I can't believe I haven't selected a card for The Ultimate Hockey Card Set since early June. I'm going to try to do at least one a month for both the baseball and hockey sets going forward. I already covered baseball in October, so today I'll be choosing the best card #194 from my hockey collection.
As usual we'll look at the runners-up first, like the 1994-95 Upper Deck SP Jamie Langenbrunner pictured above. Certainly an interesting card, I guess this would be considered a rookie? 638 NHL points, not to mention two Stanley Cup Championships, is nothing to scoff at. He's still at it too, assuming there are any games this season to play.
Card #194 in the inaugural Upper Deck hockey set features Dave Babych of my beloved Hartford Whalers. I definitely want to select a card from this set eventually, but despite my love of all things Whalers, today is not that day. Sorry Dave Babych!
Like many young hockey fans I was big on the Flyers in the mid-'90s. Everybody liked Lindros and LeClair, myself included, but I always had this warped idea that Mikael Renberg was right up there alongside those players. As I got a little older and saw their careers progress, I realized how far off base that was. This is the Electric Ice parallel, which earns it even more points in my book. Still not my best #194 though.
Somehow I acquired this Ville Koistinen card from 2007-08 Upper Deck SPX. Usually game-used cards have non-standard numbering, so I don't think I'll have too many of them to consider for the franken-set, but SPX is a strange beast and as it stands Ville here fills slot #194 on the checklist. I bought this card very early on in my return to collecting, before I had really narrowed my focus, during the days when I would just browse eBay and blow my budget on whatever I came across that interested me. I think it ended up in my hands as part of a lot that I purchased because I wanted the David Krejci. Anyway, I have no place in my collection nowadays for a card like this, and would be happy to part with it if anyone's interested...
This late-career card of Paul Kariya happens to be #194 in the 2008-09 Fleer Ultra set. As one of the big names during the collecting heyday of my youth, I'd have no problem selecting a Kariya card for this set. I think I'd want him to be pictured with the Mighty Ducks though. Besides, I'm not a fan of 2008-09 Fleer Ultra.
Here's the runner-up, from the 1973-74 Topps set. This is certainly a beautiful card, in fact based on pure aesthetics I would say it maybe surpasses the card I ultimately chose for #194 below. A couple of things went against this card in the end, though. For starters, it only represents the quarter-finals of the '72-73 playoffs, so it's not like it symbolizes a very critical event or game in the annals of hockey history. Not only that, but I've already selected a card from the '73-74 Topps set (#146 - Cesare Maniago). I know that some sets are definitely going to be represented more than once (I've already selected 2 '79-80 Topps cards for example), however I want the franken-set to cover as wide a range of sets as possible, so this will factor into my decision with tie-breakers or close calls. The card I ended up choosing is a bit more recent than this one, 15 years more to be precise...
1988-89 Topps - #194 - Pierre Turgeon (RC)
You may not have seen that one coming but I stand by my selection. Pierre Turgeon was a solid player. He was the 34th player in the history of the NHL to score 500 career goals as a matter of fact. When this rookie card came out, he was a big name prospect. Taken #1 overall in the 1987 NHL entry draft, he turned in a respectable 42-point rookie season in 1987-88. He shot to stardom in his sophomore season though, the season that this card represents, appearing in every single game for Buffalo and racking up 30+ goals, 50+ assists and 80+ points. The following year, which was the first year I collected hockey cards as a kid, he was even better with 40+ goals, 60+ assists and 100+ points, again skating in every one of Buffalo's games.
This was one of the
cards to have during my first couple of years of collecting. It remains the 4th most valuable card in the '88-89 Topps set behind the Hull RC, Gretzky and Shanahan RC. As an added bonus, the Buffalo Sabres finally get some representation in my franken-set as well.
So, do you agree with the selection, or do you have a #194 that tops this one?
The Ultimate Hockey Card Set, now at 17 cards and counting, can be seen here
Good choice! Pierre had an amazing career and put up some great numbers, shame he couldn't luck himself into a Stanley Cup.
I've never noticed it before, but that '73-74 playoff card might be the only card that shows Jacques Plante as a Bruin.
Thanks guys! 1967ers, you are right! Now I'm wondering if I selected the right card after all...I guess I'd still go with Turgeon...
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