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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Super Mario Returns

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest and most inspiring comebacks in professional sports history. 

After being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 1993 and receiving numerous treatments, Mario laced up the skates in Philadelphia on March 2, 1993 for a regular season game against the rival Flyers.  That morning, he had received his last set of 22 treatments for his cancer and still took a flight to Philly to play in the game.  Not only that, he scored a goal and had an assist in the Pens 5-4 loss that night. 

But what I remember the most about that night...that was the first time that I saw actual respect on the faces of the fans in Philly.  They cheered Mario in warm ups.  They cheered him during team introductions.  And they actually cheered when he put points on the board.  Any other time, the boos would have rained down from the rafters of the old Spectrum but on that night, it was all about Mario.

He went on to have one of his best seasons and eventually overtook Pat Lafontaine for the scoring title.  All that despite missing over a month of the season.  Super Mario indeed.

Here is a short video of Mario's return. did a real nice 3-part write up on this monumental event told from the eyes of his teammates and opponents that night.  Check them out if you want a nice read.

PART 1                PART  2                    PART 3

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sometimes I Find Stuff (...And A Redemption Quandry)

As the title suggests, sometimes I find stuff.  The other day while I was supposed to be sick (actually I was sick but you get bored sometimes laying around staring at the ceiling) I decided to try and find my 2012-13 Upper Deck Series I cards that I had obtained back in November at the last Chicago Sun-Times/Mounted Memories Sports Show.  I hadn't seen them in quite a while and with all the hullabaloo that has been going on in my life, I haven't really had the time to look for them.

About a year ago, I sorted many of my hockey cards into 3500+ count boxes by card manufacturer and year.  So all the 2010-11 were in one box (if possible), 2011-12 in another, so on and so forth.  It makes it easier to find stuff.  Well, I didn't have a box for 2012-13 because other than a handful of Artifacts, the UD that I picked up, and the recent Black Diamond I obtained, I had no need for a separate box.  I must have spent an hour going through boxes until finally, a couple 800 counts sitting all by their lonesome suddenly appeared.  Wouldn't you know it?  Inside were all my 2012-13 UD Series I...and Panini Certified...and last years Zenith...and more Artifacts...and Titanium...and a whole slew of cards from the now famous, and usually lopsided trading that takes place at these shows.  I now wish I had access to my binders and set boxes but that story is for another day.

At any rate, sometimes I find stuff.  Inside the box were two cards that I forgot I had...both of them redemptions.  If there is nothing else I like more in collecting, it's redemptions.  They make me smile (a devilishly vindictive smile similar to that of a serial killer right after he tastes blood for the first time...ok maybe not that extreme, but close).  Here they are in all their glory.

If you can't see it, this is from 2012-13 Certified (click on it to enlarge if that helps).  Its a redemption for a Scott Glennie Freshman Fabrics card #188.  At the time, I had no idea what this was or even who Scott Glennie was.  I now know he was drafted by the Dallas Stars and currently plays for the Texas Stars in the AHL.  He played one game for Dallas last year, racking up 2 penalty minutes.  By NHLPA rules, that makes him eligible for a card.  Go Figure.  I have since discovered that the Certified Freshman Fabric cards 177-188 are Jersey Auto cards with a print run of 499.  That part I didn't know either.  So I may actually redeem this one to add to the ever expanding auto collection.  

The second one is this 2012-13 Artifacts Rookie Redemption for the Florida Panthers.  As before, I had no idea at the time who this was or what it was for.  But I speculated...Could this have been Jonathan Huberdeau?  Maybe.  But not now.  The lock-out F'd that one up now didn't it?  And what about all those Edmonton Oilers ones that sold on Ebay for hundreds of dollars with the hopes of landing the Nail Yakupov cards?  What happens to all those people?  Do they get refunds for false advertising, or is it even false advertising when you put a question mark at the end of your auction title?  I don't know that answer.

Now that the NHLPA has basically put the "Nail" in the coffin on any and all rookie cards for guys that are skating during this shortened season, has anyone heard how the card companies are going to handle this issue?  Has Upper Deck or Panini spoken up about the problems they may have with redemptions?  Or are they going to handle it at all?  If I have missed a statement in an article, please, someone point it out to me because I would love to see how this debacle works out. 

So what should I do here?  Redeem it anyway with the hopes of landing a Huberdeau at the end of the season?  Or plan on getting another Colby Robak that looks different from the regular issue card (or even the same one for that matter??)?  Or should I try to sell it for a couple bucks?  Or maybe I should auction it as a Huberdeau, put a question mark at the end of my auction title, charge $25+ and see if anyone bites?  No, that would be dishonest.  But you can see the dilemma here, right?