It is the night before Thanksgiving and in normal years I would be sitting in my seat in the media level at PPG Paints Arena watching one of my favorite sports traditions of the year (the Penguins’ night before Thanksgiving home game). Since that is not happening I am doing the next best thing — sitting in my basement watching TV and looking through old hockey cards from my childhood.
Come with me on this journey as we remember some players that you probably forgot about it.
This is not necessarily about the best cards or the best players.
This is about the random.
Or the absurd.
My card collecting days came at the worst possible time for card collecting in terms of value because it was right around the time they were becoming mass produced and every random player in the league had their own card. Several cards.
Nothing illustrates that more than my collection.
For example, some backup goalies you probably forgot about.
I definitely have a vague memory of Wendell Young, but if you remember Alain Chevrier I tip my cap to you.
He played 234 games in the NHL between 1985 and 1991 and only THREE of them came as a member of the Penguins. Here he is pictured in a hockey card in one of those three games. Wild!
He allowed 14 goals in those three games.
For some reason I have three different Tony Tanti cards from three different sets. He was actually a really productive player for the Vancouver Canucks throughout the 1980s before spending two years with the Penguins, including their 1991 Stanley Cup winning season. Though, he was traded to Buffalo that season for Ken Priestlay (shockingly I have no hockey card of him).
He was traded to Minnesota for Larry Murphy during that same 1990-91 season. I always forget that the North Stars made that trade with the Penguins before losing to them in the Stanley Cup Final.
Barry Pederson and Jamie Leach!
These are a little random (and I love random card designs) but here we have Shawn McEachern, Kevin Stevens, and Alexei Kovalev (then of New York Rangers fame) sitting in street clothes at their lockers and answering a Q & A on the back of the card that was supposed to display their personality. Or something. In reality, all of the answers were completely boring one word replies to what their favorite offseason activity is (“Golf”).
For some reason though I loved Kovalev’s answer about what superstitions he has. He always carried around a Troll(?!) and a baseball for good luck.
Also love his complete indifference to answering the question about toughest opponent. Have a distinct, vivid memory of being at a late 1990s Penguins game where Kovalev was asked a similar question during a between periods interview that was played on the scoreboard and after pausing for a minute he just completely seriously says, “nobody.” The crowd went wild.
Finally, just some random 1990s era designs here that make me scratch my head.
On the first one they just included the team logo on a card. Thanks? Then those two Jaromir Jagr cards! What is happening with the middle one here!
Thanks for coming along with me on this journey. There are many more, and many more random ones that we can explore another time.