Sunday, December 26, 2021

Hat Trick!

1991-92 Bowman #347, Ken Hodge
I was a young collector when these 1991-92 Bowman hockey cards were released. Any amount of foil on a card was a pretty big deal back then, and those three pucks stamped in gold foil on the top corner of these special "hat trick" cards earned some coolness points with collectors, for sure. What can I say? We were easy to please back then.
But this post isn't really about the 1991-92 Bowman hockey set. Another type of hat trick was scored recently, in an anniversary sense of the expression.
This blog has turned three years old!
And just like last year's anniversary, I'm very happy to say that I've again maintained the goal of posting new content once a week, every Sunday.
It was a big year. Along with extending the streak, I added a bunch of fun custom cards to the list, and debuted the print versions to boot.
All you readers, commenters, and fellow bloggers have continued to inspire me and make the effort worthwhile, so I'm sending a big thank-you all around. I look forward to year number four, and I've got more custom cards and other ideas lined up. I'm also going to push hard to keep the every-Sunday streak going throughout the entire year. 
But let's get back to hat tricks for a moment. Because this is a trading card blog, let's link a few more cards to the feat of scoring three goals in a game.
Here are the three players who've scored the most hat tricks across their NHL careers


Gretzky had 50, Lemieux had 40, and Bossy had 39. 
Fifty hat tricks. Think about it for a minute. 
That means 150 of Wayne Gretzky's 894 career goals came on nights when he scored a hat trick. I mean c'mon, 150 goals total for an NHL career is nothing to shake a stick at. And Gretzky put up that many on hat tricks alone.
As for Mike Bossy's 39 hat tricks? Here's something that will help you understand just how incredible that number really is: 
Wayne Gretzky's 50 hat tricks came across 20 seasons. 
Mario Lemieux's 40 hat tricks came across 17 seasons. 
Mike Bossy's 39 hat tricks came across only 10 seasons.

Additional factoids:
Most career postseason hat tricks
Wayne Gretzky: 10
Jari Kurri: 7
Maurice Richard: 7
Dino Ciccarelli: 6
Most hat tricks in a single season
Wayne Gretzky: 10 (twice)
Mike Bossy: 9
Mario Lemieux: 9
Brett Hull: 8
Quickest hat trick
Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Black Hawks turned the trick in a total time of 21 seconds against the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952. Wow!

Back to the anniversary now. I'd like to do a giveaway like I did for last year's anniversary, but over the past few months I've done a few giveways, and I think I'm spent for ideas and material. However, there will be at least a couple of opportunities for you to claim some cards over the first few months of the new year, so please do stay tuned.

Thanks again for spending some time here on the blog. Let's look forward to a new year of blogging and collecting!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Join the NHL, See North America

Okay, the title of this blog post doesn't exactly represent the first "perk" that would cross the minds of most young, future pro hockey players. But it is a perk, isn't it?
There are many beautiful places across the United States and Canada, and professional hockey players, with all the road games they play throughout each season, can certainly tell you a thing or two about numerous cities north, south, east, and west.
However, as true as that might be, all of these players have a home team. And a home city. That means they only stay in each road city for a day or so before moving on to the next one, or heading back home for a few games.

But what about the rare players who've really experienced North America? The guys who've not only played in various cities, but also lived in them throughout their careers while playing for different teams? 
Well, one man stands on top of that hill. It's Mike Sillinger. 

This remarkable guy suited up for 12 teams across his 17-year NHL career. As of this writing, no other player in league history has reached even 11 teams, and only a small handful of players have reached 10. (If you're wondering where Jaromir Jagr falls on the list, he topped out at 9.)
Considering the logistics involved—finding a new home, selling your old one, moving your belongings and family, packing and unpacking your cold-weather or warm-weather clothing, learning the local roads, getting accustomed to your new teammates and media personalities—it's quite a remarkable accomplishment.
And all those stresses aside, the guy still had to try to bring his best game to the rink every night.

So let's have a look at Mike Sillinger's complete journey through the league, via trading cards and some stats. (Thanks to the internet for the cards shown in this post.)

1991-92 Upper Deck #457

All aboard: Detroit
1990-91 through 1994-95
129 GP, 14 G, 45 A, 59 PTS, 28 PIM 
(.46 points per game average)

1995-96 Upper Deck #72

 Next stop: Anaheim
1994-95 through 1995-96
77 GP, 15 G, 26 A, 41 PTS, 38 PIM 
(.53 points per game average)

1997-98 Collector's Choice #260

Next stop: Vancouver
1995-96 through 1997-98
138 GP, 28 G, 32 A, 60 PTS, 65 PIM 
(.43 points per game average)

1998-99 Pacific #331
Next stop: Philadelphia
1997-98 through 1998-99
52 GP, 11 G, 14 A 25 PTS, 24 PIM 
(.48 points per game average)
1999-00 Pacific Omega #219
Next stop: Tampa Bay
1998-99 through 1999-00
121 GP, 27 G, 27 A, 54 PTS, 114 PIM 
(.45 points per game average)

2000-01 Upper Deck Vintage #159

 Next stop: Florida
1999-00 through 2000-01
68 GP, 17 G, 25 A, 42 PTS, 60 PIM 
(.62 points per game average)

2001-02 O-Pee-Chee #194

Next stop: Ottawa
13 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 PTS, 4 PIM 
(.54 points per game average)

2001-02 Upper Deck #282
Next stop: Columbus
2001-02 through 2002-03
155 GP, 38 G, 48 A, 86 PTS, 106 PIM 
(.55 points per game average)

2003-04 Upper Deck #398
Next stop: Phoenix
60 GP, 8 G, 6 A, 14 PTS, 54 PIM 
(.23 points per game average)

2005-06 Upper Deck Artifacts #86
Next stop: St. Louis
2003-04 through 2005-06
64 GP, 27 G, 24 A, 51 PTS, 63 PIM 
(.80 points per game average)

2005-06 Parkhurst #272
Next stop: Nashville
31 GP, 10 G, 12 A, 22 PTS, 14 PIM 
(.71 points per game average)

2006-07 Upper Deck Victory #259
Last stop: Long Island
2006-07 through 2008-09
141 GP, 42 G, 45 A, 87 PTS, 74 PIM 
(.62 points per game average)

And for those of you who enjoy a good visual, here are Sillinger's career stops on a map:

But now scroll back up to the stats for a moment, and notice the points-per-game breakdown per team. You'll see just how consistent Mr. Sillinger was throughout his career, despite the different teams, offensive and defensive systems, and line mates. It goes without saying that the guy was bright, had a great work ethic, and perhaps an even greater determination to succeed. 
Here are some other interesting facts and figures:
  • Mr. Sillinger played in 1,049 games over his career, tallied 240 goals and 308 assists for 548 points, and accumulated 644 penalty minutes.
  • He put up 24 career shorthanded goals, which is top-50 all time as of this writing.
  • He had a very high face-off win percentage throughout his career, never dipping below 55% for a season and going as high as 63.26%.
  • His best individual season was 2005-06. Between the Blues and Predators, Sillinger played 79 games and put up 32 goals and 31 assists for 63 points, along with 63 penalty minutes, a shorthanded goal, and two game-winning goals.
  • He wore 10 different jersey numbers across his NHL career: 7, 21, 15, 23, 12, 26, 11, 18, 16, and 81.
  • The most seasons he played for any team was four, with Detroit. 
  • His son Cole was a first-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets (12th overall) this past summer. The team has already signed him to a three-year, entry level contract. Cole's brothers, Owen and Lukas, currently play for the Bemidji State University hockey team in the NCAA.
So here's to Mike Sillinger. What a terrific career across 12 North American cities. 
And if you ever need some good recommendations for restaurants, hotels, or attractions in any of them, you know who to ask.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Dating Game (Episode 21)


Welcome back to The 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Dating Game, where we'll randomly select three eligible bachelors from the set and you, the reader, will choose which one wins that date with a special lady. How do we know they're bachelors? Why, it says so right on the back of their hockey cards, that's how!

Previous episodes are available here.

The big winner of episode 20 was Grant Fuhr.

Now, let's start the 21st round and introduce the bachelors chosen by the randomizer! [APPLAUSE]
Bachelor number 1: Left wing from the Buffalo Sabres, Tony McKegney
Bachelor number 2: Center
from the Washington Capitals, Bobby Carpenter
Bachelor number 3: Defenseman
from the Montreal Canadiens, Gaston Gingras

Three hockey dudes just hangin' around on their cards. At least Gaston looks like he's getting ready for a face-off.

Let's find out more about them from the back of their cards.

I think once Bobby the computer nerd started geeking out about his Commodore 64, Tony and Gaston decided to tune out, and didn't share any hobbies.

Nevertheless, we've got to pick a winner for a date with our lovely lady this week. Who will it be?

Bachelor number 1: Tony McKegney, who's been putting up some solid numbers in Buffalo.

Bachelor number 2: Bobby Carpenter and his computers.

Bachelor number 3: Gaston Gingras, who could easily pass for a lumberjack in the forests of Témiscamingue, Québec, with that name and that mustache.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

2021 Series Custom Cards: PRINTED (Plus a Giveaway)

Fun news from Nine Pockets Headquarters:

The 2021 custom cards have arrived!

I finished the year with a total of 16 unique custom cards, not including the 1980-81 Topps hockey scratch-offs. If you do include those, it brings the total to almost 30. That means I put out more customs this year than ever. (22 designs in 2020, 9 designs in 2019.) I feel good about that.

Here's a closer look at a card front and a card back:

For continuity, I used the same template that was used for the 2019 and 2020 card backs, changing just the ink color to distinguish this year from the others. In 2019, the ink on the back was a dark gray. In 2020 it was indigo blue. This year, it's maroon.

The new cards are available for sale on my bonanza store and eBay store, but just as I did with the release of the 2019s and 2020s, I'd like to get some of these 2021s into the hands of you fellow collectors, free of charge. So let's do a giveaway for the first 15 commenters.

Here's what to do:

(1) Go to my custom card gallery and find three cards you'd like from the 2021 list. The only options currently unavailable are the Samurai Jack menko and the 1980-81 Topps hockey scratch-offs. (The scratch-offs pose a rather complex printing challenge that I haven't tackled to this point, but might try to tackle at some point in the future.)
(2) Come back here and leave a comment that includes your three card choices, plus one consolation choice just in case every single commenter wants the same three cards and I start running out of stock.
(3) If you haven't sent me your mailing address during a previous giveaway, or if your address has changed recently, please email me with that information. A link to my email address appears on my blogger profile page. You can also contact me on TCDB.
And that's all you have to do. 
Thanks so much to all you readers, fellow collectors, and fellow bloggers for spending some time here at Nine Pockets. You guys continue to provide great inspiration and entertainment, and I look forward to getting these custom cards out to you.