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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is There A More Dangerous Line In Hockey Right Now

Than these 3 guys right here?

Grant it, it was the Jets but 3 goals and 8 assists between them...That's just wrong.  Since December 10, they have combined for 41 of the Penguins' total 79 goals

Friday, February 10, 2012

National Hockey Card Day...In America & Canada??? No way.

Tomorrow is National Hockey Card Day.  A holiday of sorts that had been relegated to our friends north of the border up until this year.  It has now crossed over in the United States and will be observed by hobby shops all across America.  But for as much as I love the fact that the NHL and Upper Deck are trying to get into the spirit of promoting the sport and the joy of card collecting, I have to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy against us Yankees. 

Case in point. 

The way this works is that you go to your local hobby shop.  As a participant (Diamond Dealer certification from Upper Deck is required), there will be a specially marked 5-card pack awaiting your arrival.  Within this pack are five cards from a unique set of 16 cards designed just for the occasion.  As we now have the US and Canada as participants, it's only logical that there are two sets.  The main 15 cards are available in the packs while the 16th card can be obtained via purchase.  All well and good.

But here's where it goes awry.  Has anyone checked out the checklists for the two sets?  Yes?  Then you know what I am talking about.  No?  Well let me explain.  Better yet, let me show you.  First the American set.

Here are the first 8 cards in the set.  The cards are divided up between "American Icons", America's Franchises", and "Stars And Stripes" subsets, if that's what you want to call them.  We have quite a few stars here and a pretty decent rookie in Landeskog.  The Icons have three of the top American born players of all time.  Not too shabby.

The second batch of 8 feature more top stars in the NHL as well as Willie O'Ree, one of the pioneers in the racial integration of the NHL.  You can also see the "pay" card which is Tim Thomas triumphantly taking his lap around the ice after winning the Stanley Cup last season.  All 16 together...not a bad set to have.

But here's the Canadian set.
Let's see...hmmmm.  Three of the greatest players of all time, arguably top five if not higher best goaltender of all time, and two of the top rookies of this years class.  Hmmmm.

Let's see here we have the biggest phenom of the last 20 years in Sidney Crosby, the best player drafted since Crosby in Stamkos, and the best player to be drafted since Stamkos in Taylor Hall.  Oh there is also a Gretzky card and the #1 rookie in this years class too in case you didn't think there was enough value here.

Are you kidding me?  Are you freakin' kidding me? 

This is just another in a long line of reasons why moving to Canada as a hockey collector is not such a bad idea.  Why on Earth did Upper Deck create a Canadian set of cards featuring, oh what a concept, an all Canadian greats and future stars set but make the American set riddled with European born players with accents thicker than Ivan Drago?  So much for the "America's Franchises" moniker. 

Don't get me wrong...I love Jagr and most of you know that, I also have nothing against Chara, or Rinne, Lundqvist, or Ovechkin (well maybe Ovechkin).  But this is an American set.  An American, limited edition set at that, to be given primarily to collectors and to help spur interest in the hobby with the youngsters.  You aren't going to win young hearts and minds with Russians, Czechs, and Swedes that barely speak English.  I'm sorry, but you aren't. 

I commend UD for doing a nice job with the "American Icons".  They should have made the entire set based on these and other current US born stars.  I mean, where's Roenick, Tkachuk, or LaFontaine.  Kane, Parise, and Miller are there.  But how about other current stars like Bobby Ryan, Phil Kessel, Paul Stastny, or Dustin Brown?  What happened to the "Hockey Is For Everyone" campaign?  It should say, "Hockey Is For Everyone, As Long As You Aren't American Because Then You Have Little To No Chance Of Amounting To Anything".

Why does this bother me so much?  I don't really know.  I thought about this a bunch before posting this too because I felt like I wasn't being fair to Upper Deck.  But you know what?  I don't care.  I think, and this is one collector's opinion, that although they attempted to include the US in the festivities of this special day, they did nothing more than patronize fans and collectors (us) with a "going through the motions" attempt at putting something on cardboard.  Will I participate?  Probably because I'm a collector and that's what we do.  But I don't have to like it because, well, I'm a collector and that's what we do.

I'll definitely be attempting to get my hands on a Canadian set.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2008 Upper Deck Heroes Football Retail Box Break

This set was released in July of 2008. So yeah...I'm late on this one.  Real late!

But that's ok.  I found this in one of those discount shelves in the card aisle and it was "heavily discounted".  Did you ever peel the stickers off these things?  They mark them up before they mark them down.  Gotta love retail.

At any rate, we have a nice little retail box 2008 Upper Deck "Heroes" Football.  Since I'm rarely on the football card tip, I figured this would be a nice change of pace since the last thing I need is more 11/12 Upper Deck, 11/12 Pinnacle, or 11/12 O-Pee-Chee...well maybe not OPC because there are so many inserts/parallels/non-base cards in those that it's been impossible to make a dent in this one.  Plus, going through my football, I noticed I don't really have many of these that I could find other than a few Steelers in the PC.

The set contains 2-4 different cards of each of its subjects including current (at the time) veterans, rookies, legends, and some interesting cards in the mix.  The last 25 cards feature track & field "heroes", olympic "heroes", and (why not?) guitar "heroes".  There are a total of 266 cards in the set and according to the master checklist, there are a few groups of numbers missing from the checklist.  In fact 261-263 are just non existent.  Not sure why other than they couldn't get the planned subject on board in time to produce the cards.  I just wonder who it was?

At any rate, let's show what was in this thing...

First, here are some of the base cards.  As you can see there are variations on the same subject matter.  Each player featured has 3 regular cards in varying poses and a 4th "checklist" which features some type of artist rendering of that player.  Here we have Fast Willie Parker, former Steeler running back and all around nice guy.

I figured with his awesome catch in the Super Bowl, why not show some love to Super Mario here.  This is an example of the Rookie Heroes cards.  These feature the various players from the rookie class of 2008 in their college uniforms.  There are also two different cards for each of these players featured. 

There are also apparently parallels of all the base cards.  And not just one or two different parallels...There are SIX versions of each card in this set!  SIX!!  Each one is either a base, #/350, #/125, #/75, #/25, #/10, or #/1.  In my box there was only one parallel card and this was it.  It's a Legends card of Lions great Billy Sims.  The card is numbered out of 75 so it falls right in that middle of the road of the serial numbering.

Here are three of what surprised me.  These are Guitar Heroes...surprising that the makers of Guitar Hero didn't sue Upper Deck.  There are four subjects chosen for this small subset including Tom Morello, Tony Iommi, Steve Vai, and Justin Hayward.  For those who may not know these guys...Morello was/is the lead guitar player for Rage Against the Machine.  He also played with Audioslave and has a number of side projects.

Tony Iommi for anyone that has lived under a rock their whole lives, virtually invented the heavy metal guitar riff.  He is the father of metal, period.  Tony is one of the original founding members of Black Sabbath and has also done various solo projects and side projects to boot.

Steve Vai, I don't even know where to begin.  He is considered by many to be near the top of a short list of the greatest guitar players of all time.  It would be hard not to agree with that too.  Vai has toured with many bands including Whitesnake, Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Frank Zappa.  I could go on and on but I won't.  Look it up. 

The other guy, who I didn't scan, is Justin Hayward.  At first I thought that it was pretty cool that they also threw in the singer/guitar player/writer of all the songs for the Moody Blues...assuming there were a whole bunch of guitar players in the set.  When I finally looked up the checklist, I was shocked to see that these were the only four included.  Now I couldn't figure out why he was in there.  Nothing against him or anything but come on?  Joe Satriani (Steve Vai's guitar teacher by the way), Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Hendrix, BB King, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Brian May...I could go on forever here and still not come up with Justin Hayward (again, no offense).

Well as you can see I got off track there a little bit.  One of my other "passions" is music.  I am what friends and family call obsessed with it.  I always have been.  I even considered starting a music blog well before this one but I don't even have time to keep this one up to date, let alone another one.  So anyway, where were we.  Oh, yes, the rest of the cards.

Really the last thing to speak of in the box was this GU relic of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.  I guess each player has a relic card as well as an auto too.  A master set of this would simply be impossible to put together.

Overall, I really like these for some reason.  For one, they were inexpensive but don't really look cheaply made.  With Score, you can see they are cheap, same with Victory or MVP in Hockey.  But these are nicely put together, have nice designs, good photography, and give you a nice bit of information on the backs of each card.  I also like the artist cards because I am kind of a sucker for those for some reason.  I'd consider another one of these if I could find one as cheap as this one.  It would have been nice to see a few more serial numbered cards or another GU but I shouldn't expect anything more from retail.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Sunday For Sure

Congratulations to the New York Giants on their 21-17 victory over the New England Cheatriots.  A well deserved victory for sure.  And to New couldn't have happened to a better team.  Better luck next year.

After a host of great catches by his receivers and a couple nicely played drives down the field, Eli Manning walks away with his second Lombardi and his second Super Bowl MVP.  I will say this, that new Corvette that he was gifted for his accomplishment was quite nice.  I would have taken those keys and took it for a spin in the endzone.

Overall, the game was quite slow in the beginning and looked like it could have come down to the next big play.  The second half was much more entertaining to watch, especially the fourth quarter.  Of course with Brady and Manning, the fourth quarter is about the only time they come to life.  Speaking of coming to life...what about that halftime show?  I thought Madonna was supposed to be old?  She looked pretty good for 53.  And those two rapper/singer/cheerleaders or whatever they were...did anyone catch the one that flipped off the camera and then it went haywire for a second?  Always something controversial.