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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ice Time: Olympic Edition (Sweden Vs. Switzerland [Women's])


The women's olympic hockey tournament was kicked off this afternoon with Sweden facing off with Switzerland. I think everyone remembers Sweden as the team that upset the USA in the last Olympic games for the silver medal. Canada will also be playing against Slovakia, who has yet to appear in a women's Olympic competition. Something tells me that trial run test isn't going to go well but we will see. At any rate, some random thoughts during the game.

--The emotion of the women's teams is interesting. You see the joy and frustrations in their body language way more than in men's hockey. Especially the frustrations when they don't score, get called for offsides, or try to draw penalties.

--Just when I thought to myself "Self...Bill Patrick isn't on TV enough" there he is.

--Cammi Granato is doing an analysts job for the NBC coverage. In the early 90's, she was one of only 4 or 5 female players I actually knew. I know she played hockey way longer, and more successfully, than most men but what is with her nose? It looks like it was broken about 100 times over and reformed baring due east. I wonder who would win in a shootout between her and her husband (she is married to Ray Ferraro). Or her brother for that matter.

--Boy does NBC sure plug their own stuff, ad nauseum. Plus, they keep missing part of the game play because the commercials are overlapping. To top things off, they keep that long pause uncomfortable moment when they cut between studio and either video spot or back to the action. The interview with Sweden's captain during the 2nd intermission was great.

--There are 12 Swiss team members under the age of 20. That means they were born in the 90s.

--Women's hockey has been popular in Canada (of course) and the USA for many years. It was interesting to hear them talk about other countries. Apparently, eventhough men's hockey is strong, women's hockey isn't very big in European countries. I found that interesting considering all the talent in the men's field coming from Europe, especially Finland, Sweden, and Russia.

--Tina Engstrom scored the second goal for Sweden. Her brother Tobias plays for the Thrashers. I believe they are the first brother/sister hockey combo in Olympic history.

--The Swiss goaltender is pretty good but no one can continue to survive when your team doesn't play defense in front of you. Sweden had 4 open shots at the goal on that third tally.

--There is no body checking. Why?

--Switzerland got robbed of a goal late in the 3rd period when the ref waived off an obvious goal saying the whistle had blown.

Sweden wins! 3-0

Pack Break - - 2006-07 Fleer Hockey

2006-07 Fleer Hockey
10 Cards/Pack

(This is almost the same post as the one on A Pack To Be Named Later. I added more of the images on here though.)

I'm not going to say a lot about these ones. They are very similar in design to their baseball and football counterparts. The only difference seems to be in the borders, with half the picture bled to the edge. The backs have the matte finished retro feel to them but once again, in typical Upper Deck fashion, they only display five years of stats

The set features 200 regular base cards and 30 rookies including Matt Carle, Eric Fehr, Mark Stuart, Michel Ouellet, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, and Shea Weber. The insert cards fall about 1:4. There are also glossy parallels, called the Tiffany Collection, inserted 1:36 or 1:360 on the rookies. I didn't pull any of these. The GU cards in the set fall about 1:40 packs and the Autos are 1:432. Here is a sampling.

#136 Jason Spezza

#N3 Ryan Miller - Netminders

#149 Curtis Joseph

#140 Ray Emery

#118 Brian Rafalski

#185 Darcy Tucker

#41 Erik Cole

#97 Manny Fernandez

#7 Ryan Getzlaf

#104 Alex Kovalev

Friday, February 12, 2010

Redemption Song

A lot of talk has been going on about redemptions lately and the fact that, well, they SUCK!! While I haven't had the same results, typical of our bloguverse (I'm tired of the word blogosphere), I do see where the redemption idea has worn out it's welcome...assuming it was welcome in the first place.

It seems that much of the recent talk has been about Topps not following through with "on card" autos in their redemptions and instead, replacing them with unwanted or incomparable sticker autos of inferior subjects. That's not to say that getting an autograph on a card isn't a cool experience, but the fact that they aren't living up to their promises becomes a customer service nightmare.

My take on the whole thing is simple...don't offer what you don't already have in hand. If you are going to promise on card autos, they better be in your inventory at the time the redemptions are processed. I understand that there are millions of dollars invested in getting players sigs on products and stickers are an easy out when it comes to production. If that is the way they want to play it, then don't bother with a redemption. Take one of your stored stickers for that player and mass produce the card like everything else. Just don't patronize us by telling us we are going to get something when in reality, we are either going to have to wait for a year or not get it at all.

That being said. I haven't had as difficult time getting mine back (knock on wood). Of course, all mine have been Upper Deck redemptions and the process has been fairly simple. I have had six total redemptions in my card collecting career and they have all come in the last year or so.

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Autograph Buyback
Luc Robitaille #BB-RO
Sent in 7/27/2009
Shipped 10/22/2009
2 Months, 25 days

2008-09 Artifacts Rookie Redemptions
Chris Stewart
Sent in 5/30/2009
Shipped 6/18/2009
19 days

2008-09 Ultra Rookie
Sent in 5/5/2009
Shipped 5/26/2009
21 days

2007-08 Ultra Rookie Redemption
Andrew Cogliano
Sent in 5/3/2009
Shipped 5/19/2009
16 days

2009-10 Ultra Rookie Redemptions
Sent in 12/26/2009
Hasn't shipped yet
(1 month, 16 days and counting)

2009-10 Artifacts Rookie Redemption
Sent in 2/11/2010
Hasn't shipped yet
(2 days and counting)

I'm not bragging here. This is just for informational purposes. This is also not an endorsement for Upper Deck either, because I have heard horror stories there too. I am just showing my own experience in the matter. Anyone else out there care to share?


The luck of the draw brought me the Olympic juggernaut of a county, the Ukraine. What draw, you ask. This one. In checking with the status of their Olympic team, I noticed they have sent 52 athletes to Vancouver. 52! In 9 different sports. I have to have a chance of winning something here, right? Let's meet the athletes.

This is from their Wiki...

1. Alpine Skiing

Rostyslav Feshchuk
Bogdana Matsotska
Anastasia Skryabina

2. Biathlon

Oleksandr Biblamenko
Andriy Deryzemlya
Vyacheslav Derkach
Oxana Khvostenko
Olena Pidhrushna
Lyudmila Pysarenko
Roman Pryma
Sergey Sednev
Sergey Semenov
Valj Semerenko
Vita Semerenko
Inna Suprun
Lilia Vaygina-Efremova

3. Cross-Country Skiing

Maryna Antsybor
Kateryna Grygorenko
Roman Leybyuk
Lada Nesterenko
Olexandr Putsko
Valentina Shevchenko
Vita Jakimchuk
Tatiana Zavaliy

4. Figure Skating

Alla Beknazarova
Anton Kovalevski
Anna Zadorozhniuk
Stanislav Morozov/Tatiana Volosozhar
Ekaterina Kostenko/Roman Talan
Anna Zadorozhnyuk/Sergei Verbillo

5. Freestyle Skiing

Enver Ablaev
Alexander Abramenko
Nadia Didenko
Stanislav Kravchuk
Olga Polyuk
Olga Volkova

6. Luge

Andrey Kis/Yury Gayduk
Taris Senkiv/Roman Zakharkiv
Lilia Ludan
Natalia Yakushenko

7. Nordic Combined (I don't even know what this is)

Volodymyr Trachuk

8. Ski Jumping

Volodymyr Boshchuk
Oleksandr Lazarovych
Vitaliy Shumbarets

9. Snowboarding

Annamari Chundak
Yosip Penyak

I see some potential talent in here. Lots of World Championship medalling going on. Will it translate into Olympic victories? I can feel it. They ranked 11th in the Summer Olympics in Beijing so I am holding out hope. I'd at least like a couple extra contest entries.

That's it. I'm painting my face yellow and blue all weekend. I just have to decide how to divide or left/right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Awesome Olympic Contest

I am going to make this short and sweet...

There is an awesome contest over at JD's Wild Cardz dealing with the Olympics. If you haven't already checked it out, GO THERE NOW!!

It's going to be fun. I hope I get Liechtenstein.

By the way, who designs these olympic logos? Are they made by dyslexic teenage half man/half orangutans from outer Mongolia? Just wondering.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice Time: Isles vs. Pens

Another night of hockey!! Only this time it is a game I actually care to watch. The Pens are at home against the Islanders who haven't won in Mellon Arena in 9 games. I have yet to watch the great and powerful Tavares play live yet. This is going to be interesting.

Some random thoughts about the game.,..

--Tavares looks hungry most of the time. He follows through with all his plays and seems like he is all over the ice when he is out there. This kid will be real good if they get him a supporting cast.

--How good is Geno? Who paddleballs the puck over a defender, gets dragged down to the ice in the process, and still somehow gets a shot off? Evgeni Malkin, that's who.

--The Penguins have shootout drills and whoever loses has to grow a mustache for a month. This month's loser...Ruslan Fedotenko. My five year olds mustache is grown in more than Ruslan's.

--Guerin had a beautiful set up by Crosby and got robbed by Dwayne Roloson. If he would have scored it would have been highlight reel for sure. Instead, he got an awesome pass to Kunitz who froze Roloson for the third goal of the game.

--I think there have been more fights and hard hitting in this game than in the last game against the Capitals or the one a couple weeks ago vs. the Flyers. Surprising to me since the Isles have been somewhat of a non factor for the last few years.

--The Isles had 38 shots on goal and couldn't score on a 5 on 3. You can't expect to win that way.

Pens win 3-1!!!

Pack Break - - 2009 Topps National Chicle Football

While being bored out of my mind yesterday, I decided to go visit the People of Walmart after 10 PM. What a scary, scary place. Upon discovering they had nothing in the way of any packs or boxes for that matter, I proceeded to head to the local Target.

Topps National Chicle was sitting in the Power Pack box on the bottom shelf. This had to be a mistake, but low and behold, it wasn't. They were all marked to the $1.59 price. There were only 4 packs so I picked them up as faster than a fat guy in a buffet line. I have never really been a big fan of all the retro sets that have come out. I think at this point in the game, things are getting a bit stale.

The Topps National Chicle set features artist renderings of all the top NFL players. One thing that I found kind of different (although other sets may have this, it's a first for my collections) were the artist bio's on the backs. Each card features a different artist from around the country including well knowns such as Monty Sheldon, Paul Lempa, Brian Kong, and Chris Henderson among others.

I posted a single pack break over at A Pack To Be Named Later if anyone wants to see the distribution. I can actually say that I kind of like these and their companion mini cards as well. I'm not too excited about all the parallel cards and their different variations, but I can see myself putting together a base set if I can pick up some more. At any rate, I will let the cards speak for themselves. Here are some scans of what I pulled.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ice Time: Red Wings vs. Blues

Boredom is an interesting thing. It makes you do things that are totally out of the ordinary sometimes. I was just sitting here finishing up watching the Wings/Blues game. Normally I wouldn't have bothered but I love watching teams beat Detroit. It's one of my favorite things. I can't figure out why.

Some random thoughts on this game.

--Detroit loses in a shoot out. The shoot out is such a ridiculous way to settle a game. It is sure a helluva lotta fun to watch though.

--I had an argument with the Mrs. about how fights in hockey are a part of the game. She thinks it is simply testosterone infused rage typical of the male disposition. I promptly showed her some women's hockey fight videos as well as a few of the kids. That shut her up.

--TJ Oshie is only 23 years old and is one of the best actors I have ever seen. I think he drew at least three penalties in this game.

--Chris Mason looked awesome in this game compared to his hideous performance last night when he was pulled. What a bounce-back performance.

--I didn't realize how many insert cards from the last two years I have of St. Louis Blues players. I lost count of all the Brad Boyes cards. Weird.

--The last 3 minutes of overtime were crazy with at least a dozen odd man rushes into each others end.

--Bill Patrick made a Spice Girls reference in the post-game report. Why do these guys suck so bad? Can't they find a studio team that is at least half palatable? I would even take Barry Freakin' Melrose over these guys. That's saying a lot since I would rather see him choke on his own vomit rather than hear his voice.

--Paul Kariya scored his 11th of the season. I didn't even know Paul was still playing. Seriously! I thought he quietly retired and went away.

I'm bored. Wait. Didn't I say that already? I want to break some packs. I have that feeling again. What's open 24 hours and sells cards? Maybe I will just go to bed early.

(Well it's official. I have hit 20 followers. The great and powerful NightOwl becomes the 20th follower to my blog and I couldn't be happier. NightOwl is a great blogosphere veteran, a seasoned trader, and a great all around guy. He is also an awesome writer. Anyone who hasn't checked out his blog, needs to right now. But I doubt there is anyone that hasn't. Thanks for signing up NightOwl. I appreciate the acknowledgment.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My new favorite pastime...$.99 auctions

I have been doing quite a bit of bidding on $.99 auctions as of late. If you pay attention to the shipping details, you can make out pretty well on many of these. Here was one in particular that I scored on. 6 Jaromir Jagr cards (only 1 I already had) for 99 cents and, get this, free shipping. The auction closed with my 1 and only bid for, yep, you guessed it. 99 CENTS.

So here we have 6 cards for one of my player collections. Add those to the two from the other day and that makes 10, no wait...9, I mean 8 cards for my Jagr player collection. Anything to keep me away from blaster boxes.

1. 1999-00 Pacific Card #338

2. 1999-00 UD Victory Checklist Card #234

3. 2000-01 UD Powerdeck Card #AUX 17

4. 1999-00 Topps Gold Label Class 1 Card #15

5. 2001-02 Upper Deck ICE Card #42

6. 2002-03 Topps Heritage Card #6

Colorful text is neat!! And also annoying. I won't do that again. I promise.

Set Completion - - 2007-08 Hot Prospects (base)

Thanks to my new pal Nick and his recent package he had sent me, another set bites the dust. There were a bunch more things in there too which I will post later.

I have this one in a binder since it is so small. Plus it looks really cool in there. I only ended up getting the base 100 cards for this on since the rest are all SPs and I am not interested in spending a few hundo to get them. If anyone out there can't bare to see only 100 of these and would like to donate the rest, feel free.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

NHL giving free cards to fans

This is probably old news for some of you but I just heard about it and thought I would share. Apparently, Upper Deck is sponsoring special “NHL Team Pack Giveaway Nights” during the second half of the season this year. Each of the teams involved will be given 10,000 six-player packs to hand out free of charge at the arenas on a specified night (see list below). There will also be 1,000 special chase cards produced for each team, comprising a 7 card set.

The program started last weekend with the New Jersey Devils. Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias, Colin White and Paul Martin comprised New Jersey’s 6 card set lineup. The 7th “chase” card featured Travis Zajac and could only be obtained through the team shop as a gift with purchase of any pack of 2009-10 NHL hockey cards. I wonder how many more packs they will sell so that people can get that elusive 7th card?

Here are the rest of the dates: (Obviously some are already passed) The chase cards are in parenthesis

Feb. 5, Chicago (Patrick Kane);
Feb. 6, Atlanta (Zach Bogosian), Boston (Zdeno Chara), Dallas (Mike Modano), Los Angeles (Drew Doughty) and Tampa (Martin St. Louis);
Feb. 11, Detroit (Nicklas Lidstrom);
Feb. 12, Colorado (Matt Duchene);
Feb. 13, Buffalo (Thomas Vanek), Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) and Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov);
March 2, Ottawa (Daniel Alfredsson), Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) and Toronto (Luke Schenn);
March 6, New York Islanders (Kyle Okposo);
March 7, Nashville (JP Dumont);
March 9, Philadelphia (Chris Pronger);
March 12, Anaheim (Jonas Hiller) and Washington (Nicklas Backstrom);
March 13, Carolina (Cam Ward), Columbus (Steve Mason) and San Jose (Dany Heatley); and
March 21, Florida (Tomas Vokoun).

I'm definitely going to have my brother get me the Penguins set. Text message sent.