Monday, April 21, 2014

RAISE THE CUP - Four Beautiful Blackhawks & One Sweet Stevens

I finally took some time to get my Raise The Cup project organized.  It had gotten a little out of control (if you can call a 100-card pc "out of control").  There were cards strewn all over my desk, duplicates sitting in my binder and frankly....some cards that just needed to go.

Without going into a ton of detail.....I've streamlined.

No longer will the Panini Certified insert sets be a part of this project.  Instead, I will slowly build the sets on their own.  They will sit as an accompanying part of the collection, but not part of the project.

Cards in these binder sheets will now be full on cards that have the player on the front clearly celebrating with The Cup.  No more duplicate cards (french/english, US/Canada variations, etc.).  Sorry to the dozen or so cards that have been given the boot.  It's for the greater good.

In addition to the housecleaning, I decided to scan some cards.  So let's take a look at some of the new additions.

2013/14 Upper Deck Series I
#117 Jonathan Toews

Yeah...this one was a no brainer.  What a fantastic photo.

Sweat-drenched hair, championship cap, playoff beard, outburst of joy.  What more does one want in a card?

Oh yeah.....The Cup!

I love the angle of the shot in this photo.  The side view allows one to get a good look inside the bowl.  Very cool.

2013 Panini Black Friday
#18 Jonathan Toews (shiny version)

This card sucks when scanned....but looks fantastic in person.  Wavy, shiny, black and with a simple design.  It looks great.

This card was a part of Panini's Black Friday promotion last year, so I assume it was a giveaway card.  I was able to trade for it a number of months back.

It's been sitting on my desk ever since.  For shame.

2011/12 Panini Donruss Elite
#14 Dustin Byfuglien

I was told that this shiny offering comes from another Panini giveaway thingy.  Works for me.

Dustin is looking a little more chill than Toews and I love the crooked hat. Slick.  The "deer in headlights" facial expression is the icing on the cake.

But....he's hoisting that trophy.  It's in.

2013/14 Upper Deck Series I
UD Canvas
#C50 Patrick Kane

Speaking of chill.  Kane looks cool like Tom Cruise in 1983.

The ticker tape background gives this card a great looking effect and oddly makes Kane and the Cup pop out....and yet at the same time blend in.  Optical.

2000/01 Topps Stadium Club
#33 Scott Stevens

But the king of ticker tape cards might just go to this Scott Stevens offering.

The low angle shot makes Scott look like he's king of the world and the background just sits so abstractly.

So with that, I'm now up to date on the collection.  Let's see how long that lasts.

Current Collection 112 cards

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Earlier this month I picked up a few cards for the trade box when I was at the final monthly card show of the season.  It was a great opportunity to do some replenishing and it also gave me a chance to check out some cards I normally wouldn't spend the time or money on.

There are a lot of cards I just turn my head away from and ignore.  Not because they aren't nice cards, but because I just can't focus on too many pieces of cardboard out there.  I've got enough on my plate as it is.

But when the goal is to hunt down some sweet deals....the eyes open up a little wider.

And when I saw this beauty sitting in a $5 box, I decided to strike.

2012/13 In The Game History Of Hockey
Great Moments In Hockey
#NN - First Goalie To Score Silver  /40

Nowhere on the front of this card does it say the name Billy Smith, but I knew exactly who this card showed when I laid eyes on it.  And yes, he was the first goalie ever to be credited with scoring a goal.

Now the photo has him in a shooting position....but make no mistake, he did not fire the puck down the ice like you've seen may times since.  More on that in a moment.

When I saw this card, I immediately thought of a card from my youth.  A card that really represented a lot in terms of my collecting life.

1980/81 O-Pee-Chee
Record Breaker
#5 Billy Smith

This was sitting on the front page of my collecting binder.  Center square.  The very first set I collected, the very first set I finished.  I was 8 years old at the time.

I didn't quite understand at that time how or why Billy Smith was credited with scoring a goal.  All I knew is that Billy Smith did something no other goalie had ever done.  That made him cool in my books.

The back of the card might lend more of an explanation...
Ah ha....Colorado Rockies.  Nuff said.

Here's the video evidence (it's short)...

It took me a few years to realize that Billy never really shot the puck.  And in fact, it wasn't until Ron Hextall did it right that I fully realized that it was nothing more than a bizarre set of circumstances that allowed Billy to receive credit.

Still.....pretty cool.

Which is why I decided to pick up the History Of Hockey art card celebrating this important moment.  It's a nice rendering and includes a piece of Smith's jersey.  But really, it was the price that did it for me.  I had seen this card at $40, then $30, even $10 and not a sniff from me.

For $5.....I'll do it.  I'm contemplating cracking it out of the slab.  It's a nice card.  And I might just hunt down the 80/81 offering to match it up with.


'DID YOU KNOW' - Ron Tugnutt

Congrats to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winning their first ever playoff game last night. It was an exciting game and could make for an interesting series. I thought I'd share a CBJ flavored post to celebrate.

Most of the time when I see a card that fits into the 'Did You Know' subject it's because of an obscure bit of information virtually hidden on the back of a card.  Or maybe it's because the card itself has some meaning that might not be readily known to the masses out there.

But in this instance, the info it clear as day....right on the front of the card.

But I thought that with the regular season now over and the Stanley Cup playoffs in full effect, it would be an appropriate stat.

Take into account the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets have returned to the dance for just the second time in team history (although they blew it in game one) and the fact that the card itself contains one heck of a sweet mask.

Yeah....what can I say. I like masks.

'DID YOU KNOW' - Ron Tugnutt holds the record for most wins by a goalie on an expansion team with 22?

Back in the 2000/01 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets entered the NHL and one of their first free agent signings was Tugnutt (who played for Ottawa and Pittsburgh the previous year).  He appeared in 53 games that season and won 22 times.

He tied the longstanding record on the final game of the season.  Who did he tie?  Minnesota North Stars tender Cesare Maniago (who had 22 wins with the first year team back in the 67/68 season).

I just had to throw this card in.  Love it.

Anyways, let's go back to Tugger's (or is that Nutt's) mask for a moment.  I love the splash look that covers the front of his lid.  It's something that he incorporated way back in his Montreal days.

"I was in Montreal and had to make a new mask so I decided a Molson (Canadian beer) splash would be cool.  That is what has given me ideas since.  If you look back to '94, all my masks have a splash effect on them."

Mask painter Frank Cipra has painted many of Ron's mask and has always incorporated this staple Ron Tugnutt look.

From his days after Montreal when he backstopped Ottawa for three seasons... his brief cup of coffee with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The masks create an instant identity.  The team name along the chin and big splash on the front.

But Ron Tugnutt isn't just remembered for his mask...or his expansion team wins record...

On March 21, 1991 while playing for the Quebec Nordiques, Tugnutt stopped 70 of 73 shots to earn his team a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins, the second highest number of saves made in a regular season game in NHL history.  His performance evoked such respect that several Boston Bruins players came over to congratulate Ron after the game ended.

Or how about this one...

Ron Tugnutt was in net for the May 4, 2000 playoff game against the Philadelphis Flyers where he made 70 saves once again.  This time on 72 shots.  The 72nd shot just happened to be Keith Primeau's OT winner (in the fifth extra stanza).  The longest NHL game since the 1930's.

Tungnutt finished his NHL career with 186 wins in 537 games over 16 seasons.  He's more likely to be known for his moments in time as opposed to his overall career.

And his killer mask designs.

Did I just milk this post into a goalie mask love-in or what?

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Last week was a quiet one for Linden pickups.  But that doesn't mean that what I reeled in wasn't of significance.

There's a collector that goes to the monthly trade nights who has a small stash of Linden cards.  He knows I collect him and he picks up the odd card here and there when he can trade for them.  Many times in the past he has helped me add a new card to the pc.

Last month, he had a new card I needed.  But even though I had a full box of traders, we weren't able to complete a trade.

See, he's a Detroit collector.  I can appreciate that.  And I didn't have any Red Wings cards.  So that meant I had to do some replenishing of the ol' trade box.  Which I managed to do early in this month.

So when April's trade night happened last week....I was ready.  And I was happy to land this new add.

2012/13 In The Game Decades 90s
#A-TL Autograph

This hard signed signature was a card that I just let slip by time after time after time on ebay.  Two reasons for that.  One, I refuse to pay $20+ dollars for this card.  It's just not worth that.  Even now, it's in the $10 range.....I won't budge.

Second, I knew that eventually I'd be able to trade for this copy.  It's not numbered and it's not a high-demand Linden card (even for a guy who has it on his wantlist).

So I waited.....and waited.  And I finally made a trade for it.

Cross that one off.

The second card comes from a trade I made on the hobby boards.  It involves a piece of my awesome one box break of In The Game Used last month.  This product is paying off in spades.

I was able to trade the quad gold card (as well as a couple other smaller value cards) for this one...

2013/14 In The Game Used
Past, Present & Future
#PPF-08 Horvat/Sedin/Linden Gold

This gold parallel is limited to just 10 copies.  And even though I slightly overpaid, the fact that I was able to trade for this card makes it all worth it.  The other cards I gave up were either cards I picked up cheap or have been sitting in my trade box for a mighty long time.

Three great two-color jersey pieces with thick seams on the Horvat and Linden pieces.

Is it a stunner of a card?  No...not really.  It's a little par for the ITG course.  But it's a low numbered item that hits my pc via trade.  And for that, I applaud......myself.

With these two cards off the list, it looks like I'm adding a couple more back on.  I guess I spoke too soon when I said it was a good thing Linden didn't win a Cup.  It seems as though he has been included in the latest ITG offering Lord Stanley's Mug.  A Cup Rivals card that has Linden share the space with Mess....ugh, I can't even say it.  The first dual card featuring the pair.  Yuck.  He also has a quad card - around the bases we go again.  All that's left is to see what kind of parallel offerings there are on these cards.





There are some hockey cards that truly evoke the saying "frozen in time".  A while back I posted a pair of Dominic Roussel cards that fit the bill perfectly.  And last week at the monthly trader night, I found one more example.

2011/12 Upper Deck Series II
UD Canvas
#C206 Tomas Vokoun

This closeup shot of Vokoun as he focuses on the puck creates some cool imagery.  Is he David Blaine-ing it up and performing a feat of levitation?  Or is he about to pounce on the puck like a kitten with a ball of yarn?  Maybe he's in the midst of a mental lapse as he watches the puck drift by him....unable to react?

Whatever it's a cool photo.  And I'm a sucker for shots like these.  Especially when you add into the equation the closeup of the goalie mask.  It's like the card was made with me specifically in mind.

Even on the canvas textured card, you can make out some of the bold detail on Tomas' mask.  I do like what he had done with his Caps lid.  The team theme with the red, white and blue colors.  Good symmetry and not a ton of minute detail.  A eye-catcher from a distance....just like all good masks are.

If I did have one little beef, it would be that Vokoun's eye is a little covered by the cage of his mask.  If the photographer would have been able to time it where his eye would have been clear through one of the would have been a home run.  Instead, it's a solid triple....with an error to get him home.

What a great card to add to the collection.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Over the past few months I have picked up a couple Hall Of Fame autos as "throw-ins" in a pair of trades.  By no means am I saying that these cards are worth fact, I think they are huge adds to the pc.

So big in fact that I have decided to start a new project.  Yes....I know.  How many frickin' projects can a guy have???!!!  Answer - As many as I want.  Ha.

This Dick Irvin signature is so cool to have in my collection.  Irvin is one of the all-time great storytellers, color commentators and hockey historians - PERIOD.

His voice triggers a time in my life where hockey was new to me.  Collecting cards for the first time, discovering favorite players, rooting for top teams and listening to those who would shape not just my hockey knowledge going forward....but teaching what has occurred in the past.

A definite inspiration for me when it comes to hockey - and television.

Dick Irvin is such a key part of hockey history.

There has been only one voice of the Calgary Flames in the 35+ years of existence....Peter Maher.  His knowledge of Flames history is astounding and he makes every game a fun one to listen to.

Never a homer....he projects excitement and intensity regardless of the team that scores.  I like that.  Don't get me wrong...he likes to jam it up when the Flames win a big one, but he never downplays a visiting team's effort.

And while the time is drawing closer to the day when he won't be calling the Flames games anymore, I will continue to enjoy what he brings to the table.  He's not a Hall Of Fame Broadcaster for just his years of service.  He works hard and does it the right way.

I picked up this Bill Clement signature last night at the monthly trader night.  I'll be honest, the only reason why I traded for it is because I had the other two cards above.  When I saw the Clement, I thought for a bit about more than just the person on the front of the card.

For almost 20 years, I have been in the broadcast industry.  First as a volunteer at the local community station, then I worked in news as an editor (what a fast-paced world) and then the past decade-plus in post production houses.

Currently, I work as a producer/editor as at a world-class sports facility here in the city.  And to say that I enjoy the world of sports broadcasting would be an understatement.  I love watching high level people in the business hone their craft.

From cameramen to replay guys, color commentators to documentary producers.  Sports on television is where it's at for me.

So seeing some cards that celebrate these people is something that I'm drawing closer and closer to.  And last night I made the decision to pull the trigger.

I'm starting a collection of broadcaster cards - Voices Of The Game.

I know of a few insert sets that have been produced by Panini and inserted into their Crown Royale sets.  There's about 40 cards over three years to chase.  Some big names along with some unknowns (to me).

There are also some cards here and there in other releases - such as the infamous 06/07 Parkhurst autograph set.  And of course some killer cut autos (like Foster Hewitt....but I've got a bit of a trump card on him).

All in all, I think it will be a fun collection to build and it will remind me of the two worlds I love converging.  I'm looking forward to taking this project out for a spin.

Current Collection - 3 cards

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Two Beauties

There are cards that just scream "Yes!"  Cards that are the ideal....the pinnacle.  The single best example of a card that can be had.

Yesterday at the monthly trade night, I picked up a pair.

I'm always looking for cards to add to my HHOF Autos project.  But part of the process is the need to have adequate traders in my box.  A couple weeks ago I replenished my traders and was excited to see if I could land some new goodies.

One person in particular had a couple autos I really had my eye on.  They would be classified (in my eyes) as the top example of each player auto available.  But he's a Red Wings collector....and I didn't have any Detroit cards last month.  So I scooped up some new red & whites and proceeded to try again.


Johnny Bower
(Inducted in 1976)

This is easily the best Bower auto I've ever seen.  In recent years his signature has gotten a little smaller on cards and the hand isn't quite as steady as it once was (the guy is 89....and still going strong.  AWESOME!).

This autograph comes from the Upper Deck released set commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Leafs winning the 1967 Stanley Cup.  The sweeping penmanship is truly stunning.

Everything about this signature is perfect and when I compare it to other Bower autos available for sale....I can easily say that I have the best example.

And I love the retro look and feel of the card itself.  I need not say anymore.

Bernie Federko
(Inducted in 2002)

Yes!  I finally snagged a copy of this card.

When I traded for the 06/07 Parkhurst Federko currently in my collection, I knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before I upgraded to this card.  While the Parkhurst set is a beauty...this card takes the cake.

In my eyes there was only this copy that I wanted in my collection.  A great photo that oozes 70's hockey, a simple but eligant card design and a rock solid signature - big and bold.

I've been doing a lot of upgrading so far in my quest to obtain 100 hard signed Hall Of Fame autographs and I feel that each one has only grown and diversified my project.  I really like the looks of things as I close in on the halfway point.

I can't believe how things have moved so quickly on this venture.

Current Collection - 43 HOF Autos