Saturday, April 30, 2011

TTM: Twilight's Jackson Rathbone

It has been months now since my niece has received a TTM success for her Twilight custom cards, but you know the ol' adage...Never Say Never!

At the time she created this card back in July 2010, Jasper was her favorite character. But, that since changed. This TTM success might have swung the pendulum back though.

Very cool to see the personalization and for the first time, she only received one card back (we always send for them to keep). I think it's pretty cool to know that he has a copy of this one-of-a-kind card.

This is her third Twilight success (out of seven cards sent). That's not too bad at all.

Hopefully this year we can spend some more time and build some new cards to send out. I miss building customs.

Congrats kiddo!

JACKSON RATHBONE– Actor (Twilight)
Date Sent: July 30, 2010
Items Sent: 2 custom cards
Address Sent To: Jackson Rathbone
Cutler Management
13043 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Date Received: April 28, 2011
Notes: only one custom card received (he kept the second one); personalized; added ‘much love!’

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MAILDAY: Another Redemption Arrives

Got home from a long work day only to watch one heck of an exciting game 7 between the Canucks and Hawks.

I won't babble on about the result....but what a game!

Walking to the front door, I noticed the always welcome brown bubble envelope staring back at me. It was from the folks at Panini...I knew exactly what was inside.

2010/11 Certified
Freshman Signatures
#186 P.K. Subban /899

I was really happy to see this card arrive all safe and sound. Only because I am 2 for 2 with Panini redemptions being sent in what I would consider 'less than adequate' shipping packages.

I'm all for the bubble envelope, top loader and penny sleeve, but when that's it - I cringe. A little reinforcement to the card would have been appreciated.

I guess if it had shown up mangled, the guys at Panini would have been on top of things (I'd like to hope). After all, they did a nice job getting to my two requests so far.

While I'm not a huge P.K. fan (or a Habs fan....sorry), this is one really nice card (although these darn things are tough to scan). Hard signed auto and numbered to 899, this should make for some solid tradebait.

On to the second round!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PACK WARS: 2010/11 SP Authentic

Another one of my pack war victories this past week garnered me some of the new SP Authentic product put out by Upper Deck.

I've never been a collector of this set, but thought I'd join in.

The one round victory gave me 10 or 11 packs worth. Not bad at all.

Except that the base cards are not really my style. There's some good, but a lot more bad for my liking.

First, the good. When looking at the card and letting the light reflect over the surface, you get the great effect of the glossy photo popping out of the matte background. It's a really nice look.

Great card stock and a clean look. Too clean if you ask me.

The over-abundance of white just makes the card a little boring in my books. The 'fog' effect really takes away from what is a decent photo selection. Some cards show players virtually disappearing.

The names along the right hand side are also a miss for me. Tough to read in the scan you say? Tough to read up close too. Cards just shouldn't be that way.

I ended up getting more base than I originally had won since I helped someone finish off the base he gave me all of his doubles.

In total, I came home with 150 base cards. Not too bad a haul.

Did pretty well with the inserts too. These HoloFX cards run 1:12 packs and I ended up with 3. The cards look nice and they reek of reflective goodness.

This card.....reeks of something else.

Numbered out of 1999, these SP Essentials have a horrible design flaw. Why go with the black & white photo? I've seen it done a few times recently (Artifacts comes to mind) and I hate the look. Give me some color on my card (unless you were made in the 20's).

Cool. A Future Watch card. These are a tough pull coming 1:48 packs. Too bad I have no clue who Mark Dekanich is.

Even cooler! A Future Watch Auto. These must be even tougher to pull.

What? Excuse me? They're not?

1:24 packs you say? What gives?

Maybe it's the terrible player I received. Never heard of Chad Kolarik.

Well, at the end of the day, this SP Authentic pack war victory didn't land me too much (considering in a different round there was a hard signed Bobby Orr won....but hey, I got.....Chad Kolarik). The design isn't for me and neither is the breakdown of the various inserts.

I guess it could have been worse.....I could have not won the round. That's debatable though.

Monday, April 25, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Steve Valiquette

Ask and you shall receive. I had a request for the Rate My Mask feature and I think it's a great selection.

A very underrated mask, and one that gets overlooked (mostly due to his limited time in the NHL).

"Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighborhood Spiderman." If that doesn't say New York, I don't know what does.

Steve had previously gone with the Spiderman theme in his mask, but in 2009 when he added more red to his pads, he decided to go with a new mask.

Maskmaker Dave Gunnarsson decided that in order to add red, he would create a stone wall for Spidey to break through.

The New York landmarks including a Statue of Liberty wearing a Rangers jersey fill out the sides. But it's the monuments in his eyes that add a cool subtle touch.

His number 40 sits on the chin amidst the crumbling rock. A pretty simple and slick design.

While I was designing this mask, I came across another pic that I thought would make a good card.

So here's two for the price of one.

A pretty bold backplate (too bad the straps are blocking it). I like the nickname as well.

Overall, I give this mask some decent points for design, but it doesn't quite have that 'wow' factor for me.

2.5 out of 5 it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

BEHIND THE MASKS - 2010/11 Between The Pipes

I've been really busy the past few days and so I haven't had a chance to do a proper box break/review of the new ITG product Between The Pipes.

I picked up a pair of boxes last week at traders night and am very happy with the results (partially due to a couple of trades).

Here's a sneak peek at the goods though.

Closeups of masks - never a bad thing. I really like the card design too. Nice colors.

Closeups of retro masks - even better.

This is why I love this set. Where has this photo been in sets all this time?

Oh yeah! Love this card even more. Not enough Hall mask cards out there.

Even Pokey makes it into the mix.

A great selection of players and some great photos. Sure, there are a few where the photo is a little blurry or the shot has the goalie with his mask off, but overall, this will surely be a fun review.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The Hawks continue their quest to push their series with the Canucks to a game 7 with what should be a very story-filled game 6 Sunday in Chicago.

The Black Hawks have had a real odd playoffs so far. Down 3-0, battling back with two dominate performances (or Canuck collapses), Kane and Toews have not been the scoring threats they were during the regular season and their lineup is a shadow of what won them the cup last year.

That cup victory is the inspiration for this installment of Cardboard Photography.

2010/11 Score Playoff Heroes
#19 Dustin Byfuglien

You don't need a high end card to have high end photography.

This pic of 'Buff' looks to be a goal cam shot that's been cropped. I really like the Philly orange in the background. All 4 tiers of the seating area. It makes Dustin stand out even more.

Take a look at the expression on his face. That kind o intensity is what the Hawks will need to push this series to the brink. They could use Byfuglien at a time like this.

The foreground goalie just adds to the drama and timing of the shot and makes the photo complete to me. And is it me or does the photo have kind of a painted or drawn look to it? I really like the effect put on the pic.

Regardless, a great photo from a great event and it just goes to show you that a solid looking card doesn't always have to book for a ton of cash.

Friday, April 22, 2011

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Ron Duguay

When I was a kid, Ron Duguay was cool. He had the rockstar hair and attitude to match.

The number of players in the league without helmets was dwindling, but Duguay continued to let his locks flow.

He had a pretty solid stint with the Rangers (even scored 40 goals one year), but in 1983, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings.

O-Pee-Chee, in decided to abandon the 'Traded to...' or 'Now with...' text on the card front like they had been in years past and instead tried something different.

Something cutting edge.

1983/84 O-Pee-Chee
#121 Ron Duguay

Not even close. What a terrible paint job. It could have been worse though. Imagine if the artist (and I use the term loosely) had to do the Wings' logo.

This was standard practice for OPC over the next 6-7 years. Take a closeup shot of a player and paint a jersey, helmet, even a mask on him.

Still, the rockstar perm was awesome.

This card got me thinking - what would Duguay look like without it?

Well, it was a year or two later when I started discovering cards pre-1980 (that's when I started collecting). I came across this beauty and was floored.

1978/79 O-Pee-Chee
#177 Ron Duguay

Yes.......yes it's him (and might I add, on yet another perfectly off-centre cut OPC card).

What a great photo. Part of me thinks it's another person's hair painted on him.

Sadly, Ron Duguay's hair isn't as cool as it was back in the day.....unless your name is Martin Handzus.

If only he could let his locks flow free as well.

Ron Duguay, your hair and your painted on jersey can go straight....



Thursday, April 21, 2011

PACK WARS: UD World Of Sports

It was trader night at the LCS and I made sure to attend this one. Seeing as my favorite product of the year - Between The Pipes - had just been released.

I knew there would be some pack war action.

Sadly, not as much BTP as I would have liked (the product of choice that night was SP Authentic....of which I ended up winning a round).

In addition to all that goodness, there was an Upper Deck World Of Sports pack war. Um.....OK......whatever.

I think what convinced me to join in was the potential to land a Michael Jordan autograph.

I ended up winning 2 out of 3 rounds giving me pretty much all of the 'hits' from the box. So here's what I won.

Yes sir....a Team Canada Mario Lemieux base card. Pretty special eh? Actually, I thought I show off the simple design of the base cards. Some of us felt like we were time warped back to the early 90's...can you say Pro Set Platinum?

The sports that were heavily represented were hockey (Team Canada only), soccer (MLS), Olympic sports, lacrosse, college baseball and figure skating to name a few.

It was a weird mix - too random for me.

They did a decent job with some of the 'older' cards in the set. Older meaning the photos from the 60's and 70's. It was OK stuff.

As you can see, a pretty eclectic mix. But, I guess it must appeal to some or they wouldn't produce the stuff.....right?

OK. On now to the inserts. This Clear Competitors card was a nice win. John Tavares - nice. Cool serial number as well. 550/550 (that makes it a 1/1....right?)

The only thing that would have made this card better is a nice hard-signed autograph. There's a spot just screaming for a signature.

Cool. Game used undergarments. I'm assuming so since I don't see any yellow in the photo (unless that undershirt got donated and cut up). Never heard of the guy so I'm assuming he's not that good.

Nice! Autographs from a pair of college basketball players I've never heard of. Maybe this product should be called World Of Sports Athletes You've Never Seen Before (And Will Never Hear From Again).

Wait a minute! Wait just a minute. I'm a product of 1980's wrestling. I've heard of this guy. And there's no photo. This must mean that this card is worth a bazillion dollars.

Actually, after all is said and done, to win 3 autos, a piece of game used gear, a numbered insert and a shwack of base cards, I'd say this was a pretty successful pack war victory.

Especially if I can sell the Captain Lou Albano signature for the price of my entry.

Here's a few Captain Lou memories.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Cesare Maniago

The elaborate masks of today can sometimes be too much for a person to really 'get'. It can take time to figure out 'What's on his mask?'...often looking like a blob of colors from the crowd.

Masks are also pretty standard in the construction nowadays. The cage/mask combo is pretty much the norm (unless your name is.......wait for it......Chris Osgood) leaving little to the constructive imagination.

That's why masks from the 60's and 70's really appeal to me. They had odd shapes (remember Mike Liut?) and funny places to put the air holes (like Rogie Vachon).

One of my favorites for mask shapes has always been Cesare Maniago.

Many remember Cesare as one of the all-time greats for the Minnesota North Stars, but he actually got his start in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1960.

A brief stint with the Montreal Canadiens backing up the legendary Jacques Plante as well as New York playing for the Rangers were next before he finally landed a solid position with the Stars in 1967.

He was the first draft choice for the upstart Minnesota team in the expansion draft and immediately became their starting goalie. He led the team to a playoff birth in five of their fist six seasons.

After a decline in the team nearly a decade later, Cesare was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks where he spent two years and ultimately ended his playing days there.

He finished with 190 wins in 568 games played with 30 shutouts and a GAA of 3.27. Not overly impressive, but remember, he played on an expansion team and was actually one of the top goalies from that era.

Now, onto the mask. He not only had some awesome masks, but the hair to accent it.

Today's masks just don't carry that type of flare.

Cesare more than anyone found a way to make that hairstyle work. And take a look at the pounding the mask has taken. Gotta love it!

Now this mask was made by legendary mask maker Lefty Wilson. Lefty began his career as a backup goalie for the likes of Don Simmons, Harry Lumley and the great Detroit Red Wings goalie - Terry Sawchuk. Lefty eventually became the Wings' trainer after his playing days were over.

Wilson actually designed the famous Sawchuk 'cat' mask (among others). But this Maniago mask really had some character.

Crude and simple, Lefty was known for making masks more lightweight and recognizable. He is credited with extending the careers of a number of goalers (including Sawchuk).

What I like about the Maniago mask is that the eye holes are so big, you really get a goos glimpse at that menacing stare. Intimidation was the key. I also love the dark leather straps fixing the mask to Cesare's noggin.

Again, simple and very effective.

Here's a neat tidbit I found out about Cesare...he almost became the first goalie to score a goal way back in the 61/62 season with Hull-Ottawa of the EPHL.

"Those were the days when the goalie could skate across the red line, and I used to join the rush on a delayed penalty. One time I took a shot and hit the goal post. But that all ended in a game against Kitchener. Jean Ratelle was with them and they had a pretty good team. I was carrying the puck at their blueline and somebody hit me with a bodycheck that KO'd me. I was out like a light and went into convulsions. Imagine how that must have looked, a goalie knocked out at the other team's blueline. Anyway, I think that was the last time I ever rushed up the ice."

Maybe the trapezoid is a good idea.

3.5 out of 5 (although I'd love to give it a 4)'s your turn to Rate My Mask!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The release of ITG's 2010/11 Between The Pipes has inspired me to create some customs.

I have had this idea for an insert set for a few years and I would love to get the courage to pitch the idea to Dr. Brian Price himself. I think it's that good.

One of BTP's most successful insert sets would be the Masked Men (and before that, just the simple Mask) sets. You can't get more basic than a goalie mask on a card...but boy does it work. A great chance to highlight the incredible designs these tenders have on their lids nowadays.

But what about the backplates? They get no love. And quite often, the back of the helmet shows off a more personal side of the player than the front.

I always thought it would be cool to do a set of just the backs of I made some. Enjoy.

The Cam Ward Backplate was the first one I made. His backplate is just pumped full of detail. Fantastic.

Ned Flanders has been a part of Peter Budaj's masks now for a while. A devout Christian, he also loves the Simpsons and his teammates gave him the nickname 'Flanders'.

I just loved this Hannu Toivonen shot - period. It's a can't miss Snoopy / Piglet tandem...awesome. When I started making this set, I knew this would be a definite addition.

So, what do you think? Am I on to something?

Stay tuned, I will have more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NOTICE: ITG 'Between The Pipes' Error

For those of you who know me, I am a huge goalie mask fan. It's no surprise then that one of the most anticipated product releases of the year for me is In The Game's 'Between The Pipes'.

The product has a release date of April 14, but some people who have received their boxes early have decided to bust them open.

Sadly, as a result, there has been a major error discovered. It has to do with their Masked Men III inserts (which is the one insert set I try to build).

Here's the press release straight from ITG's Dr. Brian Price.

I am posting this in hopes that more people can know about this ahead of time. There are already cards on ebay that distinguish this error.

Please be careful if you are planning on purchasing these cards on the secondary market.


From the moment I saw these cards, I knew I had to have them. A couple of rare finds for the Linden collection have finally arrived.

For all of the negatives ebay has, there are definitely some positives. Without what I call 'the world's biggest garage sale', I would never have landed these two beauts.

2007/08 Upper Deck
MVP Super Script /25

MVP always seems to be a lightly busted product and so finding these super script are tough. How tough? Well, this is the first copy of the card I have ever seen.

With the influx of Linden cards on the market calming (until the next big release he'll be in.....I'm looking at you Decades 1980's), I was very surprised at the finishing price. A paltry $40 (yes, for a Linden /25, that was pretty good in my opinion).

Mere days after winning that auction, another rare boy came up for bids.

2003/04 Upper Deck
Victory Gold /25

Now if you thought the previous card was's a parallel that never comes to light (for any player hardly). The 03/04 Victory release is one of my favorite 'low end' sets. The design and execution is really nice. The inserts are excellent (especially the Freshmen Flashback) and the player selection is quite good.

But the real draw are the parallels. The bronze /199, silver /50 and gold /25 cards that are next to impossible to find (again, due to the fact that this product was so lightly broken). How they can book for pennies is insane.

Currently, my Linden collection has the bronze parallel /199 and now it houses the coveted gold /25. It's a little rough around the edges, but I could care less. I might never see another copy of it.

Knowing that, I decided to prepare for a strong bidding war. I expected this card to break the $100 mark. Not only was I wrong, but the realized price ended up being less than what I paid for the MVP Super Scripts.

Two cards that I am thrilled to cross off the wantlist. It just goes to show that eventually, the cards pop up and you'll have your chance.


My recent interview with Vancouver Canucks photographer Jeff Vinnick still fresh in my mind, I decided to use one of his fantastic photos in this installment of Cardboard Photography.

2008/09 Upper Deck
Biography Of A Season
#BS10 Roberto Luongo

This photo, taken on November 6, 2008 as opposed to the November 8, 2008 date mentioned on the back of the card, shows Canucks tender Roberto Luongo making one of his 28 saves to earn his second straight shutout in a 1-0 victory over Phoenix.

This photo was taken from what Jeff calls the 'suicide box'. It's the small area in between the players' benches (where you will often find Pierre McGuire share his hockey vocabulary). Unprotected and right at ice level, this spot creates a very vulnerable position for Jeff to be put in. Although he says that it's not nearly as bad as if he were at the other end of the bench. The play rarely focuses in right on his doorstep.

Jeff continues that while this angle rarely snags some solid offensive photos (since the players would have their backs to him), it makes for some stellar netminding shots. And this card illustrates that perfectly.

The photo was cropped quite a bit for the card which draws your eye to the puck even faster. The concentration on Roberto's face is also more prevalent as a result.

I like the design this card front has and I think it only adds to the value of the photo. The full mesh background of the netting really gives this card some great layering.

A great, inexpensive insert set to chase with a solid design and the ever present Upper Deck photography bar in place, this card will now sit in the binder with the other photo greats.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1 vs. 100 - Cup Rookie

I decided to do a search on ebay a couple weeks ago for cards that are on my 1 vs. 100 wantlist. With the list slowly reducing in numbers (literally), I am finding that cards are not 'falling in my lap' as they seemed to in the early goings of this project.

I managed to find a few cards that fit the bill and decided to place minimal bids on them. If I won them - great! If I didn't - so be it, there'll be others to come down the path.

Out of the half-dozen or so that I bid on, only one managed to be the winning bid.

2009/10 The Cup
Autographed Rookie - Level 2 Gold
#96 Steven Zalewski /48

This is a great hard signed thick, thick, super thick rookie card from a high end set. To land this card for $3.50 + shipping was a no brainer.

What I really like about this card is that it is yet another unique entry into the 1 vs. 100 project. As nice as it will be to complete this project, it will be even nicer to create a diverse set of cards representing it.

I might just have to start the trend of throwing minimum bids on a half dozen cards each week. If I land even one a week, I can have this project done by the end of the year.'s just that easy....right?

74 out of 100 (74%)

Monday, April 11, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2010/11 Panini Limited Retired Numbers Autograph

A long awaited mailday...redemption style!

This card is only the second Linden card I have ever redeemed myself and I'll admit, I was a little nervous. After all, it's tough dishing out cash for a decoy card with only a serial number on it.

Well, it only took 3 months but today it arrived. And before I show it off, I'd like to just say how extremely disappointed in the minimal protection my card received from Panini.

Yes, the card was in a penny sleeve. Yes, the card was in a toploader. Yes, the card was in a bubble envelope. But that's it. It would not have taken much to see this card get nicely bent in the mail.

Some simple reinforcement would have been appreciated.

Anyways, on to the card.

2010/11 Panini Limited
Retired Numbers Signatures /49

Alright. One more beef. Is it too much to ask to have the autograph placed on the card straight? The sticker looks like it was just slapped on the card. I'm not a fan of sticker autographs, but understand the reason for them. Heck, there are some great looking card designs utilizing sticker autos. It's tough to tell there's even a sticker used.

Not the case here. It was glaringly obvious the second I pulled the card out of the envelope. That's not what my eye should be drawn to instantly.

Alright.....I more bickering about this mailday.

I'm really glad this card has landed in the collection and it leaves me with just two more cards to finish the 10/11 Limited collection for my Linden PC. One is the 1/1 parallel of this Retired Numbers card, the other is a 'tough to pull the trigger on' Vintage Pucks Signatures /10. I've seen a few so far and they go for big cash.

This card is the start of what I know will be a great week of Linden cards. I've got another couple goodies on their way so stay tuned.

RATE MY MASK - Warren Skorodenski

There are a number of goalies who have had all but a cup of coffee in the NHL, yet remain memorable to many because of the mask they wore.

This goalie fits that bill almost better than anyone else.

Warren had brief success playing for the Blackhawks in the early 1980's. Making his NHL debut in the 81/82 season, he played just one game for the Hawks while spending the rest of the season in the AHL. That season, he shared the Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award with Bob Janecyk for the fewest goals against.

He finally broke through with Chicago in 1984 and actually led the league in save percentage (.904), playing in only 27 games. He also saw limited time in his first Stanley Cup playoffs that year.

He played six more games in the NHL, three in Chicago and three with the Oilers, after signing as a free agent in 1987.

Skorodenski finished his playing days with the Canadian National Team, finally hanging up his pads in 1991. He managed just 12 wins in his 35 career NHL games.

As for his mask, the skull design remains one of the most popular masks mentioned by goalie enthusiasts and fans alike. No surprise since it's a slick piece of hardware.

There is little info as to the nature of Skoro's mask, but I did find a quick interview with him where he says his mask was created by George Light in Selkirk, Manitoba. George worked in the casting department at the Selkirk Mental Hospital. He made Glen Hanlon's mask as well.

As for the debate whether he or Gary 'Bones' Bromley had the first skull mask, Warren says his was painted in the late 70's when he played for the Calgary Wranglers. He didn't even know who 'Bones' was until they played against each other in the AHL. Bones did not play in Vancouver until 78-79 and Warren had the skull mask in Calgary playing junior.

Recently, Warren served as the backup goalie during the Heritage Classic featuring the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens Alumni. He has played in a number of charity games and 3-on-3 tournaments in the Calgary area (and in fact, I had the chance to interview him a number of years ago myself....I really should dig out that interview). The skull mask still makes people do a double-take.

The design for its day was totally unique. No team colors or abstract design. This mask was all about intimidation.

Having the mask wrap further back around his head than most masks of the day also helped with the effect. I really like the color tone and detail while the smaller air holes allow for more of a skull feel as opposed to a mask feel.

I managed to find one quick video of Warren wearing the mask. You tell me how odd it looks compared to the rest of the players. Definitely ahead of its time.

4 out of 5. Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Article: COMING SOON...Card Photography

It's been a long time since I've done any writing for anything outside of this blog. I've been meaning to do some articles for one of the hobby magazines I subscribe to, but I always seem to push it down the priority list.

That's been bothering me quite a bit.

So I took the first step to change that this week by contacting someone I have been wanting to talk to for quite some time. I cold called him and asked if I could conduct an interview. He kindly accepted and off I went.

His name is Jeff Vinnick and he is the team photographer for the Vancouver Canucks. I've been a big fan of hockey photography and his work especially. He's taken some of my all-time favorite photos (including a number of photos from the night Trevor Linden played his last game).

I talked to him for about a half hour and I am planning on writing a 2-3 page article.

Should have it done in the next couple weeks. I'll be sure to post it up here once it has been published. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - 2003/04 In The Game Action

'Action'. It's a subjective word. A word with many meanings. It can evoke strong thoughts and exciting moments. Make you gasp or do a double-take. It can make you smile and it can make you cringe.

'Action' to me is a positive thing. But when it comes to this set, there's only one thing I'm positive about.

2003/04 In The Game Action

There must be a reason why this set was called 'Action'. I'm still trying to figure it out. An 'after-thought' set from the mid-2000's, this product hardly excites.

The monstrous 600-card set was the largest to be released that year and it disappointed in a great number of areas. Player selection, overall design and just a pure lack of 'Action'.

A set can be big and still be desirable. A set can have a simple design and still catch your eye. But a set can't be passive and call itself 'Action'.

The front of the card is about as simple as you can make it (remember now, we're in the mid 2000's, not the early 90's or the mid 50's). While Upper Deck's signature release was utilizing a very 'graphic-less' design, ITG's foray into the minimalist look is a complete swing-and-a-miss.

Borderless, the photo immediately stands out. That's bad if the photo sucks. 'Action' should be just that. The best action shot possible. Not your overused 'skate-up-the-ice' shot. Or how many times do we have to see somebody turn right or left...while coasting. Those photos are littered in this release. I can go to Getty Images and in five seconds find a dozen photos that would put these to shame.

The product name is centered along the bottom with a colored background and a see-through 'Action' stretching across the front of the card. The player name is slapped simply along the bottom and lacks any and all thought. Do things for a reason, not just to say "Hey! I did something!" A terrible execution of design on the front of the card.

The back is not much better. The terrible font style is continued on the back, the same uninspired photo that wastes the space on the front of the card is copy and pasted on the back and the overall lack of color or style is boredom at its best.

Tons of wasted space, incomplete stat listings and an overabundance of fast facts really makes me want to just put this sheet in the binder and be done with it.

The only points I'd really give this card is the interesting lack of logos at the bottom of the card. Why is that? For an 'Action' card, shouldn't the bottom be super busy with logos and copyrights? Maybe they just got even lazier. Whatever.

Overall, this is a product to avoid (unless you can get it for free....which might not be too difficult). The set is pretty worthless with the highest valued single being the breakout rookie card of Peter Sejna. Who? Yup.

'Action' is a positive thing.....and I'm positive - this set is terrible!

0.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - Sunlight Hockey Card Book

I've heard rumblings of a new sportscard book out on the market and tonight I decided to purchase a copy (stay tuned...when I get it, I'll do a little write-up on it). Needless to say, I will pretty much lay down cash for any book relating to hockey cards (sportscards in general actually).

Sadly, there's only a small library of books that I have pertaining to the hobby - it's a shame. I think there are some great topics that could be written about, discussed and cherished. We need to see more hockey card literature out there.

Anyways, I chose a book in my stash that I thought I'd share with you. As Jack Black would say in 'School Of Rock'...."Be prepared to have your minds blown."

Sunlight Presents
NHL Hockey Card Collectibles
All-Time Hockey Greats

Awesome isn't it? A hockey card book made by dishwashing detergent.

Published in 1992, this 64-page book was released to commemorate the NHL's 75th Anniversary. Some of the greatest hockey cards of some of the greatest players.

Now, the first thing I noticed is the player bios that accompany each picture gives absolutely no information on the card, the year, the manufacturer - nothing. The lack of hobby information was big disappointment in my opinion as I realized quickly that this is nothing more than a who's who of hockey....not cards. At least they decided to include some pics from the Imperial Tobacco era.

I'll admit though, the use of cards to assist in illustrating each of these great players is better than nothing. Again, a little deceiving when it comes to what the book is actually about.

The book does a nice job of using a wide range of years and products, but I would have been happier with more pictures and less words. After all.....I'm a boy.

Getting into the 70's, I started to identify more with the cards and players used (as I have found myself collecting some of these in the past). I never really dipped into cards before the 1960's, so those all looked good to me.

The late 70's teased me with a couple WHA card photos. Now, why not have a whole book on WHA cards (ideas here people). I also noticed that the player selection is a little on the broad range (I don't think Ulf Nilsson's getting too much face time these days). It's not just your best of the best. I didn't mind that.

The Gretzky 'representation' was this overproduced selection from 1989/90. A terrible choice if you ask me. He's had some amazing cards throughout the 80's and none get even a sniff of a chance.

I think the only saving grace with this book is that I bought it at a used book sale last summer and paid .50 cents for it. That's about how much hockey card information you'll find in it. Told ya' I'd blow your mind.

Let's hope the next book to come in has a little more bite to it.