Where's Eric?

As much as I'll champion In The Game's efforts to remain a viable entity within the hockey card industry, it's my belief that the company missed an opportunity with its 2006-07 Heroes and Prospects offering.

While much has been said and written about the Staal brothers becoming, with no intended disrespect to the Sutter brothers, the next First Family of Hockey. And, yet, when I review the product's checklist, the set features only three (shown above, in alphabetical order) of the brothers -- Jared, Jordan and Marc Staal.

Adding a card of big brother Eric would have created a set within the set. Even better, I believe, would have been a card showing all four together. Surely, that photo must exist, even if it's within a family scrapbook.

I'm left to wonder whether contractual obligations may have led to this omission, though the set does feature a number of current NHL players, such as Jason Spezza, Sidney Crosby and Cam Ward, from their AHL, junior or international playing days.

Going forward, perhaps ITG will heed this suggestion and make the effort to somehow honor the family. If it does, I hope ITG sends along its work.

An addendum: Here's ITG's response to my question: At the time that Heroes and Prospect was printed, we did not have Eric Staal under contract for autographs.

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