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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mid-Week Hockey Top 10 (8/14/19)

A new feature I hope to develop here on The Real DFG is going to be a weekly look at the Top 10 most recent highest selling hockey cards on various platforms.  There is a deluge of collectors out there (or investors) with cash to spend.  With the hype around other sports, prospecting, and speculative buying, I wanted to shed some light on the key cards that have been moving in the hockey world.

Most sales will be from Ebay since it is the largest collection of auctions and BIN sales out there.  However, I am only searching hockey cards, singles, and final sales.  I am not verifying whether these transactions are 100% complete and paid for.  If there are other sales to note, I will list those here as well.



Source:  Ebay Closed Sales as of 8/14/19

1.  

2003-04 Upper Deck Premier Wayne Gretzky 1st Year Shield Auto 1/1 (sold by toddanthonymn)

Closed Selling Price:  $99,999 (8/12/19)


2.



2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup Tribute Connor McDavid RPA RC Patch Auto #/10; PSA 10 (sold by Probstein)

Closed Selling Price:  $77,777 (8/11/19)

3.
1966-67 Topps Bobby Orr Rookie #35 SGC 9 (sold by PWCC)

Closed Selling Price $60,112 (5/26/19)

4.  
2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup RPA Connor McDavid #/99 BGS 9.5 (sold by jcantiquity)

Closed Selling Price $39,797 (7/6/19)

5.  
2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup RPA Connor McDavid #/99 BGS 9.5 (sold by jcantiquity)

Closed Selling Price $33,797 (8/12/19)


6.  
1966-67 Topps Bobby Orr Rookie #35 PSA 8 (sold by PWCC)

Closed Selling Price $32,600 (6/25/19)

7.  
1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky RC #18 PSA 9 (sold by PWCC)

Closed Selling Price $27,988 (5/26/19)

8.  
1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky RC #18 PSA 9 (sold by PWCC)

Closed Selling Price $27,200 (7/29/19)

9.  
2005/06 Upper Deck The Cup RPA Alex Ovechkin #/99; BGS 9.5 (sold by 4911paulm)

Closed Selling Price $25,000 (7/27/19)

10.  
2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup RPA Connor McDavid #/99 BGS 8.5 (sold by 1997udgj)


Closed Selling Price $33,797 (8/12/19)




A few interesting notes or talking points here:

--The McDavid The Cup RPA has sold here three times, twice by the same seller, with two different serial numbers.

--The Gretzky RC, either Topps or O-Pee-Chee shows up in the top 100 cards 35 times!

--The Bobby Orr RC shows up in the top 100 cards 14 times.




**I try to note sellers for each card since there have been allegations made regarding the current trimming scandal, shill bidding, etc.  This in no way, endorses, supports, or advertises any seller listed, nor does it make a claim on the authenticity of any item.  This is simply for entertainment, conversation starting, and general information.  Make your own informed decisions before purchasing cards or putting your trust in any dealer/seller.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Error #NAME?

Those of you that have ever seen this error in the post title know that is the error you will usually see in Microsoft's Excel program when there is a typo in the formula.  That is very much applicable to this post.

Recently, newly acquired Blackhawk, Robin Lehner, received his Bill Masterton Trophy from the NHL, acknowledging him as this season's player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."  He had a heck of a season, overcoming his health issues at the start of the season and eventually finishing third in Vezina voting.  However, in what would seem their haste to complete the job, the engraver inscribed the trophy as "Robin Lehner, New York Rangers."  That's great...if only he hadn't played with the New York Islanders.



That got me thinking about errors on trophies.  What bigger trophy to profile than Lord Stanley's mug itself?  Throughout it's history, the Stanley Cup has gone through many changes but one annual tradition has held since 1924.  Those involved with winning it get their names forever carved into one of the silver rings (technically the Montreal Wanderers were the first on the Cup in 1906-07 but those champs put their names inside the base of the bowl).  There are about 3,000 names on the Cup by estimate (it's an estimate, don't @ me).  As the rings fill with 52 names of the annual winners (except the 1998 Red Wings who have 55), each 13th season a new ring gets added and the oldest one is removed, flattened, and placed in reverence at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

So Lehner isn't the only victim of errors on their award. Since there have only been four people in history assigned with the daunting task of engraving the greatest trophy in all of sports, it comes as no surprise that sometimes errors can happen.  Here is fairly extensive list of Stanley Cup errors (some with photos, although I don't own any of these images), many of which are quite interesting.


1937-38:  Pete Palangio of the Chicago Blackhawks has his name on the cup twice, once spelled as Palagio and a second time it is engraved correctly.

1941-42:  Turk Broda, the great Leafs goaltender, is listed on the Cup as "Walter Broda" (his actual given name) and then again as "Turk Broda".  Contrary to legend, these aren't long lost brothers or identical twins that switched out in goal when the other got tired or let in a few softies.

1944-45:  While not necessarily an error per se, this one is pretty comical by today's standards.  Frank Selke was the assistant general manager with the Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs.  Since there isn't room for a full title on the Cup, the engraver abbreviated, leaving Frank Selke to be forever known as the "Ass Man".  Could be worse.  Mr. Campbell, the Assistant Trainer, was probably given the worst prison moniker of all.

1946-47:  Leafs Gaye Stewart is misspelled as "Gave Stewart".  What did they give him?  Cup Error Legend status, that's what.

1951-52:  Both the Red Wing's coach, Tommy Ivan, and Hall of Fame center Alex Delvecchio have their names incorrectly spelled as "Tommy Nivan" and "Alex Belvecchio".  A two-for-one team special.

1956 - 1960:  Why the block of years?  The Canadiens won the Cup five times in a row!  HOF goalie Jacques Plante has his name on each entry spelled differently each time.  That's right!  J. Plante, Jacques Plante (the correct one), Jac Plante, Jacq Plante, and Jaques Plante all appear on the Cup.  To make matters worse, his teammate Dickie Moore is also listed as D. Moore, Richard Moore, R. Moore, Dickie Moore, and Rich Moore.  Though some would consider each of those acceptable, it does highlight a lack of consistency with names that were repeated time and time...and time...and time again.

1962-63:  It's not just a player issue anymore.  The Stanley Cup Champion "TORONTO MAPLE LEAES" is forever engraved on the Cup.

1971-72:  Again a team name gets botched as the Boston Bruins are immortalized as the "BQSTQN BRUINS".  I can see that mistake as an "O" and "Q" are very similar.  Maybe the engraver lost site of the tail on the "Q".

1974-75:  The Canadiens are again the subject of an error, this time forward Bob Gainey, who is now known as "Bob Gainy".

1980-81:  The New York Islanders won the Cup four times from 1979-80 thru 1983-84.  But the second time they were inscribed to the cup, they were better known as the "NEW YORK ILANDERS".

1983-84:  In an act of defiance, Oilers owner Peter Pocklington had his father Basil's name etched into the Cup.  The problem?  Basil had nothing to do with the team.  Once the NHL learned about the "oversight", they ordered that his name be removed.  But how do you remove a etching on metal?  You don't.  You just cover it up with 16 "X's".

1995-96:  The Colorado Avalanche made some creative roster moves and became the best of the West and also all of the NHL.  For his part in the Cup win, Adam Deadmarsh became known forever as "Adam Deadmarch".  However, this was the first time error didn't stand.  The NHL had the Cup corrected.  When looking at the Cup, you can see the overstamp of the engravers hammer changing the "C" to an "S", making the error even more obvious.

2001-02:  Manny Legace, the goalie for the Red Wings, becomes only the second player to have his name corrected from a misspelling.  It had originally said "Manny Lagase" and was later fixed, again drawing attention to the error and looking a bit muddled on the surface of the Cup ring.

2005-06:  Eric Staal became the next victim as his name was inscribed after the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Cup.  Staal became "Staaal" and it too, was later corrected.


2009-10:  The Blackhawks raised the Cup for the first time in many years.  When Kris Versteeg's brother made the confident prediction that Kris' name would be spelled wrong, the jinx was on.  Sure enough, the "S" and "T" were transposed.  Versteeg became "Vertseeg".  He later became the fourth player to have their error corrected on the Cup.

2015-16 and again in 2016-17:  My beloved Penguins hoisted the Cup to close out the 15/16 season for the fourth time in their history.  After the Cup had been engraved, many speculated that Evgeni Malkin's name had incorrectly been misspelled as "Fvgeni Malkin".  The Penguins later released alternate angle photos of the Cup showing that the rumors may have been caused by lighting and glare on the shots.  They didn't, however, address the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury has an accent mark over the "C" and not the "E", nor is there a hyphen.  It happened again the following year in their back-to-back titles.  The "E" again looks like an "F" and now the accent mark over the "C" in Fleury's name became dual accents.  Error?  I don't know.  But weird nonetheless.

(Pardon me for any typos)

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Franchise Comes To the Steel City - or - The Trade That Broke The Whalers

A condensed version of this post originally appeared over on Puck Junk as part of the Most Lopsided Trades article.  This is the whole article in it's complete form if you wanted to read it.

March 4th, 1991, seemingly a typical Monday 28 years ago, will go down in history as one of the biggest, franchise defining moments for both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers. While there were many other trades, draft picks, and acquisitions in those late 80s-early 90s years, this trade spawned a couple Stanley Cup Championships and many years of Penguin dominance in both their division and conference while assisting in the eventual demise of the brass bonanza in Hartford.

1992-93 Fleer Ultra
After an abysmal road trip to Western Canada, Penguins GM Craig Patrick worked a deal with (former Penguins GM) Whalers GM Ed Johnston to acquire Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings in exchange for John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker. If you can believe it AT THE TIME, the trade was seen as a benefit to both clubs and in some circles, people thought Hartford came out on top.

In the press, The Hockey News gave the edge to Hartford.  The Hartford Courant spun the trade as something positive for the organization and they could only get better.  Both Ed Johnston and team owner Richard Gordon, believed it was a great deal as well.   Johnston even went on to say that he thought Cullen and Francis were equal, in terms of play and ability.   In an interview with NHL.com back in 2006, then Pens radio announcer Paul Steigerwald was quoted as saying, “People were saying that in Hartford,” in reference to the Whalers coming out on top. “They had soured on Ronnie Francis and Ulfie was talking about going back to Sweden because he was so upset.” Well, those “glass is half full” people in Hartford were wrong.

It's true though that Ron Francis had begun to fall out of favor with the organization and coaching staff.  Head coach Rick Ley even stripped him of his captains “C” earlier in the season and gave it to Pat Verbeek (Ley was subsequently fired at the end of the season). Both Jennings and Samuelsson were seen as expendable because the Whalers needed offensive minded defenseman and grinders, which fit the style of play for both Double Z and Jeff Parker. The Whalers also sought to get younger and that helped.

1991-92 Parkhurst
For Pittsburgh, although John Cullen had virtually taken the team on his shoulders with Mario Lemieux missing 50 games after back surgery (and I honestly doubt the Pens even get to the playoffs without Cullen’s season play), GM Craig Patrick knew they needed extra grit on the ice because they were frequently man-handled in front of the net and in the corners. They also looked to add a forward that could not only score but also play defense. Both Francis and Samuelsson fit that bill, while Grant Jennings was a value added bonus that would add some character over the next couple years.

In the short term…

Pittsburgh played out the rest of the season 9-3-2, winning their division.  Francis posted 11 points, while Samuelsson had five and Jennings four.  Both Ulfie and Grant racked up a ton of PIMs in only 14 games, as expected, showing their willingness to do the dirty work the Penguins needed.  Pittsburgh won out their playoff matchups and went on to earn their first ever Stanley Cup in franchise history.  For Hartford, Cullen chipped in 16 points in the last 13 games and helped Hartford push into the playoffs, eventually losing to Boston in the first round.

In the long term…

1994-95 Fleer
For Pittsburgh, after a few additional personnel moves in 1991-92 that were capped by the three-way trade with the Flyers and Kings that sent Mark Recchi to Philly for Rick Tocchet and Kjell Samuelsson, Pittsburgh won their second of back-to-back Stanley Cups followed by the President’s Trophy in 1992-93.  As a side note, I hated this trade then and still don’t like it today because Pittsburgh gave up Mark Recchi, however, it's hard to argue with the success it brought and the Pens eventually got the Wreckin' Ball back.  But getting back to the bigger point...


The Penguins did not miss the playoffs again until the 2001-02 season!  

That's right!  10 straight years of playoff appearances.  Ron Francis played eight of those seasons for Pittsburgh, scoring 613 points in 533 regular season games and another 100 points in 97 playoff games. Oh, and did I mention he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2017 in his first year of eligibility?  Ulf played another four seasons for the Pens, racking up 804 PIMs, 94 points (28% of his career total), received his second Norris Trophy nod (he didn’t win) and finished 11th in defensive voting for the 1992-93 All Star Game.  He also cemented his legacy as one of the most feared (polarizing) big-men in the league (just ask any Bruins fan).  Grant Jennings played a total of 198 games over another 3 ½ seasons with Pittsburgh, racking up 357 PIMs and playing some memorable playoff games.

1994-95 Be A Player Autograph
For Hartford, they made the playoffs again in 1991-92 but were eliminated in the first round, this time by Montreal.  John Cullen scored 77 points in 77 games, which was an overall disappointment considering what his services cost.  He then followed with a very rough start to the 1992-93 season that led to his quick quick departure to Toronto.  Zalapski continued as a Whaler for another 2 ½ years but was unceremoniously traded to Calgary amidst what had become a GM and head-coaching carousel in Hartford.  The “for good measure” Jeff Parker only played 19 total games for the Whalers.  After the 1991-92 season, Hartford never made the playoffs again.  Let me repeat...They never made the playoffs again.  Their record after the trade was 164-243-53, leading to attendance becoming abysmal.  Even seats that were pre-sold were left empty for many of their games.  This helped lead the teams relocation to Carolina, becoming the Hurricanes after the 1996-97 season.  All that is left of the Whalers original franchise is fan's memories of the good times and the occasional appearance of their jerseys on throwback nights or tribute nights in Raleigh.

2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures
Obviously the key to the trade was Ron Francis and ultimately, as already mentioned, he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame due to his life's work in Hartford, Pittsburgh and Carolina.  I believe the fact that he didn't have to be relied on as a #1 center did wonders for his stat sheet and longevity in the league.  He was already a star player with a great career prior to arriving in Pittsburgh and not having to shine in the spotlight any longer was just what he needed.  Playing with superstars like Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr helped him flourish in his game.  613 pts in 533 games over eight seasons in Pittsburgh (with another 100 playoff points) is definitely nothing to balk at.  Five of his last six seasons saw 87+ points per season (the lockout kept it from 6/6.)  When he eventually retired, as a Hurricane, he was 4th all time in points.

Advantage = Pittsburgh

Monday, February 25, 2019

Quick Hits: Looking at the Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Deadline Moves

In my humble opinion, NHL Trade Deadline Day should be a national holiday in both the United States and Canada, no work and required TV, radio, and internet viewing for all (kids can still go to school though).  Unfortunately corporate America (and probably corporate Canada) won't allow that. 
But I digress...

The NHL Trade Deadline is usually a frenzy of movement of many minor leaguers and role type players, with a few blockbusters occasionally thrown in.  This year, the Rangers trading Kevin Hayes to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux and picks was big.  Keith Kincaid to the Blue Jackets for a pick, Mark Stone to Vegas for a great defensive prospect, and Wayne Simmons to Nashville were all pretty note worthy as well.  

But, as a Penguins fan, I would like to focus on the recent moves in Pittsburgh, and there were two of them.  Keep in mind, if the Stadium Series game had not eroded into an on-ice debacle and safety failure that NBC refused to address and hurt their ratings, we may have not even see these trades by the Penguins.  Losing Kris Letang and Brian Doumolin, both ultimately as a result of a questionable hit by now Nashville Predator Wayne Simmons, that apparently won't be reviewed by the Dept of Player Safety, triggered these moves.


First, Jim Rutherford took Tanner Pearson (who was acquired from the Kings for Carl Hagelin earlier this season) and moved him to Vancouver for defenseman Erik Gudbranson.  There was no salary retained for either side so the Penguins will have to take on an additional $250K/year through 2020-21.  Gudbranson brings his 2-6-8 stat line with 83 PIMs this season to PPG Paints.  Is that worth the extra money for the big man???

My answer:  
I sure as hell hope so but doubt it because, he just hasn't been very good.  ON PAPER WINNER = Vancouver

Gudbranson has toiled, for lack of a better word, in the NHL for eight seasons so far,.  After being drafted in the first round of the 2010 Draft by Florida, his career didn't really take off as many expected.  As a result, two years ago he was traded to the Canucks.  Unfortunately, he really hasn't shown anything that blows the socks off of me or any other hockey fan in Vancouver either.  


But by far the most troubling is the fact that he could statistically be the worst defenseman in hockey, sporting an impressive league leading -27 +/-.  At least Malkin won't be the worst on the team in that category anymore.  For defenseman with over 600 minutes of play, he is also fourth worst in 5 on 5 shot share and the worst in both goals-for and scoring-chance percentage.  According to GMJR, "Getting the type of player that Gudbranson is was something that we've talked about for a while. He wasn't available, to my knowledge, until today. So we're very pleased to bring Erik in to join our team."  

Type of player he says?  What type is that?  He's 6' 5", 217 pounds of potential brute force that has a much better fighting record than his actually stats of playing hockey.  If this was 20 years ago, I would applaud this whole heartedly.  In today's NHL, I really don't know.  The Penguins lack toughness for sure.  When Garrett Wilson is your scraper, you know there is something wrong.  Gudbranson really brings some grit that they may need.  But at this point in the season, the Penguins can't afford to bring on more salary for another less than stellar, mediocre at best defenseman.  I hope you prove me wrong, Erik.  Or at least, take this TRASH out again...





Second, a guy who I always hoped could crack a permanent roster spot, J.S. Dea, was dealt away a second time, to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Chris Wideman.  Wideman brings his $1M salary and stats that include a 2-5-7 line, which again, blows the doors off of no one.  The Pens will be the 4th team he has appeared on this season.  Yes, I said 4th!  He has only played 25 games all year and those were spread over four different organizations.  Not only is that a lot of frequent flyer miles, it says something about your type of play compared to your peers.  

Is he worth it???

My answer:  
Not statistically.  So...probably not.  ON PAPER WINNER = Florida


The one-time AHL's Defenseman of the Year can't seem to crack a lineup on any of the teams he has gone to, and the fact that he hasn't even played since the first week of January has me a bit worried.  After appearing for Ottawa in the 2017 playoffs, he really hasn't been heard from since the ECF (which the Penguins won, by the way).  The Pens have already announced he will be assigned to the WBS Penguins and maybe he can do some damage down there in preparation for the AHL Playoffs. I doubt we see him up on the big club but if he does jump up, he will most likely be a bottom pairing with small amounts of ice time.  I just hope this doesn't backfire.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Box Break - - 2018-19 Artifacts


This article was originally posted over on Puck Junk. Thought I would post it here as well for posterity.


When it comes to new hockey card releases, I am frequently a late bloomer when it comes breaking boxes. This year, 2018-19 Artifacts was no different. Released October 4, 2018, Artifacts is usually one of the first products to hit the market at the start of the new season (as well as MVP and O-Pee-Chee). I hadn’t had a chance to pick this product up until recently and I wanted to share my break and thoughts with our readers.

Continuing in it’s annual tradition of including memorabilia options as well as rookie redemptions, Artifacts gives collectors a chance at a variety of “hits” without breaking the bank. For around $100, every hobby box features eight packs with four cards per pack. A break should expect to feature three premium cards which will include a combination of memorabilia cards, autographs or an Aurum insert, the all-gold foil printed cards that return for another year (which I will get to in a minute).

There should also be four serial numbered cards that are short printed high numbers or tiered color parallel variations. Finally, each box will have one rookie redemption card; everyone’s favorite box hit, although I have seen a few breaks that went without one.

  

When Artifacts hits the market, the cards are easily identifiable from the other Upper Deck series because of their distinct design, but putting one year up against the next can pose a daunting task. Why? Because, although unique to it’s product line, the base card design doesn’t change all that much from year to year. The 2018-19 design features the player photo cropped in front of a marbleized background that has what appears to be an old globe blended into it. There is a lot of border space used on the card front as well, giving it a sort of “column” design feel. Other front side features are the player name, sweater number, and position at the bottom, surrounded by silver foil plant/leafy/paisley design.

The backs…well the typical gripe exists here. There is a cropped close-up of the same photo used on the front, followed by all the vitals of the player. From a career stat standpoint, the total seasons are abbreviated for space and there is a career total line. I believe some of the back space Upper Deck devotes to anecdotal info about the player could be used to show a full stat breakdown.


Cards 1-100 are traditional base cards and feature a mix of current stars and up-and-comers. The next 30 cards feature what Upper Deck considers Stars. These are serial numbered #/699.



The next 30 cards feature Legends, serial numbered #/599. These feature a selection of HOFers and team superstars that have since hung up the skates in the NHL (I say that because Jaromir Jagr and Pavel Datsyuk still play in Europe). There are a couple surprises in this mix too including Shane Corson, Tony Amonte and Brian Propp, all ex-NHLers we don’t normally see in Legends sets.



Finally, the base are wrapped up by 20 rookie cards serial numbered #/999, showcasing players that got their chance in the last portion of the 2017-18 season or playoffs. Casey Mittelstadt, Jordan Greenway, and Troy Terry highlight this crop of young players.



The parallel cards look just like the regular base cards but replace the silver foil print with the color of the variation. Each variation includes a serial number based on that color. This year features Ruby #/299 or 399, Emerald #/99, Aqua #/45, Purple #/20, and Black #/5. Each of these colors is further broken down by adding autograph versions or memorabilia versions. Although, not every card in the base set has the additional “hit” parallels available.

If you are still with me and are in that camp of “base is boring,” this next part is for you: the “hits.”

First, the set is called Artifacts since the primary inclusion of hockey memorabilia is the cornerstone to the checklist. As mentioned earlier, there are hit parallels of the base cards that feature autographs as well as multiple swatch memorabilia pieces that can be anywhere from a simple white swatch, to a patch or number piece, to a laundry tag or fight strap. Some of the autograph insert sets include such titles as Auto Facts, Top 12 Rookie Signatures, Honoured Hopefuls, Lord Stanley’s Legacy or Esteemed Endorsements. The memorabilia sets include titles like Arena Artifacts, Divisional Artifacts, Honoured Hopeful Relics, Lord Stanley’s Legacy Relics, Threads of Time, Tundra Teammates Duos and Quads, or Year One Rookie Sweaters.



If we are keeping score, I received none of the above inserts in my box. My memorabilia hits were a dual jersey card of Brayden Schenn and a pretty nice Rookie Emerald dual jersey/patch of Noah Juulsen.



By now, most collector’s are familiar with the idea of redemptions. Artifacts is one of Upper Deck’s products that features these for their rookies since it is an early release product. Like them or hate them, there is an opportunity to pull some of the big name players that aren’t first included in the initial release, including low serial numbered versions and autographs. Players that can be obtained via redemption include the likes of Brady Tkachuk, Rasmus Dahlin, and my pre-season pick (and still my pick) for rookie of the year, Elias Pettersson.



I pulled a redemption card for a team out of Western Canada called the Vancouver Canucks. You may have heard of them but if not, they have the young rookie I just mentioned above. Since Upper Deck has already released their “mystery” list of what the redemptions are, I will save you the suspense. My card can be exchanged for an Elias Pettersson Rookie. I was very pleased with this result.



Which brings me to my biggest gripe with this set. The inclusion of the the Aurum cards is nothing new for Artifacts. These gold foil cards are a flashy addition to a “hit” laden product. However, Upper Deck considers these to be “hits” as well. That’s right. If you receive an Aurum card, chances are you won’t receive more than two other memorabilia or autos. What would probably be just another insert in the other Upper Deck releases becomes a “hit” in a $100 box. Keep in mind, this card has no auto or relic piece, only the shiny gold print technology. I hardly think this should be considered a hit. I think many collector’s would agree.

To make up for that, Upper Deck has included Aurum as part of their Bounty Program, giving them slightly more clout (just not in my book). For those familiar with the SPA version, it is similar. Essentially, collectors can try to obtain all 48 cards in this set, which fall about 1:20 packs, with the All Star and Rookies being 1:640 (yes I said 640). Once collected, a code can be revealed after using a dime or quarter to scratch off the back (or your really long finger nails…eww). This code can then be entered online and digitally checked off the list on your account. All collectors that complete all 48 redemptions will receive cards #49 and #50, which will inevitably be the two top rookies or draft picks from this season. If you are lucky to be one of the first 25 collectors to pull off this seemingly impossible feat, you will also benefit from a nine-card all-white Aurum set with a Gretzky auto included, all numbered #/25. As of right now, if you can believe it, there are only nine of these left.

Overall, I enjoy seeing what comes out of Artifacts every year. My box here may not have been the best but I have seen many breaks out there that fared much better than I. The design is kind of stale at this point but very expected at this point in the game. The stats on the back is always a gripe for me but it has become commonplace in cards these days. I would have rated the product higher but the inclusion of Aurum as a hit soured my score a bit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Thermochromic Puck


The NHL announced a new "technology" for treating pucks to be unveiled at the Winter Classic. I wrote about it over on Puck Junk a bit ago. Take a few minutes and check it out. Leave a comment with your thoughts.


The NHL made the announcement yesterday (at least it was at the time I originally wrote this article) that for the first time, official game pucks to be used in this season’s NHL Winter Classic game will feature a new technology using a thermochromic coating. Thermo-what, you ask? To put it in the simplest terms, PPG — yes the Pittsburgh-based paint company that sponsors the Penguins’ home arena and is advertised as the official paint of the NHL — has developed a coating that changes color based on temperature. That’s right — color changing pucks.

Read More...

Monday, November 19, 2018

Box Break: 2018-19 MVP Hockey

This was originally posted over on PuckJunk.com 10/8/18 as I have been contributing to content on occasion over there.





It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentleman. Yes, the hockey season is upon us. With training camps about done, I figured it is a fine time to break the first box of the year.

Like every year, for the last 20, Upper Deck rung the bell to start the season in early August with their 2018-19 MVP product. Upper Deck has built MVP’s reputation as a lower-priced product that offers collectors a chance at affordable cards that feature a myriad of today’s stars, with an opportunity at some of the rookies that debuted at the end of last season.

To continue reading, click here to go to the original article post.