For the third straight month I've actually managed a Card of the Month post, this time sneaking it in with just one day to spare in October! I'm glad I waited to make a selection though, because this month's card just arrived in the mailbox yesterday. For the second straight month, the card featured is a Hartford Whalers autograph:
What a beauty! This card looks even better in person than I thought it would. I loved the Legends Masterpieces hockey set when it came out, but despite completing it just over 2 years ago I had no idea this particular card existed until recently. When I stumbled across it on eBay I knew I had to have it. The Brushstrokes autographs are still fairly popular with collectors and the numbered colored parallels don't seem to pop up all that frequently anymore, so I was more than happy to pay the $26 I ended up winning this for. The green border on this particular parallel looks fantastic when matched up with Howe's early-80s road uniform.
Mark was with the Whalers franchise for 5 seasons (2 in the WHA and 3 in the NHL). Playing alongside his father for the first 3 of those 5 seasons, he recorded some remarkable numbers and was generally regarded as one of the best two-way defensemen in the league. In his two seasons with the New England Whalers of the WHA, Mark recorded 91 and 107 points! He scored 80 points the following year, Hartford's first in the NHL. Perhaps his best season came later in his career with the Flyers though, when in 1985-86 he tallied 82 points and led the league with a +85. +85?!?!?!
Howe always seemed to be overshadowed and under-rated. For example, in the same 1985-86 season that I just referenced, Howe's incredible year was lost behind Paul Coffey's record-breaking 138-point effort. It wasn't the only time Mark would finish runner-up for the Norris Trophy.
This past summer Howe finally got some well-deserved recognition when it was announced that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That just makes this card even greater, it's truly a welcome addition to my growing Whalers collection.
Surprise #2 finally revealed - I am* finally* ready to reveal the second surprise I had up my sleeve for the Cardboard History Gallery. I didn't expect it to take as long as it did, but ...