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Cardboard Beauties: 97-98 Score Red Wings Team Set Konstantinov

February 15, 2012

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Last year I dedicated 9 articles to pointing out the some of the more flawed checklist selections, and photography and design choices that I have come across in my constant organizing and reorganizing of my collection.

These From the World of “Why?” articles are entertaining to research and write, and I will definitely continue to feature them here on the blog.

But pointing out nothing but the bad things that I discover is really doing a disservice to hockey card manufacturers, their product designers, and the photographers whose pictures appear on the cards.

There are countless examples of incredible looking products and photos that are also worthy of some recognition and I am going to start dedicating some articles to those positive things as well.

Today I’m kicking off a new series/category of posts that I’ll be referring to as “Cardboard Beauties”.

These articles are going to feature cards that stand out to me for the opposite reason the cards in the From the World of “Why?” series do.

As the title of today’s article complete gives away, that first card I’m going to feature in this series is the 1997-98 Score Detroit Red Wings Team Set card of former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov.

The reason I chose to highlight this card today is because last night the Detroit Red Wings (my favourite team in the NHL) broke the record for most consecutive wins on home ice, registering their 21st straight victory this season at Joe Louis Arena.

The way the crowd erupted at the end of the game brought me back to the time that the Wings finally broke their 42 year Stanley Cup championship dry spell in 1997 (hard to believe that was already 15 years ago).

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Clearly the reason I included this card is solely because of the photo, since the design is nothing all that spectacular by any means.

I absolutely love the photo Score used on this card.

First it serves as a very pleasant reminder of what that Stanley Cup victory meant to the Red Wings franchise, my favourite player Steve Yzerman, and to Detroit fans just like myself at the time.  The subsequent Stanley Cup victories in 1998, 2002, and 2008 were all sweet in their own right, but none could compare to what 1997 was.

Second, the look on Vladdy’s face it one of sheer intensity, jubilation, and pride; a perfect visual of the feelings being shared by Red Wings fanatics everywhere at the time.

Sadly, as many hockey fans know, the Red Wings’ celebration of their victory was fairly short-lived because of an incident in which Konstantinov was involved.

Just 6 days after he was hoisting the Cup and having this photo taken of him, the limousine that Konstantinov was riding in with teammate Viacheslav Fetisov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakenov was involved in a serious accident after leaving a team function, leaving him badly injured and ultimately, permanently brain-damaged.

To go from being one of the most dominant and intimidating defenseman in the league to relying on constant supervision and care just to get through the day alive is incomprehensible to me.  But in an instant that is exactly what happened to Konstantinov.

This photo serves as reminder to me about how quickly things can be flipped upside down in our lives and how much we need to treasure even the smallest victories we encounter in our day-to-day routines.


Do you have any fond memories of Konstantinov or the Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup victory that were immortalized on a card or other collectible?

If you do, shoot me an email at, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or just post a comment below.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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