Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions- Eastern Conference

Everyone else is, so what not me? Here's my picks for the upcoming 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, starting with the Eastern Conference.


(1) Washington Capitals vs. (#8) Montreal Canadiens


 The Capitals offense is so good, its ridiculous.  With Ovechkin leading the charge, the firepower on this team cannot be matched by anyone.  Oh yeah, they also have Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green. They also don't lose many games at home, only five all season.  Their defense is their weakness, especially in regards to penalty killing, where they ranked 25th in the league. Jose Theodore has had a very good second half, but has been prone to have a bad, inconsistent streches. It will be interesting to see how he performs when the series moves to Montreal, the site of his past successes.

The Habs have limped into the playoffs, finishing the season winning just three of the last 11, including ending the season by losing to the terrible Maple Leafs. The Canadiens offense is built around speed and puck control, which will be neccesary to avoid Washington's big defenders. Jaroslav Hasek will be making his first playoff start, and he'll need to be standing on his head to keep his team in the game. If he falters, Carey Price will be waiting. I don't see Montreal making a series out of this, unless the ghost of Rocket Richard comes to the rescue.
THE PICK: Capitals in four.

(#2)New Jersey Devils vs. (#7) Philadelphia Flyers

Despite the Devils being the #2 seed, you can't think they're excitied about facing the Flyers in the first round. Philadelphia finished the season with a 5-1-0 record against New Jersey. The Devils's strength is, as it has been for over a decade, is Marty Brodeur. He led the NHL with 45 wins and will be facing Brian Boucher, who is in the net primarily because Philly has no other options at this point. The key to this series will be the play of Ilya Kovalchuk and Chris Pronger. Is Kovalchuk capable of putting a team on his shoulders and taking over? Chris Pronger always steps up his game in the playoffs, can the old man do it again?
THE PICK: Flyers in seven

(#3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (#6) Boston Bruins

Much like the New Jersey/Philly series, Buffalo enters the playoffs at the better seed despite only winning 2 games out of six against Boston. Both these teams offenses kinda stink, this series is all about the goaltending. Olympic hero Ryan Miller squares off aginst surprise stud Tukka Rask. These guys had the two best goaltending seasons in the league this year. This will be a low scoring series, and I think its gonna go down to the wire.
The Pick: Sabres in seven.




(#4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (#5) Ottawa Senators

For the second year in a row, the Pens get the 4 seed. Despite their talent, the defending champs have been inconsistent at times this season. While the Sens have been perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league this year. The key to the Penguins success begins and ends with Crosby and his ability to make his teammates even better. No one handles pressure better the Sid the Kid. The Senators will miss D-man Filip Kuba and winger Alexi Kovalev. Daniel Alfredsson is the best player in franchise history, and he always shows up in the playoffs, I think the key for Ottawa lies in Jason Spezza, if he steps it up the Senators can make it a series.
The Pick: Penguins in five.

Monday, April 5, 2010

2009-10 Central Division Champions


Congratulations to the Blackhawks on winning their first division title in 17 years!!!!!! The Red Wing monopoly has been busted!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greatest Sweater Numbers: #2 Duncan Keith

Picking the best #2 in Hawks history was a little tougher than #1. A little, but not much.  Current d-man Duncan Keith takes the prize over 50's goon Gus Mortson and edges out 70's d-man Bill White.



POSTION: D
YEARS WITH HAWKS: 2005-Present

Keith is now regarded as one of the top defensemen in the game today. He, along with linemate Brent Seabrook, form one of the most talented d-lines in the NHL. They were picked as a line for Team Canada for the Olympics this year, where Keith had 6 points in the tournament in route to winning the gold.

I think its Duncan skating ability that separates him from the rest of the pack, the guy can realy fly. He also has steadily became an offensive threat from the blue line. His point totals have improved from 31, 32, 44, to 66 thus far this year.

Keith was the Hawks second round pick in 2002 Draft. He was always a pretty prolific two-way defenseman in the amateur ranks, the knock on him was always his size.  He was thought to be too small to be a successful defenseman in the big leagues. He proved the nay-sayers wrong, however, by bulking up to near 200 lbs.

It has been a fun journey watching Keith mature as a player from his rookie season to today. He's a tremendous asset to team not just by being a superb shut down defenseman, but also contributing nicely with the power play as well.

Earlier this year, the Hawks signed Keith to a 13 year contract extension, locking up #2 for the forseeable future.  That signing, along with long term deals given to Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa, gives us long-suffering Hawks fans hope that a Stanley Cup may be in our future.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2009-10 ITG Between the Pipes

I really like the Between the Pipes series annually put out by In the Game. Although I couldn't justify spending the cash to buy a box (money is tight at the moment). I did purchase a few packs. Here are some highlights:

I got a bunch of Future Stars, here are a few

I am a little familliar with Jake Allen, I know there was talk of him coming up to Columbus this year when Steve Mason struggled.  I don't recall if he did or not, I think not, correct me if I'm wrong.



Tyler Beskorowany looks to be the future goalie in Dallas, making this card's claim as a "Future Star" very appropriate.

I like the Stars of the Game subset. Sometimes when card companies try to do the "sketch" thing it looks awful, but in this instance I think it looks pretty cool. Is it just me or is Luongo looking more and more like Borat every day?



One of the few non Blackhawks I'm actively collecting is Buffalo net minder Ryan Miller. This is a nice looking card of the Olympic hero.


Two Rival League cards, spotlighting goalies who played in the WHA. I really like the Minnesota Fighting Saints sweater, although you can't really see much of it on Curran's card here.




These Greats of the Game cards are nice, if a little blah.



Although I somewhat detest Patrick Roy, you can't deny his greatness.  This is a decent looking card, though I would prefer him in a Canadiens uniform.



I did score a auto in my purchase, one of Peter Budaj of th Avs. I know two things about Budaj, he backs up Craig Anderson, and he's the guy with Ned Flanders on his helmet.  Unfortunately, you can't see good 'ol Ned on the card.  I suppose ITG would be face with a lawsuit it they allowed that to happen.

I also scored a nice 2 color jersey card of Edward Pasquale.  According to the back of the card, this jersey was used in the OHL All-Star Game. That's pretty cool.

I do plan on buying a box of these eventually.  Too bad I didnt get any of the masked men cards. Later, I found out that someone pulled a Brodeur glove card in the same box. Needless to say that put a little damper on things. Has ITG put a checklist out for the glove/pad cards? A Ryan Miller would be pretty sweet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greatest Sweater Numbers: #1 Glenn Hall

In an idea blatantly copied from White Sox Cards,  today is the debut post of a new feature here at Blackhawks Cards, a look at the greatest Hawk players wearing a particular sweater number.  We'll start at #1 and work our way up.

Fortunately for me, #1 is a complete no-brainer. The number hangs in the rafters of the United Center and belongs to a legendary Hall of Famer, "Mr. Goalie" Glenn Hall.



Glenn Hall is most famous for two things, his ridiculous record of 502 consecutive games played between the pipes, and the fact that he vomited before each game. It's hard to imagine a goalie playing 500 straight games, especially considering the fact Glenn wasn't wearing a mask while he did it.  As far as the vomiting goes, legend has it it was his way to calm his nerves before taking the ice. Some other facts about "Mr. Goalie":

  • He originally signed with the Red Wings in 1949, although he languished in the minors until the 1955-56 season, replacing Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk.
  • Recored 12 shutouts in his rookie year en route to winning the Calder Trophy. He played every game of the season, and would continue for 8 more years.
  • He was traded, along with Ted Lindsay, to Chicago before the 1957-58 season.  According to the book Net Worth, the trade occured due to Lindsay orgainzing the first NHL union, and Detroit originated the trade to the lowly Blackhawks in an effort to "punish" Lindsay.
  • Won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 1961.
  • The streak ends at 502 on November 8, 1962, due to Hall having back problems.
  • Won the Vezina Award in 1963 and 1967.
  • Was picked up by the Blues in the 1967 Expansion Draft.
  • Won the Conn Smythe Award in the 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs, despite the fact that the Blues were swept in 4 games by the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Shared goaltending duties in the 1968-69 season with fellow Hall of Famer Jacques Plante, and won his third Vezina Trophy.
  • He retired after the 1970-71 season, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.

There have always been "unbreakable records" in sports, such as Babe Ruth's home run records or Gordie Howe's goals scored record, that turned out to be not so unbreakable.  But I think Glenn Hall's 502 straight games just may be the safest record in all of sports.  Not only does it speak to tremendous toughness to accomplish that feat (remember, no mask was worn), it takes remarkable consistency. And that, I believe, is the most amazing thing about the streak, the fact the his abilities were at such a high level during its course. Looking at the Blackhawks goalies woes today, I definately appriciate the streak even more.















Thursday, March 18, 2010

The NHL and head shots.

After first watching Alexander Ovechkin knock Hawks D-Man Brian Campbell out for what looks like the remainder of the season on a cheap hit on Sunday, last night James Wizniewski of the Ducks makes a cheap retalitory head check on Brent Seabrook and taking him out of the game. It's not just the Hawks falling victim to this BS, this has been going on all season.

When will the NHL do something about this?  Are they going to wait until a career is ended before they act? The time to act is now, stop talking it over in comittee, Mr. Bettman, grow a pair and do something. The WWE has banned the use of their wrestlers using metal folding chairs on other wrestler's heads, and also the use of "ad-libbed" head shots.

Really? The WW f'n E is being more proactive on head safety than the NHL? The same WWE where guys launch themselves off ladders?

I'm all for hard play and hard hitting, but it is getting ridiculous lately.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

John Tonelli stars in Why I Oughta!!!!!!!!!(Or how Doogie Howser's buddy's learned to play hockey.)


John Tonelli won 4 Stanley Cups with the Islanders.  He scored 836 points in 13 NHL seasons. He is well remembered by teammates, fans, and opponets for his tenacity and his ability to come up big in clutch situations.  But the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of John Tonelli is this card (technically a Blackhawks card) from 1991-92 Stadium Club, in which he reminds me of the pissed off old man down the street who keeps all the baseballs that go in his yard. DAMN KIDS!!!! He shouted, shaking his fist in anger and frustration.

Also, for some reason, this card always reminds me of guy who played Doogie Howser's buddy Vinnie in Doogie Howser MD.


Sorry, John. You were a fine player, and I'm sure a nice guy, but these images come to my brain when I hear or see your name.  Blame it on the Topps photographers.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pack Breaks: ITG 1972 The Year In Hockey


1972 The Year In Hockey is a pretty unique little set that came out this year from In the Game. There are all kinds of nice little subsets and special cards. With the odds of getting an auto about 1 in every 6 packs, there's a pretty good chance of landing a nice card.

Unfortunately, that also means the price is pretty steep, at my local shop they're $6 a pack. I told the clerk I would like 3 packs, and when he informed me they're was only 5 left, he gave me a deal that I would get 5 packs for the price of 4. Deal! Odds are I should get a auto in the bunch, and hopefully some old-school Blackhawks for my collection.


The very first card in the first pack I opened was The Golden Jet himself, Bobby Hull.



I forgot that this set contains players and teams from the WHA, Bobby was a member of the Winnipeg Jets in 1972, the Blackhawks let the most famous player in franchise history walk to another league for a million dollars.  Still a sore subject with my father.

Down to the last pack, still nothing, until......



Ken Hodge auto, not bad. Key component of some good Boston Bruin teams, he played on the same line as Phil Esposito, and speaking of Phil, his brother was in the same pack......





I couldn't believe it. Not only did I score 2 autos in the same pack, but one was f'n Tony O! Needless to say, I'm very satisfied with my purchase today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The joys of E-Bay


Purchased this beauty for the decent price of $9.99. I hope these two remain linemates for years to come!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Trading Deadline: Going, Going, .........

 2008-09 Upper Deck Ice #17 - Cristobal Huet - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com



Well, the NHL trade deadline came and went, and the Blackhawks made no significant moves.  Rumnors were abound that the club was shopping Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers, but apparently the asking price was too high.

Both Huet and Antti Niemi have flashes of brilliance, but are so incosistent at times that often I have to the TV off during key moments in close games. Hopefully they will get more confident when playoff time approaches. I miss the days of Eddie Belfour.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Player Spotlight: Keith Magnuson

Today, I would like put a spotlight on, so to speak, Blackhawks fan favorite Keith Magnuson.




Maggie was the teams enforcer during the 70's. He would never back down from a fight, even if that meant him gettimg pummelled on the ice. It happened alot, Keith lost more fights than he won, for sure. Maggie actually took boxing lessons in the off-season to improve his fighting abilities. I'm not sure if that helped or not, because I'm sure he has a losing record in hockey fights.



In his rookie year (69/70), Keith led the NHL with 213 penalty minutes, the following year he had a walloping 291, which at the time was a NHL record. He retired in 1980 with 14 goals, 125 assists, a +170, with 1,442 penalty minutes.

Keith was always beloved by the fans of Chicago, who respected the little redhead's courage and tenacity on the ice. Even after Maggie's disastrous run as head coach, he always remained a favorite.

Unfortunatley, Keith's life was cut short. On December 15, 2003, Magnuson was killed in a car accident in Vaughn, Ontario. Former NHL player Rob Ramage was behind the wheel, and survived . Ramage would later be found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, although the story about that sad night never seems to end.

On November 12, 2008, the Blackhawks retired Keith's #3 sweater, along with hall of fame defenseman Pierre Pilote, in a wonderful ceremony that didn't leave a dry eye in the house.



Incomplete Keith Magnuson Checklist: (with cards I have striked out)

Major Sets
1970-71 #151 O-Pee-Chee RC
1971-72 #69 O-Pee-Chee
1971-72 #69 Topps
1972-73 #71 O-Pee-Chee
1972-73 #87 Topps
1973-74 #151 O-Pee-Chee
1973-74 #44 Topps
1974-75 #75 O-Pee-Chee - NHL
1974-75 #75 Topps
1975-76 #176 O-Pee-Chee - NHL
1975-76 #176 Topps
1976-77 #125 O-Pee-Chee - NHL
1976-77 #125 Topps
1977-78 #89 O-Pee-Chee
1977-78 #89 Topps
1978-79 #34 O-Pee-Chee
1978-79 #34 Topps
2001-02 #54 Topps Archives
2002-03 #26 Fleer Throwbacks
2003-04 #55 Original Six Chicago Blackhawks (Alumni)

Major Insert Sets
2002-03 #9 Topps - Rookie Reprints

NHL small/food sets
1970-71 #73 Dad's Cookies
Team Sets
1970-71 #7 Chicago Blackhawks - Postcards [NHL]



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

09/10 Victory

I recently purchased a box of 2009/10 Upper Deck Victory, and wile I didn't get a big breaks, I did a pretty good job in the Blackhawks department.

Always nice to get a Kaner.

Marty, although he's currently with the Minnesota Wild.

Khabby, now with Edmonton, although he soon might be playing for the Arizona Penal League (for those not in the know, he was recently busted for DUI, and it doesn't look like he'll get off like Chelios.)

D-Man Brian Campbell, of whom many Hawks fans have a love/hate relationship with,

VERSTEEG!


Sweet! Antti Niemi rookie card! It looks like it's pretty much a sure thing that Niemi is now the #1 netminder in Chicago. Although he can be very inconsistent as times, I think he is a solid goalie.


Patrick Sharp Game Breakers. I love the looks of these inserts, especially the foil Indian Head. I must say, this card is pretty "sharp!" Get it? Sharp? See, cause the card looks sharp and his name is.....nevermind.


Toews!!!!! Also known as the Man Crush!!! I love this guy, by far my favorite current Hawk.  Cindy Crysby may be getting all the love and attention from Canada (also known as America's Hat), for his game winning goal in the gold medal game, but Toews was, in my opinion, Canada's best player throughout the tournament. This is a nice looking card, but then again, what Toews card doesn't look good?

How 'bout this one?


Two Man Crush cards!!!! This, like the Sharp Game Breaker, is a beautiful card.

2009/10 Victory Blackhawks Checklist (Ones I have struck out)

2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #41 Patrick Kane
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #42 Nikolai Khabibulin
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #43 Martin Havlat
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #44 Jonathan Toews
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #45 Patrick Sharp
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #46 Brian Campbell
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #47 Kris Versteeg
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory #241 Antti Niemi RC
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #41 Patrick Kane 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #42 Nikolai Khabibulin 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #43 Martin Havlat
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #44 Jonathan Toews 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #45 Patrick Sharp
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #46 Brian Campbell 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #47 Kris Versteeg
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Black #241 Antti Niemi 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Game Breakers #GB2 Patrick Sharp
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Game Breakers #GB18 Patrick Kane
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Game Breakers #GB44 Jonathan Toews 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #41 Patrick Kane
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #42 Nikolai Khabibulin
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #43 Martin Havlat
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #43 Martin Havlat 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #44 Jonathan Toews 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #45 Patrick Sharp 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #46 Brian Campbell 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #47 Kris Versteeg 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Gold #241 Antti Niemi 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Oversize Cards #OS9 Patrick Kane 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Oversize Cards #OS10 Jonathan Toews 
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Stars of the Game #SG10 Patrick Kane
2009-10 Upper Deck Victory Stars of the Game #SG32 Jonathan Toews 


Overall, not a bad box. Till next time!

Welcome

I've been a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan my entire life. I started collecting baseball and hockey cards as a youngin' in the late 80's.  After a few years of crazy obsession, my love of the hobby waned when the mid 90's came about.  There were many reasons for this, I suppose. Both my teams (Hawks and White Sox), were terrible, so I wasn't paying as much attention to the sports as I used to. Other reasons, like becoming a teenager and all that encompasses that part of life, also played a big role.  The biggest reason was that the hobby generally sucked at this point in time. So one day I just stopped collecting and it seemed like that part of life was over.

Things changed big time in 2005 when my beloved White Sox finally won the World Series after an 88 year drought.  I bought the special World Series card box that Topps put out, and the addiction was reborn!

I originally planned to only collect baseball, and more specifically, White Sox cards.  I didn't feel like spending the time, energy, and more importantly, cash, on collecting multi-sport stuff.

But like what happened to the White Sox, something womderful has happened, the Blackhawks, my favorite sports team of them all, are relevant again.

A few years ago, ESPN magazine put a list together, ranking all the major US sports franchises from top to bottom, and the Blackhawks were picked dead last.

Imagine that, an original 6 NHL team, in a vibrant sports crazy city like Chicago, a team that Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, and other all time greats wore the Indian sweater for.  A team with the best logo BAR NONE. That team was picked as the worst framchise in sports. Worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Detroit Lions, even worse the the LA Clippers!!!!

ESPN did have a valid point, however. The owner of the team, "Dollar" Bill Wirtz, was one of the cheapest owners in sports, and hr refused to spend any money to get good players.  His biggest mistake was refusing to allow Hawk home games to be televised, losing a bunch of fans in the process.

It all changed when the old man died.  His son, Rocky Wirtz, took over the team, and things haven't been this good for Chicago hockey in forever.  Home games are on TV.  Money is spent on players. The Blackhawks have one of the most exciting teams in the entire NHL.  Life is good.

With a renewed passion for the Indian, I broke my rule and began to buy hockey cards again.  The collection is still small at the present time, but hopefully I will stick with it.  I plan on sticking mostly to Blackhawks cards, but I'm not going to limit myself.  I have a few projects going that I will get to at a later post.  If anyone out there (if there is anyone out there) has some Hawk card they wouldn't mind parting with, let me know, we'll see if we can work out a trade or something.

Thanks and GO HAWKS!