I don't write nearly enough about hockey on this blog. I also think I write that opener every time I do get around to writing about hockey. After getting off to a nifty 3-0-0 start, the Devils are stuck in a rut at 9-11-4 at the quarter post of the season. But hey, we actually won a shootout after losing frickin' 18 in a row. But the 500 lb. elephant in the room is that for the first time (literally) in my adult life Martin Brodeur is not the starting goalie. What's worse is that today it was announced that Brodeur is going to sign with the St. Louis Blues.
Brodeur would have been the first hall of fame player I got to watch for their whole career, beginning to end, on one of my favorite teams. Now he joins Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter, Patrick Ewing, Drew Brees, Scott Stevens et al., though I am holding out hope for David Wright. The closest thing I can think of is either Lawrence Taylor or Ken Daneyko. The problem with LT is I am not sure how attentive a fan can you be as a first grader (not to mention his post-playing career peccadillos make rooting for him difficult) and while Ken Daneyko was a great tough defensive player, I wouldn't go looking for his plaque in Toronto any time soon.
I think this is as good a time as any to display my Brodeur collection.
These are some recent base cards. I haven't been buying new baseball very much in the last five years, so you can only imagine how much that my poor mistress hockey has been neglected.
One subset I did pick up is this Hockey Heroes page; this one has been featured here before.
I am a sucker for those Beehive sets, probably because of their elegant simplicity. On the opposite end of that spectrum is that 2001 Atomic set, which is thick plastic die cut garish wonderfulness. You'll see more of that card soon.
As you can see, I bought a lot more hockey product in the late 90's.
Those rookie cards are just glorious not just because they are rookies but because they are the only ones I have of Martin in the old red and green Devils unis. I hold those ugly things very close to my heart.
I find hockey inserts wonderful, probably because they always involve a ton of silver foil and shininess.
There is a jersey card and some refractors in this scan but also an autograph and friend of mine was kind enough to pick up for me back in 1995. That card also has red and green goodness, that card is basically Christmas.
See what I mean about silver and shine?
The scan doesn't do some of these justice, they are blindingly bright.
Remember what I said about that 2001 Atomic card?
Well, I have two variations of it, one if them is the numbered parallel (on the right) and the other is the promo card (left) which has slightly different cropping and extra die cutting.
While I am not a huge fan of horizontal cards, they work well for hockey goalies.
That top right card is a motion insert when Topps and Upper Deck were going through some kind of Sportsflix phase in the late 90's. Upper Deck should have stuck with die cuts and holograms, so gorgeously illustrated by that 1996 SPx card on the bottom left. They really got those right the first time.
All of these cards have a shiny element in them that the scans do not show well. That Stanley Cup card especially loses something.
Brodeur brought the Devils three cups in his day in 5 finals appearances. The poor Blues haven't ever won one and haven't even been to the finals since the late 60's/1970, back when all the expansion teams were in one division and someone had to make the finals. I will be silently rooting for a little late career miracle for them.
Speaking of a lack of shiny, you can't even see the refraction on that Finest card. Pity.
Brodeur is now 42, look how young he looks on that 1990 Score rookie card. He's got his "I shave once a week whether I need to or not" mustache working there. I truly hope this works out in a Oscar Robinson-on-the-Bucks or Ray Bourque-on-the-Avs sort of way and not in a Joe Montana-on-the-Chiefs or Willie Mays-on-the-Mets sort of way.