The year was 1994 and the New York Rangers were having a magical season. Captained by Mark Messier, the Broadway Blues were a team built to win under coach Mike Keenan. Featuring veterans Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson and Steve Larmer, the Rangers would eventually hoist the Stanley Cup by season’s end after beating the Vancouver Canucks.
The win ended a 54-year Stanley Cup drought. Thirty years later, Rangers fans still fondly recall that championship run.
Along the way, the team gave fans a series of memorable moments. The biggest is undoubtedly Stephane Matteau’s incredible game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. Looking back, those seven games were one of the best playoff series ever contested.
I am a New York Rangers fan. I don’t hide that fact from readers. It’s also the reason why I feel like I have to defend Alexis Lafreniere.
Chosen first overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, Lafreniere has been a topic of conversation even before ever skating a shift for the Rangers. That’s because he came into the league during the pandemic at a time when interest in the overall hobby skyrocketed. Sal and Tim tackled this very topic on the Puck Junk Podcast back in March 2021, during Lafreniere’s rookie season.
Three years later, there’s still debate over whether Lafreniere is a bust or has yet to come into his own. I choose to argue the latter. Let me explain.
This week, Sal Barry and Tim Parish are joined by Hockey Hall of Fame member and 3Ice Commissioner Craig Patrick. Mr. Patrick talks about the new 3Ice three-on-three hockey league, which launches June 18, as well as his careers as an NHL player, as the assistant coach on the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Team, as the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins — and how he feels about appearing on Jaromir Jagr’s rookie card. It’s 44 minutes of hockey goodness that you don’t want to miss!
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was on all our minds last week. Naturally, talk about the war found its way into hockey circles. Hockey is a global sport. Many of the game’s best players are from Russia, and there are numerous international hockey tournaments, from the annual World Junior Championships and World Championships, to the quadrennial Winter Olympics which just recently took place.
In a life-and-death situation like this, that can impact hundreds of thousands of lives, athletes and sportswriters cannot just “stick to sports.” That said, several prominent current and former NHL players spoke out about the war in Ukraine and what it could potentially mean for Russian hockey players.
Other hockey news this week includes two players reaching career milestones, another player having his jersey number retired, and the passing of one of hockey’s all-time great builders.
In this episode of the Puck Junk Podcast, Sal Barry and Tim Parish talk about what makes a hockey card a “rookie card.” Plus, the upcoming National Hockey Card Day, a recap of the Olympic hockey tournaments, the Blackhawks and Bobby Hull parting ways, and the return of Sean Avery.
Show Notes and Links:
Sal talked comic books on the 21st Century Boys ComicCast (Spotify)
Review of Sean Avery’s Autobiography (Puck Junk)
2022 NHL Stadium Series Time-Lapse (YouTube)
2020-21 O-Pee-Chee Platinum on e-Pack (Upper Deck e-Pack)
National Hockey Card Day 2022 (Upper Deck)
The same photo being used on 2 different Patrick Kane cards (Puck Junk)
Peeling the film off of 1994-95 Topps Finest Hockey cards (Twitter)
The pile of protective film that no one wanted to buy (Twitter)
Chicago Sports Spectacular Show March 18-20, 2022 Show (Website)
Tim’s Twitter discussion about hockey rookie cards (Twitter)
How Hockey Cards Led to the NHL Player Strike in 1992 (The Hockey News)
Last week was a great week for milestones and great plays. Four out of five of this week’s takes are from those two categories. The last take is rather sad; it’s about Ben Bishop and an injury that will cost him the rest of his playing career.
I won’t keep everyone down in the dumps for too long. It’s the holiday season and there is still a lot of hockey to be played.
The 2021-22 NHL season has officially begun. It’s been an exciting first week. The Seattle Kraken took the ice for the very first time as an NHL team. NHL GMs decided to get some last-minute work in signing a few massive extensions, too. So many extensions in fact I won’t be able to get to all of them this week. I will provide my two cents on the Kraken, one extension, as well as a few other notable stories around the NHL.
I took a two-week hiatus but I’m back. Hockey news did not stop while I was away. The most notable news was that the NHL will allow the players to return to the Olympics in 2022. That’s incredibly exciting. In this week’s column, I’ll also explore some offer sheet drama, one of my favorite uniforms, and an unfortunate retirement.