A very special pack of 08/09 UD Hockey Legends Masterpieces

6 11 2008

Pack 13

37 Foster Hewitt

hewittmasterpieces2

In any other pack, I’d probably pick this card to highlight. I think it’s a great painting of Foster, a radio pioneer and the voice of Hockey Night in Canada for 40 years, including the first televised game between the Canadians and Leafs. He’s the guy who coined “he shoots, he scores,” now heard on hockey broadcasts everywhere. You can hear Hewitt discuss some of the history here, or listen to a segment of Hewitt calling an actual game here.

So what trumps Hewitt? Well, for a Rangers fan, this:

10 Mark Messier
messiercupmasterpieces

Not sure why they didn’t make it card 11. Mark remains the only player in league history to captain two different teams to the Stanley Cup. There are many memorable moments from that season (Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!), but perhaps the one that stands out most comes from Game 6 of the Conference finals.

The Rangers are down 3 games to 2. They are on the road for game 6, a position they have not won in. And before the game, Mark Messier guarantees victory. It’s all over the papers. Messier proclaims , “We’ll win tonight.”

It does not start out well. The Rangers go down early to the Devils 2-0, and trail until midway in the second. Messier leaves a pass for the enigmatic Alex Kovalev. Kovalev fakes a shot and then, from the face off circle puts one home. 2-1 Rangers, point #1 for Messier.

You can see where this goes right? Messier scores from an odd angle to tie the game at two in the third. Then, with 7:48 left in the game, Martin Brodeur leaves a rebound from a Kovalev slapshot in front of the net. Messier knocks it home. 3-2 Rangers. Then, as icing on the cake, Messier scores the hat trick, putting in an empty net goal. Messier follows through on the guarantee. Rangers win.  Messier ends the game with 3 goals and an assist.

Oh, and he scores the game winner in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that year, too.  Both the Conference finals and the finals themselves from that year are arguably two of the greatest series in the history of the NHL.

What could possibly make the pack better?

49 Brian Leetch

leetchmasterpieces

That award there is the Conn Smythe trophy, given to the most valuable player in the playoffs. In 1994, Leetch became the first and to this date the only American born player to win the award on the back of his 34 point effort that year in the playoffs. Leetch also hold the record for most goals by a rookie defenseman (23) and is the last defenseman to score over 100 points in a season.

How do you follow that?

9 Richard Brodeur

rbrodeurmasterpieces

Okay, you don’t. Not to take anything away from “King Richard,” who lead Vancouver on an improbable cup run in 1982 (their only other Cup appearance prior to 1994), but this card could have been a Wayne Gretzky/Gordie Howe rainbow parallel 1 of 1 featuring them kissing each other at a holiday party and it still wouldn’t be as great for a Rangers fan as Moose and Leetch.

Oh, and Brodeur’s actually a painter now, and I think that could lend itself well to an insert series next year if Upper Deck continues with the set.

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