Tuesday, February 5, 2008

04-05 Upper Deck All-World

Henrik Zetterberg, Timra IK, Swedish Elite League, Detroit Red Wings, 04-05 Upper Deck, All-World hockey, hockey cards
I'm not sure why, but I really appreciate ugly and ridiculous hockey cards. Maybe it is because while everyone chases down the latest hot rookie card, I can be just as happy with a bottom of the barrel common card that makes me laugh (and saves me a lot of money). This is why Upper Deck's NHL lock-out year All-World set gets two thumbs up from me.

The set's 90 base cards mostly feature NHL players with their European teams, with a few former European-NHL stars thrown in as well. There are a lot of stars included in the set, but the real star of this set is the garish jerseys these guys are wearing-- some of which would even make race car drivers weep. Among the worst offenders are the Swiss National League's, SC Bern and Zug; the Czech Extraliga's HC Zlin and Pardubice (it is nice to see Kappa clothing on someone who is not trying to sell drugs to me at the bus stop) and Finnish SM-Liiga's Jokerit Helsinki (though to be fair this photo is from the 94-95 lock-out, not that it makes that collar any less ridiculous).

I know that European teams make most of their money from sponsorships, which explains why it looks like they have the yellow pages printed on their jerseys, but surprisingly the team with the highest payroll in Europe during the lock-out, Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League, also had the best jerseys. These jerseys wouldn't even be bad for the NHL. It is definitely better than what Anaheim wears.

Five of my favourites:

#27 - Nikolai Khabibulin - Does he always look like this?

#44 - Borje Salming - This photo seems like it would have been from Salming's pre-NHL days, right? But all of his stats that I have found say that he only played for AIK Solna in the early-90's. Could they not afford good cameras, or is something wrong? European readers please let me know.

#55 - Hakaan Loob - He's missing his nice purple bow tie.

#78 - Joe Thornton - The best of the few action shots.

#87 - Igor Larionov - A classic jersey that will make you wish for the days of pre-capitalist European hockey.


Fredrik Vilborg said...

Hi. The Salming card is actually featuring a Brynäs IF jersey wich makes the card just crazy to me. Every swede sees him as a Brynäs-player and AIK has'nt played in the Elite League for 6-7 years now. They have semi-professionals nowadays for christs sake.
When it comes to Loobs card, the team Färjestad was sponsored by a coffee company named Löfbergs Lila for many many years, 20+ actually, but they have from this season gone back to sporting their original black outfits.

hockeydad said...

Igor Larionov does look very sharp. I bet if the coach asked him to actually kill somebody he would do it.

BDH said...

the joker and socks on that helsinki card were so awful, i wouldn't have even noticed the god-awful collar had you not pointed it out. Thanks for ruining my day.

Kevin said...

I've just gotten back into collecting and wasn't aware of this set. I know that you're not big into inserts or fancy gimmicks, but any chance of letting us know what one could potentially pull from these packs? Any fun subsets at least?

Bruce said...

There's some short-printed cards numbered 91-120. The first bunch of them are 'Up Close and Personal' cards that are marginally better than that 94-95 Be A Player set and then there are some 'Euro-Star' cards that are basically the same idea as the 'Up Close' cards. For inserts there are only autographs and a gold parallel set.

Fredrik Vilborg said...

Kevin, but of course this is a (perhaps) once in a lifetime series to collect. Upper Deck quality cards featuring euro legends in their hometown jerseys spiced up with some north american tourists there.

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