Puck Junk Podcast: January 9, 2019

1993-94 Hockey Card Retrospective

Sal Barry and Tim Parish go oldschool and discuss their memories of collecting hockey cards during the 1993-94 season — what was great about that year, what could have been better, and why Sal says it was the last truly fun year of hockey card collecting. Plus, they talk about some new card releases, including the 2019-20 Upper Deck MVP Hockey retail boxed set.


Show Notes and Links:
2019-20 Panini Select Hockey Cards (info)
2016 Leaf Jack Eichel Collection Boxed Set (review)
Every 1993-94 Hockey Card Set Ranked (article/review)
1993-94 Donruss Ice Kings Inserts (review)
1993-94 Topps Stadium Club All-Star Inserts (review)
1993-94 Topps Team USA (review)

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim Parish on Twitter @TheRealDFG.
Podcast intro and ending music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

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Every 1993-94 Hockey Card Set Ranked

The 1993-94 season was my favorite year to collect hockey cards. Everything about that season was just so right for me. I was living with my Grandmother and going to a local junior college, so my cost of living was low. I was working full-time at a card and comic book shop, so I could buy new cards at a deep discount. I had just gotten my drivers licence, so I could drive around Chicago to other card shops or local shows to find the last few inserts I needed for a given set. Plus, I was still promoting a monthly neighborhood show, so a lot of times people would bring me cards that I needed. My situation in life made collecting easy for me that year.

As for the cards themselves, the 1993-94 season was the last year before hockey card collecting got out of hand. Packs were still affordable, with most between $1 and $3. (The 1994 NHL Lockout would change that, but that’s a story for another time.) There were really no short prints, other than the odd insert, so sets were fairly easy to complete. There were some great insert sets, but not so many different insert sets like it is today, where you can buy a box of cards and get 40 different inserts across 10 different insert sets. There were five different card companies competing with each other, so they had to try hard to do better than one another.

For example, Topps finally got with the program and printed its flagship set on quality card stock, with gloss coating and full-color backs. The company also issued the set in two series, so it could include rookies and traded players in their new uniforms later on that season.

Unfortunately, there were some casualties. Pro Set had gone bankrupt in 1992-93, and while it tried to issue a set for the 1993-94 season, its license was revoked by the NHL. The NHL also mandated that companies could only issue two sets per season, so Topps had to jettison its unpopular Bowman Hockey set, while O-Pee-Chee stopped making its own smaller, premium “Premier” set, as the “Premier” name would be used by both Topps and O-Pee-Chee that year for their large, two-series card sets.

One addition to this year’s ranking is how each company included Alexander Daigle in their sets. Daigle was selected first-overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. Pinnacle Brands — which made the Score and Pinnacle hockey card sets — had worked out a deal with Daigle, so that only they could picture him in a Senators uniform until he played in an NHL game. The other companies could not use a “Draft Day” photo, nor could they use photo manipulation to put his head on a different Senators player’s body. Thus, they had to get a little creative in how to picture that season’s hottest rookie in their hockey card sets that year.

As I have done with the 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 sets, here is my retrospective and ranking of every hockey card set issued in 1993-94.

Continue reading “Every 1993-94 Hockey Card Set Ranked”

1994 New York Rangers Stanley Cup Championship Replica Ring

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the New York Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup Championship. Earlier this season, the Rangers gave away a replica Stanley Cup ring to fans who attended the February 8, 2019 game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes — and it is awesome! 

Continue reading “1994 New York Rangers Stanley Cup Championship Replica Ring”

1993-94 Stadium Club Proof Card

Being a collector of oddball items, there was no way I could pass up this 1993-94 Topps Stadium Club proof card of Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. Measuring 2 7/8″ by 3 7/8″, the proof card is 3/8″ bigger in width and height, showing some of the photo that was ultimately cropped out.

Continue reading “1993-94 Stadium Club Proof Card”

Re-imagining the 1993 NHL Entry Draft

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft was this past weekend, where hundreds of prospects hoped to get drafted and make it to the NHL — while dozens of NHL GMs also hope the prospects they drafted make it to the NHL.  

I imagine that being an NHL GM with a high draft pick — preferably first overall, but even within the top 10 — would be fun; but the later picks, not so much. Because after selecting the generational talents, if any, and the highest-ranked players by position, drafting prospects becomes a lot more challenging.

The same goes for fantasy re-drafts. I’ve “re-imagined” the NHL Entry Drafts for 1990, 1991 and 1992. Making the top five or ten picks are fun, but after that, they are a lot of work!

Yes, we know how all of these players panned out, but who would you take with the 15th-overall pick in 1993: the 10th-best scorer, the fourth-best defenseman, a solid goalie or a total bruiser? 

Obviously, there are no right or wrong answers here, and that is part of the fun. So, knowing then what we all know today, who would the Senators take with the first-overall pick in the ’93 Draft — Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, or someone else? — and who would the Penguins take with the 26th pick?

Let’s find out. 

Continue reading “Re-imagining the 1993 NHL Entry Draft”

Review: 1993-94 Leaf Mario Lemieux Collection

When the 1993-94 hockey season started, the Leaf Trading Card Company entered into the foray and released several hockey card sets. The company chose a rather significant superstar as their spokesperson – Mario Lemieux. 

As a Pittsburgh Penguins fan in the early 1990s, it was exciting to see Lemieux heavily featured in all of Leaf’s promotional material. Given the health issues he faced the previous season, seeing Lemieux look so vibrant, and featuring him in his own 10-card insert set, seemed like a fitting tribute to my hero. 

Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Leaf Mario Lemieux Collection”

Review: 1993-94 Topps Team USA

After the modest, fourth-place finish of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Hockey team, and an increasing nostalgia for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” Topps issued cards of players from the 1994 U.S. National Team. Most of these players went on to play for Team USA at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and quite a few went on to have successful careers in the NHL afterward. 

At a glance:
– 1993-94 Topps Team USA inserts
– 23 cards
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download checklist

Team USA insert cards were found one in every 12 packs of 1993-94 Premier Series Two. If I remember correctly, Series Two came out around February of 1994, the same month the Olympics were taking place, so the timing was right. The set consists of 23 cards. Some of the more notable players in the set are Brian Rolston, Brad Marchant and Peter Laviolette. 

Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Topps Team USA”

Review: 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins

1_Mario_LemieuxDuring the 1990s, Pittsburgh-area grocery chain FoodLand sponsored an annual set of Penguins trading cards. Children in and around the Pittsburgh area could get a card for free by from an on-duty police officer, who probably stored the cards in their back pockets, forever keeping them from a BGS 10 rating.

But I digress. The 1993-94 Penguins set looks good and has cards of many star players who went onto Hall of Fame careers.

Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins”

Review: 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies Set & Album

08_Tony_Esposito

Back in the 1990s, I was so jealous of Canadian people. Not because of Canada’s universal health care system — I was too young to appreciate that sort of thing then — but because all of the ways Canadians could get hockey cards. In the U.S., if a box of cereal or a frozen pizza had a trading card enclosed, it was usually a baseball or basketball card.

At a glance:
– 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies
– 15 Cards (size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)
– One Mini Album
Download checklist

But in The Great White North, hockey cards could be found packed in boxes of cereal, at local McDonald’s restaurants and even with fish sticks! The 1993-94 Greatest Goalies set was found, one card per box, in specially-marked packages of High Liner brand frozen fish products. It is a 15-card set that goalie enthusiasts should not overlook.

Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies Set & Album”

Review: 1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars

46 greats from the ’93 All-Star Game

1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars - Wayne Gretzky
The 44th NHL All-Star Game, held at Montreal Forum on February 6 of 1993, was the end of an era for the league’s annual best-vs-best game. This was the last time the Wales Conference and Campbell Conference would square off; next season, they were renamed the Eastern Conference and Western Conferences, respectively. It was also the last time the All-Star Game uniforms would feature the familiar black, white and orange palette that had been the game’s color scheme since 1973.

1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars - Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux

The 1993-94 Stadium Club Hockey set featured a striking, 23-card insert set dedicated to the 1993 All-Star Game. The cards were seeded 1 in every 24 packs of Series One. One side of each card had a portrait of a Campbell Conference All-Star; the other side, his Wales Conference counterpart. Its combination of great players, good portraits and a timeless design makes for a cool insert set worth owning.  Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars”