Sunday, July 31, 2011

WHO AM I? - Must Be Summer

It was a thin response to this current batch of 'signatures' (I use that term loosely). Only two people managed a guess. One went o'fer and the other got one out of three (and he put the wrong name to the autograph).

By judges ruling, 'TheForce' gets the victory. Congrats?

Cam Fowler

What can I say. This is the best of the three. Yikes!

Chris Stewart

Terrible stuff. He's one who has had his signature go down the tubes over the years (not to say it was awesome in the first place). But this looks like there is zero effort and zero care towards his name.

Curtis Brown

That's right......Curtis Brown! How you get that from 'IAN' is beyond me.


They should ban him from having signature cards in any product. Or better yet, do a set called 'crappy-graphs'.

That's the only place this auto belongs.

RAISE THE CUP - Keeping An Eye Out

I've lived in the same city pretty much my entire life. I've been going to the same card show over the winter months for well over 10 years now. I hit up the same card stores (although not as frequently as I'd like to) and pretty much everyone who knows me has a pretty good idea as to what I collect.

So much so that there have been times where someone has kept an eye out for things I might like, and in some cases even picked cards up knowing I would probably be interested in them.

I've acquired a number of great items for my PC over the years from the help of others.

This card is a perfect example of that.

1996/97 Upper Deck
#240 Joe Sakic

A friend of mine asked me earlier in the week if I needed this card for my 'Raise The Cup' project. I searched through my cards and couldn't find it. I never got back to him about it and kind of put it in the back of my mind the past couple days.

So it was a nice surprise tonight when I met up with him and a few other friends and he simply handed it over. Looking for nothing in return.

Many people might say "It's just a cheap junk wax era base card". Wrong! It's a great reminder of what I enjoy about this hobby, and a perfect example of doing something nice for someone else. And it's a great photo of Sakic hoisting the Cup for the first time in his career. Cool!

It was a simple gesture, but there's no question that this card will keep with it a great memory, a good story and a smile on my face.

Thanks very much Dave for the help with my collection.

Current Collection - 40 cards

Friday, July 29, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Decades Jersey Auto Gold 1/1

Huge mailday today. What a great way to start the long weekend.

The Linden collection grows by one more (and a giant one at that).

2010/11 ITG Decades
Rookie Game Used Jersey and Autograph
#RJA-TL Gold 1/1

This card is awesome (if I do say so myself). The moment I saw it I knew that I wanted it.

With the current Decades release by In The Game my Trevor Linden wantlist grew quite a bit. And slowly I've been knocking them off one by one.

This card was one I wasn't sure if I would ever see (let alone obtain).

But after my debacle a few weeks ago over a Panini Contenders 1/1, I think I compensated with a more aggressive approach towards this one when I saw it.

The moment it appeared on ebay, I put a bid in. I was soon e-mailed by the seller and by midday we had a deal.

What was really nice was that the seller did a great job of packaging and delivering (as I received it by the end of the week).

Thrilled to add it to the collection and it sits as one of the premer cards in my Linden collection.

My only beef is that it's not a hard-signed auto (ITG did a really nice job of hiding the sticker edge though).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WHO AM I? - C Is For Crappy

That's good enough for me.

It's rare to see an autograph today that has the appearance of patience, care and personality.

I've come to accept that signatures have just turned into scribbles these days.

Actually, that's not quite true. These three 'gems' might not even constitute a scribble. They're more like 'scribs'.

Too quick to complete the entire word.

Not much there 'eh?

Well, can you conclude who's chicken scratches these connect to? Conclusively?

Let's 'C'.

Should be more than enough of a hint for you.

As always, tell me the names of the three players and the 'C'onnection between the three.

Good luCk!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Bernie Wolfe

Goalies are a rare breed. Eccentric, borderline crazy and unique characters. Some wear their emotions on their sleeve while others keep it calm and cool between the pipes.

Some are crazy addicted to routine while others workout and stretch like it's nobody's business.

Then there's Bernie Wolfe.

1978/79 Topps
#81 Bernie Wolfe

(insert some cheesy 70's theme Sanford & Son)
It appears that he ate one too many hamburgers before the game. Or he's misplaced his wallet. Or he's doing his "It's Pat!" impression.

Maybe he took a puck in the gut. Just look at his eyes....they seem to reflect discomfort.

Oh.......maybe he's got to.....

Let's hope not.

Bernie was in the nets for 25 games the previous season with the Capitals. You'd think there would be something else out there to slap on a hockey card.

Even his mask is generic and boring. One of the few fibreglass masks that don't impress me at all.

What's sad is that this card is Wolfe's final piece of cardboard in the NHL. What a lasting impression.

Bernie, for your stomach-ache of a photo (I'm feeling a little nauseous myself)...



Monday, July 25, 2011

BOX BREAKS: 2010/11 Zenith

Last week's traders night at the local card store had me contemplating a box break.

The new Panini release - Zenith - caught my eye. I figured why not...I'll throw a little more support towards the card store (and its new's really nice in there).

So with that, it was a box of Zenith (good thing I'm over the age of 9.....that's never gonna get old for me).

It's a 10 pack box with only 5 cards per pack. So right off the bat there's a limited number of cards to be had.

So they better be good - right?

The base cards are alright. Nothing spectacular with the design. What is eye-catching though are the photos. Some of them look like they've been given just a slight tweak to give it almost a hand-drawn look.

This Crosby is a good example of that. Now is it just me or does it look like a bit of a sketch? I quite like the filter put on the photos (and actually wish all the card pics looked like that).

There are 225 cards in the base set. 115 commons, 85 rookies and 25 legends. Lots of rookies (dare I say too many) and the word 'legends' now means the possibility of Linden cards to chase (sure enough....he's in the product).

I managed one red parallel (or as they like to call them 'Red Hot'). Apparently these are not the big pulls like parallels in other products.

They also have 'White Hot' parallels (or as I like to call them Ice Blue......since they're blue). These are the sought after parallels.

What's a product without inserts. And Zenith has a bundle of them.

These are the 'non shiny' inserts I pulled. I kind of like the 'Gifted Grinders' card, but the 'Chasing The Cup' insert leaves me with the blahs. Nothing special (sorry Habs fans). It's just a generic insert concept to me.

And now some shiny inserts. These have also given me the blahs. I really haven't even taken a close look at what I've got here. I just see a Henrik Lundqvist card where the card design gets more facetime than the player photo and a triple shot of Columbus Blue Jackets.....and no Nash.

I've lost interest in let's move on.

Ooooohhhhhhh.......jersey cards.

Oh, wait...these are just the run of the mill jersey cards. Once again, an attempt at finding a theme and plunking the leftover jersey int he windows.

Part of me shouldn't complain about the jersey cards, but these are almost as bad as regular base cards.

Antoine Vermette - Winter Warrior? C'mon. Really? Maybe 'Fringe Forward' or 'Who Am I?'. That would be a more suitable set name.

Here are the legends cards I talked about earlier. Darren Pang! I'm mildly excited since it's a photo of him with his mask on (it was a pretty slick mask back in the day). Gilmour's a good pull as well.

But this one takes the cake. I really like this card. Showing me something I have never seen before. This Neely shot I don't think has ever been used on a card before. Slam dunk!

In my box break, I managed one rookie card. This Travis Hamonic is numbered out of 999. Did I mention the abundance of rookies? Yup.

I also managed an autographed rookie (which is not a parallel, but part of the base set). Zac Dalpe? Hoo boy.

At least it's hard signed.

But the big draw when it comes to the Zenith product is the 'Dare To Tear' concept.

For those of you receive an oversized card in your box (wrapped so you don't know who it is). I ended up with this Roenick. It's about the size of 4 base cards. Inside the card (yes....inside) is a regular sized card. Normally, all the big name, low-numbered cards are hiding inside these jumbos.

In order to get to the card, you have to tear into the oversized cardboard.

No offence again, but it's Jeremy Roenick. This was a no-brainer.

This rookie auto gold of Brodie Dupont was my Dare To Tear prize. It's numbered out of 10 which is nice, but a sticker auto? And who is Brodie Dupont? Did I mention the abundance of rookies in the product?

Overall, this product is a bit of a 'hit or miss'. While the Dare To Tear concept is fantastic, the bulk of the product just doesn't quite sing to me. Not enough bang for your buck.

Have you busted a box (or boxes) of Zenith? What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 22, 2011

RAISE THE CUP - Two More From Traders Night

A couple cards catching my eye in trader boxes a couple days ago. Cards that I knew I'd have to trade for.

It's been a while since I have posted any cards for my 'Raise The Cup' project. It's been too busy to do much hunting recently.

So without further ado - let's go!

2010/11 Panini Crown Royale
Regal Achievements
#16 Eric Staal /499

I had no idea this card even existed. I wonder if there are other Cup raisers from that insert set.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the photo though (small beef). Too much card design.

2004/05 Upper Deck Legends Classics
Signature Moments

#M42 Clark Gillies /125

This card on the other hand is probably the nicest card in the project to date.

A gorgeous photo, great design and a hard-signed autograph all add up to a fantastic piece of cardboard.

Not too bad of a signature, but a little sloppy compared to some of his contemporaries.

These cards have sort of inspired me to dig a little more come the fall season. It's a fun (and inexpensive) project I'm building.

Current Collection - 39 cards

Thursday, July 21, 2011

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - 5 Decades Worth

The recent ITG Decades 1980's release has put a number of Trevor Linden cards on my wantlist - always a good thing.

Unfortunately, in addition to the Linden base, auto, jersey and emblem cards there are a number of show cards that have been created....doubling the cards to keep an eye out for.

There are 3 jersey cards in the product, a black version, a silver version and a gold version. There are also 3 number cards and 3 emblem cards. So 9 in total.

9 regular cards and therefore 9 show cards (all from the Summit II expo recently held in Edmonton).

It's no surprise that the bubble envelopes delivered to my place recently house a few of these gems. Check it out.

2010/11 In The Game Decades 1980
#M-62 Game Used Jersey Silver

A nice start. A good2-color piece.

2010/11 In The Game Decades 1980
#M-62 Game Used Jersey Gold

Second verse, same as the first.

Nearly identical cards except for the fact that the silver has a print run of 30 cards while the gold has a print run of 10.

Best part....I got the gold for a cheaper price than the silver.

2010/11 In The Game Decades 1980
#M-62 Game Used Jersey Gold (Summit II Expo)

This is a nice piece - and it's a 1/1! Sure, it's not an 'official' 1/1, but it will sit nicely in my collection.

2010/11 In The Game Decades 1980
#M-62 Game Used Number Silver (Summit II Expo)

I really like this piece. It's from a Linden jersey and has some nice stitch breaks. So it's a show card....who cares?

Another one off the list.

2010/11 In The Game Decades 1980
#M-62 Game Used Emblem Black

This one is stellar. An amazing piece (looks even better in person). The moment I saw this one, I knew I'd be going after it.

And with a print run of only 6, it's a tough one to pass up (might never see one again).

So that's 5 more cards for the collection.

Actually, there's one more...

2010/11 Panini Zenith

This base card caught me by surprise. It was part of my Zenith break and I'll admit, it was kind of neat to see them switch things up and throw a photo of him in a Habs jersey on the card.

There are a few cards in the product like that. Kind of a cool idea.

Would have been better to see a Capitals jersey though (very few cards with him in that jersey).

BEHIND THE MASKS - Inspired Trade

Well, I picked up my problematic computer tonight on my way to 'traders night'. I think I wasted my money on the computer repair. So why not push forward and blow some more cash at the LCS.

Actually, the card store I go to just moved locations and so it was a chance to check out the new stomping grounds. It's still a fair trek to get to the store, but it's worth it.

In addition to a few rounds of pack wars (I was shutout tonight), I picked up a box of Panini's newest release - Zenith. Stay tuned and see if I 'Dare To Tear'.

On the trading front, I had one of my better nights. That said, I somehow forgot to complete a trade for a hard-signed Linden Decades auto. Oh well, there's always next month.

Here's a pair of pickups that go into the goalie mask category.

2008/09 Canadiens Centennial Set
Memorable Moments
#292 Jacques Plante - The Mask

This was a no brainer when I saw it. It's an iconic photo (in my eyes at least) and represents a pivotal moment in hockey history.

Plus, it's one sweet looking photo and mask.

2010/11 Between The Pipes
Inspired Masks
#IM-10 Kari Lehtonen

This is one set that I've been wanting to start, but the price point just hasn't dropped enough (I'm looking to get cards under the $10 mark).

So 'free' is always nice.

I love the text on the back of the card...

"Lehtonen doesn't wear his mask featuring martial arts legend Chuck Norris, the mask wears him!"


And while the design may seem simplistic, the artwork more than makes up for it. A fantastic job of capturing a realistic element and still maintaining the ability to showcase the mask.

Great stuff.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Well, my main computer is in the shop getting a once over so I've resorted to my laptop for this post.

And since my scanner isn't hooked up right now, I thought I would give you an opinion post.

Lately, I've been on a documentary kick. I love 'em. A well shot documentary with a ton of archival footage, a great representation of interviews and a killer narration is a homerun for me - regardless of the sport.

I first fell in love with sport docs when I saw the 'Legend Of Hockey' series in the mid 1990's. While the tales of Gretzky, Lemieux and so forth felt a little re-hashed, it was the stories of guys like Alex Delvecchio, Marcel Dionne and Terry Sawchuk that just sucked me in.

Everything about this series captivated me - inspired me.

It made me want to find more great documentaries, both within the hockey genre as well as venturing into other sports.

Enter - 'Ken Burns' Baseball'. Quite possibly the king of sports documentaries. The interviews that made me connect with the people and their stories (especially Buck O'Neil), the fantastic footage from all eras and the perfect use of sound - the music is gripping.

Again - inspiring.

These two series really gave me the motivation to search out more great sport documentaries and even went so far as shape my career as a video post production producer/editor.

Last year, I was very excited to learn of the '30 For 30' series being produced by ESPN. Again, a great diverse collection of stories. Some of which reinforced my knowledge of what I knew. Some of which opened up my eyes to some amazing stories. All of them unique in their production style and delivery, it's a tremendous series.

Probably my favorite of the series is 'Once Brothers'. It's the story of Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic, their rise together with the Yugoslavian basketball team and their unfortunate broken relationship due to the Croatian/Serbian war. A tragic ending never truly resolved this once close friendship. The final moments of this doc is still one that gets me chocked up.

On the "I want to learn more about these guys" mantle would definitely sit 'When We Were Kings'. The stunning documentary about the Muhammed Ali/George Forman fight in Zaire. Gorgeous footage and great interviews (I could listen to George Plimpton all day). This one is a must see.

Another one that gave me some great insight was the Harlem Globetrotters doc 'The Team That Changed The World'. It goes beyond just the slapstick fun and brings forth the birth and upbringing of the iconic team.

From the football standpoint, America's Game ranks right up there (although it's tough since the NHL is head & shoulders the best when it comes to promoting their own sport).

A couple of documentaries that really inspired me from an editing standpoint were 'Dogtown and Z-Boys' and 'Riding Giants'. One about the birth of skateboarding and it's rise through the 70's, the other about surfing and it's people through the eras. The editing style of Paul Crowder is some of my favorite (another good doc he has done is 'Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story Of The New York Cosmos'). Aggressive yet purposeful. Again, the use of music is huge in these docs.

Last Christmas, it was the highly anticipated '24/7 Penguins/Capitals'. A four-part series chronicling the Penguins and Capitals leading up to the Winter Classic. I would have loved to have seen more, but it was a cool glimpse into what goes on behind closed doors in the NHL (sure it's not completely 'fly on the wall', but nothing ever will be when it comes to these things).

That series reminded me of the ESPN docs 'The Season'. They did a behind the scenes follow of the Detroit Red Wings one year and the Colorado Avalanche another.

The Avalanche season was from the 03/04 campaign and involved guys like Kariya, Selanne, Forsberg and Sakic. Sadly, Roy was gone by then (or the doc would have really rocked).

That series really opened my eyes to the possibilities of who can tell the story - some narrator and a bunch of supporting clips, or the actual players it's happening.

Over the past few months, I have also been drawn into the 'Broad Street Bullies' doc (which I would love to see released on dvd). I particularly enjoyed that they got a lot of recent interviews from that squad (and the vintage footage is some I've never seen before).

These days, it's the MLB produced 'The Franchise: A Season With The Giants'. The first episode recently aired and I am fully buying into this doc. Every shot in this doc is filmed with purpose, and the characters are ones that I immediately find myself either rooting for and/or laughing with.

And anything with Brian Wilson in it gets a moment of my time - period. This guy's a media person's dream come true.


While I'm sure that I'm missing a ton of solid sports documentaries, this represents a small dose of what I enjoy, seek out and dream of one day producing myself.

All of these documentaries share at least one common thing - it showcases the passion. The players all have a deep rooted passion for what they do. For me, it's what draws me into these movies. I love hearing people talk about something they have great passion for. Be it sports, music, hobbies in general. I think that's one of the reason why I follow blogs. Sometimes they feel like a written documentary.

Do you have any favorite sports documentaries? Do you enjoy them? Are you frustrated by them? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LINDEN CARD(S) OF THE WEEK - The Mail Finally Arrives

It's been just over a week since my last post. My work has ramped into high gear lately and match that with a virus-filled computer and you get a lack of posts.

What has been nice is the bubble envelopes slowly trickling back into my mailbox. It's nice to see some new cards come into the collection.

Here are four to go into the Linden collection.

2000/01 Be A Player
#213 Signature Chicago Expo Sportsfest
Ruby /10

This card along with the one below were a pair of big pickups from ebay.

I'm one of the few who actually like show cards - cards issued out at collectibles shows - and have them all listed on my master checklist.

Cards from 10 years ago are next to impossible to find so whenever they pop up, I'm on 'em.

2000/01 Be A Player
#213 Signature Toronto Spring Expo
Emerald /10

With these two additions, the total for show cards just from this release reaches 12....and there are still a couple more on the wantlist.

2010/11 Panini Contenders
#8 Draft Tandems w/ Mike Modano

The recent Panini releases (Decades and Contenders) have come and gone and my wantlist has grown considerably.

I'll admit, during the summer months, it's been tougher to be gung-ho when it comes to attacking these cards. It'll be a slow build I think.

No worries though...hopefully it'll mean some cheaper prices.

2010/11 Panini Decades
#M-62 Game Used Jersey Silver

This card came to me through a trade. It's a nice addition to the Linden collection and the start of a few Decades items making their way to me.

Overall, four more cards to swipe off the list - welcome back mail!

Monday, July 4, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Hannu Toivonen

I've been on a bit of a Hannu Toivonen kick of late. His masks just suck me in each and every time.

From his Most recent Chicago "Esposito' tribute lid to the popular St. Louis 'Staniowski' mask, Hannu knows how to turn heads with his goalie mask designs.

None more so than his 2006 creation.

This mask is yet another tribute mask. But can you guess who the original design belonged to?

Anything? Well, for those who enjoy hockey movies, it would be a quick guess.

That's right....Denis Lemieux himself. The goaltender from the famed Charlestown Chiefs in the Slap Shot movie.

The classic fibreglass style mask is reborn on Hannu's lid. This was at a time where tribute masks were more prevalent.

Hannu took the concept and decided to add his own little twist by deciding to pay homage to a fictional goaltender. Awesome.

The simple skull and crossbones look is bold and menacing and the Toivonen tribute sticks to it precisely. The only thing I found odd was that the hair painted on had a bit of a blonde look to it. While Denis Lemieus was probably more grey than anything.

Lastly, what's a Denis Lemieux post without one of the most classic scenes of the movie. Enjoy.

The video alone could bump up my rating, but I'll stick with just the mask.

I give it a 3 out of 5.

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2002/03 BAP Ultimate Memorabilia Numerology

I was going through my monster box full of Linden cards recently, enjoying my collection, and realized that there were some cards that weren't getting the 'face time' they deserved.

I keep all of the cards in my Linden collection in penny sleeves and top loaders, except for the jersey cards which get the magnetic one touch holder treatment. My 1/1's also get this extra bit of protection.

The top loaders fit nicely into a couple monster boxes, and the magnetic holders while taller, do fit in as well.

I'd say 95% of my collection sits in these two boxes. There are some cards however that do not.

With Trev having a few cards in this year's Ultimate Memorabilia, I have gained some slabbed cards. A new addition to the storage, I have had to put them in their special little place. But these slabbed cards are not the first to grace my collection.

That distinction belongs to this card...

2002/03 BAP Ultimate Memorabilia
3rd Edition - Numerology
Marcel Dionne/Trevor Linden /40

Released almost 10 years ago, this dual jersey card was step above a lot of the cards in my collection at the time. Add to that the fact that there were only 40 cards produced, and the desirability quotient skyrocketed.

What I love about this card is that it celebrates what has become my favorite number in the NHL - #16.

Linden to me will always be #16. When he went to New York donning the #32 or Montreal where he took on #14 it just seemed wrong. Vancouver and #16 - that was the jersey he was meant to wear.

Marcel Dionne was a very heavy influence in Trevor Linden's career. And the #16 was a quick choice after the #9 was unable to be fitted with Linden's name (it was in possession of Tony Tanti at the time....and I guess he did have enough pull to keep it).

But Dionne was not the only #16 to influence Trev. Bobby Clarke, Rick Middleton and Henri Richard also wore the famed number.

One interesting bit early on in Trevor's career was that he started with #49 during rookie camp.

Now I don't know about you, but I can't picture a #49 jersey raised to the rafters with Linden's name on it.

#16 suits that banner well!

Friday, July 1, 2011

BEHIND THE MASKS - 1995/96 Pinnacle Masks

Goalie mask cards are pretty commonplace nowadays, but 15-20 years ago they were a rare addition to products.

I discovered mask cards in 1997 (remember the Pinnacle tins shaped like goalie masks?). I pulled a Patrick Roy Masks card and was hooked. I quickly built the set and immediately started looking at what other mask-type sets existed.

I was happy to find that there had been some sets released in previous Pinnacle products.

I was not happy to find the price tags associated with some of the cards.

Nonetheless, I slowly but surely built the sets. Believe it or not, I still need a couple cards to finish off one of the sets, but I'm in no rush.

So I'd like to show off one of my more favorite mask sets from that mid-90's era. The 1995/96 Pinnacle Masks.

It was a 10-card insert set that showcased some of the cooler masks worn in the league at that time.

This Brodeur is probably the biggest name in the set and in my opinion he has a very underrated mask design. I'm not as big of a fan as his modified look these days and will always consider this mask design to be his true colors.

The cards have a nice reflective shine to them (I believe they call it 'dufex' as in DOO-fex). The thunderbolt design in the background is a little odd, but the colors more than make up for it.

How about some of these names - Vernon, Potvin, Moog, Burke, Thibault and Hextall. Not too shabby (although I would have liked a Roy in there along with a Joseph). The change up with player selection to go in the set made it a more interesting project in my opinion.

Nope. This is not John Vanbeisbrouck, it's Mark Fitzpatrick. Very similar masks though. In fact, Mark's might be a tad cooler.

On a side note, I bet that tandem holds the record for the most letters used in their last names combined. The sweater guys must have hated them.

Now, on to the cream of the crop. Jim Carey...the 'Net Detective' had a really cool mask. Too bad he decided to have a 'one hit wonder' career.

With nicknames like 'Ace' and 'The Mask', it's obvious to see that the actor he shares the same name with played a huge part in his goalie mask persona.

He's one of the few goalies never to have changed his design once being brought up from the farm (he played for the Portland Pirates in 1994). Clearly, the huge pirate on the crown of his mask is a result of that. The 4 aces on his chin are in response to his nickname 'Ace' and all of it sits in front of a red brick wall base.

Definitely a fun design in an era where personality was not as readily portrayed on masks.

Perhaps my favorite of them all was this sweet Blaine Lacher mask.

'Locks' as he was known used the Loch Ness Monster character and amped it up a ton to create a menacing figure on top of his mask.

His nickname sat on the chin and what you don't see in the card are hands on either side reaching out. It really sells the idea of this monster attacking you.

Yeah....that's pretty cool, even by today's standards.

So that's it. One of the many mask sets I have built over the years. One of my favorites as well.