July 01, 2014

The Odyssey of Iggy

Well, at least it isn't the Canucks...
We all know that Jarome Iginla should have had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup ten long years ago; and, if he had, perhaps he would not be roaming North America in search of a winner. When he was finally traded out of Calgary, I had hoped he would go to Boston...which he almost did at that time.  I can't fault him for choosing instead to go to Pittsburgh - who wouldn't want the opportunity to play with Crosby and Malkin? - but I was actually happy when the Bruins eventually humiliated the Penguins in the 2013 playoffs. The Bruins have been my number two team (sometimes even my 1-B team) for a long time; I've never really liked the Penguins for several reasons (any number of which are Matt Cooke). Anyway, Iginla never really found his place on the Penguins and in hindsight he was a poor fit on that team.

Almost exactly one year ago, I was extremely happy when Iginla corrected the error of his earlier flip-flop decision and signed with the Boston Bruins. As poor a fit as he was in Pittsburgh, he was ultimately used correctly in Boston.  I was really hoping they would find a way to keep him as a Bruin, but considering the deal he signed with the Avalanche ($16 million over 3 years) it wasn't going to happen. If Boston had made a move or two to free up cap space, and if Iginla was willing to take a bit of a cut to stay on a very good team -  say, maybe $3 million a season for two or three years - I think he might still be a Bruin.

So, my question is this: is Iginla in it for the money, or does he truly believe that Colorado is within three years of winning the Stanley Cup? Sadly, it appears to me that the answer is probably green. Yes, Duchene, Landeskog and MacKinnon are all top-notch players; so, even with the departure of Stastny, clearly Colorado has an above-average forward group. However, Iggy might have a hard time keeping up with those speedy young legs...most of his goals will probably be on the power play, or ripping it in from the top of the circles as he trails the play. But unless the Avs get their hands on a top-tier defenseman (Erik Johnson is currently their best, by far), I do not consider them a contender. And in net, Semyon Varlamov is locked-in at $5.9 million until 2018-19...despite his fine 2013-14 season, I'm not sold on him being a Cup-winning calibre goalie. In the foreseeable future, Colorado will certainly have a tough time emerging from the Western Conference - I still think Los Angeles, Anaheim and Chicago are better, and St. Louis and Dallas are getting stronger.

Finally, it won't be as easy for me to cheer for Iggy's Avalanche as it was to cheer for Iggy's Bruins. Joe Sakic and Ray Bourque aside, I wasn't even all that happy to see them win their Cups (for example, I never liked Claude Lemieux); and, how could a Flames and/or Bruins fan cheer for Patrick Roy?

April 28, 2014

...need 'em...got 'em...

Many in the hockey card collecting community were affected by the 2012-13 lockout, in that we were effectively "deprived" of the Upper Deck Series Two release.  These cards usually feature players who changed teams prior to - or during - the season in which the set is released; rookies who make their debut in this time are also part of Series Two.  Upper Deck put off making the rookie cards until 2013-14, but some key players who changed teams and some star players who weren't featured in Series One would get one of the 50 "Update" cards.  Of course, Jarome Iginla would be getting a card as a new member of the Penguins...

These Update cards turned out to be kind of rare, as UD only put one card in every six packs of their SP Authentic series.  I had a hard time getting this Iggy card - it was sold out on my favourite online card store, it pretty much disappeared from the Beckett Marketplace as I was preparing to place an order, and ofcourse I lost a few ebay auctions.  However, I regularly checked ebay for this card, and lo and behold! one day a seller listed it "buy it now" for $1.50 US...I wasted no time buying it, and set to looking around the seller's other items because free combined shipping of only $1.75 was offered.  I ended up getting a bunch of other cards; all were priced lower than this Iggy card.  Here are the other cards I got that fit the criteria for appearing in this blog:

I grabbed this 2012 "Stanley Cup Collection" banner-shaped card by Panini that was found in Molson products...

We are reminded on the back of the card that the Flames are the only team in NHL history "to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Habs on Montreal Forum ice."

I also grabbed a couple rookie cards...first, here's Backlund's MVP Series rookie card:
Here's the back of it, with a pretty decent write-up that unfortunately is not all that common on today's hockey cards:
Backlund actually has over 20 (yes, 20!) different rookie cards.  This is only the second in my collection, after the requisite "Young Guns" card...I'm not sure how many more I will go after; maybe just as add-ons for future ebay purchases.
I also got the rookie card of another current Calgary Flame; this is one of his (I believe) six different RC's:
The back of GlenX's rookie card tells us that he was signed as a free agent by Anaheim in 2004, traded to Columbus in 2007, and made his NHL debut in late February of that year.  Now, I'm not sure how accurate that info is...Wikipedia says he made his NHL debut on January 13, 2007 and scored a goal; after 2 games with Anaheim, he was traded to Columbus on January 26, 2007.  (So, maybe it's not always a good thing to have too much information in write-ups on the backs of cards!)  He was traded from Columbus to Edmonton on February 1, 2008, where he played 26 games for the Oilers before signing with Calgary as a UFA in 2008.

One more thing for now...LET'S GO BRUINS...well, that sure sucked...OK then, LET'S GO RANGERS

March 09, 2014

March 9

So I received an NHL "2014 Day-at-a-Time" calendar for Christmas; this is actually kind of a misnomer, because the calendar puts two days - Saturday and Sunday - on one page. Anyway, it has an interesting bit of trivia on every page and so far this year the Flames have been featured a few times. For example, I was reminded that on February 10, 1993 the Flames scored 3 goals in the first 53 seconds of the third period (in a 13-1 smoking of the terrible San Jose Sharks). And, on the page for February 20, the McMahon Stadium Heritage Classic game was featured. But today's trivia question reads: "What made Theo Fleury's hat trick for the Calgary Flames unprecented on March 9, 1991?" While I have no idea what "unprecented" means, it turns out that this hat trick was actually unprecedented, in that "all three goals were shorthanded."

side note: I friggin' hate daylight saving time
Here is a link to a box score from that game, which the Flames won over St. Louis by a score of 8-4. In addition to the shorty-hatty, Theo picked up an assist and 10 penalty minutes for a pretty busy night. By the way, Fleury also had himself quite a night in the aforementioned February 10, 1993 game...he had one goal and five assists, and was plus nine...good for the second-highest +/- of all-time for a single game.

Here is Fleury's card from the 1991-92 Pro Set series, which came out the season after Fleury's shorthanded hat trick.  I actually like this set, especially when compared to Pro Set's cards in the previous season.

The back of the card reminds us that in 1990-91 he lead the Flames in goals (51), points (104), game-winning goals (9), shorthanded goals (7) and plus minus (+48, which also tied for the league-lead). He led the NHL in hat tricks that year too, with five.  Amazing to think that one of those hat tricks accounted for almost half of his shorthanded goals that year!