Thursday, March 31, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2010/11 Panini Limited Vintage Pucks

Mailday! Yes! It's about time!

It's only been a couple weeks or so since I last received a package in the mail, but it feels like an eternity.

This card is a doozie to boot.

2010/11 Panini Limited
Vintage Pucks #TL /20

The very first game-used puck in my Linden collection. And patience paid off. Let me just say as well that the scan does not do this card justice. I know you've heard that a million times, but this time I kid you not. A nice thick card with a great rainbow-type reflective surface. Gorgeous.

I had been eyeballing a number of these ever since they were released a few months ago. The prices though were a little higher than I would have liked.

I passed on a few, and knowing that there were only 20 copies out there, decided to start taking a more serious look at any that would be popping up in the near future.

Well, I didn't have to wait long and there were a couple on ebay. Again, a little higher priced than I would have liked. While I was thinking things through, I received an e-mail from one of my fellow Linden collectors. We had been discussing a couple other cards to pop up on ebay when out of the blue he says "If you need the puck /20, I have an extra copy."

Um, yes I do and thank you very much.

I was curious as to the asking price and to my sheer joy found out it would be one of the cheapest puck cards /20 to surface. He was merely looking to get his money back on the card.

Done and done!

He shipped the card off and I plan on chipping in a few extra bucks for his kind gesture. Linden collectors....they're the best.

What I like most about this Linden card is that Panini finally decided to use a different photo of Trev than from the cards in the previous products. Finally, some variation.

Speaking I'm on the hunt for the elusive parallel /10. That one might not be so cheap.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Hello To Another Baseball Season!

Well, the 2011 baseball season is upon us. And to celebrate this day, I thought I'd share some of what remains in my baseball 'collection'.

In all honestly, it's not really a collection since I'm not actively collecting baseball cards. It's more of a baseball 'pile'.....stored in a card box.....placed in a Rubbermaid container.....sitting in the basement of my place......with dust on it.

But I cracked them out to take a look. Brings back some great memories and some 'what was I thinking moments'. Forgive me if my years are off. :)

1981 O-Pee-Chee
#240 Nolan Ryan

1980/81 was the year I discovered sports cards. While hockey was a must have, baseball would be the summertime project. I never really completed any of the sets (I normally managed 250 or so cards from the release) and found it tough to build since I didn't have too many doubles and there weren't too many friends to trade with since they didn't collect baseball.

This Nolan Ryan became more than just 'one of the cards' in my set. It became the tracing card for many early custom projects and scrapbook adventures. Oh, the destruction of cardboard that I unleashed. This ones got a great crease across the front, some nicely dinged corners and the back of the card shows some nice ink soaking around the edge.

A definite keeper.

1982 Topps
#200 George Brett

My favorite player growing up. Why? Well, his last name is the same as my first name. For a couple years, I actually thought his name was Brett George.

I laugh every time he leaps out of the dugout to spaz at the umpire. Classic television.

1983 O-Pee-Chee
#83 Ryne Sandberg RC

1983 was the year I completed my first OPC set. I was pretty happy with the accomplishment. Looking back, I wish I had kept it intact. All that remains is a couple rookie cards and a few star cards.

This Sandberg ended up getting some nice water damage on the left side (no clue where it came from), but I chose to keep it as opposed to giving it away or just chucking it out.

1983 O-Pee-Chee
#143 Tony Gwynn RC

I actually have 2 of these. They would be a couple of my 'high-end' baseball cards. I've had them stored in the good ol' 4-screw hard cases. They've been encased in them for probably 20 years.

I cracked them both so I could figure out which one to scan. Wouldn't you know it, both of them have a tiny crease in them.


By the way, I love the old uniforms. San Diego, Houston and Pittsburgh especially.

1986 Sportflics
#26 Wade Boggs

1986 was the year I got to go to Disneyland. Yeah, yeah, yeah the rides, the oversized stuffed animals. It was all nice. But the sports cards! I had never seen anything like it.

I picked up a couple rack packs of football and a couple packs of Sportflics.

They're cool looking cards, and to a 12-year old, they were unlike anything I had ever seen. I thought these were priceless at the time.

There were two poses and a head shot embedded in the motion cards. I got guys like Ripken, Brett, Gooden and this Wade Boggs card.

To this day I think these cards were ahead of its time.

1989 Topps Major League Debut
#133 Larry Walker

In 1990, after a few years away from collecting, I got back into sports cards. Hockey was again at the forefront. But this time, I gorged on football, basketball and yes - even baseball.

I wanted anything and everything. Of course, with my limited budget that meant anything and everything - cheap.

Looking back, not a good plan. I'm still sitting on a bunch of cards from thos overproduced early 90's. The junk wax era.

Still, sifting through the cards can be fun. This card of Larry Walker reminded me of how great the Expos were in the early 90's, how they were robbed of a World Series appearance and how tiny Larry used to be. Hmmmmmm.

Again, love the uniforms!

1997 Bowman
#196 Kerry Wood

In the mid-90's, after I got my 'I want everything' phase out of me, I decided to be selective in my baseball purchasing. Specific players who were pegged to be huge.

I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of great knowledge.

Yeah......right. Tell that to my collection of about a dozen or so Kerry Wood cards, all nicely encased in the 4-screw screwdowns. Ouch.

Still, a nice memento of my collecting history.

1993 Bowman
#511 Derek Jeter RC

My last card in this show & tell is one I didn't even know I had until I got digging.

I remember buying a partial set of Bowman back in the day and was gung-ho to complete it. Well, that never happened and the cards went from nice Ultra-Pro sheets, to a monster box, to a storage bin....well, you know the rest.

I saw the partial set and sifted through the cards. Sure enough, a Jeter pops out. Well, that made my day.

And while it doesn't really rekindle the desire to collect baseball cards, it makes me take a second look at this container full of forgotten cardboard.

Will I get rid of them? Maybe. But I'll be sure to pluck out the cards of importance first, be it monetary or just sentimental.

Play Ball!


I was sifting through some of my older cards (ones that were 'originals' in my collection from the early 80's) and came across this beauty that not only looks good, but was my nemesis in 1983.

1982/83 O-Pee-Chee
#324 Michel Larocque

There are a lot of things I love about this card.

I love the framing of the photo. Having a full shot of Larocque nicely placed in the frame makes this card feel bigger than it actually is (if that makes sense). I hold it, and it just looks physically larger than other cards (I've had this happen a couple other times with full frame cards - great optical illusion).

I love the nicely worn in pads. These wouldn't even make the grade playing street hockey these days, but man did they look sweet back then.

I love the subtlety of the skate toe sticking up and the pad strap hanging beside it. It gives the feeling of movement.

I love the puny glove Michel is wearing. Gone are those days - long gone.

I love the goalie stick sticking straight up. Again, giving the photo movement.

I love the jersey that is a snug fit with the TML crest proudly flaunted in front. This card wouldn't be nearly as impressive if he was wearing the whites.

I really love the vintage mask. Awesome stuff. Not enough of this in hockey card photography from those days. If you look closely, you can see a hidden design in the mask. Here's a closer look.

Can you see it? Nice. If you can't, drop me a comment. I won't leave you hanging.

The last thing I like about this card is the simplicity of the photo background. Not a scratch of signage on the boards (how I miss that), no fans to break up the flow. Just a goalie doing his job. Well, maybe he didn't succeed in this pic (he seems to be looking behind him....and I don't see a puck. That can't be good).

Now, on to why this 'Bunny' Larocque card was my nemesis back in '83.

Growing up, card collecting was a pretty simple task for me (in the sense of what needed to be be done). You go to the store, buy some cards, trade the doubles and quit when you acquired one of each. Making sure to ruin the checklists by diligently filling in each square once a card was obtained.

Well, the little square hole for card #324 stayed empty for a long time. In fact, it was the card that cost me not completing the 82/83 set that season. I was pretty disappointed (OK - crushed). Everybody had one and only one. It was haunting me (especially because the card itself was so cool).

It took a trip to a flea market that summer to finish off the set. I vividly remember this because the guy selling cards had a full wheelbarrow of 'em. Yup, full, loose and strewn all over the place. Of course, corner condition meant very little to me back then.

Nothing like saying to your mom "Hey mom, I'll be at the wheelbarrow digging through hockey cards looking for #324."


It took a while, but I eventually found this white whale. You wouldn't believe how happy I was to finally complete the set.

Looking at it (and it's still nicely off-center cut) brings back great memories. Something hockey cards should always do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2007/08 OPC Quad Materials Jersey

For this show & tell, I thought I grace you with the story of the best Trevor Linden card pull I have ever experienced.

The 2007/08 hockey card season was the continuation of the downward trend in Linden cards included in products. It was a sad time for my Linden collecting as I was coming to grips that the days of Trev being included in pretty much every card release was over. It was guys like the Sedins, Kesler, Luongo Morrison and Naslund who were taking the coveted Canucks spots in the sets.

In 2007/08, Trevor only had 25 total cards to chase - and half of those were from the Artifacts product alone. And while he had some great looking cards amongst this small group (especially the low numbered patch cards), there was one card that really caught my eye.

2007/08 O-Pee-Chee
Quad Materials Jerseys
#QM-LLMK (Linden/Luongo/Morrison/Kesler)

This card was included in the highly sought after OPC release. This was the season before the introduction of the retro design parallel, but still had some great looking cards. The 'Micromotion' parallel is to this day one of the nicest card sets to be released in the past 5 years.

I had already landed the Linden base, Micromotion and the Micromotion Black /100 and was on the hunt for the elusive quad jersey. A few had surfaced on ebay, but the asking price was way too high. That's the problem when you have other Linden collectors, Luongo collectors, Kesler collectors, general Canucks collectors and those who were just building the quad jersey set. A little competition can inflate prices quickly and often.

So I waited......and waited........and waited.

The prices were just not coming down. Eventually, the cards were just not popping up. People had moved on to the next product release. This was not looking good.

A trip to the card store on weekend saw me gawking at the various boxes (I had an urge to crack some wax) and eventually chose the 07/08 OPC. My brain was actually thinking 'Sure, I can pull the could happen'.

So, pack after pack I began to open. The base cards were not the greatest, but the inserts and parallels made up for that. Especially when I got down to the last few packs.

I had not a single jersey card to my name yet and I was hoping one of the last packs would yield something nice. There were about 3 or 4 packs left when I peeled open the wrapper and could tell there was a thicker card in place of the decoy. Excited, I went straight to the money card.

Wouldn't you know it. I saw the Linden first and let out a big 'woo-hoo'. Not only was it the Linden quad I had been hoping for, but two of the four jersey pieces were 2-color (sadly, not the Linden who ended up with the boring white). But still, it was the nicest copy of the quad jersey card I had seen.

The shop owner knew I was a Linden collector and was thrilled for me. He still mentions that pack pull to this day. While the odds weren't 'out of this world to pull this card, I still think there were some pretty long odds to land it.

Definitely the best Trevor Linden card I have ever pulled from a pack.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - 1977/78 O-Pee-Chee

A random pull from the 'One Sheet, One Set' binder landed this under-appreciated vintage release.

Too late to be in the mix of 'great sets from the 70's' and too early to hit the 'boom of the 80's releases', this product still has some great value (in the eye of the beholder).

1977/78 O-Pee-Chee

What I initially like about this set is the simplicity - and not just in the design. 396! That was THE NUMBER when collecting cards in the late 70's and early 80's. A nice round number to hit to complete your season's worth of hockey card collecting. And you didn't have any leftover spaces in your 9-page sheets when putting your cards to a binder.

It's so nice to see sets that have a simple concept - get one of every card and then you're done. No short prints, no inserts, nothing fancy - just good ol' set building.

Not much else to talk about other that packs were .15 cents back then. Fifteen little pennies!!! Oh how I wish I had just an ounce of knowledge when it came to card economics back then. Oh well, let's take a look at the design.

Again, I will use the word simple. Not much in terms of a design concept. So what's the positive? Well, you can focus on the photo in the OPC card (which started to improve in it's photo selection).

A simple thin black border surrounds the photo and is not obstructed by any sort of logos or text. Like I said, the photo selection was improving from years past. What I really like about these older sets are the great vintage uniforms and the old equipment (gotta love tube skates).

Also, there were still a majority of players going helmetless (yes, it's crazy to think about that these days, but back then most guys did not don a helmet). You can see a little bit more individuality and character as a result.

The player name and position sit just below the photo and is sandwiched between it and the team nickname underneath (in large 70's style text and color). Simple, consistent and it works for me.

The team logo finishes off the front of the card by sitting in the bottom left corner.

The back of the card has that classic 'card back' design. The cartoon wood hockey stick frames the card on the left and the dark brown and blue give a vintage background for the text to be placed on.

The sets from the 70's did have some consistency issues and the card backs here really show that. Different font thicknesses are used for player names and some of the stats. Sometimes it's in all capital letters and other times it's in capital and lower case.

The player bio stats are hard to read (I lightened the scan) but give good info like '1st pro season' and 'how they were acquired'. The position and card number are just to the left.

The player stats are nice with all the seasons represented, including WHA for those who are affected by that. If there are not a lot of stats filling up the card back, they go with the fast fact (both in English and French.....after all - it's OPC).

The bottom of the card has a cartoon quick note for the player (which were pretty much standard back in the day). Some were pretty cheesy, but added to the aura of the card somehow.

This set gets lost in the shuffle not because it's a poorly designed set, it's because it doesn't have any huge rookie cards in the mix (the biggest RC's being Mike Milbury, Paul Holmgren and Mike Palmateer.....I kid you not).

The most expensive card in the mix would be Bobby Orr's last card during his playing days (and he's depicted in a Chicago Black Hawks uniform - so wrong).

Some of the cooler cards in the release would be the team checklists (remember the team photos?) and a great team logos subset. These are great to chase on their own and are tough to find in mint condition (especially the logos since they are on just a white background).

The last tidbit from this set would be card #312 - Rick Bourbonnais. Who? Well, he must have been an NHL nobody because his card has Bernie Federko pictured on the front (and this card pre-dates his rookie card). So all you Federko collectors, add this to your list (if you haven't already).

A great inexpensive vintage 70's set (you could probably build a nice looking set for less than $100) which is worth going after if you want to dabble in older set building. If you do tackle the older sets, be sure to take some time and observe the cut of the card, the corners (which are 35-years-old) and the centering (which was brutal back then). Taking your time to build this set will land you an impressive vintage release.

The card design though (while nice) is not overly memorable. An average attempt at best. Simple doesn't often score a lot of points.

2.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I stopped off at the local 7-11 on my way home from work last night. I came across a magazine that made me stop dead in my tracks, stare, peruse and then buy.

No.......not that one. This one!

The Hockey News
April 4, 2011
cover: Tim Thomas

Are you kidding me? This magazine cover is gorgeous. Simple photography, awesome lighting and a great pic.

In all honesty, I bought it for the cover alone. Don't even know if I'll sift through the articles.

It made me think of a couple other magazines featuring goalie masks on the cover.

February 24, 1975
cover: Bernie Parent

This one rocks! The plain white vintage mask Parent wore is so iconic. And to be featured on a non-sport magazine like Time really adds to the impressiveness.

Here's another one that brings back great memories from when I was a kid.

TV Times (Edmonton)
circa. 1982
cover: Yves Belanger mask

I remember the Calgary Herald version of this TV Guide. I was nine and thought it was the coolest thing ever to be included with the newspaper.

I kept it for a number of years, but sadly I got rid of it in the late 80's when I kind of stepped away from hockey cards and hockey in general for a while.

I'd love to find another copy of this, but doubt there are many copies floating around.

Nonetheless, these three 'mask' magazines make for a strong argument that they should be on every magazine cover.

Gotta love 'em!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Cristobal Huet

There are some goalies who have that one mask that personifies or identifies them. Carrying them throughout their career.

While other goalies tend to switch things up every year it seems. Be it because they have been traded multiple times, they get bored with their mask design or maybe superstition gets the best of them.

For this mask, the change was a result of a brand change.

Cristobal Huet started his career as an LA King. He moved on to Montreal where it looked like he was going to blossom into the 'next big goalie' for the Habs. Not quite (thanks to Carey Price).

Before landing in Chicago, he spent some time with the Washington Capitals (remember that? neither).

With Chicago, he never really got the chance to run with the 'number one goalie' ball. And now that there's a log jam in the Chicago goalie department, Huet has been loaned out by the Hawks to a Swiss national team.

While with Chicago, Huet had some pretty nice masks, but in 2009 he decided to switch from his old mask-maker Itech to EddyMask.

At first glance, it would look as if he was going to do the whole 'Home mask / Away mask' thing. Problem is, I don't know if Cristobal would feel comfortable switching back and forth from one designer to the other (a little conflict of interest).

So, he went with the white mask and the rest is history.

Let's take a closer look at the design.

Clearly the motif is the Indian headdress (which has been done many times by Hawks' goalies over the years) and this one looks sharp.

Great color and detail in the feathers and the dreamcatcher on the chin is a real nice touch (one of the few changes from the older 'red' mask to this 'white' one).

The headband lining the top of the cage really finishes the illusion of the headdress and the Blackhawks' logo sits nicely in the ear socket area.

Overall, a real nice mask design taking into account the team colors, name and motifs. One of Huet's better masks during his career. One of the better Chicago masks I've seen (and there have been some great ones).

4 out of 5.

OK, your turn to Rate My Mask!

BOX BREAK - Star Wars: Rise Of The Bounty Hunters

It's been a while since I've busted a box of anything... let alone non-sport stuff. But when I went to the local card show last weekend, I came across a box that I knew would be leaving with me.

Last year, my 9-year-old nephew Kyle discovered Star Wars. As a result, I re-discovered Star Wars. They were my favorite movies as a kid and still hold up in my eyes today.

I also discovered non-sport sketch cards last year and was really intrigued by the various Star Wars artist cards out in the market.

When I heard about this set being released, I was really looking forward to cracking a box. Problem was - I couldn't find one locally.

Until now.

2010 Topps Star Wars
The Clone Wars
Rise Of The Bounty Hunters

I'd just like to start by saying Boba Fett is my all-time favorite Star Wars character. But after watching a few episodes of the animated Clone Wars cartoon, I really like the Cad Bane character (he would have been an awesome addition to the movies).

This box had 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. With only a 90-card base set, that puts me in real good shape to land a full set with just one box.

The cards are all horizontal in design and presentation (save for the sketch cards - which is a free-for-all). I like that consistency.

The base cards have a nice simple design allowing lots of room for the 'photo' (actually drawing is a better description). Sometimes simple is better.

The range of scenes used are nice as well. Some really talented people work on that show and these cards reflect that. Sometimes you get a nice close-up of one of the characters, other times you get a nice wider scene shot.

These foil cards are my favorite in the release. Bold with a singular color base, the scans do not do these justice. There are 20 cards in this insert set and I ended up landing 8 of them (no doubles).

These motion cards were a cool pull initially (my nephew really liked them), but the more I look at them, the less impressed I am. It's a little too tough to make out the details in the picture.

That said, the actual motion effect is pretty cool.

I almost missed these completely. These two serial numbered cards were for a moment 'triples' in my box break. Until I realized they had serial numbering hidden on the back side.

I quickly sifted through all the base cards, but only the two were numbered.

They are the same thickness and have the same glossy-ness; the only difference on the front is the small, almost-hidden gold foil in the top right corner.

A nice little bonus I wasn't expecting since I didn't realize it at the time we were opening packs.

Now....onto the goodies!

Sketch Card
Juan Carlos Ramos

These sketch cards were 1:24 packs, so I was expecting this one to be the only one.

It's nice - nothing special. My nephew and I were really hoping for a 'bad guy' sketch card.

The only downside with this card is that there was a rip at the top and it was peeling (you can see it at the top triangle). I'm debating sending back to Topps for a replacement. I just don't know if I'd be guaranteed getting a card back.

We'll see.

Did you think that was all? Nope! The best was still to come.

Animator Sketch Card
Vince Lee

So what's an Animator Sketch Card? Well, other than the 'case hit' appearing in only 1:335 packs, it's a sketch card drawn by one of the animators of the cartoon show. Pretty cool if you ask me.

The actual drawing is a little to be desired (although my niece gave it a big 'Awwwwwwwww'). Cute factor does not equal cool factor when it comes to Star Wars.

Still, it was nice to finally have a couple of sketch cards in my hands so I could compare the makeup of it to the sketch cards my nephew and I have made in the past.

I think another round of sketch cards needs to happen soon. Spring Break is coming up. You never know.

Overall, if you get a chance to grab a box of these, go for it. It was a fun break and I think good value for the price. You end up getting a full set (plus I landed 60 doubles), some nice inserts and the sketch cards really give the 'wow' factor.

May The Force Be With You!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Most hockey card photography focuses on a single player (the guy who has his name on the card - obviously) either posing for the camera, warming up on the ice, focusing intently on the play from the bench or in most cases - participating in the game itself.

Every once in a while there is a card that takes those simple ideas and steps over them to get outside the box. You see it with the overhead shots, the 'netcam' and so forth.

This card is one that is rarely seen nowadays and caught my eye so much so at the card show on the weekend that I decided to pick it up solely for this post.

2001/02 Pacific Impact Zone
#19 Mats Sundin

This card comes from a Pacific insert set 10 years ago. I've never seen this card until last weekend. I couldn't tell you if all the cards from this insert set are presented the same way, but I might just need to look into it.

The wide shot. Something that is so simple. In fact, most people inadvertently do this with their picture taking (not zooming in or getting close to the subject).

In this case, it was clearly done on purpose. It allows the person to see the entire play as it has developed.

In a split second, we can see Mats Sundin alone in front of the net, the goalie (Patrick Lalime) out of position (likely due to the pass that just occurred from #7 - I think that's Gary Roberts). He must have just escaped from the pursuit of #23 behind the net.

I'm guessing the game is taking place in Ottawa (as the fans seem somewhat bored at the notion Sundin is about to score).

Even with the shot so wide, you can make out the expression on Sundin's face. The concentration and effort to finish the play and notch one of his many goals during his career.

Imagine if this card had just the closeup of Mats. It would still be a nice card, but the wide shot allows for a different perspective and interpretation of the photo.

I for one enjoyed it. That said, I wouldn't like all of my cards to be presented this way.

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Corey Hirsch

Just leave me alone! Stop looking at me! I'm mad at you right now! Shut up! I just wanna go home! I don't like you!

Somebody stole my stick!

1993/94 Parkhurst
#149 Corey Hirsch

I could probably come up with a million of 'em. What a priceless photo.

Or we could go a different direction and try to figure out what the photographer said right before he snapped this gem of a pic.

Or maybe he's just always surly. Mad that he's a backup goalie who's never really gonna pan out to anything special. Maybe he's ticked that he only played 4 games that year.

Or maybe he's still stinging from the shootout goal he gave up to Peter Forsberg in the 1994 Olympic Gold Medal game.

I'd be pouting too I guess.

Regardless, Corey, for your 5-year-old defiant face and terrible photo selection to be put on a hockey card....



Sunday, March 20, 2011

RAISE THE CUP - Card Show Pickups

Went to the monthly card show yesterday hoping to find some cards for my various projects. My 'One Sheet, One Set' project made some great strides so stay tuned over the next few weeks, I found a couple nice cards for my 'Cardboard Photography' posts and I snagged a few cards for my 'Raise The Cup' project.

It's been far too long since I've added cards to this slow-growing collection.

Andy McDonald
2007/08 Upper Deck Series 1
Lord Stanley's Heroes

This card closes the book on this nice little subset from the 07/08 UD1 release. A nice 7-card insert set that I only wished would have been/could be a yearly thing. A great memory of some championship moments.

Mark Messier
2009/10 Upper Deck Series 2
Hockey Heroes

Ugh. Mark Messier - again.

That said, I didn't mind him at this stage of his career (he had yet to storm into Vancouver and flip the team into chaos).

It's nice to see some cards with 'older' moments (I don't consider stuff from 1990 to be old, it's just you don't see a lot of solid photography from before that).

I concede - a nice addition to the collection. Now into the binder you go, never to be seen again. :)

Marian Hossa
2010/11 Upper Deck Series 1

Upper Deck, the company that sets the bar for photography. This is it's set that makes that element shine the most.

Big thumbs up to the photographer for capturing that moment, and good on UD for using it in it's release.

You can almost see him thinking 'Finally!' About time as he had a few chances at it.

Jonathan Toews
2010/11 Score
Season Highlight

Another card from the Hawks' triumphant season of 2010. This one lacks a little on the excitement factor, but it still meets the criteria in my eyes.

How many might this guy lift in his career?

Vladimir Konstantinov
1997/98 Upper Deck Series 1

Upper Deck was smart to incorporate the 'Game Dated Moments' into its release this year. Taking photos that correspond to the date on the card just gives the feeling of immediacy and 'live-ness'.

This card really captures that moment well. Just look at Vlad's face. Pure jubilation. Like a kid scoring his first goal.

Can you believe he was only 30-years-old at the time?

These five cards were great to add to the project which is slowly beefing up (still a long way to go though).

Current Collection - 34 cards

Thursday, March 17, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 1999/00 Topps Gold Label Black Class 2

Finally! A mailday! It feels like forever since I last received some Linden cards in the mail. I guess that's what happens when you've been spoiled for months with new Linden cards. A couple weeks and one goes into 'craving' mode.

This is a one card mailday, but it knocks a card off the list that has been there for over 10 years.

1999/00 Topps Gold Label
#63 Class 2 Black

Topps Gold Label was the release that single-handedly destroyed my dream of obtaining one of every Trevor Linden card in existence. The variations, parallels and most importantly - the introduction of multiple 1/1's made this the impossible 'rainbow' to chase as a player collector.

That said, it made me re-assess my collecting goals and I am thankful for that. I feel I now have more realistic goals and have become more of a 'work with you' player than a 'battle against you' guy.

For those who do not know the breakdown, Topps Gold Label has three parallels (Regular, Black and Red - which can be noticed by the product label on the front of the's tough to see in the scan). Within each parallel are three classes (Class 1, Class 2 and you guessed it, Class 3). So, that makes NINE Linden cards to chase in just the one product release. The Red parallels are serial numbered to as low as /25.

I landed the Black Class 2 (noted on the left side of the back of the card). Each Class has a different card photo used on the front as well.

But now we get to the nasty stuff.

For each of the 9 cards Trevor Linden has in the product, there is a 1/1 parallel card.

I'll say that again. A 1/1 for each of the 9 cards. All together, that's 18 Trevor Linden cards released in this Topps Gold Label year.

There were two years of Trevor Linden releases in Topps Gold Label (I have one of the 1/1's from the year before).

Just one last kick in the butt....the first year has Trev in an Islanders uniform, year two - the Habs. No Canucks cards to chase.

To date, I have 16 of the possible 36 cards released by Topps Gold Label. No easy task. To hit 20 will be a tough task, but that's my goal.

So you can see why a simple looking card (which didn't cost me too much to buy) can play such a large roll in my Trevor Linden collection.

RATE MY MASK - Gilles Meloche

Vintage time! After a few new masks, you only knew it would be a matter of time before I threw in some golden oldies.

And this one shouldn't disappoint.

This Meloche mask is in my Top 5 of all-time. It's that awesome!

Meloche's "heraldry" mask was designed by renowned mask man Greg Harrison. He's one of 'THE guys' when it comes to mask making (both in construction and painting). He was the best in the business at the time and had the lion's share of NHL clients.

Greg created his own Cleveland crest for Meloche after the California Golden Seals moved to Ohio to become the Barons in 1976. It's got the 'Black Knight' look on the top of the mask and the 'Barons' text on the chin.

The team colors, intricate detail and overall design were light years ahead of its time when this mask came out in the mid-70's.

5 out of 5 (a no-brainer for me)

OK, your turn.......Rate My Mask!

WHO AM I? - Big Three

Thanks to everyone who took a stab at identifying the signatures in the most recent 'Who Am I?' post. There were a lot of you who managed to figure out all three (as well as note the theme).

Congrats to Casey who was the first to chime in with the correct answer. All three of these boys are Hart Trophy winners.

Peter Forsberg

Peter won the Hart in 2002/03 after having one of his best statistical seasons in the league (106 points...only his 95/96 season output was better - and that was the last time he played a full 82 game season in his career). What's most impressive in my opinion is that Peter didn't play the entire year previous due to injury. Imagine what this guy could have done in his career if he was healthy.

Jose Theodore

Jose won the Hart in 2001/02 and is one of only five goalies to ever win the league MVP. It was the closet voting in Hart Trophy history with Jarome Iginla and Jose Theodore tied in overall voting (Theodore won with more first-place votes).

On top of winning the Hart, Theodore took home the Vezina with a 30-24-10 record, 2.11 GAA and .931 save percentage. He was a huge reason why the Habs made it into the playoffs (they got in as an eighth seed in the Eastern Conference) and was a pivotal factor in upsetting the top-ranked Boston Bruins in the first round.

Chris Pronger

Pronger was the 1999/00 Hart Trophy winner and recorded a career-high 62 points and a +52 rating. He beat Art Ross winner Jaromir Jagr by just one point in voting (which was, at the time, the smallest margin of victory in the history of the award).

Pronger was the first (and to this date only) defenceman to win the league MVP since Bobby Orr did it in 1971/72. A pretty impressive feat if you ask me. Even if I'm not a big fan of his.

Thanks again to everyone who took a guess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This could very well have gone under the title 'Stashed In The Closet'.... 'cause that's where I found it.

I was told it was a Trevor Linden game-used stick from the early 90's. Let's take a look and I'll tell you where I stand.

(please excuse the clutter) :)

I purchased this stick about 10-12 years ago at one of the local card stores in town. The guy had a number of 'game-used' sticks for sale. I had never considered buying game-used memorabilia before that, but when I saw the Linden stick peeking out at me, I'll admit, I was intrigued.

Right off the bat, my first question is obviously - is it a real game-used stick? Well, this photo (sorry, it was the only one I could find with a real nice looking shot of the stick) is conclusive that he used that style of stick.

It had a ton of wear and tear on it and it looked like it would be tough to fake. I didn't normally buy a ton of stuff from the dealer through the years, but I did feel like I could trust him. My next question was - how much?

$50 i was told. Yeowch! At the time, I pretty much never dropped fifty bucks on anything Linden - especially 'non-card' stuff. I'd have to think about it.

Of course, that got the dealer going into his 'used car salesman' mode. How it's tough to get one of these (especially in Calgary). He's a popular player and has a huge fan base. Game used memorabilia can fetch a lot of coin. Fifty bucks is a steal.

I'll admit. I bit pretty much right away. I was just seeing if I could get him to drop his price. I got him down to $40 and was happy to pay it.

A little research when I got home and I felt confident that this was the real deal. I feel this way even today. Besides, it looks cool. And if it's ever determined that it's a fake, I can always cut it up and do some custom stick cards with it.

Looking back now, I think it was a steal. You see teams holding equipment sale days and sticks can go for a pretty penny now (although they aren't the wood-style sticks anymore). I think $40 was a great price and this stick sits proudly in my Linden collection.