I've had fun searching through the surprise envelope that Duff sent my way last week. One of the big parts of the envelope was the tremendous stack of 2002-03 UD Vintage cards, nearly knocking off half of my 100+ card want list!!
I've looked through the cards a couple of times, largely because I've been taking my time putting them away. One of the features that I like about the set is that it is 100% horizontal. (it's probably why I keep looking at the cards.)
Also, it's been enjoyable to look at the players and bring back my memories of them playing in the league. I found 5 cards of players who are actually still playing in the NHL, and thought I'd show them off in a post and see how they stack up a decade later.
Daniel Sedin has had a great career in Vancouver, but you wonder if that might come to an end after this season. Daniel's 5 year contract expires at the end of this season, and at age 33 one wonders if the Canucks may go younger if the team doesn't succeed this year under John Tortorellla.
Daniel should hit the 300 goal and 800 point milestones some time this year, and barring injuries should see his 1000th NHL game sometime in 2014-15.
There was a time a few years back when I really felt bad for Marian Hossa. One of the NHL's great talents was wasting away in Atlanta, then was traded to Pittsburgh only to lose in the Stanley Cup finals to the Red Wings. Marian signed a 1 year deal in that off-season with the Wings, hoping to win a Cup, only to be defeated by the Penguins the next season in the final.
The Blackhawks came calling with a mega contract, and Marian finally got to hoist Lord Stanley's bowl in the 09-10 season. With some luck, Hossa should hit the 1000 point mark this year (he needs 65 more), and it probably will take 2-3 seasons to get the 65 goals he needs to hit 500. Hall of Fame bound?
There's no question about whether Jaromir Jagr will see the Hall of Fame, as he'll be a first ballot inductee for sure (IMO). Sitting here thinking about him, I actually like the guy more now than I did 20 years ago. Jagr reminds me of the classic grizzled veteran, a hired gun to help lead a team to the Cup.
Currently sitting 8th in the all time scoring race, the next player that he may pass (depending on injuries/father time etc.) is #66 himself, Mario Lemieux. Jagr should hit the 1700 point mark (he needs 7), and hopefully the 700 goal mark (he needs 17). Just imagine where he could be on the all time scoring list if he hadn't played for 3 years in the KHL...
Remember the craziness a couple of off seasons ago when this guy became a free agent? Brian Burke was criticized for not being able to lure Richards to Toronto, and yet now it looks as if he dodged a bullet. I'm sure that the 9 years/$60 million was more than Burke wanted to pay anyhow.
Maybe that reasoning will change now that Alain Vigneault is the coach in the Big Apple. 3 goals in 4 games so far this season is a pretty good start. Richards will hit the 1000 game mark sometime early in the 2014-15 season, and is 81 points away from 900 for his career.
I've always enjoyed great nicknames. "Jovo-Cop" is one of my all time favorite nicknames, and this guy has surely lived up to it during his long career. While the Stanley Cup has eluded his grasp (he has only played in one final series, as a teenager in 95-96), it can surely be said that his career has been solid, if not spectacular.
Ed hit the 1000 game mark during the 2010-11 season, and is only 5 points away from 500. I'm sure that the Panthers are eagerly awaiting his return from injury, as they gave up 7 goals twice in a row earlier this week.
There were other players in the pile that are still playing, such as Danny Briere, Mike Fisher, Olli Jokinen and Dany Heatley.
Maybe seeing all these names and taking a stroll through memory lane is part of the reason why I never gave up on older sets such as these.
Thanks for reading, Robert