To the victors go the trading cards
When Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, the Blackhawks clinched the Stanley Cup. That victory also earned them a special boxed set of hockey cards from Upper Deck, commemorating the team’s second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Released at the end of July, the set contains 31 cards that no die-hard ‘Hawks fan should be without.
Player Selection 5 out of 5
Every player who got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup is in this set. Every single one, from the big guns like Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford, to the bit players like Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers. Even Ben Smith, who played in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals as a last-minute fill-in, is in this set. There are 25 player cards in all. Upper Deck did a great job of including everyone, and ‘Hawks fans will love having a team set as flawlessly comprehensive as this one.
Front Design 4 out of 5
There is nothing overwhelmingly great about the design of these cards, but that’s OK. The photo does most of the work here — as it should — with a red-and-black stripe at the bottom for the player’s name and position.
But why no pictures from the Stanley Cup Finals? Upper Deck used photos from the regular season or the earlier rounds of the playoffs. That’s understandable for guys who did not play in the Finals, like Carcillo, but otherwise a bit of a cop-out. This set is supposed to commemorate the ‘Hawks Cup victory; using pictures from the Finals would have put this over the top.
Another drawback is the Stanley Cup Championship logo in the lower left corner is a bit too big and distracting.On the upside, at least the Upper Deck logo is not in the usual shiny silver foil. Foil elements on cards are almost always distracting, so the absence of foil makes the photo the most noticeable element — as it should be.
Stats & Info / Back Design 3 out of 5
Each card back contains the usual biographical info (height, weight, etc) and a short writeup about the player’s contribution in the Finals, in earlier rounds of the playoffs, or the regular season. Case in point: goaltender Ray Emery did not play in the playoffs, but was stellar during the regular season, as noted on his card. That’s much better than saying that Emery “rode the pine” for 23 playoff games.
But the somewhat-overbearing Stanley Cup Championship logo also appears on the back — just in case you didn’t see it on the front. Perhaps this space would have been better utilized for a full-color head shot?
Another annoying design element is that there is a distracting pattern behind the statistics, making them hard to read. And speaking of stats, why no stats from the 2013 playoffs?
Subset Quality 5 out of 5
Cards 26 to 31 are of the top highlights of the Blackhawks 2013 season.
- The ‘Hawks 24-games without a regulation loss streak
- Hossa’s two goals to eliminate the Minnesota Wild in Round 1
- Brent Seabrook’s Game 7 overtime goal to beat the Detroit Red Wings in Round 2
- Patrick Kane’s hat trick to eliminate the L.A. Kings in Round 3
- Corey Crawford’s 51-save performance in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals
These were all “card-worthy” highlights, and nicely round out the set.
Finally, there is an oversized card, measuring 8″ wide by 3 1/2″ tall, that has the celebration team photo taken right after the ‘Hawks were awarded the Cup. Making this photo into an oversize card was a great idea; it feels very “widescreen,” like a movie, and you can actually see everyone.
This boxed set was released on July 23, 2013, just in time for the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Convention and the 34th annual National Sports Collectors Convention. You can find the set for $20 online, or for around $25 in card shops.
The 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Box Set is something that no card-collecting ‘Hawks fan should be without. The only real drawback, if any is the price; $20 for 31 cards seems a bit steep — especially considering that a typical blaster box costs the same but has around 100 cards. Still, if you are a ‘Hawks fan, at least you will enjoy every card in this set.
Five Chicago Blackhawks playoff heroes.
Patrick Kane – First and foremost is Patrick Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. (View back)
Andrew Shaw – The image of Andrew Shaw, blood running down his face while hoisting the Stanley Cup, will be forever etched in the memory of Blackhawks fans. (View back)
Michael Frolik – The Round 2 series between the Red Wings and Blackhawks was a nail-biter, with the ‘Hawks battling back from a 3 games to 1 deficit. In true heroic fashion, Frolik tied Game 6 of that series with a goal scored on a penalty shot. (View back)
Bryan Bickell – Bickell was an unlikely hero for the Blackhawks, scoring nine goals in the playoffs. He also scored the game-tying goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals (View back)
Dave Bolland – Seventeen seconds after Bickell scored the game-tying goal, Bolland scored the game — and series — winning goal against the Boston Bruins. (View back)
31 card set
– Cards 1- 30 are 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
– Card SCC-CB is 8″ wide x 3 /12″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist