Friday, December 2, 2011

A Card in The Mail - Low Numbered Edition

As you may remember, I recently acquired a Steven Stamkos emerald parallel of his 2010-11 Upper Deck Artifacts card.  Numbered to 50, it was the lowest numbered card in my collection.  I say “was” because a day ago I received a new card that is numbered even lower.


What you are looking at is a Vincent Lecavalier gold parallel of one of his 2010-11 Artifacts cards.  It’s not his base, despite having a card number of 174 on the back. It is, in fact, part of the Legends and Stars subset from that release.  The regular version of this card is short-printed and numbered to 999.  The one above is serial numbered to 35.

Over all I’m not really impressed with the design.  Sure, the writing is in a lovely gold script, but look at all of the wasted space.  I mean, really, could they use a smaller picture of Lecavalier?  I do like the background, but I don’t want it to be the focal point of the entire cards.

As for the picture itself, I like to think that Lecavalier has the puck at the end of his stick as he heads up ice.  Possibly, he’s on the power play and looking to hit Marty St. Louis for a beautiful one-time goal.  This is one of an inordinate amount of cards featuring Vincent with his mouth open.  When coupled with his raised eyebrows he looks mildly shocked.  Perhaps he’s shocked that he was still with the team (it was during those days when he was being shipped to Montreal for every player on their roster) or perhaps he’s surprised that he’s getting paid $10 million a year to skate around the ice.

I do like that he’s wearing the old, road whites, you know the “classic” ones that lasted about two seasons?  I hope the NHL goes back to having teams wear their white sweaters at home like the good ol’ days.  After all, how stupid is the Winnipeg White Out going to look when the road team is the one wearing white?  Granted, they have a few seasons before they have to worry about it, but you would have to assume that the ex-Thrashers make the playoffs sooner or later.

The back of the card doesn’t offer any stats, just a couple of sentences about his season.  2009-10 wasn’t one of Vincent’s better years and the only thing they could mention is that he played in all 82 games and was second on the team in shots on goal.  Ten million a year, folks!

I always felt bad for the copywriters who had to tackle the backs of the late-80s Score cards.  Coming up with three paragraphs on Mickey Brantley (former student of Coastal Carolina University - Go Chanticleers!) couldn’t have been easy. At least Topps had the decency to cram enough stats on the back of their cards so that they only had to write one or two sentences on the back.

The number 35 doesn’t play to relevantly in Lecavalier’s career.  He did score 35 goals in 2005-06, but that’s about it.  The number 11 plays even less a factor.  The best I could find was the 11 playoff games he played in 2002-03.  Like I said, not that important.
Such a great uniform!

How about in Lightning history?  Well, Tom Pyatt currently rocks the 11 on his sweater.  However, my favorite number 11 has to be Steve Kelly, or as he was known around the Ice Palace - Speedy Stevie Kelly.  Speed was really the only thing he brought to the ice.  In parts of two seasons, from 1997-99, he scored 3 goals and added 4 assists.  Somehow, in only 58 games he managed to end up a -24.  Those were some good times to be a fan!

The number 35 is currently unused, but has graced the backs of several players in Lightning history, all of them goaltenders.  The most famous would be Nikolai Khabibulin, the Russian net minder who led the team to their only Stanley Cup Championship.  As much as I liked the wild-eyed, puck stopper, he isn’t my favorite player to wear that number.

That honor belongs to Kevin Hodson, the backup goalie from the turn of the century.  Much like Kelly, he was a member of the organization during their darkest days and only managed 4 wins in his 36 games with the Lightning.  During those days he also sported number 30 and 31 on his uniform. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to keep track of who was who back in those days, not that it really mattered - they were all pretty bad,

Hodson, whose problems with a rapid heart beat earned him the nickname “Ticker” from his teammates,  came over to the Lightning at the 1999 trade deadline.  He was part of the blockbuster deal (at least to Lightning fans) that sent Wendel Clark to Detroit.  Clark, who actually had a decent year with the Bolts, was traded along with a 6th round pick to the Red Wings for Hodson and a 2nd round pick.  That pick would become Saint Leo Mike’s favorite Lightning player of all time - Sheldon Keefe.
Ben Clymer? Paul Martins? How did this team NOT make the playoffs?

While he never lived up to the potential Lightning fans hoped he would, Hodson was well-liked by the fans.  He habitually flipped pucks to fans following pre-game warm-ups and occasionally handed his stick to young fans following games. Oh, and he was nice enough to autograph a card for me one time!
Not in Lightning uniform, but still nice!

Overall, even though I’m not a big fan of the card, I’m glad I picked it up. If I didn’t have the need to collect every Lecavalier card ever produced I probably wouldn’t have bought it.  Heck, if the cost wasn’t less than a pack of 2011-12 Upper Deck Series One (the secret is free shipping, my friends!) I probably would have passed it by for another card.

The problem know is, since it’s a colored parallel, I must have all the different version to complete the rainbow!

1 comment:

Nick B. said...

It's always nice to add a low numbered parallel to the PC.

I agree, the Artifacts Stars cards from last year make no sense to me. If they would have used a normal sized image instead of keeping it up in the corner they would have looked great because the background is cool. They did the same kind of thing with the SP Essentials. Too "artsy" for me.