Review: Upper Deck Hockey Series I

Even though this is the base set for any serious hockey card collector, I find myself increasingly disappointed with each new release. Simply put, while the photography is on par with the past, my complaints are within the design, which appears unbalanced, and an increasing number of horizontal photos, which, to me, should be reserved only for cards of goalies.

My biggest complaint, though, focuses on the outdated look for two teams, the Anaheim Ducks and the Buffalo Sabres. If Upper Deck has the time to capture Anaheim's Ryan Shannon, above right, in the Ducks new uniforms for his Young Guns card (#202), why did every other Anaheim base card, including Corey Perry (#1), above left, shows last year’s Ducks uniforms? I can’t tell for certain about the Sabres, either, as there was none listed in the Young Guns. But all of the base cards of Buffalo’s players I pulled showed last year’s look.

I know that Upper Deck will trot out its tired line of wanting to get the product to market as quickly as possible. But, if it’s able to show Shannon in the Ducks’ new look, why not everyone else in the Anaheim team set? Working for a daily newspaper, I am very familiar with deadlines. Unless Upper Deck is using equipment from the days of Johannes Gutenberg, its effort, or lack thereof, is worthy of a demotion to the minors.

As for the design, the horizontal name bar looks like it’s running too high on the cards, rendering a look that’s slightly off-balance or, like there’s something missing below the line. But when they use a horizontal photo, the name bar is much tighter against the bottom.

Autographs hounds, too, will need to know that cards will still have to be baby powdered, erased or rubbed for ink to stick.

If it weren’t for the Young Guns (and even this Series I crop, despite something of a rarity, is less than stellar), and the inclusion of second-year players and those who changed teams at the trade deadline, I wouldn’t lose a whole lot of sleep passing on this product. I suspect, though, given this set’s reigning popularity that I’m in the minority.

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