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Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Oldest Football Cards (That Aren't Steelers)

Remember when the Topps MCG site was all the rage and everyone was clamoring to capture as many code cards as they could?  Of course you do because it was only a month or two ago when it stopped.  Topps also had the same kind of promotion going for their football product as well. 

The Gridiron Giveaway, just like the MCG, came to an end not too long ago and I decided to see about having some items sent from my collection.  When the time came for the Million Card Giveaway, I took a look at my collection and realized that there was nothing in there worth having shipped.  Most of my collection was made up of mid-70s and late 80s items that I can find plenty of elsewhere.  My thoughts on obtaining these were further confirmed when I read the countless blog postings about the poor shipping and condition of the cards that others had begun "cashing in".  The Gridiron Giveaway, on the other hand, was different.

I was pretty successful at pulling some older cards from my code cards and after doing a few trades, I amassed a collection of over 50 cards.  But, as with most people's collections, it was again made up of mostly 80s and 90s stuff with a few older cards sprinkled in.  It was those cards that I was targeting.  I decided to have 3 total cards shipped and we would see how we did.

First up was a 1970 Mel Farr rookie card.  Farr, for those who don't know, was a standout half-back at UCLA when he was drafted #7 overall in 1967, spending his entire NFL career in Detroit.  Perhaps more known for his car dealerships rather than his play on the field, Farr built one of the largest Ford dealerships in the country during his retirement.  Those of you from Michigan may remember the Superstar commercials of the mid to late 80s.  The condition of the card isn't really that bad here.  There is a small nick at the bottom left corner and the back of the card has one on the bottom right.  Other than that, it looks pretty decent.

Next up was this 1959 Joe Fortunato rookie card.  Joe was a Bear during his whole career.  He played 12 seasons and then spent two more years as a coach (linebackers coach in '67 and defensive coordinator in '68).  Joe had a very solid career, making the Pro Bowl 5 times and was named to the NFL's top 300 players of all-time.  This card is in pretty great condition for being over 50 years old.  It is a little off centered as you can see by all the white space but has four sharp corners and isn't faded like a lot of 50's cards I see at shows.  2 for 2 in my book so far.

Finally, I pulled the trigger on what is now the oldest football card in my collection that doesn't have a Pittsburgh Steeler on it.  This is a 1957 Clyde Conner rookie card.  Clyde played wide receiver for the 49ers for eight years, his entire career.  Although I can't say I know much about him, from the looks of the back of the card, he seems to have been better know for his basketball skills during his College of the Pacific playing days.  This card was almost like the Fortunato in that it had four sharp corners but the bottom edge, as you can see by the scan, has almost a "deckled" edge to it because of the way it was cut.  Still, it's a nice card to have for a buck (sure they were free but shipping was about a dollar a card). 

So did you pick up on my theme yet?  All rookie cards, all from the vintage era, all players played for their respective teams for their entire careers.  I have a ton of respect for guys that begin and end their careers with one franchise.  You don't find that too often these days with free agency plucking guys left and right to the teams with the biggest wallets.  There is something to be said for hard work, commitment, and loyalty to one team.

That being said, if you have any GIG cards that you are debating having shipped, I would say do it based on my experience.  I think everyone has until June 1st to get their orders processed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just A Couple Random Thoughts

First, if you had the opportunity to see a major league baseball game played between two franchises with long, storied histories including multiple World Series Championships for only $1, would you do it?  How bout if they threw in $1 hot dogs?  $1 popcorn, too?

If you are like me, and I had you at $1, obviously your answer and the rest of the metropolitan Washington D.C. area don't jive.  I present, for your viewing pleasure, the demise of America's pasttime.


These pics are all over Twitter at this point but I found the link here with them together in one spot.  It's just sad.  Sad and pathetic.  I don't care if your team comprised of a subpar lineup.  I don't care if the team you are playing isn't much better.  For $1, you go to the game and you take everyone you know.  Period.  Enough said.

Second thought...Bobby Bonilla is about to destroy the Mets for good.  Don't believe me?  Check this out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Box Break - - 2010-11 In The Game ENSHRINED!!

Yeah, that's right. I said it. Enshrined!! Don't worry though. You aren't as shocked as I am about the whole thing.  I don't do "high end".  It has always been a rule.  Today, I broke my rule.

I got my hands on a hobby box of In The Game's latest edition to the already stellar releases that have come out this year. Enshrined hit the streets April 29th and has been buzzing ever since. The concept is an entire set made up of players "enshrined" in the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Great idea! I don't know why I didn't think of it first. "Not another Retro set..." you say? You are right. It isn't. Instead, it features portraits of the some of the greatest players to ever lace up skates. The checklist in and of itself would be a reason to try and pick this one up. Check it out if you don't believe me.

I took the plunge and dove into the first real "high end" product that I have picked up in about three years.  The last time was when I split a case of The Cup with a couple other collectors.  That's the reason I haven't ventured down this path for quite a while.  I was burned on my boxes and I have never fully psychologically recovered from it.  But this is an In The Game product.  There is no way I can get burned here.  Especially with a checklist like that.

What's in a hobby box, you ask?  There are 5 packs in a box, 6 cards per pack.  You will get a total of 25 base cards and they are all numbered out of 175.  Based on the print run, you can do the math and figure that there are only 7000 boxes of this stuff.  In fact, they are all hand numbered to 7000 on the bottoms of the boxes.  That also means that they were all hand collated as well.  The 6th card in the pack can be one of quite a few insert sets that will feature either an autograph or some type of memorabilia.  The autos are all hard-signed and the memorabilia is all game used, with serial numbering out of 9 or less.  There are also Cut Signature cards scattered throughout the release.

 (Yeah, that's a Dave Roberts Collector's Choice card and part of a Brian Campbell Ultra card in the background.  So what.)

The boxes are all plain brown cardboard shipping boxes with the ITG label on the side and ITG tape across the top.  Inside, the packs are all individually wrapped in plastic and sleeved in a cardboard casing.  The packs themselves have a hinged lid and the cards are encased in a foam/plastic holder designed to snugly fit around the small stack of cardboard gold.

(The reflective black packs are almost hypnotizing.)

I couldn't wait till I got home to open these so I busted them right in the LCS.  At that point it was closing time but the few stragglers that were left were in no hurry to leave without seeing what potential wonders would emerge from this box.  The pictures you see, I admit, are staged for effect.  I'm just trying to build the excitement level.

 Here you can kind of see what the box looks like.  My stupid camera always picks up the glare.  The box is glossy black with silver embossed lettering for the Enshrined title and ITG logo.

You can't see it too well here but inside, each box contains a checklist that features all the base card players.  If you haven't checked the list I posted above, do that now.  The players on here are listed in alphabetical order by first name, which is weird.  It features the likes of Ace Bailey all the way to Yvan Cournoyer.  

And now for the good stuff.  Let's see what was inside.  First the base cards...

As a set collector, I am always interested in base cards.  That's another reason "high end" boxes generally are a no-no for me.  The odds of putting together a base set are usually slim to none on releases like this.  Since this years set has every base card numbered out of 175, it will be even harder.  But I'm going to try anyway.  If you haven't seen the previews out there yet, here is what they look like.

Newsy Lalonde - Enshrined 1950;  As you can see, the front of the cards are in color and feature a portrait of the player in question.  They are high gloss and printed on a heavy stock, about the thickness of a standard "slug" you would get in a pack. 

Raymond Bourque - Enshrined 2004; The scans here don't really do justice to how nice these cards really are.  I wish there was a better way to show them off.  The backs of the cards feature something a little strange in terms of newer set releases...STATS!!  It's an amazing thing when you put a players career in a snapshot on the back of a piece of cardboard.  It brings a whole other dimension...take a note Panini.  As I already said a few times, these are numbered out of 175 and stamped on the back.

Bryan Trottier - Enshrined 1997; I only threw this one on here because I think the portrait is great.  If I didn't mention it before, the base set is 200 cards.  That means, for the mathmatically challenged, 8 boxes would be the minimum to complete the base set on your own.  8!!  Retail value of that alone is about $4,200-$5,000 depending on where you live.

But I'm sure no one is here to look at base cards except me and a couple other people.  As stated earlier, there are six cards, one of which is an autograph or memorabilia card with at least one being a guaranteed autograph.  There are two types of autos inserted in the product.  You will either pull an Enshrined autograph which features a hard signed auto of a player with a black and white sketch above, or, you will get a Cut Auto, which is the harder pull since they are numbered 1/1.  There is one card for each member of the checklist.  In my box, I pulled two regular autographs.  This one...

 Bernie Federko - Enshrined 2002

You will notice the card says "Silver Version" on the back.  The silver version autographs are not individually numbered but the print run is only 49, as the "Gold Version" makes #50.  There are a few in the checklist that are also only out of 48 which include Bob Pulford, Brad Park, Fern Flaman, Rod Gilbert, and Rod Langway.  The second auto I pulled could quite possibly be the greatest card I have ever pulled out of any pack of cards, EVER! (at least since the last greatest card, ever)...Jackpot!!
 Mario Lemieux - Enshrined 1997

This isn't my only Lemieux auto but I can honestly say it is the only one I have pulled from a pack, and the only one I have that is hard signed, and by far and away my favorite.  If nothing else, when this beauty appeared, I felt vindicated for violating my "no high-end" clause.  Again, silver version indicating it's one of 49.  

Finally, the last three "hits" are the memorabilia cards.  The insert sets that ITG put together are a very interesting mix of designs and feature not just sweater swatches, but equipment, uniform parts, and other interesting items.  The sets include Complete Jersey, which features a piece of sweater, emblem, and number; Enshrined Lumber, which you can guess is the stick pieces; Stick Rack, which have the player name piece of the stick encased in the card; Mega Memorabilia, which features a full size swatch of emblem from a game sweater; Emblematic, which again features an emblem piece only smaller in size; By The Numbers, which has the players number cut out of the card with sweater swatches embedded into the card;  Enshrined Nameplate, self explanatory, unless you don't know that the name plate is the name plate on the back of the sweater; Induction Year, which features the year they were inducted cut out of the card and sweater swatches embedded; and my personal favorite the Complete Package, which features four pieces of various equipment worn and used by the player featured.  That's a bunch of inserts but keep in mind, none of them are numbered above 9 in the silver versions and the golds are all 1/1.  And, with the exception of the 1/1's, they are all hand numbered.  

Here is how I fared...

Induction Year: Aurel Joliet - Montreal Canadiens - Enshrined 1947;  Although I always thought his name was spelled wrong, this one was pretty neat seeing come out of the box.  Since many people probably don't know Joliat, he was in the second group of HOFers ever elected to the Hall.  Though he was small (think Marin St. Louis, only shorter), he helped lead the Canadiens to 3 Stanley Cups back in his playing days and was regarded by many as one of the best in the game.  When he retired, he was third in all time goals.  The "47" you see here is made up of sweater swatches that actually are sweater.  You can see the woven pieces of fabric, a far cry from the newer, manufactured jerseys.

By The Numbers - Jean Beliveau - Enshrined 1972;  This card looks way better than the crappy scan here.  Again, it's the silver version numbered out of 9 and features a piece of sweater cut in the shape of the Beliveau's number "4".  As you can see by the little write up on the back, Beliveau wore different numbers early on in his career but donned the 4 for almost 18 years.  

Finally, the other card that made this box...

Complete Package - Tim Horton - Gold Version 1/1!!!;  Amazing card.  The scan just doesn't do it justice.  Here we have four pieces of memorabilia from Mr. Donut himself.  There are Pants, a Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey swatch, a piece of skate, and part of his stick showing the letter "M", albeit upside down.  It was funny when I pulled this because one of the guys asked me after looking at the card "how many of these did they make?"  I almost swallowed my gum.  This card moves into a spot on my all time greatest ITG memorabilia cards, ahead of the Gerry Cheevers blocker pad from last years BTP, ahead of the Gump Worsley & Noel Picard jersey/pads combo from 1972 TYIH, but right behind the bloodied piece of Guy Lafleur sweater from the same 1972 box (I don't know if it is blood but it sure looks like it to me). 

So let's sum this up.  On average, a box is going to cost you about $20 bucks/card unless you can get a really good deal somewhere.  That's a high price to pay for so little in quantity.  However, I think the quality of this product is unmatched.  A base set going to be harder to put together than trying to build an O-Pee-Chee set without help, but it may pay dividends in the long run at only 175 total sets.  The "hits" are really where this product makes it's money.  There are already over 200 closed auctions for cards from this set and another 80+ for sale as we speak on the Bay.  On average, the lesser known autos are going for between $15-25 while the bigger names are getting $75+.  The Gold 1/1 versions of many of these are fetching upwards of a few hundred dollars.  So it is possibly to make your money back off a box.

Regardless of whether you get into this one for business or pleasure, there is no denying that ITG brought it with this release and despite the hefty price tag, it gets my vote for product of the year so far.  It's going to take a huge effort from the others to match what Dr. Brian Price and the ITG team have assembled.

(Despite my man-crush on ITG, I was in no way compensated by them to speak nicely on their behalf.  I just appreciate quality products when I see them.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just A Quick Brag Post

I just wanted to take a moment and brag about my latest addition to my Penguins PC...THIS BEAUTY!!!  2010-11 Artifacts Tundra Tandems Crosby/Fleury #'d/75.  I suppose I could have spared you the details because you can see all of that printed on the card.  I picked this one up off the Bay and was so jacked when I saw the package in the mail because I new what it was.  This is one of those cards that looked good online but looks 1000% better in person.  No Event-Worn nonsense here either.  My only gripe is the small but noticeable nick on the bottom right corner.  Otherwise, this card is EPIC in my opinion.  I'll shut up now.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Obligatory Gypsy Queen Post

There was a time last year when almost every blog had a post about A&G.  Well that time of year has rolled around again only this time it's Gypsy Queen.  So since everyone else is doing it, why can't I? 



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Box Break - - 2010-11 SP Authentic Hockey

It's time for another box break.  I have held off long enough on this one and I'm not sure why.  Actually, I went through all my "draft" posts and came up with a startling revelation.  I start posts in droves and never really finish them.  This was one of those posts.  I think my problem is that my brain goes a million miles an hour and when something interesting pops up I start writing and then lose interest when the idea fades.  I'm like the guy that gets distracted by shiny things.  So enough about that.  Moving on.

Upper Deck released their SP Authentic Hockey product about mid-April and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one the first day it hit the shelves.  From what I have heard thus far, it's a good thing too.  Upper Deck has started to roll out their "authorized dealer" designation and there are some interesting restrictions that go with it.  Things like, no Canadian sales for a year, no re-seller sales for 90 days in the US, and other crazy stipulations.  I'm not sure if my LCS has been designated as a dealer or not but I will most certainly find out the next time I stroll by.

This years SPA release is very similar to previous years in that the design is very clean and simple.  The base cards feature an action shot of the player that has been cropped onto a white background.  The top half of the cards feature the player in glossy print, while the bottom half is kind of faded out, almost like a mist coming off the ice.  The right side has a stripe from top to bottom that features the players name, team name, and the SP logo at the bottom.  The player number is sort of superimposed on the bottom section right outside the stripe.  Again, it's a clean design without much flash or flair because the focus of SPA has always been in the "hits".

Each box should have at least 3 auto cards, one of which will be a Future Watch Rookie.  There are also Future Watch Patch cards #'d/100 that have been falling 1 or 2 per case.  The other autos can be found on the perrenial Sign of the Times set that features all the stars of the NHL, the Prestigious Pairings set, Immortal Inks which feature retired players and HOFers, Marks of Distinction, and Chirography.  As a departure from a non parallel base set this year, Upper Deck also added Patch variations of the regular cards.  Most boxes will also yield 1-2 HoloFX inserts and 2-3 SP Essentials, which are numbered /1999 but collated with the base set.

Oh, and before I forget, there are 24 packs per box with 5 cards per pack.  Here are some of my box highlights.

I pulled the typical 2 HoloFX cards from this box.  As you can see, I didn't do too bad with a Bobby Orr and the Drew Doughty.  You can kind of see by the scan that these are hologram laden cards with a gloss that just doesn't play nice with a scanner.  These look so much nicer in person.


These could have been worse as well.  I watched a guy open a box right after me and he only pulled three of these and they were all, to use the Beckett term, semi-stars.  I pulled 4 which technically beats the odds on the sell sheets.  The Gordie Howe is cool because you don't get many Mr. Hockey inserts with him in the Whalers jersey.  My only beef with these is the lack of color.  I'm not sure why they used black and white with that blue faded side panel.  They almost seem like there should be an autograph on the left.

And now for the meat and potatoes portion...

First, I pulled one Future Watch base card numbered /999.  It was Patrice Cormier.  Yeah...I know.  I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.  Moving on, again.

Ok, this was a little better.  First of all, it is a "case hit".  Second, it's numbered to 100.  Third, despite the way it may look in all it's plain color glory, it's a patch.  Fourth, it's a card of Casey Wellman...wait, that's not one of the positives.  Casey played 12 games for the Wild last year and only 15 games this year.  He is currently playing for the Aeros in the AHL.  Anyone remember Brad Wellman from the Giants (baseball)?  This is his kid.  Whoopeee!!  No offense to any Casey Wellman fans, if you exist.

Now we are talking.  Here it comes again.  The return of the man-crush.  Another Eric Tangradi autograph.  I couldn't have been happier to pull this after the disappointing break thus far.  I think this is my 4th or 5th Tangradi autograph which most certainly means he will be traded between now and mid season 2011-12.  The funny thing is that when you put these cards together, you can see a significant difference in his signing.  That may be an interesting topic for a post...(there goes the brain again).  These are numbered /999.  

When it rains, it pours I guess.  Here we have another in a long line of Thrasher prospects, Arturs Kulda.  Kulda is another guy that may earn his stripes as a minor leaguer permanently.  After being drafted as the 200th pick in the 2006 draft, he has spent only 6 games in a Thrashers lineup.  He is a "stay-at-home" kind of defenseman that isn't afraid to mix it up once in a while.  The only reason why I even know who he is is because he plays for the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of Atlanta.  The games are televised in the Chicago TV market.  Otherwise, I would have been clueless. 

So that was it.  A bit underwhelming for my taste.  It's pretty bad when looking back, you enjoy the base cards more than the rest of the box.  Especially for a mid-range box that is supposed to be known for the "hits".  For me personally, if not for the Tangradi, the box was a dud.  This years set was boosted from 100 cards to 150.  That puts me about 39 cards short.  I've got them posted on my Set Needs page.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random Thoughts

I had a few things to say that have been on my mind and I wanted to share.  Since most of them have nothing to do with one another, I figured a Random Thoughts post was warranted.  So, without further adieu, I give you the results of the emptying of my head in no particular order.

1.  I know this probably isn't going to be the popular opinion, especially since this is a sports blog but, is it just me or does this whole bin Laden thing reek of shenanigans?  I know I can't be the only one that is looking in the direction of a desperate political ploy to inject a positive note into a re-election campaign that has the potential of falling flat on it's face before breaking out of the gates.  Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to all the men and women involved in the operation to take that S.O.B. out.  But, doesn't anyone think it's fishy that all of a sudden after not really hearing word one about operations to track him down (although there was admittedly an ongoing operation) for at least a half dozen years, we have him?  Then we turn around and dump the body before an autopsy or possibly a public dismemberment ceremony could take place?  I realize that within the Muslim religion, bodies must be buried quickly but, come on.  This was the most wanted, most hated, most vilified man since Adolf Hitler.  The least we could have done was paraded his rotting corpse through the streets of New York. 

Plus, now as the days are beginning to pass, we are starting to get conflicting reports, shallow story lines, and shaky information, coupled with supposed photos of the beat up and bloodied face of bin Laden that swept across the internet, only to find out they were fakes.  John Brennan, the top counter-terrorism adviser to the President, has spoken out already saying that while they feel that American's are entitled to information, they are still leery about releasing anything at this time.  If you ask me, there needs to be some kind of DNA test done.  In today's day and age of Photoshop, you can make anything seem real.  I'm sure there is video.  Get that stuff out there to debunk the doubters like me.  The problem is, I think that evidence may not exist.  Even in the speech Obama gave, he made no mention of any evidence even existing.  When we got Saddam, there was video, pictures, the whole 9 yards.  Until I see something substantial, I'm holding back.  Again, I am excited...just not all the way excited.

2.  Enough political mumbo-jumbo...This is straight out of the "I'm crazy and have too much money" camp.  Did anyone else catch this one the other day.  SCP Auctions put up a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie in their last auction.  If you haven't already seen it, take a guess.


That is now the record for all sales of "modern" hockey cards (modern being the operative word).  Obviously we have seen other crazy people/groups/organizations, etc. put up record cash to obtain some rare cardboard.  For instance, the T206 Honus Wagner went for over $2 Million a few years ago.  Even a 1911 Georges Vezina went for about $100,000.   But this one was different.  PSA graded this one a Gem Mint 10.  Are you freaking kidding me?  A 10!!!???  I'm sorry but even I, the untrained, mechanically inept individual that I am can plainly see that this card isn't a 10.  But since it is probably in the best condition of any of the Great One's rookies to be submitted for grading, it wins the prize. Don't believe me?  Check this out for yourself.  Pay close attention to the right edge of the card.  This is just another in a long line of issues that the hobby community has with grading cards.

3.  I've started to notice a trend in this hobby.  It almost seems like when the economy is in a downward spiral, card collecting has the reciprocal affect.  Let me explain.  Disposable income is less available when the economy takes a dump.  Everyone knows that.  But for every "The Hobby Is Dead" claim and every "Collecting Is Too Expensive" remark, I hear two dozen positive comments about the growth and stability of the hobby.  The larger shows I have been to over the past year have all been pretty well attended considering the cost of admission, parking, etc.  The dealers I talk to have few to no complaints about the state of their businesses.  The two shop owners I still know have been doing as good, if not better, than they did 10 years ago.  I see more and more people willing to stand in lines a mile long and pay big ticket prices for autographs and memorabilia.  Online sales on sites like Ebay and COMC have gone above and beyond what anyone could have imagined.  And best of all, the card collecting community that populates the blogosphere is by far and away the most active, thought provoking, vigilant (and vigilante), and generous group of people on the planet.  Feel free to disagree with my observations because this may just be me only observing the isolated island that I live in.  But know this, I'm proud to be part of a hobby that just won't die no matter how hard anyone tries to kill it.

4.  Since I didn't want to give him his own post, I thought I would mention my newest autograph that I added to my collection.  Although I highly consider him my arch-nemesis and would rather light myself on fire than to hear one of his self-aggrandizing diatribes spewed forth nightly on ESPN, "the worldwide leader in sports [except hockey]", I saw this and had to have it.  Don't ask me why.  Just gaze into the mullet.  It may hypnotize you into believing you are a good coach and it's the players fault you were fired.

So basically I just wasted the better portion of 20 minutes of your time (10 if you read fast) just to show off a card of Barry Melrose.  Ain't I a stink'a?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Box Break - - 2010-11 Black Diamond Hobby Box

So what to do on a boring, run of the mill Sunday afternoon?  Mow the lawn?  Plant some shrubbery?  Clean the garage?  I know!!  Bust some cardboard crack.  I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a hobby box of 2010-11 Black Diamond a bit ago.  I don't usually find myself picking up hobby boxes of BD each year because I can usually find blasters at most of the local retailers.  When one of them does their shelf clearing blowouts, you can usually get a blaster box for under $15 (sometimes less).  Since I usually build the set, the blasters tend to be enough to get me on my way.

But on the day I picked this up at the LCS, I was feeling froggy.  With a couple exceptions, I wish I would have gone with my initial instincts and gotten something else.  But I digress. 

I have already done my best to review this year's BD with a video box break over here.  I will spare you the pleasantries of a design review.  As for a hobby box, as you can see by the box top, there are 6 Triple Diamonds (3 of which should be Rookie Gems), 2 Quad Diamonds (1 of which should be a Rookie Gem) and a bonus pack featuring cards from the Upper Deck Ice set that will contain 1 Ice Premieres Rookie.  There are also 2 memorabilia cards on average and at least 1 parallel card that may or may not be numbered.

I'm not going to scan the base Triple Diamonds because there is really no point to it.  Instead, here are some of the other highlights of the box:

Alex Tanguay Gold Parallel #'d/10 - Not a bad card at all (at least that's what I keep telling myself).  Since this isn't the "all encompassing" set like an Upper Deck flagship or O-Pee-Chee, there aren't many "scrub" players to choose from (unless you are a Flames fan, then you might argue).  With the low print run, I think I did okay for this one.  Plus, the gold foil is definitely cooler to look at than the basic silver. 

Blake Wheeler Quad Game Used Jersey - Wheeler, seen here sporting a throwback B's jersey, was traded to the Thrashers back in February for a few players including Rich Peverly.  Since the Thrashers season ended early, Blake took a spot on the US National team playing in the World Championships in Slovakia.  He actually scored a goal in Saturday's 5-1 win over Austria.  Just gaze in awe of the four plain black swatches.  If this was an ITG card, that Black Diamond logo laden cross would be gone and this would be one giant swatch...of plain black jersey.

Dale Hawerchuk Quad Game Used Jersey (3-color) - Now we are getting a little better.  I seem to pull some type of "Ducky" memorabilia card out of a product every year.  Last year it was an Artifacts Autofacts card, The year before it was a Remnants Quad from OPC Premier (don't ask why I did it).  At least this one mixes it up with some color. 

Roberto Luongo Quad Diamond - Nothing to see here, really.  I just wanted to show one of the quad diamond cards.  They look the same as the base but with 4 diamonds on the left side (go figure).

Alex Plante Triple Diamond Rookie Gems - Not what I had in mind when I want to pull a decent rookie prospect but it may bet better.  Plante looks like he might have a decent career in the minor's if he can stay healthy.  That's a big "if" though.

 Nick Palmieri Triple Diamond Rookie Gems - Okay, this one isn't horrible.  At least Nick has been given an opportunity, logging about half a season worth of games this year.  He is an able bodied winger and will most likely remain in the "bigs" with the Devils.

Matt Taormina Triple Diamond Rookie Gems - Really?  Two New Jersey Devil Rookies?  Really?  17 games...5 points.  I guess it could be worse.  Matt scored 50 goals last year for Lowell.  Maybe it will translate into the NHL, given the right opportunity.

Eric Tangradi Quad Diamond Rookie Gems - Now we are talking!  I tried to change the contrast on this scan a bit to make it look better.  I think it worked...sort of.  Regardless, I think I have made it abundantly clear that my current Penguin prospect "man-crush" is focused on Mr. Tangradi here.  Basically that means that sometime in the near future, he will most certainly be used as trade bait to solidify some ailing position on the top three lines.  It happened this year with Alex Goligoski.  It happened last year with Luca Caputi.  It happened a few years ago with Ryan Stone.  Glen Murray in 1997 to the Kings, anyone?  How about 1996 and Markus Naslund?  Anyone that I begin to feel attached to gets the boot. 

And for the Upper Deck Ice cards...I pulled Patrick Kane, Drew Doughty, Evgeni Malkin (yay!), and Tomas Plekanec for the base cards.  They are consecutively numbered, which pretty much matches the other "bonus pack" I opened from SPx.  The Ice Premieres card was T.J. Brodie #'d/1999.  I blacked out the serial number on the scan because it wasn't my card.  I pulled this from an auction because I can't find the one that I pulled.  It's in a box somewhere I'm sure.

So that's it.  Not that I didn't have enough Black Diamond already but this box was a bit underwhelming to say the least.  The Tangradi was a nice edition to the PC and the Hawerchuk is a decent looking piece.  The Tanguay could have been cool if it wasn't Tanguay.  Definitely not enough here to pay for the box, that's for sure.  Why I continue to punish myself with this set year after year, I'll never know.