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Friday, January 8, 2010

Part 2: 1997-98 Pinnacle Hockey Box Break

Ok, so I'm posting this back to back only because I really have nothing better to do since my office shut down due to the 8 inches of snow that fell overnight.

I had to move forward with the other box because I couldn't bare to leave this set incomplete. I was 26 cards short on the base set. I ended up with 23 doubles and 1 triple. Despite the weird photography and the somehow washed out look of the cards, I like them for some reason. I think I am going to put them in a book.

First, here are some of the interesting cards that I like for whatever other reason than their photography is kind of bizarre:

Apparently Hannah & Tonia love Matthew Barnaby. He seems happy about the news.

Jarome Iginla is going to destroy this camera, then you, then Tokyo. In that order.

How dapper Paul looks in this picture. Why don't more people actually wear tux's to award shows. It would really make for a better production.

I am not real sure what is going on here. I think Trevor found a stencil kit and went to work. Is this really on the wall somewhere in Vancouver? All I know is "this hallway has an obligation."

I want to know if this is a case where the photographer shot too early. It would appear that way. This picture cracks me up.

Good old Petr. Yeah, that's spelled right. Not only did he forget his practice uniform on photo day, he forgot his skates too. Didn't someone tell him it wasn't fashionable to tuck your shirt into your sweat pants? Awesome.


So I broke the other box and I am still 8 cards short of the base set. I got two "hits" in this one instead of 3 like the first box. The first one is a Saku Koivu Epix Moment Purple. I think this is the only card out of both boxes that might have some value. Oh, wait. I forgot about that mirror/non-mirror from the first box. Ok so it is one of only two cards with any value. The other hit was an Eric Fichaud Rink Collection. Nothing special there.

I can possibly get my hands on two more of these for cheap but now I don't know if it is worth it since out of two boxes, I got five non-base cards and am still 8 cards short of a 200 card set. If anyone out there wants some of my doubles, send me a wantlist because chances are I got them.

First Box Break of the Year - - 1997-98 Pinnacle Hockey

Yeah, that's right people. 1997-98 Pinnacle Hockey!! I figured for the first box break of the year I would travel back in time to last decade when all thing were pure and clean. We used to have these things called cars back then. They had four wheels and took us from place to place on these things called roads. We even had to fill them with this fuel substance called gasoline...what's that you say? We still have those? Oh, but I thought this was the future!!

At any rate...where was I? Oh, yeah. 1997-98 Pinnacle Hockey!! Don't ask me how I came about these (I say these because I have 2 boxes) because it is not a very interesting story. Regardless, I have them now. In going over my inventory, it would appear that I don't really have much in the way of Pinnacle from the late 90's (I think I have the 93-94 set, that's it), let alone cards in general from 1997-98. Now 98-99, that was when I blew up the wax packs. So here we go with a box of late 90's fun. This may be a long post. As an added bonus, I can win a chance to get NHL '98. SWEET!

1997-98 Pinnacle Hockey

10 Cards/Pack
20 Packs/Box
200 Card Base Set (so barring no double or inserts, I could get the whole set in 1 box)
Inserts include: Rink Collection 1:100, Epix 1:24, Artist's Proof 1:39, Masks 1:89 Team Pinnacle 1:99, Authentic Press Plates 1:2,250, Certified Souvenir 1:3,888

--First pack reveals a Joe Thornton "Rookie"? I don't think that one is really considered a rookie card. Either way, it is stamped that way. Also, I got an ad for a Pinnacle Branded Screw Down holder for only 5.99 plus 2.00 S&H. What a deal.

--Pack 2: Dan Cleary "Rookie". Again, don't think this is really considered a rookie.

--Pack 3: Team Pinnacle Koivu/Forsberg. I can't really tell if this is the mirror version or not. The front is glossy white/blue, the back (Forsberg side) is shiny mirror foil/blue. Either way, nice card!

--Pack 4: Erik Rasmussen Rookie and a Pinnacle Trading Card Survey. Hilarious.

--Pack 5: Robert Dome Rookie

--Pack 6: Marian Hossa, Boyd Devereaux, and Sergei Samsonov Rookies. I think the Hossa is probably the key rookie in this set.

--Pack 7: Kevyn Adams Rookie

--Pack 8: Terry Ryan and Patrick Marleau "Rookies"

--Pack 9: Donald Maclean and Olli Jokinen "Rookies". I forgot about Olli, he is probably the other key rookie other than the Hossa in this set.

--Pack 10: Brad Isbister and Magnus Arvedson Rookies

--Pack 11: Mattias Ohlund and Alexei Morozov Rookies

--Pack 12: Robert Dome Rookie...another one.

--Pack 13: Terry Ryan and Chris Dingman Rookies. The second Ryan. It's safe to say at this point there is no chance at a complete set of these.

--Pack 14: Chris Phillips Rookie and...Brendan Shanahan Epix Play Orange. It's shiny. I don't have any others like this. I like it.

--Pack 15: Alyn McCauley Rookie

--Pack 16: Espen Knutsen Rookie and Donald MacLean Rink Collection. More shiny. So far thats a 1:100, 1:99, and 1:24 hit. Not bad. Could be better, but not bad.

--Pack 17: Marc Savard and Jaroslav Svejkovsky Rookies

--Pack 18: Jan Bulis Rookie

--Pack 19: Nothing except 3 Keith Tkachuk's. 3 in the same pack.

--Pack 20: There is no pack 20!! The audacity!! What happened to quality control? That's it. I wasn't going to but now I'm filling out that customer service survey that I got in pack 4.

So now it looks like I am going to have to break the other box. I will spare my readers the boring details and post only the good stuff next time as well as some of my favorite photography. I think if the photos are bad, they should be considered error cards. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


When you miss the playoffs the year after winning the Super Bowl, you know there is something wrong. I am not usually the one to quickly jump all over the coach for poor direction and management. Most of the time, I see the problems inherent in the poor execution of the players themselves. The Steelers this year changed my view point on all of that and now we are finally seeing the results.

In the latest in a series of firings, special teams coordinator, Bob Ligeshesky, was sacked. This years ST had the worst performance that I have ever seen by a coverage unit. They allowed four kick returns for TDs in five games and finished the regular season 24th in punt coverage and 30th in kick coverage. They allowed 9.8 yards per return on punts and 24.3 on kick offs. That is horridly awful and deserves to be buried in the forgotten season grave yard. I wonder what Bobby April is doing right now?

Offensive line coach, Larry Zierlein, was already fired earlier this week. This was a given, considering Big Ben spends more time on his back than Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video. He is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league because of the Swiss Curtain offensive line. Not to mention, the one time running back bastion of a Steeler's backfield has declined over the last two years because the line can't block or cut a hole for running room.

On top of that, Ken Anderson, Steelers QB coach decided to retire after 40 years in the NFL. Some fans may remember Ken as the QB for the Bengals from 71-86. He held the single season completion rate record until Brees broke it this year. Roethlisberger has flourished under Coach Anderson over the past three years, setting the Steelers single season TD record in 2007 and throwing for over 4,000 yards this year.

I'm sure the firings aren't done yet. If only Arians would part ways. But alas, he is back for another year of Air Arians football. Good luck to us. For those non-Steeler fans, check out this open letter to Brucey by maryrose over at Behind the Steel Curtain. I think it sums up a great deal of frustrations Steeler Nation has with Mr. Arians.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rack Pack Busting: New Ultra Hockey

I decided I would take a stab at a couple rack packs of the new 2009-10 Ultra Hockey (I have had these for a couple weeks now so I still have yet to purchase anything in 2010). I don't have any of these yet and was a bit skeptical since Ultra has had basically the same design for the last 3 years.

I was pleasantly surprised by these cards. In fact, I think the design is great. Instead of the script writing on the bottom or side of the card, they decided to digitize the players last name in a silver foil stamp open font with the printed name underneath. They still have the full bleed action photo shots of each player on the front and it fades into a silver border that holds the name plate. Very appealing design in my opinion. The backs also have the players stats for their entire career and not just the previous season.

I was able to pull 2 Team Leader (#TL26 David Backes, #TL28 Jason Black) cards and 2 Rookie Sensations (#RS1 Alex Goligoski, #RS29 T.J. Oshie), as they are inserted 1 per rack pack. I also was happy with the #119 Marc-Andre Fleury - Gold Medallion which is going straight into the PC.

The highlight of the packs was #RED214 Rookie Redemption Card which is normally a 1 per Hobby box hit. I think this is Davis Drewiske, who played 17 games for the Kings last year and was the team captain back when he played for the University of Wisconsin. He only has 1 goal in 32 games so far this year but he isn't known for his scoring. He is one of the old school style defensemen that, get this...plays defense. Go figure. I am scratching it off as we speak and sending off for the redemption. We will see how long this one takes.

Overall, I'd say I am impressed with the set design. It is different from the past Ultra sets and sets itself apart from the other standard issue Upper Deck releases. Despite what others have voiced about the base product design, I like the fact that they used the bleed in borders on the edges. I also really am liking the insert set designs, especially the E-X inserts. From what I have seen, the memorabilia cards are well designed, other than the smaller than average pieces. I'm going to give it a 7/10 for the pack configuration and value and 8/10 for the design.

(A warm welcome goes out to one of my many influencers in the card blogging world who is my newest follower, Rob from Voice of the Collector. Hopefully you find my stuff marginally entertaining as I love reading your posts on VOTC.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Voice In My Head Made Me Do It

Rob over at VOTC started a blog post entitled, "When Hobbies Collide - Regardless of Hobby Niche, It's the Same Story", that really got me thinking about behaviors of collectors. Click on the link to read what he wrote comparing card collecting and comic book collecting.

Over the past few years, I have gotten back into the hobby on more than just an occasional basis. For me, it was because of the feeling I get when I start to go through my cards reading the backs, looking at the design, and examining the photos. I am always formulating lists in my head of cards I want, planning what the next cards I buy will be, and generally deciding how I next want to change the way I display my collection. In other words, it's fun for me.

In this short time I have refocused my collecting habits, I have crossed paths with many collector's who claim to share the same feelings and passions about their own collections. However, with the exception of a few (and by few, I mean a percentage less than 20), their actions when it comes to collecting are more along the lines of the capitalistic, profit driven business owner that would cut your throat rather than conceed $.01 in perceived value. With the overly obsessive reliance on card pricing guides like Beckett and to a lesser extent, Tuff Stuff, collector's have become handcuffed to a perceived price. No where is this more apparent than on the various sports collecting message boards. Cases in point...

#1: I proposed a potential trade list to a player collector the other day with the hopes of getting the first trade of 2010 underway. It was a direct response to a request for any of his dozen or so players he collects. After taking the time to find each and every card in my hordes, I sent the list, thinking there would at least be 2-3 he needed. The response I got was that they only wanted rookies. So I thought, "Well he must be a rookie collector which is ok since at least 10 of these qualify." After exchanging dialogue back and forth for a day or two, it was brought to my attention that the reason for the "rookie only" request was not because he primarily collected rookie cards, it was because he couldn't sell anything that wasn't considered a rookie or other "premium" card. So in a nutshell, his enthusiasm for posting his player lists was not motivated by completing his player collection but rather satiating a need for making money. Whatever, dude. Whatever.

#2: Another trader hit me up for about a dozen or so Edmonton Oiler cards from the 80s. No problem for me since I had plenty to spare and he had a few that I needed. I usually try to work out a deal on the grounds that are comfortable with the person I trade with so in this case, it was "book" value. After calculating the deal, it turned out that my three cards totaled $1.25 more than than his. That was the deal breaker. He wasn't even willing to look for another card or two to make it feasible for him. His reasoning was that I was unfair and trying to pull a fast one on him and rip him off. What? Are you serious? Rip him off? In this case, he saw his collection as a money market investment account and if he wasn't at least getting a 1 for 1 trade off, he was losing out on his retirement. Again, whatever dude. Whatever.

I'm not charactirizing everyone like this. I have traded with many collector's out there that are great. However, over the last few years, the greed collector's have been growing. These are just two bad examples that stick out. In my mind, this isn't what being a collector is all about. People collect things because they like to. They enjoy their collections and want to share their collections with others. They take a personal interest in what they collect and have some feeling of success and accomplishment when they grow their collection. These other people are just investors, speculators, and salesmen looking to try and turn a profit.

More Fun With Explosives...I Mean Pack Busting

I swear this is the last 5 pack combo busting post for awhile. I only have a few more unopened rack packs/boxes left in there but the random packs are depleted. Overall I'd say I faired pretty poorly considering there was nothing of super value here. There was also nothing of substance to add to my PC other than about a half dozen or so. Maybe this final round will make up for everything...or maybe it won't.

Pack #1: 2005-06 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey

#289 Adrian Aucoin
#413 Jamal Mayers
#407 Joe Thornton
#450 Mikko Koivu (R) - Young Guns
#250 Marian Hossa
#422 Ed Belfour
#330 Martin Gelinas
#DP16 Sidney Crosby - Diary of a Phenom
#221 Nathan Horton - Victory Update Insert

Nice Pack!! Finally a couple cards that I can safely be happy with. The Koivu Young Guns is a fairly decent rookie to pull out of pack of these, barring the Crosby or Ovechkin. I'm also a fan of the Crosby DOAP cards since, of course, one of my collecting goals is to get as many Pens cards as I can.

Pack #2: 2007-08 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey

#323 Travis Moen
#293 Kurtis Foster
#411 Manny Fernandez
#307 Joe Sakic
#302 Cory Sarich
#368 Michal Rozsival
#420 Ilya Kovalchuk
#284 Ryan Smyth - Victory Update Insert

I'm not 100% but I think I need at least 5 of these for my set. Major positive there. I still love the photography on the Upper Deck cards. I don't even seem to mind the fact that they have produced the same product for the last three years with a different player name layout. They are just clean looking cards.

Pack #3: 2007-08 Victory Hockey

#26 Jaromir Jagr
#194 Alexander Frolov
#30 Mike Knuble
#184 Mike Ribeiro
#70 Brad Richards
#GB27 Tomas Vokoun - Game Breakers

Just like MVP, these tend to yeild either a rookie or Game Breaker insert in each pack. This was no exception with the Vokoun. I love goalie cards so this is nice to go in the binder. There was also another Jagr that I don't think I have yet (I think I always say that, whether I do or not).

Pack #4: 2008 Donruss Classics Football

#52 Ronnie Brown
#76 Kevin Curtis
#33 Jon Kitna
#28 Jason Witten
#85 Devin Hester

This pack was strangely similar to the last pack of these I opened, with the Brown and Curtis cards on top. It even had the Hester, although this one wasn't serial numbered.

Pack #5: 1997-98 Collector's Choice Hockey

#167 Wayne Gretzky
#238 Rob Zamuner
#9 Paul Kariya
#77 Mike Vernon
#123 Vitali Yachmenev

This is the first pack I have opened in a long while that actually had a Gretzky card that wasn't some kind of advertisement. It's him in his Rangers uniform skating behind the net. It almost looks like he was cropped from a different photo and placed onto this card because the proportional size of him in relation to the rest of his surroundings is a bit off. Weird. Of course these are Collector's Choice so they are about as good as furniture shims.

BONUS Pack #6: 2007-08 Ultra Hockey

#109 Anze Kopitar
#173 Alex Tanguay
#54 Simon Gagne - Gold Medallion
#106 Alexander Frolov
#190 Ilya Kovalchuk

I miss counted here but it doesn't matter. This was the last and final pack of 2007 Ultra Hockey. I am going to see how may I am away from at least a base set and maybe put this one together. Not a bad pack though, considering the talent.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Busting 2: Electric Bugaloo

More fun with clearing out the closet. I spent a few hours this weekend trying to start to begin an attempt at possibly taking on an organization project. I started with my football stuff since it is the smallest sport in my collection (actually baseball is with only a few hundred cards; double actually its basketball since I have none). If I find anything interesting, I will post it. On with the break-age.

Pack #1: 2005-06 Parkhurst Hockey

#326 Fedor Tyutin
#312 John Erskine
#293 Viktor Kozlov
#133 Steve Konowalchuk
#139 Jan Hrdina
#40 Brad Stuart

A chance at some of the biggest rookie cards of the last 10 years and I get...nothing. The Konowalchuk was interesting because it reminded me of when he announced his retirement due to his congenitive heart condition. He had Long QT syndrome, which I have a relative that has the same thing. Weird how cards can dig up memories.

Pack #2: 1991-92 Pro Set Series I French Hockey

#156 Ray Ferraro
#177 Rick Tocchet
#252 Michal Pivonka
#111 Jon Casey
#211 Rod Brind'Amour
#189 Phil Bourque
#295 Phil Housley (AS)
#298 Garry Galley (AS)
#237 Dave Capuano
#297 Dave Christian (AS)
#36 Carey Wilson
#320 Brett Hull (Hart Trophy)
#171 Gord Murphy
#184 Mark Recchi
#190 Paul Coffey

The only thing worse than this pack of 91 ProSet would have been a pack of 90 ProSet. I did pull 3 Pens cards out of here, undoubtedly ones I already have but nonetheless...

Pack #3: 2008 Score Football

#145 Matt Jones
#120 Kevin Walter
#174 Bobby Wade
#128 Joseph Addai
Matt Leinart - Donruss Decals
#437 Ali Highsmith (R)
#326 Chris Cooley - Glossy Parallel

I am seriously beginning to hate these cards. I didn't mind them at first but now after opening a ton of them, it is losing its' novelty. I did get another sticker for my Trapper Keeper, with that Leinart. He's dreamy...

Pack #4: 2007 Topps Football Rack Pack

1 Awesomely delicious stick of oversized gum
#173 Reggie Brown
#116 Michael Jenkins
#124 Drew Carter
#232 Terence Newman
#219 Chris Cooley
#203 George Wrighster
#404 LaDainian Tomlinson (LL)
#168 Jerricho Cotchery
#215 Joe Klopfenstein
#235 Dunta Robinson
#273 DeMeco Ryans
#91 Kevan Barlow
#285 Walter Jones
#183 Darrell Jackson
#35 Jeff Garcia
#166 Amani Toomer
#318 Thomas Clayton (R)
#335 Rhema McKnight (R)
#362 Patrick Willis (R)
#377 Marcus McCauley (R)
#287 Brady Quinn (R)
#389 Eric Weddle (R)

Wow! I can't believe I opened a pack that had gum in it. The smell alone brought back fond memories of opening packs of Topps cards back in the mid 80s. I also can't believe there wasn't one of those stupid Favre cards in there. There were six rookies, none of which amount to anything from a "hit" perspective. I think I may hand collate a set of these. I have to have at least 60-70% of the set laying around.

Pack #5: 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

#139 Michal Rozsival
#439 Chris Phillips
#262 Erik Johnson
#481 Ray Whitney
#516 Brian Lee (R) - Rainbow Parallel
#125 Rob Niedermayer - Retro Parallel

Good News! 2 Parallels in one pack, on being a Marquee Rookie. Not bad if I do say so myself. Better News! I needed all of them for my set completion. Even Better News! I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Some PC pickups off the Bay

I recently (ie. before Christmas, I think) picked up some PC cards off the Bay for somewhere around the whopping $2-3 range w/shipping. In my quest for every Pittsburgh Penguin Card, I present to you, The 1978-79 Pittsburgh Penguins Topps Team Set...

I always loved the old Blue uniforms on the 60s and 70s. I remember my dad had an old practice jersey that was blue and I would always wear it in the winter when we would go out and play crick hockey (if you don't know what that is, we would dam the crick [or creek for you non-easterners] and when it would freeze, we would have our own rink). You have to love the stache on old Oren there, too.

I think the best part about this is the fact that the team checklist is an upgrade. I have most of the team checklists from the 70s sets but I think this is the first one that I now have without being marked up. Checklists in that era were used for that very thing...checklists. I guess they didn't have the internet yet.