Sunday, November 25, 2007

95-96 Upper Deck Collector's Choice

Eric Lacroix, Los Angeles Kings, Upper Deck, 95-96, Collector's Choice, hockey, hockey cardsThe foil lettering and full-bleed photos on 95-96 Upper Deck cards meant that regular Upper Deck was out of my price range, so I collected the second best Upper Deck set. 95-96 Collector's Choice is actually more like the Upper Deck sets of the early-90's than the regular Upper Deck set: it has a simple white and gray border and action photos on both the front and back. The size of the photo of on the back depends on how long the player had been playing in the NHL: since Blaine Lacher had just finished his rookie season, you get to see a nice large photo of him doing the splits in his boxer shorts, but since Gretzky had just finished his 16th NHL season, you only get to see a thumbnail sized photo. For some the cards it is hard to understand why they chose to put the less exciting photo on the front when they have pretty awesome photos on the back.

Since the regular Upper Deck set already included all the World Junior Championship player cards, and you couldn't have a set in the mid-90's without some kind of international junior tournament, Collector's Choice made cards for the European Junior Championships, a tournament that no one in North American had noticed before or has cared about since. The set only includes the Finnish and Swedish teams, but even with two of the stronger European hockey countries, there are very few notable players, with Vesa Toskala probably the best of the bunch. The set finished off with some ugly 'What's Your Game?' cards that explain to the lay-hockey fan the roles of various players such as scorers and grinders.

Five of my favorites:

#8 - Gary Suter - It always looks like Suter's face is melting off.

- Keith Tkachuk - Kirk McLean is obviously making another highlight reel save.

#281 - Brent Gretzky - Tampa Bay was a pretty terrible team for its first few years in the league, but at least they knew how to get some easy publicity: first they put Manon Rheaume in net for a few minutes in a couple of pre-season games, then they drafted Wayne's lesser brother, Brent.

- Brett Lindros - Doesn't this photo just warm your heart?

- Mikko Markkanen - I can't figure out why a player would have a duffel bag on the ice at any time for any reason.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Worst Ever Hockey Cards #6

Randy Cunneyworth, Winnipeg Jets, O-Pee-Chee, 89-90, hockey, hockey cards, bad airbrushing#63 - Randy Cunneyworth
89-90 O-Pee-Chee
Worst Ever Hockey Card Set #6

This will soon be the top Google Image search result for the term "bad airbrushing."

Hockey Sock Rock #2

Dionne and the Puck-Tones, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Los Angeles Kings, Please Forgive My Misconduct Last Night, record, 45 rpm, cover, hockey, songsDionne and the Puck-Tones
Please Forgive My Misconduct Last Night (1979)
(right click and choose "save link as" to download)

Dionne, Taylor, and Simmer are three of the ugliest dudes you'll ever see on a record cover, but they managed to make one of my favorite songs by professional athletes. That may not seem like it's saying very much, but they get some stiff competition from the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Milk Song, and the song off Shaquille O'Neal's Shaq Fu: The Return where he rhymes "I drive a Suzuki like David Suzuki."

Hockey Blog in Canada posted a sweet song about Bobby Hull here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

93-94 Pinnacle

Curtis Joseph, St. Louis Blues, NHL, Pinnacle, 93-94, hockey, hockey cardsIt's too bad Pinnacle blew their load on one card. The photo of Grant Fuhr making an airborne kick/glove save is one of the best I've ever seen on a hockey card, but of the other 219 cards in the first series of 93-94 Pinnacle, I counted four action shots. The rest of the set is a write-off; the black border is boring and the Pinnacle logo is ugly, but at least they put that ugly bar on the back of the cards so you can be sure your Ben Hankinson rookie card is not a counterfeit.

Four of my favourites:

#109 - Evgeny Davydov - This wouldn't make my favourites list for most sets, but since it's Pinnacle, it's in.

#163 - Mike McPhee - Gino Odjick better have given McPhee a two-hander across the back of the head for spraying Whitmore like that.

#138 - Kay Whitmore - Speaking of Whitmore, what would you bet that that puck is going in the net?

#207 - Mike Lenarduzzi - I think the most effective way to deter counterfeiting is to make cards for players like this.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #15

Daren Puppa, Tampa Bay Lightning, Kraft Dinner, hockey cards, 94-95, masked defendersNNO - Daren Puppa
94-95 Kraft Dinner

I guess it is better than being called the 'turd burglar'.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #14

#112 - Manon Rheaume (Hockey Art)
93-94 Classic Draft Picks
Worst Ever Hockey Card Set #5

Classic made 26 Manon Rheaume cards between 1992 and 1995. That's one card for every regular season professional and major junior ice hockey game she played (she also played some professional roller hockey games in the RHI), plus a bonus card for the pre-season publicity stunt with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I'm sure that many of the other Rheaume cards are bad, but nothing tops Classic's hockey art. The only thing this card is missing is a dolphin jumping in the background.

And also, what is that on her left hand-- an oven mitt?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #13

Tony Esposito, Chicago Blackhawks, NHL, hockey cards, O-Pee-Chee, 79-80#80 - Tony Esposito
79-80 O-Pee-Chee

Chicago's logo was way tougher in the 70's. Their current logo looks so positive with its nice smile and straight nose. The logo on this card looks way more like someone who would beat you up in a back alley, the way hockey logos should be.

Tony Esposito, Chicago Blackhawks, hockey card, NHL, O-Pee-Chee, 79-80, card backThe back of 79-80 O-Pee-Chee cards are the best of any set. They have all the stats perfectly placed in a skate with enough room left over for a fact and illustration.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hockey Sock Rock #1

The first of my occasional posts on hockey music!

Phil Esposito and the Ranger Rockers, John Davidson, Ron Duguay, Dave Maloney, Pat Hickey, New York Rangers, Hockey Sock RockPhil Esposito & the Ranger Rockers
The Hockey Sock Rock (1979)
(right click and choose "save link as" to download)

Not the first or best song ever recorded by NHL players, but thanks to Phil Esposito's name, a B-side by L.A. Kings players Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, and Dave Taylor, the writing and producing talents of Canadian C-list actor Alan Thicke, and the fact that it was a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Hockey Sock Rock managed to avoid being the kind of regional novelty song that disappears faster than you can say "killer mustache, Davidson."

Not only was this song released as a single, there was also a music video which I was very disappointed to find out has not been put on YouTube yet. The video can be found on the 1989 VHS, Super Dooper Hockey Bloopers, which you can likely find at your local thrift store or flea market.

In case you are wondering why it says "oops" beside Pat Hickey's name, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies early in the 79-80 season, before the single was released. I guess that means he no longer qualified as a Ranger Rocker.

Phil and the Ranger Rockers' career in music wasn't finished with the Hockey Sock Rock, the group (minus Davidson because he's too ugly and Pat Hickey because his new coach, Don Cherry, would've benched him for the rest of the season) also sang in this Sasson Jeans commercial posted below.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #12

goalmouth, 7th inning sketch, seventh inning sketch, whl, 90-91, tri-city americans, spokane chiefs, hockey, hockey cards, western hockey league#340 - The Goalmouth
90-91 7th Inning Sketch
Worst Hockey Card Set Ever #4

How did this get made without someone pointing out that the back of the card sounds more like a description for a porno than a battle in front of the net?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #11

Link Gaetz, San Jose Sharks, O-Pee-Chee, 91-92, Sharks and Russians, NHL, insert, goon, hockey enforcer, hockey, hockey cards#1S - Link Gaetz
91-92 O-Pee-Chee - Sharks & Russians

Link Gaetz was a badass. The first time I really remember hearing anything about him was when he was arrested back in the early-90's. Though I couldn't remember exactly what he was arrested for, an old Link Gaetz fan site had this quote:
His low point came in 1993, when he was arrested for breaking into his old roommate's apartment, stealing his television, and urinating on his bed. Said the victim of the crime, "I came home and the television was gone and there was urine in my bed. The mark of Link."
Link played 68 games over three seasons in the NHL, collecting 14 points and 412 penalty minutes before a car accident in 1992 derailed his career. He spent the next seven years fighting his way through the minor-pro leagues, never playing more than 26 games in one season with any one team.

Link's fan site posted updates on his activities from 1998 to 2003. Here are a few of the highlights:
  • December 1, 1998: . . . he began the 1998-99 season with the Toledo Storm of the East Coast Hockey League. However, after playing only one or two games, he was kicked off the team. Reportedly, team management had problems with his attitude, as well as his speed and conditioning.
  • January 19, 1999: Link was arrested in Huntsville, Texas on January 10th and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. His bond, which was raised from $10,000 to $100,000 after he taunted the arraigning judge and reportedly told him to "f--k of," was later reduced to $5,000, but the last we heard, he was still in jail.
  • February 2, 1999: The [Madison] Monsters were in town to play the Winston-Salem Icehawks, and Link (a former Monsters player) was in town to try out for the Icehawks. Apparently, Link won't be playing in North Carolina, however, as the commissioner of the United Hockey League has "outlawed" him.
  • November 23, 1999: . . . he has joined the Eston Ramblers in a senior league, the Saskatchewan Wild Goose League. He received a league record 68 penalty minutes in one shift. . .
  • December 12, 2000: Link's stint in Eston came to an end last Christmas, as he was kicked off the Ramblers and reportedly banned from all bars within a 35-mile radius of Eston.
A very overweight Link Gaetz made his final appearance in the hockey world as a marquee name in the Battle of the Hockey Enforcers, a boxing-style hockey fight contest where he had obvious trouble staying on his feet and had to withdraw after one fight with concussion-like symptoms.

On a side note, I'd like to point out that O-Pee-Chee made a big mistake in not including gum with their cards in their final year, 92-93. The gum residue on this card makes it even more awesome.

Friday, November 2, 2007

90-91 7th Inning Sketch WHL

jason fitzsimmons, moose jaw warriors, whl, western hockey league, goalie, 7th inning sketch, 90-91I've already covered part of this set in a previous post, but since I found an unopened box of these cards in the back of a dingy card shop under a pile of old Playboys and New Kids on the Block cards, I decided it was worth another post.

There are more errors in 7th Inning Sketch's WHL set than in a little league baseball tournament. The errors range from spelling mistakes (Brian Sakic's card says "Buan Sakic", Turner Stevenson plays "Ring Wing" and Corey Schwab was drafted in the "nonth round"), to putting the wrong backs on cards (Jeff Calvert's stats and info are on the back of Paul Dyck's card, and Paul Dyck's stats and photo are on the back of Paul Calvert's card), to leaving out cards 121, 150, and 262 (they partially made up for it by having two cards numbered both 149 and 284), to messing up countless players' stats and info (Dean Tiltgen is listed as a goalie even though both photos clearly show him as a skater, and his stats say he scored 117 goals and 202 points, which couldn't be possible since a trivia question on another card asks you to name the only WHL player to score 200+ points in one year (the answer is Rob Brown)).

Skipping over the few hundred other mistakes, here's a sample of the rest of the set:

Hockey Card of the Day #10

For your convenience, the worst ever hockey cards will now be compiled in one easy to view set. Click on the 'Worst Ever Hockey Card Set' tag to see the two past 'Cards of the Day' that have already been added to the set, and collect along at home!

Cornelius Rooster, Kellogg's, hockey, hockey card, score, 91-92, nhl#24 - Cornelius Rooster
91-92 Score Kellogg's
Worst Ever Hockey Card Set #3

This is the card I'd have been bummed to get from the Corn Flakes box when I was little. Sure, I could have gotten Trevor Linden or Patrick Roy, but instead I end up with a gimpy drawing of Cornelius Rooster. They couldn't draw him holding a stick properly, but they at least had lots of clever puns on the back of the card.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hockey Card of the Day #9

paul baxter, pittsburgh penguins, 82-83, 81-82, o pee chee, penalty minute leader, nhl, hockey, hockey card#238 - Paul Baxter (Penalty Minutes Leader)
82-83 O-Pee-Chee

I don't understand why they don't make penalty minute leader cards anymore. Sure, players don't rack up the minutes like they used to (last year's leader wouldn't have even made it into the top ten on the back of this card), but I'd trade my plus/minus leader or Selke Trophy winner cards for a good goon any day.