Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - Now With Jets

Here's the card that really spawned the idea of this 'Did You Know' series.

A friend of mine pointed out (what looked like) an oddity on this Bobby Hull card and asked if I could look into it. And you know, until I saw a scan, I can say I never really noticed the detail on the card.

DID YOU KNOW: Bobby Hull (who played his entire WHA career for the Winnipeg Jets) was chosen by the Jets in the 1979 NHL/WHA Expansion Draft. is that possible? If he played with the Jets, how could he be chosen by the Jets?

Here's the explanation.

A lot of the players in the WHA also had their rights held by NHL teams. For example, the St. Louis Blues had the NHL rights to Mike Liut while he played for the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers. The Atlanta Flames had the NHL rights to Kent Nilsson while he played for the Jets in the WHA. I guess going to the 'rival league' was not as much of a 'clean cut' as many thought it was.

When the WHA folded in 1979, 4 teams merged with the NHL (Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets). Each incoming franchise was only able to protect up to 2 skaters and 2 goalies from the other NHL teams reclaiming their players (as many of them had NHL rights) before an expansion draft was held to fill out the rosters of the four new NHL teams.

You with me? OK, here we go.

Bobby Hull was not one of the players protected by Winnipeg.

The Jets instead chose to protect Scott Campbell (D), Morris Lukowich (LW) and Markus Mattsson (G).

As a result, the Chicago Black Hawks decided to reclaim the 40-year-old Hull and bring him back to the team that made him an icon in the NHL.

But that was only on paper, because during the 1979 Expansion Draft (held after this 'reclaiming' process), the Winnipeg Jets used their third pick to guessed it, Bobby Hull from the Chicago Black Hawks.

Confused yet?

That's what the WHA does.

So, the fact it says "Now with Jets" on Bobby's 1979/80 hockey card might look weird, it's completely accurate.

Now you know.


No laughing.....I went to an antique show this past weekend with my mom and my niece. It's a show that I've been to a few times in the past. There's one table set up way in the back that has some neat hockey and baseball items. Real oddball-type stuff.

It's the main reason I go.

Actually, the main reason I went this time was so I could hang out with my mom and my niece. It was the first time my mom and I took her along along and I think she had a ton of fun.

That was until she was literally sitting and waiting for me to finish going through 'the sports table' as my niece called it.

"You're worse than Grandma when she orders a cup of coffee." Referring to the time I take when I look through stuff.

Hey, I came to dig. And when you dig, it takes a while. But sometimes, that digging turns to gold..

I found a few hockey items (like some 1971 Topps hockey cards for my 'One Sheet, One Set' collection), a couple cards for other pc's, an oddball Los Angeles Kings team set from the '80's and a smokin' hot Billy Smith Topps rookie card. I'll share those later this week.

I also grabbed this item. It just spoke to me.

It's a 1970 Topps insert poster. It measures about 9x9 inches. It's in awesome condition. The sharp folds indicate to me that this has been stashed in a closet for a long time.

"Bob Clemente?" I asked.

Yup, Roberto.

This guy was one phenomenal ballplayer. But even more than that, he was a tremendous humanitarian. Ahead of his time in my opinion.

That chuck to third was just ridiculous.

I didn't know much about the Topps posters from 1970, but took a chance on the lot of items I picked out. I got everything for a price I was happy with.

When I got home, I did a little researching. This poster is part of a set of 24. It's the highest valued poster of the lot. Johnny Bench comes in a close second.

Not sure what I will do with this yet. I have no problems keeping it for now, but I think it will make for some good tradebait down the road.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Trade deadline has come and gone and for most of us - it was a snoozefest.

Don't tell that to the Cody Hodgson collectors out there though. From a hobby sense, Monday was a life-altering day.

How do I know? I've had the same thing happen to me.

It was February 6, 1998, the day before the start of the Nagano Olympics. Trevor was ready to compete with Team Canada in what I would only think to be one of the pinnacle moments in his career.

He was dealt for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and the Islanders' third round draft pick (Jarkko Ruutu). Just like that....his days as a Canuck were over (temporarily at least).

Part of me was stunned. My guy was being traded from my team. I've never dealt with this sort of thing before. And now I'm supposed to cheer for the Islanders? They're not even on TV here in Canada. In fact, the only time I got to see him play was in person - New York came to town to face the Flames and I picked up some cheap tickets to the matchup.

From all to nothing, I was pretty bummed. If there was a silver lining to the cloud however, it would be that he was out of the Keenan/Messier shadow. For a few months leading up to the trade, Trev was 'in the doghouse'. Unfairly I felt too. The Keenan era in Vancouver just destroyed the kind of player Linden was (and he never really fully regained that).

After the Olympics ended and Trevor donned the Fisherman logo jersey, I quickly realized that it was the name on the back that meant more to me than the crest on the front of the jersey.

I was a Linden fan. And that trumped everything.

It's still odd seeing that footage.

Did I enjoy watching him play in New York, Montreal and Washington? I guess it was better than nothing. I was thrilled to see him return to Vancouver, but my loyalty to the Canucks has never been the same (even to this day).

I've heard a number of Cody Hodgson collectors talk about possibly trading away their pc or no longer collecting his stuff. Some will continue on with Cody and start picking up his Sabres cards. Whatever the decision might be, it's the individual's choice.

My only suggestion....don't rush into anything. Don't have that fire sale quite yet. Don't make a snap decision. Give it a few days, maybe even a few months. If you still feel passionately about it, go with it.

I have no doubt that if I abandoned my Linden collection after Trevor was traded in '98, I'd be regretting it to this day.

Anyone else out there lose their favorite player to another team? How did your player collection change (or did it at all)?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Custom Creations - Trying Something Different, AGAIN

Since showing off the Toronto Maple Leafs 1967 ticket stub card I assembled last month, I've received a number of requests for creating custom cards. Something that I've been slowly wanting to do more of.

That means, spending some time each week trying to come up with new ideas and new looks. The last thing I want to do is come off looking like I reuse my design templates.

My most recent creation took a few attempts and a number of head scratches. It's a Daniel Sedin cut autograph card. The challenge was that the person wanted the inscription as well as the autograph included in the card.

That's a lot of card needing to be cut out in order to fit everything in. I had a heck of a time trying to just get a photo to fit on the front of the card, let alone logos or names, etc.

Tonight though, I had a 'Eureka!' moment. I tried a couple versions of my design and sure enough, it's going to work.

Here's the first attempt at it.

Can you say 'tallboy'?

This solves the problem of needing space to fit everything in on the front of the card.

As well, I tried something different with the autograph area. I didn't want to do the normal circle or rectangle and I've done the 'follow the shape of the autograph' thing a couple times.

Here, I use the shape of what's written to dictate the cut area, yet maintain a more basic shape.

Again, a little tweaking to the size, color, contrast and so forth, but I think this card can be finished for the weekend.

I'm excited to see what the end result will look like.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


When things 'show up', they tend to do so in bunches. After a huge drought in finding some current players in the NHL with nice signatures, I've noticed a good half dozen or so in the last month.

That makes these 'Scribble & Scribe' posts pop up a little more often.

When I found the 'Scribe' that I'm using in this matchup, I knew who I wanted to put him up against. I had just never seen his signature before.

A quick search on ebay though left me perfectly content. He's definitely got a 'Scribble'.

TJ Brodie

TJ Brodie....or as I like to call him "7366". Simple does not always equal good.

What I found interesting (and even a little cocky) is that Brodie donned the number 66 to start his NHL career (you can see it even clearer on his Upper Deck Young Guns RC).

To me, '66' is on the same level as '99' when it comes to the 'do not wear this jersey number' list.

Fortunately, TJ got the memo and is now wearing the number 7. That would now make his name "737". I like that. It's his new nickname from now on.

TJ Oshie

Oshie is riding a fine line, but his auto sits in the nice pile on my desk right now.

I like that there's more than just a few abbreviated letters and a number. This autograph has the look of a full name. As well, the use of space with his capital letters and lower case really merge well. Distinct and with purpose. You can say that about anyone with a strong signature.

And the other thing I like is that it's not written all over the card. I appreciate the players who take the time (and understand the concept) of writing along an imaginary straight line.

Thanks TJ......"737", you take note.

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2011/12 Limited Monikers Gold

One Linden card arrived in the mail this week. It's been a slow go recently. Part of it is because there are a few less new cards of his out. Part of it is because some of them I'm just holding off on getting until the price comes down.

This was I snagged for a great price and couldn't resist picking it up.

2011/12 Panini Limited Monikers Gold # 5 (Vancouver) /19

The two versions of base cards in this set turned me off of Limited quite a bit. I really haven't been pursuing the cards very much.

But when a card numbered to 19 pops up at a decent price, I gotta go for it.

Numbered to 19? Why?

Did Panini run out of round numbers? 25 was too many?

Regardless, when I opened the bubble envelope and saw the card, I was happy to have it, but not excited to receive it.

The plethora of parallels in products these days is starting to leave me a little bored with the cards that paralleled.

Other than the gold coloring and sticker autograph (and the serial numbering to 19 on the back), this card is no different from it's base card counterpart.

It's nothing new and I shouldn't be shocked by it. But I've picked up a lot of parallels over the past couple years.

It's gotten a tad bit boring.

Add to that, the card is a little less than what I was expecting in terms of condition. The sticker is ever so slightly peeling off in the upper right and there are some very minor scratches on the back. Nothing worth making a stink about (other than on my blog).

That said, I am excited about some of the products hitting the shelves over the next few weeks.

In The Game Heroes & Prospects has a couple of 'Hero' jersey cards in the mix. That's right....just 2 cards from that set to pick up.

UD's World of Sport has included Linden (apparently in his Team Canada garb). Very excited to see that.

ITG is also coming out with a new product called 'Captains'. That could get a little ugly, but I'm excited to see some of the innovations in that release.

Panini's Crown Royale (although not new) is refreshing for me in that there are only 3 Trevor Linden cards. A base card, an Ice Kings insert (which will not break the bank) and an Ice Kings auto parallel /99.

I must say that I'm very relieved with the very attainable and realistic insertion numbers of some of the Linden cards to come.

It makes my wallet happier and my 'hunting & gathering' more enjoyable.

BEHIND THE MASK - A Bunch Of Randoms

Cleaning off the desk this weekend. No, it's not that big of a task. But I thought I'd share some of the cards I've picked up at shows, received in the mail and worked out through trades.

This batch is goalie themed. The masked variety.

2009/12 In The Game
Between The Pipes
Masked Men II
#MM-41 Craig Anderson

This card is a great example of taking your time when building a set. With this card off the list, I now have one left to finish it.

Could I have gobbled up cards for a couple weeks after the product was released 3 years ago? Sure. But I've been able to build this set through trades and purchases that has saved me a lot of coin.

Coin that I then spend on Trevor Linden cards. Or unwanted wax (still not over that one).

If you look closely at the crown of Anderson's mask, you can see the snowman wearing a 'vintage' mask of his own. Anyone know what that mask represents?

2010/11 Panini
Saving Face
#11 Carey Price #2 Ondrej Pavelec (promo)

I'm also building this 'mask' set from Pinnacle. I give it the quotes because it's medium shots of the goalies, and because of the shiny card front, you can't really make out any of the detail on the masks.

Still, I started I'll finish it.

These cards scan so poorly that when I inquired about these two, I didn't notice the 'EXPO 11' on the Pavelec.

That one's going in the trade box. D'oh!

2011 Upper Deck
National Hockey Card Day
#HCD11 Patrick Roy

I like free cards. I like free cards of goalie masks.

I like this card.

I wish it were in color.

2009/10 Upper Deck
UD Series I
#NET20 Peter Budaj #NET29 Tim Thomas

Here's a set I never really started. I guess I never found too many of the cards dirt cheap (it's one of those kind of sets in my eyes).

Plus, once again, the photos are a little too wide. Either make it a 'mask' set or get the camera out of there.

I like the Thomas card in his old mask. It's a solid reminder of how much I enjoy his new lid.

2002/03 In The Game
Be A Player First Edition
Up Close & Personal
#336 Olaf Kolzig

Is this really a mask card? No. But I tend to get sucked in to cards that are closeups with a mask in the shot.

Sue me. It was cheap.

1997/98 Donruss
Press Proof Silver
#213 Derek Wilkinson

I grabbed the gold version of this card for my 'One Sheet, One Set' project (when I picked up a ton of

I liked the Wilkinson card so much, I picked up this silver version for my mask pc.

I like to pick up regular base cards, inserts, long as it is a nice closeup of a goalie mask.

One day I'll scan more of them. And then put them in a binder.'s awesome.

Now, back to my desk. After all, it's now Saturday morning.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - Kiprusoff x2

I thought I'd try something new after coming across a couple of interesting cards over the past week.

Have you looked at, glanced at or read a piece of cardboard and gone "Huh....I didn't know that"?

When you take a closer look at some of the names, teams, stats and bios of the thousands of players that have laced up the skates, you quickly realize that there are a number of interesting stories, moments and coincidences.

Hopefully in these upcoming posts I'll be able to share some new information for you (some of which may or may not be....well, interesting).

Let's give it a shot.

DID YOU KNOW: Vezina winning goalie Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames was not the first from his family to play in the NHL. That distinction goes to older brother Marko.

Marko was drafted in the 3rd round (70th overall) of the 1994 Entry Draft. He had built a pretty solid career in Europe before trying his hand in the NHL. But his game didn't transfer well over in North America.

He played in only 24 games for the Habs in 1995, tallying 4 assists before making his way back home to Finland.

He was a mainstay on the Finnish National team for most of the 90's (playing in almost 200 National Team games) and was a part of the Finnish team that won that country's first World Championship gold medal in 1995.

He returned for a second stint in the NHL during the 2001/02 season, playing 27 games for the New York Islanders. He registered 6 assists that year to give him a grand total of 10 career NHL assists.

Younger brother Miikka entered the 2011/12 season just one assist behind with 9.

Now you know.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MY COLLECTION: Do Good Things...Good Things Happen

Last month I finished what currently is the most important custom card I've made to date.

This 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup ticket stub card took a lot of time and patience to get it to where it ended up. I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Well, today I was given a little gift for my effort.

Back when I originally agreed to do the customs, I insisted I would do them for free. I wanted to just gain experience and learn through doing.

I've been fortunate enough to have received some really nice items for my work in the past. The cards I got today just add to those wonderful gifts.

2000/01 Pacific Crown Royale
Game Worn Jersey
Patch Variation
#21 Jyrki Lumme /144

This "Beef Jerky" Lumme patch might go down as the coolest I own. The twists and turns of colors along with the stitching just punch out from this card. Even Jyrki seems surprised by how nice the patch looks.

It makes me wish the swatch size was bigger. It's a pretty spectacular card in person nonetheless.

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

This! Wow! I wasn't expecting this. A huge stick piece from my guy Trev, and it's numbered to just 24 copies.

These cards don't just grow on trees.

Yes, I do own a copy already. But that makes this one even better because I can take it in to my work and display it without disrupting my pc.

It'll be a solid reminder that when you do something nice for someone without the expectation of getting anything in return, often you will be rewarded for your efforts.

But it's not about the cards I received today - it's about the satisfaction of the work I've done for someone else.

That's what is making me smile right now.

Thanks very much Greg. I appreciate the kind gesture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

RAISE THE CUP - I Can't Believe It

Why? Why does he haunt me? Why can't he just not be a part of my hobby?

But when I come across cards like this one, I have to give it the credit it's due.

And it absolutely pains me to say this.

Deep goes.

1994/95 Pinnacle
#300 Mark Messier

This is one great looking card.

Blach! I need to wash my mouth out with soap.

In all seriousness though, this card really looks cool with the stadium filled with fans in the background and Messier not acting like a goof in the foreground.

It's nice. It's going in the binder.

Let's move on.

At last week's Trader Night, Brian (Captain Canuck) sifted through a handful of cards he thought I might need for this project. A couple of them I already had, a couple didn't have the player raising the Cup over their head (which is a stipulation of the collection) and a couple I thought I needed.

Sadly, this Cournoyer is already in the pc. I think I need to make a list or take some pics of the binder sheets to keep with me. Sorry about that Brian.

If it's worth anything, I'm replacing the one I already have with the one you gave me.

Small consolation.

2010/11 Panini Certified
Certified Champions
#JT Jonathan Toews

Brian also gave me this one, which comes from a cool insert set that I'd like to think I inspired.

And while I still need a few cards from the set, this one is a little different. This one actually gets a spot in the binder.

Here's why.

The set is serial numbered to 500. The Toews though is without any stamped numbering. It's a promo card of some sort. Well this makes for the perfect card to be added to the project.

I can still build the insert set while adding a unique card to my 'Raise The Cup' project. A cool concept (I'm glad they're continuing with them in this year's release).

Thanks Brian.

So that's 2 more for the binder. Flipping through the pages, it's pretty neat to see them all together.

Current Collection - 73 cards

Sunday, February 19, 2012

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - 1997/98 Pinnacle Artist's Proofs

A few weeks back I bought a box full of 90's inserts. Cards that once held some pretty high value (and in a few cases still do) as well as high desirability.

Those days came and went. For years I had no interest in these parallels or subsets. But with the creation of my 'One Sheet, One Set' project, I'm more than interested when a pile of inserts (with a cheap price tag) presents itself to me.

This sheet is probably the one that I was most excited to build. I remember these cards and always thought they were super rare.....and super expensive.

But when you can pick them up for a quarter a piece.....sure I'll take eight of them.

1997/98 Pinnacle
Artist's Proofs

Shiny and gold. Not necessarily a thicker card stock, just more durable and smooth. These cards feel important - literally.

They are a stark contrast to their regular card counterparts. Gone are the photo backgrounds allowing the featured player to be essentially the only thing of focus (most of the time.....there are some that look really weird though without the complete photo context in sight).

Now not all the cards in the base set had an Artist's Proof counterpart (no Linden.....fingersnap). Just a 100-card parallel set, more than enough for people to get their fill of high-end parallels.

Inserted 1:39 packs, this was a pretty tough item to pull. And building a set - quite a daunting task.

But this post is less about the desirability and rareness of a card and more about the design and aesthetics.

Which when you peel back a couple layers is not nearly as impressive.

Yes, the gold shiny cards are nice. But the design of these cards were bland to begin with. No border of any sort, just the player's last name and position along the right hand side and the Pinnacle logo in the top left.

The only thing added is the Artist's Proof stamp in the lower left, which for some reason I love. It makes the card feel special - like I've got my hands on something I don't want to get rid of.

That leaves the bulk of the focus to the photograph. This is where the wheels fall off.

This was a year where Pinnacle really missed the mark with their photography. Blurry photos, pics that were a little blown out, grainy and just not overly exciting when it came to action. It just didn't work.

Then compound the problem by taking a lot of the context out of the photo and placing a reflective gold surface on it. You don't really know what's going on in some of the pics.

Now if you wanted to do an Artist's Proof set, why wouldn't you base your design and photography around it rather than saying "Well, whatever.....they are what they are".

Pinnacle took a bad photo and made it worse. Way to go.

Not much else to say about the front of the card. Let's see if the back can pick up the slack.

Lots to go through here, so stay with me.

First impression - they tried to do too much. There's bits I like, but it feels a little disjointed.

The background consists of two photos. One larger color pic taking up the space on the left, and a smaller black & white photo (the same one used on the card front) in the upper right. Simply put, the smaller one could go completely. It really just makes the card back look busier than it needs to be.

The photo on the left is a nice idea - having the top part clean and featured while the bottom half is faded to provide background texture for the stats.

The photo selection and quality is average at best, often lower than what I'd be expecting. That's what really sticks out to me. It's unfortunate because a better photo selecting process all around and this product could go from an average set to a highly desirable one.

The player name, position and individual stats appear on the black and white photo - and are tough to read. Could be completely avoided.

The card number appears in the upper left and works well for me. The color fade into the photo is a nice subtle effect. But minimal points are won if this is the highlight of the card back.

That takes us to the stats. They're laid out well, a little tough to read, but complete.

For players that have just a couple years under their belt, a longer bio is written up to fill the space. That's how it should be.

If the player has been around a long time, there might be no bio. That's ok too.

The bios themselves are not too poorly written. It's a thankless job coming up with a blurb for each player - and a different one at that for every card they appear on in various sets each year.

That said - I feel this bio writing is like an artform. Those who do it well paint a picture worth looking at. Those who don't.....well they don't get many views at the gallery.

The ever popular batch of logos sit along the bottom of the card. Once again - waste of space due to size. Make 'em tiny. We all know what the stuff says.

So can a card be desirable if the aesthetics of it is unpleasing? Yup. This set proves it.

Nothing to write home about design-wise, but I love the fact that I can brag about having a few of them in my collection. They're just cool.

But cool doesn't score you points here either.

1.5 out of 5

Saturday, February 18, 2012

RATE MY MASK - Fred Brathwaite

I was sifting through the goalie mask photos I've compiled over the years, looking for something different to show off.

I didn't want to go with a current goaler and I didn't want to dip into the vintage fibreglass goods either.

So when I came across this Fred Brathwaite pic, I thought it would make for a good 'Rate My Mask' post as well as a chance to give my two cents on him.

First, the mask. This lid is 10 years old and it shows clearly how mask design and airbrushing have advanced today. It's a nice lid, but I can only imagine what it would look like if it were done with today's tools and talents.

Not sure what the connection to Freddy Kruger (or Nightmare on Elm Street) Brathwaite has......other than his name - Fred (Freddy), so I'll go with that.

The St. Louis skyline is silhouetted along the chin with the Gateway Arch prominent in the foreground.

The colors (while consistent with St. Louis colors) are a little bland and it's tough to make out any sort of impressiveness from a distance.

Nothing special and it makes me wonder who had the vision for the design - Fred or the mask maker.

Now on to Fred Brathwaite, the goalie.

In his entire NHL run, I never got the sense that he was given the football completely to run with. There was always a pretty short leash on his performance.

If he was performing well, it was like waiting on pins and needles for him to fail. And when he did - he was out. Teams were always looking at what was next, what was after Brathwaite as opposed to embracing what was a pretty decent goalie.

Without question he was a fan favorite. He seemed like a very popular person and always had a positive demeanor. When he was playing with the Flames (from 1998 to 2001) he bailed them out numerous times.

And even though the Flames had a huge revolving door of goalies (due to injuries), it took a long while for Freddie to be given a fair chance at the number one role.

And even then, it was taken away from him before he had the chance to embrace it and make it his.

His numbers (81 career NHL victories) don't give him the status he deserves. He was a better goalie than the journeyman tender he's been dubbed as.

He's still playing in Germany....and still putting up some decent numbers. I'm curious to see if he finds his way back into the NHL in some sort of coaching capacity after his career comes to an end.

As for his mask, I'm giving it a 2 out of 5. And even then I think I'm being generous.

So now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Friday, February 17, 2012

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 91/92 American Sports Monthly

Lately, I've been showing off some tougher-to-find, low-numbered Linden cards in these posts. I can't help but be excited when I find these little nuggets of gold.

But after seeing this gem waved in front of my face at Traders Night, I knew it was going to be my next show and tell card.

Rare. It's a subjective word. There are a lot of variables involved in describing what rare is. Location, accessibility, awareness, perception.

It can also be black and white. If there's only one in must be rare.

Oddly, even 1/1's can feel 'less rare'. The over-saturation of 1/1 cards and printing plates these days has dulled the enthusiasm of these ultimate pulls.

But I digress. Let me take you back to a day when 'rare' had a little different taste to it.

Up until the late 1980's, serial numbering on hockey cards didn't exist. For that matter, 'tough to find' parallels weren't part of our checklists either.

In 1990 though, Bowman and Topps issued 'Tiffany' parallels. Glossy cards that looked identical to their cheaper cardboard cousins (and were limited to 3000.....but not serial numbered).

1991 would introduce the first truly serial numbered card (for my Linden collection at least)...

1991/92 American Sports Monthly
(no number) /10,000

That's right. You read it correctly. Numbered to 10,000..

Just a quick aside. This photo of Trev perfectly captures the early days of Linden's career in my eyes. Babyfaced, intense and wearing that instantly recognizable Cooper helmet. Love it.

But it's the back of this card that tells the real story.

Read it closely...."This card is of a limited edition run of 10,000".

Today, that's laughable. Loudly laughable. But back in 1991 it was something that made me scramble.

After was rare.

There's not an infinite number of them (like every other card ever in existence prior to this - right?) and there must be at least another 9,999 people who wanted this card. So I better jump at it while I have the chance.

Add to that the fact the card wasn't in a normal product release. It was a magazine insert card. Geez, there must be a few thousand of these magazines that will never sell. I gotta get one now - fast.

Fast forward to today where a serial numbered card out of 10,000 would get you banished from the sportscard community. No longer rare. Not even close.

But when I saw this pick a couple days ago, I relived all those moments. A quick chat with Brian (Captain Canuck), who kindly gave me the card, had us reminiscing about what was rare, and how a numbered card (even out of 10,000) was something new, something different.

And even though this card probably couldn't garner a quarter in the sales bin, it doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to be be priceless.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane Brian.

BOX BREAKS: 2011/12 Panini Crown Royale

I tried. I really tried hard. But I caved. And now I have to live with the results.

I knew walking into the local card store a couple days ago that there would be a new product on the shelf. I also knew that my guy Trevor Linden had some cards in said product.

I knew that there would be some rounds of pack wars using this product (and I participated in a couple rounds). But I told myself all night - don't buy a box. Save your money, buy the Linden singles on the checklist from the secondary market.

I did good.......right up until the end. And then I said "Gimme a box".

And after opening my 4-pack box of Crown Royale I immediately regretted my decision.

How's that for a buildup? Let's take a look at the 'goods'.

2011/12 Panini
Crown Royale

If Linden wasn't in this product, I'd have zero interest in it. 4 packs, 5 cards in each pack. 20 cards total. $100+ for the box. The box does say that there's a guarantee of 4 memorabilia or auto cards in the box. Still......

Nothing about this seems appealing to me.

I will say this though, I like the looks of the base cards. Panini stayed with the vertical format again this year and for some reason I enjoy the die-cut design.

The card backs are not as impressive. Just a single line of stats squished along the bottom of the card, making room for a little blurb about the player. Meh.

At least I'll be able to use most of the base cards I pulled for my 'One Sheet, One Set' project. But that doesn't come close to making the box 'worth it'.

I also landed one Legendary Heroes card (basically a retired player base card in black & white). Good thing I didn't pull a Messier.

The Dany Heatley is a red parallel. It's got no serial numbering, but appears to be a one per box hit. Woo-hoo.

And then there's the Rookie Royalty card. It looks like a blue parallel, but I think that's the regular look of them. Wicked.

I also snagged a Rookie Royalty Signature card. No, it's not a parallel, instead it's a continuation of the set numbering.

And it's not serial numbered either. So I have no clue how many of these bad boys were made. Not that it matters with the guy I pulled.

Tomas Vincour...really? Definitely a sign of things to come. Nice signature by the way. Ugh.

Of course with every release these days comes inserts. I got two.

These uneventful and boring-looking cards will fit nicely into a quarter binder...pretty much right away.

I shook my head when I pulled my first jersey card (the Runblad). I nearly crumbled when the Robitaille came out.

Small jersey swatch size combined with a huge waste of space on the card just makes these cards anything but desirable.

That leaves me with one final 'hit'. The big one out of the box.

Now, Crown Royale does include some stunning cards. The Rookie Silhouettes are one of the nicest designs I've seen (even if the die cut of the player does impede on seeing the patch).

Maybe I'd land a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, or a Trevor Linden Ice Kings autograph.

Something big to end off this box. I deserve it right? After all, the break up until this point has been a monumental bust.

Hoo boy. Sure it's serial numbered to just 25 copies, but that's about the only redeeming quality of this pull. 'Prime'? A two color jersey piece does not make this a prime card.

Immediately after this box break I have decided to not break boxes that don't appeal to me - even if Trev has a card or two in the mix.

I could have easily taken the money spent on this box, purchased 3, 4 or 5 Lindens on the secondary market and been thrilled with the results.

Instead, I'm left with a real bad taste in my mouth. And 20 cards that serve no real purpose.

Let's see if I learn from this lesson.

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Mark Messier

Before I begin, I'd like to say that


There, I feel better.

Especially after what I witnessed at Traders Night a couple days ago.

I always get a little excited at any new product releases that include Trevor Linden. Even more so when the company doesn't go gangbusters with insane parallel numbers.

2011/12 Panini Crown Royale is just that. A nice, reasonable amount of cards to chase with a couple ultra-sharp pieces of cardboard to drool over.

So you can understand that I was excited to see any sort of Canucks jersey come from the numerous packs being ripped throughout the night.

That was until my eyes caught this atrocity.

2011/12 Panini Crown Royale
#103 Mark Messier

To put it bluntly - having 'Mark Messier' and 'Vancouver Canucks' on the same card is just a huge NO.

I don't care if you can't really see the jersey logo, I know it's there. And I hate him for it.

And that goes for you too Mike Keenan.

Put him as an Oiler, put him as a Ranger. And as much as I loathe it, put him with the Stanley Cup in 1994. But you do not - I repeat - NOT put him in a Canucks jersey.

Nothing else needs to be said.


TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gary Carter: 1954-2012

"The Kid" Gary Carter passed away today at the age of 57. I say it out loud and am still shaking my head. I feel as though a part of my youth has left me, far too soon.

I had heard that he'd been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour last May. My heart sank - a lot. My gut just told me that as much as he would battle, it wasn't so much an 'if'......but 'when'.

That 'when' was today.....and it hit me harder than I expected.

I was a hockey card guy growing up in the Prairie province of Alberta, Canada, but every summer I would turn my allegiance to baseball and always desirable O-Pee-Chee packs. I remember loving the Expos cards because of the 'different colors'. The Blue, Red, White (and green on those 1981 beauties) just popped in comparison to any other cards in the set.

But it wasn't until 1983 that I found the card that would become one of my all-time favorites.

The blue uniform, the sprint from behind home plate, the perfect timing of the photographer as Gary pulls his mask off, the catcher's mitt, the chest protector, the emotion on Carter's face, the head shot inset, the batting helmet with no ear flaps, the curly hair and that smile.

Gary Carter instantly became 'my guy'.

I loved watching him play. I loved the enjoyment he exuded combined with the competitive streak that drove him.

I loved how he led those early 80's Expo teams (which had some pretty amazing players at his side).

But most of all, I loved hearing Gary Carter talk. He spoke with such enthusiasm for the game of baseball and with such a feeling of honesty when it came to his love and success in the sport.

His speech from 2003 when he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame is just so simple, but I can't help but see in my mind - vividly - the picture he paints with his words.

I was thrilled in 1986 when he won his World Series championship and I can still visualize his 10th inning hit that led off the most amazing turn of events I've ever witnessed in sport.

As much as I wanted to see him win a ring with the Expos, just seeing him play a huge role in that championship run put a huge smile on my face.

But as much as '86 is a lasting memory for all Gary Carter fans, to me the moment that resonates most was his final game....his final at bat.

Gary returned to the Expos in 1992 to play his final major league season. In a scoreless game against the Chicago Cubs in September that year, Gary came up to bat in the seventh inning and gave the home crowd one last hurrah.

*added bonus - Harry Caray's call. Perfect.

"I saw (Cubs outfielder) Andre (Dawson) going back on the ball and I said to myself, 'Please don't catch it," Carter said at the time. "Then, when it got by him, it was like, 'Wow! Awesome!' What a great way to finish."

And that, he's gone. As much as I am sad and send my condolences to Gary's family, I can't help but celebrate all the great memories he has given me. The video highlights, interviews and baseball cards will forever bring a smile to my face.


I like them. Simple as that.

I enjoy reading about other people's collections and 'hobby-goings-ons' and I also like seeing some cool pics from various collections out there.

I enjoy blogs that don't linger for months (I understand that sometimes people grow weary or bored with their blog......which is fine. But don't become a slave to the blog and feel obligated to post).

I like well thought out posts. It can be about anything, but I like the ones where the person writing it WANTS to write about it as opposed to writing for the sake of an audience.

While I really enjoy the blogs on my daily list of travels, I'm always excited when another one joins the club.

And so with that, I'd like to make you all aware of another hockey blog to test drive.


A Tomas Kaberle collector, Kev has finally dived into the world of blogging. And a heads up.....he starts things off with a doozy.

I for one am looking forward to his ramblings and words and such. Best of luck to you with your new hobby branch.

Check it out if you get a chance.

Are there any blogs out there that are 'must reads' for you on a regular basis?
Besides mine............... :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1 vs. 100 - 22....The Second Time Around

Just one card from the massive bubble mailer barrage is headed to the '1 vs. 100' project, but this one gives me some long overdue closure.

Over a year ago, I made a trade for a card /22 which at the time would have been one of the more rare cards in my project.

I was really excited to work out a deal and even more stoked when the envelope hit my mailbox.

07/08 Upper Deck SP Game Used
#SN-DC Dino Ciccarelli /22

The excitement quickly turned to disappointment and frustration as I noticed the card had a couple of creases by the number die-cut (you can see one of them in the upper left corner of the '22').

Immediately I contacted the trader who indicated he didn't know about the creasing. Seeing it in's pretty tough to miss.

I wanted no part of adding this card to my pc and so I asked for compensation. Reluctantly, he agreed.

The card still sits in my trade box to this day. A blunt reminder of a trade gone sour. Note to everyone - myself included....make sure you know the condition of your cards before you purchase them or before you send them off. Don't develop a reputation for sending 'less than advertised' products.

Thankfully, the card that plopped out of one of the numerous bubble envelopes I received Monday put that feeling to rest - finally.

2006/07 Upper Deck The Cup
Honorable Numbers
#HNTW 'Tiger' Williams /22

First, let me just say. this card is 100 times better than the Ciccarelli. I am actually happy that Dino arrived creased.

To land a Tiger Williams piece for my project is fantastic. A hard signed piece with a patch (sadly not from a Leafs jersey....but UD says it's from an official game) puts this card high up on the list of faves in this project.

While it took quite a few months to knock this one off the list, it can finally be put in its place amongst the other numbers. One closer to completion.

82 out of 100 (82%)

Monday, February 13, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Big Mailday....... Like REALLY BIG!

It hasn't happened much in the past. In fact, I can only remember one other time when I've arrived home to find the mailbox literally overflowing with bubble mailers.

I recognized a lot of the return addresses so I knew right away some of the cards I had received. I couldn't wait to open the packages.

So without further ado - let's get to some of the goods.

This post will focus on the Trevor Linden cards I received. No less than seven big boys to scratch of the list - and a couple of them have been on it for quite some time.

2003/04 Upper Deck
#432 UD Exclusive /50

I'm not wasting any time. I'm getting right to the good stuff. It was shortly after the holiday season when I decided to do some updating of both my wantlist as well as my database for who has what 1/1's.

I contacted the Linden collectors that I've known (and e-mail with) for quite some time to double check their lists, but I also threw out some e-mails to a couple of Linden collectors that I haven't touched base with for a couple years.

It was great to hear from them - and it made me appreciate the simple connection we have when it comes to our similar player collecting habits.

In one instance, I was not only able to get the 1/1 information I was looking for, but the opportunity to make a trade for some cards on my list came about. This was like icing on the cake.

This UD Exclusive /50 was just one of 5 cards I received in my end of the trade. An outstanding addition (as you just don't see these cards out and about anymore).

2003/04 Upper Deck
#432 Canadian Exclusive /50

What's better than one card from 2003? How about two. What made this transaction even more special was that a couple of cards were pulled from his personal collection to trade over to me. Something that I truly appreciate.

I never like to ask collectors to trade cards that are in a person's personal collection, but when he offered me the opportunity, I couldn't help but jump. I hope the cards he received in return more than compensate the kind gesture.

2010/11 Panini Playoff Contenders
#8 Draft Tandems Green /50

Another one in the list of 'cards that don't scan so good'. But make no mistake, this card is stunning in person. In pristine condition, this card has a flawless mirror-like surface.

Numbered to just 50, this card has been a tough one to track down (I balked at a couple copies when they were originally released). Really happy to land this one.

2010/11 Panini Playoff Contenders
#103 Playoff Tickets /100

What might seem as a simple parallel /100 is anything but.

Another in the 'bad scan' category, this card was yet another that wasn't on the original trade list, but rather pulled from the personal collection.

It turns this not overly rare card into one that in ultra unique.

Without question, one that will have a special place in the collection.

Now that's 4 out of the 5 I received in this trade. I'll leave the fifth 'til the end (because it gave me a good laugh when I though about its significance).

2011/12 Panini Limited
#9 Game Pucks Prime /5

I mentioned about a week ago that I had picked up this beauty off of ebay. Well, it arrived today. And boy does it ever look stunning.

Hard signed, nice big puck piece with a little bit of the Canucks logo, superb action shot. What more can you ask for.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition
Base /63

This was the fifth card in the big trade I was speaking of earlier. What makes it funny is that it's the most common card Trevor has in the product and yet it's the last card to come in.

That's right, I'm finished with UM11 (other than 1/1's). I never really thought I'd accomplish this goal so quickly (the product was released in mid-November).

10 different cards ranging in production numbers of 63 all the way down to just 9 copies. Add to that a couple of redemption cards and the ever popular 1/1's and this put to bed one of the most ostentatious product releases as it pertains to Trevor Linden ever.

Actually, there is one more card from that list that was still outstanding. Thankfully, the final bubble envelope of the day put that to an abrupt end.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition
Hot Patch /9

This card is hot - literally. Not in the 'I stole it' realm (although I picked it up for a nice low price). I mean that this card could only be found in UM11 'Hot Packs'.

I've seen 3 copies of this card prior to picking up mine and I wasn't sure I'd ever come across one. In addition to the Hot Patch cards being highly collectible, the UM11 product has just dried up considerably on the secondary market. Not much has been busted and put up for grabs.

Well, if you stuck with me throughout, I appreciate it. And I also need to give a shout out to James who was hugely responsible for the bulk of this post.

The few e-mails we ping-ponged back and forth recently gave me a chance to get to know him just a little better. He shares the same enjoyment, passion and camaraderie towards his collection as I do. And being able to share a little bit of that with one another really made this trade a special one.

It makes me appreciate all of the great collecting relationships I have developed over the years. It's without a question one of the most important aspects of the hobby to me these days.

It makes me proud of my collection and my hobby.

SCRIBBLES & SCRIBES - Mistaken Identity?

It never ceases to amaze me. The level of laziness, sloppy work, lack of caring or all of the them combined when it comes to some of (actually....make that MOST OF) the signed hockey cards out on the market.

This card was briefly in my grasps (as I moved it on to a player collector) and the sight of his signature inspired this post.

Alexandre Burrows

Now, upon initial viewing, you might say "Hey, I've seen worse". And you'd be right.....if his name was Mason Raymond! This is Alex Burrows' autograph. Initials - A.B.

I guess there's a bit of fun it trying to decipher the reasoning of these scribbles out there, but that's not what an autograph should be about.

Drayson Bowman

Now on the other hand, here's a signature that offers up zero guessing in determining the penstrokes.

With effort and purpose, Drayson has laid down a great looking autograph. You'd immediately think that he's somehow related to the legendary Scotty Bowman.

But no......they are not.

The looping D and B really give off a cool look. And the Bowman is very controlled and legible.

Thanks Drayson. You prospects take note.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I have encountered numerous instances of Murphy's Law at the workplace, at home and when it comes to my hockey card hobby.

Have you ever called somebody in, complaining that your computer doesn't work....only to have it run like a fine engine when they arrive?

Have you ever noticed that the people who are late to a movie tend to want to sit it the back of the theatre?

Have you ever "called in sick" to work and then legitimately get the flu the next week?

Well, today at the local card show, I got smacked with one of Murphy's little laws.

And I should have seen it coming.

Friday around suppertime, I was doing a little ebay surfing and came across an auction for a Trevor Linden card. A parallel from the new Panini Limited release.

I've been pretty lazy with pursuing cards from this set as most of them are going to pop up down the road (and probably for a lot less than they're going for now). But I noticed a Buy It Now auction for a card numbered /49 with what I felt was a pretty good price.

Why was it a good price? Well, another auction for the same parallel was just ending and the final price finished higher than the new BIN auction.

So a couple of clicks later and I purchased it. A nice looking Capitals card, paralleled to just 49 copies. For $7, I thought it was a great buy.

Fast forward to today. I made my way over to the local card show, and was on the hunt for new Linden cards.

Can you see where I'm going with this one?

Now, a lot of the dealers know that I collect Linden, so they often pull cards out to show me before I even ask.

I made it to one table and the seller reaches for his new stack of Limited Ruby cards.....numbered to 49.

Sure enough....

2011/12 Panini Limited
Legends (Capitals)
#28 Ruby Spotlight /49

He pulls out the exact card I just bought the night before. I shook my head and laughed. Of course, I asked what his asking price was on the card.

"Three bucks".

Of course it was. He couldn't have said $15 to make me feel good about my ebay purchase.

So I forked over some change and walked out with what will soon be a double for my Linden collection.

If there's any consolation....I know I'll be able to recoup most (if not all) of my money in selling/trading this copy.

So...lesson learned. If it's not a supremely rare card, don't go buying it the night before you go to a card show.

How I hate Murphy sometimes. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Roman Hamrlik

Sometimes hockey cards give you a glimpse of your favorite players off the ice. Case in point...

Paul Kariya

Doug Gilmour

Ouch. Most times.....that's not a good idea.

Here's another one that creates the argument "Should I stop collecting?"

1996/97 Upper Deck Be A Player
#133 Roman Hamrlik

Roman Hamrlik.....or should I say Rico Suave. What is this card all about?

Do I really need to know that he towel dries his hair? Do I need to know that he likes to pout his lips? Or maybe he just bit his tongue. And do I need to know that he likes to stare blankly into camera lenses?

If I were a mind reader, I'd say he's thinking "Concentrate....... concentrate..... look at my nice white towel."

How this became a hockey card is beyond me. It makes me appreciate the other cards in the set where the jersey logos have been completely airbrushed off. They actually look nice now.

Oh, by the way, Rico prefers heavy metal music....particularly Metallica. I'm sure they're happy to hear that.

Rico, for your absolute non-hockey pic, this is an easy trip....



(actually, this might just bypass the binder and go straight in the trash. It's one creepy looking picture)

The real Rico Suave. Separated at birth?