Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finishing One Package, and Starting Another

My open desk space is rapidly disappearing thanks to a seemingly endless supply of new cardboard being sent my way by other bloggers and trade partners.  I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get caught up, and also starting to worry that I don't have enough trade fodder lying around to return the favor to all of these generous folks.

I've gotten so far behind that I've received a second bubble mailer from Chris of A Blog to Be Named Later before I could even finish posting the contents of the first.  I posted the first portion of Chris' first package at the beginning of this month, let's finish off the balance of it.

Today's theme is a "tour of the Pacific", as Chris hooked me up with a ton of Pacific cards from around the turn of the century.  I've mentioned this before, but nearly all of these sets are foreign to me as I was in high school/college at the time and not paying the least bit of attention to sports cards.

Thankfully Pacific labeled all of their sets consistently, which makes them easy for me to identify.  See the card number (89) in the lower right?  You get a small circle like that on each and every Pacific card back that tells you not only the number on the checklist, but the name of the set itself.

I got a nice chuck of cards from the 2001-02 flagship set, starting with this nice horizontal shot of B's net-minder Byron Dafoe.

These cards are from a period where not only was I not collecting cards, but I wasn't really following hockey either.  The Hartford Whalers franchise folded right as I was getting underway in high school, and at that point I didn't really pay attention to NHL hockey for nearly a decade until the mid-2000s.  I do recognize Bill Guerin lurking in the background there though!

Here's a perfect example, I have no recollection of Andrei Nazarov whatsoever, much less any memories of him playing for the Bruins.  I guess I can be forgiven though, as in close to two seasons with Boston he scored just one single goal.  Man, there were some bad Bruins teams 10-15 years ago!

Here's a guy I do recall skating with the B's, though I associate him more with the New Jersey Devils.  Brian actually returned to Boston for the final 21 games of his NHL career in 2011-12.

Eric Weinrich played for the Bruins?!?!  I pulled plenty of Eric's cards in the junk wax era of the early '90s, but had no idea he appeared in 22 games with Boston in 2000-01.  Pretty cool to get a card that shows him during that very brief stint in black and gold.

Former Whalers draft pick Jeff O'Neill.

I really dig this card of Big Z from his pre-Bruins days.  This is actually just my second card that depicts Chara with the Islanders, and I like that you can really tell just how large he is when contrasted with that Leafs player behind him.

I absolutely loved the powerhouse Flyers teams of the '90s featuring Lindros, Renberg and John LeClair.  Pacific went with an interesting horizontal shot of John trying to calm the puck on this one.

Towards the end of the 2001-02 Pacific checklist were some multi-player cards.  I have zero memory of Ken Belanger.

Same here, Ron Francis I obviously know and love, but Darren Langdon?  He appeared in over 500 NHL games, so it's kind of sad that I have no clue who he is.

Here's one where I definitely recognize both players.

Here's a team leaders card featuring two of the more offensively capable Bruins of the day.

Moving on from the 2001-02 flagship set to some more bright and obnoxious Pacific now.  I feel like I say this frequently with the Pacific brand, but tell me that is not one of the most random and nearly headache-inducing pieces of cardboard you've ever laid eyes on?  It almost seems like there was a contest to see just how much gold could be crammed onto a single trading card.

This Aurora "Styrotechs" insert is much easier on the eyes.  That nice light blue background is fitting for a Leafs card.

I also received a handful of cards from this Heads Up set.  Almost faintly reminds me of the Traxx parallels that I loved so much in 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum.

Some big names from this set were in the envelope, including yet another new Ron Francis card.

Another former Hartford Whalers fan favorite, speedy winger Geoff Sanderson.

Sergei Fedorov was definitely one of my top three favorite active players when I was a kid, and is now a HOFer.

Another former Whaler great!  I can tell that Chris really took great care in selecting the cards to send me, these players are all right up my alley.

Next we move on to the 1999-00 Aurora set.  Not a bad design here with a nice portrait photo combined with a smaller action shot.  The background color changes based on the team as well.

At first I did a double-take when I saw this second Ray Bourque, featuring different photographs but from the same set with the same card number.  Well, this is apparently a Stripes parallel/variation.  Always hated those ugly third sweaters with the bear on them, happy we haven't seen them in a while.

From the Bruins I also got Anson Carter's base card...

...and both the base card...

...and the Striped parallel of Byron Dafoe.

Once again I'm shocked by the team here, Theo Fleury apparently joined the Colorado Avalanche for the tail end of the '98-99 season as well as their playoff run.  Could have fooled me!

Another former Whaler regular, from his brief stint with the Florida Panthers.  The more I see these cards the more I like them, definitely one of my favorite Pacific designs out of what I've seen so far.

Last but certainly not least for the '99-00 Aurora set, sniper Brett Hull!

Here's another Ron Francis.  If he's not going to be depicted with Hartford, then Pittsburgh is the next best bet.  Whalers fans were absolutely devastated when he was traded away, but with it now being a couple of decades in the rearview mirror I'm glad he had a chance to hoist The Cup, which would never have happened in Hartford.

My unofficial Ron Francis collection really blossomed with this trade package, I'm up around 80 unique cards and counting now.

Now, these Crown Royale die-cut cards are some of the few Pacific releases that I actually do recognize.  What a great early-career Joe Thornton card for my B's collection, I'm a sucker for a good die-cut.

I got the base card version of this Omega Anson Carter...

...as well as the gold parallel. 

Those are just some of the great Pacific cards that came my way in that last envelope from Chris.  As I alluded to at the outset of the post, Chris actually hooked me up with yet another stuffed bubble mailer a week or two ago.

I won't get to all of those cards today since this is starting to become a bit lengthy, but let's take a look at a few of them anyway.  Leading off we've got an obscure player from the depths of the Bruins' all-time roster, Sergei Zinovjev!  I have no recollection of Sergie whatsoever, which isn't surprising given that he played just 10 career NHL games, all with Boston.

Chris must know I'm a big fan of anything acetate, as he threw in this nice Keith Tkachuk Ice "Lethal Lines" insert.  I've seen the Lethal Lines concept used across a few different Upper Deck sets over the years, but this is my favorite example yet.  Also serves as a great example of those truly ugly Coyotes sweaters from back in the day.

Speaking of acetate/clear cards, this CuJo from 2010-11 Donruss blew me away.  I know it's a simple insert and nothing too valuable, but I really dig the way these look.  The card is completely transparent, and has slightly rounded corners.  There are 15 different goalies in this set, and while they aren't all players that necessarily appeal to me, this one certainly does.  In fact, I like it so much that it inspired me to grab a couple of others off of COMC in my last order.

I love this one because it's about as obscure a card as you're going to find.  Sebastien Centomo appeared in exactly one career NHL game with the Leafs, and I am now one of just 999 (or fewer) proud owners of his SPx rookie card!

Here's another Tkachuk die-cut, this time from Pacific.  Yes, there were Pacific cards in the second package as well.  Once again, that Coyotes sweater...horrid.

Here's a die-cut I'd certainly never seen before, from the Pacific Omega World All-Stars set.  I don't know how that circle and pointed star in the upper right wasn't destroyed over the years, but this card is actually in mint shape.  This is by far one of my more unique cards of the greatest Red Wings defenseman of all-time.

Somehow, despite my heyday of childhood collecting coming between 1989 and 1996, I had never heard of these Action Packed promos before.  These are called "Big Picture" promos, and were released during the 1994-95 season.  The front of the card, which you see here, is your standard embossed Action Packed card.  It unfolds into a much larger poster, though.

Here's another one that's new to me and much appreciated, from Upper Deck Diamond Vision.  These are super thick, with rounded corners, and use the Sportflics/lenticular technology that collectors of the '80s and '90s are so familiar with.  If you look closely on the left hand side you can just barely make out the other, larger image of Selanne.

We'll end it here for today, with a fantastic image of The Great One courtesy of the '95-96 Swedish Globe set.  I've been sent a couple of these by my friend Oscar who actually lives in Sweden, but this one is certainly new to me.  I've got more to show from Chris, which I'll wrap into one final post soon.

Chris, thank you for taking the time to send me both of these jam-packed and very thoughtful bubble mailers.  These two packages introduced me to so many great sets, and were an absolute blast to go through.  I certainly owe you some cards; I haven't forgotten.


Tony Burbs said...

God bless Pacific - such colorful, off the wall designs. They might not have always worked out in the end, but they sure were trying!

Angus said...

I remember sitting behind the goal judge at a Senators/Leafs game when Chara took Mats Sundin into the glass right in front of me. I was shocked that Sundin could look so small - he's 6'5!

Hackenbush said...

Out of all of them I like the Head Up the best. Is that supposed be be snowflakes in the background?

Marc said...

There's so many awesome cards there. Especially all those Pacific brands. The Dafoe card steals the show though as how often do you get a goalie card without the player wearing his mask?

Brad Parsons said...

Quite the array of cards! I wasn't collecting or even following hockey around the era of some of those cards (like yourself) so I am not familiar with a lot of those guys.

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