Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Hockey Gods Smile...

Mario Lemieux
(90-91 Upper Deck #144)
I usually keep a sharp eye at random junk sales, but it's good to keep your ears open too. Just happened to overhear some vendors discussing some hockey cards they had obtained.

Scored a small stack of early 1990s NHL Upper Deck for less than a buck a card, mostly rookie card/rookie year.

Upper Deck made its' NHL debut in 1990-91, instantly establishing itself as the manufacturer of premium cards. When I was young, a pack of Upper Deck was so expensive that it made a kid consider spending his allowance on a pack of cigarettes instead...

Hockey cards aren't worth what they used to be. But since I never intend to sell my collection, it's fun to acquire some novelty items that were impossible to get when I was younger.

Owen Nolan
(1991-92 Upper Deck  #362)
Just yesterday, I was remembering Owen Nolan's hat trick at the 1997 All-Star game...
The next day, I'm in possession of one of his Rookie Cards.

Eric Lindros
(1991 Score #329,  91-92 Upper Deck #9, 92-93 Upper Deck #88)

Mats Sundin
(92-93 Upper Deck #374)
Along with Nolan, I also found Eric Lindros and Mats Sundin... Coincidentally, these three guys were drafted first overall in consecutive years by the Quebec Nordiques (1989-1991)

Peter Forsberg
(91-92 Upper Deck #64)
Since Eric Lindros refused to play for Quebec, they had to trade him to Philidelphia for Ricci and Forsberg.

Steve Duchesne
with Mike Ricci cameo
(93-94 Upper Deck #217)
The Nordiques also got defenseman Steve Duchesne...
(Couldn't help but throw in this card from my existing collection of Duchesne with Mike Ricci.)

Chris Simon
(93-94 Upper Deck #243)
Quebec also received draft picks that turned into guys like Chris Simon, who joined the Nordiques, left God-awful Quebec, became the Colorado Avalanche, and won the Stanley Cup. Go figure.

Owen Nolan
(1991-92 Pro Set  #196)
Sweater number 88 is synonymous with Eric Lindros... Oddly enough, I'd always noticed how Owen Nolan is actually wearing 88 in his early Pro-Set cards with Quebec. No idea why... I had never seen Owen Nolan wear anything other than 11.  (Useless fact: The only teams to not have someone wearing number 11 that year were Buffalo, Quebec, St. Louis and Vancouver)

Joe Sakic
(94-95 Upper Deck McDonald's #McD-01)
Completely and totally randomly thrown into the box of cards for sale was a single card from the 94-95 Upper Deck McDonald's set. I already had a few packs from this set, but was missing mighty Joe Sakic.

Ed Belfour
(1990-91 Pro Set #598)
While nowhere near as cool as the Upper Deck cards, there was something about the 1990-91 Pro-Set. It's baffling how many cards there are... Can't believe I was missing Eddie Belfour from his "1990-91 Rookie Season".

Note that he's wearing number 30, and a mask with his trademark eagle... (his Upper Deck card below features a plain white helmet, wearing number 31. I presume because Alain Chevrier was wearing 30 with Chicago at the time)

1990-91 Upper Deck is still an awesome set, and the cards are now affordable.
So many Rookies, including Bure, Fedorov, Jagr, Modano, and Primeau.
 Still dig the nostalgic value of second/third year players...
Belfour, Joseph, Mogilny, Recchi,
Richter, Roenick  and Sakic.

One of my favorite finds was what I assumed to be  Keith Tkachuk's Rookie Card (91-92 Upper Deck #698), representing Team USA at the World Junior Tournament.
Keith Tkachuk
(91-92 Upper Deck World Czech Juniors #85)

But what's with the foreign text on the back? Turns out that it's card #85 from a 100 card set called "Upper Deck Czech World Juniors". It uses the exact same photo as the English version, but I'm assuming it was only sold in Czechoslovakia, because the packaging I found online is definitely not English.

Not a true Rookie Card, nor as valuable as the English one... But still neat to have a piece of Czechoslovakian cardboard in my collection.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

1997: One of the Coolest NHL All-Star Games Ever...

The 2019 NHL All-Star Game is being hosted by the San José Sharks.
Because when you think hockey, you think sunny California...

San José also held the event back in 1997, and Owen Nolan of the hosting San José Sharks demonstrated how to score three goals with style...
He points.... He shoots... He SCORES!
His third goal was on a breakaway, after pointing and firing into to the top right corner. This type of "called shot" is the kind of thing you see in baseball - not hockey!

Despite beating Dominik Hasek to complete a hat trick, Nolan and the Western Conference ended up losing 11-7. But the All-Star game isn't about winning or losing... It's about watching these guys have some fun with cool tricks and stunts like this.

San Jose Sharks Classics: Owen Nolan 'Called Shot' 1997 NHL All-Star Game