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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Blake’s Takes: I Love Honey Butter Chicken

I swear every time I delay my column by a day all hell breaks loose. Thankfully, that’s a good thing. For this week’s takes, I’ll walk you through my trip to the United Center when I watched my Red Wings lose to the Blackhawks. I’ll also cover the World Junior Championships and take a look at how the Dallas Stars are the league’s most unlucky franchise.

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Puck Junk Podcast: December 13, 2019

Interview with former NHLer Mike Brown

In this episode of the Puck Junk Hockey Podcast, host Sal Barry talks with former NHL right wing Mike Brown, who played in over 400 regular season games — and dropped the gloves over 100 times! Brown recounts his youth hockey days in Chicago, playing college hockey under legendary coach Red Berenson, the highlights of his nine-year NHL career and how his dedication to physical fitness helped him succeed. This episode clocks in at just under 30 minutes.

Show Notes and Links
Mike Brown’s career stats via NHL.com.
Picture of Brown’s awesome mustache while with the Oilers.
Brown’s fight history on HockeyFights.com.
Brown had the most fights in his NHL career against Zenon Konopka.
Brown’s website for the Michael S. Brown Performance LLC.
The Skokie Park District’s Web of Fame page about Brown.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim Parish on Twitter @TheRealDFG.
Podcast intro music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

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Rookie Cards of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Inductees

Yesterday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its inductees for 2019. The Hall will honor six new members: Sergei Zubov, Guy Carboneau and Vaclav Nedomansky will be inducted in the players’ category. Haley Wickenheiser is the latest woman to be enshrined. NCAA coach Jerry York and longtime NHL GM Jim Rutherford join the Hall as builders. Except for York, all of these Hall of Fame inductees have had hockey cards issued during their career. Here is a look at each of their rookie cards, their pre-rookie cards (yes, there is such a thing), and the values for each one. 

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Blake’s Takes: Let’s Play the Lottery

For this week’s Blake’s Takes, we look at the effect of our lottery-bound teams will have on next season. I also make my next award prediction and examine one more unloved team.

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Lafleur! The Guy Lafleur Disco Album

Hey, guys I found another puck that was squashed and turned into a record. This time it’s the 1979 classic of legendary Hab-Dude Guy Lafleur, a.k.a. The Flower, teaching us how to hockey…to French-Canadian Disco! In the late 70’s there was nothing hotter that a dance beat and Les Habitants hockey in the bleu, blanc et rouge. Why not smoosh them together?

First and foremost, the packaging of this flattened biscuit is worth the price of admission alone. Continue reading “Lafleur! The Guy Lafleur Disco Album”

The Do’s and Don’ts of Interacting with Hockey Players

A stick to the face, a car door covered in paint marker and hearing “Hot dogs!” screamed at him was just one day of Phil Kessel’s experience of meeting fans outside of the new Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility. Can you blame the guy for being so secluded? This is just one of the many instances I have unfortunately had to witness when interacting with players. 

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not an autograph hound. I am not a re-seller. I am just a fan of the game. NHL players are extremely talented and hard-working, but in the end they are just like you and me, and want to be treated with respect. 

Think about it. If you walked out of your job every day and 20 people that you’ve never seen in your life ran up to you screaming, waving markers in their hands and asked you to autograph something, it would get old, wouldn’t it? So, with that perspective in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts for interacting with players.  

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That Time the Capitals Played the Maple Leafs…at Montreal Forum

1979 Sportscaster #56-05 – Montreal Forum

OK, I will admit that the title is a lie. The Capitals and Maple Leafs played many games at the Montreal Forum —  just never against each other at the Montreal Forum. But the card above states otherwise. What’s going on here? 

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Antti Niemi should own the white mask

Antti Niemi’s stay with Florida didn’t last long. [Photo credit: NHL]
Antti Niemi joined his third team this season when he was picked up on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens earlier this week. He started the year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but after three weeks and three bad games was put on waivers and claimed by the Florida Panthers. Three weeks and two bad games later, Niemi was again put on waivers and was picked up by the Habs, whose top two goaltenders are currently injured.

So short was Niemi’s stay in Florida that he didn’t eve have a chance to customize his goalie mask. Instead, he just wore a plain white mask — the mask that simultaneously states “I’m new around here,” and “I won’t be here long.”

Niemi needs to own that mask.

Seriously. And by own I mean embrace it and make it his trademark, Continue reading “Antti Niemi should own the white mask”

Book Review: Tales of a First-Round Nothing

We all knows what happens to a first-round draft pick who goes on to an exceptional career in the NHL. They rack up accolades and are talked about even long after their playing days have ended. But what about the players who don’t make it? What are their careers or lives like after the shot at NHL stardom is long past? “Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote,” written by Terry Ryan in 2014, is a hilarious autobiography of a highly-touted prospect who didn’t pan out. But just because Ryan only played in eight NHL games is no reason to ignore his 228-page memoir. In fact, that’s all the more reason to read it. 

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