Career in Cards: Eric Lindros

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Yesterday, Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame — and deservedly so. If you look at Lindros’ entire body of work — from his days as a phenom in junior hockey, to competition on the international stage, to his eight years in Philadelphia — he belongs in the Hall. Sure, his productivity sharply declined at the end of his career, but the same could be said of many other Hall of Fame players. Lindros wasn’t just awesome in his prime; he was awesome from day one. Here we will take a look at the career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards, of one of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2016 inductees.

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Career in Cards: Gordie Howe

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When Gordie Howe passed away earlier this month, he left behind a legacy that will never be matched. Sure, Wayne Gretzky surpassed Howe in points, but even Gretzky has repeatedly stated that Howe was the greatest. No other player has skated 26 seasons in the NHL. And while Jaromir Jagr may surpass that record, he would be hard-pressed to play until he was 52 years old.

Howe was the power forward that all other power forwards want to be. He could score and intimidate. He was mean on the ice, and yet his opponents have nothing but kind words to say about Mr. Hockey.

Because his career was so long — 26 years in the NHL and 6 years in the WHA — Howe had many trading cards released during his wonderful career. Here we take a look at some of Mr. Hockey’s best hockey cards.

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Career in Cards: Andy Bathgate

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Andy Bathgate, the Hall of Fame forward known best for his years with the New York Rangers, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. He spent 17 seasons in the NHL, scoring 973 points (349 G, 624 A) in 1.069 games. Bathgate was named to the NHL All-Star Team four times, won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and appeared in the annual NHL All-Star Game each year from 1957 to 1964. Here we take a look at Bathgate’s career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards.  Continue reading “Career in Cards: Andy Bathgate”

Career in Cards: Chris Pronger

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Chris Pronger has accomplished everything you would expect from an elite NHL defenseman. He’s won the Stanley Cup, the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy. He was the captain of three different NHL teams, was on the cover of two different video games and lead the league in plus/minus two times, for what it’s worth.

Pronger also excelled in international competitions, winning gold once at the World Junior Championships and twice in the Olympics. He was drafted second overall in 1993 and would still be a force on the Philadelphia Flyers’ blue line if not for the injuries that ended his career in 2011.

Naysayers will bemoan the fact that Pronger is still technically an active player — heck, he even got traded back in June — so he has no business being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame until his last paycheck as a player clears. Obviously, Pronger, who suffers from post concussion syndrome, won’t be playing pro hockey again, so there’s really no controversy.

In honor of Pronger’s Hall of Fame induction, here is a look at his NHL career, accompanied by some of the more interesting hockey cards issued during the past two decades.

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Career in Cards: Mario Lemieux

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Mario is the big five-oh! All-time great Mario Lemieux is 50 years old today. Despite numerous ailments and injuries, plus a three-year retirement, Lemieux had one of the most remarkable NHL careers. He won six scoring titles, was league MVP three times, played in 10 NHL All-Star Games, was a First Team All-Star five times and a Second Team All-Star four times. The list goes on and on.

More importantly, he saved the struggling Penguins franchise numerous times. His stellar play was a big reason why the team won back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992. He purchased the team in the late 1990s, keeping the team in Pittsburgh. His comeback in 2000 also helped the struggling team by increasing interest (and ticket sales) for the Pens. Lemieux also helped secure the deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh. He has helped the Penguins off the ice as much as he did on the ice.

To celebrate Mario’s big five-oh, here is a look at his career, illustrated with some of his best cards.  Continue reading “Career in Cards: Mario Lemieux”

Career In Cards: Al Arbour

Arbour_HeaderAl Arbour, who passed away at age 82 on August 28, had a long career as a professional hockey player, and an even longer career as an NHL coach. Arbour broke into the NHL during the Original Six Era and played pro for 18 seasons between the NHL and the minor leagues. But he is best known for his success behind the bench: 22 seasons, one Jack Adams Award, second all-time in wins and four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.

Here is a look at both of Arbour’s careers — as a player and as a coach — illustrated with various hockey cards and collectibles issued over six decades. Continue reading “Career In Cards: Al Arbour”

Career in Cards: Martin Brodeur

2000-01_VintageMartin Brodeur announced his retirement yesterday, ending a remarkable NHL career. During the past two-plus decades, Brodeur won many awards and set a lot of records. He also had a diverse array of hockey cards over the past 25 years. When Brodeur was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1990, trading cards were just plain pieces of cardboard. By the time Brodeur’s career ended, cards were as decorated as he was. Here’s a look at the past 25 years of Martin Brodeur’s career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Martin Brodeur”

Career in Cards: Jean-Paul “J.P.” Parise

1971-72_OPCJean-Paul “J.P.” Parise passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73 after a year-long battle with lung cancer. It’s always tough to see one of our hockey heroes pass away, and though I never saw Parise play, I admired him. He had a steady, 12-year career in the NHL, reaching the 20-goal mark seven times. Parise also represented Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. He reached the 20-goal plateau seven times. Here is a look back at his career achievements as a player, illustrated with his hockey cards. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Jean-Paul “J.P.” Parise”

Career in Cards: Daniel Alfredsson

2005-06_bDaniel Alfredsson officially retired yesterday after participating in a pregame skate with the Ottawa Senators, then giving his retirement speech. He spent 18 seasons in the NHL. Alfredsson won rookie if the year honors in 1996, played in the All-Star Game six times, and was a point-per-game player for most of his career. Most of these accomplishments were during the “dead puck era,” where NHL scoring steadily declined. Here’s a look back at Alfredsson’s career — with the help of a few trading cards. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Daniel Alfredsson”

Career in Cards: Chris Chelios

Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks honored former player and legend Chris Chelios with a pregame ceremony. Chelios retired in August, capping off a remarkable 27-year professional career that spanned from 1984 to 2010.

Chelios is my all-time favorite player. A defensive stalwart, he could help offensively too. He was rugged and would fight. Seemingly, there wasn’t anything Chelios couldn’t do…except take a night off. The man never quit, even when he was well into his forties and twice as old as many of the men he was playing against.

Now that Cheli has retired–or more appropriately, now that I have come to grips with his retirement–I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at his career…but with rectangular pieces of cardboard as the visuals.

Get comfortable…this is gonna take a while. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Chris Chelios”