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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Card Show

As I already posted the other day, I am going to the Chicago Sun-Times show at the Convention Center in Rosemont today.  While I am not as bold as Sal over at Puck Junk as to Twitter the experience, I will be posting a recap of all the spoils of war after I return.  Hopefully triumphant...but my goal is to come back with 1 box (I have three on my mind), At least 1 completed set (I've got my lists fully loaded), At least 1 cool PC card for each of my player collections, and possibly a couple autographs.  I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl with anticipation right now.  It's like Christmas morning!!

Off I go!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Results of Thursday's Main Event

(I don't know where I stole this from but it is hilarious none the less)

The stage was set.  All the hype and vitriole that the Boston media had inundated their fans with over the last 11 days was finally ready to boil over.  The Pens and Bruins faced off last night in what was anticipated to be a game full of fights, cheap shots, and general goonery.

Did it live up to the hype?  Not really.

The Pens skated out on the ice to a rain of boos from the partisan home Boston crowd and you got the feeling that it was going to get ugly real quick.  The puck dropped and there it....wait a minute.  Nothing happened.  Oh, Cooke isn't on the ice yet.  Ok, here he comes for his first shift and...

There it is.  That's what we were all waiting for.  He was on the ice no more than 2 seconds after the face off when Thornton drops the gloves and they go.  I'm not going to lie and say it was a good fight.  It wasn't.  Cooke was beaten down and even after the refs jumped in to break it up, Thornton continued to pound on him.  He was no worse for the wear however and they both went to the box without so much as a whimper.  The crowd was elated at the fact that their enforcer finally exacted the revenge they have all been longing for and the frenzy was intense.  Short lived, but intense nonetheless.

That was about it.  Kennedy scored making it 1-0 after the Pens stupidly took a Too Many Men penalty.  The first 6-7 minutes of the second period saw the Pens on a powerplay...well not a powerplay literally, it is just Boston couldn't get the puck out of their zone and Pittsburgh dug in for a session of target practice.  Ponikarovsky scored the second goal for the Pens in the second and Michael Rupp scored the third goal in the third.  Final score 3-0, Penguins.  Finally, Fleury stops 17 shots and gets his first shutout of the season.  I can't believe it took till March to get it.  Unreal.

The only other highlight was this...a fight between Chara and Rupp which was more like an oak tree fighting a squirrel.  Chara has a 9 foot reach and weighs in at about 600lbs.  It's like Andre the Giant fighting, well anyone.  Rupp what.  Pens get a much needed 2 points as the Devils get dumped in overtime. 

Chicago Sun-Times Sports Collectibles Convention

Well it's that time of year again when the Sun Times plays host to the Annual Sports Collectibles Convention.  For anyone not around the Chicagoland area, each year the Chicago Sun-Times, along with various other sponsors host a huge card and collectible show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  This years show is from March 19-21 and is featuring autograph guests from all over the sports world.  Anyone interested in scoring some autos of some of your favorite players would be in heaven at this show. 

I have been to the National Show twice and this one three times.  I have to say that I have actually found more things that peaked my interest at this Rosemont show in the past.  I will definitely be going on Saturday.  I have already made out my shopping lists and have some specific goals in mind.  I'm also looking for some wax to bust so that should be fun.  While not a big autograph collector, there are a few guys I have my eye on.  I will definitely be showing off some of the things I pick up on the blog over the next week or so.

If you want to find out more about the show, you can go here to check it out.  Maybe I will see some of you there.  Although I probably wouldn't know it if I did.

For all you Graph hounds out there, here are some of the guests to temp your self-control:

Lou Brock, Johnny Lattner, Bobby Hull, Ernie Banks, Luis Aparicio, Len Dawson, Dick Williams, Adam West (yes, Batman or Mayor West of Quahog depending on how old you are), Don Larson, Andre Dawson, Bill Buckner, John Riggins, Whitey Ford, Juan Marichal, Roberto Duran, Tony Rice, Michael Oher, Chuck Bednarik, Chris Johnson, Ozzie Smith, Keith Hernandez, Denis Savard, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen, Emmitt Smith, Willie McCovey, Members of the '72 Dolphins, Negro League Legends

There are a ton more.  I didn't list them all.  Check out their site for a complete list.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Being Billed As The Most Anticipated Game

  • Regular season game during the March stretch...check.
  • Game featuring Olympic medal champions...check.
  • Game with potential playoff implications....check.
  • Eastern Conference rivalry...check.
  • Insane, fight-laden, Battle Royale style hockey game...I hope not.

If you are a Boston fan, that seems to be what the media has been shoving down everyone's throats about tonights game at home against the Penguins.  Exacting revenge agains Matt Cooke is all anyone from Beantown has been talking about.  My only question is, how is this rational?

You are playing for a potential spot in the playoffs.  The Law Enforcement Czar of the NHL will be in attendance at the game, obviously watching every single play with a careful eye.  Why risk losing players down the stretch for penalties because of obvious premeditated intent to injur?  For that matter, why risk an imediate penalty at all to give the Pens a powerplay and a chance to put points on the board?  Eveyone has to know that any retaliation for something that happened almost two weeks ago, no matter how awful it was, is going to get penalized heavily.

I understand the anger and rage the diehard fans have at what happened.  If it happened to one of my players, I would be rightfully upset too, just as I was when Downie tried to break Crosby's legs the other night.  The sports writer media has been doing nothing but fueling the fire by posting things like thisOr this.  Or even this half-rational article here.  They even have a poll to see what the general viewing public would like to see the Bruins do to Matt Cooke...A) Knock him out of the game with a dirty hit, B) Drop the gloves and fight, C) Go after Sidney Crosby, or D) Do nothing because a win is more important. 

It's playoff time, people.  I want to see a playoff style hockey game.  I want to see intensity, great scoring chances, great goaltending, and hard hitting.  I don't want to see WWE Smackdown.  That's on another channel.  Boston has one of the Original 6 franchises in the NHL with a storied history and reputation to uphold.  For the sake of your team and fans of the game, I hope you choose D.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's happened again...Blackhawks vs. Ducks

As I type, it is still going on but...

Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks just got creamed by the Ducks James Wisniewski.  Seabrook had checked Corey Perry a bit earlier and as retribution, Wisniewski took some revenge.  While Brent was behind the net, Wisniewski skated from the faceoff circle, full speed, directly into Seabrook.  He had his stick up in the air with one hand on it and left his skates to launch himself up into Seabrooks head.  I looked like it knocked him out as he dropped to a heap on the ice.  A fight ensued with Duncan Keith coming to his teammates aid and the trainer came out.  He was able to leave the ice on his own.

It was a clear cut "message sending" hit.  Wisniewski had his stick up with no intention of playing the puck.  He was 30 feet away when he made his dash toward Seabrook.  He jumped up into Seabrook and hit him square in the head, no accidental or awkward positioning.  This was blatent.  So what happens to him....


You know what?  This is no longer the players faults.  I don't blame the players anymore.  I blame the officials.  The officials are wrong.  This perceived crackdown on "headshots" is a joke.


Cards from a TCN giveaway

So over on Trade Cards Now, they had a box break for their members sponsored by Topps.  I guess the good folks at Topps (good is a relative term) decided to give TCN a box of Topps Unique Football to use for a "customer appreciation" break.

Just like other trade boards, you earn cash credits that you can use for various things on the site.  This box cost 500 points per slot so I picked up 3 since I had yet to use any credits and have been on there since 2006.  With the exception of any $400+ cards, all cards would be yours from your pack.  Anything above that value is sold so that other merchandise can be purchased for additional breaks and the person who would have gotten it is compensated with a full hobby box of something good and a ton of cash points.  Plus they get their entry fee back.  Not a bad deal for a "free" break.

It was on video...two parts...a 1/1 was pulled!! wasn't my pack(s).  However, I'd like to show some of what I got from the break and give my thoughts.

Bottom line...these cards are a design abomination.  The base cards have a gray border that is textured like the leather of a football.  The player is off set to the right of the card and is overlayed onto the border so that it gives that typical, overused 3-D effect.  The color is printed with a raised technology which gives it that layered effect when you hold it at the right angle.  Other than that, they are plain.  Just plain.  In fact, they look like something that could be from the 80s or 90s.  Actually, the scan of the cards looks better than the actual thing.  Weird.  Up there was my one and only Steeler that was pulled in my first pack, Sansmokio. 

The other issue is the parallels.  There are a ton of them.  They are all the same too.  Pictures are the same, design is the same, backs are the same except for the serial numbering.  The only real difference is the border color.  At 1:2 on average for the Red, I actually got one in each of my packs.  They are all numbered out of 799.  One day I am going to get my hands on a serial number card with the actual players number on it.  That would be a cool collection.

All I know is that I am not going to be buying any of these cards.  If I happen upon them in trades or lot purchases, so be it.  Not a fan.  Not a fan at all.  Topps? make me sad. 

Here was my one insert that was pulled.  A Unique Unis insert.  When I hear that name, I think, Unis...must mean it is a GU card, or maybe a pants swatch, or even a laundry tag....Why call it Unique Unis and not include a GU swatch?  It makes no sense.

I received a total of 21 cards (3 packs).  I got 3 Red Parallels, 2 Serial Numbered base cards, 1 insert, and a total of 5 rookies (here are 2 of them, Pat White and Hakeem Nicks).  Not bad for only 3 packs.  I just now wish they could have been something different.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Ice Time: Pens vs. Lightning

With tempers on edge most of the evening and something to prove to the Stanley Cup champs, the Lightning brought their game faces in front of their home (sell-out) crowd.  I was anticipating a battle all week when thinking about this game and it's 7 first or second round picks.  Plus, with Crosby, Malkin, and Stamkos on the ice at the same time, you never know what you are going to see.

This game did not disappoint.  It was faced paced, exciting, and had a playoff atmosphere.  In fact it was probably the closest thing to a playoff game the Lightning are going to see this year.   Great goals, hard hits, and some great goaltending...the game had it all.

On the opening shift of the game, Crosby was taken down by a Russian leg sweep applied by "repeat offender" Steve Downie (that was sarcasm in case you hadn't guessed).  Everyone knows Downie is a thug, just like Cooke is a thug, Carcillo is a thug, etc., etc.   I'm not getting into it again.  There is a target on the backs of every Penguin player now and Crosby almost became a casualty.  He went down in such an awkward posistion, I thought for sure his leg was broken.  Minutes later, he was back in the game. 

Shortly thereafter, Stamkos took a hard shot from Brooks Orpik into the boards and he went down in a heap.  Still, the show must go on.  He was back on the ice on the next shift.   

It was still 1-0 Lightning until the third period when Super Duper and Sarge both tallied within 3 minutes of each other.  The game winner was a power play goal with about 5 minutes off the clock in the third.  Fleury only faced five shots in the entire third period after the Pens turned on the trap game and played most of the remaining minutes in the Lightning's zone. 

For Pittsburgh, the win gets them 2 very needed points to stay up on the Devils in the division.  Of course it wasn't without a price.  Geno took a Letang slapshot off the foot and left the game in the second period.  He didn't return and the evaluation of him Monday showed no fractures.  No idea when he will be back.  I hope it isn't too long.


Let the outrage begin!!

Another Crazy Contest Pimping

I know I haven't posted anything of substance for awhile because I have been swamped at work.  I have something I have been working on for a multi part post.  I still haven't decided how to break it down yet though. 

I have been reading my usual daily fare as well as commenting though.  I came across this one the other day...

If you haven't already done so, go and check out the crazy contest going on over at Offy's Sports Site

He has a some Obak, Tristar, and some cool wrestling cards up for prizes.  It looks like it is pretty easy to enter as well.  Just go here and start with Contest #1

Here is Contest #2...

Contest #3...

Contest #4

It ends on Saturday March 20th.