Card of the Week: Paper Sabre

1974-75 Topps #24 – Jacques Lemaire

1974-75_Topps_Jacques_LemaireIt is not uncommon for a trading card company to sometimes spell a player’s name wrong. And occasionally, a card company might flub the player’s position, such as listing him as a defenseman when he’s really a forward. Heck, we all make mistakes. But showing a player on a team he never played for? Well, that’s a mistake that you would have to go out of your way to make. And that’s exactly what card company Topps did in 1974, when they pictured Jacques Lemaire with the Buffalo Sabres — a team that he never played for.
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Sidney Crosby’s First Hockey Card

2003_Sidney_Crosby_Rookie_Review

Before Sidney Crosby was “Sid the Kid,” he was…well, just a kid. Crosby was touted as an elite prospect long before he was drafted, and even had several hockey cards released before he went onto NHL stardom.

This is Crosby’s earliest known card, though price guides will usually omit it because it was not found in a pack with other cards. Instead, this came inside of a magazine called Rookie Review during the 2002-03 season. The photo shows Crosby when he was tearing it up for the Dartmouth Subways in Midget AAA Hockey as just a wee 14-year old phenom.

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Joe Thornton’s First Hockey Card

Joe_Thornton

Two decades before he would grow the most famous playoff beards in NHL history, “Jumbo” Joe Thornton was a teenager, with nary a whisker, playing major junior hockey. This hockey card from the 1995-96 Slapshot OHL set is of a 16-year old Thornton playing for the Sault Ste. Marie (“Soo”) Greyhounds. The back shows a fresh-faced Thornton, 30 pounds lighter and with much less hair.  Continue reading “Joe Thornton’s First Hockey Card”

The Tragically Hip Stole This from a Hockey Card

Pro_Set_Bill_Barilko

Yesterday, Gord Downie, lead signer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, announced on his band’s website that he has terminal brain cancer.

Hockey is not often the subject of songs, but this sad news reminds me of a song by The Tragically Hip called “Fifty Mission Cap,” which is actually about a Pro Set hockey card issued during the 1990s.

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Score One for the Trainer

2006-07 Colorado Eagles card – Chris Porowski

Porowski_Eagles_front

Most of us who collect can recall a great hockey card that shows a forward celebrating a goal or a goaltender making a save.  But great cards of the non-players — the coaches, GM, and other hockey operations staff — are far and few between. You might get a card of a coach just standing behind the bench. or a card of a GM giving that deer-in-headlights look. Nothing special, really. But this card of former Colorado Eagles Head Athletic Trainer Chris Porowski makes for a nice exception.

Instead of awkwardly smiling for the camera, or standing in the background, Porowski is shown helping a fallen Eagles player. Team trainers are the “first responders” when a player is hurt. Depending on the severity of the injury, seconds can matter and quick thinking is vital. So it is cool to see a hockey card that shows an athletic trainer doing what they are trained to do.

Also making this card great is the Star Wars-inspired logo in the upper left corner, which reads “2006-2007: The Eagles Strike Back.” This is based on the logo used for the second “Star Wars” film, “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Porowski_ESB_logo

So, what were the Colorado Eagles striking back against? The Eagles were Central Hockey League champions for 2005, but lost in the second round of the playoffs in 2006. Thus, their 2006-07 campaign was about “striking back” and reclaiming their throne as CHL champs. And strike back they did; the Eagles won their second CHL championship in 2007. 

Mister Rogers’ Hockey Card

Mr. Rogers Hockey Card

Yesterday was the birthday of Fred Rogers, the longtime host of the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And while Rogers passed away in 2003, the work that he accomplished during his lifetime lives on. His work in television had a positive influence on multiple generations of children. Rogers also convinced Congress to not cut funding for public television, and was a proponent of technology that would allow TV programs to be recorded for later viewing. All that, and he was once the “Celebrity Captain” of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Rookie Cards of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Team – Plus the Coaches

miracle_on_ice

Thirty-six years ago today was the Miracle on Ice, when the United States Olympic ice hockey team upset the heavily-favored Soviet Union’s team by a score of 4-3. Of the 20 players on that team, 13 went on to play in the NHL. But sooner or later, they all appeared on a hockey card. Here is the earliest card of every Miracle on Ice player.  Continue reading “Rookie Cards of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Team – Plus the Coaches”

Deja Vu Tuesday: Andrei Lomakin

1991-92 Star Pics Draft #17 - Andrei Lomakin

Sometimes, I see a hockey card and I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen the same photo elsewhere before. I might have to rack my brain for a bit and page through my binders of hockey cards until I find a match. Heck, that’s the whole premise of Deja Vu Tuesday. But other times, I see a photo on the hockey card and can instantly recall  where it was first used. Such is the case with this card of Andrei Lomakin.

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Card of The Week: Bleeding, Black & Blue

1982-83 O-Pee-Chee #342 - Marc Crawford

If I played pro hockey, I would want this to be my rookie card. Marc Crawford, best known as an NHL head coach for 15 years, had one mainstream hockey card issued during his playing career — and it makes him look like a total bad ass.

This is also one of the few times that blood was shown on a hockey card.
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Deja Vu Tuesday: Mike Gartner

2000-01_UD_Legends_GartnerWhenever a company makes a set of retired greats, the likelihood is high that a photo used on a card many years ago may find its way back on a card again. Take for instance this photograph of Mike Gartner on his 2000-01 Upper Deck Legends card. I knew I saw it on another card before. You just don’t forget a menacing, pissed-off glare like the one Gartner is giving here — even if it isn’t directed at you.

It turns out, I was right…from a certain point of view, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would say.

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