Wednesday, April 7, 2010

REVIEW: 2009/10 ITG Between The Pipes

Well, here we go. The first box of this year's Between The Pipes that I have cracked. It took a little longer than I hoped, but I think the results are worth the wait.

This first box will be more of a review of the product whereas the second box will be basically a show-and-tell.

Let's get it goin'!

2009/10 In The Game
Between The Pipes

First off, let me just say that the price point on this box is very impressive considering the amount of 'hits' per box.

I purchased my box for just over $100. There are 18 packs per box and 9 cards per pack. The average number of 'hits' in a box is 9. A great assortment of base cards, subsets, inserts and memorabilia leaves one anticipating not just every pack opened...but each card revealed.

The base cards (or at least that's what I call them) are the 'Future Stars' cards. There are 75 cards in this set (half of what makes up the total 150 card base series). The design on these cards are really sharp. Distinct, crisp. A little more variety in the photos would have been nice, but with the idea of full body shots cut out, one is limited to what can be done.

Some solid names in the checklist as well. A few guys have had a cup of coffee in the NHL while most are top prospects.

The 'Stars Of The Game' subset features current NHLers and the closeups on the masks look awesome. The photos are treated to look more like pencil sketches colored in with pencil crayons. Real nice stuff. There are 31 cards in this subset. Again, the design of the card is unique and distinct to the rest of the set. I really like this aspect of the base cards.

The only drawback to me is that some of the mask drawings look a little blurry. When I see the top notch ones and then compare them to the less sharp - the difference is pretty obvious.

'Great Of The Game'. Now we're talkin'. This 34 card subset shows off the all-time greats (well, mostly....the player selection is a little weak. Allan Bester? Brian Hayward? Sorry, that's filler for me). On the upside, the vintage masks are spectacular....except for those who are sporting the Chris Osgood special (Pete Peeters and Ron Hextall, I'm talking to you). Some great closeups - which for me is great because I collect anything with a closeup of a goalie mask. Again, some photo quality issues (some are pretty blurry, but I guess you work with what you have available).

I wish ITG would do more with this aspect of the set. 'The Rival League' focuses on the WHA players. While I like the addition of these cards, I was disappointed that there were only 10 cards included in the set. A fairly limited player and photo selection made this subset inferior to some of the previous year's attempts. I hope to see better.

Now on to the inserts! As I mentioned, 9 'hits' were the average - and that's what I got. Some good, some ok - and some AWESOME!

The 9 card CHL Rookies set gives a unique look at the future stars of this set. There's also a 9 card AHL Rookies set that has a similar design. Nothing fantastic, but a tough set to build with only 1 card per box average.

The 'Net Brawlers' subset is born from the overwhelming demand from a couple years ago. ITG released a dual memorabilia card identical to this set. The catch - they were all 1 of 1's. The demand was huge.

Clearly, ITG got permission to go ahead with a regular insert set and I love it. A unique look at the rare side of goalies.

The cards again have a 'drawn' or 'painted' look to them. I really like the art that is this set.

In this 9 card insert set, Felix Potvin makes a couple of apperances, as does Chris Osgood and Patrick Roy in their infamous tilt. And of course, no goalie goon set would be complete without a call from Ron Hextall. Great stuff.

Another great aspect of the Between The Pipes cards has been the goalie mask inserts. This year, ITG has upped the goods.

The amazingly quick turnaround on the 'Gold Medal Masks' set is to be commended. This 9 card set features closeups of the masks used at the 2010 Olympics - including the gold medal winner Roberto Luongo. At 1 GMM per box, this again will be a good challenge for those looking to build the set.

And speaking of masks, we now get to my favorite inserts - the Masked Men set.

This year is the second year for the Masked Men insert set and again ITG has included a good variety of vintage and current players as well as the stars of tomorrow.

The scans do these cards no justice. They are really crisp and the silver foil is real shiny - REAL SHINY!

My only beef is that in the 50 card set, there should be more vintage. Just look at the Favell - AWESOME. The Fuhr's pretty sweet too.

I snagged 3 autographed card in my box (the average) and with 2 of them being 'Greats of the Game' I consider my hits to be a success.

Ron Hextall has a pretty sweet sig, while Liut and Schnieder round out a great trio of cards.

ITG does a great job again of incorporating the sticker auto into the design of the card. If you don't look closely, you'd never know.

A 132 card 'GoalieGraph' set makes for one of the toughest to build this year. Good luck!

The memorabilia cards are also aplenty in this release. Too many inserts sets to list. Head over to the ITG website for the full details. What I can say is that I am really impressed with the quality of some of the jersey, patch, glove, pad, whatever cards that have been pulled and I can say that it is the memorabilia cards that really enticed me to give a box a shot.

While my jersey card is nothing on the realm of spectacular, the next card definitely heads in that direction.

A big, fat, leathery piece of goalie glove. Yum! These cards are spectacular in person. A huge swatch (and while mine is just a single color, some of the designs are truly amazing). This is the Black version and is limited to just 30 copies.

NOTE: Foreshadowing the second box - it gets better!!!

My only beef with these cards is that from the scan, it looks like the top of the card is torn off. Not the case - it's supposed to look like that. Whatever. I gotta huge chunk of Giguere glove!

Well, that's it. My, fun and fun. So much so that I bought a second box. I never do that. You don't get a full base set (you get about 2/3 to 3/4 of a set) and there are a bunch of insert sets that never surfaced in my box break.

A great product with amazing 'hits'. Very nice price point and good value for the dollar.

My only beef is the subpar photo quality on some of the base subset cards.

My only other comment is - if you haven't got your box, get it now....when the second wave of them hit stores, I would expect the prices to go up.

Good luck and let me know how you fare.

4.5 out of 5


  1. Nice break. Can't wait to see the second box. I've got to get these.

  2. Impressive. Everywhere I look lately, whether on the box break forum on SCF or other blog posts like this one, makes me want to get one of these boxes.

  3. Nice job. Wouldn't want to trade something for that Tokarski, would you?

  4. This product is like a'll get addicted.

  5. Where can you buy them?

  6. I went to my local card shop to get my boxes, and you can find stores online. As a last resort...ebay.