cullen, who led the International Hockey League in scoring with 157 points (48 G, 109 A) in 81 games, and then led his team in the playoffs with 26 points (11 G, 15 A). Cullen was named IHL rookie of the year. Unfortunately, the Spirits lost the Turner Cup Finals to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Still, the team had a pretty good run, as well as a decent set of trading cards. 

The 1987-88 Flint Spirits team set is a typical minor-league team issue, with darkly-lit photos and an underwhelming design. But that’s pretty normal for 1980s minor league hockey cards. 

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Blake’s Takes: Bruins Break Binnington

The Stanley Cup Finals continue. The Blues are now down 2-1 to the Bruins after Jake Binnington’s worst game as a pro. Torey Krug has put the Blues on notice and the Bruins’ powerplay continues to roll. We also have some exciting news in the AHL and ECHL.

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2019 Calder Cup Preview: Charlotte Checkers vs. Chicago Wolves

The 2019 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Finals start on Saturday (schedule here). The Charlotte Checkers, who are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, take on the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. AHL teams only play against teams within their conference during the regular season, so this is the first time this year that the Checkers will take on the Wolves. 

Jim Howard, Puck Junk’s resident “Caniac,” and Sal Barry, who has followed the Chicago Wolves the past 25 years, give their insight as to which team will win. Either way, it won’t be a sweep. 

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Review: Chicago Wolves 25th Anniversary Card Set

The Chicago Wolves have been a top-notch hockey team over the past 25 years, winning two Turner Cup Championships in the old IHL and two Calder Cup Championships in the AHL. Many former NHL stars, future NHL stars and minor league legends played for the team over the past quarter-century. Earlier this month, the Wolves issued a trading card set honoring its best players. Like past team sets, the Wolves’ 25th Anniversary team set does not disappoint.

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Book Review: Goon, Second Edition

“Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey” is a book that was adapted and made into the 2012 movie Goon that starred Sean William Scott. That movie, in turn, led to the 2017 sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Because of the success of the two Goon movies, the “Goon” book — published in 2002 and long out of print — shot up in value and was generally difficult to find. 

Fortunately, Doug Smith — the goon himself — and co-author Adam Frattasio decided to update and release a second edition of the book, now entitled “Goon: Memoir of a Minor League Hockey Enforcer.” 

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Carter Hutton

For the first four years of his professional career, it looked like Carter Hutton was doomed to the minors. During a three-year span, Hutton was called-up from the minors and appeared as a backup for a handful of games; first for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009-10, then the San Jose Sharks in 2010-11 and then the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. But Hutton never actually played in any of those games. 

The same seemed destined to happen in 2012-13, when the Blackhawks called up Hutton a few times during the lockout-shortened season to ride the pine. Finally, in their last regular season game of 2012-13, the Blackhawks started Hutton in his first NHL game — a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. After that, he grew into a dependable backup netminder; first for the Nashville Predators, and then last season for the Blues.

During two of his years in the minors,  Hutton had two trading cards that used the exact same photo — which was weird because they were cards for different teams. 

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Book Review: They Don’t Play Hockey in Heaven

They Don't Play Hockey in Heaven

“I know what you’re thinking,” my friend told me when he loaned me this book, “the title is depressing. But the book isn’t.” Well, that’s mostly true. 

“They Don’t Play Hockey in Heaven: A Dream, a Team, and My Comeback Season” is the story of Ken Baker, a former NCAA goalie and NHL prospect whose pro hockey aspirations were cut short by an undiagnosed brain tumor. Baker quits hockey and settles into a career as a journalist, interviewing celebrities for publications like People and US Weekly. But the effects of his tumor worsen, making Baker suicidal. Soon after, his brain tumor is discovered; most of it is removed, the rest is rendered benign by medication. He gets married and is about to settle into the “happily ever after.” That is, until Baker has what he refers to as “The Dream.”

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