Happy Star Wars release day everybody! For all those that are lucky and insane enough to brave the crowds tonight, do not spoil anything for the rest of us. Like many, I grew up on these movies; but, having waited several years for the new edition, I can wait a few more days for the throngs of people to thin out.
Anyway, I figured that today would be the perfect day to show off the trade package that was sent to me by a real life Jedi - JediJeff over at 2x3 Heroes. He used the force to divine that I had started up a Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection and took it upon himself to supply me with a nice starter kit. Those Jedi are such generous folks.
Lotta Pro Set huh? Well, that's a-ok with me because I actually quite enjoy most Pro Set designs - be it football, hockey or NASCAR sets. Probably because I've spent most of my life exclusively collecting baseball and that has limited my exposure to the brand.
So, what'd I get?
Some recent OPC and a couple of Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Car Bomb was always a favorite of mine, during both of his stints in Chicago, because of his awesome nickname and his tough guy attitude. I do believe he retired after last season, in order to go out on top.
Oduya's presence is missed on the current Chicago hockey squad - it's a shame that he played himself out of our budget; he was a key component in the Blackhawks machine.
A couple of recent backup goalies. Emery, playing the role of the nomadic second-string masked marauder, was only here for a couple of seasons but he was fantastic. In March 2013, Emery made NHL history becoming the first goaltender to ever start a season with 10 straight wins - eventually extending the record to 12. Beast.
Meanwhile, Antti Raanta was more anti-Blackhawk than anything. The guy didn't take too kindly to being passed by Scott Darling on the depth chart last season and didn't hide it. He publicly admitted to actively rooting against the team during the playoffs as he watched from the sidelines. As such, his name was left off the Cup. Entitled jerk.
Adam Burish was a Blackhawk for the Hawks team to break the Cup drought in 2009-10 and, for that, he'll always be a nice get for me. Much like the '85 Bears or the '03 Cubs - teams I'll forever be loyal to. Brunette wrapped up his long NHL career with a single season for the Blackhawks a few years later. However, after the latest work stoppage, he decided to hang up his skates for good.
Some cards from an era in which I did not really pay attention to hockey, much like the rest of Chicago. After all, the team was officially ranked by ESPN as the worst franchise in sports (not just hockey, all of sports) at one point - not a huge drawing point.
Thank goodness Rocky Wirtz cares about the franchise a lot more than his father did, or is at least much more willing to invest in it.
Junk wax in it's purest form; but, the beauty of a new collection is that even though hockey collectors probably have a million and a half of these floating around, I actually need them; a mutually beneficial exchange indeed.
Troy Murray turned his long/productive career in black and red into a respectable broadcast career; he currently serves as the color man for broadcasts on WGN Radio. Yawney played in the league from 1982-99, yet he is best known as being the head coach from 2005-07 - immediately before the franchise turnaround.
A double dose of Larmer. Fleer Ultra is a beautiful product, no matter the sport and I've really taken a shine to that 1990-91 Topps design. Now I just have to try and decide which one is my favorite and will make that Blackhawks All-Time Roster binder.
Perhaps a light saber battle would be appropriate?
Found it! Like I said, I actually quite enjoy this design. Color-coded borders are always worth major bonus points in my eyes and the photography is pretty decent.
However, that wasn't all of the Pro Set either:
Some of the cards he sent served as proper upgrades to players I'd already accumulated from various local discount/dime boxes. Don't Mr. McGill and Millen here look so much better in black and red?
I was especially happy to get the Millen card, seeing as he only played in 13 games across two seasons for the team. Of course, it was right at the end of the junk wax era, so his short stint was more well-covered than I expected.
Meanwhile, I still haven't shown off my favorite Pro Set card from Jeff's envelope:
Additionally, seeing as I'm trying to build this set on a really tight budget, any help with big names like Esposito is extremely appreciated!
After all that, there were yet more goodies to tumble out of the trade package:
More upgrades! Of some really big names too - it almost seemed offensive to put such significant players into my binder with other jerseys on. But, thanks to Jeff, I no longer have to worry about that (I'm sure they were really concerned).
We'll cap this whole thing off with my favorite card to be included:
It's pretty hard to tell from the photo, but everything that is black on this card (except the jersey) is actually transparent. That's right, it's an ever popular acetate card. This might be a gimmicky card technology, but it's one of my favorite gimmicks and I am always thrilled to find one that fits into my collections. And it's an Amonte, to boot.
As far as I'm concerned JediJeff is the Jedi master of Blackhawks cards. This trade package was both wildly entertaining to look through and notably productive as well. I can only hope that the White Sox pack I sent your way was almost as good.
This exchange of Blackhawks for the OTHER baseball team in Chicago bring balance to the force... or at least to my card stash, anyway.