Details on our Third Canada-direct Hockey Series
Friday, September 17, 2004

McFarlane Toys is proud to announce the lineup for NHL Series 11 -- the third Canada-direct NHL Sports Picks line. All our NHL lines offer the very best players depicted in action and historic poses, but NHL 5, NHL 8 and now NHL 11 have all been created with our Canadian fans in mind. Each of these lineups has been filled with stars from Canadian teams or top-flight Canadian-born players. NHL 11 is slated for release in 2005.

So who made the cut?

The strong play of backup Vesa Toskala during an injury to starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov gave San Jose the confidence to trade Kiprusoff to Calgary. Kiprusoff took over for the wounded Roman Turek and never looked back. Calgary's new hero led the league in goals-against average, and helped catapult the Flames all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. A strong showing for Team Finland in the World Cup tournament left no doubt that Miikka Kiprusoff is here to stay.

Czechoslovakia is a long way from Edmonton, but it didn't take
Ales Hemsky long to make the transition. The Oilers made Hemsky the 13th overall selection in the 2001 NHL draft and the red-headed 19-year-old was suiting up for the big club just one year later. Hemsky's creative passing and soft hands have turned heads around the league, making him one of the brightest young stars in the NHL.

It took five years for Michael Ryder to go from NHL Draft Pick to Montreal Canadien, but the Habs' fans certainly believe it was worth the wait. Ryder erupted for 28 goals and 38 assists in his rookie season -- helping propel the Canadiens to the playoffs. Four games were won off Ryder's goals, placing him third on the squad. With a strong captain and a talented goaltender, the youth of Ryder may be just what Montreal needs to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Getting his own action figure is a nice honor, but probably doesn't compare to the three times Joe Nieuwendyk has hoisted the Stanley Cup. Fans in Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey have all appreciated the speedy center's contributions to their title teams -- and the Toronto faithful hope
Joe's talents will help bring a championship to the Maple Leafs. Joe's 533 career goals place him tied for 25th on the all-time goal scoring list and another 30-goal season could place him as high as 15th.

The top overall selection in the 1994 NHL draft, Ed Jovanovski has left damaged forwards in his wake during his nine-year career. In addition to headlining the Canucks defensive corps, Jovanovski has been a standard for Team Canada since 1996, including contributing to the recent victory in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

The "Bulin Wall" gained notoriety as a Phoenix Coyote and won his first Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his career started in the frozen north. Khabibulin played 79 games for the Winnipeg Jets during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. While his statistics weren't terribly notable, it was this initial NHL baptism that launched the career of one of the league's top netminders. While the Jets franchise relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes, we know that Winnipeg's love of hockey never dimmed and both Khabibulin and McFarlane toys are happy to offer a figure to show respect to the legacy of Jets hockey.