Christmas catch-up

25 03 2011

I’ve had this box sitting on my scanner for a while now, and I’ve been meaning to do some posts from it for that same stretch of time.   I dare say it’s been there since Christmastime, so I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to finish posting things from it.   But in my latest concerted effort to catch up, allow me to present the cards with the most dust on them, even if they are mostly protected by cardboard.First up were a handful of cards from the 79-80 Topps hockey set.  I absolutely love this set, and am reasonable sure it would be a iconic hockey release even without the appearance of a certain rookie in it.  This guy here, Bobby Smith, actually bested Gretzky for the 77-78 OMJHL scoring title by ten points, and yet no one cares much about his rookie card.  He would win the Calder trophy in 1979 and hoist a cup for Montreal in 1986.  He was a constant threat throughout his career in the playoffs, even when his season numbers began to fall.  But like I said, every one wants this guy instead:

Yeah, not imagining anyone will just send me a Gretzky rookie.  Still, a 84-85 Wayner isn’t a bad consolation.  The big card from this set isn’t Wayne, however, it’s Steve Yzerman’s rookie card.  I’m not sure what I could write about Wayne that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, so I’ll just say that any time you get a Gretzky in the mail it’s a pretty good day.

Unless Panini can come up with a more original idea, this will be the look of Score cards two years from now.  I hope that their creative team comes up with something better between now and then, though.

And I cannot look at the Bure card without thinking of two key moments in the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.  One is the high stick to Jay Wells in Game three with the score tied 1-1.  Bure’s stick to Wells face would lead to his ejection and the Rangers would score the go ahead goal on the power play to take a 2-1 series lead.  The other is his penalty shot attempt with the Canucks up 2-1 in game 4.  Mike Richter stoned him with the right pad, and that stop would seem to energize New York to score three unanswered and then take a 3-1 series lead. The Rangers would eventually win in seven.

I may be biased, but that has to be one of the better Stanley Cup series of all time.

Bure would eventually play for the Rangers, but knee injuries would force him to call it quits after managing only fifty-one games over two seasons.

Here’s a fact i bet you didn’t know:  Tim Cheveldae was the inspiration for the Matrix, as seen here on this 94-95 Upper Deck card.

Cheveldae was a workhorse for the Red Wings before he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets (so much better than a Coyote, I might add).  Once there, he was mediocre at best and soon gave way to Nikolai Khabibulin.  And yes, I had to look that up.

Was this one of the best looking sets of the last twenty years?  I’d venture to say it’s right up there.  It’s hard to find a bad shot in the set.

As to Kirby, I know only what the back of this card tells me, and that is he toiled in the minors for ten years before getting his chance.  He was twenty-nine when he made his debut, which isn’t usually a good sign for a long and hall of fame career.  I believe he is now the first base coach for the Baltimore Orioles.

So that’s bu five cards in a two hundred count box.  Imagine that goodness times forty.  And now I can finally file it all away.

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