Monday, August 29, 2011

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - Patrick Roy, The Collector

A few years ago, I purchased a box lot of oddball stuff on ebay. There were small card sets, pucks, stickers, a couple books and a few magazines.

One of the magazines that has stuck it out over the years with me is this Patrick Roy offering.

Now, I'm not too certain of its origin or year, but I am placing it around 1992. Read the articles and see if you agree with me.

This magazine introduces us to Patrick Roy, the hockey card collector. Now whether or not it is his own words is beyond me, but look at all the insight he has regarding the industry.

Probably the coolest part of the mag....a photo of Patrick as a kid - standing next to Brett Hull. Weird.

Now we have Patrick giving us a historical overview of hockey cards....and in just two short pages. Awesome stuff Pat.

I'm thinking Pro Set had something to do with the release of the magazine. Why is it that their company is the only one in bold?

I love the look into the future. Better pictures, more attention to detail? Sadly, Roy did not know that the industry was about to enter the junk wax era.

Large sets? More like overproduced and overkilled.

The fan gets a better selection of a higher quality product. I almost laughed at that one.

Finally, we have Patrick giving us his rock solid tips on collecting.

I will give this page credit. There are some tips that I think are important to follow.

Now I knew back in the day Patrick was an avid collector. I wonder if he still has a sizable collection? Or did the mid-90's turn him completely off the hobby (like it did for a number of us).

One last thing this magazine has to offer. For those who do not speak English...

...just flip the magazine over and read the French version.

A neat little piece of hobby history. Something I have kept all these years mainly because it has Roy's mask on the front. The details inside are pretty much non-news and very dry to read.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Smurf Cupcakes heard me right - Smurf Cupcakes!

This past week was a busy one. wasn't a terribly hectic one at work, it was the extra-curricular activities that were eating up a ton of my time.

My niece threw me an e-mail a couple months ago asking if she could borrow my kitchen. She wanted to make her mom (my sister) some cupcakes for her birthday. I was excited to see what she would come up with.

See, I got her cake decorating classes for Christmas last year and she was about to put some of what she learned to practice. She came up with the idea of doing an "Angry Birds" setting (since my sister was big into that at the time). But recently, she has been hooked on the "Smurfs Village" game on her ipad.


Anyways, this past week was spent making the cupcakes (over 40 of them) and the slow process of decorating them. She went above and beyond. Here are (literally) the goods.

This was the main tray of cupcakes loaded with all the easily recognizable Smurfs.

Like Smurfette.

And Papa Smurf.

I liked this Grumpy Smurf a whole bunch. He really doesn't look happy.

This was a secondary tray with the likes of Vanity Smurf, Baker Smurf, Gargamel and his cat Azreal. Nice!

Another secondary tray with Handy Smurf, Farmer Smurf, Miner Smurf among others. The red & white ones are the mushroom houses. My niece used a Timbit (or donut hole for those who don't have a Tim Horton's in their area) to help give the effect of a house.

Here's the tray with my sister's name and her "age". We were going to have some fun with that, but we thought it might be better to just play it safe. :)

And for kicks, my niece threw in an Angry Bird.

Again, another Timbit. Very cool!

Lastly, and you might not be able to tell from the pics, the cake itself was dyed blue. A very nice, subtle touch to top things off.

So that's that. My niece has got a pretty high bar to raise for the next birthday to come. Hey kiddo....mine's in April, so start brainstorming. I like Trevor Linden (if you didn't already know).

In all seriousness, I am extremely proud of the time and effort she put into this project. There have been a few times in the past where I have seen her rush through things resulting in a less-than-average product.

These cupcakes are a fantastic example of what can be accomplished when you pace yourself, take your time and work hard.

I hope you are as proud of them as I am kiddo!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


In a nutshell.....the single worst aspect of this hobby is having to listen to people constantly complain about this, that and the other thing.

I'd love to end my post there, but I'm going to 'dip into that world' for a moment.

I have been biting my tongue for a few months when it comes to this subject. Mainly because I would rather not subject myself to the unproductive and destructive aspect of 'negative energy'.

But I am going to comment on what I'm seeing as an increase in this unfortunate attitude. I hope it's just the 'uneventful summer' contributing to this trend.

I participate in the local card shows regularly, I head off to card stores once in a while and I peruse and post on a few hobby boards and blogs...pretty much daily. For the most part, the conversations and topics are interesting, informative and (most importantly) fun.

But I have never heard so many negative comments coming from select 'hobbyists' as I have over this past summer. It actually makes me question who I give my time to.

People don't like this person or that....then don't deal with them. Period. The second you work a deal with that person again, you are giving them the okay to do what you don't like.

People don't like this product or that (it's too expensive, it's too cheap, it's got nothing 'good' in it)....then don't buy it. If I want to drop coin on it, that's my problem.

People don't like this company or that....keep your wallet in your pants then. The second you buy from them, you are supporting them.

People don't like the way a hobby board is run....then don't participate. Avoid it! Pretty simple, eh?

People don't like certain 'rules'....well, if you want to hang out in certain clubhouses, you'll have to follow those 'rules'. If you don't like them - start your own clubhouse. Oh wait, that's too much effort, right?

What really gets me is that there are a lot of people who are ready to publicly rip into a company or product so lightning quick.

One of the biggest downsides to the 'world wide web' is that information is instantaneous. I don't know how many times I have seen products released and within minutes, people are shooting it down and ready to hang the designer. Thanks for letting me enjoy my first pack eh?

If I have a bad experience somewhere or if I buy a defective product, I either chalk it up to experience or I try to work with the company to rectify the situation. I don't take a full page ad out in the newspaper to express my two cents.

If I continue to have a bad experience at that place.....who's partially to blame?

That's right - look in the mirror.

I guess what bothers me the most is that the few people who really have their panties in a knot are often those to scream loudest...overshadowing everyone else.

Stop beating your chest behind your almighty keyboard and act. Be proactive in the solution rather than dictate, dictate, dictate.

There's a big difference between constructive opinion and useless whining. that out of my system. I'm ready for hockey season to start.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Ahhhh clutching and grabbing. It's been a while since I've seen a bunch of you in this sport.

While you are still around in small doses, I don't tend to see you on hockey cards anymore.

2002/03 Topps Stadium Club
#9 Joe Sakic

This card caught my eye when I was at a card show last spring. I don't recall seeing too many photos similar to this.

The clutching and grabbing and the 'zoomed in' close up shot really makes for some neat detail.

Joe is clearly looking down at the puck, which is out of his reach due to the less-than-subtle hold put on him by Leetch. Two minutes? I'd be curious to know if a call was made.

For such a simple shot, there is a lot going on. It's neat to see the detail on the gloves, shoulder patches, helmets, etc.

A better base card once you stop and take a closer look at it. How often do you take an extra moment to really look at the photos that comprise your cards?

The other thing that this card did for me when I saw it was be reminded of the current NHL Research & Development Camp.

I really liked the camp and hope that they continue to do this every couple years or so.

I was impressed at how some simple tweaks can make a positive impact in the sport.

Curved glass at the there. The verification line...duh, why didn't anyone think of that earlier. Same with the clear sheet on top of the net to allow for better replays on disputed goals.

Curious to see what makes it into the league this season and what comes down the road.

What were your thoughts on the R&D camp?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Custom Creations - What The????

That's right! It's been almost a full year since I have built any custom cut autograph cards. Brutal if you ask me.

This year has gone by in a flash and time for customs just hasn't been there like I would have hoped.

That said, I made it a higher priority to work on some customs during my vacation time....and I'm glad I did.

I've hammered down two more designs for a (very patient) person whom I've done some cut autos in the past for. Narrowing the number of customs remaining down to 7. Maybe one day....maybe one day. :)

The first of the two customs I'll show you is a bit of a new attempt for me when it comes to cut autos.

This Frank Mahovlich signature was so wide that I eliminated the side borders of the card. The autograph goes right to the edge.

If you're wondering why there seems to be a second piece of paper in the bottom left corner, it's because there is. The original signature was written on an angle of the paper that made it tougher to cut out for a shape. I think it works.

Here's the back...I know some of you are interested in seeing the backs of my creations as well.

The second card was one that made me switch up the color palette a bit. I'd been stuck in red world and now I moved over to blues.

This Norm Ullman has a bit of a retro feel. Something I wanted to do after choosing the pics I'd end up using.

The gold border really sells the old time feel even more.

The auto was a tough cut on this one as there were a couple other signatures really close to Ullman's. I had to cut it almost the exact same size as the hole it would be revealed in. It took some trial and error, but I figured it out.

I made sure to use those gold border elements on the back of the card and I stayed with the same pics because there weren't too many other really nice photos I could find that worked.

These will be packaged up and mailed off tomorrow. I've still got a ways to go, but I feel a little less guilty for pushing these aside for as long as I have.

Hopefully I will have some more customs to show off sooner than later.

There's one special custom that I am still mulling over. I will be making sure it gets done before the start of the fall hockey season.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Tom Kurvers

What makes a great 'In Action' photo? Is it the feeling of fury or energy in the shot? Is it the capturing of 'the moment' right before or during a great scoring opportunity? Does the emitting of emotion or drive help the shot?

Well, this photo could then be considered an 'action' shot...

1991/92 Parkhurst
#112 Tom Kurvers

There's a lot going on in this photo, so let's break it down.

There's no less than three Islanders in this photo. All of whom are seemingly fixated on something other than the puck. There also is a cameo from a Los Angeles Kings' knee.

Kurvers, the focus of the card, seems to have neglected the fact that the camera is on his left side and not the right.

Poor Glenn Healy. He is the lucky recipient of a Kurvers groin in the goalmouth. And Kurvers himself seems to be kissing some crossbar. The guy in the background seems ready to knock the goal off its moorings at a moment's notice.

All of this adds up to a very messy and unwanted 'action' shot.

While I can appreciate Parkhurst's attempt at improving the photography on its cardboard, I don't think this is what hobbyists had in mind.

And too bad for Kurvers...he was on a very limited number of hockey cards in his NHL career, it doesn't help when the backside of your jersey is the focus. I wonder what he says when kids come up to him to get this card signed?

I love how that puck just sits there (for an eternity) while everything else is going on.

Goal or no goal? Maybe the puck bounced in for the game winner.

To the debacle in the crease and the lack of photo quality control...


To The Bike Spokes!!!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

RAISE THE CUP - Digging Through The Collection

I've made a point of going through some of my cards during my time off from work. Better organization of my traders, updating the wantlists and properly packing away more of the collection that I plan on one day trading or selling.

Sifting through some of my cards, I came across these three gems to be added to the Raise The Cup project (including one of my favorite cards as a kid).

1983/84 O-Pee-Chee
#2 New York Islanders Highlight
Denis Potvin

I think this card defines what a 'highlight' or 'in action' card should be. It captures a specific and important moment in the team's season and this photo is the biggest moment of the campaign.

Potvin hoisting the Cup in 1983 (his fourth in a row) is a great photo. I wish I could see a little more of the Cup in the shot, but that's a minor beef. Denis looks to have a bunch of different emotions on his face. Relief, exhaustion, satisfaction, just to name a few.

It's a shame more cards aren't like this nowadays.

1999/00 Upper Deck McDonald's
The Great Career
#GR81-2 1984 Cup Victory

While 1983 might have been New York's year, it was Edmonton who gave notice that they were the team of the future. And in 1984, they realized their dream.

Wayne Gretzky and crew won their first Stanley Cup in convincing fashion and began their own dynasty. This card from 1999 pays tribute to that moment.

A five-card insert set to the McDonald's release that year celebrates the great career of The Great One.

Only five cards 'eh? Scrub.

2006/07 Power Play
Cup Celebrations
#CC2 Cam Ward

The final card in this showing is from an insert set that I'm slowly knocking off the wantlist.

The Cup Celebrations cards are a great concept....guys winning the Stanley Cup.

In fact, the more I think about it, I'd like to see a full set called 'Raise The Cup'. It'd be cool to see a uniformly designed set celebrating these great moments where players finally find that mountain peak by raising the cherished Cup over their head.

Current collection - 43 cards


Over the past couple of years that this blog has existed, I have seen the readership slowly grow.

First and foremost - thank you to all of you who stop by and read what I have to say.

I'm most proud that I have (in my opinion) kept this blog fun, I have talked about my interests and thoughts about this great hobby and that I have been doing a good job of not letting this blog drift into obscurity (I don't think I have ever gone more than a week or so without posting).

I get about 100 'hits' to my blog daily. While this might not sound like a lot, I think it is pretty amazing there are that many people who want to check out what I have to say. Thanks again.

Tonight, I was made aware of an article posted on Puck Daddy's blog. For those of you who have not checked out Puck Daddy, it is one of the top hockey blogs out there in my opinion. Great articles, great subjects and great opinions.

The title of the blog post is Hockey Guilty Pleasures: Jeff Marek, Rogers Sportsnet host.

Jeff Marek....the name sounds familiar right? He hosted the iDesk on Hockey Night In Canada. He since moved to Rogers Sportsnet this summer.

The 'guilty pleasures' concept features guest columnists who answer questions about hockey-related guilty pleasures.

Check out 7a.

I think it's kind of cool and felt like sharing.

Thanks for checking out the blog Jeff (that goes for everyone else too).

I guess I should thank Rogie as well (or at least his mug). :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2010/11 Contenders Draft Tandems

Well, it's official. These Panini Playoff Contenders Draft Tandems cards are the worst scanning cards I have ever seen.

One Linden added to the collection during my holidays and it's got a couple neat aspects to it.

2010/11 Panini
Playoff Contenders Draft Tandems
#8 Trevor Linden/Mike Modano Purple /100

Like I said, nasty scan.

This card is one of three parallels to the Draft Tandems base card (I'm still looking for the green /50 and the autos /25). The text on the front is in all purple (although you can barely tell).

The back of the card is what I really wanted to focus on.

First of all, take a look at that baby-faced, brush-cut number one draft pick. That photo of Modano is worth the price of the card right there.

Unfortunately, the Linden half couldn't equal the stand. Shame, since he donned the glorious yellow skate jersey the Canucks recently went to.

Nice to see Trevor got the pre-draft haircut as well. Hilarious.....yet awesome.

The other neat thing about this card is that it is serial numbered 100/100. That makes it some sort of uber-rare 1/1 right? It's worth a bazillion times more since it has this particular serial number.

For real......seriously.


The fact that this card has the final creation serial number makes zero impact on me and I refuse to pay a premium for such nonsense when presented as a '1/1' card.

It's cool, but not that cool.

if it were numbered to Trev's jersey number (16/100), that might make me pay a very marginal premium (I said might....and very marginal) but I am not one who is stuck on serial numbers (unless you're talking about my 1 vs. 100 project).

A cool addition to the PC and another one off the Linden list.

BEHIND THE MASKS - More Inspiration

I just returned last night from my yearly golf trip with buddies of mine from high school as well as my brother-in-law. The last 5 years, we have ventured out to B.C. for the 'tour', but this year decided to travel down south to Montana.

While the weather was hotter than here in town, my golf game was not. Still, it was a ton of fun and the days went far too fast.

I returned to find a number of bubble envelopes in my mailbox which included a pair of mask cards from the Inspired Masks set.

2010/11 In The Game
Inspired Masks
#IM-09 Mikael Tellqvist

This mask came from Tellqvist's time as a Phoenix Coyote. It shares as both a tribute to the Winnipeg Jets era as well as his Swedish roots.

On the one side (shown) is HOFer Bobby Hull while the other side has Swedish native Thomas Steen.

I actually found the photo that this artist rendering came from. A very nice depiction.

The second card come from a goalie who wore one of my favorite masks from a few years ago.

2010/11 In The Game
Inspired Masks
#IM-11 Wade Dubielewicz

Wade was the New York Islanders' main backup in 2007 and wore a mask that paid tribute to the glory years of the franchise.

On one side (shown) is a great moment in Isles history...Bob Nystrom scoring the overtime Stanley Cup winner against Philadelphia in 1980 (poor Mel Bridgeman). The other side of the mask shows Denis Potvin raising the Cup over his head.

While the front forehead area of the mask brought fans back to the much-maligned fisherman logo, it was the backplate that I got a kick out of.

Any mask with Yoda on it gets some cool points......right?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2010/11 Decades GU Number Silver

A Saturday pickup from the post office is the star of this installment of the Linden Card Of The Week.

Another gorgeous patch from the 'Decades' release.

2010 In The Game Decades
#M-62 Game Used Number Silver

Now, based on the insertion numbers posted on In The Game's website, there are only three of these cards out there. So when I first saw this one, I knew I would have to act quickly.

I saw this gem on one of the hobby boards I peruse regularly and at first I was a little off guard.

Someone had posted they had a sweet Linden card, but the photo that was attached to it was offline. I had no idea which card it was.

Regardless, I contacted the owner of the card and inquired - asking for a scan.

Upon seeing the scan, I quickly asked for an asking price. He said he was planning on putting it on ebay, but would listen to an offer.

Knowing what some of these cards have gone for in the past (and knowing what I have paid for cards from this set so far), I threw out what I thought was a respectable offer.

He agreed and the card made it into my hands today.

Definitely another upper tier Linden in the collection.

I'm going to have to take a closer look at the numbers, but I may have just recently surpassed the 1000 card mark for my Linden collection (that will make for a very cool photograph).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Patrick Lalime

I'm sure you have all heard by now that 17-year NHL veteran Chris Osgood announced his retirement a couple weeks ago. But did you know that another NHL goalie also hung up the skates that same day.

Patrick Lalime might not have had the longevity or numbers like Osgood, but he pieced together a pretty decent career for himself between the pipes.

To me, he will always be remembered as the goalie who holds the NHL record for the longest unbeaten streak to start a career (16 games...14-0-2). He ended his playing days with a total of 200 wins - not too shabby if you ask me.

But his goalie masks rank right up there as some of the best from his era.

Today, I'll be taking a look at one of his lesser know mask designs. His days with the Buffalo Sabres limited him to the role of backup, but his lid was definitely first string.

One of the staples of a Lalime mask is the big-eyed Looney Tunes character 'Marvin the Martian'. I'll get to how he brought that character on in a minute. But first, let's take a closer look at this mask.

Numerous buffalo roaming in a winterscape dictate the background of the mask allowing the blue color palette to dominate. A sword and shield flow down the sides of the mask with the gold accents adding a punch to the blue.

To top it off (literally) is the infamous Marvin character, this time donning a viking-esque horned helmet.

It's hard to miss those huge cartoon eyes on the top of Patrick's helmet. They have been a staple of his masks since his days as an Ottawa Senator.

The use of Marvin was due to the fact that the character struck a similar look as the Senators logo. The look fit and when Lalime moved on to St. Louis, so did the Martian.

He kept the look of the cartoon exact say for the root color now being blue.

It wasn't until he went to Chicago that a little creative injection was made to the look of Marvin.

An Indian headdress was now adorned by the cartoon character, giving him a look and feel consistent to the Blackhawks' vibe.

Move forward to Buffalo and a helmet with Buffalo horns on it completed the look Marvin the Martian would have during his career as a mask moniker.

A pretty solid career and a pretty solid mask.

3.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - Fleer Hot Prospects Hot Materials

A random page pick for this installment of 'One Sheet, One Set'. And this memorabilia pick will have to step it up a notch in order to live up to its moniker.

2006/07 Fleer Hot Prospects
Hot Materials

This 99 card jersey set boasts a horizontal card design (something that we have all associated with Upper Deck's flagship product), but that alone doesn't make for a successful set.

Right off the bat when I take a look at this 9-page sheet, I see two things glaring out at me.

First, every single one of the jersey patch windows covers up the logo on the jersey the player is wearing in the pic. Scrape some points off right there.

Second, the backgrounds are inconsistent from card to card. Some utilize the background shot while others go with a solid color. That change up really doesn't look good when looking at a group of cards from the product (as we are in this sheet).

Now, on to a more focused look at the card front (it's gotta get better.....right?)

Like I mentioned earlier, this is a horizontal card design. Unfortunately, I feel the placement of the various elements do more clashing as opposed to building.

The 'funnel' effect that the side edges give subtract too much card space from the design. It would have almost fared better as a die cut card. It feels like the design is in some way incomplete.

The 'Hot Materials' title at the top of the card isn't too bad (decent font and decent spacing) and the team color aspect is a nice touch. But again, it feels like it's taking up a little too much space (that photo is getting smaller and smaller).

The jersey swatch area is small in size, but somehow manages to impede on the photo way too much. The flaming wings on either side don't help with that either.

The team logo on the left hand side feels out of place and plunked into position. Big swing and a miss there.

The Hot Prospects logo and title are a little tough to read against the grey (same with the 'Authentic Jersey' title at the bottom of the card). The player name has a nice font style and feels somewhat proportional. It looks better against the black backgrounds as opposed to the colored ones (especially the lighter... like the Kolzig).

The wings on the bottom of the card at the sides are simple and uninspired (same too with the 'smoke' effect surrounding the photo).

On to the photo (or what's left of it). It's such a small space (even with the cutout of the player). The types of photos that can be used in this look are very limited and again are quite bland. A lot of blank stares.

The tinted color background is nice, but only when there is some photo element in the back. The solid color look just creates more boredom.

The back of the card doesn't make amends for the front. There's some good, some bad and yes... some ugly.

The 'Hot Materials' title gives some instant consistency. Yaaay! Sadly, that consistency is borrowed by the photo (which was bad enough to begin with). Why use it a second time?

The card number is so tiny that it looks like a little bug in the upper left. The player name is nice, simple and legible. Where was that on the front of the card?

The smoke effect behind the player tidbit makes the text harder to read (obviously two different people were working on the fonts).

The funnel effect is again prevalent but this time the extra white space is filled by a gradient color. Where did that come from?

Room enough for just one year's worth of stats. Terrible.

Not quite as terrible as some of the text below it though. Check it out on the Loui Eriksson.

"On the front of this card is a piece of memorabilia that has been certified to us as having been used in a photo shoot."

You're kidding me right? Can't even manage a game used piece 'eh?

Fortunately, not all of the cards 'reward' you with a photo shoot jersey. Still, even half or three-quarters is just not good enough. Not in this day and age of memorabilia swarming.

The ever-present logos lace the bottom of the card which is pinstriped and uninspired.

Overall, this card design is not an impressive one. Add to that the almost 100 card checklist (and not really an impressive one...Crosby is the big card booking at $50 while Lemieux and Roy come next at $25) and I would recommend staying away from this set.

Hot materials these are not.

2 out of 5


I recently stumbled into a discussion about the prices some sellers are putting on their cards when they place them up on the ebay auction block.

Some people feel discouraged that a card (or cards) they are interested in are placed up for bids with an unrealistic number attached to them (be it a 'Buy It Now' option or a seller's accepting price on a 'Best Offer').

Some feel that the seller is essentially holding the card 'hostage' as he is aware that there are people definitely interested in his item.

To me, it's quite simple...

If you own a card and are looking to sell it, YOU have the right to price it whatever YOU want it to be.

If you feel like pricing it at what most people would consider unrealistic - so be it. If you won't accept anything less than a certain amount - so be it. If you refuse to barter - so be it.

It's your card.

'Fair Market Value' can be a subjective term (especially with the higher end cards and those that are scarce). I might think it's 'worth' $200 while you might feel that $400 is on the low end. Neither one of us is wrong in my opinion. It's perspective.

And if you aren't willing to look at the other person's perspective, you're going to have a tougher time buying cards.

Book values have always been a guide - that's it. End of discussion. BV's are nothing more than opinions. If you want to follow the 'book' to the letter, so be it. But realize that not everybody does. And that doesn't always mean lower prices.

Past auction results help, but again that can change drastically from one item to the next. If a card is new to the market, it might go for more than say a couple months down the road.

Comparing one item to another that is similar is something that in my opinion should be done with even more caution. At times, that's like comparing apples to oranges.

At the end of the day, if there's a card out there that you need to be willing to pay the price the seller is looking for. Simple as that.

If you aren't willing to pay that price, then the question becomes - how patient are you? Unfortunately, those who complain about prices have very little patience in my opinion.

What are your thoughts when you see a card you'd like but the asking price is 'ridiculous'?