Tuesday, November 30, 2010


In The Game Ultimate 10.

If ever there was a love/hate relationship this would be it.

I love the fact that Trevor Linden is being incorporated into ITG's sets. I hate that it's going to cost me an arm and a leg to chase them.

I love the designs despite the complete inability to use NHL logos. I hate that it's going to cost me an arm and a leg to chase them.

I love that one of the nicest (if not THE nicest) cards I've ever seen....creating huge discussion and hype amongst hobbyists has been created featuring the Linden name.

I hate that it's going to cost me an arm and a leg to chase them.

It was the first mailday featuring an ITG Ultimate Series 10 card of Trev's. And it did not disappoint.

2010/11 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 10th Edition
Stick Work Silver /24

I've already seen a half dozen or so cards pop up from this set (a quarter of them) within the first 3 weeks of release. To me that says 2 things. There's been a lot of the product cracked and a lot of people feel that Linden stuff can fetch a pretty dime.

True and true.

Out of the Stick Work cards I've seen so far, this one is one of the nicest. The shapes, colors and the font used on the 'S' really make this a card that stands out.

The only downside to the card is that being an ITG Ultimate card, it is encased in a protective slab. Good to know that the card hasn't been tampered with. Bad that I can't touch the card without destroying the case.

I can live with that though.

As a side note....you will want to tune in over the next few days as I reveal the Linden Card Of The Year (and it is a mindblower)!

SCRIBBLES & SCRIBES - Legendary Signatures...Literally

I'll admit, it's been tough...real tough finding a signature of one of today's players that isn't a dud of an autograph.

It really is a sign of the times when you take a close look at some of the atrocious renderings out there.

So, it's time to appreciate some autographs from an era gone by.

Wayne Babych

I can sort of make out a name....not HIS name, but a name.

It doesn't look like the signature is rushed. There's just too much 'pen to paper' time to justify that. In fact, his scribble looks somewhat premeditated - as if he meant to do it. Yikes!

Harold Snepsts

Now this is how it is done! I really like this autograph from one of the most memorable Canucks of all-time. Legible and with authority!

The 'H' and 'S' are so unique, so fluid and dare I say graceful, it's hard to believe that this signature comes from a hard-nosed defenceman.

His autograph actually looks like it would be fun to write. C'mon, try it! Try to write that 'H'.

Yup. Fun!

You know, now that I take a closer look, I do see what that 'name' is in Babych's auto. It's Snepsts! Correct me if I am wrong, but I can see Harold's name in there easier than I can Wayne's.

That's not what you want in an autograph. I suggest going back to Snepsts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I've recently gone through my base cards and pulled a bunch of singles out that I thought had some great photography on them. I hope to do a more in-depth look at hockey card photograph and photographers in the new year.

This is one of the cards that really caught my eye...for a number of reasons.

2000/01 Topps Stadium Club
#45 Ryan Smyth

Now, the card design is not complex at all - which often makes a great photo stand out even more (no distractions).

What this card design does though is make the photo space even more rectangular. There is a lot of space at the bottom of the card that is just not photo available.

This Ryan Smyth pic suits this card layout perfectly. The framing is bang on and the range from one side to the other is fantastic.

The wraparound shot is one that does not get used too often. I don't know why that is. It's a great opportunity for capturing the action. Take a look at the intricacies of the photo - the stretch of the stick and puck, the tight turn on the skates (creating just a bit of snow), the facial expression (which is timed perfect) and the opposing player trying to chase him down.

It's a split second away from determining whether he scores or not, and any earlier and the shot just wouldn't have the same level of anticipation or urgency.

A photo like this would never work on a vertical card, and if the horizontal layout allowed for more head to toe space, the shot would not have had the same impact. The tighter framing really gives accentuates the intensity.

A great photo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BEHIND THE MASKS - Mike Smith Mask History & A Special Bonus

A very special mailday post this time around. I added a great 'oddball' item to my goalie mask collection, but first and foremost - a fantastic gift from someone who I am a big fan of.

I have been following the autograph collectiong adventures of 'Puckhound' over at Hound Central 5.0 for a number of years now. For those of you who have not yet checked it out - do so. It's a great blog that really showcases a true collector and his fantastic collection.

The blog has been a constant source of entertainment, information and inspiration for me. I look forward to the adventures he and his son have with great anticipation.

One of my favorite topics on the blog has been the acquisition of signatures on the infamous 'team sheet'. The blog's primary author has a son named Colin who is a HUGE Patrice Bergeron fan and braves the ice with his teammates for the P.A.L. Stars. Colin has had numerous successes with his team sheets when 'hounding' for autographs.

The team sheet is a simple sheet of white cardstock paper (letter size) that is prepped for autographs with nothing more than a hand drawn team logo.

For anyone who says the hobby is 'too expensive' or the hobby is 'too boring', just look at the inventiveness of some of the team sheets - and the amazing results.

Well, along with the Mike Smith card (which I will get to in a moment), I was thrilled to find in the envelope for me, a team sheet signed by Colin and his whole hockey team. In a nutshell, I was awestruck and thrilled!

It's such a simple idea (and as we all know, the best ones are). The teamsheet looks fantastic in person and I am honored that Colin would take the time to design it (great job on the star by the way) as well as obtain autographs from everyone.

It's just a real kind gesture and one that I greatly appreciate. Thank you very much Colin!!!

The Mike Smith cards also in the envelope were a kind gesture from Puckhound himself (thanks so much!)

A recent post of his showed off this sheet and my curiosity was immediately tweaked.

I had never seen this sheet before. What a great idea. A look at all the goalie masks that a goalie has worn. I wish more goalies would have one of these. Imagine...Sean Burke, Grant Fuhr, Ron Hextall. A very cool concept.

My favorite Smith mask would be his most recent one. It displays lightning-weilding X-Men character Storm. The bolts flying across the mask are really well done. In the end though, the whole collection is a very solid one.

A very generous gesture again from Puckhound for sending off a sheet for me. Thank you!

Now, to tear the perforations or not? That is the question.

Monday, November 22, 2010

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2001/02 UD Mask Collection Dual Patch

That's right....it's an older card that has been selected as my card of the week.

Mailday today and I received a card that has been on my radar for a while.

2001/02 Upper Deck Mask Collection
#DP-TL Dual Patch /50

This is a great looking dual patch card. One of the nicest I have seen. The orange and yellow just leave strong reminders of those vintage jerseys.

I had seen this card on a trading board for a while but never decided to pull the trigger. Two reasons for that. First, I thought the asking price would be too high. Linden cards like this usually demand a bit of a premium.

Second, is that I already own a copy of the card.

It's a nice card in its own right, but there's no comparison which one is the nicer card.

After thinking for a while whether or not I should make an offer, I finally decided to contact the owner of the card and see what would happen.

As it turned out, I was able to land this card for a price that I was very happy with. My goal is simply to sell the other card for the same price (which I think I will be able to do).

Definitely not a problem to have an extra one of these lying around. You don't see this card floating around too much anymore.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BOX BREAK: 2008/09 ITG Heroes And Prospects

This box break comes from the 'Traders Night' I went to back in October. The box was on for a great price and I couldn't pass it up.

As it was, I almost missed the deal...I managed to land the last full box on the shelf.

Good thing as you'll see.

2008/09 ITG Heroes And Prospects

This is a 100 card set (with a 50 card update set which was later released), so a good chunk of the base set was built in just one box. There are some great names in this season's release. Most notable would be Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Luke Schenn and Simeon Varlamov. Add to that P.K. Subban, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and this is one stacked set.

This set has a real retro feel to it. The card color is not the white or off-white we are accustomed to. Instead, it's more of a tan color. It's a subtle change, but really gives the cards a different feel and look.

To add to the retro feel is the green, yellow, orange and blue backgrounds used behind the photo cutouts. That reeks of the 70's. Bold shapes and font styles really finish the cards off.

When it cames to the prospects side of the break, I landed a number of fantastic young players. In addition to the names mentioned above, I can add Michael Del Zotto, Alex Goligoski, Tyler Ennis, Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Drew Doughty. Awesome!

The heroes side of the break was a little less exciting. The cutouts of just the players heads really didn't do it for me one bit. And I have no clue what Chris Osgood is doing in this set. Hero.....really?

Still, to get an Ovechkin in the break can't be so bad.

The inserts really took this good break and made it a great one.

The Draft Picks insert is kind of a cool layout. A little photoshoppy, but nice. I wish I could have landed one of the other cards in the insert set. Boedker is not really the pick I was hoping to get.

The Calder Cup and Memorial Cup inserts have a nice horizontal design with some great background texture.

A pair of trophy lifters for me. Maybe they'll turn into something in the big show. That's part of what makes this set a great product. The potential.

Now onto the bigger hits. This jersey card has a nice sizable chunk of cloth in it. Something that I've noticed lacking with some releases this year (Certified and UD1). Again, a nice design. This silver jersey card is numbered to 100.

BOOM! What a great pull. Eberle looks to be one of the big three to rejuvenate the Oilers franchise for years to come. If his first ever NHL goal is a sign of things to come, the Oilers have a bright future.

That's a nice goal.

But not as nice as this card! BOOM TWO! A complete jersey card. I've never pulled one of these from a pack before. Marc Staal might be third in line on the Staal depth chart, but he's got the makings of a great star defenceman. This card is numbered to only 9!

I gotta say that this box break was a ton of fun, has a lot of variation and hits to it and is a small enough base set to build without breaking the bank.

While I doubt I'll buy another box of this stuff, I'm glad I picked this one up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2010/11 Score Recollection Collection Autograph

A Friday mailday lands another newly issued Linden card into the collection.

Well, I guess 'new' should have an asterisk next to it.

2010/11 Panini Score
Recollection Collection
#32 Buyback Autograph /15

To think that this card minus the autograph, embossing stamp and serial number would not even be worth the cardboard it's printed on.

Amazing what a couple aesthetic changes can do to a card.

When I heard that Linden would be one of the cards included in the Score set this year, I was really anticipating something new, something fresh. I have to say I was initially disappointed to learn that they were just taking his 1990/91 card and getting Trev to sign a few.

That changed as I saw more of the product. That changed when I saw the other names included in the insert set. That changed when I saw Linden in other product releases.

By the time I tracked down and bought this card, I was really looking forward to having it in my hands.

Now, when I asked the seller about this card, I hadn't seen a scan of it. I was told by another hobbyist that his friend pulled a Linden card. I asked and he gave me a price. I ended up going with it and he mailed off the card.

It never crossed my mind to ask him for a scan. Not because I wanted to ensure the card was in good condition, but because there were rumblings of both an english version and a bi-lingual version being issued.

I have seen a couple english versions pop up (in fact there are a couple on ebay right now). So the confirmation of a bi-lingual version was not there.

Well, let's put the debate to rest...

Bi-lingual version

Yup, mine's got french on the back. Nice!

So while I am scratching one Linden card of my wantlist, I can add another with the confirmation of 2 versions of this buyback auto.

I can't complain about that at all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


How much about this great hobby should we be allowed to know about? How much of a company's 'going's on' should we have access to? How much information from the head honcho should we expect? Demand?

Are some issues taboo? Are some a must have?

Things like quality control, exclusive contracts with players, pre-release checklists, promotions or consumer access. What should the average hobbyist be allowed to have? How about the store owners? How about those who just spend a lot of dough on product?

Where is the line drawn and who gets to draw it?

Back in the 80's, the only 'contact' I had with a card company was when they would send me my annual card locker after I mailed in my wrappers along with a few bucks. The only other thing I cared about was where I could pick up packs of cards. It was pretty simple.

Then again, I was only 8 or 9 at the time.

These days, it seems with the internet and social media becoming not just the norm - but a necessity, information flow to and from card companies seems abundant bordering on overkill.

Part of the fun of opening up the newest card release was the sheer excitement in all aspects - who was in the product, what would it look like, how many Flames cards are in the set? Whatever it may be.

Today, all of these questions are answered before I even leave my house to go to the local card shop. The passion and excitement has turned from something innocent to that which is way more calculated.

For example....stated odds of certain cards being in packs, boxes and even cases. It's not about picking up a few packs and opening them, it's become a task now of buying boxes and systematically eliminating the throwaway cards and showcasing the 'hits'. Why do we need that information?

I understand that the amount of information we are given by the company is mostly for marketing purposes. With multiple products from multiple companies now on the docket in a given year, competition is at an all-time high. Trying to get an edge is what the game is all about.

But do I really need this information? Why can't I get this 'on the go' or second hand from the consumers themselves? Why must I be told what's going to be in my 'Christmas present' before I open it?

Let's move on to pre-release checklists. Why is it so vital to know the entire extent of the player selection in a product before I go buy it? Why must I see sell sheet after sell sheet promoting the product and giving me detailed looks at the various card designs?

Again, why not get that info 'on the go'? Clearly it has become a case of people buying wax not to collect.....but to flip. The hobby has seen the development of 'businessmen' as opposed to collectors. You can even see it in the kids nowadays. How fast can I bust open the product, find the hits and sell them.

Finally, let's look at having the ear of the top guys in the industry. Why should I have access to them? Why should I be allowed to tee off on them when I don't get my 'money's worth' on a box of cards?

Should I be allowed to have the same face time with the boss as someone who buys 10 or 20 times the amount of product as I do? What if I buy just one card from a company and I don't like it. Should I be allowed to vent at the company brass? Why?

To be fair, they put themselves out there in certain instances, but I feel it is again a marketing thing. Those who can bs with the common collector and make themselves seem like my thoughts matter might make me (and others) feel a level of trust with the individual. Hence...I buy more product from them.

But I have no doubt that if their contact with consumers didn't affect the bottom line....they would not put themselves out there nearly as much as they do. There is definitely an aspect of 'work' going on.

If I go out and buy a painting or a cd or go to a movie and then come home and determine 'I got ripped off', I don't get on the horn with them and tell them what I'd like to see them do. I don't ask them for a replacement set of songs. I don't ask for a re-do of the canvas work.

So why do we have that expectation when it comes to cards?

I believe it is a result of the level of transparency (or apparent transparency) that we have been given with the card companies. We feel we are more than just a buyer.

It's as if we are board members or stock holders. We are not. We are consumers. And if we don't like the product....then don't continue to buy it.

The level of transparency is a luxury, a bonus. It should not be an expectation. And in my opinion, I'd like to see less of the business aspect of the industry. I'd like to get back to more of the innocence.

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - 1997/98 Donruss Press Proof Silver

With the highly anticipated next chapter in the Panini hockey card story about to be released (Donruss), I thought I'd take a look at one of their releases from back in the day.

I was always a big fan of the Donruss releases. Two reasons....they tried to put solid photography into their sets and they had a good price point at the time.

I'll be very curious to see what this current incarnation will bring.

1997/98 Donruss
Press Proof Silver
(2000 sets)

This is a parallel release of the set so it's got a bit more pizazz to the design. Sadly, a bit of the pizazz is lost in the scans.

This was a 230 card release (identical to the base set) and featured a full foil card stock with silver foil accents. There were no stated odds when determining the rate of pulling one of these, only stating a print run of 2000 sets.

The other noticeable differences to the base card was the starburst design coming out of the team logo in the bottom left corner, and the obvious 'press proof' text along the right side.

Taking a closer look at the card design, it sits pretty simple (as did a lot of the Donruss releases...not their strongest trait). The team logo sits in the bottom left and is an embossed silver foil 'puck' essentially. There are two color streams coming out of the logo - one going up the left hand side (and indicating the team nickname) and one along the bottom (with the player name and position).

The bars are blended in with the photo but still remains pretty noticeable with most of the cards. The font style used is nothing fantastic and feels more like a photoshop slap-in as opposed to a well thought out font design.

The Donruss logo sits in the top left and is again silver foil. Not a bad logo considering the fact that the full product name is used.

The borderless player photo makes up the rest of the front (along with the 'press proof' text indicating the parallel) and is a bit of a miss this year.

There's not a lot of action going on in the bulk of the player cards. A lot of 'staring at the play' or 'pass admiration'. Nothing that should go on the front of a hockey card.

The starburst effect is nice in that the designers painstakingly placed it behind the player making him sit forward on the card. This 'punch-out' effect is one of the few highlights of the card front.

The back of the card is an example of an unfocused design attempt.

The player photo on the left is a different pic than the one used on the front (which is nice), but incorporates an even more boring selection of photos. 'Pre-game skates' and 'waiting for faceoffs' are even more brutal. Not a lot of action going on at all.

The stats are a complete list (which again is nice) but the pill capsules in the middle just ruin the design in my opinion. Why go with that? It comes out of left field in my opinion.

The same font style shows up again with the player name and still looks like a bad photoshop job. To mess things up though is no less than 7 font styles making up the complete back of the card. No focus at all.

The background under the stats is again lacking focus. Some gradient color dissolves and a cropped off team logo just looks rushed.

I will give points for Donruss trying to hide all the ugly logos and copyright info at the bottom of the photo. The sheer ugliness of the pic makes me breeze right by the additional headache.

The inclusion of the '1 of 2000' text under the player's name is the only indication of a parallel set.

All in all, it is a weak release from Donruss and not really a good example of the type of product they put out. The nice thing about it though is that singles from the set can be found in most giveaway piles (well, maybe not the silver press proofs....although I picked these 8 up for next to nothing). There is also a gold parallel limited to just 500. Seems like a lot nowadays.

The key cards in the release are Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman and a rookie card of one Tomas Vokoun (who stared his career with the Montreal Canadiens). Those are the only 3 cards that book for over $1 (for the regular base cards).

The silver press proofs book at 20x to 40x the base card value. I doubt anyone would drop $40 for a Patrick Roy Donruss Press Proof Silver....so you'd be safe there.

In short, hold off for the 2010/11 version...it looks a lot nicer.

2 out of 5

Monday, November 15, 2010

CONTEST PRIZE: 15 Packs Of Score

A couple weeks ago, I entered a contest on Panini's blog site - The Knight's Lance. It was a simple contest. Just answer this question...

Come up with a clever idea for future Score Hockey releases.

This was my answer...

I think what the Score product does is gives the hobby a ‘throwback’ feel. What’s old is new again.


I think that type of set will please current fans, but will get people talking about hockey cards the way they were meant to be.

I think to stay in the filter and mindset of the product, I would stay away from the giant ‘hit’ or huge dollar card. I think that those ‘extras’ would be better suited for other releases.

I think Score should introduce a subset that celebrates the best the season has to offer. ‘The Year In Cards’ could take the best moments of the season, the best photos of the season, the most memorable moments and convert it into one heck of a subset. I would also promote this via multi-product.

Have 10-12 cards prepared for the early release (Certified) and in each subsequent release during the season, have 10-12 cards added to the checklist. Documenting the best the NHL has to offer during the season. The best goals, hits, saves and milestone moments.

By the end of the year, that would make one nice looking set.

A slick, yet simple card design. It would be an insert (so a shorter print) rather than a serial numbered set. I think having the price point low is key as it represents what the product is all about.

I was kind of proud of my answer as I felt it would adapt well to the current Score product and demographic. As opposed to putting in high-end 'hits'.

I was happy to hear that my answer was chosen and that I would be receiving a prize.

Now, in the contest posting, they announced that the prize would be the 9 shortprint rookies in the product's release. Cards including Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Jordan Eberle, Nino Neiderreiter and Magnus Paajarvi.

I was a little disappointed when the package arrived today and inside was 15 unopened packs of Score.

Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand that these are freebies and not everybody received them, but I really think you shouldn't promote one thing and then mail out something else. Especially when you are a company new to the mix and looking to make a good first impression.

I plan on e-mailing Panini and thanking them for the packs. But I will also be commenting on what I thought I was going to receive.

So....here's a 'mini-review' of the new Score product. Since I was going to do that anyways with the blasters I recently picked up.

2010/11 Panini Score

When everything was sorted, I ended up with 77 base cards from the 550 card set (500 base and 50 rookies). It's a nice looking, simple design that pays homage to the 90/91 release 20 years earlier.

The photography is simple, but good. Full body shots lends to a lack of variety. Still, they mix it up a bit with the overhead shots (a bit too much almost).

I also like that they have brought back the 'Traded to...' or 'Signed by...' text to indicate team changes. Now that's throwback!

The horizontal cards look good too. That is until you put them in a binder and have them sit alongside the vertical ones. They don't blend too well.

The highlights cards are nice. A good representation of events that occurred both during the regular season as well as the Stanley Cup playoffs. These could have been branched off into their own separate insert set as opposed to a subset within the base cards.

These are the glossy versions. One per pack. Believe me. They are really REALLY tough to distinguish. You have to angle it to the light just right. Still, a nice parallel set to build for those inclined.

Unfortunately, there are also two other parallels of the base cards - the 20th Anniversary edition (which is indicated by '20th Anniversary' stamped on the front of the card) and the French version (which is indicated by a sentence in French on the back of the card).

In the 4 blaster boxes and these 15 packs I received, I have only pulled 2 Anniversary cards and no French backs. Tough ones to find.

On to the inserts. These Net Cam cards are nice looking, although the idea is old. It's a nice insert set to build with some solid names and some variety in the photos (believe it or not).

I might go after this set.

The Playoff Heroes inserts has a similar feel to the Highlights cards in the base set. A little redundant if you ask me. Not a terrible design, but not my favorite.

The player selection is solid and very well representative of the important players in the playoffs from last year.

These are the first two Franchise cards I have pulled. A nice vertical design with a colorful background rich in team colors. Simple, but effective.

On to the Rookies.....the Hot Rookies.

I have to say, maybe it's my getting up in years, but I have not heard of any of these guys. But, they have met the requirements to be included as an official rookie so who am I to argue.

The design is ok. The font style again is not my favorite (it reminds me of the die-cut letters from the Certified release). I like the colors and the push to make these an overly-unique looking card.

In my 15 packs, I pulled 6 regular and 1 glossy rookie (which is right on for the ratio of insertion).

Now, in addition to these cards, there are some other interesting insert sets (like the Sno-Globes...which I have yet to pull) and the Sudden Death inserts which focus on the OT aspect of the game. As well, there are autographed versions of the base cards as well as the rookies. A real plus if you can manage to pull one of those.

But, this product really caught my eye for the one simple insert set called Recollection Collection. Player cards from back in 1990/91 were signed and inserted at a super low print run. Yes, Trevor Linden is included. :)

But there are also guys like Bryan Trottier, Brett Hull, Martin Brodeur and Eric Lindros.

In fact, a recent ebay auction for the coveted signed Lindros card #440 ended at over $2000. Man alive that's quite the ticket to be pulled from a $1 pack of cards.

Overall, I think the Score product is a great set for those who want to build an inexpensive set. There are good inserts to be had as well as the opportunity to land a big hit.

And the price is right.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Well, the huge Expo is going on in Toronto this weekend. It coincides with the release of the highly anticipated ITG Ultimate 10 product.

For those who have not seen it, it is a high end release with some amazing cards. And yes....Linden is included in the mix.

I have already seen a couple of the stick cards /24 land on ebay, but the 'holy grail' of the bunch has finally surfaced.

2010/11 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia
Trevor Linden Game Used Emblem 1/1

This is one heck of a card......and I know who has pulled it from the pack.....and this person is taking offers on the card.

Now the question becomes - Do I submit an offer? And if so, how much do I offer?

I feel like I have one shot at it. If I go too low, I'll never see it again (as I assume another Linden collector will grab it). I've never bid on a card from the Ultimate product so I have no clue what the card's value would be. I don't even know what kind of an amount I'd be willing to go with.

It's a huge dilemma for me right now. In the end though, I guess it's a good dilemma to be in.

What a card!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

RAISE THE CUP - New Score Addition

That's right....I've finally got my hands on some of the new Score cards recently released.

I picked them up last Sunday at Toys R Us. They had blaster boxes on for less than $5. My sister was invited to a staff 'friends and family event where they got an additional 15% off of their purchase. The blasters were already priced down to $5.98 so it was a no-brainer.

I'll have a more in-depth review of the product on the weekend. In the meantime, here is a look at one of the cards that now holds a spot in my Raise The Cup project.

2010/11 Panini Score
#30 Season Highlight Marian Hossa

The back of the card says it all...

"Most players spend their entire careers just hoping to get to one Stanley Cup Final. Marian Hossa not only went to three straight from 2008-10, he did so with three different teams."

Chicago must have thought they were getting jinxed when they picked up Hossa after failed attempts with Detroit and Pittsburgh. Not so. While he wasn't a dominating force in the Cup run, he was a valuable piece of the puzzle.

A puzzle that doesn't look quite as complete this year so far.

As a quick note....these cards look pretty good from my initial impression.

Current Collection - 22 cards

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - 1988 Calgary Olympic MASK Posters

I was digging through the closet again and noticed a lot of mask stuff that hadn't received a lot of appreciation recently. So I got the camera out and did some reminiscing.

I came across a set of four posters from the 1988 Winter Olympics held here in Calgary. These posters were a part of a display put on at Canada Olympic Park (where they held the ski jump, bobsled, luge, etc.).

These posters are your typical 'poster size' and are on a thick backing board.

They have taken a bit of a beating over the years, but when I saw them on ebay a decade ago I jumped at the chance to own them. I haven't seen them come up too often since.

Here's a closer look at the 'montage' poster. I'll get to some feature shots of individual masks in a moment.

First, let's take a look at the other three posters I have in the set.

One of the coolest masks from the original era of goalie masks. Terry Sawchuk's 'cat' mask just reeked of intimidation when he put it on. Add to that his aggressive stance that dared shooters to try and put the puck past him and it was a match made in goalie mask heaven.

This mask belonged to Wayne Stephenson during his Washington Capitals days. It's such a simple design, but does it ever look cool.

The neck piece was a rarity at the time and just adds something to the overall design.

Yves Belanger didn't have a memorable career, but thankfully his name lives on through his mask. What a great lid. So nice, that the Flames had a giant version made and it is placed outside the Saddledome for all to see.

There's a trivia answer for those of you the next time you are at the Dome.

Let's go back to that 'montage' poster and take a closer look at a few of the masks featured.

One of my all-time favorite masks. In fact, if I had to pick just one....this would be it.

A classic. This mask was decades ahead of its time in design. What fantastic detail and theme. He must have looked like a fish out of water out there with his Ranger blue uniform. Tremendous.

Ed Staniowski had a great simple design to his mask. Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview him and I asked him about the teardrop. I was expecting a heartbreaking story. Instead, he just said that sometimes the goalies just need to let out a tear.

This is a rather unique mask in that it features multiple team logos. A tribute obviously to the teams he suited up for.

This Ron Low mask, much like the Stephenson, has that distinct 70's feel. The red, white and blue colors looked awesome paired up with the uniform.

Here's another Low....but one that doesn't get near the face time. The bold contrast really stands out for me. Another winner.

Hey, isn't that a Murray Bannerman mask? Nope...no it's not. Designed by the same mask maker, Greg Harrison, this mask saw time with the Whitby Warriors. A senior mens team that played in the Ontario Hockey League.

Mike Keenan coached there for a year in the late 70's. Yet another trivia answer.

Here's the Bannerman. This was my favorite mask in the 80's. Too bad he played backup to 'Tony O' for all those years.

This poster not only featured NHL goalies, but WHA masks as well. This Wayne Wood lid really looks cool. I'd like to get more stuff from the crazy days of the WHA. Some great masks made the rotation through the league.

Lastly, a prototype mask for the Canadian team that never saw the light of day. A great find on the poster. It really ties up the diversity of masks.

Well, it was a great look back into the past for goalie masks. These crude pieces of fibreglass really have gone from a protective piece of equipment to a true piece of art.

I'll end with some video featuring a goalie who had his mask on the montage poster as well. Gary 'Cobra' Simmons playing for the Los Angeles Kings vs. Ken Dryden and the Montreal Canadiens. Enjoy the vintage masks!