Friday, December 28, 2012

MY COLLECTION - Resolutions.....Kind Of

With just a few days left before the turn of the calendar to 2013 paired with a little time off from work, I've had a few occasions recently where I've been thinking about my collecting, my blogging as well as the hobby in general.

Now I'm not normally one to set any sort of "resolutions" when it comes to this hobby.  I think big picture enjoyment and try to stay happy within this collecting world.  For the last couple of years things have been really good.  In fact, I could very easily say that this past year has been one of the more fun ones in a while.

But I also realize that without goals and planning, things tend not to get done in my household.  So I thought I'd share with you all a couple things I'd like to get done.  Some over the next few weeks, some over the next year and some just at some point in my lifetime.

Call it more "The List" than resolutions.

This is hands down the most important thing on the list.  Period.  When I go out with my niece or nephew I always ask them what "rule number one" is and the answer is always "Have fun".

The moment this hobby is not fun - I'm out.

2. Get my traders scanned, itemized and posted so that they might actually benefit my pc a little more than it has in the past
I'm terrible for this one.  I've got cards to trade that aren't on any sort of list.  I've never really aggressively tried to sell any of my cards.  And I know I've got a few hundred dollars just sitting around.  A little focus in this area would be very beneficial.

I'm actually planning on working on this one this weekend.  The sooner the better.

3. Take a photo of my entire collection
I've had this idea for a while now where I'd like to take all my Linden cards out, spread them on the floor (because a table wouldn't be big enough) and take one photo of everything.  I think it would look neat.

4. Scan the front and back of every Linden card I have
This is for what will become number 5 on the list.

5. Develop THE Trevor Linden hockey card website
I'd love to show off my collection on the world wide web.  Creating and maintaining a slick looking site that shows off all of my Linden acquisitions over the years would be a ton of fun.

As well, it could be the hub for all of the 1/1 cards out there.  I've been trying to obtain scans of all the 1/1 cards I don't have.

6. Limit the amount of non-Linden card spending I do
This one is my crutch.  I'm bad at dishing out a little more than I probably should.  I need to assess this aspect of my collecting over the next little bit.

7. Continue writing/blogging at about the same pace as I have over the past 3 years
I'm at a little over 250 posts for 2012 (just a little more than the past 2 years) and I'm very happy with the amount I have written.  I would like to continue that trend but try to put a little more into my posts.

Eventually - many years down the road - I'd love to write some sort of book that is hobby related.  Even if it's for nobody else but myself.

8. Do more reading
During the month of October I undertook my '30 in 30' sports documentary project.  It was a lot of fun.  Over the holiday season my goal is to finish a book that I've been reading off and on for a number of months.  I'd also like to start on another one soon.

In fact, I'm seriously considering setting up a '12 in 12'.  12 sports books in 12 months.  This would give me the short term goal of finishing a book every 30 days.  Something that is completely do-able.

9. Create more customs for myself
I have had a number of custom projects on my plate for months (some even years).  I plan on getting the plate cleaned off completely before I go back to work.  Then, and only then, will I begin working on some custom projects for myself.  TTM mailouts, in person signatures and just designing in general.  This is an area that I need to be better at over the next year.

10.  Try to be a positive influence
I've done my best in this hobby to be honest, open and myself whenever I deal with people or blurt out my opinions.  For the most part, I'd like to think that I am a positive person.

Lately (over the past year) I've listened to and read a lot of negativity.  People disappointed in this product or that player or this box break or that ebay price.  Heck, I've jumped on that wagon a few times myself.

But I'm really going to make a more conscious decision to bring more positivity to the hobby I love.  After all, there are way more - WAY MORE good things about sportscard collecting than there are bad.  And I'm choosing to focus on those things more often than not.

Phew.  That's more than I thought I would write.

So, do you have any "resolutions" or things you'd like to accomplish over the next year?

Lastly, Happy New Year to you all.  I wish each of you the very best in 2013.  Thanks everyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Some Nice Gestures

I hope everybody had a nice Christmas.  For me, this time of year is all about my niece and nephew.  They may be getting older, but the excitement of the day still remains.

What I really enjoyed about the day (other than my nephew patiently waiting until 6:10am to call me.....last year it was before 5:00), was that the kids seemed just as interested in handing gifts out to the adults as they were opening their own.  It was pretty cool to see.

But just as cool was watching them open their presents and enjoy the day.  There's such a buildup only to be gone so quickly.  I can't believe it's over.  Time to start thinking about next year right?

I was given a couple hockey related items and I'll definitely share what I snagged over the next few days.  Today though I'd like to show off some nice gifts I received over the days leading up to the holidays.

Ameet over at Hat Tricks & Home Runs asked me for my address a couple weeks ago.  As a result, I wasn't overly shocked when I saw an envelope from him hit my mailbox a few days later.

I was anxious to see what was inside as we hadn't made a trade or anything.  He just simply sent a card my way in hopes of just simply making my day.

It worked.

It's amazing what a simple gesture and a little positive action can do.  Thanks very much for the Linden Ameet.  While I do already have it, I'll be swapping out the one in my pc with the one you sent me.  Cheers.

Now, I know I've bashed this Panini Classics banner design recently, but that's not deterring me from chasing one of the Linden's in the set.  After all, it's on the list.

At the most recent trade night, I found one sitting in a trade box.  Looking to make a quick trade, I was instead given the (handwave) "Nah, you take it."

Of course, I couldn't just do that so I insisted that he look through my trade box to find a card to go back his way.  He found one, and we both ended up happy with the deal.

Even if I do think these cards are ugly.

Later that evening, I tracked down the base card from the same set.  I was so excited that I took it out of the clear case and proceeded to track down the box owner.

He stated that he was building the set and that I had taken the card out of his current build.  Bummer.  But before I could express that to him he pulled out another pile of cards.  Mmmmmmm.....doubles.

I was happy to see that he had an extra Linden to give to me.

Now when I heard he was building the base set and the autos, I decided to hand over the auto I pulled from my one pack break a few weeks back.

It was the least I could go for the kind gesture he handed me at the start of the evening.

The Artifacts dual jersey was a card I had been purposefully holding off on buying.  I was really hoping to either find a nice pair of non-white swatches or trade for one.  After all, trading is more fun.

So I was even more thrilled when the card came my way with nothing expected in return.  Man that's awesome.  It might be the most common memorabilia card from the product, but it'll be one that is a constant reminder of the great people in this hobby.

I was thrilled to be able to reciprocate the gesture later on in the evening with the Bower auto.

Thanks everyone for the great gifts.  I really appreciate it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

CARDBOARD PHOTOGRAPHY - Phil Roberto vs. Chris Neil

A little over a year ago, Casey over at Drop The Gloves! posted a thread that showed off one of my favorite cards from the 70's.

It was rare to see a card like it at the time and moving into the 80's, 90's and beyond has become pretty much an impossible sight.

1973/74 O-Pee-Chee
#3 Phil Roberto

Oh man!  This is THE base card for all enforcer collectors in my opinion.  Even though you only see Phil from his shoulders up - you get everything about the moment.

Helmetless, fist cocked for the knockout blow, his opponent nicely "jersey'd" and a pair of linesmen trying to restore order.

The details in the photo really make it a fantastic card.  The numbers on the back of the linesman, the heavier sweaters, the tie-strap, the St. Louis colors peeking out on Roberto's shoulders.  Fantastic!

Seeing a scrap on a hockey card is a rare thing.  In fact, it's pretty much non-existent over the past couple decades.

So when I was flipping through singles at the card shop a few days ago and came across this beauty, I had to pick it up.

2012/13 Upper Deck Series I
#131 Chris Neil

Now I know that this is a pre-fight shot as opposed to the post fight goodness from above, but the look in Chris Neil's eyes definitely make up for it.

As they say - the eyes have everything.

Neil looks about ready to explode on his opponenet, Devils' Eric Boulton.  And taking a page from Paul over at Card Boarded, I'm going to do a little 'Captured on Cardboard' add.

The tilt happened almost a year ago - January 2, 2012.  With the Senators trailing 2-0, Chris Neil decided to give his team a spark.

I'd say he did.  Wow.

Back to the card for a moment.  It's rare that a moment of little action can be so memorable.  But in this instance I think there are two factors that make this card a huge success.  First, it's the anticipation of something happening.  Much like a good horror movie, it's the moments before the scare that are the best.

Second, and going back to my original thought, a card showing any sort of 'fighting' is a rare sight on cardboard these days.  Anything unique or outside the box is certain to get a second look.

It's all in the eyes.

TTM: Some Very Special Customs

Have you ever introduced a child to something new?  Be it a sport, musical instrument, game or hobby?  Have you ever seen the transition point from them participating in what you are doing to them just doing it all by themselves?

That's a pretty magical moment.  When they do it because THEY WANT TO DO IT....not because YOU are doing it.

Recently, that's what happened with my niece.

She's been on a bit of a band kick lately.  In particular, two groups.  Therefore, two sets of custom cards needed to be made.

I've already shown off the One Direction cards she designed and sent off to the boys (no luck as of yet), and today comes these offerings from a band called Marianas Trench.

Don't worry....I never heard of them either until recently.

Now these aren't Photoshop mock-ups.  These are the finished, printed and cut products.  And they look pretty darn awesome I must say.

Marianas Trench were one of the bands featured during the Grey Cup halftime show.  But that's not where my niece first heard of them.

They participated in 'We Day'.  A concert and celebration for kids who volunteer and are just a positive influence in their school.  Larry King, Martin Sheen and Mikhail Gorbachev gave speeches and there were a number of bands who performed.

One of them being Marianas Trench.

My niece has not stopped talking about them since......literally.

By the way, the backs of these cards look really slick.  I was worried about all the black and that they might not print well, but au contraire.... they are spot on.

Here are a couple of the other band members.  My niece left a pretty obvious spot for them to sign.  You gotta think that they'll hit the spot....right?

My niece did a really nice job of coming up with a plan and finding the photos that would fit.  She was a little concerned about one pic since it was in color and the backs needed to be black & white.

Good thing my software program can do that sorta stuff.  She was pretty pumped to learn that trick.

She assembled the cards tonight and it was at that time I realized that one of the cards was missing the front band name text.  A good reminder to check, check and double check your work.

Seems we missed a second boo boo.

Background is spelled wrong.  But don't worry, we'll fix it before we send them out.

Here's the final back (don't want to short change the bass player).

Now as I mentioned, my niece did these all on her own.  In fact, she started working on these without even letting me know.  She had the concept and the photos and had the Photoshop template from previous work we did.

She's good enough on the computer to figure it out on her own now.  That's a pretty cool feeling.  She did a bit of troubleshooting and when she made a mistake - she just did it over.

Trial and error....just like her uncle.

But again, the fact that she embraced this project all on her own just really makes me feel awesome.  And for that, I am crossing my fingers even more that these guys will return the cards signed.  Because if there's one thing I've learned....if you get a TTM success, odds are you'll continue on the path of sending out stuff.

And just to share some of the inspiration of her design, she used this photo as the basis of the card front.

As you can see, lots of cloning in order to isolate each member.  My niece did a nice job.

She also used the text from this album.  Some good cutout work there (although I showed her the 'magic wand' tool afterwards which would have saved her a good chunk of time).  Sometimes going the long way around the block really reinforces the methods and workflow.

She also took inspiration from this font style and used it on the back of her cards.

Overall, I think she did a great job of designing, choosing her fonts and sticking with her ideas.  Making it work.

We'll be practicing our double-checking (I'm bad with that too), but in the end as long as it looks good - then it is good.

We will be popping them in the mail before Christmas and since they are from Canada we are hoping to hear back with a successful bunch of signatures early in the new year.

A big congratulations to my niece and a huge fingers crossed.

Way to go kiddo!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

PACK RIPPING - 2012/13 Panini Classics (The Return)

As previously mentioned, this past week was the final trader night of the year.....and with it was a very nice 'Customer Appreciation' tip of the hat.

The store owner had a bunch of used Dominion tins (acting as gift holders) laying on his counter.  A random draw for names and a quick pick of a tin landed each person there a nice gift.  Some were humorous gag gifts, others were pretty nice product freebies.  But it was less about the gift and more about the gesture.

In case you were interested, I received this....

Yes, it's a staple of Canada....Tim Horton's.  I have no idea how much is on this gift card (and again, that's irrelevant) but it will definitely be put to good use.

Thanks very much Darren for the card and for putting on your trade night each month.  It might be the only time I drive across the city and pop in to the store, but it's something I really look forward to.  Have a great holiday season.

Now, I didn't leave empty-handed.  I did cave (slightly) by buying two packs of Panini Classics.  It's a product that I thought was a tad on the high side when it came to the price point.  This time though it was a little closer to the number I was looking for.  $25 per pack.

2012/13 Panini Classics
2 packs

Remember, there are 5 cards per pack.  3 base cards, a banner card and an autograph.

This is my favorite of the base cards.  A solid pic of Rogie in his vintage purple.  Love the crown mask.

With a set like this, photography can really dictate the popularity.  And with some of the names on the checklist, there's great opportunity for some stellar shots.

This Steve Yzerman would be a good example of how not to do it.  Stevie Y was not known as a glider and a confused individual, yet that's what we have in the photo.

I'm pretty sure that there are a couple dozen Polaroids that would have done a better job here.  A little too hasty a decision on Panini's part me thinks.

Speaking of.....

The dreaded banners.  I've made mention of my issue with them so I won't bore you.

The Hawerchuk is nice.  I'm stuck with what more to say about this card.

Dave Taylor banner card.

Moving on.

The autographs are the big draw to this product.  Hard-signed and with a diverse checklist, this set would be a fun one to pursue.  For me, I'm just interested in the ones with Linden's sig on it.

Sadly, I didn't hit.

Another Jet.  Bob Essensa has a terrible signature in comparison to his counterparts.  I'd bet it's one of the worst looking in the product.

Nice photo though.

Bobby "I sign my name Bob" Clarke.  Great autograph, great photo and I even found out that this is one of the shortprint signatures.

I'm pretty happy with that.

Not sure if I'll bust any more of this stuff.  I've got a lead on the Linden base auto which I hope to trade for in the new year.  The Social Signature insert autograph will be one that I'm probably going to snag off of ebay when the prices come down a little more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Last night was the final trader night of the year. It also coincided with my last day of work for almost a month.  Needless to was a good day.

Over the next couple days, I'll do some catching up on my blog posts.  Showing off some maildays, some kind gifts I've received and some of the goodies I picked up at the trade night.

The first card though is one that sort of sticks out on its own.  It's from a trade I made yesterday.

2012/13 In The Game Forever Rivals
#A-TE Tony Esposito

Much like my guy, Tony Esposito is not overly recognized as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.  He started his NHL career with the Habs in the 68/69 season backing up Rogie Vachon.  He played with Montreal for just the one season (only appearing in 13 games) and was picked up by the Black Hawks on waivers during the off-season.

It was the next year that 'Tony O' would post some staggering numbers.  A 2.17 GAA, 38 wins (in just 63 appearances) and of course his ridiculous 15 shutouts.  He won both the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie as well as the Vezina for top goalie.  He was named to the First All-Star team and was runner-up for the Hart Trophy (league MVP).

This Forever Rivals auto is one of the few nice 'red pen' signatures I've seen so far.  Most have had a bit of streaking or bubbling as the pen and surface texture of the card just don't play nice together.  I think that's part of the reason I've held off in picking up the Linden auto in the set.  I want to try to find a real nice one.

This just that.  I saw it and made a nice trade for it.  I like it when I can pick up cards this way.  So much better than pumping out cash.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LINDEN CARD FO THE WEEK - Forever Rivals Patch

It's been a busy week for me.  Holidays start after tomorrow and I can't wait.  We've got all of our projects done and off the plate that we needed to at work and all that's left is our annual pond hockey game, a couple beers and maybe a movie or something before we part ways for almost a month.

It's also been a long week.  Especially when it comes to this hobby I love.

I'm still bitterly disappointed about the damage sustained to one of (what would have been) my prized possessions to the Linden collection.  The more I've thought about it over the last week, the more frustrated I've become.

I have been in contact with the seller as well as UPS and I am confident that I'm not going to get screwed over when it comes to getting my money back.  Sadly, I am not sure what will become of the card.  Hopefully the issue will be resolved over the next few weeks and I can just move on from it.

On the upside, I was happy to see another big card show up in the mailbox today.

NOTE.....properly packaged, not an ounce of concern.  Just as it should be.

2012/13 In The Game Forever Rivals
Game Used Patch
#M-41 Silver version (limited to just 3 copies)

This is a very strong 3-color patch from Trev's Montreal jersey.  When it first hit ebay a month or so ago, it had a very hefty price tag.  One that made me not even consider making a deal for.

But there were a few things that happened over that time that changed my mind.

I knew the first copy of this card went to another Linden collector for a fair price.  The second popped up and (I think everybody was sleeping that day) went for a ridiculously low price.  I'm talkin' "Steal of the Year" low.

That left just one copy to chase.  The one you see above.  That changed things quite a bit.  If I was ever going to own the card, I'd have to go through this seller.  He had lowered his price, but not nearly enough to make me pull the trigger.

I finally decided to put in an offer.  He countered with something in the same ballpark.  I put in my final offer along with a note saying that my offer would be the highest I'd go and that I thought it was a very fair price (in fact, I think I overpaid by about $20).  He accepted.

It was like winning a 1/1 card.  And upon seeing it in person for the first time, it has the same 'wow factor' as a one-of-a-kind item.

I've got a few more items coming in over the next few weeks.  I'm looking forward to adding them to my collection.

Oh, and by the way.....I've made the executive decision.  All my Superlative III cards will be coming out of the cases and put in one-touch holders.  Those flimsy toploaders are just a bad reminder.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I work had to earn money to pay for the hockey card I decide to buy.  Especially when those cards are Trevor Linden cards.

So it bugs the crap out of me when I receive a card in the mail that is damaged.  Especially when I feel that the damage was avoidable.

Recently, I purchased a very rare Trevor Linden card from this year's Superlative release.  How rare?  How 'bout a gold 1/1.

Yup.  That's right.  A damaged 1/1.

This story does not get better.

Here's the way the envelope looked BEFORE I opened it up.  Thanks UPS.

What boggled my mind was that a single card was packed up and sent in an envelope big enough for a beefy legal-sized document.  Why?  I don't know.  I haven't heard back from the seller yet.

But I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.  Right?

I'm convinced that this oversized envelope was part of the reason why the card arrived damaged.

The other being that there was no protection - NONE - added to the card.  Just the toploader and card.

And of course the seal on this Superlative card had to be broken, leaving the card susceptible to coming out of the plastic holder (which of course part of it was).

It just gets better and better.

You just can't have too many creases can you?

So on top of the $215 I paid for the card, the $15 to the seller for shipping, the $52 for the UPS brokerage fee.....I'm left with this.


The one thing I did do is take the card with me.  I could have refused the package and it would have been returned to the seller, but I knew that if I did that, the card would be gone forever.  Probably just end up in the trash.

In my delusional mind I'm hoping that magically this card can be fixed.

But before that, it's clobberin' time.  I can assure you all that I will not be the one holding the wet towel on this one.

I am really hoping that the seller chooses to work WITH me rather than put up some sort of fuss.  Right now, I'd just like to hear his side of the story.

And an offer to refund my money would be appreciated as well.

The brokerage I paid to UPS, well that will be determined after.  I was told that I should be able to get that back too since the fee is based on the value of the card.

And right ain't what it was when I bought it.  That's for darn sure.

What was supposed to be an amazing Linden Card Of The Year post (I have 5 to show off) has now left me a little sour.

Hopefully by the end of the year I'll feel like doing up a proper post of the top cards that arrived sans damage.

Sadly, this card will not be a part of it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TRADEBAIT - Some Patchy Goodness

I went to the local monthly card show last weekend with the hopes of picking up a couple new Trevor Linden cards recently released.  Sadly, I think a number of sellers had second thoughts about opening up some of Panini's latest offering 'Classics'.  Me thinks the price point is the culprit.

Anyways, what would have been a very quiet show was momentarily interrupted when I saw a discount box with some nice patch cards in it.

And since I'm a sucker for a good deal, I decided to justify a bit of a purchase to add some cards to the tradebox.  That....and I won the monthly poker game the night before.  So I had a few extra bucks in hand at the show (can't let it go to waste right?).

2011/12 Panini Crown Royale
Coat Of Arms
#22 Niklas Backstrom /25

This patch really pops out of the card.  Backstrom gets little hobby love it seems.  I find that odd.  I would have thought there's be a bit of a following based on his nationality (Finnish) as well as some of the phenomenal patches coming from Minnesota Wild jerseys.

A great patch and only numbered to 25.  By the way.....that'll be a trend during this show & tell.

2011/12 Panini Prime
Prime Trios
#16 Blake Wheeler/Mark Scheifele/Carl Klingberg /25

The guys on the side were throw-ins.  It's the dude in the middle that made me pick up this piece.  Mark Scheifele has a great shot to really showcase his talents at the upcoming World Junior tournament.  A solid performance will really help his chances to stick with the big club this year.

I'm anticipating more Scheifele collectors to come out of the woodworks once he is a staple on the Jets.

Soon.  Very soon.

2011/12 Panini Titanium
Game-Worn Gear (Patch)
#93 Brandon Dubinsky /25

Now, I tend to slag on the Rangers a lot but that's mostly due to one individual (who will remain nameless).

What I can say is they've got the makings of a solid team.  And they've got great looking patch cards.  This Dubinsky is no exception.

And what's better than one Rangers card?

2011/12 Panini Titanium
Game-Worn Gear (Patch)
#79 Derek Stepan /25

How about two.

The price on this one was just too good to pass up.  Hopefully I can find a Rangers collector who has some Linden cards to trade.

I think one of the goals over my holiday break is to properly scan and catalog my trade cards.  In the new year I'm going to be a little more aggressive in turning over some of this stuff so I can get a little relief in paying for some Linden cards.

I hear the new year is going to bring some doozies.

LINDEN CARD OF THE YEAR - The "Worst of" Edition

I've been fortunate to pick up some pretty nice cards for my Trevor Linden collection over the years.  Some have even been stunning enough to be given the moniker of 'Linden Card of the Year'.

This past weekend I came across a card that instantly had me think "This is definitely worthy of an award".  Sadly, it's not the award I'd like to give a Linden card.

Worst card of the year!

In fact, I'd go so far as saying it's the worst Trevor Linden card I've ever seen.

2012 Leaf Executive Collection Masterpiece
Dual Cut Auto
Trevor Linden/Pavel Bure  1/1

Yup.  You're reading that right.  A 1/1 cut auto.  Just look at it.  Clearly the signature was taken from a photo where Tim Horton's happens to plastered on the boards behind where the autograph was placed.

And it gets worse.

If you caught that I said 'dual auto', here's the Bure...

Are you kidding me?!!!

What floors me even more is that the card is currently up for auction with a price tag of $375.  I wouldn't even pay a quarter of the price.  I don't even care that it's a 1/1.

I've got a big beef with cut autos of guys who are still alive.  If a card company wants to put an auto of a certain players on a card - then get the guy to sign the card.  Stickers would even be somewhat acceptable as well - but we're talking a 1/1.

What a joke of a card.

Sadly, I'll be adding it to my wantlist, but the price tag on it will have to drop considerably before I even THINK about making an offer.

Worst card of the year.

Worst card EVER!

Friday, December 7, 2012

PACK RIPPING - 2012/13 Panini Classics

Well, after voicing my displeasure with the banner card inserts in Panini's new 'Classics' product, I found myself looking at a shelf full of the stuff at the local card shop's trading night.

The shop had already busted a box so I took a look at the goods.  It was a little thin in my eyes.

Six packs per box.  Five cards per pack.  That's 30 cards total.  Yes, there is an autograph in every pack so that's six signatures (better than what one would pull in some other boxes of cards) and there is a banner card in every pack (not sure if that's a plus).  But sifting through the 30 cards and thinking "Man that's not many cards for the price".

$33 bucks a pack.  $185 a box.

About $10 bucks a pack more than I would have liked to see.  Especially since we are talking about players not named Crosby, Nugent-Hopkins, Stamkos and Ovechkin.

I knew pretty quick that a box of the stuff wouldn't be coming home with me.......but that didn't stop me from trying my hand at a pack.

Yes.  I caved - again.

2012/13 Panini Classics
(1 pack)

On a side note.....I really like the wrapper to this product.  A definite old-time feel.  The design is nice and the colors make me want to take a pottery class.

Here's what the base cards look like.  Nothing spectacular but it's supposed to be simple.....classic.  I think a bit more effort in really making the various components work together as opposed to having a number of different 'looks' would have helped.

There are elements that I like, but more misses than hits.

Ken Morrow.  Not the first guy on the list of "I hope I get this guy in my pack".  And a 'ho-hum' photo as well.

The card back on its own has a nice vibe to it.  70's WHA-feel (especially the name at the top).  Two big has next to no flow from the front of the card.  It's like a different product entirely.

Wasted space.  The words "player statistics" and "defense" just blare out with "why am I here?".  Also, some real estate at the bottom of the card gets ignored.  Better housekeeping would have made this card back one of my faves - ever - from Panini.

Here are my whopping two other base cards.  Terrible PWM (plain white mask) on the Fuhr.  Horrible photo selection if you ask me.

On to the inserts.  Don't worry, it won't take long.

I'll be brief....because I don't like these cards.

Luc Robitaille Retired Banner card.  The scuffs on the die-cut card is done on purpose.  Why?  I don't know.  I guess it's because it's supposed to be old?  Big miss.

Will gladly trade for a Linden.

Johnny Bower auto.  I guess it could have been worse (like Ken Morrow or Rick Tocchet) but Johnny missed the mark - literally.

There's a faded space at the bottom of the photo (looks a little white) where the signature should go.  This just looks like Bower squeezed in his sig.  Again, not the worst, but definitely not enough to recoup the cost of my box.

Then again....I can't say that for too many products I've purchased this year.

I think I'll stick with buying singles of my guy.

Will gladly trade for a Linden.

I will say that with the unique checklist of players and the hard-signed autographs, the auto set would be a fun build.  Not as pricey as Parkhurst (and not as nice) but a solid chase (that is if you're buying singles in the secondary market).  I could easily see these cards hitting the discount bin post haste.  Beware though....there are short prints and super short prints of some of the bigger names.  But if you are looking to land a Nick Kypreos or Bruce Shoebottom sig, you'll be in luck.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Panini's latest hockey card offering hit the market on Wednesday and I'll admit it has me excited.

It's called Panini Classics and (with the current lockout) seems an appropriate product as it celebrates past players in the league.

It's a very diverse checklist and my guy is included.  The best part is that it appears he only has FOUR cards that I will need to pursue.

Hear that.....F-O-U-R!!!

And that suits me absolutely perfectly.

Two of those cards are unnumbered, non-memorabilia, non-signature cards.  That equals cheap.

(fist pump)

He also has two autographs - both not serial numbered - which should lead to some very manageable prices.

I've seen all four cards hit ebay already, but I'm in no rush to chase them down.  There's a local card show this weekend and a trade night on Thursday.  Maybe luck will be on my side and I can actually trade for a couple of these pieces of cardboard.

One of the cards though, prompted me to post about the use of fonts.  Font styles, font sizes, .....fonts.

Here's the culprit.  A nice card upon first glance.  Please note that the number and product logo appears to be foil-type silver and surely don't scan well.

But it's not the foil I'm disappointed with.  It's the fonts.

The number 16 is a generic number font that all the cards in the insert set use.  It has zero connection to the number styles used on Canucks jerseys throughout Linden's career.

Huge fail.

Add to that the seemingly 'beginner-esque' glow/border around the player name and the retirement year.  This looks very simple and unimpressive.

I would have thought (and hoped) that the card would implement the fonts that reflect the actual banner that has been raised to celebrate said player's honour.  Apparently not.

So I took the ball and ran with it.  I designed my own card.  I used the number style similar to the one used on the actual banner and I used the Canucks font that Linden wore on his back during his last game in the NHL.

While it's not exactly perfect, it's a huge improvement on what's actually out there.

The idea that each one of these cards could have had a very personal connection to the player, just by the use of fonts, was completely missed by Panini and the end result is a 'ho-hum' insert set.  Think of the great Boston cards, Montreal, even a team like Los Angeles.  All unique to the player and the jersey.  But no.

And imagine the rare, parallels you could create.  Imagine this Linden with the retro black, orange and yellow - complete with the proper font and number style.

Ooooooohh.....I might have to do another custom.

And don't get me started on colors.  Where's the white Panini?!!  Last time I checked Vancouver has white in their jersey.

Fonts!  They are not to be taken lightly.

ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS - Calgary Hitmen 'Teddy Bear Toss'

OK....It's not 'ONE''s 'MANY'!!!

I've been waiting for this past weekend's local junior hockey game so that I could post about a fantastic annual event that takes place here in town.

For 18 years, the WHL's Calgary Hitmen have been making a huge impact  with just the simple scoring of a single goal.  Of course the goal needs to come in the right place and at the right time.

This year, it was December 2......the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

For those of you not familiar with the concept, it's pretty simple.

Everybody coming to the game brings a stuffed animal.  When the home team scores their first goal - start chuckin'!

Wanna see over 20,000 bears hit the ice at one time?  Me too.

(go to 1:18 of the video)

Pavlo Padakin was the lucky player to score the Teddy Bear goal this year.  A definite career highlight for him.

Every player in that dressing room wants to be the one to score that special goal and the effort on the ice each and every year just elevates on this night.

Too much fun.

As much fun as it is to see on TV, it's even more of a blast in person (especially if you are down close to the glass).  Bears flying everywhere!  I took my niece and nephew to it a few years back and the whole game was just about the one moment.  A definite memory.

Now on to what these bears are all about.

The stuffed animals are gathered up and delivered by the Hitmen to local charities including the Alberta Children's Hospital.  A real cool gesture by the team without question.

Here's a look at the delivery of the bears.  Nice job guys.

I think it's also a good opportunity for some of these young men to see how important being a role model is and rewarding giving back to your community can be.

Since the inception of the Teddy Bear Toss, the Hitmen have donated more than 213,000 bears to the Calgary community.  This year over 50 charities have requested bears from the Teddy Bear Toss event.

In addition to the flying fuzzies, you may have noticed some unique jerseys worn by the players.

These special Christmas-style jerseys have a Santa hat perched on the front player logo as well as snow tufts on the numbers both on the sleeves as well as the back.

These jerseys will be auctioned off and the proceeds going to charity as well.  If for some reason you are interested in bidding, you can go to the Hitmen website and bid.

The Teddy Bear Toss - One Of The Good Guys!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

RAISE THE CUP - The Century Mark

A recent mailday has allowed me to show off card #100 in my Raise The Cup project.

Out of all the mini-projects I've got going on in my card collecting, this pc is one that I think I'm most proud of.  It really showcases the fact that collecting can be anything you want - YOU make the parameters.  As well, card collecting doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy.  Many of the cards in this project are simple base cards.

Without further ado...

1994/95 Topps Stadium Club
#9 Adam Graves

Adam seems to be doing more struggling than enjoying.  No problem there since he's lifting the Cup that my Canucks could have...should have won in '94.

There were a number of cards from this release that showed Rangers with the Stanley Cup.  The one year they had to go that route eh?

1990/91 Upper Deck
#167 Esa Tikkanen

Oh Upper Deck.  How your simple Series I and II releases have become the mainstay and "go to" for so many.  The photography is solid and the card design (albeit simple) is always consistent.

Esa seems to be less than impressed about his Cup victory.  He must have given Graves some lessons in New York.

2010/11 Score
#33 Brent Sopel (Season Highlight)

Brent Sopel has a Cup and my guy doesn't.  Ugh.  He looks as shocked as I am at the fact.

Actually, this photo is exactly the kind of photo that makes this project enjoyable.  It's that moment where they live the lifelong dream.

2011/12 Panini Contenders
Contenders Legacies
#153 Patrick Roy  /999

Another card from this solid insert set to add to the collection.  This one has most of the Cup in it.

After looking at this card, I've come to the conclusion that somebody needs to come out with a Raise The Cup insert set, with hard-signed autographs on each card, that isn't going to cost collectors an arm and a leg.

That would be one sweet set to build.

Current Collection - 100 cards