The base cards are what you've come to expect from Upper Deck after the two Masterpieces baseball releases. The hockey release has the same canvas-like feel to the front of the cards with a small blurb on the back along with the artist's signature. I always appreciate a chance to add a Lanny McDonald card to my collection. After opening the retail box I still needed 3 cards, and Lanny was one of them.
One major improvement from the baseball set in my opinion is that the hockey release is Legends Masterpieces, as opposed to just regular old Masterpieces like the baseball sets. What this basically means is that the entire 87 card set is comprised of notable players, most of them Hall of Famers, from the NHL's past. There are no rookie cards of the hottest young player, cards with presidents on them, or any of that nonsense. One of my favorites from the set shows Bobby Orr's infamous goal.
The checklist features a couple of great goalie cards. Everything about this card is great, the brown pads, the old school Kings jersey, and the mask. Runner up goes to Richard Brodeur's card featuring the Canuck's V jersey.
Willie O'Ree earns a card as the first African American to play in the National Hockey League. I'm pretty sure this is the only O'Ree card in my collection. I'm going to have to look around to see what other cards he has out there...
The retail box yielded 3 of these brown border parallels, but Tony O was definitely the best. This card looks so good I probably would've tracked it down individually had I not pulled it. I'd like to pick up some more of these some day, but my card buying ban is at 9 days and counting, so it'll have to wait. And now, some random hits that I picked up to supplement my retail box...
I picked up the Glenn Anderson above, this Borje Salming card, and the Luc Robitaille I showed off a while back from the same seller for $1.75 each. Borje is one of the most under-rated players of the 70's and early 80's and is a member of the hockey Hall of Fame.
Here is the one hit I pulled from my retail box. I don't think Clark will ever be considered Hall of Fame material, but I do remember him being one of the most exciting players to watch in the early 90's.
After finishing the retail box, I still wanted one thing. The Brushstrokes auto inserts from this set are maybe the best looking cards out of any of them. They are on-card autos, which I absolutely love, and there are signatures of some pretty impressive players to be had. Since I was on a budget though, I settled on this Bill Dineen card. Although I don't know much about Dineen, it only set me back a couple of bucks and Bill is the father of one of my favorite Whalers players, Kevin Dineen. Speaking of the Whalers, my one gripe about the set is that there is no Ron Francis card. I guess 4th all-time in NHL points and 2 Stanley Cups isn't enough to be considered a Legends Masterpiece? Where's the love Upper Deck?