Saturday, February 05, 2011

2007-08 In The Game Between the Pipes (Arena Version)

Thanks to Thorzul for providing some motivation to start posting here again. The NHL season is heating up, so what better time to post a hockey pack. Today we have a pack of 2007-08 Between the Pipes hockey, produced by In The Game. This is the "Arena Version", which I'm pretty sure means the "you won't be pulling any hits" version. Hey, for 99 cents what can you expect? 2007 was the year I got back into collecting, but I purchased Upper Deck hockey only that season, so I am interested in seeing how these look. In case you couldn't tell by the name, the Between the Pipes sets are dedicated to goaltenders. 5 cards per pack, here's what I got:

#75 - Terry Sawchuk - Greats of the Game

The 100-card base set is actually broken up into a few different subsets. At least in terms of what I pulled in this pack, the Greats of the Game subset is the one I like least. Nearly half the card is occupied by the gigantic border and it's just not very flattering. In the Game isn't licensed to produce NHL cards, so the photo of Sawchuk is cropped oddly to avoid showing the Red Wings logo on his sweater.

Sawchuk is a great start to the pack though. A fitting choice for the Greats of the Game subset. Unfortunately, he suffered a bizarre fate, passing away from internal injuries resulting from a drunken scuffle with a teammate over living expenses. He died just weeks after what would be his final NHL season.

#100 - Ed Mio - The Rival League

We go from the subset I like least, to the one I enjoy the most. The Rival League subset pays tribute to the World Hockey Association, a competitor to the NHL who would eventually fold, with the NHL absorbing a handful of its teams. This subset has everything going for it, former legends, great team logos and a nice retro design. I mean just look at that Indianapolis Racers logo. If The Rival League were an entirely separate set, I'd be buying it up by the box.

#65 - Kari Lehtonen - Stars of the Game

Lehtonen was taken second overall in the 2002 Entry Draft by the Thrashers. Doesn't seem like the greatest pick, but that wasn't a very strong draft in all fairness. Nonetheless, Carolina took Cam Ward 23 picks after Atlanta... After a few solid seasons, and some injuries, he's now with the Dallas Stars. He didn't look that great last Thursday when the Bruins scored 5 times against him.

#90 - Gerry Cheevers - The Rival League

Best card in the pack, hands down. In fact, without seeing a checklist, I doubt there's a card in the entire set I'd rather have. Gerry's sporting his classic "stitches" mask. Another cool WHA jersey, this one belonging to the Cleveland Crusaders, who Cheevers played 4 seasons with before returning to the NHL.

#4 - Antoine Lafleur - Future Stars

The final card comes from the Future Stars subset, containing the game's top prospects. I think there's a Cary Price to be had in this subset, but I was unfortunate enough to pull an Antoine Lafleur. I knew it was bad when I searched his name on Google and the first result that came back was a thread from a hockey forum entitled "Is Antoine Lafleur Still Playing Hockey?". As far as I can tell he's never seen action in a single NHL game.

My one complaint about this product is the backs. Even though the set is comprised of a few different subsets, I wish the backs would've been just a bit more standardized. Each subset has a completely different back. Here are the first 3 cards from the pack:

If you stumbled across these 3 cards in a box you wouldn't even know they're from the same set. The numbers are in completely different spots on each card even.

All in all that's a pretty small gripe, and as 99 cent packs go I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I would buy more of these at that price, and would love to build The Rival League subset.

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