November 1994 Beckett Hockey Monthly

I've always wanted to purchase a Beckett Hockey Monthly magazine from the mid-90s and take a walk down memory lane.

A lesson in how to liven up a table of contents page; kick the magazine off with an awesome shot of Grant Fuhr circa Oilers era, literally buried in rubber.

The 1993-94 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, Sergei Fedorov, was used to push 1994-95 Fleer Ultra was the hot new product on the market. This was Fleer Ultra's third consecutive release and a breakaway from the design that was used for the previous two installments.

Fedorov was given a special 'limited edition' 10-card insert set that was distributed throughout all pack types. There were also two additional Sergei Fedorov 'Performance Highlights' cards available only by mail when you sent ten '94-95 Fleer Ultra wrappers and $1.50 (to cover return postage) to an address listed on the back of the packs.

Laugh all you want but after viewing this ad I have a whole new appreciation and interest in 94-95 Fleer Ultra, especially the inserts - they look fantastic. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on those 'Ultra All-Rookie' cards; the words "ice crystal design" definitely intrigues me.

Also, I did a little research and can debunk the claim made by Fleer that Fedorov means 'collectible' in Russian. It actually means "God's gift" apparently.

Who better to feature inside a 1994 hockey magazine issue about goalie mask cards than John Vanbiesbrouck? A tendy who just so happened to wear one of the most recognizable and beloved goalie mask designs during the '90s.

The majority of the article reflects on Beezer's most recent season, at the time, his first in a Panther's uniform. It talks about how he became an ambassador of the game and  how much time he dedicated to helping expand and educate South Florida about the game of hockey.

Surprisingly, there's little in regards to hockey cards or Vanbiesbrouck's iconic mask; the article does acknowledge how his '93-94 Pinnacle Masks insert is the biggest 'prize' in the set.

I also wanted to mention, in the article it makes note that Vanbiesbrouck's rookie card (86-87 OPC #9) was the most valuable RC of any active goalie without a Stanley Cup championship ring - I wonder if that still stands today.

The main article in the magazine revolved around cards featuring goalie masks. Material was limited given the fact that there were very few hockey card sets based solely on goalie masks at the time but because of the overwhelming popularity of the '93-94 Pinnacle Mask and Leaf Painted Warrior's insert sets - various card companies had heavy intentions on rolling out similar sets to please the crowds.

Pinnacle would churn out a '94-95 version of the Masks inserts while Donruss had plans in place for a Masked Marvels set.

The popularity of collecting hockey cards that showcase goalie masks has not faded away as many collectors still chase cards from the previously mentioned sets from the past. Regardless if the card is from an actual mask themed set or just a regular base featuring a nice close-up of the protective device's design - a beautiful mask shot will never go astray.

A single page ad for 1994-95 Upper Deck! Really like that Wayne Gretzky SP 'Predictor' insert card shown.

Pavel Bure was a hot commodity in the hobby world at the time while Mario Lemieux was determined the coldest of the cold. Eric Lindros was apparently deemed luke-warm as he is found ranked at no.5 on both lists.

Paul Kariya had not played an NHL game yet and was expected to hit the ice with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the season opener ahead. It mentions how Kariya's sole rookie card (92-93 Upper Deck #586) had slumped due to his absence from the NHL - but they predicted that his RC and numerous inserts should return to prominence "if he makes the expected quick adjustment to the professional game." He made the adjustment.

According to the 'Ready for Flight' article, the Boston Bruin's were going into the season pinning its future on Blaine Lacher and Evgeni Riabchikov, both rookies at the time. The article goes on to tote them as being possible high interest players in the hobby. It's 2017, I've never heard of Riabchikov but Lacher on the other hand, to this day, has won a lot of card collectors over with his loch ness monster mask design gracing those pieces of cardboard.

A fun full-page ad from Muppets "Take The Ice" trading cards.

I wonder just how many of these places are still in operation, 23 years later.

What kind of price guide write-up would be complete without a few scans of the actual card prices! If you'd like to enlarge the images for your viewing pleasure, just click on the picture.

Alexander Kharlamov (son of the late Soviet hockey star Valeri Kharlamov) was a first-round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft but never did suit for an NHL regular season game despite impressive numbers in the AHL.

Before the Internet, finding out which hockey players shared the same birthdate as yourself wasn't all that easy. Sure, you could check the back of every hockey card that featured a date of birth or read the latest Beckett birthday tidbit.

By 1994 the Oilers dynasty team had completely dispersed; Gretzky was scoring goals in L.A. while Messier just led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years, along with other ex-Oilers Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen, Craig MacTavish and Glenn Anderson.

The article 'Edmonton Connection' reflects on just that - the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s as well as the New York Rangers recent Cup victory and the ties associated to the aforementioned Edmonton roster of days gone by.

I remember sorta liking Derek Plante as a kid for whatever reason. I think there may have been some hype built up around him during his first couple of years in the league and unconsciously accumulating Plante cards during this time didn't hurt either.

The majority of the article focuses on Plante's journey to the NHL, college playing career and his history of representing team USA during International competition.

The article references Derek Plante's 1993-94 Parkhurst and Donruss rookie cards as well as his inclusion in the Parkhurst 'Calder Candidates' insert set from the same year.

The back cover of Beckett always featured a full-sized image of a player much like the usual front cover of the magazine.


Cards For A Rainy Day

I hope everyone is having a great Labour Day weekend, wherever you are. It has been raining on and off here where I am, so it put a damper on any plans that we had involving adventuring outside.

On the bright side, stuck inside means some time to blog about the small stack of cards I've had laying around my hobby area waiting to be posted.

I picked up most of these from a guy selling at a flea market several weeks back. I've never seen him there before and he was selling, for the most part, 90s stuff.

Felix 'The Cat' Potvin saw a lot of rubber during his parts of eight seasons as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He set an NHL record during the 1996-97 season for most shots faced with 2,438 (later broken by Roberto Luongo during his stint with the Florida Panthers) and saw another 2,135 shots during the 95-96 regular season, earning him a 2nd place spot in the league that year behind Grant Fuhr.

A card featuring "The Great One" in a St. Louis Blue's jersey, rockin' the Jofa 235 is the epitome of '90s NHL - I love it. I remember these 'MVP' cards being fairly easy pulls back in the day with their gold parallel counterparts being known as being sort of tough.

The 1994 World Tour sub set from 94-95 Upper Deck has come to my attention only just recently but have seemed like they've followed me around to each market since. I really liked the photos on both of these cards; Selanne is striking a bonafide in action hockey pose while wearing that sleak vintage Jets home jersey. Hasek looks ready for anything that's headed his way from the Devils offence as he makes room in front of the crease while also sporting a retro home jersey (Sabres).

Hands down, Trevor Kidd had some of the memorable goalie equipment during the 90s - possible of all-time. Speaking of which, newly acquired Flames netminder Eddie Lack will be sporting some "Trevor Kidd inspired" pads this upcoming season.

The seller had quite a few of these '95 Fleer 'Franchise Futures' cards for sale but I only picked up a couple that featured some favorite players, Tkachuk and Sandis Ozolinsh.

I switched teams for a couple of seasons during the late 90s and cheered for the Phoenix Coyotes. Keith Tkachuk still remains one of my favorite all-time players. His aggressive, physical style of play while consistently scoring points drew me in; he was an elite power forward of his era.

Tkachuk formed a dynamic 1–2–3 offensive punch with Jeremy Roenick and Rick Tocchet that led the Coyotes through their first years in Arizona.

Statistically speaking, Tkachuk enjoyed his best season during the Winnipeg Jets final year prior to moving to Phoenix; scoring 50 goals and amassing a career-high 98 points.

Jeff Friesen played nearly seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, becoming their 3rd all-time leading scorer before being shipped to Anaheim as part of the Teemu Selanne trade.

Ending this post with a 'You Crash The Game' Foppa. I've found myself picking up more Forsberg cards lately, a trend that I figure will surely continue.

I can't wait until I'm able to hit up the flea market again; hope the guy who sold me all of the cards shown above will be back.


Mystery Hanger Box

Has anyone else seen these hanger boxes around? They've been haunting the aisles of my local Wal-Mart for several months now; I've been intrigued but have been able to talk myself out of buying one until today when I gave into the mystique.

Maybe I'm being naïve with the promise of 3 factory sealed packs. God knows this box may very well contain three packs of 1990 Pro Set. All kidding aside, these repack boxes are usually like a box of chocolates.

2015 Leaf ITG CHL Draft
#1 Connor McDavid, Erie Otters
Here's my guaranteed Connor McDavid card. The 2015 Leaf In The Game card that is also featured on the front of the hanger box. I wonder if all the McDavid cards inserted into the repacks are the same.

There were technically 4 factory sealed packs in the box. The 2015-16 Upper Deck Series II was a nice surprise. I was excited to dig into the pack and find out what it beholds inside. The hottest Young Gun from the Series II checklist is Jack Eichel; if I managed to pull it I'd go out and buy a lottery ticket tonight.

2015-16 Upper Deck Series II
##318 Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings
Although I have a near complete set of 2015-16 Upper Deck Series I, I don't really have many cards from the second Series; I think I may have bought a fat pack or two previously.

2015-16 Upper Deck Series II
#362 Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators
2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Update / Rookie
#U33 Joonas Kemppainen, Boston Bruins
Kemppainen is a name I'm not familiar with. Apparently he made his NHL debut during the 2015-16 season suiting up for the Boston Bruins in 44 games during the regular season. Since then he has moved on to play hockey in the KHL as a member of Novosibirsk Sibir and most recently Ufa Salavat Yulayev. A little bonus here I suppose as this O-Pee-Chee 'Rookie Update' is a rainbow foil parallel.

2015-16 Upper Deck Series II / Young Guns
#470 Alexander Grenier, Vancouver Canucks
A Young Gun hit! This pack is coming along strong. Grenier saw action in just three games with Vancouver last season, as he spent the majority of his time with AHL Utica Comets. He recently signed a one year two-way deal with the Florida Panthers, but likely won't be a significant contributor with the team and will see more development with the team's AHL affiliate.

2015-16 Upper Deck Series II
#311 Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars
This is my first card of Sharp in a Stars jersey; cool to see him coming back to Chicago for the upcoming season. The Blackhawks have shed a lot of their 'dynasty team' over the past couple of years but over this offseason they've regained both Saad and Sharp. Getting the squad back together.

I thought it was a pretty good pack overall, the rookies weren't guys to write home about but regardless they were nice pulls in general. I mean, it's not often I'm pulling Young Guns or Rookie Update cards from a single random pack, let alone both.

These two packs of 2012-13 Score felt like a dud. Because I've been working on a hard signed set of these cards over the last 4 years, I have seen every card a thousand times and they don't feel as attractive anymore. Like an overplayed song on the radio that you loved the first time that you heard it.

I'm not going to bother posting the contents of these packs. There wasn't anything worth noting anyway.

I don't believe this is considered a "sealed factory pack", probably an added bonus or something along those lines. I've gotten a few of these 'Hockey Greats' Coins from repacks over the years and never have the sweetest clue just what to do with them. How do you keep a coin in your collection? Maybe I should look into coin holders or design my own holder so that it fits sturdy inside a 9-pocket sheet. Any suggestions?

You can't do much better than Gretzky, calibre player wise. I think they did a pretty good job at etching the players likeness on the coins, at least this Gretzky looks alright and from the others I've seen they fair well upon accuracy.

The mystery box was fun to open. There wasn't much value from it but my hopes weren't set high so I wasn't disappointed by the outcome. Although I wish they would have added more variety to the packs; they could have switched up one of the Score packs with anything else and I would have been totally fine with that.

I'm a sucker for repacks so this probably won't be the last you'll hear from this product.


Catching Connor McDavid Fever

I have to get this off my chest - I can't wait for the hockey season to start back up. We got a little spoiled last year when the puck dropped earlier than usual because of the World Cup of Hockey; now the 2017-18 wait feels that much longer.

I love Crosby but I have to be honest; I'm probably looking more forward to another season of Connor McDavid. I just can't get enough of watching that kid play. He's a wizard on ice, it's like he’s playing a completely different game from everyone else - he has been on a whole 'nother level.

I just finished watching a compilation video of all 30 of McDavid's goals during the 2016-17 NHL season and I never realized just how many breakaway goals he potted. So much speed; it's unreal how he just blows by his opponents the way that he does, almost effortlessly.

I hope he stays healthy and plays another complete season; it's never good for the game when a generational player goes down with an injury for a significant amount of time, whether you like McDavid or not. I don't know how you can be a hockey fan and not enjoy watching him play though.

Many people believe he has what it takes to bring the Cup back to Edmonton - I'll have to agree. Just look how far he helped lift the Oilers last season; he led them to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, ending an 11-year span of missing the postseason.

The Oilers have that one-two punch in McDavid and Draisaitl. If Talbot can repeat his individual success from last year and continue playing on his head and we see development from some of the young guys on the back-end, I believe the Oilers have a really strong chance of to taking it even further into the postseason ahead. Ultimately, I buy the consensus that they are bound for a Stanley Cup championship sooner than later with McDavid at the helm.

As I mentioned previously, Crosby is my guy but McDavid has easily carved an 'arrow through a heart' into my invented oak tree of all-time favorite hockey players.


Welcome To The Family

Just a few flea market pickups from this afternoon.

Really like the Jagr and |Subban card, it's probably my favorite from the lot. The Miller card is pretty cool as well; despite it being plain white swatch, I can't turn down a game jersey card for a buck. 
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