Without doubt, the netminders are the strongest figures in both Series 1 (left) and Series 2 (right) - and this isnít just down to my already documented fascination with the masked men of the game of hockey. You get more accessories with them - as mentioned earlier - and they just look so cool in front of their miniature goals. Of the 4 netminders included, Bryan Boucher (top right) seems an unusual inclusion with the 1999/2000 season being his rookie year in the NHL. The others, well they are 3 of the top netminders in the world, the all-time winningest keeper in the NHL, Patrick Roy, the gold medal winning Dominator, Dominik Hasek and CuJo, Curtis Joseph.
If I was being really picky, and you would have to find any real faults with these figures, I would say that the mask on CuJo seems a little wide when looking at it straight on and Hasekís stance seems a little low - having said that I havenít seen him play that often and this could be due to his style of play. The Brian Boucher one hasnít been freed from his plastic prison as yet (being bought for me as a birthday present!!) but it is safe to say that of the 4 figures the Roy one is my personal favourite.
Moving away from the netminders, one figure stands out for me for purely personal reasons - Jaromir Jagr. Although based on his look of a couple of years ago, ie when he had his long hair flowing out the back of his helmet, it is still a great figure and he is a Penguins player - enough said!
Of the other players, 3 (Bourque, Amonte and Bure) are still with Boucher firmly attached to their cards but a few things to note about them. Although he is now a Colorado Avalanche player, the Ray Bourque figure is in Boston Bruins colours - whether this is because they couldnít think of any other Bruins worthy of making into a figure or because it is likely he will always be remembered as a Bruin is not clear!! Similarly for Eric Lindros, created in Philadelphia Flyers colours (the only team represented twice with Boucher), he has stated he will never again play for the Flyers but as he is still a Flyer legally I suppose I can forgive McFarlane Toys here.
The others represent some of the top stars of the NHL, Tony Amonte winding up for a slapshot, Paul Kariya letting a hard shot go, Pavel Bure setting off on one of his speedy breaks and Mark Messier taking a face-off. A quick note on Messier is that he is in New York Rangers colours - with the Bourque situation I wonder whether this would have been the case even if he hadnít resigned with them for this season... But, of all the non-Jagr figures, the most impressive (taking into account I havenít opened 3 of them yet) is the Steve Yzerman one. It is perfect for display - he is one of the few not looking down at the ice or crouched over and the pose is spot on - it really looks like he is in the middle of a turn on the ice. I donít think the image does this one justice!
Despite the facial likenesses not being spot on I donít think there is a bad figure in the range and for any NHL fans they are perfect collectors pieces - particularly if one of your favourite players is represented - well worth £11.99 each.
As mentioned right at the start a 3rd Series is advertised on the cards for Series 2 and this will include John LeClair (another Flyer!!), Mike Modano (Dallas Stars), Mats Sundin (Toronto again!), Peter Forsberg (3rd Colorado player if you count Bourque), Jose Theodore (Montreal Canadiens) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils).
While it seems a shame that the Flyers, Maple Leafs and Avalanche will have at least two figures in their colours you canít really argue with the choice of players as they are all top players. Also, the fact that Series 3 will include the Stanley Cup Champions, New Jersey with Martin Brodeur can only be welcomed as well. But, Jose Theodore as the 2nd netminder? Now I know he has recently scored a goal and posted a shutout in the same game but does that put him in the same group as the others...there again Boucher was in Series 2! What about Ollie the Goalie, Olaf Kolzig of the Washington Capitals or Ed Belfour at Dallas Stars as the 2nd goalie?
For me, an ideal Series 3 would be Martin Brodeur, Olaf Kolzig or Ed Belfour, Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mike Modano (Dallas Stars), Chris Pronger (St Louis Blues) and Owen Nolan (San Jose Sharks) and as a special one off a Wayne Gretzky figure in whatever uniform you want to put him in, Rangers, Blues, Oilers, Team Canada, All Star - it doesnít matter, any would sell!! What do you think?
PD - 10/1/2001
Images taken from the McFarlane Toys online catalogue at www.spawn.com.