Sunday, March 9, 2014

Signature Sundays - Lamenting the Demise of Panini Hockey Cards

In light of the recent (depressing in my opinion) news that Upper Deck will be the only company making licensed NHL cards for the foreseeable future, let's take a look at a few more autographs from one of my favorite hockey sets in recent years.  The 2012-13 Classics Signatures set is an example of Panini getting it right.

I mean this is a fantastic autographed card right here.  A really nice photo that I do not recall seeing elsewhere, simple retro design and large, clean, on-card autograph.  What more can you ask for?  Only thing I can think of is for Andy to actually sign his name 'Andy Moog' as opposed to 'Andy Woox'.  Andy actually captured 3 Stanley Cups in his career, and is a welcome autograph in my collection given the time he logged with the Bruins in the late '80s including a run to the Cup Finals.

Sticking with the Bruins theme, here's fan favorite Rick "Nifty" Middleton.  The Bruins absolutely stole Rick in a mid-'70s swap with the Rangers, sending an aging Ken Hodge to Manhattan (who would play just one more season before hanging up the skates).  In return, the Bruins got Middleton who stuck around for 12 seasons and tallied over 900 points in a B's sweater.  I love the black and white photograph of a helmetless Middleton that Panini chose for this card, and once again the autograph itself is excellent.

Pierre Turgeon was one of my boyhood idols as a hockey player, and as such was one of the autographs I was most excited to land from this set.  He was drafted #1 overall by Buffalo just a couple of years before I became a fan of the game, and was really emerging as a superstar right as I got into the sport.  He put up fantastic numbers for many years, and is really a member of that upper echelon of non-Hall-of-Famers.

Pierre managed over 500 career goals (currently 36th all-time) and over 1,300 points (just outside the top 30 at 31st all-time).  He was never able to hoist the Cup, but he was voted an All-Star a handful of times and had a beast 132-point season in 1992-93.  I was more than happy to pay $9.50 shipped for this one.

I've definitely been saving some of my favorite autographs for last when it comes to this set, so now nearly 100 cards in you're starting to see the real highlights of the set in my opinion.  I've always been a fan of Vachon's signature and there are so many things to love about the photo choice on this one.  The brown pads and wooden stick, retro Kings sweater, that killer mask.  This card definitely pairs nicely with my other Vachon auto.

In closing, here's winger Jean Pronovost and a good look at the blue Penguins sweaters from back in the day.  Jean was known as a consistent two-way forward.  The peak of his career came in the mid-'70s where he flirted with 40 goals for a few years in a row, and even logged a 100-point season.  The Penguins never experienced much success during that period so Jean is not as well-known as some of the stars of the decade, but he was a solid player who scored close to 400 goals and 800 points in a 13-year career.

These five cards bring me to 95 autographs and counting from this set.  It's sad to see Panini lose out on their license, I'm a firm believer in the "competition breeds innovation" philosophy and I think they were really starting to get it right with some sets the past two seasons.  Oh well, there's always vintage baseball cards...


Hackenbush said...

Awesome as usual sir. What's with "Moox"? Sounds like a Seinfeld reference.

Fuji said...

Beautiful looking set. I'm definitely going to track down some signatures from this set.

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