I didn’t have as much time as usual to focus on this week’s edition of Snap Shots. So, here is a very quick rundown of the top five hockey stories over the past week.
The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in grand fashion last night, winning Game Seven 4-1 on the road against the Boston Bruins. Goaltender Jordan Binnington shut down Boston’s offense and kept the Blues in it, and Ryan O’Reilly’s four goals in four Cup games earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
For those who are looking to build a rookie card collection of the 2019 St. Louis Blues team — or just want to see what that collection looks like — here is a visual checklist of RCs for every Blues player who appeared in at least one 2019 playoff game.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second title in as many years, it didn’t take long for the Upper Deck Company to continue their tradition of issuing a limited-edition set to celebrate the achievement. Released in August 2017 was this 18-card Penguins Stanley Cup Championship set, featuring the players instrumental to the Pens’ pursuit and capture of Lord Stanley’s mug.
Pavel Datsyuk became the newest member of hockey’s Triple Gold Club on Sunday when the Olympic Athletes of Russia beat Germany 4-3 to win the Olympic gold medal. The Triple Gold Club is a list of hockey players who have won a Stanley Cup Championship, an IIHF World Championship gold medal and an Olympic gold medal. And with less than 30 members, it is probably the hardest “club” to get into.
Think about it. Players on teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs cannot compete in the World Championships, since they take place at the same time. Sure, a player might win the Cup one year, and then be on a crummy NHL team the next year that misses the playoffs or gets eliminated in the first round, and go on to win a gold medal in the World Championships.
But then there is the added challenge of winning a gold medal in the Olympics, which take place every four years didn’t include current NHLers this time around, and might not in the next one, either.
Thus, being a member of the Triple Gold Cup is just as much about skill — being talented enough to make a team a champion, like Sidney Crosby does — as it is about good timing.
Here is a rundown of every Triple Gold Club member and an explanation of how he got there. Continue reading “A History of the Triple Gold Club”
It has been a long seven years, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have finally reclaimed the Stanley Cup. The Pens team that made back-to-back Finals appearances, losing in 2008 and winning in 2009, seemed poised to be an annual contender. Yet, the Penguins faltered, being adequate enough to make it into the playoffs, but not great enough to win it all.
That changed when Jim Rutherford was hired as the Penguins General Manager in 2014. He started re-building the team around cornerstones Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury. He made a blockbuster deal for Phil Kessel, as well as other trades, and made the controversial decision to fire Pens’ head coach Mike Johnston and replace him with their AHL coach, Mike Sullivan. It all worked out in the end.
For a more in-depth look at how the Penguins rebuilt themselves into a championship team, plus a recap of every players’ contributions, take a look at this interactive timeline. ■
Yesterday, Gord Downie, lead signer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, announced on his band’s website that he has terminal brain cancer.
Hockey is not often the subject of songs, but this sad news reminds me of a song by The Tragically Hip called “Fifty Mission Cap,” which is actually about a Pro Set hockey card issued during the 1990s.
The tenth year of the NHL’s “Salary Cap Era” has wrapped up. To the surprise of perhaps no one, no team that had the highest-paid roster has won the Stanley Cup in the past decade. The Vancouver Cancucks — who were paid a league-high $70,975,000 in 2010-11 — almost did it when they came within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Above is an interactive chart that displays the highest-paid team and the Stanley Cup-wining team, plus the teams that scored the most goals, that allowed the fewest goals, and that had the best record during the regular season. The chart also notes where each team ranked overall in league payroll for that season.
To learn more, check out the interactive bar graph. ■
The Chicago Blackhawks are a modern-era dynasty, winning the Stanley Cup three times in six years. The journey started way back in 2002, when the team selected defenseman — and future Conn Smythe Trophy winner — Duncan Keith in the NHL Entry Draft.
Solid drafting has been the key to Chicago’s success. Of the 25 players who suited up for the Blackhawks in the 2015 playoffs, 12 were drafted between 2002 and 2013, while seven were acquired in trades and six others were signed as free agents.
For more detail on how this dynasty was crafted, plus a recap of how every player contributed to the ‘Hawks latest championship, check out this interactive timeline. ■
Blackhawks fans are a passionate bunch, so it takes something above and beyond your typical jersey or face paint to stand out in this sea of red. But lifelong ‘Hawks fan Michael Rigitano is anything but typical. After the team won the Stanley Cup in 2010, he exceeded the normal boundaries of fandom and descended into something much deeper. On a dare, he built a life-size replica of Lord Stanley’s Cup — using bottle caps. Many, many thousands of bottle caps.
Since then, the Bottle Cap Stanley Cup has had a life of its own. Rigitano — a college student who also teaches children and adults how to play hockey — and his trophy were guests at the United Center and have appeared on TV, on the radio and in newspapers around Chicago. His creation helped raise money for breast cancer research at a Chicago Steel (USHL) game. The NHL even arranged for the “Cap Cup,” as he calls it, to be photographed with the real deal.
I spoke with Rigitano to learn what drove him to undertake such a monumental task.
Sal Barry: I’m going to just cut right to it — why did you make a replica of the Stanley Cup out of bottle caps?
Michael Rigitano:. I was working in a bar in 2010. It all started with a ten dollar bet that I couldn’t make a Stanley Cup out of bottle caps. I ended up winning that money. Continue reading “An interview with Michael Rigitano, creator of the Bottle Cap Stanley Cup”
…with your hosts, Sal Barry & Tim Parish. Plus special guest Justin Godfrey.
Player not working? Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud.
In Podcast #4, Sal, Tim (The Real DFG) and special guest Justin Godfrey preview the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, which start Wednesday night. Here’s a breakdown of the episode:
- We talk about the Chicago Blackhawks, including a wrap-up of their series against the Anaheim Ducks, and their prospects of beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals (0:01 to 18:34)
- Sal is then joined by Justin Godfrey, who blogs about the Tampa Bay Lightning on his website, The Hopeful Chase. Justin gives us a rundown on what to expect from the Bolts (18:35 to 28:48).
No card talk this week — because it’s the Cup! (And because Sal doesn’t have the dough to buy a box of Masterpieces yet.)
Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup this year? Leave a comment and tell us which team will win it all and why.