Sunday, July 29, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - It's A Show Of Shows

Part of my office clean involved scanning and storing some of my most recent Linden card pickups.  I've been saving this blog post until all of them came in (I wanted to show them all off at once).

Show cards have been a part of my collection for over 10 years now.  Back in the day base cards (and sometimes parallels) would be given a stamp depicting the show that the card was offered out at (normally numbered to 10 or 5).  These cards were a tough find initially as most people I don't think saw the value in them (to this day there are many who don't consider show cards a part of their player collections).

To me though, they hold an equal part in my quest.  In fact, I get pretty darn excited when I am able to track down an older show card that sits on my wantlist.

These days show cards still exist.  Often they are designed and created specifically with the intent of being released at the given show.  I really like the idea of unique pieces of cardboard to chase like this.

There are still the old fashioned "put a stamp on it" cards and I've been able to land quite a few.  In fact, it's been the bulk of my pickups for the past month.

11/12 In The Game Captain-C
#CJ-23 Complete Jersey Silver
2012 Spring Expo 1/1

Let's start with a big one.  I was thrilled to land this complete jersey as it goes with my regular silver version of the card.

The best part is that I got it for a fraction of the price as the regular issue.  And I've never understood that.  The jersey, emblem, number and fight strap included come from a legit Linden why isn't there the demand for this item like there is for the non-show card?

Simply because of the gold stamp indicating that it's a show card.

Makes no difference to me.  In fact, I love that this is a show card.  Two are better than one right?

11/12 In The Game Captain-C
#FC-28 Franchise Captains Silver & Gold
2012 Spring Expo 1/1's

Happy to snag both of these as well.  After landing the gold version I was contacted by another Linden collector who said he had the silver version.  He offered it up to me for the same price that he picked it up for.

They just belong together don't they?

11/12 In The Game Captain-C
#M-56 Jersey Silver & Gold
2012 Spring Expo 1/1's

Much like these cards belong together.  

I think both of these came from the same ebay seller (who seems to have a number of Linden show cards).  The bummer is that they don't list them all at the same time so I can combine the shipping.

One at a time.  But I can't complain too much.  I've been able to add these cards at very reasonable prices in my eyes.

11/12 In The Game Heroes & Prospects
#HM-10 Memorabilia Silver & Gold
2012 Spring Expo 1/1's

The last pairing comes from the Heroes & Prospects release (which is Trev's first foray into that product).  I really like the simple design of these cards.  I only wish they would have put more dynamic swatch pieces into the windows.

Anyways, that's seven show card 1/1's.  And I have no doubt that there are more sitting in trade boxes or on ebay lists to be auctioned off.

And I'll be ready.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Had a bit of time this afternoon to slowly clean up the explosion that is my office.  Over the past couple of months it has turned into a haven for paperwork, receipts, bills and of cards.

A few Lindens were carefully placed into their proper spot and traders were stored into boxes.  I even updated my wantlist...just not the one on my wantlist site (I've all but abandoned it).

In addition to sorting, I managed to scan a few items.  Gotta blog eh?

So, without further ado, let's see what I've come up with.

1994/95 Pinnacle
#143 Craig Muni

Glorious photo isn't it.  It just SAYS "Craig Muni".

Now is he tripping over the goalie, reacting to taking puck or a stick to the face or just full-on tripping over the flat ice?  Maybe all is Craig Muni after all.

In all seriousness, Muni does have his name on the Cup.....multiple times.  I can't say that about my guy.

But he doesn't have a card quite like this.

It does show off the jersey quite well though.

He would definitely be sent home from Dancing With The Stars or America's Got Talent.

For your "grace and style" Craig Muni...



Thursday, July 26, 2012

30 in 30 - What's Hiding In That Back Shelf?

In my quest to come up with a list of 30 documentaries to watch in my '30 in 30' endeavour, I decided that some of the movies on my list should be ones that are sitting in my own collection.

Yes, I realize that I stated all the docs would be ones I haven't ever seen before.

How sad is it then that I have multiple dvd's that have never seen the inside of my dvd player.  Thankfully, that will soon become a quote of the past.

Let's hope that I don't regret the purchases........even if they were made years ago.

'30 in 30' - LIST OF MOVIES
1. Hoop Dreams
2. Murderball
3. The Endless Summer
4. Pumping Iron
5. Undefeated

New additions.....
6. Michael Jordan: To The Max
7. Bobby Fischer Against The World (chess is a sport)
8. Jim Brown: All American
9. Tyson (a friend of mine lent it to me and I just have never returned it)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

OPINION - Pack Ripping

In a nutshell, opening packs of cards (to me) is the essence of what this hobby is.  If nobody opened the packs......the cards would never see the light of day and thus never make their way into people's collections.

For the last couple of weeks, pack ripping has been a topic of discussion with other hobbyists, shop owners and even friends of mine who aren't into hockey cards.  It's a subject that made me look at it from a number of different directions (after all, this hobby seems more complex than ever) and it's really made me appreciate the positives (and the negatives) that it possesses.

When I was growing up, the only way I could obtain cards was to either buy packs and open them or trade with other kids. And in order to do some trading, you would need to have some cards in your arsenal - thus....a little pack ripping.

I can't remember a year when I didn't spend my hard-earned quarters on some pieces of cardboard wrapped in those wax packages.  It's something I looked forward to, something that I enjoyed and it's something that I strongly connected to collecting.

When I returned to the hobby in the 90's, pack ripping was an obvious element to me.  I couldn't imagine not opening packs.  In fact, the concept of box breaking became more apparent to me (of course we're talking ProSet and Score so it wasn't as ridiculous as it potentially can be these days).

Today, I rip the odd pack of cards as I've subscribed to more of the box breaks.  But it can go one further - case breaks.  I know I'm not the type of collector that sees myself doing that on a regular basis.

So what is it about opening packs that makes it so appealing?

I think it's the "little lottery" element that gets people excited.  Trying their luck and maybe hitting that highly-desirable of uber-expensive card......or both.  Obviously people enjoy buying a pack for one price and walking away with a treasure 3, 4 or 10 times that of what you paid.  Who wouldn't.  I also think people like working towards their collecting goals through pack ripping.  Building sets, collecting teams and shovelling traders into their monster boxes in hopes of parlaying it into something that fits in your personal collection.

I think people enjoy it at its most basic level.  They might not end up enjoying the product or the results of the rip, but the process of opening packs is something I think few of us hate.  If it were, we wouldn't do it.

I mentioned earlier that pack ripping has evolved from a one or two pack adventure at the corner store to a time committing box or case break that is far more criticized.  So what has changed?

I think first and foremost, the target audience of most products is billed towards an older demographic.  Gone are the days (for the most part) of kids flocking into the 7-11 to gobble up wax packs.  I also think that the level of expectation a collector has when opening packs is greater.  A stack of base cards staring you in the face as you open your tenth pack is definitely more of a letdown to collectors today than it would have been 30 years ago.

It's a changing hobby, and the card companies are trying their best to keep those collectors ripping open their product.

So why does pack ripping get a nit of a bad rap these days?

I think it's because a person entering the collecting world today can experience a very fulfilling hobby experience without ever opening a single pack.  Something that was pretty much impossible back in the 70's and 80's.

The word ebay comes to mind.  Now one can browse the biggest card show at anytime, from anywhere wearing whatever it is you want to wear in front of your computer.  The ability to pick up EXACTLY what you want without having to go through the whole process of opening packs, looking for a person to trade with and scouring local shows with the faint hope of success is gone.  Now it's all right there at your fingertips.  You don't even have to pull out the wallet and it'll be sitting in your mailbox in no time.

That's more the hobby experience for people - and that's perfectly fine.  But I think it has drastically reduced the number of people buying packs and experiencing that aspect of the hobby.  And sometimes I worry about that.

Is that why I rip packs?  No way.  But I think about it sometimes when I do.  I think that this might one day become a lost art.  I think that one day you will just go to your computer and buy everything you need online.  And I don't really want that at all.

The essence of pack ripping takes me back to a time when I was 8 years old and getting a ride to the store from my dad.  It takes me back to a time when I learned about my favorite heroes and reinforced my allegiance to my team.  It also takes me back to a time when I would spend hours organizing ( sounds silly).  Sorting the cards from my pack rips into sets, creating checklists and wantlists that will give me my '396' and figuring out what players were left to track down.

All in the name of fun.  And still today, pack ripping remains fun.

Even if some of those other elements are now gone.

Do you open packs on a regular basis?  Do you enjoy it? Why do you do it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Yes........I Know It's A Base Card

It was monthly trader night at the local card shop and I was ready for a night of pizza, conversation and some pack wars.

It was a little thinner crowd at the shop tonight (must be summer) and the interest in pack wars was minimal.  I only participated in one box of SP Authenic (3 packs).  I didn't win anything and there wasn't any 'wow factor' cards pulled. For once I was actually good and didn't blow a ton of cash (don't let the shop owner hear that).

I also watched part of a live group case break of the product.  Basically, you pay money for your spot in the break, when all the spots are filled each is given a team, the packs are meticulously opened and if any of the 'hits' are players from your get those cards.

It's a neat concept and the store I went to have guidelines in place to ensure everybody walks away with something.  It's like pack wars on steroids.

I might have to give it a shot one of these days.

Anyways, part of the rules of this particular group break is that the base cards are not shipped out to the various participants.  So it was stack upon stack of base just sitting on the desk.  And I was eyeballing it all night.

I knew........KNEW that there was a base card of my guy just sitting in there.  At the end of the night when I went to settle the bill, I asked if a Linden lived in the piles of base cards.  A quick sift through them and voila...

2011/12 SP Authentic
#49 (base)

That's a pretty cool looking card if I do say so myself.  I haven't seen a normal base card of Linden in an Upper Deck product for a while.  I like it.  And how much you ask?  It was a freebie.  Now that's even cooler.

I've said it many times before.  These base cards hold just as much importance in my player collection as any of the other cards.  While it might not be the flashiest, rarest or most expensive, it's another one knocked off the list.

Thanks very much Darren.  I appreciate the kind gesture.

Now the search for the dreaded auto/patch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PACK RIPPING - 2011/12 SP Authentic (4 packs......and then 5 more)

After a quiet few weeks of collecting, I can definitely feel the and of the calm before (what I anticipate to be) a pretty decent storm.

Upcoming product releases like Panini Prime, Dominion, In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia 12, Forever Rivals, Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee and The Cup make the "off-season" seem more like "mid-season".

Now I'm not sure if Trev will find his way into all the new checklists (let's hope not) but I'm sure his name will be added to the wantlist multiple times over the next few weeks.

In fact, he's already found his way into a product that hasn't shown a card of his since the 05/06 season.  During a trip to the local card shop I found my rock-solid will-power once again tested.

You all know the result.

2011/12 SP Authentic
(4 packs)

I thought to myself "There's no harm in ripping a few packs.  It'll be fun....and who knows."

Twenty cards......that's the stack I created when the smoke cleared.

And every single one of them were base.


So let's take a moment to look at what the base cards have to offer. hum.

Alright then.

Actually, I learned that SP Authentic has done some weird thing with it's rookie cards.  They aren't actually rc's.  Because they are part of an insert set, they won't hold the designation of being a true rookie card.

I landed four of these non-rookie rc's.

Apparently, there are autographed cards that will be designated as the player's rookie.

Backwards if you ask me.

Well, since I had such good luck pulling packs from the freshly opened box......I decided to open a few more.

Cause I'm just that strong.

There was base to be had.  In five packs worth, I landed 21 base cards.  Two of the rookie inserts (another couple no-namers).  That leaves me with two "hits".

A couple of the base cards showcased the "Legends" in the product.  This is the section where Trev shows up.  I didn't pull one, but I'm not worried about finding one of those - easy to come by.

For the record, he also has an autographed card (similar to the one you'll see at the end), an auto/patch card (I've seen one go on is not the time to chase one) and who knows what else.  I still need to figure out the whole checklist thing.

Out of my two hits, I pulled one auto and one insert.

Right jersey.....wrong player.

These Rookie Holo-FX cards look really nice in person.  I can see them being a fun set to build (a little throwback to the good ol' days of the mid-90's).

Drumroll on my "big hit" now....

Oh yeah!  Nasty signature card #7,489.  Nicklas Grossman.

It is indeed gross - man!

I like this design layout better than the last couple of years and prefer it more than the 05/06 version (if I were to compare Linden's).

And over the nine packs I opened, I apparently met the odds that were posted on the box.  So really, I shouldn't complain.

But I will.

I'll complain about the dude who pumped out the cash for these packs.  I would have been much better off just going for a full box.  Or maybe showing a little restraint and focus on picking up singles for my pc.

But......I'm a sucker for ripping packs every once in a while.  To me, it's the essence of the hobby.  In fact, I think I'll make it the subject of my next Opinion post.

Now if anybdy has a Linden they'd be willing to trade.......I've got some cards for ya'!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


It's been a while since I've seen a Linden card hit the mailbox (and by a while.....I mean about a week to 10 days).  But I was really happy to see this card arrive as it's been one on the radar for longer than I normally wanted.  But I'm learning (slowly) that patience is a virtue.

When it comes to the lower-range Linden inserts, I tend to gobble them up as fast as possible.  I've learned though that I'm throwing away quite a few dollars with that practice.

This year, I've tried to be more selective in my pursuit of these cards and show patience in snagging them.  While it means the cards stay on the wantlist just a little longer (which could bite me in the butt) the payoff is that I get the card for a better price.

Case in point...

2011/12 Panini Crown Royale
Ice Kings
#7 autograph /99

When I first learned that Trev would have 3 cards inserted into this year's Crown Royale product I was thrilled.  A nice number to chase.  Two of those cards were had for less than a couple bucks (a base card and the unsigned Ice Kings insert) leaving this autographed parallel the remaining item on the list.

The first few copies of this card to hit the market went for well over $30.  I thought to myself that a card /99 (even if it was an auto) is just too much.  I chalked it up to people just wanting the card in that initial wave of release.

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

It took longer than I thought it would, but finally the card price started dipping to about $20-22.  Still, there were a number of people looking for $30-35 for it.

I couldn't find a copy for the price I wanted to spend. To me, this is a $15 card.

A couple more months passed and I noticed a couple cards hitting ebay at the same time.  That's always a nice treat since it dilutes the desire just a bit.

I set my sights for the second auction and set my bid.

While I still feel I paid a little more than I could have gotten the card for, I was happy with the end result.  I got the card for less than a lot of others picked up this gem for.

But wouldn't you know it, I saw another copy hit the auction block just last week.  It ended a couple days ago for a whopping $10.  Doh!

If I would have just waited one more go around.

Oh well, I still got mine for a great price.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

RATE MY MASK - Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick's stock has shot through the roof over the past couple of seasons.  Anybody remember the time when Quick and Bernier were battling it out for the starters job?  Easy to say gone are those days.

With a Stanley Cup ring and a Conn Smythe pickup in his back pocket, Quick has firmly cemented himself as one of the elite tenders in the NHL.

Now comes the fun part......staying there.

The world of 'A' goalies was one I thought would have become extinct with the retirement of Marty Brodeur (whenever he's going to hang up the mask), but Quick is making a statement that he wants to be in that next crop of dominant goalies - year in, year out.

So I'm taking a look at Quick's mask from his rookie season, before the hype and attention.  And to be honest, the look has stayed relatively the same through the years (the big difference being the removal of the purple and sticking with greyscale tones).

Designed by Steve Nash of EyeCandyAir, this mask is called "Helmet of Salvation". It has a very bold 'armour helmet' look with lots of great detail.  From the realistic layering to the rivets to the purple accents, the look really gives a simple but effective message to those looking at it.

I'm still trying to figure out the reasoning for the red 'blood-style' lettering on Quick's name down on the chin.  Definitely seems out of place.  Something that was improved on with his recent lids.

I'm also a sucker for the symmetry this mask possesses.  A lot of times, goalies have one look on the left and another on the right (and there's nothing wrong with that), but the fierceness of this mask comes from the battle ready look he gives you when staring you down.

And while the front of the mask has a distinct color palette representing (at the time) the LA Kings' look, it's the backplate which really throws one for a loop.

Talk about out of place........and out of nowhere.  Here's some warm tones for ya'.

LA palm trees and sunset with Quick stopping pucks on the beach.

Why not.

If you didn't know what his mask looked like, you'd be expecting something completely different based on the backplate alone.

It just looks out of place.  But it works (unlike the front chin).

3 out of 5

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

BOX BREAK: 2011/12 Titanium

I'm nearing the end of my 5-week work marathon.  It's been some long days, but at the same time - it's been fun.  I think it comes from knowing that there's a group of us all in the same boat.  And we see this daunting challenge ahead of us that we know we can hit.  Seeing the bar get raised and then working towards exceeding it can be a real motivator....even when you've been working long, hard days.

That said, the break will be a welcomed one.  It won't occur until the end of the month, but things get back to a more normal pace starting next week.

Seeing as I had a couple hours of relaxing tonight, I thought I'd share a recent box break.  This box came as a result of the recent lull in my Linden collecting.  I think the mild boredom I was experiencing made me cave when I took my nephew to the local card store.

Can't go to a store with him and not open packs.......right?

2011/12 Panini Titanium

So I knew that my guy Linden wasn't in this product and I knew that the price point vs. return wasn't optimal, but it was new product.....and my nephew liked the shape of the box.

I caved.

I let him open up the box.  Now I knew there would only be 5 packs of cards inside (since I read the box), but my nephew didn't.  He opened the box expecting more than the "less than impressive" amount of packs to rip.  He let out a laugh and we proceeded to open them.

I tried to impress on him that the base cards can be enjoyable even when they are surrounded by thick, jersey-laden hits.  He didn't seem to buy that.

That said, I like the looks of the base set.  The treatment to the photo gives it a slight "drawn" look and the simplicity and boldness really shines through.

It's a 100-card base set and I ended up with a whopping 14 base cards.  Math dictates that there were 6 hits in my box.

I don't know if you would consider this a hit, but it's different so it gets its own scan.  My nephew wasn't impressed......neither was I.

He pulled an autograph out of one of the packs he opened.  I could tell he was again a little underwhelmed.  Can't blame him....look at that feeble attempt at a signature.

We made fun of it.

My nephew thought this card looks cool.  It was a thicker card and it had a piece of jersey in it.

I saw it as a nice way to dress up a boring white swatch.  Could be worse I guess (but not by much).

Is it me or did I hit the Dallas Stars box?  We both took a moment to enjoy this card.  He thought it was pretty smart to have a few pieces of jersey on the same card.  Makes it better.....right?


This dual game-worn gear (prime) card has a great look to it.  Thick patches (with a seam bulging out of the Kennedy piece) and multi-colored to boot.  This card got us excited at what the final couple packs might hold.

We both slowly opened the top of our respective packs.  We were both excited to see some super thick cards inside.

He opened his up first (I have a tad more patience).

Swing and a miss.

This card to a 10-year-old is about as boring as it gets.  Sure it's going to end up being a nice jersey/auto piece, but to him it's just words.

A bit of a disappointment.  But there was still my pack.

And it had an even thicker card in it.........the thickest card in the box.

I start to tell him about how some of the best cards in the product are the really thick cards.  Could it be a shield?  Maybe some crazy piece of memorabilia?  Even a booklet?

My nephew was getting very impatient by I was milking it.
And my nephew got the last laugh.

He was sure I got ripped off.  I had to explain the concept of decoys and how they  get inserted into packs to keep people from searching for the hits in a box.

After a couple more laughs, reality set in.  Underwhelmed and shaking my head.

I really gotta stop buying spur of the moment.

I started to think about the Linden (or Lindens) I could have picked up with the dough I just blew.

But then I realized that my nephew and I had a blast and that really dampened the blow.  Shoot, I'm even going to keep the decoy.  It'll be a great reminder.

In more way than one.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Lately I've been thinking a lot about sports documentaries (again).  In fact, I find that if one is on......I will watch it - even if I've seen it a half-dozen times already.

You may remember some of my favorites from the previous post I made on the subject (all are still top picks in my mind).

Current faves have been 'Catching Hell' (The Steve Bartman Story), 'Goose' (about Harlem Globetrotters star Goose Tatum) and '26 Years: The Dewey Bozella Story' (about a wrongly convicted man who finds boxing as an outlet while serving time).

I'm finding that there are more and more great documentaries out there every time I look.  I've seen all the '30 For 30' documentaries numerous times and have been scrounging Youtube, Amazon and ebay to see what else I can find.

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who mentioned that he just finished watching 30 movies in 30 days.  At first I thought it was crazy, but the more I got thinking about it, the more I liked his idea.

There are times when I have the tv on at home and am watching random 'stuff' just because it has caught my attention for the moment.  I don't have any 'shows' that are on my pvr list.  The idea of purposefully watching a film as opposed to 'whatever is on' has got me to this point.

My plan is to watch 30 sports documentaries in 30 days - I'm calling it '30 in 30'.  Sounds simple right?  Here's the catch.

Every documentary I watch has to be one I have never seen before.  And after watching the doc, I will do up a review here on my blog.

All of the sudden......seems a little more daunting.

Now of course I won't be doing this in the midst of my crazy work season. Instead, I'll be holding off until probably October or November.  It'll give me a chance to compile 'The List' and then track down some of the more obscure titles.

I already have started 'The List' and will be refining it over the next few months.  I'll share this list with you all before I start.  Feel free to comment on or make suggestions on what you think I should watch ('s gotta be one I've never seen before - and I've seen a lot).

The first five titles on my list are what I will call 'The No-Brainers'.  These are documentaries widely regarded and praised as some of the best sports docs out there, but ones that I just haven't taken the time to watch from start to finish.

Until now.

'30 in 30' - LIST OF MOVIES
1. Hoop Dreams (I know....I know)
2. Murderball
3. The Endless Summer
4. Pumping Iron
5. Undefeated (it won an Oscar.....I have to watch it)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

PACK WARS: 11/12 Panini Contenders & Some Father's Day Freebies

A quick post to show off some of my pickups from a couple weeks ago.

Traders night brings forth the opportunity to play a little 'pack wars' and I'm a sucker for gambling.  Most times that's not a good thing, but last month's big Between The Pipes win had me pretty much committed to a round or two the moment I stepped foot into the store.

The product of choice (not mine).......2011/12 Panini Contenders.

It's not a high-end product and some of the cards coming out of the packs have been very slick.  But with my guy not in the mix this year, I really didn't give it much notice.

That was until I won a round.

It was a 3-round event and the first pack wins were pretty boring.  The second though was where all the goodies sat.  3 different black patch/autos (the big hits) were among the winner's take.  Needless to say, I wasn't holding out hope for much after I was victorious in the final round.

But hey.....a win is a win.

I won a little over 100 base cards.  A decent design.  Has the feel of the good ol' Pacific brands from 15 years ago.  The photography is pretty stock with the occasional 'wow' card.

The inserts don't really 'wow' me either (except for the Contenders Legacies cards which I will be chasing).

Chris Pronger..........again!  This guy is definitely stalking me in my pack rips this year.  Nice card though.  The foil makes the player cutout pop nicely.

Here's the 'big hit'.  Woo hoo.  Thanks Mr. Connolly for taking a moment to scribble something representing your name on this card.  It will truly be cherished.

Actually, I landed a couple other autos (both Canadiens) and promptly traded them to Captain Canuck.  I had no use for them and he like Montreal (which by the way made some nice additions today in during 'Free Agent Frenzy' was 'frenzious' right?).

At the end of the night, any winners of the Contenders pack wars were given a couple packs of Panini Father's Day promotional cards.

Free cards you say?  OK.

Hey, these guys aren't hockey players.  But I did land one.

Mr. Hockey........alright.  Great looking card.  Love the photo (never seen it on a Howe card before).

I've heard of this guy.  He's good right?  He rookie card says so.

Another Father's Day pack ripper pulled a card that I needed to make a trade for as soon as I saw it.

Cool.  Autos in free packs are even more awesome.  I have no idea how many of these exist or what it might go for, but I was happy to trade for it.

I don't know if my luck will continue in July, but you know I'll be giving it a shot.