Chicago Blackhawks fans remember Doug Wilson as a workhorse –a gritty, reliable defenseman that always gave a sense of comfort and dependability when he was on the ice. Not-so-die-hard Hawks fans may remember him as one of the last players in the league to play without a helmet. After spending most of his playing career with the Blackhawks, Wilson was traded in 1991 to the brand-new San Jose Sharks. He played with the Sharks for two seasons before moving into a management position, now sitting as the team’s General Manager.
Upper Deck has made most of the hockey cards released over the past 15 years, and even though the card may not say “Upper Deck,” cards like SP Authentic, Parkhurst Champions and Fleer Retro are all made by Upper Deck. So, it is no surprise when the same photo of a player appears on different cards in different sets. There is one, less-than-flattering photo of Wilson that Upper Deck has used on various autographed and memorabilia cards over and over again.
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Welcome to another sporadic installment of “Deja Vu Tuesday,” where we take a look at a hockey card and say “Hey, haven’t I seen that picture somewhere else?” Today, we will examine two hockey cards picturing Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito.
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For the first four years of his professional career, it looked like Carter Hutton was doomed to the minors. During a three-year span, Hutton was called-up from the minors and appeared as a backup for a handful of games; first for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009-10, then the San Jose Sharks in 2010-11 and then the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. But Hutton never actually played in any of those games.
The same seemed destined to happen in 2012-13, when the Blackhawks called up Hutton a few times during the lockout-shortened season to ride the pine. Finally, in their last regular season game of 2012-13, the Blackhawks started Hutton in his first NHL game — a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. After that, he grew into a dependable backup netminder; first for the Nashville Predators, and then last season for the Blues.
During two of his years in the minors, Hutton had two trading cards that used the exact same photo — which was weird because they were cards for different teams.
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The exact same photograph of Patrick Kane was used on two different hockey cards during the 2011-12 season. At first, I thought this could have been an honest mistake. But then my research led to an unusual conclusion: what if one card company deliberately decided to use the same photograph to troll their competitor?
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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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Whenever 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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Jaromir Jagr’s 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier rookie card was one of the most sought-after hockey cards of the season. As far as Jagr RCs went, this was the one to have that year, especially in the United States, where we had to pay through the nose to get OPC Premier cards. Seriously. Full sets were selling for $125; sealed boxes $250. The Jagr card itself was a cool $15. But through some shrewd purchases and trades, I ended up with several.
So imagine my disappointment when I opened a pack of Topps Hockey cards during the 1991-92 season and found this: Continue reading “Deja Vu Tuesday: Jaromir Jagr”
This is one of my all-time favorite hockey card photographs. On the front of his 1991-92 Upper Deck “Star Rookies” card, Felix Potvin is shown hoisting the trophy he won as the MVP of the 1991 QMJHL playoffs. Everything about this photo is excellent, from the elated look on Potvin’s face as he proudly hoists the trophy, to the crowd of cheering people who have flooded onto the ice behind him.This picture successfully captures a moment in time.
It also succeeds in explaining why Potvin is a “Star Rookie” without saying a word. We don’t even need to read the text on the back of the card. Using this picture was a great choice by Upper Deck, and says more about Potvin than a staid draft day photo or a shot from Maple Leafs’ training camp. But Upper Deck wasn’t the first company to use this picture on a hockey card.
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Antti Niemi had a rookie card in pretty much every Upper Deck set produced during the 2009-10 season. Usually when that happens, a photo gets recycled here or there. In this case, someone must have thought this picture was so nice that they used it twice.
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The photograph on Ryan Johansen’s 2014-15 Upper Deck trading card is bad. No, it isn’t quite as terrible as the infamous Bryan Pitton Score rookie card from a few years back. Nor is it the worst card of all time, though it is the worst card from this year’s UD Series One. Seeing the back of a player on the front of his own card is unremarkable. In fact, this photo is so unremarkable that apparently no one at Upper Deck noticed that they used the exact same photo on Johansen’s card from the previous season. Continue reading “Deja Vu Tuesday: Ryan Johansen”