Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 in 30 - Ready, Set, Go!

October 1st marks the start of my '30 in 30' quest.  Thirty sports documentaries in thirty days.  And that's thirty I've never seen before.

I'll be sure to update you each night with a quick synopsis and Ebert-like review of each offering.  Hopefully you'll check out a few of them yourself (but only the good ones).

Here's how I've laid out the week...

Monday Oct. 1 - Murderball
Tuesday Oct. 2 - Magic & Bird
Wednesday Oct. 3 - Touching The Void
Thursday Oct. 4 - Sir Bobby Charlton
Friday Oct. 5 - Tyson
Saturday Oct. 6 - Pumping Iron
Sunday Oct. 7 - The History of the Boston Bruins

If you've seen any of these - no commenting until after I've watched it.  I want to go in with as much of an open mind as possible.

Wish me luck.  I've really been looking forward to this.

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK: Time For A "Cup"date

The first wave of cards from Upper Deck's top-end release The Cup have been cracked, hit the open market and have been gobbled up by collectors.

Only one by yours truly so far.....and you'll have to wait until it arrives before I show it off.

Until then, let's take a look at some of the beauties that will not be coming into my collection any time soon.

This was the first Linden card to hit ebay.  It came and went in a matter of minutes.  Why?  Because it had a sweet "buy it now" price of $100.  A card that nice from a high end product like The Cup, add to that it's the first on the market and it's numbered to just 10.

That's a great buy.

Some of the other great buys have come from the base cards and parallels /25.  I couldn't believe the prices.  I'm kicking myself a bit for not jumping on one at the time.

This Limited Logos card is one that has me intrigued.  Numbered to /50 (which in my eyes is a lot), these have been going for a fair penny.

Don't get me wrong, they are some fantastic looking cards, but I don't know if $200-300 is the price range I'm looking at spending.

I'll bide my time and hope for the best.

Two of these bad boys have already come and gone.  Numbered to just /5, these Foundations Quad Patch auto cards are stunning.  But with stunning comes pricey.

Over $500 a pop - each.  Ouch!

Not sure if this one will ever hit the collection, but I'll never say never.

This black base parallel is a 1/1.  One of many to already come and go.  It was on ebay just last night - again for just minutes.  The sad thing is I had been checking ebay quite frequently that night and just missed it.

For $225, that would have been one I would have tagged.

And speaking of tags, this is a stunner.  The first of its kind when it comes to Trevor Linden cards.  And the finishing price on ebay reflected that.

$500.  Double what I would have paid, but she's a nice addition to whatever collection it went to.

There are four printing plates and the first one arrived on ebay.  (I sound like a broken record) It came and went lightning fast on ebay.  For just $150 it was a easy hit for whomever snagged it.

I'd love to get my hands on one of the three remaining.

That brings us to the king of The Cup.  The Dual Shield/Auto card (with Ryan Kesler) was pulled last week and promptly placed on ebay with (what I thought was) a ridiculous buy it now price.  $2200!

It got 11 offers on the card but all of them declined.  The card finished it's auction run with no takers.  But here's the kicker...the listing says that the auction ended because the card is no longer available.

I'm trying to get a hold of the original owner of the card to see if he has parted with it.  Not because I'd like to buy it but because I'd just like to track it.

I'm sure it'll pop up again once the card has been redeemed.  It usually goes for a lot more that a piece of cardboard with a redemption number on it.

UPDATE: Just heard from the owner of the card.  He's decided to redeem it.  I'm excited to see what the actual card looks like (as opposed to what I just see in my mind).

So there you have it.  A bunch of cards I want....but none of which I have. It's funny, a few years ago I would probably have been frustrated about that.  But this time around - I'm just goin' with the flow.  A couple of these cards have landed in the laps of true Linden collectors (and for that I'm thrilled).  Will I get my fair share?  I think so.  But if I don't....then that's ok.  It's unrealistic to think these all could have been mine.

Now on a completely different topic.....where's my lottery ticket?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

PACK RIPPING: 8 Packs Of 2012/13 Score

I mentioned in my last post that when I popped into the local card shop last weekend I ripped open some OPC as well as some Score.

While my OPC packs produced one exceptional pull, Score didn't quite deliver that huge odd beater.  But that doesn't mean that this year's Score offering should be dismissed immediately.  I still had some fun with it.

Let's take a look at the goods.

2012/13 Score
(8 packs)

Now there are 7 cards to a pack and at a buck a piece, this is a fun, inexpensive way to rip some packs (hence the reason why I bought some).

Here's a look at some of the base cards.  A quick comparison to the OPC base and you can see right away that Score uses a nicer photo selection.  A little more action and some nice, unique looking pics.  But like OPC, there's not the photo variety I'd like to see.  No close-ups of half-body shots.  Only full head-to-toe selection.

Not bad when you've got good game action going on.

The design is pretty simple (as is Score in general over the years).  Clean and easy to navigate.  I'll admit, I do prefer the OPC design over this, but I'm a sucker for the retro look.

A great subset that is a staple in the Score release is the Season Highlight cards.  It's exactly what the title implys - a look back at some of the highlights throughout the season.

Raise your hand if you knew Ray Whitney got his 1000th point last year?  Could be the quietest 1000 points anybody has ever scored.  I'd still take him high up in my hockey pools - he's Mr. Durable and Mr. Reliable.

Is he Hall Of Fame worthy?  We'll see.

Inserted at one per pack, these gold parallels make for a nice build if you're looking for a challenging set build (There's 500 cards in the set).

I'm showing off a couple more Season Highlight pulls so you can appreciate the photos.  I wouldn't want to be the goalie who has to sit in front of those Chara shots.

For this season's product, Score has eliminated the Glossy parallel.  I wasn't a fan of it anyways.  This gold insert is enough for me.

Of course there's rookies to be had as well.  Compared to previous years, this design is a miss for me.  Not enough 'wow factor'.  I much prefer last year's offering for rookies (both in design and selection).

Still, it's always fun to get a rookie card - right?

When Score introduced the 'Net Cam' card a couple years ago - I loved it. I thought it was a unique insert set - even if the cards all looked kind of the same.

I immediately decided it would be a set I would build.

Last year, I was still excited to see the 'Net Cam' insert set, but quickly realized that nothing had changed (except for the card design).  I think I've only got one or two from that release.

This year has me yawning over the 'Net Cam' cards.  I've decided that this is an insert set that needs an overhaul.  Something fresh needs to be pumped into this idea.

Zero interest in it.

Now here we have an idea that I do like - even if the trend continues from season to season.

The 'First Goal' insert set celebrates a player's first tally in the NHL.  Now it looks to me like the photo is actually from the game.  I'd like to think that the photo is from the moment that he scored that important goal too.

A simple card design that falls into the Score bucket, the bold team colors really differentiate the card from the rest of the pack.

I like it.

The last card in my pack rips is this sweet Franchise (Original Six) card of Johnny Bucyk.

Much like the Retro Marquee Legends cards from OPC, this is a card that just speaks to me.  I like it.  The green tone and ultra-simple design just really takes me back.  And it's a nice photo of Bucyk to boot.

While Score has a current crop of Franchise cards in the mix, there are six "oldtimers" who made the cut as well.  Howe, Beliveau and Giacomin - gotta see what the Giacomin looks like.

Overall, I liked this break.  Nothing spectacular, but for a dollar a pack I wasn't expecting the world.  This would be a fun set to build for somebody who was just being introduced to the card collecting world and wanted to dip the "inexpensive toe" in the pool.

And while there might not be the big hits in my break, that doesn't mean there isn't the chance (albeit a long one) for a biggie.  Score has brought back the "Recollection Collection" insert where they take an old Score card from back in the early 90's, get the player to sign it and throw it in the packs.  Serial numbered to just 18 copies (or less in some instances), these would be a huge pull.  There are also auto versions of the Franchise (Original Six) cards.  No question, an autographed Gordie Howe card would make this box easily one of the best breaks of the year.

But whether you choose Score, OPC, or push on to the higher end stuff, be sure to have fun with it, stop and smell the roses in your breaks and stay within your budget.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

PACK RIPPING: 10 Packs of 12/13 OPC

I stopped by one of the card shops close to where I live over the weekend.  I had a bit of time to kill, wanted to see if there were any new display cards in the showcase and most of all - I had the urge to rip into a few packs.

Now I debated picking up something a little higher end, but I kept thinking in the back of my head that there were a ton of new Linden cards that have been recently added to the wantlist (thanks to UD The Cup) and so I didn't splurge too much.

I wanted to try my hand at the new Score product (that post is coming soon), but I saw the box of OPC calling me and I couldn't resist.

So 10 packs it is.

2012/13 O-Pee-Chee
10 packs

With 8 cards per pack and a number of parallels and inserts included, I had a good feeling about this.

54 base cards.  The photo selection is a little better than the last bunch, but still not much 'wow' factor.  The best of the bunch are scanned.  It drops off quickly after that.

Also in the mix were 3 Marquee Rookies and a single Marquee Legend.

7 Retro base cards.  I still like the simple design of these cards.  The look of these cards really limits the type of photos that can be included - which really suffers here.  But still, I like them.

In addition to 2 Retro Marquee Rookie cards, this Retro Marquee Legends card was in the mix.  I don't know what it is about these cards, but I really like them.

In a million years, I would never design something like this - so simple, so straight forward - but man is it eye-catching.

My niece might come up with a design like this, but not me.

I picked up a couple others at the last trade night.  I like them so much, I might just try to build the subset (or at least get enough to build a 'One Sheet, One Set' quickly.

Here's the first one of these I've pulled.  These gorgeous Pop Ups insert are really slick.  The die-cut top and vintage style fonts really appeal to me.

I recently found out that these cards were actually inspired by these.

Very, very cool.

There were 3 stickers included in my pack rips.  And I have to say that the photos used are far superior to what's dished out on the regular base cards.

What gives?

Now the part of the show that I find pointless.

Here's a rainbow parallel card.  It's shiny, it's nice, but completely unnecessary.

There's already a base set, a retro base set, now a parallel base set?  How many cards does a person need to chase?

Apparently a lot, because here's a black rainbow parallel.  These are numbered on the back /100.  The cards are so similar that it's pointless.

Of course, this is coming from a guy who would be drooling if it were Linden cards.  But still - 4 different versions?  Five if you include the red border parallel that you can get via a wrapper redemption.


Now that leaves me with just one card left to show.  And in fact, it was in the first pack I ripped open.

I saw a 'thickie' inside the pack and immediately knew what it was.  I left the reveal to the end.  It's all about the suspense right?

Well, I carefully pulled away the top base card to reveal one heck of a pull.

2012/13 O-Pee-Chee
Team Logo Patch
#TL-47 Les Canadiens (script)

Oh yeah.  Now we're cookin' with gas.  I was pretty pumped to pull a team patch card to begin with (they fall in 1:96 I really beat the odds) but to get one of a storied franchise like Montreal, even better.

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to trade this for something nice for my Linden collection.

These team cards have created quite a stir in the hobby as the 100-card set is something many would like to pursue.  Sadly, some of the patches are so short-printed that not everybody will be able to build a complete set.

I know I'll do my part to help.  This one will be up for grabs.

Overall, this product delivers pretty darn good bang for your buck.  A few little tweaks here and there and this could be Set of the Year material.  I think it's that good.  Fun for the set builder, fun for the player collector and fun for the person looking to build the patch set.

I'll just stick to the Retro Marquee Legends.  Less harm on the wallet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ARTICLES: How It's Made - Ryan Kesler Stick Card

For a couple of years now, Panini has been maintaining a blog dedicated to not just the cards and products they create, but to many others aspects of the hobby.  From collector features to signing sessions, box breaks to video tours, Panini has really been at the front of the pack when it comes to this aspect of social media.

I just finished watching a 10-minute video that I found so interesting, I thought I'd share it with you all.

This video shows the entire process (and I mean ENTIRE) of getting a Ryan Kesler stick card into this year's Dominion product.

Sit back and enjoy.

Thanks very much Panini for taking the time to document something like this.  As a person who is incredibly interested in the "behind-the-scenes" aspect of sportscard development, I found this video to be right up my alley.

If I could suggest a future video...I'd love to see some of the graphic designers in action as they develop the "look" for an upcoming release.

Now THAT I would completely geek out to.

Monday, September 24, 2012

MY COLLECTION - Pack Wars Win.... Kind Of

Last week was the good ol' monthly traders night and while I'm always up for a fun night of sportscards, pizza and packwars, this month's offerings had a little extra something in store.

Earlier in the week, I had learned that there would be a couple of tins of The Cup offered up for a team style raffle.  I knew that I wouldn't be dropping any cash down for a tin of the stuff myself so I thought this might be something that would "fill the void".

Basically how it works is you pay a certain amount for a random team and if any cards from your team show up in the pack break - you get them.  Sounds simple, and at $15 per team it's a way to get in on the action without breaking the bank.

Kind of.

Seeing some of the "$15 gems" that were had by a couple of the guys there at the shop had me dreaming of a massive Linden patch or rare auto nicely landing in my lap.

Yeah......sweet dreams.

The first go around had me pull Los Angeles out of the bag.  I was hoping for Vancouver, but I quickly had people remind me of the benefits LA might lend.  Still, I decided to trade my team with the guy who had Vancouver.  After all, if a Linden happened to be pulled - I wanted it.

First tin - no 'Nucks.  Bummer.

But that didn't discourage me.  After all, there were two more tins.

The second go around and I scooped New Jersey.  Again, not bad for potential.  Again, I ended up trading my team for Vancouver.  And again, no dice.  The guy who had Colorado though landed two massive hits from the tin.  He easily made back 10-15x the price of his team entry.  Nicely done.

That must have been the motivation for me on the final tin to buy two slots.  I hit Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  This time, I decided not to trade my picks.  And it paid off.  Here's the card that showed up in the final tin.

2011/12 Upper Deck The Cup
Signature Patches
#SP-RF Ron Francis  /35

A really nice auto/patch card of "Ronnie Franchise".  Hard signed signature and a three color patch.  Add to that, it's numbered 01/35.  What's not to love.

Of course this card cost me $60 ($90 if you include the swings.....and misses in the Panini Prime breaks as well), but I was just happy to walk away with something.

Will I try my luck again next time?  Maybe not.  But then again.......

Sunday, September 23, 2012

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Gary Bromley

Saw this card staring up at me from the dollar binder at the last card show.  Had to pick it up so I could share my disgust for it with you.

There's been a recent surge in vintage cards within the hobby.  Vintage designs, vintage players, vintage equipment.  And I'm first in the line of guys who love it.

But vintage does not always mean cool.  It should - but there are times when stuff from the 70's are, well ...........lame.

Here's one example.

2011/12 Panini Certified
Throwback Threads
#6 Gary Bromley

Now I shouldn't have to explain it, but I will (because I'm terribly disgusted by it).

Panini, you guys used the wrong photo for this card.  Period.

If I wanted to see some Glen Hanlon helmet action, I would just sign up for his fan club.

 He's got quite the lid.  Retro - yes.  Vintage - yes.  Cool - NO!

Go back to that card for a minute.  See that photo faintly in the background.  That's the photo (or one like it) to be used.  One showcasing his wicked mask.

Look at that.  Everything about this photo reeks of awesome.  The jersey, the pads, the blocker, even the dude in the crowd and of course - the mask.

What the reasoning could be for using the "lame" photo is beyond me.  All I know is - it's a bad card, I don't like it and I'm here to share that feeling with you all.

There....I feel better.

Actually, just a second.

Now I feel better.  See how cool this card looks.

For the record.  Simmons, cool.  Bromley, not cool.

Panini - bad.  Let's try to maximize what's so intriguing and special about the 70's.  And let's try not to nail up wood panel walls and lay down shag carpet.  She's not so good.

I'm calling this look "The Bromley".

Panini, for dropping the ball on what could have been a fantastic card (and for making me relive some of the nasty times as a kid)......



Saturday, September 22, 2012

1 vs. 100 - An Executive Decision

Just a quick note on this project (more for my own records).

I've decided to add /64 back on the list.

I recently gained three new cards for the project (after many months of inactivity).  One of which was a nice Stefan Meyer Cup gold rc.

I knew at the time that I picked up the card that there was a Meyer collector who was trying to track down all 64 copies.

I e-mailed him and let him know that I had this card.  He was interested and I mentioned (as I have before in other instances) that all I was looking for in trade was another card /64.

Well, last week at the local card show.....I found another copy of this card.

I let the person know that I now had two copies.  One for trade and one for sale.  He bit on the one for sale.  I got his address and prepared the envelope to ship.

That's when I realized that he lived overseas.  Not your simple trip within Canada or to the US.

So I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I decided to offer the second card up for sale and he quickly agreed.

Both cards are now ready to ship and I'll be hitting the post office tomorrow to send them off.

As a result, /64 goes back on the list.  But I'm more than happy to do so.

86 out of 100  (86%)

Friday, September 21, 2012

30 in 30 - The List Is Complete

After many hours of hunting, searching, begging and the occasional fist pump, my list of 30 sports documentaries is complete.

The six remaining movies are coming from various sources and with some help from a few friends.  Thanks to them for helping me build this list.

The final six docs include...

Seve: The Legend.  This is one I'm very excited about.  Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros was one of my faves growing up.  I learned of him during the downside of his career and didn't fully appreciate what he brought to the game.  In later years, I realized just how creative and unique he was.  He courageously battled brain cancer for three years but sadly did not win his fight.  He was 54 when he died in 2011.

This documentary celebrates his life and his career.  Here's a snipit...

His character and enthusiasm are sorely missed in the game today.

Mantle.  Done by HBO.  Need I say more?

This is an older doc (2005) so it might not have the production value that their current titles have, but I think the subject matter might make up for it.  Mickey Mantle is, to a generation of fans, THE guy.  

Never fully healthy during his 18-year career, he still managed to belt out 536 home runs.  He and Roger Maris captivated the baseball world with their chase to 61 (by the way.....that's a good movie too).

The History of the Boston Bruins.  Produced in 2009 by the NHL, this looks to have everything crammed into 90 minutes.  When I see interviews by Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Derek Sanderson, Brad Park and footage of Orr, Cheevers, Cherry just to name a few - I get excited.

Add to that, the guy who does the voiceover (Gord Marriott) is somebody I've worked with in the past.  You guys in Canada will recognize his voice from the 'Oil Change' series.

I stumbled upon it on youtube and am excited to see this.

Fire On The Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story.  I don't know what it is about this guy, but I am always interested when I see something about him.  There have been a couple "made for TV" movies done about Pre and this doc was a must for the list when I found it.

Here's one that is coming out of left field for me (and also shows my lack of knowledge when it comes to soccer).  Sir Bobby Charlton: Football Icon is a biography.  That's all I know.  But it's done by the BBC and the first minute of the doc drew me in completely.  Really excited to learn something about a person I've never heard of.....where so many talk so highly of him.

Disposable Heroes: The Blood, Guts and Tears Side of Football is a doc from the 1980's and shows the side of the game that few see - what happens to our heroes after their playing days.  The picture drawn here isn't too pretty.  Permanent injuries, disabilities, financial difficulties and emotional pain follow many off the field.

I'll be interested to see how this aspect of the football world is portrayed (as the doc is almost 30 years old) in comparison to today.

Now.  That's 30.  But I've decided to add a couple "bench warmers" to the list just in case one of these 30 docs falls through the cracks and I'm unable to secure a copy during October.  They include:

Mario Lemieux: The Best Ever (pretty self-explanatory)

A Football Life: Tom Landry (there's nobody like him out there these days)

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (a soccer star....but I only remember him for his final act on the pitch)

And with that - I'm ready to rock.

My next task will be to create a calendar indicating which docs I will watch on what day.  I will also double-check the availability of each doc since the goal is to watch one a day for 30 days.

After watching each doc, I plan on doing a write-up.  Giving you my overall thoughts and a link (if applicable) should you want to check it out yourself.

Wish me luck.  Should be a ton of fun.

'30 in 30' - LIST OF MOVIES
1. Hoop Dreams
2. Murderball
3. The Endless Summer
4. Pumping Iron
5. Undefeated
6. Michael Jordan: To The Max
7. Bobby Fischer Against The World
8. Jim Brown: All American
9. Tyson
10. Knuckleball
11. Magic and Bird: A Courtship Of Rivals
12. Touching The Void
13. The Curious Case Of Curt Flood
14. The Last Gladiators

15. Sonicsgate: Requiem For A Team
16. Never Say Die: The Story of the New York Islanders
17. The Game Of Their Lives
18. More Than A Game
19. Fire In Babylon
20. The Dream Team
21. TT3D: Closer To The Edge
22. Deep Water
23. King Of The Hill
24. Inside NFL Films: The Idol Makers

25. Seve: The Legend

26. Mantle
27. The History of the Boston Bruins
28. Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story
29. Sir Bobby Charlton: Football Icon
30. Disposable Heroes

Mario Lemieux: The Best Ever
A Football Life: Tom Landry
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

Thursday, September 20, 2012

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Creative Choices

"Collecting cards is just too expensive these days".  "Card producers have priced me right out of the hobby".  "There's nothing out there these days that excites me".

Sadly, the number of disgruntled collectors seems to grow with every passing year.  It could be the resistance to an ever-evolving hobby, the disinterest in what "used to be" or maybe it's just boredom with the routine that collecting can become.

Whatever it may be, I think that there's always a benefit and excitement in creativity.  Uniqueness in a set build can be something that generates drive and interest in pursuing that next card.

And by creativity........I mean from the collector - not the card companies.

Case in point - my 'Raise The Cup' project.

When I started collecting cards showcasing players holding the Stanley Cup over their head, it was more out of curiosity.  A simple comment by a reader had me search out some singles.  1 became 3, 3 became 30 and today my collection sits just under the 100 card mark.

And it's been one of the more fun projects to build.

I never know when I might find a new addition, I don't go out with wild purpose and deep pockets in search of as many as I can find.  It's been a nice, casual pc build with a huge emphasis on fun.

And what's nicer - it's not costing me an arm and a leg.  In fact, most cards have been obtained for mere pennies (with a few given to me as gifts).

So where am I going with all this?

Well, the other day I was spinning through the card blogging world and dropped in on one of my favorite blogs.  Bob Lemke's Blog.  Consisting of some great looking customs paying homage to a fantastic vintage era, amazing stories of players or events that just wouldn't get face time anywhere else and sharing ideas - creative ideas - for collecting, this is definitely a blog to check out.

It was some recent posts about "themed" projects that had a smile on my face and the hamster in my brain running quick in that wheel.

Some of the unique themed sets Bob has built from his huge card collection has not only inspired this post, but might down the road lead me to other side projects.

Just take a look at some of the great ideas he's come up with...


(yes....that's what cellphones used to look like)

The themes are endless.  Anything you can think up, you can build.

What I love about each and every one of these projects is that it can be done with the smallest of budgets.  A person can build a unique looking set without breaking the bank.

Searching for cards, tracking them down - all of it can lead to hours and hours of enjoyment.

I came up with a couple more possible ideas for hockey.

Masterful Moustaches

Punishing Checks

My Mask Is White...I Just Got Traded

And one other that Bob actually beat me to...

Can you see the theme here?

Again, whatever creative idea you can come up with.

Thanks very much Bob for giving me a ton of inspiration and a great deal of joy in seeing your various collections.  Keep up the great work!

So do you have any ideas for a collection to build?  Have you started building a creative collection?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - It Has Begun....But I Haven't

The first wave of Linden cards from The Cup surfaced over the past week and while some went for very reasonable (and somewhat surprising) prices, others are just plain ridiculous.

(says the guy who has paid some stupid amounts a couple times in the past)

The cool thing about seeing these cards pop up on hobby boards and ebay is get to actually see the cards.  Some of these are just not going to be a part of my collection, so finding them and at least getting a scan of them is better than nothing.

I thought I'd share a couple of the biggies with you.

This is a gorgeous "laundry tag" 1/1 card.  Hard signed and everything.  I really like the photo used and the design is not too bad (for The Cup...which I'm never really overly impressed with).

It showed it's face on ebay tonight and the bidding has been feverish.  I threw in a bid just for kicks (knowing it will go for a lot more).

Haven't decided if I will bid on it again.  I've got a bit of time to think it out.

Here's the preverbal 'King Of The Castle'.  And it's a redemption card.

If you can't read it, it says Dual Shield - autographed.  My guy and Ryan Kesler.  Wow!

I can only imagine how nice this card will be when it arrives in the mailbox.  Not my mailbox though.  It's listed on ebay for over three times what I'm willing to pay (and I thought I was willing to pay a lot).

I did contact the seller and he's looking for most of his asking price.  I told him good luck and I hope he gets it.

I don't know if any Linden collectors will be shelling out that much for literally a piece of cardboard though.  Maybe there's a Kesler collector that's over the moon right now.

If it was the actual card and not a redemption, I might be slightly more inclined to go for it.  But we'd still be way off in prices.

I didn't think I had a shot at it anyways.  It's just fun to see it hit the open market and people (like me) go crazy about it.

For the record, that's two of the three 1/1 cards (not including press plates).  Geez.  That was quick.

Oh.......The Cup.  Will it ever end?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Custom Creations - Getting Back On The Horse

With the summer months now past us and the leaves slowly changing color, I'm bound and determined to pick up on a number of custom card projects that have been patiently waiting for me (along with a few of their eventual recipients).

To all of you who have been sitting by the mailbox - disappointed day after day all summer - thank you for not razzing me endlessly.  I will do my best to get this stuff done sooner than later.  Believe me, it bugs me as much as it must bother you.

Way back in March, I came up with a cut auto for a sweet Gordie Howe signature.  I really liked the way it turned out.  The person who asked me to create it also had a Darryl Sittler card in mind.  This weekend I finally put together the finishing touches on it.

He is sending 2 different signatures so I wanted to make sure that the signature window and the card design in general worked for both.

It took me months to track down a decent Sittler photo for the front of this card.  I scoured numerous resources and found nothing that worked for me (either the photo was too small or it was in black & white or it was Darryl wearing a helmet, etc.).  I came upon this photo in a kids book about hockey.  I was at a huge book sale this summer and (surprise) I headed right to the sports section.  I grabbed every hockey book that looked interesting.

It definitely paid off.

The back of the card came together a lot faster.  I didn't go overboard with the text on the back.  I put together a trial version of the card and am really pleased with how it turned out.

Now all that's left is to take the actual autographs and build the cards for real.  That's always a tense time.  Fun - but tense.

I also continued working on one of the biggest projects I have ever undertaken.  I'm not going to share pics until I am fully finished, but no question about it, it will be one of the most challenging projects to date.

It's a ton of fun working on these again.  It makes me want to clean the plate off so I can get back to building stuff for myself again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

OPINION - Canada Cup 1987 Still......

still, still, still, STILL, STILL


still captured me, captivated me, had me hanging on the edge of my seat and reminded me of a time when hockey was everything to me.  I loved it.

This past week, TSN re-broadcast the 1987 Canada Cup 3-game final series between Team Canada and Team USSR.  It was 25 years ago this week that the series took place.  In some ways it feels like it happened yesterday but at other times it feels like it happened a lifetime ago.

Shown in pretty much their entirety (say for the intermissions), it was a glimpse into the game the way I remembered it as a kid.  And I ate it all up and licked the plate.

Gretzky in his prime, Lemieux as the new kid (who towered above everybody else), the KLM line (Larionov, Makarov, Krutov) who were absolutely magical and an jam-packed, electric crowd.

I was 14 at the time this series originally took place and although it's 25 years after the fact, I still soaked it in with all the same feelings and emotions as I did back then.  I haven't enjoyed hockey this much in a long time.

During the intermissions, there was a current panel consisting of Team Canada coach Mike Keenan (maybe the one time I could tolerate the guy....just a bit), defenceman Larry Murphy (who had the series of his life) and Igor Larionov (man he's awesome).

Larionov summed it up best by saying that the 1987 Canada Cup was a "masterpiece of hockey".  Spot on.  Even though he was on the losing end of the series (all 3 games ended in OT, one in double OT and of course the unforgettable Lemieux goal late in game 3) Larionov looks back at the series as something truly special.

If you are in the mood for some exciting, fast-paced, offensive hockey I urge you to check it out.  I'm not sure if they'll re-broadcast it or have it up on their website, but track it down.  You'll be glad you did.

One more time...

Chills - everytime!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

30 in 30 - Three More For The List

Well, it's getting closer to October 1.  That's the day I have slated to start my '30 in 30' project.  So between now and then I will have to finish my list, track down all the docs on the list and get the popcorn ready.

Here's three more sports documentaries I'm adding to the list...

Deep Water is the story about the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race and the psychological toll it took on its competitors.  The main focus is on an amateur sailor named Donald Crowhurst and takes place in 1968.  Facing isolation for nine months on the high seas, this movie claims it is "an unforgettable journey into one mans heart of darkness".

Why not.  Here's the trailer...

From the archives of the NFB (National Film Board) of Canada comes King of the Hill.  No, not the animated show on Fox, but a documentary about Chicago Cubs star pitcher (and one of the greatest Canadian ballplayers of all time) Fergie Jenkins.

Could be a fun watch just for the 70's footage alone.

Last comes a documentary that has eluded me for years.  I knew it existed (because I vividly remember seeing chunks of it on TV back in the 90's).  Inside NFL Films: The Idol Makers is about (duh) NFL Films.  Produced by National Geographic, this is a stunning look at the team that puts together the tremendous stories of the NFL - not just the sport, but the people.

I NEED TO TRACK DOWN A COPY!!!  This one is a must see.

Man I want to see this one bad.  I've checked ebay and there are just a couple of VHS copies available....and I'm seriously thinking of pulling the trigger.

'30 in 30' - LIST OF MOVIES
1. Hoop Dreams
2. Murderball
3. The Endless Summer
4. Pumping Iron
5. Undefeated
6. Michael Jordan: To The Max
7. Bobby Fischer Against The World
8. Jim Brown: All American
9. Tyson
10. Knuckleball
11. Magic and Bird: A Courtship Of Rivals
12. Touching The Void
13. The Curious Case Of Curt Flood
14. The Last Gladiators
15. Sonicsgate: Requiem For A Team
16. Never Say Die: The Story of the New York Islanders
17. The Game Of Their Lives
18. More Than A Game
19. Fire In Babylon
20. The Dream Team
21. TT3D: Closer To The Edge

New additions.....
22. Deep Water
23. King Of The Hill
24. Inside NFL Films: The Idol Makers

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

OPINION - The Choice Is Yours

In the ever-advancing world of sportscards there have been concepts that have flourished and those that have failed.  There are also others that have yet to be placed in either pile.

Sticker autographs, video cards and even 'The World's Longest Card' have been developed in hopes of creating not just the initial "wow factor", but to create longevity and a unique niche in the market that will catapult a company to new heights.

I came across this concept tonight included in the upcoming Upper Deck Exquisite Football product and am still on the fence about it.  Take a boo and then we'll talk.

My first reaction was "This is pretty cool".  Different and unlike anything I've ever seen before.  But then I thought more about it.

What if my guy was a part of one of these cards?  How would it work for my Trevor Linden collection?  I realized at that moment that as a player collector, I enjoy having the decision of what cards are created made by someone other than me (especially when there are dozens and dozens of potential options available).

If Trev was ever included in one of these products, I think I would just go for 2 or 4 of his autographs and fill the card that way.  I would cringe at thinking "Do I include him with Lemieux or Gretzky?"

I don't want that choice.

So what are your thoughts on this "Create your own card" concept?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Uh-oh! 'The Cup' Runneth Me Over!

It's official!  The start of the 2012/13 collecting season will be unlike any other I have ever encountered.  Once again, I will be heading into uncharted territories.

All of this due to one of the final releases of the 2011/12 season - Upper Deck's 'The Cup'.

This super-high-end product hosts a tremendous amount of punch.  Rookies, patched, low-numbered parallels, printing plates and jersey tag cards.  In previous years, Linden has appeared in a grand total of one card (a dual tag card featuring him and Roberto went for some solid coin).

Upper Deck has decided to put him in this year's offering full force.  Here's the lowdown...

A base card numbered /249
A gold parallel /25
A black parallel 1/1

A jersey card /25
A patch card /10
A tag card (with an auto) 1/1

A dual shield/auto card with Ryan Kesler 1/1

An auto card /50

Another jersey card /25
A jersey/auto parallel /15
A patch parallel /10
A patch/auto parallel /5

An 'Honorable Numbers' dual patch/auto card with Brett Hull /16

A 'Limited Logos' card /50

And to top it off, 4 different autographed printing plates (each a 1/1)

By my count, that's 18 cards in total to add to the wantlist.  I don't even want to think about how much all of this will cost when it hits the open market.

Realistically, I think I could eventually nail down half to two-thirds of the list, but it's going to take some time or some deep pockets - or both.  And deep pockets is something I don't really have.  I can dip the toe in the deep end once in a while, but I've never dove in.  And I don't know if I'm ready to either.

Hoo-boy.  Wish me luck.