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Sunday, October 30, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Richards, Doan and Read

  Mike Richards time as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers was a tumultuous one.  He helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009 but had feuds with the media, including a verbal boycott on his behalf, and was accused of partying to excess.  In the 2011 off-season, Richards, along with fellow accused-party bud, Jeff Carter, were shipped out of Philadelphia.  Richards was sent to the Los Angeles Kings, where he has had a solid start with 10 points in 10 games.

#58 - Mike Richards

  A 7th round pick in 1995 by the Winnipeg Jets, Shane Doan has become the face of the franchise, the franchise of the Phoenix Coyotes that is.  Doan played one year in Winnipeg before the team moved to Phoenix.  Doan is one of three current NHLers to have played for the originally Jets franchise.  Doan has had a solid career including a Memorial Cup win, playing in the 2006 Olympics, winning 2 Gold medals at the World Hockey Championships and beating the Mantracker.

#59 - Shane Doan

  Undrafted free agent, Matt Read, made the Flyer roster after a strong training camp.  Read had spent the last four seasons with the Bemidji State Beavers of the NCAA.  Read signed the Flyers at the end of the NCAA season in March 2011 and played the the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, scoring 13pts in 11 games.

#126 - Matt Read

Thursday, October 27, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute; Benn, Stastny and The Nuge

#56 - Jamie Benn

  Jamie Benn has started strong in 2011-12, with 8 points in 9 games.  In 2010-11, Benn had 56 points in 69 games including a six game goal scoring streak.  Benn, drafted 129th overall in the 2007 draft, has never played a regular season game in the minor pro leagues.  Although he did play 24 play-off games in 2010, when he led the Texas Stars in play-off scoring and to the Calder Cup Final.

#57 - Paul Stastny

  Paul Stastny comes with a hockey lineage.  His two uncles, Anton and Marian, played in the NHL.  Oh, and his Father, HHOFer Peter Stastny play a bit too.  2010-11 was Paul Stastny worst year for points per game, 0.77.  He hopes to rebound and buil on some his early season success.  His 78 ponts as a rookie were good enough to land him on the 2007 All-Rookie Team.

#125 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hopes to set a record by having the longest last name ever to grace the Calder Trophy and perhaps a few other trophies by the time he is done.  He already holds the distinction of having the longest name of any 1st overall pick.  "The Nuge" has started hot with 5 goals in 8 games, including a hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TTM Sucess: Bobby Clarke

 It took a little over a month to get this TTM request returned, which is a great turnaround from Tuktoyaktuk, NWT to Philadelphia, PA and back.  The best part is that Bobby Clarke actually signed in the auto window horizontally instead of signing vertically, like he does on most TTMs.  Granted it is still at an angle.  I sent hime one pic to auto and one to keep if he wished.  He returned both signed.  He also returned the LOR which was a first for me.  Very happy with this return from a HHOFer. 

88-89 OPC Tribute: Vokoun, Bryzgalov and Landeskog

  The last two weeks have been busy at work.  I had to work on a few of my days off and the bloging time has been a causality.  Then today I wrote up my post only to find it wouldn't publish.  I was able to log back in later and I found out none of it saved.  So here we go again.  This time the shorten version.
  Tomas Vokoun has finally found himself on a Stnaley Cup contender.  He's now only 32 wins away from 300 in his career.  I think he'll easily get over 300 wins for his career this season and should be up over 40 wins on the year.  This is the year he becomes a household name.
#54 - Tomas Vokoun
  Even before He had even won a NHL game, I had about 50 rookie cards of Ilya Bryzgalov.  This could be the year, that collection hits paydirt.  Out of the desert and onto Broad St., Brygalov has found himself as #1 man between the pipes for a Stanley Cup Contender via free agency.   

#55 - Ilya Bryzgalov
  Gabriel Landeskog was the second overall pick in the 2011 entry draft.  After a strong start, it appears he will be spending the year with the Colorado Avalanche and should be a contender for the Calder trophy.
#124 - Gabriel Landeskog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TTM Success: Jarome Iginla

  I sent a copy of the 88-89 OPC Tribute card of Jarome Iginla to get autographed.  While I was checking for the address, I saw that he tends to send out a signed picture/postcard of himself and return any sent items unsigned.  Which is exactly happened to my request.  The card measures 3 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches, about the size of a pamphlet.  I do think it is a real signature and not a facsimile or an auto-pen.  I was able to find three signed versions of a previous years card and the signatures looked slightly different on each cards.
  So it appears you can easily get an Jarome Iginla auto without sending a card, just a LOR and an SASE.  While it's nice to get the auto, I was hoping to get the pictures that I sent signed.  Still it certainly better than nothing and perhaps I'll try to get some other Flames and maybe get this tallboy Iginla some line-mates 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TTM Success: Johnny Bower

  I sent 2 copies  each of 2 customs to Johnny Bower and suggested that he kept the extras.  He signed all 4 and returned them.  I am slightly bummed that he didn't keep the extra but I guess he gets so much mail that he would have a houseful of cards, pictures and customs of himself if he kept every extra offered.
  One of the customs was the card I included in the OPC Tribute set.  I added a faded white area for the auto.  Mr. Bower signed beneath the area for the auto. When I look at it, I can tell he was more concerned with not covering the action with his auto.  So his heart was in the right place.  I am just really happy to get a return.  Living this far north, the mail takes a bit longer to get where it is going.

A very nice return from a HHOF.  

Thank you Mr. Bower                

88-89 OPC Tribute: Halak, Spezza, and Beliveau

  Jaroslav Halak made his mark in the 2009-10 playoffs, where his brillant play helped the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens upset the President's Trophy winners, the Washington Capitals.  Halak's stellar play helped the underdog Canadiens team make it to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.  In a surprising move, Halak was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the offseason.
  Jason Spezza is a player who always seems to be on the cusp on stardom.  Injuries have played a large role in holding Spezza back.  Spezza has missed an average of 12 games per season.  Spezza shared the lead in Play-off scoring with line mates Daniel Alfredsson and Danny Heatley in 2005-06 with 22pts
#52 - Jaroslav Halak
#53 - Jason Spezza
  When the Montreal Canadiens bought the Quebec Senior League in 1953, they were really only interested in one player, Jean Beliveau.  In the end Jean Beliveau, aka Le Gros Bill, would play 21 seasons, win 10 Stanley Cups, and gain entry into the HHOF.  After his retirement in 1971, Beliveau's name would make it onto the Stanley Cup seven more times as an executive of the Montreal Canadiens.  No other person in history has had his name on the cup as often as Beliveau.

#110 - Jean Beliveau

Monday, October 17, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Boyle, Kessell, and Hextall

#50 - Dan Boyle

  Dan Boyle played in his second All-Star game in 2010-11.  He finished the season with 9 goals and 41 assists for 50pts.  All three totals were his lowest since joining the San Jose Sharks in 2008.  Boyle had saved this best hockey for the post-season, leading all defencemen is scoring with 16 pts in 18 games.
  Boyle won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightening in 2003-04.  In 2010, Boyle had a 6pts in 7 games, helping Team Canada win the Gold Medal at the Vancouver Olympics.

#51 - Phil Kessell

  Phil Kessel have Leafs fans taking the paper bags off their heads and once again annoying non-Leafs fans everywhere.  Kessel is on pace for 137 goals and 219pts.  Totals that are a far cry from his career highs of 36 goals and 64 points.
  The Leafs are off to a 3-0-0 start in 2011-12.  It's the Leafs best starts since they went 4-0-0 in 2010-11, a season in which they missed the playoffs... again.

#109 - Ron Hextall

  Ron Hextall burst onto the NHL scene in 1986-87.  As a rookie, Hextall led the league in wins (37), won the Vezina trophy, and won the Conn Smythe as he led the Philadelphia Flyers to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.  The Flyers lost to the Edmonton Oilers and Hextall, or the Flyers, would not make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals until a decade later in 1996-97, where they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
  Ron Hextall is most know for being the first goalie to actually shoot and score a goal in the NHL (regular season and then in the play-offs) and having a mean streak.  Ron Hextall holds the record for PIM by a goalie for career (584), single season (113), career playoffs (115) and single playoff season (43).

  This is a great tribute video.  Really shows some of the great saves Hextall made, his two goals and also his famous mean streak.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Kovalchuk, Zetterberg and Scheifele

  Ilya Kovalchuk struggled in his first full season with the New Jersey Devils, posting his lowest totals for goals (31) and points (60) since his rookie season.  Kovalchuk loves playing for his country, he has played in the last eight straight World Hockey Championships for Russia.  Henrik Zetterberg posted his highest assist total (56) of his career last season.  His goals-per-game as dropped each of the past four season even though he has remained in the top 5 for Shots on net for each of those years.

#48 - Ilya Kovalchuk#49 - Henrik Zetterberg

  Drafted 7th overall by the Winnipeg Jets, Mark Scheifele started the preseason with a bang.  He scored 2 goals and 2 assists against the Columbu Blue Jackets.  His regular season debut was a bit quieter, registering zero points and one shot on net, but he tied for the team high in +/- with a zero.

#123 - Mark Sheifele

Monday, October 10, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Ward, Miller and Larsson

#46 - Cam Ward

  Cam Ward had a busy 2010-11 season.  He led all goalies in games played, shots against, saves and minutes played.  Ward also set a career best for save percentage with .923.  Ward had a dominating 2005-06 post season, winning the Conn Smythe trophy as he led the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup.

#47 - Ryan Miller

  Ryan Miller won his 200th game in 2010-11 and is currently 5th among active goalies in career wins.  Miller's best season was 2009-10 when he won the Vezina Trophy as league's best goalie.  Miller needs 14 victories in 2011-12 to overtake Domink Hasek as the Buffalo Sabres all-time wins leader.

#122- Adam Larsson

  Adam Larsson was selected 4th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils.  Larsson is projected to be an excellent two-way defenceman and should see alot of time on the Devil's powerplay.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Subban, Weber and Dionne

  P.K. Subban and Shea Weber are cards 44 and 45. Subban, who burst on the scene in the 2009-10 play-offs, made the All-Rookie team in 2010-11 and the flamboyant young star has a bright future with the Montreal Canadiens.  Nashville Predators defenceman, Shea Weber, is a six year veteran and a first team All-Star in 2010-11.  He finished 2nd in the Norris trophy balloting but took home first place for his play-off beard.

#44 - P.K. Subban #45 - Shea Weber

    Marcel Dionne is 5th all-time in career points, 1771, and 4th all-time in career goals, 731.  He was drafted 2nd overall in 1971 by the Detroit Red Wings.  The Wings finished out of the play-offs each of his first four years, prompting Dionne to test free agency.   A deal was worked out the Los Angeles Kings, and Marcel Dionne help the Kings make the play-offs six straight years.  The Kings were never able to get to the Stanley Cup, or not even the semi-finals.  Frustrated, Dionne asked for a trade and he finished his career with the New York Rangers.  In 1988-89, his final season, Dionne got to play beside his teenage rival and the only player chosen ahead of him in the 1971 draft, Guy Lafleur. Despite Dionne great individual numbers, he never had any team success other winning the 1976 Canada Cup.  His one chance at winning a major junior championship was the infamous 1971 Richardson Cup, which he played against Guy Lafleur.

#108 - Marcel Dionne

Saturday, October 8, 2011

TTM Success: Peter Sidorkiewicz

  It's a success since he signed.  it's a bit of a failure since I printed and sent the 4x6 customs before I properly learned how to print.  Two 4x6 pictures ended up heavily smudged.  The third one has light light smudging.  I think that one was on top.  Still, I am really happy with the way the autos looked on the pictures.  I may go back and try to reprint the pictures and resend them.
  Peter Sidorkiewicz was a goalie in the early 90s.  He had a few good years with the Hartford Whalers, including  making the All-Rookie team in 1988-89.  In 1992, Sidorkieiwcz was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the expansion draft.  In the season opener for the new franchise, Sidorkiewicz helped the Senators defeat the visiting Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-2.  The team would go on to win 9 more games out of the remaining 81.  Sidorkiewicz made his only All-Star game appearance.  In the offseason he was traded to New Jersey for fellow All-Star teammate Craig Billington.  In New Jersey, Sidorkiewicz played a total of 4 games over the course of five season, spending most of his time in the minors.  He is currently on the coaching staff of the Erie Otters of the OHL.

One Star, One Sheet

  To steal piggyback on an idea from My Hockey Card Obsession, where they are doing one set, one sheet, I am going to start creating One Star; One Sheet.  I can't collect every card from every player and still be able to display them.  I think by breaking down a players career into nine cards, I can make a nice binder to browse through.  For most players I will attempt to get a RC of player and a last card of the player.  Some players I won't attempt to get a RC since I have most of the 80s rookie already and don't want to spend hundreds in getting them again for this project.  Some players, like Pierre Turgeon, retired during the season and their final cards don't have their entire career stats.  I'd also try to get a card from each team they played for.  Not sure what I'll do for players who played for more than 9 teams or a player who spent most of their career with a team or two but then played on several in their last couple of years, like Paul Coffey.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute; Weiss, Kiprusoff, and Smith

#42 - Stephen Weiss

  It had to happen and it finally did.  A Florida Panther player is included in the set.  When I started this set, I decided upon a minimum of two players per team to be included in the 90 cards of active players.  After much studying of the Panthers roster, Stephen Weiss may end up being the only Panther in the active players section of the set.  It doesn't look good for the Legends or Rookies of the Panther either.  Jonathan Huberdeau was sent back to the juniors and I don't know if John Vaniesbrouck will make the cut as a Legend.  I am just happy I am not a Florida Panthers fan.  Almost makes me glad I am an Islanders fan.  Misery loves company.

#43- Miika Kiprusoff

  In 2003-04 Mikka Kiprusoff  started the year 3rd in the depth chart of netminders for the San Jose Sharks.  The Calgary Flames were relying on Roman Turek to be their #1 goalie for 2003-04, but when Turek suffered an knee injury in his 3rd game of the season, the Flames started looking for a new goalie.  Less than a month later the Flames traded a 2nd round pick to the Sharks for Kiprusoff.  Kiprusoff won his first game as a Flame and led them to a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Flames fell short but Kiprusoff has gone on to win a Vezina trophy, win 40 games three times and was the inspiration for the Kipper Kid.
#107 - Billy Smith

  In 1971-72, The New York Islanders had the 2nd pick in the Expansion Draft and they drafted their new #1 goalie Gerry Desjardins.  After the Atlanta Flames picked grabbed Dan Bouchard, the Islanders made a slightly better pick in drafting Billy Smith from the Los Angeles Kings.  Billy Smith helped the New York Islanders win 4 Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983 and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1983.
  While Billy Smith is known most as a play-off performer, Smith was the first winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL in 1981-82.  Before that season it was reward to the goalies on the team with the lowest GAA.
  Billy Smith was inducted in the HHOF in 1993.

11-12 OPC Retro and Legends

  The 2011-12 OPC set has hit the streets.  I was browsing some blogs and came across a box break on Just a Bit Offside.  There are two things I have look forward to seeing when OPC is released, the Legends and the Retros.  So far, I am a bit disappointed in both.  
  While it is great to see Ron Francis in a Whalers jersey, or Legends Tony Tanti and Tim Kerr make the set, the design is getting worse.  A lot of that is thanks to the overall set design and the reduction in picture space.  At least the Legend cards don't have the over-sized OPC logo, instead they have an over sized Legends tag.  In 09-10, the pictures where mostly full body shots.  In 10-11, the pictures where mostly waist-up shots.  In 11-12, the pictures are head shots.  Every year there is less action in the photo.  I'll likely still try for the Legends subset but I'll be in no rush to complete it.
  As for the retros, I find them bland.  I think they'd look better with a colour picture of the player.  Ideally a really bright and vivid picture to contrast the dull background.  I made up a pair to compare the difference.  


Yes, I do think they'd look better with a vivid colour picture on the front,  most likely even better if professionally done.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

88-89 OPC Tribute: Morrow, Brown, and Lafontaine

#40 - Brenden Morrow

 Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow was a member of the 200 and 30 club last season.  Morrow scored 33 goals, a personal best, and delivered 225 hits.  Morrow has won an Olympic Gold Medal, the World Cup of Hockey, a World Hockey Championship and a Memorial Cup.  He missed winning the Stanley Cup by one season, as his rookie year came the year after the Dallas Stars won the Cup.  In the last of the major Hockey Championships, he received a silver medal in 1999 in the World Junior Hockey Torunamanent.
  As a teenager, Morrow was not drafted by any Canadian Major Junior team.  He was a walk on for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.  Two years later, he was a 1st round pick by the Dallas Stars.

#41 - Dustin Brown

  Dustin Brown is the second player in this post who was on my league winning hockey pool team.  In 2010/11, Brown was two goals shy of creating the 300 and 30 club.  His 300 hits was good for 3rd best in the NHL.  It was the second year in a row that Brown finished in the top 3 in hits.
  When he is not scoring goals and delivering bodychecks, Dustin enjoys the Price is Right and going crazy.

#106 - Pat Lafontaine

  On the eve of the 1981 regular season, the reigning Stanley Cup champs, the New York Islanders, traded Bob Lorimer and Dave Cameron to the Colorado Rockies for the Rockies 1st round pick in the 1983 draft.  Two full seasons later, The Islander were still winning Stanley Cups and although the Colorado Rockies had become the New Jersey Devils, they still sucked.  The draft pick ended up being the 3rd overall pick and the Islanders picked Pat Lafontaine.
  Lafontaine would go on score 1000 points in his career, including a career best and record for an American-born player, 148pts in 1992-93 while playing for the Buffalo Sabres.  Lafontaine's career was hampered by injuries and was eventually forced to retire due to concussions.  He played his last game in 1998 and was inducted into the HHOF in 2003.