Blake’s Takes: The Rise of Rookie Defensemen

This week was an exciting one in the NHL. Three major milestones were hit, all on the same day.  I’ll dive deep into those milestones and will highlight a pair of rookie defenseman that are tearing it up this year. Also, I’ll take a look into the frenzy taking place in Toronto. Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: A Trade of the Big Boys

The craziness of free agency may have died down, but there were still a few notable storylines in the NHL last week. We saw one of the more interesting trades in recent memory that seems even on paper but is most certainly not. There was a major change in number as well as a very large extension. Also, the NHL’s newest team finally named a GM.

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Blake’s Takes: The Offseason Madness Continues

I hope everyone had a fantastic Canada Day and Independence Day. As some of you may have noticed, there was no Blake’s Take’s last week. I’ve been traveling around Norway and Iceland so I didn’t have a chance to cover all the craziness that was the start of free agency until now. 

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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: The Offseason Frenzy Begins

Last week, a few big-name players signed contract extensions, and superstars were traded. The NHL Awards and the NHL Draft also took place. Here are a few of the biggest headlines from one of the craziest weeks in hockey. 

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1994 New York Rangers Stanley Cup Championship Replica Ring

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the New York Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup Championship. Earlier this season, the Rangers gave away a replica Stanley Cup ring to fans who attended the February 8, 2019 game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes — and it is awesome! 

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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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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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Interview: Hockey Documentary Filmmaker Dale Morrisey

Dale Morrisey shoots footage for his new film, “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans.”

Dale Morrisey is a filmmaker with a passion for hockey documentaries. His latest work, entitled “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans,” takes a long look at a long-forgotten NHL team. The Americans pre-date the “Original Six” Era and contributed more to the long-term success of the NHL than most would credit them for. At the same time, the Americans were a horrible team, struggling for years, first in New York City and then finally Brooklyn.

Morrisey, 45, was born in Oshawa and is, in his words, “a long-suffering Maple Leafs fan.” He previously wrote and directed documentaries “The Father of Hockey” (2014) and “Hockey’s Lost Boy” (2016). Recently, he spoke about his newest work, and why anyone should care about a team that’s been dead for over 75 years.

Sal Barry: Please explain the meaning behind your film’s title, “Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans.”

Dale Morrisey: That’s from Thomas Wolfe’s short story “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” which appeared in the New Yorker magazine in 1935. The gist of the story is that it takes an entire lifetime to know Brooklyn, and even then, you wouldn’t know all of it. So, we played off of that, because the Brooklyn Americans area forgotten team, and only someone who was around back then would really know and understand who they were.

SB: The Americans have been gone for how long now?

DM: About 76 years.

SB: Why would anyone care to know about the Americans today?

DM: That’s a good question; I’ve been asked it a lot. Continue reading “Interview: Hockey Documentary Filmmaker Dale Morrisey”

Book Review: Ice Capades / Offside

The U.S. (left) and Canadian (right) covers of Sean Avery’s autobiography.

Before I begin this book review, it is necessary to disclose that I never liked Sean Avery during his NHL career. At the same time, I tried my best to have an open mind and be fair when reading his autobiography; what I think of the man should have no bearing on whether or not his book is entertaining or worth reading. 

Also, note that Avery’s book goes by two different titles. In the U.S., where he spent his entire NHL career, his book is called “Ice Capades: A Memoir of Fast Living and Tough Hockey,” while in Canada it is called “Offside: My Life Crossing the Line.”  The covers vary slightly, but the book is otherwise the same.  However, the Canadian title seems more fitting, as Avery was one to push boundaries on and off the ice. 

“Ice Capades,” a.k.a. “Offside” — which I will herein refer to as “Avery’s book” — is co-authored by Micheal McKinley, who previously wrote “Hockey: A People’s History” and “Hockey Night in Canada: 60 Seasons.” Avery prefaces his memoir by stating that it is not his intention to change readers’ opinion of him. But reading his book might just soften your opinion on — as Avery calls himself — hockey’s most-famous third-line player. 

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