Saturday, September 17, 2011

Upper Deck 2011 Stanley Cup Champions

After the conclusion of the 2010-11 NHL season, Upper Deck released a small set paying tribute to the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. For the price of a blaster you get a 30 card set plus an over-sized "celebration card". I picked up mine at the local hobby shop but I've seen them all over the place including retail outlets.

The box itself is kind of cheesy, it's composed of the same cheap, thin cardboard as a blaster or hobby box. I would've gladly paid an extra $10 to get something more sturdy or durable. My box ended up in the trash about 5 minutes after I opened it. Right on top is the over-sized "celebration card":

This card is roughly the size of a developed photo from one of those panoramic throw-away cameras. It's somewhat of a pain to store, but I think it was a nice inclusion. In the frame on the right side is a list of players included in the set. The photo is great, it's a bit hard to tell but click the image to see a larger scan.

The back has a great shot of Tim Thomas hoisting the cup, a very brief paragraph on the Bruins Cup win, and a small chart containing the final scores from each of the 7 Cup final games. Here are all 30 cards for your viewing pleasure:

I have to say that I am a fan of the design. You've got a full-bleed photo, with a transparent bottom border. The Stanley Cup Champions logo is great, and I think the transparent yellow behind it is certainly appropriate. Player name and position make sense, but do we need the team name listed given that the subject of every card in the set is a Boston Bruin? All in all though I like this simple, clean design. No foil on the Upper Deck logo like in the flagship set, but I actually kind of like this for a change.

The set contains a mix of vertical and horizontal cards (or is that portrait and landscape?). On the horizontal cards the banner on the bottom actually tapers off before it reaches the edge of the card. You can see it beginning to do this on the vertical cards, but it actually reaches the right edge on those since the bottoms are shorter.

There are some pretty nice photos used in the set. I was afraid that with the set being released within such a short time-frame of the Bruins winning the Cup they may have rushed things a bit and used more tightly cropped pre-game warm-up photos. I should've known better though, if there's one thing Upper Deck does right it's the photography. This shot of captain Zdeno Chara is amongst my favorites. Look at that wingspan!

Another of my favorites, the Bruins' new $5 Million man. Glad the B's have locked him up for the next two seasons at a pretty reasonable rate. A fantastic photo, with the crowd sporting Philadelphia orange.

One thing I also like about this set is that it appears most of the photos used were taken during the 2010-11 playoffs.

Another David Krejci card, this brings me to 42 and counting. Let's take a look at the backs:

We start off well at the top of the back, not only do we get a photo but it's not the same recycled photo from the front. I like the color scheme and design, good clean look. Moving down, we have stats for the 2010-11 campaign, as well as career NHL totals. One gripe I have is that a good deal of room is used for a short paragraph and a Boston Bruins logo. I can't help but think this area could've been put to better use. I don't know, maybe 2010-11 PLAYOFF STATS! Anyway, not a terrible back...

I recognized this goal right away, it's from the Bruins' Game 2 victory against Tampa Bay back on May 17th. You can see it here. Always cool when you can pinpoint a moment featured on a card.

What a way to end a Hall-of-Fame career!

Another good thing about the set is that it's the first chance for Bruins fans to pick up cards of the team's 2010-11 trade acquisitions in a Bruins sweater.

For me, it was also a chance to pick up my first Tyler Seguin card. I didn't bust much 2010-11 product, what can I say.

Had the Bruins not won it all, I think they would have been scrutinized much more for the Kaberle trade. At least he's Carolina's problem now.

Shawn Thornton may be my favorite card in the set. I'm a sucker for goal-cam photos.

The Sheriff appeared in just 3 playoff games, but gets a card nonetheless.

Glad to see that Marc was included in the set, and was also happy to learn a few days ago that his name will indeed be etched on the Cup. I don't think he'll ever lace up skates again, and I truly hope that Crosby's career has not begun to head in the same direction...

Here's one for Card Boarded's mid-follow-through-broken-stick collection!

23 games in the regular season, none in the playoffs. Good enough for a card though!

The last guy in the set is Tuukka Rask. Completely understandable that he rode the pine. It's rough when your goal-tending partner has one of the greatest statistical seasons ever. The final 5 cards in the set are Season Highlights cards:

Basically the same design as the player cards, but with a black Season Highlights border on the left edge of the card. The backs recycle the photo from the front and give a brief write-up on the event that's depicted. The first card symbolizes the Bruins win over the Canadiens in 7.

Next we have the sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers.

This is the one card I'm just not so sure about. I mean it's certainly interesting that Chara finally logged a hat trick after all these years, but it happened back in January, long before the playoffs even began.

One card is dedicated to Thomas' amazing season.

We close things out with a card paying tribute to Seguin's two-goal, two-assist game against Tampa Bay.

Well, that's a wrap. Even though I would've appreciated playoff stats on the back, and a better quality box, I think this is an essential set for any Boston Bruins fan. It's great to capture the B's 2010-11 roster in time, and I do like the look of the cards. Anyone else pick one of these up?


Captain Canuck said...

.....that was horrible.

Paul said...

cool stuff there, and that Kampfer is only the second broken stick card I've seen like that...

Hackenbush said...

Very cool. Did they put out a set last year for the Blackhawks?

Unknown said...

Pretty nice look set. Even better if someone was a Bruins fan. I used to have something like made by Donruss for the '92 World Series Blue Jays, but it has long since disappeared.

Nick B. said...

@Hackenbush, No set for the Blackhawks, which really pisses me off.

It's a nice looking set. Other than excluding the playoff stats, I think UD nailed it.

Casey said...

It still hasn't sunk in with me that the B's are the freakin' STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!

This set is awesome; I'm going to have to snag one.

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