Many blog entries have come to mind since the last, which I am shocked to see came some three and a half months ago - while bloggers everywhere will litter the internet with musings and opinions on every topic, large or small - personally speaking, I would rather post when there is something of significance to discuss.
As chance would have it, today has been significant on several fronts. Card collecting appears to be booming once again, as well... here's a blanket update on all of the goings-on:
Champions De-Throned: Slovakia, my country of heritage (!!!) has defeated defending champions Italy in the final group game, eliminating them from the 2010 World Cup. The 3-2 final is not indicative of the pace of play through the first 75 minutes, as Italy appeared literally asleep on its feet. Robert Vittek struck twice for the Slovaks, and Kamil Kopunek, a substitute who had not yet touched the ball, sealed the deal with the third. A bitter defeat for fans of Italian football, but bliss for a sports fan of Slovak heritage... cold beer and slanina for us on this day!
This clip does a brilliant job summarizing the play of the Italian side throughout the tournament:
Champions Crowned: The Chicago Blackhawks are the Stanley Cup Champions! Congratulations... now let's all sit back and watch as the young club is dismantled in order for the franchise to remain under the NHL's salary cap heading into next season. Just days after hoisting the trophy, playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien has been dealt with others to the Atlanta Thrashers. Hopefully he will receive a christmas card from the Hawks for decades to come, because if not for his THREE game winning goals in the Conference Finals, the Blackhawks may not have reached the promised land.
Exclusive No More: We'll see new exciting hockey products from Panini next season, as Upper Deck's exclusive license to produce NHL hockey cards (and anything else, for that matter), has fallen by the wayside. It will be a very intriguing summer, as I understand that all exclusive signing agreements with NHL talent are also null and void.
It will be great to see some of the classic products from my youth resurrected, and I can only imagine the hype that would surround 2011 Select Certified Hockey (ficticious, for now...)! Imagine the appeal of a holo-foil set at an affordable price point that featured dazzling autographed colour parallel versions?
Buying Into the Hype: Check out this auction for a Stephen Strasburg 1/1 Autographed RC:
That's right - over $115K with FOUR days to go... throw it on your watch list and follow the insanity! The auction is up over fifteen thousand dollars since this morning - I for one would certainly like to see EBay find a way to hold all bidders on this auction legally liable for their bids (they might want to make sure this transaction is fulfilled, because the fees on this auction will pay one of their employees for the year!)... the card has been mentioned on ESPN and other news outlets since Strasburg has emerged to go 2-1 with a disgusting 41 strikeouts over his first four starts. He is on a strict pitch count (95) and his cutter has hit 101 on the radar gun... in the sixth.
A Quincy: The act of acquiring the entire print run of a particular card.
Last week I got some mail in - included were two 06/7 Limited Logos Patrik Elias singles, which brought the total in my collection to 50. I've got 15 of the Elias, 14 Gionta, 13 Stevens & 8 Brodeur Logos. Three years ago I began a quest to get one copy of each card. Hoarders has since called me numerous times to investigate, but I'm not returning calls, as I insist that there's "nothing wrong" with having an entire box full of the same card...
Bring Back the A-Line!: Jason Arnott has been re-acquired by the New Jersey Devils. Arnott will forever be remembered by Devils fans everywhere for scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in game 6 of the 2000 Finals, beating Ed Belfour by deflecting a pristine centering pass from Patrik Elias under the crossbar. Arnott fills a desperate need at center and this should be the first of many off-season moves for the maligned club, as change is certainly required headed into next season. John MacLean has taken over as head coach, and it can only be hoped that he will teach the players, young and old, to respect the organization and to play with swagger and pride. Arnott knows a thing or two about that, having played an enormous role in the Devils success through the early 2000's.
Remembering Scott Niedermayer: Sticking with the Devils theme, Scott Niedermayer, who won every notable award and championship available to him over the course of his illustrious career has hung up his skates. He will go down as one of the most electrifying defensemen of all-time, and I hope to see #27 raised to the rafters of the Prudential Centre next season... That does involve taking it away from Mike Motteau, who has done it a disservice since Niedermayer left for Anaheim. Congratulations, Scott, and thank you for all of the memories... especially this one:
That's Hall of Famer Paul Coffey, on defense... sort of!
I've got more entries planned for the very near future, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!