Friday, November 30, 2012

UPDATE: Devante Smith-Pelly Auto "Stamp"

About a month and a half ago I posted about autopens.  The whole subject was brought on by the rumour that Anaheim Ducks young star Devante Smith-Pelly was using a stamp to sign cards for both Panini and Upper Deck.

Well, there is now more to this story.

The owner of Hobby Insider (the sports  card site that I am a member of) was contacted by Martin McQuaig.  He's the Manager, Retail Licensing of the NHLPA.  He confirmed that DSP was indeed using a stamp.

The brands impacted were:

Panini Contenders
Panini Prime
Upper Deck SP Authentic
Upper Deck Ultimate
Upper Deck The Cup

Mr. McQuaig then went on to say that the NHLPA takes this matter seriously and that when they learned of this rumour they conducted their due diligence and concluded that the rumour was indeed true.

He mentioned that Upper Deck and Panini will be making announcements on their blogs regarding their plans to rectify the situation with collectors.

Upper Deck blog post

I can appreciate that the issue hasn't been ignored or swept under the rug.  Something like this, if left unresolved, can lead to more players using stamps and blow up into something rivaling the fake patch problems on the memorabilia side of things.

I'm curious to see what both Panini and Upper Deck have to say, but I am even more interested to hear from Smith-Pelly.  He's the one who should have the most to say - and the most to lose from this situation.

If I hear more, I will certainly update.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Some Superlative For Show

Wow.  That was a quick week.  I can't believe it's been 7 days since my last post.

Over the past week I've been happy to see some bubble mailers sitting in the mailbox.  Some new Superlative III cards for my Linden collection have shown up.

I've been pursuing these cards much more actively than Artifacts or The Cup.  I've noticed the price point for some of these cards to be lower than expected.  Too bad I jumped on a couple of these offerings too soon and didn't fully realize the savings.

Still, some nice cards to show let's get going.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
Auto & Jersey
#AJ-TL silver version

This was a bit of a miss on my part.  I have two copies of this card now.  With 40 copies of it out there you'd think that would be ok.  Unfortunately this is the most common card in the product.

I had picked one up at the local card show a couple weeks ago in a trade and was cringing that I made a cash & trade deal for this one.'s completely identical.  Ugh.  Oh well, this one's a trader.

It's tough to determine what to chase and what to try and pick up at the local shows.  With cards numbered to less than 50....odds are it won't show up.  In this instance I was wrong.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
#A-TL gold version

This was a nice surprise.  With only 10 copies of this card out there I had visions of the Captain C gold auto (also out of 10).  It was going for some pretty solid coin.

I managed to land this one for half the price I was originally expecting.

It's a pretty simple card....but it's a hard signed signature.  Can't complain there.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
Superlative Patch
#SP-30 gold version

From 10 to 9.  This card is a nice solid patch piece.  The yellow and orange always draw me in and this offering is no exception.  

Another one that I grabbed early on and I'm kicking myself at the price I paid.  What I thought was good at the time has turned into about a $20-30 overpay.

But you can't be too picky when there's this few in circulation.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
Auto plus Number
#SAP-TL silver version

Another card numbered to just 9, this has four very distinct and solid colors in it.  A very solid piece.  

This card, as well as the next one, has got me in a bit of a dilemma (you'll see where I'm going with this in a moment).

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
Raised To The Rafters
#RTR-36 silver version

One final card numbered to just 9 copies.  It showed up as a Buy It Now on ebay and the price was more than right.  This would definitely be the one card that has tilted the savings pendulum to my side for once.'s my issue.  Superlative III cards come in the packs already in penny sleeves and toploaders.  One additional thing In The Game did though was seal them.  You can see the ITG sticker at the top of each toploader.

The first couple cards I received were nicely sealed.  Just as they would have been coming out of the card producer's plant.

Unfortunately, the last couple has had the seal broken on them....allowing me to do this...

Free as a bird!!!

Now I've heard from Dr. Price (head guy for In The Game) that the sealed toploaders were only supposed to be for packaging and shipping in order to ensure a flawless card upon arrival.  Once in the hands of the collector the card is to be taken out of the case.

Me being one who likes to have things as pristine as possible am a little torn as to what to do with the cards that have popped seals.

Part of me wants to release them all so I can enjoy them and put them in one touch holders (like the rest of my memorabilia pieces) while the other part of me wants to find a replacement for each broken seal and "upgrade" so to speak.

But with the cards in question limited to just 9 copies, that might be easier said than done....especially if the next few arrived in that condition too.

Drama in my card collecting...what will I ever do?  Stay tuned to this dramatic soap opera.  I'm sure it'll be a cliff hangar.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

'30 in 30' LEGACY - Summit On Ice

Well, I don't want to do another 30 docs in 30 days anytime soon, but I do want to continue to post any sports documentaries that I watch.  Both for my own records and because there might be a couple of you who would be interested in watching them.

These will not be the drawn out reviews I did in October.  No chance.  These will be short and to the point.

I watched this offering a couple days ago after renting it from the library on the weekend.  Free is good.

Summit On Ice (1992)
96 mins.
Rated: G

This is a great behind-the-scenes documentary on the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia.  Done in 1992 and originally broadcast on CBC, this doc has a good selection of player interviews, archive footage and inside stories.  As well, Kenneth Welsh's voiceover is  really good.

While it doesn't go terribly in-depth with some of the happenings, it does paint a good picture of the events from (now) 40 years ago.  A solid watch.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I cracked a box of 2012/12 Artifacts a couple months ago and while the 'hits' weren't all that spectacular, there was one card that really caught my eye.

Some of you may know that I'm a sucker for certain vintage things.  Fibreglass masks being the biggie.  But I also love the old All-Star uniforms that NHLers wore in the early 80's.  The orange and black jerseys with the white stars as trim are a definite eye-catcher.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this offering...

2012/13 Upper Deck Artifacts
#49 Larry Robinson

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.  Awesome stuff.  And I really like the Montreal gloves Larry's sporting to top it all off.  Takes me back to the 1985 All-Star game I had the privilege of going to as a kid.

But as great as that photo is, there was another card that I found at the weekend card show that trumps it....well.  And it just happens to be another Larry Robinson.

2012/13 Upper Deck Artifacts
Frozen Artifacts dual jersey
#FA-LR Larry Robinson

Now let's address the obvious first thing....dude's got one mean 'Wilderness Bill'-style playoff beard going on.  Spectacular!  I don't ever recall ever seeing Larry sporting that look before.

But to top it all off, Upper Deck pulls out another great All-Star uniform.  This time from the 70's.  And look at the padding he's wearing (or should I say lack of).  Robinson is a big guy, but he doesn't look as big as some of the giants out there these days.  The padding really gives a false sense of size.

Once again, the nice Red and Blue gloves going halfway up the elbow.  Now that's vintage.  And flowing hair.  Just a great snapshot.

When I saw this card I knew I had to pick it up.  If for no other reason than to give it some proper face time right here.

It just goes to show how much a unique looking photograph can greatly increase the interest and desirability of a card - even a simple base card.

Monday, November 19, 2012

BEHIND THE MASKS - Four More... Much To My Surprise

Alright.  I finally got around to drawing up a list of the Masked Men 4 cards that I still need to track down.

Yes, thank you.  Thank you very much.

Sadly, I decided not to print it out before I made the trek down to the monthly card show last weekend.  Why?  I could bore you with the long drawn out reason.  Instead I will just cut to the chase and say "I was lazy".

I was lazy, but I also didn't expect to find any new mask cards at the show.  You see, most of the dealers at the show are there from month to month.  And a lot of them either have the same ol' stuff, or they have the most recent releases.

These Masked Men 4 card fall into neither of those categories (since I already pillaged all of the tables for the ones I needed).

Wouldn't you know it, I get to the show and see a new (but familiar) face setting up shop for the day.

And he had some Masked Men 4 cards.


So I did my best "I think I need this one" and came out pretty good in the end.

Four out of five.  In addition to these masks, I brought home a Jonas Hiller which I already had.  Not bad for the top of my head on a Saturday morning.

I knew for sure I needed the Fuhr.  That's an easy one to remember.  The Roloson didn't look familiar either.  But the Kipper and Quick had me worried a bit but happily, I needed those tow as well.

Now I'll give you more fuel to ridicule me.....

I still haven't printed out my list.

It'll get done before the next show. should anyways.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

1 vs. 100 - 12 x 5

An odd sighting at the card show Saturday.  I found another elusive number for my '1 vs. 100' project.  And then I found it again.... and again.... and again.... and again.

By the end of it I don't know if I got the best deal possible, but I do know that I'm knocking another one off the list.

2012/13 Upper Deck Artifacts
Frozen Artifacts Patch/Stick
#FA_DR Derek Roy  /12

I came across this card about half way through my day at the show.  As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it.  The price tag on it was a little higher than I wanted to spend.  The dealer could tell I was eyeballing it and soon knocked the price down to something I couldn't say no to.  It was still a shade high, but he's a guy who really keeps his eye out for me with Linden cards.  I don't mind plunking down a few extra bucks.

Thrilled, I walked along to the next table and WHAM....another card /12.  This time a Shane Doan from Artifacts.  And it was priced just lower than what I dropped on the Derek Roy.  I couldn't believe it.  For a couple years I haven't seen anything at the shows /12 and now two in a matter of minutes.

What are the odds.

I was so stunned that I decided to tell another dealer when he asked me what I had picked up.  He chuckled and proceeded to show me another /12.  Wow!  Thankfully it was a Tyler Seguin card and was priced well above what I had spent.

He continued digging and found two more in his boxes.  Shaking my head, I knew it was time to go.

But not before I made him sift through all of his stuff looking for the remaining cards on my list.  No luck there.

Just /12's.

89 out of 100  (89%)

TTM: My Niece's Fine Work

Custom cards have been created and mailed off in hopes of getting some TTM returns for the first time in a year-and-a-half.

They're not my designs however, nor did I create them...but I did help out in the whole process.  My paper, my printer and my die-cutter.  It was my niece who did all the work.  She came up with the design concept, built the template, cloned some backgrounds and pretty much did all the Photoshop work.

So enough talk, let's see what she came up with.

Oh, I should warn's "boy band" related.  You have permission to exit the room now.  You've been warned.

One Direction
Harry Styles

Yup, it's the uber-popular One Direction.  And while I could have my fun with this subject, I'm going to focus on the quality of the work my niece did.

One Direction
Liam Payne

First of all, my niece has a really good eye for photo placement.  She put all the band members nicely on the right-hand side of the card.  Some of their hair (as huge as it is) is cropped off of the finished piece.  I think that's not only acceptable, but preferred.  Having them placed within the borders of the card so that they all look uniform is key.  She did that perfectly.

One Direction
Niall Horan

She decided to extend the backgrounds of some of the photos so that there would be the proper space on the left side.  In order to do that she had to clone the siding that's on the building.  Making it go further left than what's actually there in the photo.

It's pretty seamless.  You wouldn't know that the photo was more of just a headshot and that's it.  Nicely done.

One Direction
Zaya Malik

Now at first I thought the left side would be used for the signature.  We've all seen autograph cards with this horizontal layout.  But my niece had other ideas.

She wanted to put a quote from each of the band members next to them.  Gives it a more personal and individual look.  See accented these quotes by making them a different color....their favourite color.  Smart.

One Direction
Louis Tomlinson

So the last question I had was "Where are they supposed to sign?"

In another unique twist, she's having them sign the back of the cards.

I thought that was pretty cool.

She kept the backs very simple and uniform.  Only the band member's name will change from card to card.  That's also the 'sweet spot' for the signature.

I'll admit, I thought there was a little bit of "I'm just doing enough to get by" rather than "Revise. Revise. Revise." to get the best possible result.  Still, these cards look really nice.

We assembled them on Friday and mailed them off Saturday.

While it's a longshot to see these five cards returned - all of them signed, I told my niece that it's a better chance than if you hadn't done them at all.

At worst, she has an unsigned set for herself.  Something she can be proud to say she created completely by herself.

Excellent job kiddo.  Fingers crossed.

TRADEBAIT - Having Some Hobby Fun

After the disappointment of Friday where I received a Linden card (that had been on my wantlist for as long as I can remember) in less than acceptable condition, I went to the local card show Saturday in hopes of a rebound.

And it happened in spades.

The best part is that the card I picked up isn't going to be in my possession for very long.  In fact, it's already in a bubble envelope ready to be shipped to its new home.

As a player collector, I have come to realize that I need help in tracking down all the cards out there.  Getting my name out to the dealers, store owners and other collectors in general has helped immensely over the years.  To the point where they don't even need to be asked sometimes...they come to me with the "Hey, I gotta....".  And it is very much appreciated.

Well, I picked up a card that gave me the opportunity to go "Hey, I gotta...." to another diehard player collector.

2003/04 Beehive
#49 Derek Morris gold /15

It's been over three years since one of the most important Linden purchase days for me ever.  Among some of the rarities was the 2003/04 Beehive gold /15.  It was a huge card to knock off the wantlist.

So when I was flipping through a $2 binder at the show and came across this Morris, I decided to pick it up.  I knew that there was a Derek Morris collector that might need it.

This morning I did a little searching and I did find that Morris collector.  Sure enough, the card was on the wantlist.  She was thrilled to hear I had a copy.  She was even more thrilled when I told her of the price.

The feeling of helping out a fellow collector for nothing more than the satisfaction of seeing another card being crossed off a list is fantastic.

Makes me almost forget about the Linden I've got to tack back on to mine.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

OPINION - Card Condition

This opinion has come about because of one of the most "up and down" days of collecting I've had in a very long time.

A couple weeks ago came across an ebay auction for a card that has been on my wantlist for almost 10 years.  It was bundled in with 5 other cards but I didn't care....I was going to land this elusive piece of cardboard.

The auction came and went and I won...ending up paying less for the lot of 6 than I would have gladly plunked down just for the single Linden card.  I couldn't get the payment sent off to the seller fast enough.

There have been few cards over the past 2-3 years that has garnered this much excitement in me.  What's the card you ask?

Why it's an 03/04 OPC "Topps" parallel /100.  Oh how you have dodged me for the last time.  Can you say cloud nine (as in the serial number)?

Sadly, the card got the last laugh.

In addition to the plain white envelope with minimal padding.  In addition to the fact that the cards....not in penny sleeves...were just shoved in toploaders (3 per toploader).  In addition to the dinged corners on some cards.  It had to be the Linden that possessed the dreaded crease.

B to the RUTAL!

This kind of damage isn't something that happens in shipping, even with the (in my opinion) less than adequate shipping practices.  This is something that I would bet good money has been sitting on the card for a while.

NrMt, Mint, Gem, Pristine, Poor, "chipped corners", "dinged corners", creased, the list goes on.  These are industry terms that are used all the time to illustrate the condition of any given card.  They are used for a reason.

Looking back at the auction, I should have noticed that nowhere in the description did it state the condition of the cards.  The Linden wasn't the only one that would be deemed substandard.

That just pisses me off.

So I sat down in front of the computer and wrote a stern but fair e-mail to the seller.  I expressed my frustration that the cards were packaged in the manner they were and that the Linden especially was damaged.

The seller to his credit did respond promptly.  He did try to defend the shipping methods slightly but also gave the excuse that he had an assistant do it since he was away at the Toronto Expo.  He offered a full refund if I wanted to send back all the cards or a partial refund if I wanted to keep some of the cards.

Needless to say - they are all going back.  And I'm expecting the seller to foot the bill for the return shipping.

Examining the card you are about to sell and communicating any potential issue areas is just common courtesy.  It's also something I will no longer take for granted when I see a lack thereof the next time an auction of interest shows up.

Just terrible.

Friday, November 16, 2012

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 1 Down... 19 To Go

Superlative III is the newest product to shovel a multitude of Trevor Linden cards in its wrappers.  I was recently talking to a couple Linden collectors and one mentioned that there is definitely a saturation of Trev's cards in the secondary market right now.  It might be part of the reason why some of the ending prices have been going a little lower than originally anticipated.

I for one have no complaints about that.

This is a high-end product with a lot of cards being a very limited print run (less than 20).  My plan of attack this go around (and has been for the last couple releases) is to not concern myself with the "lower-end" cards as I will try to trade for them or pick them up when this wave of product dies down.  Rather, try to pick off a couple of the bigger ticket items and cross my fingers.

With The Cup and Artifacts (and to some extent Forever Rivals) not panning out exactly as I would have hoped, Superlative III has been a very successful first week.  This first card is definitely proof of that.

2012/13 In The Game Superlative III
Superlative Auto Plus Emblem
#SAP-TL Silver Version  /9

Saw it.  Had to have it.  Hoped I could get it for a fair price.  Did.

This is a gorgeous patch card with four distinct colors.  Lots of breaks and dare I say - unique.

Oh, and in case you missed it...hard-signed autograph (he nailed this one right in the sweet spot).

I'm a little torn about the window for the patch.  While I like the idea of the "III" die-cut, I can't help but think it's just taking away from seeing even more of the patch.  A big square (as boring as that would be) would give an even clearer window.

I'm also experiencing something else new with this Linden card.  Up until now any memorabilia piece that comes into my collection gets the magnetic one-touch treatment.  But Superlative is unique in that it houses the card in a sealed toploader.  My first instinct is to crack the seal and free the card.....only to seal it up again.

I've always been a big believer in keeping things the way they were originally released.  I don't peel protective coatings off of my Linden cards, I don't crack my Linden cards out of the graded slabs and I'm hard pressed to snip this sticker apart so I can yank the card out.

But boy am I tempted....especially with this one.

A very nice start to the Superlative venture.  With a card show this weekend and another trade night coming up next wek, I'm hoping to add some local flavours to these pickups.

TRADEBAIT - Joe Sakic Auto/Patch

Do you guys use Photobucket?  I do.  I also use a pretty old Mac computer that is in need (big need) of an operating system upgrade.  I'm lazy like that.

I'm noticing a little lag in certain webpages and others - won't load anymore.  Photobucket being one of those pages.  Ever since they did the ol' upgrade to their look I've bee struggling to be friends with it.  I think I might need to spend a little Christmas money into upgrading the computer.  She's been a very reliable tower....and definitely deserves the once over.

Anyways, I thought I'd post a card here on my blog since it may be a part of an upcoming trade.  A little show & tell bonus for all of you.

2011/12 Panini Contenders
Contenders Legacies
#155 Joe Sakic  /100

I picked up this nice hard-signed auto/two-colored patch at a recent trade night.  I felt like moving some stuff out just for the sake of bringing in some new blood to the trade box.

With Superlative III recently released there has been a huge flood of Linden cards hitting the market (and a slight price drop I might happily announce....although I'm sure it will only be temporary) I'm on the hunt for some new pickups.

This Sakic might be a piece in the puzzle towards one of those cards.  I hope so since I much prefer trading for cards to go in my collection as opposed to always buying.

And speaking of Linden Superlative cards....stay tuned.  I just received my first one in the mailbox and it's a nice one.  I'm thinking a nice Friday mailday is in order later this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Revisiting An Old Friend

I mentioned last week that I had received a couple of nice gifts in the mail recently.  In addition to Paul's generous contribution of Raise The Cup cards (and some nice Linden cards too), I was thrilled to see this card poke it's head out of a bubble mailer as well.

1995/96 Upper Deck
Post Cereals
#14 (in wrapper)

Now for those of you uber-diehards to my blog, you might recognize this as my first ever Linden Card Of The Week.  This is one of my all-time favourite Trevor Linden cards - hands down.

It was given to me by Ameet over at Hat Tricks & Home Runs.  He was hoping I needed it.  And while I do have a copy in my collection, I didn't have one that was still in its wrapper.  Very cool.

Now I don't actively pursue Linden cards still in their wrapper, but when I come across one (for the right price) I will happily pick it up.  In fact, I should dig them out.  They would make for a fun blog post sometime.

Thanks very much for the card!  It'll sit proudly in the collection.

Monday, November 12, 2012

RAISE THE CUP - A Great Gift

It's been a slow last week and a half since my 30 in 30 completion.  There haven't been too many Linden card arrivals and only a couple things in general worth posting.  That said, I fully expect things to pick up[ over the rest of the month.

The Toronto Fall Expo was this past weekend and with it the release of In The Game's newest product - Superlative III.  I did the math....20 Linden cards to chase.  That's right - TWENTY.

For a moment I was pretty bummed.  Why so many?  Why couldn't it be 6 or 8?  But soon I told myself that I don't need all 20 (and it's next to impossible to expect I would land all 20) and that a slow and steady approach will keep things enjoyable and financially maintainable.

I've already landed a couple of these new cards and should have some nice mailposts coming over the next few weeks.

Speaking of mailposts, I received a great package from Paul over at Card Boarded last week.  Totally unexpected.  Inside was a great surprise.  In addition to a handful of Linden base and parallels (sadly I have them all....but they are still very much appreciated and will be placed into my collection) there are a few Raise The Cup cards.  These are always exciting cards to chase down.

1995/96 Pinnacle
#86 Scott Stevens

A nice closeup shot of Scott.  It's odd seeing such an intense player actually show a little joy.  I'd love to see a little more of the Cup, but I can see how one would hesitate thinking it would take away from the expression.

1990/91 Score
1990 Stanley Cup Champions
#331 Edmonton Oilers

Here's a first - a team shot.  Goaltender (and Conn Smythe winner) Bill Ranford is clearly the focus as he leads the parade around the rink.  Sadly, Messier had to get in the way and ruin a perfectly good photo.

1994/95 Premier
#185 Alexei Kovalev

We need a ruling on the field here.  Technically, I stated the the Cup must be raised 'over the head'.  I've bypassed a couple cards in the past because of this.  But at the same time, I've included this Kirk Muller card into the RTC family while disallowing this card.

I've come to this conclusion...

It's my project.....and I can do what I want to.

Muller - IN

Kovalev - IN

Messier - OUT (heh heh heh)

1998/99 Victory
A Hockey Legacy
#407 Wayne Gretzky

Wayne raising the Cup is just cool.  No more needs to be said here.

One thing.....color photo please.

2001/02 Victory
#85 Ray Bourque

Talk about cool!  This card might just go down as my new fave.

I vividly remember watching this game.  Seeing Colorado on a mad mission to get Ray his Stanley Cup.  To see him sitting on the bench as the clock winds down - over-emotional.  And who can forget the moment Captain Joe Sakic showed true class by passing the trophy over to Ray so he could be the first on the team to hoist it.

For it to be captured on cardboard like this (a great photo) and on a low-end product like Victory just reinforces that there are an endless amount of cards and projects to build in this great world of collecting.

Thanks so much Paul for the great adds.  I really appreciate it.

Current Collection - 96 cards

Saturday, November 10, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - The Original Six Tour

Tradebait.  Journeymen.  Throw-ins.  Afterthoughts.

There have been a number of NHL players through the decades who have come and gone with little more than a whimper or dent in the history of the sport.  Not everybody can be a superstar.

That said, I believe there is an intriguing story that sits within every single player to have laced up the skates and played pro hockey.

But when you are bounced from team to team, what creates that interest?  What creates that story?

For Vic Lynn, it was the bouncing itself that made him unique.

He came into the league in the early 40's and although he had exceptional speed, he didn't click right away with any of the teams he played for.  But his determination and fortunate bounces wrote a very memorable 20+ year career.

So what made Vic so special?  What was it about him that was unlike any other player in the league (before...or since)?  What's his story?

DID YOU KNOW: Vic Lynn is the only player in NHL history to play for all six 'Original Six' teams.

Think about that for a second.  He put each of those great sweaters on at one point in his career.  But only by the slimmest of margins did he accomplish the feat.

His quest started with the New York Rangers.  And it lasted just one game.

In 1943 Vic fell in with the Detroit Red Wings but failed to impress the coaches and management.  He lasted just three games with the parent club before being demoted to the farm.

In Montreal, it was just two tilts.  So that's six games with three teams.  That in itself is pretty incredible.

But his hard work and determination were about to pay off.

In 1946, Lynn would catch the eye of Toronto GM Conn Smythe.  Smythe was looking for some fresh talent and a spark to his Leafs team.

The match would lead to some of his best years in the league.  He was teamed with Howie Meeker and Teeder Kennedy to form the 'K-L-M Line' and the trio clicked.  So much so that the Leafs won the Stanley Cup three years in a row (1947, 48, 49).

In 1950, Lynn was traded to Boston.  A pretty big trade at the time, he was sent along with Fern Flaman and Leo Boivin among others.

After a little more than a full season with the Bruins, he was sent to the minors.

His hard work gave him one more kick at the NHL can.  This time with Chicago.  He registered just a single goal in 40 games for the Hawks often playing games near the end of the year.

In 1953, he was sent down from the NHL for the final time.  The remainder of his career was spent in the minors as a player/coach.

Here's a great little cartoon chronicling Vic's amazing trip through all six teams.

And while there may be a player who plays for all six franchises down the road (after all, they do play a lot of 'revolving doors' in today's NHL), the fact that is was done when all that existed was the Original Six makes this accomplishment quite impressive.

Vic Lynn passed away just a couple short years ago at the age of 85.  I tried to find an interview with him talking about his unique NHL journey, but to no avail.

Now you know.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 in 30 - That's A Wrap!

Thirty documentaries (actually 31) in October.  A lot of interesting topics, compelling stories and unique personalities were on tap and this month-long project was well worth the trip.

While there were some less-than-stellar picks, most were very enjoyable and informative.  From simple editing and low-quality footage to the cream of the crop archive resources and high-end interviews, I quickly learned that there's a lot that goes into making a great documentary.

Some of the highlights of this October trek will be better offered up in a sort of "Oscars" format.

Best Film: Hoop Dreams

This was an easy choice.  It was the doc that has stuck with me the longest after watching it.  The commitment from the film crew and documentary subjects was tremendous and the ups and downs that both basketball players endure make them very easy to root for.

A "must watch" for any sports doc fan.

Honorable Mention: Pumping Iron

Sleeper Surprise: Fire In Babylon

I walked into this film knowing nothing - ZERO about cricket and yet I found this doc really interesting.  Lots of great archive footage, good interviews and some music that blends it all together.  It's the title I'm looking to add to my collection the most.

Honorable Mention: Bobby Fischer Against The World

Memorable Moment: TT3D (final race)

You've got to be one crazy cat to do what these guys do to begin with.  But seeing some of the footage come out of those final races is amazing.  Scary...but amazing.

Honorable Mention: Seve - The Legend (final message to the fans)

Biggest Surprise:  Muhammad Ali in Thrilla In Manila

I've always seen Muhammad Ali in a positive light.  This doc shows that he was sometimes a not-so-nice guy.

Honorable Mention: Larry Bird in Magic & Bird (didn't know what happened to his dad)

Best Editing: Magic & Bird

A great mix of pace and flow combined with some solid production elements made this doc sing from start to finish.

Honorable Mention: Knuckleball (great opening sequence)

Fist Pump Award: The Last Gladiators

Not only did I not think I'd be able to watch this film when the month started, but the circumstances and events of the evening made this the best doc "experience" of the month.  Big screen watch as well as a Q&A with Chris Nilan afterwards.  No brainer.

Honorable Mention: Seve - The Legend

Most In Need Of A Remake: Never Say Die - The Story Of The New York Islanders

Ugh.  This was a blunt reminder of what to expect when you are watching an NHL-produced doc from the 90's.  Even tougher to watch when it's focus is a team with such a rich history.

Honorable Mention: Fire On The Track

Worst Of The Bunch: Mario Lemieux - The Best. Ever.

Nope.  Never.

Honorable Mention: Tyson ( just didn't do it for me)

Wasn't In The Cards: Undefeated

An Oscar-winning film that unless I go buy it is just not out there.  Unless I'm missing something.  I still plan on watching it....once I find it.

Honorable Mention: The Curious Case Of Curt Flood

I could go on, but instead I'll just say that if you're ever looking for some good documentary viewing, check out my 30 in 30 posts and give one a shot.

Moving forward, I'll be doing mini-reviews of sports docs I see.  It'll keep this subject alive on my blog.  Something that's a big part of my overall enjoyment when it comes to sports in general.

And just to show how much I like some of the films out there these days, check out my pre-Christmas present to myself...

The first season of 30 for 30 is finally coming out on BluRay in Canada.  It ships next week.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Recently, I have posted a number of Linden cards that are new to the market.  There is a definite rollercoaster effect going on right now with Trev's cardboard insertion into products.

And a lot of high-end product at that.

A few weeks ago, it was this sweet Superlative patch that caught my eye. No question it is one gorgeous looking card.  With that card came the knowledge that my guy was going to be in In The Game's high-end release Superlative III.  The only question was - how many cards?

Well, one of his patch cards hit ebay yesterday (a full 3 days before the product is set to be does that happen?) and it prompted me to check things out.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
Superlative Patch

First off...this is yet another stunning card from In The Game.  I'm currently struggling with what shiny piece of Linden goodness to go after these days - there's no way I can chase them all right now.

And after checking the In The Game website for checklists in this limited product, I've found that my guy has about 6-8 cards coming down the pipe.  Not too bad...but when they are all high-end like will be the case here, it makes for a hefty add to the list.

But better to have more on the list than none - right?

BEHIND THE MASKS - An Inspired Tim Thomas

I'll's been nice over the past week.  After what was a record-setting October for posts on my blog (one that I don't think will ever be broken), I haven' typed a word since.

Until now.

A quick note on my (what I consider a very successful) 30 in 30 project.  I will have a full wrap-up this weekend.  And moving forward, I think I'll do a little mini write-up/review of future sports docs I watch.  The biggest thing I've learned is that I absolutely love the documentary genre and will be seeking out many more titles in the months and years to come.

I was also the fortunate recipient of a couple gifts this past week from two  fellow bloggers.  I'll have some detailed show & tell posts coming up.  In the meantime - Thank You!  You know who you are.

Now on to a nice goalie mask pickup from this week.

2010/11 ITG Between The Pipes
Inspired Masks
#IM-02 Tim Thomas

This card comes from a slick looking set that Between The Pipes decided to insert into their product a couple seasons ago.

At first, I decided to sit back and watch as the prices on these singles were pretty high.  I guess a lot of people were chasing this insert set.

I've managed to pick up about half of the 13-card set to this point and have done so by trades and inexpensive purchases.  This Thomas fits into the latter.

I will occasionally do a random ebay search for various goalie mask cards (old Pinnacle Masks, Topps Pristine Minis and these Inspired Masks).  My most recent search had me staring at this beaut.  I tossed a minimum bid on it and a few days later was paying for my new purchase.

This card is obviously very simple in design but I like it.  It makes it much easier to appreciate the artist's work in depicting not just the goalie, but their mask as well.

On Timmy's lid (from the 2010 Winter Classic) is longtime Boston announcer Fred Cusick.  The background of yellow with snowflakes really sets the "outdoor game" tone.  I'm always amazed at how much detail can be pushed into these drawings and the likeness is bang on.

One more for the collection and another one off the list.  Can't get much simpler than that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 in 30 - Day 31: Thrilla In Manila

After that complete garbage of a 'doc' I watched yesterday to round out the 30 in 30, I decided that one more film to finish off the month was a necessity.

This one comes as a recommendation from a loyal reader of this blog and I am very appreciative of his suggestion.

One of my all-time favourite sports documentaries is When We Were Kings.  The story of the Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman...the Rumble In The Jungle.  All these years later, the story is still so captivating.  The interviews are still so impactful.  The b-roll is so fantastic.

I was excited to see that another movie featuring Ali was on the radar.

Tonight's film - Thrilla In Manila

Thrilla In Manila (2008)
90 mins.
Rated: NR (some definite racial tones are covered and a bit of profanity)

"On October 1, 1975, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali was in the ring with his arch rival Joe Frazier for the third time.  This fight is considered one of the most dramatic boxing matches in history.  This documentary not only reconstructs the match, but shows us what was happening behind the scenes as well."  (source: imdb)

Link to the film - I watched it online via youtube.

Many people consider the Ali/Frazier III fight to be the greatest fight ever. I was only two at the time so I wouldn't know.  But after watching this doc, it's definitely higher up on the list.

We see Joe Frazier, present day, in the gym where he trained for the fight.  He runs the place - and lives there with his son.  He's in his 60's and although he's still getting around, you can see how his career has physically worn him down (not to the extent though that Ali is).  The other aspect that is clearly noticeable is the monetary results of their careers in boxing.  Ali, highly revered by his fans and public in general, walked away from the sport not needing to worry about money ever again.  His name alone brings in millions.  Frazier on the other hand is left to live a very simple life in an upstairs loft in a tough Philly neighbourhood.

Bluntly put, Frazier is ok with this as he says Ali is now paying the price for what he did and said when he was younger.  The disrespect shown towards Frazier has now come back to bite Muhammad in the butt.

What started out as a strong friendship between the two (Frazier helping Ali out when he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, keeping Ali in a positive light in the media, helping out with money when needed) turned very bitter when , after Joe took the vacant title that was stripped from Muhammad, Ali was reinstated.  The attitude changed almost overnight.

In their first fight, Ali kept commenting that Frazier was dumb, ugly and so on.  But it was relentless.  Racial abuse was prevalent.

This was the point in the film where I was seeing a very interesting group of people telling the story.  It's a shame that the two main figures can't fully express themselves - giving the true, absolute picture.

Joe Frazier was backed by a group called Cloverlay (a very 'white' group) while Ali was backed by the Nation of Islam (who was at the time talking about a merge with the KKK....Ali even spoke at one of these rallies.  Crazy!).  Ali portrayed Frazier as a traitor to the black community.

Interestingly though, it was Joe who was more the working class black than Muhammad.  Public perception (which was drawn out by Ali) can be very telling.

1971, the first fight.  This was the first time two undefeated champs would face off.  Dubbed the Fight Of The Century, Frazier was dominating.  He knocked down Ali in the 15th round and eventually won by unanimous decision.

Their second fight, in 1974, was not thoroughly covered.  The interview leading up to the match where the two got into a scrap was however.  An anticlimactic fight, Ali won it on pints.  A lot of clutching and grabbing.

That fight wasn't for the belt, since Joe lost it to George Foreman earlier.  George destroyed Joe in just 2 rounds.  Hence the lesser impact.  Ali in turn took the belt from Foreman (the Rumble in the Jungle) setting up this grudge match.

Fight 3, which Ali initially viewed as just an easy payday became a spectacle when he was walking around with his girlfriend and hitting on women....while his wife was at home.  Muhammad's poor decision making were once again in focus in this doc.

The first fight to be broadcast live via satellite, would be fought in the early morning to accommodate the US audience (since the fight was taking place in the Philippines.  A last minute referee replacement brought even more drama and questioning into the fight.

Ali won the first few rounds and started playing to the crowd.  But by round 5, Frazier started to dominate.  A fairly even match, Ali finds some strength in the 13th round and knocks Frazier's mouthpiece into the 5th row.  Ali starts pounding Frazier hard, but Joe was going on heart and determination.

Round 14.  That's all I'll say about that.  Watch it.  Many say that Ali hammered Frazier so much that he nearly killed him.....but he wouldn't go down.  The will to keep going was tremendous.

After that round, apparently Ali wanted his gloves cut off....he was done.  Joe on the other side of the ring wanted to continue.  The doctor though decided to stop the fight as Frazier was not in a condition to continue.  Ali wins...and collapses - exhausted.

Joe Frazier, asked point blank, said he would have risked his life to go out there for the final round.

After the fight,Ali tried to reconcile with apologizing to his son.  Joe wants to know why Muhammad never decided to speak to Frazier in person.

Joe seems to take pride in the condition that Ali is in these days - even taking responsibility.  He got what he deserved.

In a postscript, Ali claims that everything he said was all for the promotion of the fights and not personally directed towards Frazier.

Boy, does this doc make a person think.  What really was the motivation? What really is the truth?  There are a number of people in this doc who claim to know.....but unless your name is Ali or Frazier, you don't.  And Ali definitely does not come off in this doc looking very good.  My perception of who he is changed I need to know if it's validated.

The interviews are really good (at times though very one sided) and I would have liked a little more of Joe (I don't know how good his clips would have been).  The archive footage is top notch and the filimg of various sets really blends the entire film together nicely.

An interesting story without question (one I didn't fully know) and it makes me want to find out more.  If you're a fan of When We Were Kings....I think you'll like this offering as well.

4 out of 5

Here are some other reviews I found online for the film...

LA Times


Bleacher Report

Well.....that's it.  Thanks to everyone who endured my ramblings.  I'm thrilled to have accomplished this little experiment and have quickly realized that there are a lot of good, quality sports docs out there.

So go find them.

Now what am I going to do?