I plan to show off a few recently completed junk-wax-era hockey insert sets in the next couple of months leading up to the opening face-off of the 2011-12 season. One of my favorites is Leaf's 1993-94 Hat Trick Artists.
This 10-card set was found randomly inserted in both Series 1 and Series 2 packs of 1993-94 Leaf, and highlighted stars who registered hat tricks in the preceding 1992-93 season. I don't recall what the odds of pulling one were, if they were even stated. To me, the most memorable card in the set has always been the title or header card pictured above, which fittingly features Super Mario and a bunch of hats.
The other 9 cards have a clean, simple design. Full bleed photo with the same Hat Trick Artists logo from the title card in a top corner (sometimes right, sometimes left). At the bottom you have the foil Leaf logo and a faded stripe containing the player's name. Nice looking cards if you ask me!
The backs are done really well also. Once again the logo (which I love) appears, and below it you get a listing of each player's hat tricks from the 1992-93 season. On the opposite side we get a different photo from the front (imagine that! Panini, take note!), and a little blurb about the player.
Teemu Selanne is the man. Not only is he the lone player from this set who was still in the league in 2010-11, but he registered a hat trick this past season too, 18 seasons after the one commemorated by this card. He added two assists in that game as well (March 28th, 2011 against the Avalanche), becoming the first 40-year-old to register a hat trick and five points in a game. Has he seen his final NHL game? If so, he went out as a sniper, scoring 6 times in his last 6 post-season games to go along with a better than point-per-game regular season. I for one would love to see him back for one more year, but I guess he just underwent knee surgery a few weeks ago, so we'll see what happens.
Next up is Lemieux's base card. This reminds me of just what a MONSTER season Mario had in 1992-93. He was actually on pace to challenge Gretzky's single season records for goals and points when he shockingly announced in January of 1993 that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. He literally came back to the NHL on the day of his final treatment a couple of months later, and recorded a goal and an assist. Despite appearing in only 60 games (out of an 84 game season), he led the league with an impressive 160 points! Had he played all 84 games at that pace he would've been upwards of 220 points. Oh yeah, and his team went on a 17-game win streak when he returned to the lineup from his treatments. One of the great stories in the history of the game.
Pierre had a great 92-93 season himself, in fact it was his Islanders team that upset Lemieux's Penguins in the playoffs. It was Turgeon's best season ever actually, as he set career highs in goals (58), assists (74), and points (132).
The new coach of the Florida Panthers, and one of the many great players to wear the Hartford Whalers jersey. After 7 seasons in Hartford, the Whalers dealt him in the early part of the 1991-92 season to the Flyers. He was actually named team captain for the 1993-94 season, but had a somewhat disappointing year. Once play resumed following the 1994-95 lockout, he was replaced as captain by this man...
Hey, it's a mid-90's insert set, you had to know Lindros would be included right?
In his first full season in Boston, Oates also had a career year in 1992-93. He set highs in goals (45), assists (97) and points (142). Unfortunately the B's were swept by Buffalo in the first round. He would have a pretty solid 1993-94 season also.
Local guy (Boston College) who had a very good career and put up huge numbers playing with Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh in the early 90's. Was a huge part of the back to back Cup wins for the Pens.
We close it out with card number 10, Stevie Y.
I've always liked these cards, and the checklist features some of the top scorers of the era. I put this one together for just a few bucks between the hobby shop and Sportlots. Did anyone else collect these back in the day?
Team MVPs: 1984 Fleer - I'm offering another apology to 1981 Topps. I've promised twice now that the next set that I would profile in this Team MVPs series would be 1981 Topps. ...