It's been a little while since I busted open one of In the Game's high-end single-pack releases. The last one I did was Motown Madness in March, but I love opening these products up. When ITG does these genre-specific releases, they do a great job of really going deep into a subjects history. Whether a team Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings), a decade (1980s, 1990s), or even a role (Captains, Enforcers), they do a great job of giving collectors interested in those specific subjects a reward for their fandom.
The focus of Decades: 1990s is pretty obvious. Anything that happened from 1990-1999 is featured here, with autographs of players who haven't had cards since their active playing days, and memorabilia card of players who left the game before that movement ever took place. Each box promised six base cards, two inserts, three autographed cards, and three memorabilia cards, with one of those being a quad memorabilia card.
I did pretty well on my base cards, pulling one Hall-of-Famer in Luc Robitaille, two future Hall-of-Famers in Teemu Selanne and Dominik Hasek, and a Mark Recchi Gold Parallel, which is limited to just 30 copies.
Of the two inserts included, one is promised to be a Rookie card, and the other being a Mask card. My rookie is Dominik Hasek, who many people probably forget began his career with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Mask insert is of Bill Ranford, who won two Stanley Cups, who won two Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, once as Grant Fuhr's backup, and the other as the team's top goaltender. He got his third Cup in 2012, as the goaltending coach for the Los Angeles Kings.
I did pretty well on my three autographs. Gary Roberts spent time with six NHL teams, including a year and a half run with the Pittsburgh Penguins late in his career, but is mostly known as a Calgary Flame, where he won his only Stanley Cup in 1989. Marty McSorley spent some time in Pittsburgh as well, but is mostly known as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard in Edmonton and Los Angeles. Well, that, and he also has one of hockey's best-looking signatures. Jim Cummins spent time with nine teams over a 12-year NHL career, but spent the most time with the Chicago Blackwaks. Known mostly as an enforcer, he retired in 2004 with 1,538 penalty minutes
All three of my memorabilia cards were pretty good. The first is a dual jersey card of Pavel Bure and Tomas Holmstrom from the European Influence set. While every player on these cards are from Europe, they apparently don't have to be from the same country, as Bure is Russian and Holmstrom is Swedish. The Jeremy Roenick card os from their base jersey insert, but is a silver parallel, which is limited to just 30 copies. It features a two-colored jersey swatch from a Blackhawks sweater.
I did really well with my quad jersey card, getting an All-Stars card of Al MacInnis, Curtis Joseph, , Jeremy Roenick, and Ray Bourque. The card is a silver parallel limited to 30 copies, and features two-colored swatches for Joseph and Roenick. If it seems weird for Bourque to have a turquoise swatch, there's a reason for it, which will be explained on the back of the card.
Easily my favorite thing about ITG, is that they make it a point to identify the jersey used, meaning they will tell you all the details they can about the team where the jersey comes from. Not only that, but if they make a specific insert set, like All-Stars, they will make sure that the jerseys are specific from that event. For example, for this card, they made sure that EVERY jersey used came from a specific All-Star Game. It's an attention to detail that I'm sure gives them a lot of extra work, but the effort is not lost on me, at least.
As far as unlicensed products go, In the Game has the right idea. They may not be able to use team names and logos, but they make up for it in other ways, by taking extra steps that the other companies don't. I'm sure not everyone is as big of a fan as I am, but the intricacies and attention to detail make most ITG products big winners to me.