Search This Blog

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Penguins Public Pittsburgh Apology

Nuff Said.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WIth The First Pick In The 2012 NFL Draft, The Steelers Choose...

This guy...

David DeCastro, Offensive Guard out of Stanford.  

Am I happy with this pick....You better believe it!!  I have waited years to see the Steelers actually get a first round pick for a needed position.  DeCastro has an opportunity to come into camp and challenge right out of the gate for the starting job.  As soon as he was drafted, Mike Mayock's comment went something like this..."He's a natural Pittsburgh Steeler. He's a plug-and-play guard....this kid fits in Pittsburgh."  There isn't much else to say about that because I agree 100%
I didn't watch him at all since I rarely watch college football but I have seen film of him in the last few months when it became apparent that the Steelers were going for an O-lineman.  They guy is a technician on the field and plays his position perfectly.  What stood out to my was his ability to drive his opponent back, as well as shift them at will in whatever direction he wanted.  Despite being a big man, he seems light on his feet and very athletic.  
I'm not an analyst so I couldn't really find his weaknesses.  The so-called "experts" seem to think he has problems finishing off blocks downfield in the run game.  They think he has lazy footwork at times which causes him to fall off and become disengaged with his opponent. If that's all they got against him, I'll still take it.  

There are a few of DeCastro's cards so far for this year.  I have none of them, nor will I anytime soon.  I checked one of the red Leaf autos on the Bay right as the Steelers picked him.  It was $.99 with still 2 days left.  Within 10 minutes, it had 7 bids and is now over $10.  Sometimes I don't like the information age and the easy access to technology.

I can't wait to see what we have up our sleeves though for the next few rounds.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

6 Random Things On My Desk

My desk is a mess.  There are cards all over it that have not been sorted or put away.  There are piles I have been saving for other collectors.  There are Ebay purchases.  There are auction items.  There are set fillers.  There are autos, game used cards, inserts, PC items, oddball things, non-card sports stuff, is just a disaster area. 

Here is a random post of 6 things on my desk for no particular reason.

2011 Press Pass Blaine Gabbert (Banner Season) Refectors #81 - - "One of the most successful quarterbacks ever to don a Missouri jersey, the talented Gabbert claimed 18 wins during his two years as a starting quarterback for the Tigers.  Included in that number were the 10 he ehlmed in the 2010 season, marking just the fourth 10-2 win season in 120 years of the school's football history."  I don't know where this came from.  It's just in a stack of football to be filed away. 

2011-12 Crown Royale Nicklas Lidstrom #33 - - "The veteran blueliner is still a ways from catching Steve Yzerman for second on Detroit's career list for power-play goals (202), but it's never wise to discount the ageless wonder.  Lidstrom put away his first power-play goal of 2011-12 vs. Columbus on Oct. 21, pushing his lifetime total to 129."  This was pulled from a Hobby Box of Crown Royale earlier this year. 

2003-04 In The Game Be A Player Memorabilia Series Game-Used Stick & Jersey #SJ-11 - - This is a card for my Billy G. PC.  I pulled this off the Bay not too long ago for a steal.  You don't see these very often so when you do, the best time to buy is NOW!  The sweater piece is from a Dallas Stars jersey and a piece of his stick.   Guerin used Easton sticks and the piece on here looks like it comes from the bottom of the shaft near the blade where there is a yellow starburst that says "CARBON".  I think that's the "R".  Years ago, he used Vic sticks but by the time he got to Boston he was using the Eastons.

2008 Upper Deck Football Heroes Billy Sims #206 Serial #/75 - - "The first overall pick in the 1980 draft, Sims was a Po Bowl participant in each of his first three seasons with the Lions.  His rookie campaign was a huge success as the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma gained 1,303 yards on the ground and caught another 51 passes for 621 yards as Detroit improved from two wins the previous season to nine victories and a second-place finish in the NFC Central."  This came from a Retail Box of 2008 UD Football Heroes that I got quite a while ago, also from Meijer.  These have been sitting here for a long time.  The rest of the cards from that box break are on the desk too.  I think this is some kind of colored parallel.  I'm not sure if they call it Brown or Bronze.

2012 Topps Chrome Mickey Mantle #MBC1 - - "In at least two categories - switch - hitting prowess and sheer fan appeal - Mickey's career stacks up with that of any player.  Architect of some of the longest home runs in Baseball history, the revered hero blasted 536 plus a record 18 more in World Series play.  Mantle's plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium reads "A Great Teammate" and "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage"."  I'm pretty sure by now every baseball collector in America has at least one of these.  Maybe even a dozen.  They come from those Topps Value Boxes found in Retail Stores with five packs of regular Topps and two packs of Heritage.  These are randomly thrown , one per box and include the Mick here, as well as Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr.  Some say they are Refractors but even though they look like it, no where on the card does it allude to that fact.

2012 Topps Golden Greats Nolan Ryan #GG-8 - - The card says "Express," Meet "Train" and is dated April 27, 1983.  "By the end of 1982, both Ryan and Steve Carlton were closing in on Walter Johnson's all-time strikeout record.  Nolan got there first during a masterful outing against the Expos the following year.  He caught Brad Mills looking in the bottom of the eighth for his 3,509th career whiff.  That inning would be his last, as the bullpen finished off a 4-2 Astros win."  This obviously came from this years Topps flagship baseball set.  I still haven't decided if I want to keep these and collect them along with the rest of the set considering there are so many.  This one is a double though.

If any reader wants any of these (except the Guerin), let me know.  My set needs and what I collect can be found on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who's Idea Was It: Hockey Heroes

Who's idea was it to make these impossible to find in boxes?

The odds are 1:600 packs that you will get one.  That comes out to about 1 every three cases or so.  That's completely absurd if you ask me.  I was lucky enough to win an online auction for the Art card you see here and came out of the deal fairly unscathed, cash-wise.  Sure its a nice looking card, even better in hand.  But is it 1:600 nice?

In the beginning and for many years, the sets were single subject driven.  I remember the first set in 1991-92 with Brett Hull as the subject.  Even back then the Header cards were practically impossible to find.  But I can tell you I do remember seeing them pulled from packs and their owners being less than thrilled with their discovery.  In fact, I can recall quite a few friends abandoning them since to a novice, younger generation collector, they just looked like an advertisement with no picture.  And who wants that?  The Art card was actually a checklist and was fairly easily found in packs.

Over the years, Upper Deck did a nice job with these sets, including them across the board in all of their sports releases.  

In 1992-93, they chose Wayne Gretzky for the Low Series and Gordie Howe for the High Series, both with limited insertion of the Header cards. The Art cards were checklists and were pulled fairly regularly although I don't remember ever getting the Howe except years later as a single purchase from random boxes at card shows.  My scanner cut off the border for some reason on this one.

In 1993-94 they mixed it up a bit with a Future Heroes set featuring younger stars in the making of the NHL.  I don't think the Headers were short printed however, because I remember getting them quite a few times (or maybe I was just lucky). 

Here is the Art card which isn't really art at all; more like a photo collage (scrapbooking before it was cool; okay maybe it was never cool).  Check out all the talent featured here.  You have Jagr, Lindros, Mogilny, Selanne, Bure, Potvin, Falloon, & Juneau.  How many sure fire Hall of Famers do you see in there...3? 4? Maybe even 6?  Realistically, I would definitely pick 4 and you may even be safe with 5. 

After that season, we didn't see this set emerge again until 2008-09.  Why?  I don't think anyone really knows.  There were a number of sets mixed in to the main release with "Heroes" in the title, such as Lord Stanley's Heroes, Highlight Heroes, Hometown Heroes, or Hat Trick Heroes, but no true Hockey Heroes set to speak of.  That's 15 years without a Heroes set.  Imagine all the other subject material that could have been printed...Lemieux, Bourque, Roy, Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy, the list is endless.

Sidney Crosby was the subject for the 2008 resurrection of the set and was only included in Series I packs.  Like the original release in 1991-92, there was only one set released.  Above is his Art card.  I never pulled one.  I don't know anyone that pulled one.  Other than on Ebay, I've never even seen one in person.  I imagine the collation was similar to this years set although I am not real sure.

The following year split it up again with Martin Brodeur in the Series I set...

and Mark Messier in Series II. 

Again, I have neither of these nor have I ever seen them anywhere but the Bay.  They, along with the Crosby, ditched the white border for a full bleed portrait that is really a nice touch for such a difficult card to pull.

2010-11 chose Steve Yzerman for Series I and Bobby Orr for Series II.  Below is the Bobby Orr Art card featuring "The Goal".  Of course it's just like the others...never seen one live and in person.

To the right here is the header card for the Yzerman set.  It's been pretty much the same every year since the inception of the Hockey Heroes.  The design really hasn't changed that much other than some subtle adjustments to the borders and font.  I actually pulled this one from a pack in one of those multi-repacked value boxes from Meijer a year or so ago.  Needless to say, I didn't throw this one away.  It is in with the rest of the cards from the set.  I have actually had a harder time completing this base set than I did finding the Header.

In 2011-12, as you can see at the top of the post, they decided to venture down a different path, creating a decades theme that features 1950s superstars in Series I and 1960s superstars in Series II.  Next year, they are planning to release 1970s stars in Series I and 1980s stars in Series II.  Maybe for 2013-14 they will continue with 1990s stars and 2000's stars...who knows?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Latest Ebay pickups for the PC and the Return of the PWE

As the Pens are heading out of the playoffs, my focus on hockey cards could be facing it's annual lull...

Awww, who am I kidding?  I have no lulls in collecting.  Even when I am bored with it sometimes, I find something to re-spark that interest.  At any rate, I picked up a few more for the PC off the Bay over the last week or so that have found their way to my humble abode. 

As an unrelated, well somewhat related, side note; I have been noticing a lot lately that sellers are starting to bring back the ever popular PWE, or Plain White Envelopes.  I have gone about a year or so without seeing a single one of these but in the last two weeks I have received 4 of them.  I generally haven't made a big stink about these because for the most part, the PWEers will package the items well enough that their containers haven't led to their demise.  Mostly that's because they are only single cards and really haven't taken much abuse.  But there is always that chance.

I am more bothered by the fact that for most auctions, shipping prices have increased in order for sellers to off set the new Ebay seller charges.  As an occasional seller, I get that.  What I don't get is how anyone can charge $2.50 or more (one was actually $3.75) for shipping and send it in a PWE.  That, my friends, is ridiculous.  Especially when you get the envelope and happen to notice that the shipping cost was barely a buck.  I know what you are all thinking...So don't bid.  Yeah that's one option but when you find stuff that you don't normally see very often and it would make a nice addition to your PC, as a collector, you have to bid.  You have to.  It's a law.  I know none of "us" are the culprits here but I just wanted to voice my concern. 

So back to the subject at hand.  Let's show off some new PC stuff.

Here are two more Letter Marks cards from SPGame Used for my Eric Tangradi collection.  Finding one of these is a feat in and of itself.  But two?  That's ludicrous.  Fortunately, the same seller had both.  I now have 2 "A's" and this "D".  I now need T, N, G, R, & I.  I think I mentioned on here once about the "T" that I had won but it was conveniently lost in the mail.  That's ok, though.  There are 49 others out there and one day I will snag one.  I just hope it is before he gets traded to another team.  He played some good hockey in the playoffs so he might have a chance at staying on for another year.  I hope he can make a roster spot next season but with the talent in the Pens farm system, that's never an easy task.

This is one that I was quite happy about.  It's an 05-06 Parkhurst Season Highlights card of everybody's favorite diving whiner, Sidney Crosby.  I saw this card and noticed it looked quite different than the one I thought I already had.  First, the "Season Highlights" block on the left side is red instead of the tan color on the base card.  Second, you can see right there next to the puck he is holding.  Yeah, that's an autograph.  But...not a real autograph.  The card is #586 in the set but this one is serial numbered #/100.  FOr some reason, Parkhurst included a Facsimile Autograph parallel set that were serial numbered.  I'm not sure what genius at Upper Deck came up with this idea back then, especially considering there are Signature cards included in the basic print run.  Maybe they just got bored with different borders or foil stamping.  I don't know. 

I have seen these at shows before selling for upwards of $50 (for a fake auto?  that's crazy).  I guess the PG has it listed for $60.  I bid on this one after looking at completed auctions.  They were selling for $20-40 pretty consistently so at $5 bucks, I figured why not?  I got it for $10.  SOLD!

I know GU cards have lost their luster (assuming they had luster in the first place) but I still like them.  I like Rookie Materials cards even better.  There is something about getting that little piece of jersey from a guy just starting their career that is satisfying as a collector.  I'm not a Colorado fan/collector nor am I on some crusade to start a Landeskog collection.  But I couldn't resist making a play for this at a couple cents and was fortunate enough to get it.  After busting about a half a case of Series II this year, I am surprised I didn't pull this one on my own.  Regardless, I guess this guy is kind of good or something...

- Lead Colorado in goals (22), plus/minus (+22), shots (267), hits (216) and game-winning goals (5-tied).
- Is the only Avalanche player to appear in all games.
- Set the franchise rookie record for shots on goal with 267.
- Is the youngest player in franchise history to score an OT goal (19 years, 110 days).
- NHL Rookie of the Month for February after leading all rookies with 13 points (7g/6a) in 12 games.
- Had a six-game point streak (5g/5a) from Feb. 17-27, the longest streak by an Avalanche player this season.
- Set the franchise rookie record with shots on goal in a single game, nine vs. Vancouver and again at Winnipeg.
- Represented the Avalanche at the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, participating in the All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 28.
- Youngest Swedish-born player in NHL history to score a goal.

He is one of the three finalists for the Calder, which has already been chosen but won't be announced until the awards show.  If you ask me, he should be the front runner because I think he meant more to his team overall.  In the end, I think the Nuge will get the nod, though, with the better points per game.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hockey Gods Be Praised, We Have A Game 5

On the brink of elimination, the Pens mustered up whatever they had left in the tank, weathered the initial onslaught by Philadelphia, and some how came out with at 10-3 win.

Statement?  I don't think so.  Payback?  Not yet.

Simply put, it was a do or die situation for Pittsburgh and they stepped it up.  As in the rest of the games of the series, the goal tending was shaky at best for both teams.  Bryzgalov was pulled and Bobrovsky didn't fare much better.  Fleury was able to survive due to the enormous lead in front of him otherwise I thought Coach Bylsma was going to sit him too in favor of Brent Johnson.  The Penalty Kill, again, for both teams was atrocious.  There was a lack of solid defense on both sides of the puck.  But if you like offense, this was fun to watch. 

13 total goals in one game...That makes 51 goals in four games.  Probably not a record but it should be.

I realize it was only one game but if they can keep up the fast paced, mistake free (at least in the last two periods), intense game going, we might have extra innings in this one.  I'm still not convinced they can but tonight's' performance certainly showed that they have the ability.

As an editorial comment...the refs played this one tight.  I think word came down from Toronto that they were to call each and every penalty no matter how ticky-tack it may have been.  There was no "just let them play" mentality in this game.  There was hardly a five minute span without a call being made tonight.  Pavel Kubina, Wayne Simmonds, Zack Rinaldo, Matt Cooke, and Joe Vitale were all assessed 10 minute misconduct penalties with Kubina, Simmonds, Rinaldo, and Cooke all being tossed from the game.  Rinaldo and Kubina were justifiable.  Simmonds initiated the contact on Cooke and his jawing afterword is what got him tossed.  Cooke was the retaliation match penalty.  So either of those would probably have been left alone in any other situation.  Regardless, I think the message was sent that the officials aren't going to allow a repeat of Game 3 and quite frankly, I'm thankful for that.  There were 100 penalty minutes in this game.

Way to restore my faith in humanity, Pens.  At least for another day or two.

Tonight's 3 Stars...(hopefully not for the last time)


 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 12:10 Ice Time, and he chipped in on some pivotal plays.  Pretty good for a D-man.

 Finally gets on the playoff scoring board, 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 20 minutes of Ice Time and best of all, he was a +4, bringing him back to even for the series.

A hat trick will do that for you.  3 Goals, a +2, and almost 23 minutes of Ice Time.  Staal was a workhorse tonight and they really needed that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So in 1934, Were People Color Blind?

 The difference between you and I is that I make this look good!
No.  Nothing and no one could make that look good!

Here are the throwbacks for the Steelers this year.  It's their 80th season in the league and as all teams celebrating an anniversary, they are adding a third "Throwback" jersey for the occasion. The team made the official announcement today in a press conference. 

I'm all for nostalgia and everything but these are hideous.  They wore the 1933 jersey's back in 1992 and at least those had vertical stripes with the city of Pittsburgh logo on the front.  These come from 1934 and took a turn for the worst for sure.  Mustard yellow pants, bumble bee socks, and horizontal stripes straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.  Thank God they will still have the black helmets.  I couldn't stand to see the mustard yellow ones again.  At least these will only be worn for two games. I couldn't take a whole season of this.

Art Rooney III, the team president, thinks it's "eye-popping" and will be fun to see everyone's reaction. Redman actually said he likes the uniform and all the stripes.  But he's not too sure how fans and players are going to react.

Anyone else care to weigh in on their hideousness (yes that's a word I think)?  Or maybe your team has an awful jersey you are embarrassed to be seen in?

Here is the video announcement by team president Art Rooney III...


Monday, April 16, 2012

Comments on The Series

For those of you living under a rock or simply just not NHL fans, the playoffs started a week or so ago.  Well as a Penguin fan, I hope there is more room because I may join you under that rock.  I wouldn't be doing my civic duty as a Pittsburgh fan or blogger if I didn't at least make one comment, so here goes.  The Penguins play during this first round series embarrasses me. 

How a team that was primed for playoff hockey can go from the odds-on favorites to one game away from the first tee at Oakmont is beyond me.  They have had the offensive firepower, they had the special teams play, they had the defense, and they had the goal tending to back it all up.  I just don't get it.  Above all else, I'm tired of even trying to figure it out. 

Some people put the blame on the hype machine, saying that the Pens were the media darlings and the NHL poster team so their run in the second half of the season was contrived.  I think that is a ridiculous idea and won't even entertain the notion that there is any kind of "favoritism" being played when it comes to any of it.  Sure, Bettman is no angel when it comes to running the league, marketing, or being human.  But logistically there is no way to set anything like that up so FORGET THAT!

Some people are blaming Crosby (besides the typical Cindy, diving, whining, etc. comments) saying that his return to the ice has thrown a wrench into a well balanced team chemistry and changed the way they play their game.  While I can see some merit in that logic, I highly doubt having the games best all around player on the ice hurts them.  Not every player is 100% on their game all the time and they I just think they picked a bad time to start slumping.

But what I will pin the blame on is the Flyers.  They get under the Pens skin.  They always have and always will.  These two teams hate each other and it shows each and every time they play.  I remember going to games when I was a kid at the old Igloo and seeing fight upon fight take place on the ice.  It is simply the norm when Philly and Pittsburgh play.  Now is no different.  In fact, it might even be worse since we had one of our most beloved players (by fans and teammates alike) in Max Talbot take a job in the Orange & White during the offseason.  Plus, we all remember the Jaromir Jagr saga with his return to the NHL.  But for a hockey fan that enjoys playoff time, this series has been a joke.

Are the Flyers a better team this year...Yes!  I said it at the beginning of the year that I thought they would be back in the Finals.  They have the talent, the drive, and the leadership to get there.  Their goal tending is shaky at times but their play in front of the net is second to none so they can get away with it.  They have the right personnel to make opposing teams scramble for an answer and the speed to make them pay for it.  Their one of the best in the league at getting their opponents off balance, taking stupid penalties, and making them suffer the consequences.  Were the Penguins a good match for this kind of play?  That answer was ABSOLUTELY!  But now they are being made to look the fools.

What the Flyers have managed to do to a Pens team that was, for the most part, disciplined all season is just sickening.  And for the Pens to bow down to that level of taking runs at players, cheap shots, blind side hits, and poor sportsmanship is just plain sad (it's also what is expected of a Philly team).  Undisciplined hockey, in today's NHL, gets you one early exit from the playoffs.  We have seen it happen time and time again, year after year.  Unless the Penguins can regroup, refocus, and play their game, it's over (unfortunately I think it's already too late).

As for the ridiculousness of Game 3, I don't really know what to say that hasn't already been said.  I usually try to defend my team and my players but frankly, there is no point here.  Asham was wrong for the cross check to the face of Schenn (regardless if he is a A-hole or not) and even more so for punching him while he was on the ice.  Neal was wrong for the hits he threw at Coturier and Giroux (although Giroux played his up a bit since the contact was minimal).  Adams was wrong for the instigation penalty he took.  And I hate to actually say this but, bottom line, Crosby is just all around asking for it, plain and simple. 

I don't know if his brain became scrambled eggs with all the concussions or not but he needs remember how to be a leader.  Be the bigger man.  The brushing of the glove was frustration boiling over and although we   can't go back and change what happened, we can move on going forward.  Get the team under control.  That is your job when wearing the Captain's C.  You are supposed to be not only the leader of the team but a pinnacle of the NHL.  They (the media) all call you the "Face of the NHL" for a reason.  You need to act like it.  It's at the point now where I don't care if it ends up a sweep or not.  Stop the theatrics, stop the media grandstanding, get a hold of your team, and start playing Penguin hockey again.

That's all I have to say about that.  Frankly I've said too much.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Box Break - - 2011-12 SP Game Used

Oh, how I never learn my lesson from SP Game Used.  Every few years or so, I get the bug to bust a box of this stuff and this was the year it came up in the rotation.  I don't think I've opened one for two or three years and I'm not too sure why I wanted to this year.  Maybe it was that I had the urge for something new.  Maybe it was the preview images of some of the awesome material pieces jam packed in here.  I don't know. we are.  I picked this one up from my LCS, More Fun Sports, and got a great deal for LCS pricing.  There are some online dealers that are already out of stock on these so I'm guessing UD put them into limited production. This years boxes contain 6 packs of 3 cards.  Each pack contains either 1 memorabilia card or 1 signature card.  Also, there should be 2-3 rookies in each box. 

This years set also has cards called 500 Goal Club Marks which feature game used lettermarks of the best goal scorers of all time.  There are also Gold Letter Variations on all the Authentic Fabrics cards.  Each of these features four letter or number abbreviations pertaining to the specific player.  Plus the short printed rookie parallels are all signed!!

I was excited to try and pull one of the Supreme Pads cards which feature all the best goalies and giant leg pad pieces.  I have seen a few of these and they look spectacular.  But the odds are not in my favor as they are numbered out of /10.  You never know, though.  So here we go.

Here are a couple base cards from the box.  They looked strangely familiar to me until I realized they are almost the same design as the old Upper Deck Piece of History set, with the stripes down the side.  My scanner cut off the tops so there is some white space up there on the border.  The design is clean with nothing fancy or in your face, which is kind of disappointing considering the MSRP $180/box price.  Basically that comes out to about $10 per card and these certainly don't look like $10. 

I only pulled 8 base cards in this box which didn't make much sense to me considering logically there should have been 12 (along with 6 GU or Auto).  So with 100 base cards in the set, I don't think I will be trying to put this together.  Or maybe I'll change my mind.

I pulled a Gold parallel of Steven Stamkos numbered /100.  There are also Silver Spectrum /10, and Gold Spectrum /1.  Needless to say, I received neither of those two.

Here is where it got interesting.  Most boxes contain, or are supposed to contain 2-3 rookie cards.  Mine had these:

 Carl Klingberg and Teemu Hartikainen

 Maxime Macenauer and John Moore

 Jonathan Blum and Adam Larsson

Yes, you counted that correctly.  There were 6 rookie cards in this box.  In fact, a bunch of these packs had 4 cards instead of 3.  There was even one pack with 5 cards.  This was odd, especially for a larger priced box.  

And then there were the GU cards.

The first one out of the box was this beaut.  It's a Crosby jersey...GOLD!  These are 1:3 packs and as I mentioned, spell out a four letter/number phrase.  On the back, this one says it will spell out "PITT".  Obviously I now have the "I".  It always makes me happy to pull a PC card out of a box.

The next one was also a GOLD version.  It is a Mark Messier jersey with a blue swatch.  These will oddly enough, spell out the word "BLUE". 

The next one was this plain white swatch of Scott Hartnell, and another GOLD version.  That's three 1:3 odds cards in 3 packs which is one more than should have been in the box.  These ones spell out "FLYR".  I was less than thrilled to see the orange and white peaking out as I opened the pack this was in.  Man are the Pens getting spanked so far.  

The next card was once again a GOLD version of the Authentic Fabrics.  This time we have Dan Boyle but it is a piece of his Team Canada jersey from the Olympics.  The swatch window is shaped like a "D" and these will spell out "GOLD".  So now I pulled 4 GOLD version jersey's in the same box.  Crazy!

The next pack had this.

Another evil Flyer card but as you can see, it's a PATCH card of Ilya Bryzgalov numbered /35.  This one is also gold in color but there isn't a separate gold version of the patch cards.  The patch is a white patch but if you really look at it in person, it almost looks like the orange bled into the white fabric.  It is definitely not completely white.

Finally, the last pack had an auto.  This is probably one of the best cards I have pulled this year out of any product yet.  

Gabriel Landeskog Rookie Exclusive Auto numbered /100.  Yes it's a sticker auto but it is Landeskog.  He led all rookies in points during the regular season with 52 and he finished 2 goals behind Matt Read with 22 for the league lead.  He also showed he can be a work horse contributor, playing in 82 regular season games.  Even though RNH is getting all the attention up there in Edmonton, Gabe has my vote as the front runner for NHL Rookie of the Year and the Calder Trophy.  Awesome card.

Overall, this is not a product for everyone.  If you have the cash and it's burning a hole in your pocket, maybe take a shot.  I don't think the design will wow any collector's but the chance at pulling some really nice inserts may just be worth it.  My box had 5 GU, 1 Auto, 6 Rookies, 1 base parallel and 8 base cards.  That's 21 cards, not 18 like the box says.  I doubt many boxes will have as many parallel GU cards as this one either and I'm not totally sure this would be considered a HOT BOX since I haven't heard anything about them even existing but based on this break, they are obviously out there.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Tangradi PC additions

 I've been busy on the Bay searching for all the lost Tangradi's.  I have nothing better to do considering the Pens absolutely suck eggs in the playoffs so far.  They couldn't hold a lead to save their lives.  This series is going to be over quickly if they don't find a way to get back their special teams game that they had in the regular season.

I don't want to talk about it because it only makes me mad-er.  God, they suck!!

So here are the last few that I have added to the PC.

I know what you are already have this card.  Well that is sort of true.  I have the real card but you can see that this one is quite larger than the standard card size.  Plus, the name at the top is not in the same foil print as the Young Guns logo.  That's because this is card OS4, the over sized card that apparently came from retail blaster boxes [ok maybe they were the tins but I'm sure I bought those too] distributed in some parallel universe because I certainly never found any in any of the ones I purchased back then.  You can't really tell here but the card is still wrapped in the cellophane it originally came in.

I have bid on this card 8 times and lost every last one of them.  Not this time.  These were the Rookie Breakouts inserts loaded into Series II.  These fell about 1 every 3 boxes.  They are numbered out of /100 and are die cut on the top like the shards of ice sticking out.

Finally, I nabbed another The Cup 1/1 Printing Plate.  This time it is a black plate and it is autographed.  The plate was used for the 2010-11 SPx Level I Auto Rookie Jersey.  The jersey swatch would normally be found where the auto is on this card.  I have a copy on my Tangradi page if you wanted to see it.  Either way, it is cool to knock a few of these off my want list.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Box Break - - 2007-08 Upper Deck Be A Player Hobby

The Be A Player name has been bounced around the card collecting world for years in various forms.  Having done stints with In The Game, Pinnacle, and now Upper Deck, the BAP name in and of itself for most collectors conjures up images of one thing...autographs!

BAP has been pretty synonymous with autographs since it's inception in the late 1990s.  That same tradition has continued throughout the years since.  I found a deal on a box of 2007-08 Be A Player Hobby and couldn't resist the temptation. 

Essentially what you get here is 1 Autograph in each pack.  Yes, that literally means in each pack.  And this isn't one of those 2 or 3 pack boxes either.  There are 8 packs per box with 5 cards in each pack (40 cards for the mathematically challenged).  Also, one of the autographs will be at least a BAP Duals Autograph, with the possibility of a BAP Trio thrown in for good measure.  All the rookies cards and extended rookie cards are numbered out of /99.  This 2007-08 incarnation of BAP also contains Players Club cards that are essentially the same as the regular release but serial numbered at different tiers; gold base /99, gold rookies /10, platinum base /25, and platinum rookies /1.

Would this box yield another Stamkos rookie (as I am now 3/3 on pulling Steven in 2007 hobby boxes)?  Let's find out.
To reiterate, there are 8 packs with 5 cards per pack.  As you can see on the package, it says "Find 1 Autograph Card in Every Pack!" on average

First the base cards in case anyone has never seen what these look like.

As you can see, there isn't anything too spectacular going on here.  These look like a combination of Artifacts and MVP rolled into one.  The front features a player in some action pose along with some airbrushing in the team colors, a small team colored stripe in the top left corner with a super imposed jersey number, and the name, team and position on the bottom.  Strangely in this batch, I scanned all red based uniforms.

And here are a few more just for posterity.  In this batch, I chose all the blue/white uniforms.  That was completely unintentional.  Also, I don't recall ever seeing Mark Recchi in a Thrashers uniform.  He just looks weird. 

I pulled on Players Club Gold card of Jerome Iginla numbered to /99.  I have to say I like the gold parallels better than the regular base.  They just look nicer.

I also pulled one rookie card, that of James Sheppard.  This too is numbered /99.  The rookie are a much harder pull in this product as they don't even fall at one per box.  I do like the rookie design here though.  There is no mistaken that it is a ROOKIE card.

And now the moment you have all been waiting for....the EIGHT AUTOS...

 First up was Jordan Staal.  SWEET!!  A Penguin and an autograph at that.  Very nice card for my PC.  Staal's signature could use a little work though.  If I was to guess, I wouldn't have ever know that to be a Staal auto.  More like....?  I don't even know.

 Next up was Zach Parise.  Parise has a much nicer auto.  You can actually tell it is his.  But unfortunately, we have the sticker auto syndrome going on here.  That's where the player signs a sheet of auto labels and his or her signature runs over the edge.  It ends up cutting of some of the autograph.

Then came Lee Stempniak.  Lee has had three other teams since playing for the Blues back in 2007.  He had a stay on Toronto, Phoenix, and then Calgary.

The next pack awarded me with another illegible auto...that of Mr. Mike Komisarek.  At least you can still read his jersey number.  Here he still played for the Montreal Canadiens, the team that drafted him.  In 2009 he was sent to Toronto where he least for now. 

 Oh look.  Another former Hab.  This time in the form of Kyle Chipchura.  Kyle has spent the majority of his time as a career minor leaguer.  Only until the last few years has he actually gotten a good deal of playing time for an NHL squad.  He is currently on the Phoenix Coyotes roster.

Pack number six yielded another Penguin.  This time former winger Petr Sykora.  I have another Sykora auto somewhere in the collection but this one is much nicer looking.  That fish hook looking think on the right is actually a 17 in case you were wondering.  Petr played 2007-08 and 2008-09 for the Penguins before spending a few moments in the Wild organization.  He then went back to Europe to play in the KHL for a season.  He spent all of this season with New Jersey, chipping in 44 points in 82 games.  I am just happy to add another autograph to my team PC.

Pack number 7 was a bit of a disappointment.  I puled an Adrian Aucoin auto when he still played on the Flames.  Aucoin has been in the league quite a while now.  His first game was in 1994 for the Canucks.  He later played for the Lightning, Islanders, Blackhawks, Flames, and now sits on the Coyotes.  I'm not a big Aucoin fan.  I am neither a fan of his autograph. 

And the final pack...

What are the odds of pulling three cards for my PC with autos?  No really.  What are the odds?  I was trying to figure it out but couldn't.  Regardless, he we have an awesome Double Signature card of Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney, both former Pens.  Whitney got traded before the Cup win mid-season in 2009 to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.  He is now on the Oilers.  But Gonchar was a very stable part of the defense for the Pens from 2005-06 until the end of 2009.  He was a big reason why the defense flourished during the back to back Cup runs.  It eventually just came down to one of those things where the guy just wanted too much money to stay so off he went to Ottawa where they have been getting less than their money's worth for sure.

Over all, this is a great box if you are looking for autos for a decent price.  Plus it is fun opening packs knowing you are going to get a hit each time.  My opinion is probably slanted though since I got three cards for my PC.