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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jags a Pen Again?

Ok, enough is enough.  I can't sit idly by and watch this thing unfold before my eyes involving one of my all time favorite players without making some commentary.  I just can't.  So consider this a warning.  The post may contain sudden outbursts of excitement and jubilation followed by moments of doubt and pain.

If you are a hockey fan and don't live under a rock, you are already aware of the ongoing saga of Jaromir Jagr, arguably one of, if not THE greatest European born hockey player of all time.  Argue all you want with your Lidstrom's and your Bure's or your Ovechkin's.  I will just ignore you because you are wrong.  For those of you that don't know, here's a quick recap.

Jagr, who is now 39 years old, has continually expressed interest in returning to the NHL for quite sometime.  He has played the last three seasons back in Russia but has since peaked the interest of a few teams due to his stellar play at the Olympics and World Championships.  The teams that showed interest were rumored to include Detroit, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Tampa Bay.  But the most hype and press hullabaloo surrounds his possibly return to where it all started, Pittsburgh. 

Flash forward to three days ago, when Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda (yes that Petr Svoboda), mentioned his potential "trip" across the pond to New York/Washington/Pittsburgh?  Flash forward again to today.  Jagr is rumored to have been making his way to Pittsburgh to potentially give a response directly to Ray Shero and Mario Lemieux regarding their rumored 1 year, $2 Million dollar offer.  And here we are.

Now no one seems to know where he is.  No one has gotten a decision or heard from him in hours.  Detroit still thinks they may be in the running for a chance to sign him.  Pittsburgh fans and sports writers alike are going bat $#!+ crazy right now, salivating at the idea of having a former Penguin icon strap on the skates one more time.  The Pens apparently set today as a "deadline" day for a decision on whether he is going to sign.  There is, afterall, more than one player to be signed, including Asham, Kennedy, Adams, and Dupuis (to which three already signed as of me writing this).  Technically Jagr can't officially sign a contract until July 1st but he could let a team know of his intentions.

So what are those intentions?  He wants to play in the NHL again.  That is obvious.  The question is for how long.  I can't see anyone offering more than a year or two on a contract.  Plus, at what cost?  $2 Million seems to be a max number that he could get although going back to Russia and the KHL would probably get him more.  But the thought of retiring as an NHLer would all but guarantee him a first ballot HOF nod.  Plus if you believe the rumors, he has always thought he owed Mario a debt of gratitude and has spoken many times of returning to play for him again.  But I'm not entirely convinced he has enough left in the tank.  That being said, is it worth the $2 Million to get him for one last hurrah?

To me...that answer is a resounding YES!!  Bring him back, even for only a year.  He would be a perfect compliment to a Crosby line or Malkin line and would instantly make the power play 68% better.  Even at half speed, he is better than half the guys in the NHL today.  I don't care how much it hurt when he left.  I don't care how he wanted all the spotlight and didn't want to take the pay cut to stay with the Pens.  I don't care that his visage was burned in effigy for years thereafter.  I DON'T CARE!!  I'm over it.  I was over it five years ago.  I was definitely over it in 2008 after the Cup win.  I want to see him back in Pittsburgh.  I want him to retire as a Pen where he belongs.  But if not with us, at least against us.  Yeah, I said it.  As long as he comes back, I don't care.

I'm excited by the thought.  It's the best news in the Pens camp since Crosby started skating again.  Whatever happens, it was at least a welcomed distraction for the last few weeks.  I can't wait to see what happens over the next few days.  July 1st is only two days away.

He's HOF bound regardless though.  He is 9th all-time in NHL scoring with 1,599 points in 1,273 games, 42 behind Joe Sakic, which he could easily surpass in one season.  17 years in the league with 11 in Pittsburgh has been quite an accomplishment as well.  Not to mention the two Stanley Cups, Hart Trophy (was also a finalist five times), five Art Ross trophies and four Lester B. Pearson Awards.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Prospecting the 2011 NHL Draft class.

I thought I would take a look at just how many cards are out there for the players that were drafted in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft this year.  Prospecting is always one of those gray areas of card collecting.  You really don't see it too much with Football and Basketball because most of the time, there are very few players that actually get cards that don't have a chance to play.  But for Baseball and Hockey, this is a common practice as many card manufacturers focus on rookie cards of prospects and minor league players that may or may not have an opportunity to get playing time.

Now many of these guys that went in the draft may be invisible for a few years since player eligibility is very broad for the draft.  According to the NHL rules, all players age 19 or older including any player who will be age 18 on or before September 15 in the year of the draft, or reaches his 19th birthday between September 16 and December 31, is eligible by claiming so prior to the May 1st filing deadline. Did you catch all that?  Good, there's a test tomorrow.  Essentially, unless these guys are brought on teams in desperate need of assistance or are the second coming of Sid or Alex, they could begin a long career on an AHL team.  

So let's take a look at how the card world is populated by the potential future stars of the NHL, starting with the Top 10.  (Card count information was pulled from  I, in no way, endorse Beckett for anything other than a pretty thorough checklist)

1.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Drafted by Edmonton) - center from Red Deer

Ryan has approximately 74 cards as of the writing of this post.  Of those, 66 are memorabilia cards, almost 2/3 of the entire lot.  There are also 27 autographs and 51 of the cards are serial numbered.  Only 2 of the 74 are actually what can be considered base cards.  As you can guess, ITG has the lionshare of the cards.  In fact, I think they have all of them from that list.  I'm not sure if Red Deer put out a local release for their team that features Nugent-Hopkins or not.  If they did, just add however many you know of to that count.  I can't imagine it is very many. 

Considering his being drafted by Edmonton, chances are pretty good that you will see him in Upper Deck's Victory, Flagship release, and subsequent other releases, as well as anything Panini may be putting out.  I would look for his Victory card (especially if they do the black parallels) to go for a pretty high price out of the box.  Same goes for the Young Guns card, although I can't see it getting as much sustained attention as his fellow teammates Eberle, Paajarvi, and Hall unless he comes out firing on all cylinders.

2.  Gabriel Landeskog (Drafted by Colorado) - left wing from Kitchener

A whole 2 cards out there for Mr. Landeskog.  He has a base card in the 2010-11 Heroes & Prospects set by ITG and also an autograph card.  That is it.  Again, not sure if the Kitchener Rangers put one of in a team set but I'm guessing there aren't many releases.  First cards should show up in Victory followed by the low-end releases by Panini. 

3.  Jonathan Huberdeau (Drafted by Florida) - center from Saint John

I think Florida got a good player in Huberdeau at the #3 pick.  This guy has 14 cards floating around out there with possibly some local releases from Saint John.  I think they may have even put out a Subway Series set in Canada that he might be in too.  But the official count of 14 includes 12 memorabilia cards including this beauty I have up here, 4 autographs, and 9 of them are serial numbered.

4.  Adam Larsson (Drafted by New Jersey) - defenseman from Skelleftea (Sweden)

Larsson plays for Skelleftea in the Swedish league.  As you can imagine, there aren't a ton of releases out there for Swedish teams/players.  That's a shame though, because that league is jam packed full of talented star potential that could easily make a huge impact in the NHL.  Larsson has 14 cards listed online with 12 of them being from Swedish releases.  The only 2 that aren't are both from, you guessed it, ITG.  He has 2 memorabilia cards with 3 autographs and 3 cards are serial numbered.  No, I do not have the card pictured above, although I hope to win it because it looks quite cool.

5.  Ryan Strome (Drafted by New York Islanders) - center from Niagara

Not even ITG can claim to have a card of Ryan Strome.  When you do a search online, it comes up blank.  I did, however find a Niagara Ice Dogs release from this past year.  So that would be 0 official cards and 1 team release.  The card in question is above.  Look for Victory and the Upper Deck base to be the first cards of Ryan, if he gets any playing time.

6. Mika Zibanejad (Drafted by Ottawa) - center from Djurgarden (Sweden)

Maybe someone else will have better luck finding any release for Mika.  I couldn't.  Not even a Swedish league card to speak of either.  Maybe one of you custom card creators out there can create one.

7. Mark Scheifele (Drafted by Winnipeg) - center from Barrie

Winnipeg's first pick in their return to the NHL and they choose a guy with not cards.  Isn't that great?  I'm pretty positive that Mark has something out there by way of a Barrie Colts release but as of writing this, I haven't found one. 

8.  Sean Couturier (Drafted by Philadelphia) - center from Drummondville

Sean has quite a few cards out there.  Officially, there are 40 cards, all of which come from ITG products.  37 of them are memorabilia cards.  There are 13 autographs and 34 serial numbered cards.  I did find at least one Drummondville Voltigeurs release with a Couturier card so that would bring the count to 41.  By the way, what the heck is a Voltigeur?  Some kind of Pirate?  Sean will most likely get some playing time with Philly and will probably have at least a Victory card.

9.  Dougie Hamilton (Drafted by Boston) - defenseman from Niagara

There is at least one Ice Dogs card on the Bay right now and I'm sure there will be more real soon.  Dougie has a total of 9 official cards on the checklist.  All of them are memorabilia cards.  In The Game put out a tribute insert set in Heroes & Prospects celebrating the Subway Series.  Each of the 9 cards are various versions of this card.  Hey look, there's one now.  These cards are cool because they barely fit in a holder.  The double seam makes the card almost twice as thick as normal.  Hamilton will definitely have a Young Guns card and a Victory card because Boston always lets their young players get some playing time in the beginning of the season. 

10.  Jonas Brodin (Drafted by Minnesota) - defenseman from Farjestad (Sweden)

Jonas is another Swedish player with few if any cards.  Officially, there aren't any listed on the checklist.  I also checked the Bay and found nothing other than a few 8x10 autos.  The Swedish Eliteset's don't list him on their checklists, either.  Considering Brodin is still under contract with Farjestad, he will probably not suit up for the Wild till at least 2012-13.  I don't expect to see a card of Mr. Brodin in any regular release other than ITG, at least in the short term.

I plan to figure out the rest of the first round players cards as well.  As a recap, for the Top 10 players there are 156 total cards divided between 7 players.  If it weren't for ITG, there would be virtually nothing available for early collector's to get their hands on.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do You Get To Cash in Your Class of 2011 Cards?

Now that the 2011 NHL Draft is in the books, those of us that happened to partake in any opening of 2010-11 ITG Heroes & Prospects may want to revisit our stacks.  At a rate of about 1 per box, ITG threw in Class of 2011 Mystery Draft Redemption cards that would net you a pretty nice return.

The cards featured a gold silhouette of a player on the front with a red border at the bottom stating "Class of 2011 Heroes And Prospects" and then a designated player letter.  The idea was that each player letter would correspond to a draftee at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  ITG announced the list of players about ten days after the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game where Team Orr, coached by Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark, destroyed Team Cherry 7-1 (bet you can't guess who coached Team Cherry...that's right Darryl Strawberry).  In case you haven't made your way over to the In The Game Heroes & Prospects page in a while, here is the list of players chosen by ITG for each letter:

Player A - Sean Couturier
Player B - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Player C - Gabriel Landeskog
Player D - Jonathan Huberdeau
Player E - Dougie Hamilton
Player F - Nathan Beaulieu
Player G - Sven Baertschi
Player H - Ty Rattie
Player I - Ryan Murphy
Player J - Brandon Saad

As you can see by the image, I had Nathan Beaulieu here.  I also had an A and a C if you are keeping score at home.

Now, on the back of your card, there will be a draft position stamped in foil that designates a respective spot in the first round of the draft.  The idea is that if your player on the front, matches the draft position on the back, you win.  It's like gambling without the sound of plinking coins in a hopper.  What do you win, you ask?  Well If everything matches, you would send your card along with your info into ITG and you would receive a Game-Used Memorabilia card that is numbered /10.  Their official rules don't state whether it will be of your player or not but I can only assume that to be the case.

For those that may or may not have checked out the draft, of the list of 10 players, to many pundits and fans surprise, only 8 of them were drafted in the first round.  So if you have Player H - Ty Rattie, or Player J - Brandon Saad, sorry for your loss but thanks for playing.  That leaves A-G and I.  Here is the list of players and their draft positions.  See if you are a winner.

Player A - Sean Couturier; Drafted 8th by Philadelphia
Player B - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; Drafted 1st by Edmonton
Player C - Gabriel Landeskog; Drafted 2nd by Colorado
Player D - Jonathan Huberdeau; Drafted 3rd by Florida
Player E - Dougie Hamilton; Drafted 9th by Boston
Player F - Nathan Beaulieu; Drafted 17th by Montreal
Player G - Sven Baertschi; Drafted 13th by Calgary
Player H - Ty Rattie; Drafted 32nd (2nd Round) by St. Louis
Player I - Ryan Murphy; Drafted 12th by Carolina
Player J - Brandon Saad; Drafted 43rd (2nd Round) by Chicago

So if your card matches either A-8, B-1, C-2, D-3, E-9, F-17, G-13, or I-12, you are a winner.  You have until, well, I don't know when you have until.  They haven't posted that information online yet.  But if it is anything like the last few redemption programs, you may get at least a year or more, although supplies may be slim depending on how many of each redemption card combination they made.  

I unfortunately was not a winner.  I had Landeskog at 17th, Beaulieu at 20th and Couturier at 2nd.  I was at least close with the Beaulieu.  If you have any of these, post a comment and let us know how you did.  If you may have won, leave a comment and let us all know what you plan to do with your card (ie. sell it, cash it in, trade it to me for some shiny marbles).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Who is Joe Morrow?

The first round of the NHL draft is over and for those of us with high enough draft picks, we might be happy right now...or not.  The Penguins had the #23 pick in the first round this year, a far cry from the early-mid 00s where a top 3 pick was all but guaranteed.  This year had to be the year of the defensemen and centermen, encompassing 20 of the top 30 picks.  To no one's surprise, I guess, not a single goalie was taken in the first round.

So with 23 on the board, the Pens management thought long and hard about their pick.  As a somewhat educated observer and albeit fan of my team, I also played the role of GM Ray Shero for a moment and scouted my list of potential draftees, looking for the best fit to fill a need.  The obvious choice would have been to go for a winger.  We always need wingers.  When your team plays host to three of the best centermen in the NHL today (Crosby, Malkin, Staal if you were wondering), it's only logical to get as many role playing wingmen to compliment their on ice talent.  I had my eye on Brandon Saad, the 18 year old from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania (a little town about 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh).  I mean, come on.  He's a hometown boy, as a kid his heros were Penguins, he fills a needed spot on the wing, and he's not too shabby of a player either, ranked as the 19th best North American skater in the Central Scouting rankings.  The fact that he was even still available at this point was a shock to me considering at one point, he was a top 10 pick in most mock drafts.  But for Saad, the first round came and went and the Saginaw Spirit forward has to continue his waiting game.

Instead, Shero went with the recommendation of his scouts (this is why I'm not a scout).  With the 23rd pick of the first round, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Joe Morrow, defenseman from the seemingly endless talent laden Portland Winterhawks.  I will admit that I was a little shocked by this pick.  Not that Morrow is some slouch or anything.  But what was all the craziness last year come free agent time with the signing of Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin?  Isn't that the combination they had been looking for to fill the shoes left by Sergei Gonchar's departure?  But in the end, it's the logic of the draft strategy that won out.  In the first round of the draft, you generally don't draft for need, you draft for the best available.  I do it in my fantasy leagues so why wouldn't I think of it here?  Position is always the tie breaker between two players of equal strength, skill, and scoring ability.  The need players come later when surpluses become available positionally.  I get it, I just thought a hometown guy...nevermind, forget it.

So who is Mr. Joe Morrow? Morrow was placed at #12 on the list of top North American skaters eligible for the draft back in May by the Central Scouting Bureau.  He's considered pretty tough of a defensemen with not only strength to win the battles along the boards but quickness to be able to transition between zones.  He is a two-way defensemen that can put the puck in the back of the net as well as many mid-tier forwards.  He had 9 goals and 40 assists last year, helping the Winterhawks to their first division title in 9 years.  Plus, come playoff time he doesn't disappear into the wallpaper.  He added another 6 goals and 14 assists on the way to a berth in the WHL finals.  He is also a big Call of Duty guy when he's not watching episodes of Entourage or Tom & Jerry cartoons.  But I can go on and on about this guy or just let the professionals do it for me. 

 Check this out...

Fowler?  Maybe.  Coffey?  Not a chance. (prove me wrong, Joe)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Congratulations to the Boston Bruins...Stanley Cup Champs

I'm not going to comment on the debacle known as the Vancouver Canucks.  But know was a debacle.  I'm just going to say, congrats to the B's on their first Cup in 39 years.  Way to keep the Cup south of the border.  Also congrats to the MVP Tim Thomas.  He was simply a monster in goal and there is no way the Bruins get here without him.  Also, also, congrats to Gary Bettman for continuing to draw the ire of fans around the globe and in Vancouver with a rain of "Bettman Sucks" and continuing boos while he speaks.  What a class act.  Also, also, also congrats to the ageless one, Mark Recchi and his career.  Way to go out on top Recchin ball.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Here's what $10 can buy you at a "dying a slow death" card show.

Let's face it.  The days of the local hobby collector's show are almost at an end.  No more do we find the plethora of places to go to get your cardboard fix on the weekends, whether it be the local mall, VFW, or banquet room at the Holiday Inn.  Sure, if you live in a larger market (or Canada) you might find a smattering of interesting things on weekends.  Heck, my fellow Canuckian collectors have been posting all sorts of goodies from a variety of shows that take place north of the border.  But for some of us, local shows are a thing of the past.

My local show is no exception.  There is an old elementary school that was converted into a community center many years ago very close to my house.  Four times a year, they have a fairly large "rummage" sale that features as many as 120-150 tables.  If you could see this for yourself, you'd be shocked.  It's wall to wall junk tables filled with ceramics, clothes no one wore even if they were fashionable, records, books, and other assorted knick-knacks.

But for the card collector, there has always been a portion of the show reserved for dealers and sellers of all sorts.  It is starting to become apparent that these shows are less than attractive for dealers as more and more tables remain unfilled.  I've even thought about picking one up sometime to try and sell off some of my collection but I can't compete with the guy with a table full of thousands of vintage cards, the guy with all the SLUs, or the one and only hockey guy with more top shelf GU and Autos that I think he has them specially made for himself.

Well, the hockey guy didn't show up this time so what was I to do?  I stopped by the first 10 tables I came hockey.  I circled back to cover the other side of the hockey.  I couldn't find hockey anywhere.  Finally, after going through about 50 tables, I found a few guys willing to part with a few cards.  I spent a total of $10 on 10 cards.  Here is what you can get for $10 when a card show is dying.

2010-11 Black Diamond QUAD DIAMOND Gordie Howe - These quad diamonds are a rough pull out of hobby boxes and blasters alike.  I think you only get one in a blaster and maybe two in a hobby box.  They are not inserts but are the high numbered base cards.  There is no serial numbering on them but they are most definitely short printed.  The black and white photo of Mr. Hockey here makes the card almost look entirely made of metal.

2009-10 Upper Deck Ice Fresh Threads Jakub Voracek Jersey - Hey, I didn't say they were all great but this is a nice jersey piece with a stitch right through the middle.  Voracek has been a Jacket since coming into the league and is a pretty solid winger.  He also is known to throw down on occasion.  I think the only time I remember him in my hockey memory is when he was destroyed by Kris Letang in a game last year after being cross checked in the back about 8 times along the boards.  I'm sure the video is out there somewhere....oh, wait, here it is...

2009-10 Upper Deck Ice Frozen Fabrics Alexander Frolov - I'm not a Kings fan but there is something about purple on a jersey swatch that just draws you in.  As for the player, eh.  But it's a jersey and as I already said in another post, I have been obsessed with them lately for some reason.  Frolov spent the better part of 8 seasons out west until the Kovalchuk lottery last year made him dispensable.  He went to the Rangers to help boost the production of Marian Gaborik but that never panned out either.  His season ending injury pretty much sealed the deal that he wouldn't be back in the Red White and Blue...literally.  He defected to the KHL back in May.

1999-00 Be A Player Millennium Signature Series Martin Straka Autograph - Pittsburgh Penguin...check.  On-card autograph...check.  One of the all-time Penguin greats...check.  How could I go wrong with this one?  It is interesting how these cards scan.  The silver holo-foil makes the player image much more predominant than normal.  You almost can't see the autograph but it's there, trust me.  But, wait.  It gets better.  Not only did I get one Marty signature...but...

1998-99 Be A Player Martin Straka Autograph - Two!  Two Martin Straka Autographs!  Ah, Ah, Ahhhhh.  This was by far my least favorite Penguin uniform in their history.  As much as I am not a huge fan of the baby blues they sometimes bust out, I think I disliked these even more.  That computer generated pigeon they put on their jersey's was laughable.  I just can't believe they lasted as long as they did.  Maybe that's why they couldn't get back to the finals for so long after the back-to-back Cups.

2005-06 SPx Winning Materials John LeClair Dual Jersey #/350 - LeClair is pretty much synonymous with the Legion Of Doom and the Flyers.  He scored 50 goals with them three years in a row and was the first American born player to do so.  But, there was a time back in 2005 that the infamous CBA that everyone either loves or hates kicked in.  The Flyers were forced to dump cash quickly and John was a casualty along with Tony Amonte.  The Pens signed him to a 2 year deal and he finished third in scoring, passing the 400 career goal mark.  He also put up his 9th 50+ point season that year.  But was one and done for John and the Penguins (well 1 1/2 actually).  He was released in December of 2006.  He is in the US Hockey Hall Of Fame.  Maybe one day, the big Hall?  I doubt it, though.

2006-07 In The Game Heroes & Prospects Jordan Staal - Here we have Mr. Staal III, the third brother to be drafted into the NHL.  Staal is such a powerful guy out on the ice and his scoreing capabilities still blow me away everytime I watch him play.  It makes you wonder how bad the Penguins actually were to be able to get this guy (oh, and Fleury/Crosby/Malkin too).

2000-01 Crown Royal Jaromir Jagr Jewels Of The Crown - A little known insert set from one of the 10 million Pacific sets put out between 1998 and 2003.  For some reason this was a Jags card I didn't least I didn't think I had it.  Hmmm?  I really need to update my lists. 

2010-11 SP Authentic Sign Of The Times Colin Wilson Autograph - Again, I don't know how many people would get excited over Colin Wilson, or for that matter a Nashville Predator card.  But it's an on-card auto of a great future star of the Preds.  Colin centered the top line for Nashville in only his first full season, putting up 34 points in 82 games.  Hopefully good things to come from this young guy...he's only 21 (as of writing this). 

And my favorite of the bunch...

1955 Bowman Ted Marchibroda - This one is in excellent condition and adds to my Steelers PC.  This was by far my favorite pick up of the day.  Especially for a buck!!  For those of you thinking "Ted was a Steeler?"  The answer is yes...for a little while.  He was the Steelers first pick in the 1953 draft and played on the team the following year.  After that, he left to join the army.  In 1955 he came back and played another year until he finished his career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1957, not a long career at all.  But, Ted is much better known for his coaching prowess with a 28 year resume that includes stints with the Redskins twice, the LA Rams, Baltimore (Colts), Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Buffalo. Most people will remember him most recently as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 1992-95 and then the first head coach of the Baltimore Ravens after they were unceremoniously yanked from Cleveland by the Great Satan (aka: Art Modell).

All-in-all, not a bad bunch of cards for a 10 spot.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Few From the Bay

I find myself doing a lot of watching but not a whole lot of shooting when it comes to Ebay auctions lately.  The fees are starting to mount up and the overall price of a lot of singles has increased as a result.  Sellers are trying to hold onto some semblance of a profit margin but it's getting tougher.  Despite all that, I have actually been able to land a few nice bargains for my Penguins PC and my Guerin collection. 

I thought I would share a few of the latest because, they make me happy.

 2010-11 Score Brad Thiessen Autograph - Not an on-card auto but most of the rookie ones are not.  Despite that, I think the sticker is kind of unobtrusive and the signature is prominent enough not to make you second guess whether it is actually signed.  Brad played a few last year for the Pens and has a bright future in a pretty deep goalie lineup.

 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Rainbow Bill Guerin #/100 - I have actually bid on this card three times, only to lose it in the last few seconds.  This time...I was the only bidder and I got it for a dollar.  That, by the way, included shipping.  Not a bad deal for a short print parallel.

 2005-06 Artifacts Frozen Artifacts Bill Guerin #/275 - For some reason, I have become obsessed with jersey cards.  What I once hated or at the least, was indifferent about has become one of my favorite cards to pull.  Although this one is a bit on the small size, It is a nicely designed card and the low print run makes it a perfect addition to my Billy G. collection.

2007-08 Artifacts Treasured Swatches Patch #/25 - My favorite card of the bunch is also my least favorite.  It is a franken-card of epic proportions.  The team credited to the card, as you can see under the serial number is the New York Islanders.  The last time I checked, the Islanders didn't have gray, black, and turquoise uniforms.  Since Billy is pictured on the Sharks, you would think the patch would be from, oh, I don't know...maybe a San Jose jersey.  But alas, it is a patch from a Dallas Stars jersey.  Three teams, same player, epic fail.  So epic, that is is outstanding.  Oh, and I didn't notice on the original scan but there is a soft corner on this as well as a nick on the top above the F in Artifacts.  The soft corner boggles my mind since the card is about a 130 pt. thickness.  But, I can't argue once again with $.99.

My First ZIstle Trade

Has anyone done any trading on Zistle?  Do you even know what Zistle is?  If you answered no to either of these questions, I'm sorry for your loss.  For those in the know, the new functionality on the Zistle platform makes trading almost too easy.

I was contacted a few days ago by a fellow Zistler looking to give up some P-Rats for some cards from his Strawberry/Gooden/Wilson collection.  I just so happened to have been looking through a box at the time that had a bunch of cards off his list so we exchanged pleasantries and three days later, I get a package in the mail.

I thought I would share my first Zistle trade ever (hopefully not my last).  For most of you, this will be a collection of commons but since I'm a Pirates fan, these are all welcomed additions to my PC.  I think I gave up 10 or 11 cards and got these in return.

 2009 National Chicle Andrew McCutchen

 2011 Gypsy Queen Jose Tabata

 2007 UD Masterpieces Bill Mazeroski

 2011 Gypsy Queen Future Stars Jose Tabata

 2008 UD Masterpieces Black Border Willie Stargell

 2009 Allen & Ginter Jason Jaramillo

2009 UD Masterpieces Bill Mazeroski

Friday, June 10, 2011

Box Break - - 2006/07 Parkhurst

I'm going to start of by saying that I have always wanted to put this set together.  I missed the boat on hockey cards back in 2006-07 because I didn't back into collecting until the following year.  So everything prior went sort of unnoticed for a while.  Upper Deck's resurrection of the Parkhurst brand features a 160 card base set with another 90 "subset" cards to boot.  All of which, are featuring the greatest legends and superstars in the history of the NHL, including what was up to this point one of only 13 cards of Willie O'Ree and one of 6 cards of Clint Smith to be produced (not counting their Beehive photos).  I think even now as cards are starting to get overproduced again there have only been about 40 O'Ree's and maybe 20 Smith's total. 

Over the years, I have picked up a few packs of this stuff and loved everything about the set.  The design to me is very appealing with a sort of brush stroke faded edge to the shots.  For the most part, they are all action shots of the players with posed shots both black and white and in color of many of the early greats of the game.  They also have a nicely placed, unobtrusive logo at the top (as in most Parkhurst sets) and a well designed name plate at the bottom.  The backs, although only summarizing the players career, give a brief write-up on each player.  Also included at the bottom is a beginning and ending season for each players career, something that always comes in handy for any hockey fan. 
The other thing that was cool about this set was the potential for autographs.  They jammed this set full of some of the greatest players to ever lace up skates and got the majority of them to hand sign cards.  Of the dozen or so packs I have ever opened of this stuff to this point, I pulled two autographs and was very happy with the player selection.  

Also in this set are two subsets featuring a celebration of Captains of their respective teams throughout NHL history and one of the first sets to showcase the always lovable Enforcers.  If you relish in the ability to pull a Probert, Kocur, McSorley, Gillies, Williams, or Semenko in one set, look no further. 

I thought I would take a minute to showcase some of the cards for those that may have never seen them as well as the higher numbered, lower print run subset cards.  I'll also show you my, ummm, autograph.

Box Details:
4 Cards/Pack
36 Packs/Box
Guarantees:  None
Base Cards Pulled:  124
Doubles:  13
Serial Numbered Subset Cards:  6
Autographs: 1*

Base Cards

The great Clint Smith and Grapes himself, Don Cherry (I think my only Don Cherry card, actually)

Bobby Clarke and Gump Worsley (I wonder if the pad I have came from what he is wearing in this shot?)

Color barrier pioneer, Willie O'Ree and former Penguin netminder, Michel Dion (you gotta love that mask)

Gerry Cheevers and the stitch mask along with Ed Giacomin (the goalie cards in this set are fantastic)

The Captains (all numbered /3999)

Kelly Kisio and Bernie Federko

Wilf Paiement and Scott Stevens (Where else can you pull an old Colorado Rockies card?)

Walt Tkaczuk and Brad Park (Yes, this box was very Ranger-heavy)

And finally, last but not least, the moment you've all been waiting for...The Autograph...(drum roll, please)

In case you might not be able to read that, it says I am entitled to one autograph card by former Islander/Sabre great, Pat LaFontaine.  You can imagine my initial elation, realizing that upon further review, the expiration date was last year.  Just for giggles, I logged onto Upper Deck's website, scratched off the code (as you can readily see), and low and behold..."You're Redemption Has Expired".  In other words, "We realize that we had a card at one point in time that corresponded to this redemption card and it was sitting here minding it's own business waiting for you to redeem it.  But, unfortunately, you took too long to buy a box of these and we gave your card away in a flea market last weekend to a homeless man to use for toilet paper.  Sorry."  I suppose that was my punishment for pulling two other autographs out of random packs of this product for no apparent reason.  I guess it could have been worse.  I could have been the guy who got the John Quincy Adams cut-auto stuck onto a card of John Adams (sans-Quincy). 

I'm not going to hold that against the product though.  It is still a really nice set to chase that is very affordable and features one of the best player selections you will find in any product.  I will admit that it is going to be difficult to put an entire 250 card set together but I can't say I'm not going to try.