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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trip to the Card Show - - A Mall Show

Ah, the Mall Show.  Is there any event like it in the card collecting industry?  Sure the convention shows, the National, all the Tri-Star events, and even the little "weekend warrior" events at the local VFW may yield a more productive batch of cards for your collection but the vibe just isn't the same.  You tend to see some interesting things at a mall show, if not for just the people alone. 

For those of you that have never been to, or have seen a mall show, you are missing out.  Mall shows tend to be populated by many of your local dealers (by local, I mean within the same general regional area, if there is such a thing) as well as guys that have traveled some distance just to get there.  Why is this an attractive event to travel to?  It used to be for foot traffic.  Traditionally, malls would receive more visitors in the course of a day/weekend than any other event location.  More traffic, means more browsers.  More browsers means more opportunities for a sale.  It's basic math.  Many dealers could make their table cost back in the course of the first day and pocket the rest of the weekend.

However, the malls suffered when the economy took a dump.  Why go to the mall and pay inflated prices for merchandise that you can get at the local big box department store like a Target or Walmart?  People are pinching pennies, so to speak, and they need to save money where they can.  The mall just didn't seem to be in the budget anymore for most households (it really never was in mine anyway).

So my trip was for one purpose and that was to find something for my PC.   In the process, I met a dealer from Southern Illinois that just so happened to bring a ton of vintage hockey and football with him (obviously trying to capitalize on the Blackhawks bandwagon).  It seemed like everyone else had the same idea as well and the tables were littered with memorabilia and apparel, much more than cards.  Autograph hounds and Jersey Collectors would have had a field day, if not for the prices.  I stick to cards, though.  Here is some of what I picked up...

Some Steelers for my PC that I didn't have...

A few "newer" cards in the mix but a ton of vintage cards.  I picked up about 100 cards total, all from the same dealer and nothing newer than 1984.  He had pretty fair prices and the cards were in great condition for their age.  My only regret is I didn't have a chance to go back on Sunday to go through the other hockey boxes.  Lots of 60s and 70s stuff for $1-2 a piece.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Steeler Monday - - Willie Colon

Geez!! It was almost Tuesday before I posted this.  In this installment of RSM I wanted to feature someone that has been a mainstay on the Steelers line for so long.  That player is Willie Colon (not the trombone player).  Willie has had 50 consecutive starts for the Steelers at right tackle.  He has been a fixture here for quite a few years.  Now, his future is uncertain as an apparent Achilles injury during a morning work out could sideline him for the season. 

Achilles injuries are nothing to scoff at.  Back in January, the Foot & Ankle Specialist research publication found that more than a third (36%) of NFL players who sustain an Achilles injury were never able to return.  For those that were able to recover, most players averaged a 50% reduction in their overall power rankings. 

Of course at this point, it is mostly speculation as to what the extent of the damage may be for Willie's Achilles.  As of this afternoon, MRI results were not available.  I think it is safe to say, either way, there is no such thing as a minor Achilles injury. 

In checking with the master lists of cards available for Big Willie, I noticed that he had less than 10 cards total.  Most lists I found for him only show between 3-5.  For the life of me, I can't find a single one in my collection.  Therefore I am going to have to punt here and go without one.  Very strange.  Anyway...anybody know any good right tackles that need a job?

UPDATE:  Well it's official.  We have a Colon blow.  Willie is out for the entire 2010 season with a torn achilles tendon.  What is next for the Steelers?  First Ben is suspended for being accused of but not charged with anything, then they trade Smoke, then they lose Sweed (not really a loss), now Colon.  It seems the season is being flushed down the crapper.  I hope one of these young guys steps it up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

With the 20th Pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins select...

The Penguins had the 20th pick in the draft this year and in my opinion, didn't disappoint.  The biggest problem with the Pens this year, other than a shaky powerplay, was the lack of a power forward with scoring capabilities.  The wing positions have been a point of concern since the Stanley Cup run in 2009.  The Pens have, arguably, one of the best trio of centermen on any roster with Crosby, Malkin, and Staal.  Unfortunately they haven't had the supporting cast.  With their first round selection, they chose right winger Beau Bennett.

Going over the basics, Bennett is a 6' 1", 173 lbs, 18 years old forward and led the BCHL in scoring this past season with 120 points (41G-79A) in 56 games. He added 14 points (5G-9A) in 15 postseason contests for the Junior A Penticton Vees. His point total was the most in the BCHL since Tyler Bozak's 128 in 2007 and he became the first BCHL rookie to surpass 100 points in the past seven years. 

Much of the hype in this draft has been the resurgence (or emergence) of hockey in California.  With the Kings hosting the event this year, the west coast vibe is bigger than ever.  Bennett hails from Gardenia, CA and is a big part of that new wave of California skaters that grew up playing roller hockey.  He is also now the highest drafted California born player ever.  The one thing that makes many of these California players stand out is their unbelievable quickness and puck handling skills.  The obvious lack of ice rinks and weather to support outdoor play led to Beau's dad purchasing the neighboring lot and building a roller hockey rink.  Beau spent much of his life learning the game and perfecting his skills out there. 

Many of the pre-ranking predictions that I read had Beau as a later round pick, most of which in late round 2 or 3.  A lot has been made about drafting Junior A players with higher picks considering the development of Kyle Turris has been less than stellar to this point.  Bennett is planning to attend Denver University and play for the Pioneers, becoming only the third first rounder to play in Denver (the other two being Craig Redmond in 1984 and Joe Colbourne in 2008).  He is going to have his work cut out for him as he needs to get bigger and stronger if he is going to have a shot at a spot in the NHL.  Denver is a high profile organization and he will play in a ton of big games. 

When interviewed after his selection, he said about playing with Crosby and Co., "That would be unreal.  This is such an opportunity.  It's really what you do after the draft and I'm willing to do the work and can't wait to start in Denver." Here is some of the video press conference held after his selection.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taylor vs. Tyler: 2010 NHL Entry Draft

(No, not those two)

Tonight is the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  It is a night that most up and coming hockey players dream of since they begin their careers at an early age.  The draft itself spills over into Saturday with rounds 2-7.  Anyone interested in catching all the "action" can tune in on either Versus in the US or TSN and RDS in Canada, but I'm sure anyone from Canada that is reading this already knows that.

The debate around the water cooler is who goes first?  I think with this years draft class, it really isn't going to make much difference either way.  The top two prospects ( 4 if you ask me) are both well equiped for any type of situation they may face in their transition to the NHL.  This year we find the two top dogs being Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.  Logically, Edmonton with the first pick, has a no brainer situation here.  Either player is going to provide them with the upgrade they need to become a viable playoff caliber team. 

(These two.)

For Boston, leftovers aren't something to groan about since one of these two will also be a welcome addition to their team.  Boston came oh so close to making it to the Stanley Cup and I think the rigors of the season finally caught up to them in the end.  Young talent, like Taylor and Tyler both possess, will most certainly aid in preventing that year end stall out that teams keep having.  

Bottom line here is you can't go wrong with either choice. 

If I were a betting man (and I am), I would say that Taylor hall has a slight edge over Tyler in terms of going to Edmonton.  They need a winger that can be a leader right away and make an impact on the team out of the starting gate.  Hall is already battle ready, having lead the Windsor Spitfires to the Memorial Cup.  Expect the Oilers to draft him quickly. 

That leaves Tyler to go to the Bruins.  In my opinion, Tyler has a slight edge in skills and a much bigger upside in the long run.  The problem here is the Bruins need another first line center like they need a hole in the head.  I can see Seguin making the team from day one without having to spend much time in the minors.  The only issue I see here is whether he can keep a job long term with Bergeron, Savard, and Krecji in front of him.  Sadly, an injury to any one of those three could give him the big break he needs.  I think whoever goes to Boston will make the fans say Kessel, who?

Here is my prediction for the Top 10.  Argue all you want about positioning.  This is why I blog and am not a beat writer.

1) Edmonton - Taylor Hall
2) Boston - Tyler Seguin
3) Florida - Cam Fowler (D), best puck handling defensemen in the draft
4) Columbus - Erik Gudbranson (D), could be the next Chris Pronger
5) New York Islanders - Brandon Gormley (D), solid two-way defenseman, great penalty killer
6) Tampa Bay - Brett Connolly (W), they need a winger for the Stamkos line
7) Carolina - Nino Niederreiter (W), they need a winger too so this could be a swap with #6
8) Atlanta - Jack Campbell (G), the first goalie to go in the draft, and boy do they need one
9) Minnesota - Ryan Johansen (C), an Eric Staal style centerman
10) New York Rangers - Emerson Etem (C), the Rangers need speed at center and Etem is probably the fastest skater in the draft.  Plus he can score.

My hopes for the Pens...with the 23rd pick I can see a Dylan McIlrath if he falls that far.  They need a defenseman for the future and Dylan is by far the grittiest of this years draft.  I could also see Petr Straka at this pick.  He is a highly skilled winger and above all, a playmaker.  That's what the Pens need.  Realistically, they may be tempted by a goalie with this pick, especially if the top tier D-men and scoring wingers are swiped up early.  Maybe a Calvin Pickard or even Jack Campbell if he falls this far (I doubt it).


Well my picks weren't very good.  The obvious 1, 2, & 6 were pretty much my only hits.  The Thrashers, Wild, and Rangers all went a little nuts with their picks and ruined my bracket.

Here is where it all ended up:

1) Edmonton - Taylor Hall
2) Boston - Tyler Seguin
3) Florida - Erik Gudbranson
4) Columbus - Ryan Johansen
5) New York Islanders - Nino Niederreiter
6) Tampa Bay - Brett Connolly
7) Carolina - Jeff Skinner
8) Atlanta - Alexander Burmistrov
9) Minnesota  - Mikael Granlund
10) New York Rangers - Dylan McIlrath

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hockey Hall of Fame Debauchle

Ok, I am not going to waste my time with a narrative of the Hockey Hall of Fame or it's annual process of screwing people.  If you want to check out the list of inductees and celebrate their achievements, go over here.  Bottom line is, I am not upset with the selections.  I applaud the efforts of the Hall to finally include Women's Hockey for the first time.  Cammi Granato and Angela James are more than deserving as both were dominant players during their careers.  I am not even arguing over the fact that two builders were taken.  Both Jimmy Devellano and Doc Seaman are more than deserving for their contributions to the NHL, especially Seaman with his virtual creation of the Calgary Flames organization and his 4 cups with the Red Wings.

What I am quite upset with is the lack of any brains or common sense on the part of the election committee.  Each year since adopting the new rules allowing for female athletes, two women and four men are eligible for acceptance into the Farce, I mean Hall of Fame.  When you have a list of eligible players that include the likes of Dino Ciccerelli, Doug Gilmour, Pavel Bure, Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates, Dave Andreychuk, Eric Lindros, and Mark Howe, the task of choosing is certainly a daunting one.  However, it also makes sense to choose the best players at their positions during their career.  Considering most of these guys played during the Gretzky/Lemieux era, I will admit that there are no DOMINANT players among this group.  But this list includes guys that had careers better than some of the current members already in the Hall.

So which four did they choose for 2010? 

Well they picked Dino Ciccerelli with their first pick and no one after that.  Let me repeat that again.  They picked only one eligible player.  ONE PLAYER OUT OF FOUR!!!  Not only that, and not to take anything away from Dino, but they didn't even pick the best available.  Like I said, I'm not saying Ciccerelli isn't deserving.  He is.  He was a solid player for his entire career and put up some great numbers.  The better question is why did it take a decade for him to be put into the hall? 

The simplest explanation is that this same group of senile old men that seem to have forgotten what their job is and started treating the election committee like their own personal secret society complete with secret knocks and handshakes, took it upon themselves to snub Dino because of his "off-ice" antics.  Using our time machine, let's travel back to 1988 when an arrest warrant was issued for Ciccerelli for clubbing Luke Richardson over the head with this stick.  He was penalized, given a game misconduct and suspended for 10 games.  He was to be charged with assault despite the fact that Richardson was okay.  He was also public enemy #1 in Toronto from that point forward.  He eventually served a day in jail.

Fast forward a week after his stint in the clink and we find him standing on his front porch getting the newspaper...sans pants!  After the 7 year old neighbor told her mother, the police were notified.  He was charged with indecent exposure and pled guilty.  He served 50 hours of community service for that one.  There was another rumor of him standing in his bay window of his house sans pants on another occasion too but I don't know if that was ever proven.  How about we move to 1990, when he and a bunch of fellow Capitals were accused of running a train on a 17 year old in the back of a limo.  Of course in this case, the grand jury declined to charge the players siting the evidence didn't prove it occurred against the girl's will and all the witness testimonies to police suddenly changed when it came time for their depositions to the court. 

I have also heard that while on the Red Wings, he didn't win any friendships from the players and was especially disliked by then coach Scotty Bowman.  Regardless of whether any of this is relevant, the "League of Extrordinary Gentleman" have probably used this against him for years despite his hall worthy numbers and have finally come to grips the fact that they have allowed much more inferior players in during the time he was eligible.  But if you are going to make the "retribution" selection or "sentimental" pick, wouldn't you want to spend it on, oh I don't know, maybe Pat Burns as a builder who has cancer and probably won't be around when he does deservingly get elected?  I'm just saying...

For the sake of rambling on for hours, isn't it about time the Hall choose a different selection method?  A closed door meeting among all the voting members where they probably just sit around in a cigar smoke infested room watching snuff films on an old reel-to-reel probably isn't the best way to choose legends of hockey to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame.  I'm not saying let the fans decide.  We all know how that goes over with the ridiculous All Star voting.  I'm also not saying to change to the baseball method of allowing media members to vote.  I am just saying it's about time we raise the gag order on the committee members and start getting some answers as to why they make the decisions that they do.

--This concludes our test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Offseason Activity

The Pens finally made some noise in the early part of the offseason by addressing a few key issues.  The two biggest free agency issues to deal with after the early exit from the playoffs this year were finding a way to get a deal done with both Matt Cooke and Sergei Gonchar.  On that front, the Pens are half done at this point.

"Cookie", from what I can tell, has a verbal committment to a three year contract.  Of course the financial terms have not been released but simple logic can determine that a player of Cooke's caliber is more than likely going to bring in about $2 million/year.  We will have to wait to see the official numbers.

Say what you want about Cooke's agressive, sometimes overtly dangerous style of play.  He is consistent, leading the team last year in adjusted plus/minus, and wreaks havoc in the neutral zone.  He also has the ability to take the puck all the way to the net and put points on the board as a key component of the Pens third line, along with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy. 

Throughout his career, Cooke's performance has been questioned with various instances of "dirty" hits put on other players.  The latest was the hit he put on Marc Savard back in March of 2010, leaving Savard with a concussion and leading the league to pass the controversial "head-shot" rule.  It may actually go down as the Matt Cooke rule (which is no surprise for a Pittsburgh player to cause a rule change in a professional sport...see 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers...half the NFL rules protecting quarterbacks and wide receivers are due to the Steel Curtain from the 70's). 

From an editorial side, I don't always agree with Cooke's carelessness on the ice but I know a good pest when I see one.  Despite the change in the overall NHL play style over the last 10 years, and the fact that teams are no longer in the business of employing the designated "goon" for their star protection, I still see a need for a guy like Cooke.  I think the list of teams that wouldn't want Matt is probably pretty short.  He gets under the skin of players and is a can play both sides of the puck very well.  The best part, as you can see by the contract, he is quite affordable in a cap crunch.

In other news, "Reverend" Ben was also signed to a three year deal which is a two-way contract, paying him for both NHL level and minor level play.  Lovejoy spend 12 games with the Pens last year, putting up a +8.  Although he is inexperienced in the NHL, he is a strong propect.  After going undrafted, the Pens picked him up and assigned him to their Wilkes Barre/Scranton team in the AHL.  Ben did very well and was rewarded with being called up a few times.  His biggest problem at this point is making an impression.  If he wants a permanent roster spot, he is going to have to show he can produce as a two-way defenseman when he gets the opportunity.  Thus far, he is only averaging 1 shot on goal in the NHL vs. 2.7 shots in the AHL.  More pucks on the net could equate to a steady job as a fourth liner on the Pens roster.

Here's hoping we see something soon on the Sarge front. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Contest Pimping That Isn't Mine

Head on over to Drinking the Orange Kool-Aid for an interesting contest.  All you need to do is comment with a suggestion of how to store your tobacco sized cards.  That's it.  Nothing earth shattering.  I am actually curious as well to see what people say because I have been trying to find a good way to display mine. 

This should illicit some interesting comments.  Go there now!!

The Strasburg/Fukudome Watch - - Results Show

Here is a little update for anyone that cares about my little adventure in selling my cards.  My first foray into selling cards on Ebay ended about an hour ago (11 something) and just as I was a little concerned this morning, I am actually okay with the results. 

In case anyone was curious or is still keeping score for the Strasburg Effect, the Bowman Chrome finished at $33.  Now there have been quite a few that have finished ahead of this one with the highest that I could find in the $70 range, but that was back when Bowman first hit the street.  It has cooled off a bit since and I was a little worried toward the end.  It appeared a mystery bidder swooped in and outbid the previous high bidder within seconds of closing.  My concern was because the bidder had a 0 rating and from what I could read, they just signed up today.  It seemed real fishy to me especially considering all the craziness that has been going on there lately.  However, within 2 minutes of the end of the auction, the cash was in my account.  I guess you can't judge a book by it's cover...?...maybe...

The Fukudome was a little disappointing.  With BV in the $60-80 range but without much movement on the secondary market to judge, I was going out on a limb with this one.  The only auction I could find before listing this was a BIN for $120!!  Needless to say, it is still posted.  Mine, however, did sell...for a whopping $5.01.  I was hoping for something at least in the $10 range but that's the risk you take with an auction.  Considering where it was this morning and the fact it came from a $1.99 pack, I guess this is alright.

Overall, I am happy with this experience thus far on the other side of the Ebay fence.  I have only sold 1 other item ever before on the Bay and it wasn't card related.  I am already preparing for my next offerings.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Fun With News Reporting

As reported by Yahoo Sports via the AP (and destroyed by me)...The ellipses are all deletions, the bold entrys are added or changed text.  It's kind of like Mad Libs. 

A jubilant celebration...after a...dramatic win...turned rowdy in scattered sections of the city, with raucous revelers hurling rocks and bottles at officers, setting fires and jumping on vehicles.

Hundreds of police officers massed around the...arena...Thursday night, aiming to prevent a repeat of the violence that accompanied...previous celebrations.... But despite their massive presence, scattered pockets of violence erupted in neighborhoods near the arena. No major incidents were reported in the rest of the city, police said.

By Friday, police spokesman...said 38 people had been arrested. Most of the arrests were for public intoxication, while others were for vandalism and inciting a riot.

Television news footage showed several people jumping on a taxi as it attempted to leave the area near the arena.... Someone opened a rear door of the vehicle, while others rocked it back and forth. The taxi eventually made its way through the crowd and out of the area.

Television footage also showed a man being beaten and a car set on fire. And there were scattered reports of windows being broken at several businesses.

Some men ran shirtless in the street, while other people revved car engines and honked their horns in celebration. Broken glass and burnt debris lined the roads.

Mrs. Smith, lives in an apartment building not far from the arena. She said every car on her street had its windows smashed.

“When we came down here, only one window was smashed. The cops told us to go back inside, and they (revelers) smashed the other one,” Smith said.

Mrs. Jones tried to salvage what she could from her car, which was filled with shards of broken glass.

“We just wanted to see the celebration and be part of the...event. We never thought this would happen,” she said. “It’s these young people who don’t know how to behave. They cause damage to people, to the community, because they don’t know how to celebrate in a healthy way.”

...City firefighters responded to 37 incidents within a half-mile radius of the arena in a three-hour period following the game, a spokesman...said. There were 15 rubbish fires, one vegetation fire, three vehicle fires and 18 medical aid requests for people ill or injured, the spokesman...said. Eight people were transported by ambulance to hospitals. The spokesman didn’t know the nature or extent of the injuries but said some were “quite serious.”

One police officer suffered a broken nose after someone threw an object at him, the Police Chief ...said.

Shortly after the game, police declared an unlawful assembly, urging people to immediately disperse.

Revelers honked horns and yelled while emergency vehicles and police cars with their sirens blaring moved through the area. Some people set off fireworks.

Hundreds of...sheriff’s deputies were deployed to...the area, where crowds were growing, but no major problems were reported, the sheriff’s Capt....said.

Now most of you can probably figure out what this is referring to since it mentions that it happened last night.  Others may not.  I guess my point here is that it doesn't matter where or when this happened, only that it did. 

This could be Montreal after they beat the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.  This could be Montreal after they lost to the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals.  This could be Montreal after they allowed their only reason for being there in the first place to be traded to St. Louis for some beaver pelts and small pox infested blankets. 

But,'s not.  Instead, it's just another example of ugly Lakers fans with entitlement issues that can't hold their liquor. 

Boy was that a strangely, bizarre way of getting to the underlying issue that Pierre Gauthier is either the biggest moron to ever call himself a GM or some kind of evil genius.  Either way, it's the Carey Price show again in Montreal while the Blues get an upgrade in the net from streaky Chris Mason.  Here's hoping the spotlight on Price brings some interest back to his hobby presence.

Here are some other photos for your enjoyment from the AP.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Trade Post...Two In One Week!!

So Casey from Drop The Gloves and I have been going back and forth for awhile with potential trades.  I am still not sure what has been sent between us but I know I still owe him some tobacco sized goodness.  It's almost ready to send out, I swear. 

At any rate, I received a package from him in the mail today with a handful of stuff I'd like to share.

First up were some 2009-10 Champs that I still needed for my set.  Despite busting 3 boxes of this stuff plus a blaster for good measure, I have still not put a full base set together.  Apparently I am not the only one since the same scenario seems to pop up with other collector's too.  He sent me 22 base cards and also this:

and this:

There were also a few Marquee Rookies from 2007-08 OPC and also 2008-09.  My favorites in the little package had to be the Pens cards he threw in that included:

1993-94 Upper Deck World Junior Championships Sergei Gonchar (R)

There is nothing that I would like more than to see the Pens lock up Sarge for the rest of his career.  I think regardless of his nonexistence in the waning months of the season, he is still the leader of the power play and a general in the locker room. 

2003-04 Bowman Chrome Ryan Malone (R)

This is one trade that I never agreed with and still don't to this day.  When the Lightning picked him up (along with Gary Roberts) for next to nothing, it was a sad day.  Malone was the only Pittsburgh born player to ever play for the Penguins and was a second generation Penguin as well.  His dad, Greg, played for the Pens from 76-85 when he was traded to Hartford.  Ryan was third in scoring in the year before the lock-out and up until he took a few injuries in the 2008 playoffs, I expected him to be a Pen forever.  Shows what I know.

2008-09 Black Diamond Alex Goligoski Rookie Gems

Alex is probably the heir apparent to Sarge is he is going to leave for greener pastures.  He is a tough defenseman having come out of the University of Minnesota and playing in the AHL.  At least he is locked up through 2012. 

Also in there were some lesser known (heck, even not known at all) Pens that I believe I don't have in my team collection yet, including:

Thanks Casey!! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Strasburg/Fukudome watch

Well it's looking like I am not going to be able to retire off the Strasburg Chrome or the Fukudome SP that I have up on the Bay right now.  As of this point, the Strasburg Chrome is up to a whopping $4 and some change.  I know it isn't as good as what Night Owl just pulled but it's still a Chrome.  Maybe it's the scanner picture I have up there with all it's nice dust dots and squiggles?  Maybe I need a new scanner?

The Fukudome is ringing in at a staggering $2.99.  I was hoping to use the cash toward a box of SP Authentic Hockey that just came out today but I guess I may have to settle on a couple more packs of Bowman.  That is, if I can find anymore. 

We shall see though.  There are still 2 days left on these and you never know what might happen.

If anyone is interested and can afford these ridiculous prices, you can find the card links over in the side bar to the right or the links are here.

Strasburg Chrome

Fukudome Topps SP

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Intense Trade Post....The First One In Almost Forever

I originally set out to post about each and every trade that I did as a result of this blog.  The bottom line...I have sucked at it.  I have had so many trades in the last six months that I just couldn't keep up.  I was keeping each of the packages separated so that I knew what came from who but that started taking up too much space.  Then I started using a box and put in dividers with each trade's origination clearly marked.  Gradually, that wore out it's welcome to.  So I finally just gave up.

Well I am going to try and get back into the swing of things starting now.  I recently completed a trade with Mr. Green over at Drinking the Orange Kool-Aid.  I think when we first talked about making this deal go down (Baltimore stuff for Pittsburgh stuff) it was still 2009.  That may be a bit of an exaggeration but not by much.  At any rate, it was finally completed the other day. 

First up in the box was a card I needed for my 85-86 Topps Hockey set.  Also was a pile of 87-88 Topps Hockey I needed for that set, too.  Every little bit helps.

Next up were a small stack of Pittsburgh Steelers.  Most of the cards were split between Hines Ward, Big Ben, and ex-Steeler Willie Parker (you are dead to me Fast Willie).  There were also a couple ex-Steelers and current resident of the New York State Penal System, Plaxico Burress.   A few Topps Heritage Steelers, including a Larry Foote card I was going to post last week, were also in here.  Here are some of the Steeler highlights.

(It is hard to see but the wording on this is in red foil.)

(Plaxico Burress in front of some bars.  Little did he know...)

(Larry Foote...look at the intensity on his face.  And it's only practice.)

(Two of the most fierce defensive backs in NFL history.  Look at the concentration and intensity in their eyes...)

There were some Penguin cards in the box as well.  A few older 70s cards including a sweet looking team card that will be an upgrade to the one I already had.  This one is in much better condition.  There was also a Score Hot Card Mark Recchi which somehow I didn't have and I can't figure out why.  Finally there was an 87-88 Topps Paul Coffey which I also didn't have in my Penguin binder because apparently I only had one and it was in my set.

(I think I have a graded version of this one...maybe an 8 or 9, I think.  This one will most certainly go in the binder.)

(Crooked because I can't operate my own scanner)

(As you can see, this is back when part of the uniform required wearing a fanny pack.)

(Look at that''s intense.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Steeler Monday - Draft Update

For today's installment of RSM, I am not going to feature a particular card(s) of any player.  Why?  Well for the most part, the players I wanted to talk about don't have cards that feature them as a Steeler yet (that I know of).  They least, most of them will. 

One hurdle for many NFL teams has always been the signing of draft pics after the draft.  With all the lucrative marketing/advertising deals and the prevalence of the Jerry Maguire mentality of agents, teams are having to pay premiums for unproven, and sometimes inferior talent.  While I have never been the type of fan that watches the draft coverage from beginning to end in hopes of finding the next big thing, I do always follow my Steelers and how well they address their pressing needs.  This year was no exception.

So far,  three draft picks have been signed out of the seven that were drafted.  That's not bad considering it is only June.  I am predicting there will be at least one hold out here but I hope it isn't going to be 1st rounder Maurkice Pouncey.  The offensive line is always in need of an upgrade and I think Pouncey's size and understanding of the game will be extrememly beneficial to the Steelers offense, regardless of whether they put him at guard or center (which I think he is going to be used as right guard for now).

But that's not who I wanted to talk about.  It's the three draft signings.  The photos are all picks that I would love to see of them on cards when they don the Steelers uniform.

First, we had the 4th Round pick, Offensive Linebacker, Thaddeus Gibson out of Ohio State.  Gibson's deal was for 3 years but I can't speak to the terms since that info is usually kept quite.  A rough estimate is going to say no more than $2 million.  So far we have yet to see Gibson because some class requirements at OSU prevented him from participating in the Steelers OTA's.  I am not too sure on this pick.  I haven't read a whole lot about him and also haven't heard any "rave" reviews of his performance while at OSU.  Even Keith Butler could only say that the thing that impressed him the most was his ability to improve during the season.  I just hope that missing OTA's doesn't cause him to take the whole 2010 season to "improve".  If he does make the team, he will more than likely spend the majority of his time on the special teams squad.

The second pick signed was 7th Round selection, Doug Worthington, Defensive Lineman out guessed it, Ohio State.  The talk I hear on this one is that it's a three year $1.25 million contract with a $33,000 signing bonus.  What you say?  $33,000 is nothing?  I agree.  That doesn't even pay for the gold infused pen and ink they use to sign on the ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls, which is customary for NFL contracts these days, does it?  Either way, this is a great if not for one thing...line stuffing.  Worthington has the size and speed to quickly fill in the gaps on the line and prevent the opposing running game from getting off the ground.  I see Doug being used in this capacity, possibly on third down and short situations and possibly goal line scenarios. 

Finally, today, it was reported that 3rd Round pick Emmanuel Sanders inked his own deal to become the third draft pick signed.  That is, if you believe his Twitter from earlier in the day (Or is it Tweet?  Is the past-tense called Twatted?  I haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet.).  Sanders is a Wide Receiver out of SMU (Southern Methodist).  With the departure of Sansmokio for "greener" pastures, the vacancy is looking to be filled by anyone with the capability to step up.  Sanders has those skills.
He is being compared to Mike Wallace, who as we saw last year, has both tremendous speed and pass catching ability.  The thing that impressed the Steelers most about Sanders, though, was his leadership abilities both on and off the field.  This is one thing you can be sure they need right now in Pittsburgh.  I am all but positive he will earn himself a roster spot, possibly a 4th or 5th WR but most definitely as a return specialist.  As you can see by his Twitter post in the link above, he looks to be quite excited about the idea of playing in Pittsburgh.  I hope that translates onto the field.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Deed Is Done...

Upon further review, it was in my best interest to try and relieve myself of this card so it is now up for grabs.

In case anyone was interested, here is the link to the auction. I decided to start it at $.99 and see what happens.

I also figured while I was at it, I might as well test the waters and see what might result of that Fukudome SP that I pulled out of 2008.  I am definitely not expecting much here.  You can find that auction here if you are interested.  That one starts at $.99 as well.

Final result predictions...The Strasburg will go for $22 and the Fukudome with go for $10.  Any other guesses.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Funny thing happened on the way home

I have checked 7 different stores over the last two days for any signs of more Bowman or Topps Series II.  Nothing...Not even one pack...

I have yet to see Series II anywhere, and I think I have pretty much cleaned out most of the Bowman everywhere I have gone.  In a last ditch effort, I stopped by the Meijer that I pass on the way home.  Shockingly, they had 4 jumbo rack packs of Bowman.  Had being the operative word because now they have none. 

I bet you all can guess what happens next...

Pack #1 yielded this and a bunch of other cards that I didn't really see because, well, it yielded this.  This is my second base card.  The third pack of the retail box I found a week or so ago had my first one in it.  Just holding it somehow makes you feel so powerful.

And Pack #4 gave me this...
It's not a variation, just the base Chrome.  That's alright though because other than the case breakers out there, these don't seem to be popping up with all that much frequency.  I wish the scanner could do Chrome cards justice.  It seems like it picks up every spec of dust and magnifies it 100X's. 

Now to decide if it is worth keeping or trying to dump.  I haven't seen most auctions for this one over $50.  There was one a few weeks ago that went for over $70 but it was only one and the big chase now seems to be focused on all the colored parallel variation cards.  Does that mean it is cooling off already?

Who knows?  Maybe I will keep it.  I need to think.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Curse of the Hossa is Broken

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for bringing home their first cup in almost a half century.  It took an extra period of overtime to finally put away those pesky Flyers.  The craziest part about the end of this one was the fact that no one knew it was over except Patrick Kane who actually scored the goal.  It went right through Leighton's legs from a sharp angle and stuck under the mesh fringe in the side of the net.  The refs didn't signal goal, nor did the light come on. 

After review, it was clearly in the net and in typical "Philly phasion", the boos rained down as the Hawks began to celebrate.  They boo'd Bettman too which I didn't mind so much.  Jonathan Toews was awarded the Conn Smythe, for playoff MVP.  Kind of a surprise to me since I think there were a few other players on the Hawks a bit more deserving but he is the captain.  At 22 years old, he has shown leadership and poise that the Hawks have been lacking for many years.  He definitely deserves some credit.

I feel so much better now knowing the Flyers don't get any hardware.  It's a peaceful feeling really.  I'm not a Hawks fan, nor will I pretend to be like the 75 people running up and down my street right now as I type, shooting off fireworks and blowing air horns (isn't there a noise ordinance?).  I am just content to know that one of my teams' bitter rivals is going home empty handed.  Not to take anything away from Chicago, though.  They played tough and hung in there with everything Philly had for them.  While Niemi has certainly not been stellar, he made the saves when he needed to.

Again, Congrats to the Hawks, their fans, and their organization.  Victory is certainly sweet.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Read At Your Own Risk: NHL Editorial Commentary

Since my efforts to post my Steeler cards for yesterday were thwarted by Blogger's "random technical difficulties", I thought I would try again today.  However, something else has been bothering me lately and I don't know why but I need to vent for a moment.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals is tomorrow night with the Hawks taking their one game advantage back to Philly.  They could easily win this and put an end to what has been an exciting, yet sloppily played finals.  If not, game 7 is right around the corner and would most certainly become an instant classic.  Each and every day after one of these playoff games, there have been reports flying around the interwebs about the TV ratings.  Ever since the Olympic "explosion" of popularity, it seems hockey has moved from the back burner to almost front and center.  But is this a good thing for the fans or only the business side of the sport?

I am not stupid enough to ignore that fact that a sports popularity is largely due to its marketability.  With most NHL games over the last five years appearing on lesser known (or carried) cable stations and local market affiliates, it has hardly had the national following that it somewhat had pre-lockout.  Last year alone, there were a half dozen market affiliates that even considered dropping NHL games from their lineups, technically creating local blackouts.  While this would have most certainly destroyed or at the least, damaged some viewing opportunities, the fan would either pony up for tickets, go to a bar that would spare a tv in the corner, or find the radio broadcast, even if it meant driving around town for 2 1/2 hours to listen.  Now let me take a step back and say that I am largely speaking of the United States market because, as we all know, hockey is THE sport in Canada and always will be (one more reason to move to Canada, as if I needed more). 

I am also not stupid enough to not realize the fact that running an NHL team is the same as running a regular business.  Ratings mean revenue.  Revenue means sustainability.  I get that.  I get all of that.  If a business fails, all beneficiaries of it's service will suffer as well.  In this case, low ratings mean lower marketability.  Lower marketability means less exposure.  Eventually the Networks will win out and hockey will once again be relegated to some hunting and fly fishing channel on extended cable, never to be heard from again (maybe that's a slight exaggeration).  The only people left watching will be the diehards with the fortunate position of being able to afford the "Center Ice" packages or live in a cable market that has said network.  Ultimately, though, the business agenda of the league, ownerships, and networks is not the same as the fan's agenda.  The fan, in their primitive form, doesn't care about those things.  They will find a way.

Marketing focuses on some basic economic principles.  You are trying to gain the biggest return of/on investment of a concept/product for the least amount of effort and shortest amount of time.  There is no doubt that the Olympics this year was the catalyst for the focus on the current popularity of the NHL.  With more emphasis on the Winter Classic each year, and now the Heritage Classic in Canada, prime-time television exposure is successfully targeting a demographic that has forgone hockey for more accessible sports like baseball, football, and dare I say, basketball.  But the Olympics is every four years and the Winter Classic only happens once a year.  The other annual tournaments have already proven to provide less a motivation for the casual observer.  The fan, on the other hand, will actively seek out the coverage whether it be on obscure networks, premium sports packages, or the internet outlets that cover the games.

ESPN exposure helped the NHL in the past with ratings but like anything that isn't fashionable or "hip", was moved to the backburner and eventually off the network completely.  If not for Barry Freakin' Melrose, there would be no mention of hockey whatsoever on any of the ESPN networks.  VS. is not available in all markets and is subject to local blackout in most.  They also have arguably one of the worst coverage teams in the NHL, led by Bill Patrick in studio.  Fox had hockey at one time but "jumped the shark" when it introduced the Glow Puck "technology" when they felt their viewer base was too stupid to follow the game without it.  The current NBC coverage is most definitely biased toward US based teams and makes no effort to hide that fact.  Despite having games for the last two years, they are still tinkering with their announcing matchups and analysts but just haven't found that right combination; they are close but not there yet.  Who knows what will happen if NBC and Comcast actually are able to merge.  Shudder to think.

Which brings me to the fans.  If there is one thing that has driven me nuts (other than the Pens suffocation under their own ineptitudes) during this playoff season, it has to be all the "fair-weather fans" that have suddenly sprung up like dandelions in my front yard.  The extra media attention has brought out everyone from little kids who didn't know what hockey was to grandma's that think Toews and Kane are "nice young boys".  I hope, for my sanity's sake, that these are true "new" fans that will stick around after the hype, after the hoopla, and after the playoff intensity dies down and not cockroaches that scurry under the fridge when you flip the light on.  If that occurs, hockey in the US could see a resurgence as big as it had when the NHL was marketed as "The Coolest Game on Earth" and every promotion told you so. 

Unfortunatly for those FWF's, I think their days are probably numbered and within the next month, they will have forgotten how fun it was to watch a game.  They will forget the fast pace, the hard hitting, and the intense competition.  The hockey talk at the water cooler, the front page headlines, the lazy sports writers that never cover hockey except when it's fashionable, the coverage by the Entertainment News outlets like Huffington, TMZ, print newspapers, etc. will all go away.  We will be back to where we were right before and right after the lockout.  The true fan will be left standing. 

The best thing, in my opinion, about all of it comes from a more selfish side of me.  Because the FWF's will all go back to watching baseball and preparing for thier fantasy football drafts, I will have nothing to discuss with these people.

-I won't have to explain what icing is almost on a daily basis. 
-I won't have to explain why helmets don't have full face masks. 
-I won't have to try and defend the merits of pulling your goaltender with 2 minutes to go in the playoffs to someone that sees no benefit to extra offense and can't understand there is no difference in losing 4-3 or's still a loss. 
-I won't be critized for making critical comments about the lack of goaltending prowess and breakdowns in defense every single night while 8-10 combined goals are scored. 
-I won't have to explain the physics of putting a 1" x 3" round piece of frozen rubber into a 6'x4' box being blocked by a 6'+ tall man in full goalie pads while skating 15-20 mph to anyone that thinks it is "their job" and should be easy. 

The questions will stop and I won't have to defend the sport that I love any longer to people whose rallying cry is "Hooray, local sports team(s) and or athlete(s)".  I will be content once again...


(The views in this long-winded and probably mostly incoherent rant are the fragmented views of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any parties involved, mentioned, or thought about in the process of forming this post.  Those parties include but are not limited to: the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the executives of ESPN, NBC, VS, FOX or any other lackluster sports broadcasting organization, Gary "the Devil" Bettman, most of the morons I have crossed paths with over the last six months, Barry Melrose, Bill Patrick, the inventor of the Glow Puck (may you burn in hell), or any other person that may find what I said offensive or off putting.  Thank you.
----The Management )

Monday, June 7, 2010

Random Steeler Monday - Or Not

I have been trying to publish my obligatory Monday post of my random Steeler cards all day but Blogger seems to be trying to thwart my success.  They even went as far as deleting my post twice without the normal "draft saved" comments.  I guess they don't want the world to read about Larry "The Stomp" Foote.

For some reason, they took this post though.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.  In fact it's a holiday.  It's

National Over-hyped Potential Rookie Bust Day!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Got Bowman?

I will admit, I have gone off the deep end with Bowman so far.  I say so far because I can't really stop myself when I see them in the store.  Although at this point, I am pulling nothing but doubles.  It reminds me of back in 2004 when I bought up more football than I could handle searching for all the Manning and Roethlisberger rookie cards.  I think I am still paying for some of those.  So why doesn't this surprise me?

So far I have busted a retail box (just opened by the card rep), 2 blasters, and 15 rack packs.  You would think that the odds of pulling at least one Strasburg card out of all of that would be pretty good.  Well one is exactly what I got.  It was a base card.  Nothing special. 

I have also pulled 1 orange parallel /250, 2 blue parallels /520, 2 autographs, 10 purple Chrome refractors /999, 2 Chrome refractors /777, a pile of gold parallels, and a host of Top 100, Expectation, and Throwback cards.  I am not going to post everything that was in here simply because you can go on 100 other locations to see what these look like and find checklists.  I will say that as of now, I am collecting the base set and the base rookies.  I have my needs posted on my set needs page at the top if anyone has some to trade.  I also have quite a few doubles that I am more than happy to unload in trade.

Let me know if you have anything I need.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stay Classy Philadelphia

Every self-respecting human on the planet Earth knows that there are no real fans of Philadelphia teams outside of Philadelphia.  Now you can claim to the contrary all you want but the rest of us know better.  Quite frankly, I am not going to listen to arguments about it because those are the same people that are Pittsburgh haters and will say anything to get under my skin.

It is also widely known that teams from Western PA are not too keen on the cross-state Yin to their Yang.  With that said, I am not going to sit here and give Phily the benefit of the doubt.  I know what their fan base is capable of.  I have seen it in action in person way too many times to count, each time a little worse than the next, but no less surprising.  Whether it is the constant booing of their All-Pro quarterback, or the Phillie fan deliberately puking on the 11 year old earlier this year.  Don't get me wrong, there are fan bases all over the continent that have that "fringe" contingent of drunkards and miscreants that wreak havoc after games, before games, during games, etc (See New York, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Boston).  But in all those cities, I can't say I have ever seen another irreverant fan gets tazed by security guards.

With game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Phily, I thought it was interesting, to say the least, when I read earlier about the latest in their attempt at welcoming an opposing team to town.  Apparently, Fox 29 is reporting that there is a social blast floating around Facebook and Twitter urging Flyers fans to participate in a flash mob this afternoon in Center City to "attack the Blackhawks’ bus as it leaves for the Wachovia Center."

What?  I can't believe this is even real but, alas, it is...look it up.

Starting at the Four Seasons, where the Hawks players are registered, they will "bike" their way through town, following the Chicago bus on route to South Phily and the stadium.  Though I am not sure whether it is bicycles or motorcycles, does it even matter?  In today's day and age of terrorism and fear of un-permitted assembly, does anyone really think this would be a good idea?  Something tells me there will be a caravan of police giving the Hawks an escort. 

This only added to my disdain for the Flyer fanbase even more, not that it really could, when I read a, slightly biased report from my good buddy Danny Mac in the Chicago Tribune.  I don't normally like the things that Dan McNeil says on his show, or agree with much of what he writes.  Nor, as most of you already know, am I a Chicago fan.  But I know exactly what he is talking about because, as I said, I have experienced it all too often. 

I am not going to post the article...only link it with the instructions to GO READ THIS!!  Apparently rather than sit in the press box, Dan McNeil took a seat amongst the residents of the City of Brotherly Love.  In a quote to summarize the article...
"This city relishes its tougher-than-a-$2-steak image. They take pride in being as warm as a freshly neutered Doberman."
Stay classy Philadelphia.  We wouldn't want the rest of the world to think you are civilized.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Now that the Penguins season is over, I am hard pressed to find anything interesting to talk about on their home front.  I am not big on the "let's run Malkin out of town" bandwagon, nor am I going to bring anymore speculation and conjecture to the "will they or won't they" keep Sergei Gonchar argument.  No, I am interested in something entertaining.  Something news worthy.  Something that involves...toilets.

Everyone in the "know" of Pittsburgh Penguins ticket buying is familiar with the Student Rush lines that form around Mellon Arena on game day.  Basically, any current high school or college student with a valid student ID has an opportunity to buy game-day tickets.  These tickets go on sale about an hour before puck drop but the lines start forming anywhere from 3-5 hours prior.  It will happen the same way when the Pens move into the CONSOL Energy Center next season. 

But in the process of building a new arena, one area that gets overlooked sometimes is the bathrooms.  I have been to many stadiums around the country and have noticed the lack of concern or effort put into designing an efficient system of processing thousands of people through in short amounts of time.  Bring in the Student Rush members!

In order to test the plumbing in the new facilities, the Pens Student Rush text alert members will have the opportunity to enter to win a chance to simultaneously flush all the toilets in the CONSOL center (reminding me of the "flushing during Super Bowl halftime" wives tale).  125 random members will be invited to bring a friend along and join in on the mass flushing. 

The Details:
CONSOL Energy Center Student "Flush"
June 10th at 4PM EST.
400 flushers including 250 random Student Rush members
MC'd by former Penguin and current radio announcer Phil Bourque.
Pizza party on the floor after the even sponsored by Pizza Hut and Snapple.

If I'm lying, I'm dying.  I can't make this stuff up.  Hopefully someone out there will be taking some pictures of the event.