I've been on a huge hockey kick lately. My high-definition DVR is being put to good use, and between NESN (which televises every Bruins game unless they are blacked out by national coverage), VS and the NHL Network I'm able to catch a solid 5-8 games a week. I've got more hockey than I can keep up with without wasting a bunch of money on an expensive cable package.
To continue with the hockey kick, this month's card of the month is the retro variation of Jari Kurri's 2008 O-Pee-Chee hockey card. I already raved about this set when I ripped a rack pack for A Pack a Day a while back, but I just can't get enough of it. After opening that rack pack I learned that the regular packs (both hobby and retail) contained variation cards of the entire 600 card set based on the 1979 O-Pee-Chee design (Wayne Gretzky's rookie year). I've always thought this was one of the best Topps/O-Pee-Chee designs, in fact, one of my favorite hockey cards of all time comes from this set.
I've since picked up a second rack pack, 4 hobby packs and a blaster from Target. I love the regular set, but these retro variation cards are even cooler. I'd love to complete a retro set, but it would be quite an undertaking. For now, I'll just enjoy the retro cards I have pulled, like this Jari Kurri.
I think Jari, a Hall-of-Famer and current manager for team Finland, is one of the most underrated players from the 1980s/90s era NHL. His 1,398 points are good for 18th all time, his 601 goals good for 14th place on the all time list. Keep in mind that he missed an entire season right in his prime, deciding to play overseas. Some people may argue that his point totals are inflated because he had the benefit of being Gretzky's linemate in both Edmonton and Los Angeles for the better part of his career. Fair enough, but what about his 1989-90 campaign, when he registered 93 points in 78 games and led the Oilers to a Stanley Cup Championship sans Gretzky?
What do you think, is Kurri one of the top players from his era or did he simply benefit from playing with the greatest hockey player of all time?