27 November 2012

2012-2013 Upper Deck Hockey


In sports card collecting, photography is oft-overlooked. With Topps discontinuing Stadium Club and forcing out full-bleed sets like Upper Deck flagship, photography seems to have taken a back seat in baseball.

It is sad, and the Update Series usually provided some nice pictures, but it seems the folks at Upper Deck have taken this Topps Laziness and capitalized on it in hockey.

In hockey, there is no Topps anymore. And that's fine. It's refreshing. Instead, we have industry comeback kids Panini (formerly Donruss) and Upper Deck battling in beautiful harmony. Panini rules the bottom rung with Score and the top with Dominion and Luxury Suite. Upper Deck fills out the middle class with affordable-yet-pretty O-Pee-Chee, Flagship and upper-middle suburbanite Artifacts.

Now I, myself, am middle class. I was born into it and live it to this day. I drive a Jeep, I have a couple dogs, I like sports and hate neighbors. Which is why my favourite set of every hockey season (or lack of), which comes out about this time every year, is Upper Deck Series 1.

And this year, they absolutely NAILED photography. Ever card has something new. What's a normal scrum along the boards is the Brothers Schenn, deep camera eye-contact. The best goal celebrations you will ever see.

Upper Deck 12-13 has it all.

Obligatory milestone smile.

UD didn't mess around. Straight into it, card number 1 of the set is Saku Koivu - big Finnish grin and all, holding three pucks from a hat-trick night, I am assuming. He's scored a few goals - so I am sure they're not first careers.

Upper Deck knows we love awesome uniforms, and new-Blue Jackets defender Jack Johnson is seen here sporting one of the best alternate logos of all time. All sports. What awesomeness.

Bring it.

Nik Backstrom is here. It may look as though there is a significant amount of net to shoot at at this particular moment, but I assure you, there is not. Another third uniform shot, and this one is actually one of the less interesting goalie shots. The next one is not-so-flattering foe the crease cleaner:
Net, ice, puck in the net.

This Tomas Fleishmann is just bitchin'. Upper Deck really utilized the overhead/oblique/ice level/inches from face genre of hockey photography in this set. Speaking of in your face:


Cal Clutterbuck. That is all.

Actually that's not all. Seriously, that has to be one of the best hockey cards ever produced. I managed to pull two of these from two rack packs, which is fine. If I get one in every pack I rip, I'll be happy. And wallpaper my man cave with it.


  1. The Clutterbuck card has convinced me, I'm at least going after the base set of Series 1.

    1. Fantastic idea. I have two of the 'buck and a few other doubles. I have to warn you, the collation seems pretty bad, which is rare for Upper Deck. I'll be putting it together soon enough - we can swap doubles eventually.

    2. I decided I'd take the easy way out and just picked up a base set 1-200 on ebay. I've got very little interest in the Young Guns, particularly with the lockout. Score's Hot Rookies is enough to scratch that particular itch. Plus, the photography on those tends tends to be rather generic.

  2. Your sentence describing middle-class existence is awesome.

  3. Love Upper Deck hockey photography,just wish they would make the Young Guns more affordable,but I will be happy with the base set.