A little while back (ok it was probably a long while back since I have been seemingly too busy or lazy or both to post anything in forever) that very event occured. On the shelf amongst all the baseball blasters and value boxes was this...
A hobby box of 2008-09 Upper Deck Series II Hockey. I knew if I was so inclined I could get one of these from my LCS but how could I pass up one that was about $30 cheaper?
As this is Series II of Upper Deck's flagship release, the box collation was expected to be much like Series I. There are an average of 6 Young Guns rookies per box, 2 GU cards per box, and a whole host of inserts that fall about 1:4 packs. Also in Series II are the Victory Update cards. All of the high series Victory cards from their set each year are included 1 per pack in Series II and number 251-350. Victory Rookies tended to fall about 1:4 packs. So with two GU and a bunch of inserts, there is also the potential for 12 rookies (6 Young Guns, 6 Victory Rookies).
I realize that most of you have seen these before and probably have thousands of them (like me) so I will spare you the base card scans. Just know that these are the typical full bleed photos that Upper Deck is known for. The cards are borderless, with only a silver stripe sectioning off the name plate. The backs are also nice because they feature an additional player photo (a headshot) as well as stats that cover more than just a year or two in a players career. Upper Deck always does well with their bread and butter set and hopefully this year's release (2011-12) will continue this same tradition.
So as I said, this box was different. Funny enough, this became one of the better boxes I have opened this year. Why? Well mainly for one reason. I was able to finally complete my 2008-09 set. I know that doesn't seem like all that much considering I have broken some very nice boxes over the past 10 months but those last 8 cards for this set were becoming impossible to track down. It is always a good day when you are able to knock something completely off your set needs list.
Other than that, it was a pretty basic box with a typical collation. Here is what came out.
This is actually a very nice Rookie Materials card with a two color swatch of Mr. Turris. I wish I could say that he is tearing up the league at this point in his career but unfortunately, for this year at least, that isn't the case. Kyle is in a battle with Phoenix management over his contract and has yet to play a single game. If you believe the rumor mill known as ESPN, apparently he wants out of Phoenix completely. Coyotes GM Don Maloney has already said that he has no interest in letting him go though. Basically if he doesn't get a contract signed by December 1 he won't be playing for Phoenix or anyone else this season.
Here is some guy from the Lightning. It almost seems like if you aren't named Stamkos or St. Louis, you are an after thought in Tampa. That's unfortunate because as good of a player as Lecavalier is/was, his play always get overshadowed by Stamkos and his other diminutive teammate. I guess this would be considered the "other" hit in my box.
I pulled one Tales Of The Cup insert. Here we have a bearded Doug Weight from his time with Carolina and their Cup win in 2006. This is a very nice set to collect because it captures that moment that every hockey player dreams of achieving from the time they first strap on a pair of skates.
I pulled two The New Guard inserts. Here we have Jonathan Toews and Marian Gaborik. With a set name like New Guard, I would have expected this to be an all goalie set. But what do I know?
This is from the Favorite Sons insert set. These are kind of like the Hometown Heroes set from the year before (and year before that I think). I don't think I am really a fan of these.
The two above are the Spectacular Saves inserts. These had potential and feature supposedly spectacular saves made by their respective goalies. Of course you don't really get much from a still picture. This would probably be a good idea for one of those new Video Cards that are "all the rage" in the hobby. It comes across as a much better sell when you can actually see the save in action. Here we have the now relegated to backup duty Evgeni Nabokov. He was potentially going to split time with Al Montoya when the year started but I think he has only played in 3 or 4 games thus far. Also, the now retired Chris Osgood. Ozzie was a mainstay in net for Detroit for many, many years and retired as Detroit's all time leading goal scorer for goalies (he had 1). You didn't expect me to list that as a highlight, did you? Coincidentally, Naby had one too against Vancouver.
I'd be remiss if I didn't post a few of the Victory high numbers as well.
Nobody really noteworthy in this lot.
A couple of Gold Parallels including Michael Frolik's Rookie. Not bad.
Definitely a better selection here with Bogosian and Gillies. I remember opening a lot of 2008-09 stuff and it seemed like Petr Vrana was in every pack I opened. No change here.
Again, nothing to see here.
But wait! What is this?
I don't know, has anyone ever heard of this guy? Isn't he good or something? Too bad this wasn't the actual Young Guns card.
Speaking of which, last but not least, the 6 Young Guns that are "guaranteed" per box. Nothing really to write home about in this mix.
So 2 GU cards, 6 Young Guns, 12 Victory rookies (including the Stamkos, and the one Gold Parallel), and a Black Victory parallel. Considering all these and the fact that I polished off a set makes this a great break.