Tuesday, April 30, 2013


My lack of posts is something that I am having zero concerns with.  I just thought I'd share with those of you who might be wondering.

I've been sick - a nasty cold - one of the worst I've ever had.

It wrote me off for a couple days last week and I've been running at about 60-70% ever since.  I'm feeling better each day, but it sucks to have a plate full of stuff piling up.

To top it all off, I've got one of the biggest half-months coming up starting Thursday.  Lots......LOTS to do.  And I want to make sure I'm back up to 100% for it.

So I've been shoving a lot of stuff off the plate.  Not happy to do it, but it must be done.

Stay tuned though.....I'll have some good stuff to share soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Busy weekend is finally over.  Is it wrong to kind of be a little bit happy that "regular routine" Monday is on its way?

Yesterday was an awesome afternoon with my nephew.  He had asked me about a month ago if we could go see the new Jackie Robinson movie '42'.

He's 10!

And he asked me to go see this sports biopic.


Um.....yeah!  I was absolutely pumped at the invite.

Opening weekend was a no go as he was sick but yesterday was smooth sailing as we headed to the theatre.  I was more interested in seeing if he would be engaged throughout the movie or if he would just get bored with it.

Long story short.....he loved it.  So did I.  It's a really solid flick if you get a chance to see it.  It's PG so a lot of the harsh, harsh stuff Robinson had to go through was not put in the film.  But there are some tough moments without question.

I loved my nephew's initial reaction when Harrison Ford (who does a great job playing Dodgers Pres. & GM Branch Rickey) hit the screen.  "Hey, that's Han Solo."  I saw it coming a mile away.  But it didn't take long before Ford became Rickey.

Go see it if you like your biopics.

Anyways, on to today's card.

A while back I posted a sweet shot of Dominic Roussel from a mid-90's junk wax release.

See....not bad at all.  One in a million to get that puck to do its thing right?


Much to my surprise, I found another.  With Roussel.

1993/94 Upper Deck
#336 Dominic Roussel

Eyes glued on the puck like in the first photo.  Flyers logo crisp and clean on the puck.  And the epitome if "freezing time".  Imagine if it was from the same game!  Kudos to the photographer.

It's amazing how many good shots can be found on junk wax era cards if one just takes the time to go through them.  I was sifting through a bunch of my commons recently and pulled out a good dozen or so (and could've yanked quite a few more).

Makes me wonder why more photos like these - or any unique sports photos for that matter - aren't used when creating card sets.  I find a lot of sets have simple, boring 3/4 body shots of guys turning left or right.  Simple "I'm ready for a faceoff" poses or "Hey....look over there.  You know, where the action is".

A photo like the Roussel above can create interest and attraction.  And while it might not be everybody's cup of tea, I can't help but think there are a bunch of collectors out there who would scramble at good solid photography.

Friday, April 19, 2013

PACK RIPPING - 2012/13 Panini Certified

Busy week.  Amazing to say because it was only a 3-day week for me.  Thursday and Friday are holiday days for yours truly and the timing could not be better.  Work's been ramping up and the past few nights have been jam packed.

A charity poker tournament (in which I got hit with one bad beat after another), an out-of-town concert with my niece (tons of fun...but the drive home was a toughie) and a long chat with my financial advisor (yearly talk....but the prep had be up late) all wrapped up in a week where I'm trying to prep for my friend's wedding...where I get to be the emcee.  Normally I'd groan at the thought, but I'm really looking forward to rocking the mic.  Lots of stories to tell.

Anyways, I missed the mid-month trade night so as a result I can get a little more caught up in my other show & tell posts.  I semi-caved at the start of the month where I picked up a couple packs of Certified to ease my pack ripping crave.

Let's check out the goods.

2012/13 Panini Certified
2 packs

Two whole packs.  Not expecting much, but the longshot pull would have been a redemption card for a Trevor Linden Tyler Ennis dual autograph card /25.  I'll end the suspense.....I didn't get it.

The base are shiny.....real shiny.  Too shiny if you ask me.  A little more texture or background photo on the card would have helped out this look. The design is nothing special and for a mid-range product it left me feeling a little bland.

I do have enough cards for my 'One Sheet, One Set' project (which has been sitting stagnant for a might long time).  So at least they won't totally go to waste.

A Fabric Of The Game jersey card of recently traded Jason Pomminville.  I'm betting that the demand for this went down.  Hello dollar box (if I had a table at a show).

Last but not least though was a pretty solid hit for a two-pack rip.

A dual jersey (prime) card /10.

Both jerseys are two-colored with seams.

The card comes from the Path To The Cup set so it has a Stanley Cup connection.

New Jersey and Florida (meh).

So can you guess who my two guys are?

I guarantee you.....not in 100 years.

Hmmmmmm.  To be honest, I didn't even know Steve Bernier still played in the NHL.  Brian Campbell I guess isn't the worst guy to have, but he's not in my top 10 Florida picks.......and I don't even know 10 players from Florida.  That's gotta tell you something.

But, it's out of 10 and maybe with a little luck I can find a player collector for one of these two guys.  Or maybe a set collector.  That would be great.  A break-even here would be just fine.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!! - Hey....Leggo My Jersey (x4)

I was sifting through some of my old 90's base cards the other week and came across four beauties that will get shared billing in this installment of 'To The Bike Spokes'.

With everything from technology to player access to heightened expectation, hockey cards have gone from an odd mixture of uninspired photos to what could be seen as either an amazing collection of pics or another uninspired trip around the block.

Four cards from the mid-90's were screaming out in their uniqueness though and I thought I'd share.  Mainly because I don't think you'd see anything of the sort these days.

1993/94 Leaf
#328 Brian Benning

A well placed stick into the jersey of Benning creates this interesting photo that made me do a double-take the first time I saw it.  Penalty or not, it really separates itself from the rest of the cards in the set.

I don't know if it was intentional to use this photo or if it was the only one of Benning that was available at the time, but I thought it looked unique.

Until I saw this one...

1993/94 Parkhurst
#117 Bernie Nicholls

Well, I guess every type of photo is open for imitation.

This Bernie Nicholls (yes....he did play for the Devils) shot created the same type of distraction for me when I saw it.  I didn't necessarily think it was a cool pic, but more of an interesting coincidence.

And then there's this one....

1995/96 Leaf
#282 Johan Garpenlov

Yup....another Panther.  Why use a stick when you can just grab with your mitt.  I'm pretty sure this should've been called for two minutes.

It just looks really weird to see this logo-less jersey staring at you.  What a messy photo.  You can't really call it an action shot but rather somebody trying to stop the action shot.

And since we're on the theme....

1995/96 Upper Deck
#28 Yanic Perreault

Why not.  We don't need to see that Kings logo.

I wonder who the crafty Canuck is that's wrecking.....I mean, enhancing this shot?  As a nice little bonus for Yanic, check out what the goalie is doing with his stick.  Yowzers!

They're odd-looking, unique, one-of-a-kind photos...but that's not always a good thing.  I think that's why you don't see photos like this on cardboard anymore these days.  Action shots are just that - Action!  These are just flat out silly.

And for that, you quartet of crazy....



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ARTICLE(s) - Some Wicked Wagners And A Backup Butler

A couple of big news items this past week with regards to a pair of 1906 T206 Honus Wagner cards.  After reading about the 'Holy Grail' of cards last month, I've been kind of keeping my eye on the news regarding this treasured piece of cardboard.

The first article talks about how a copy of this card, dubbed the "Jumbo" Wagner (because of its larger border area in comparison to the "Gretzky" Wagner) recently sold at auction for $2.1 million.  I just missed out on being the winning bidder.....but realized at the last moment that the auction house was expecting real money and not Monopoly dough.

The "Jumbo" Wagner, while a lower grade (PSA 5), might now be considered the most sought after Wagner after the second news story came out this week.

Bill Mastro, the self proclaimed "King Of Memorabilia" and a key player in the history of the "Gretzky" Wagner, admitted to trimming the corners of the legendary card.  What's amazing is that the card's value is likely to increase (mostly due to the incredible history and almost mythic-like lore that the card has endured).

What I want to know.....how reputable will PSA become in the future now that it has been linked to grading a compromised card?

I'm sure it won't be the last time we hear about an Honus Wagner T206 card.

Now on to another great story from this evening.

The Vancouver Canucks were in town visiting the lowly ol' Flames.  Scheduled to start in net for the Nucks was Cory Schneider (as per usual).  But he came down with an illness so it was Roberto Luongo to the rescue - not a bad backup plan IMO.  Anyways, it was decided that Schneider would not be the backup.

Signed on as an emergency backup was a guy named Dustin Butler, a 25-year-old goalie playing with the University of Calgary Dinos.  Talk about living out a childhood dream.

He did have some WHL experience (and was actually teammates with Canucks forward Jannik Hansen) but this was a huge jump...one I'm sure he never expected.

Here's some video of him during the Canucks pre-game and warmup.

With the Canucks scoring a pair of goals in the third period to go up 3-1, it would have been awesome to see Butler get some ice time (even if it was just the final shift of the game).  But I'm sure riding the bench was more than enough to make for a fantastic story when he gets older.

Now all that's left is waiting to see if he's gonna get one of these?

It's probably too late to squeeze him into this year's Between The Pipes offering, so maybe for the 2013/14 release.

Or how about one of these?  Now that would be sweet.  Definitely a lifetime reminder.

Monday, April 8, 2013

'DID YOU KNOW' - Mikko Leinonen

When you think of the records that have held through the annals of time, there are names that become instantly synonymous.

Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe, Orr.  Even guys like Hull, Richard, Esposito and Coffey.  All of them in one way or another have placed their imprint squarely on the NHL record book.

But then there are the occasions where names sneak into the book (or maybe they just barge in) and then that's the last time you ever hear from them.  More so, the record is their one and only imprint on what might otherwise be a forgotten career.

31 years ago today there was just such an instance.  And it even prompted OPC to celebrate it on one of its Record Breaker cards the following season.

'DID YOU KNOW': New York Rangers rookie Mikko Leinonen set the playoff record for assists in one game with six.

Six helpers.  Not Lemieux.  Not Gretzky (at least up until that point).  Not Orr.  Not any of the other Hall of Fame players can say they had six assists in one playoff game.

A decent player from Finland, Mikko represented his country at the 1980 Olympic Games.  He came over to the NHL soon after.  During his first season, he chipped in with 31 points (11G, 20A) in 53 games.  It was in the Rangers' first round loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that Leinonen set the record.

An 82/83 Record Breaker card is the lasting testament to the achievement.  And it's probably a good thing OPC decided to make it.  Only that card and his RC the following season sit as the two official NHL cards in his collection.  That would be an easy set to put together.

As important as Leinonen was to the Rangers in his rookie year, he was soon moved to Washington where he played just 3 games with the Caps.  He went back to Finland during the 84/85 season and never made it back to the NHL.  His career stats are actually pretty impressive (162GP, 31G, 78A, 109PTS).

But most impressive was the six-assist game.  Only to be matched by The Great One five years later.

Some of the names he kicked off the list?
Toe Blake
Maurice Richard
Bert Olmstead
Stan Mikita
Wayne Gretzky (at the time)

Not bad.  Not bad at all.


'30 in 30' LEGACY - Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

I've known about this doc for months and have missed opportunities in the past to view it on the big screen here in town, but tonight I decided that I would stop procrastinating, sit down and finally watch this movie.

And am I ever glad I did.

I think some of the best documentaries (sports or not) are more about the people than the events.  By the end of this documentary, it was the group - the Brigade - that really resonated with me.  So many great messages.

Bones Brigade (2012)
111 mins.
Rated: Unrated on iTunes (the odd swear)

Documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta continues his skateboarding docs with a killer sequel (if you could call it that) to his critically acclaimed 'Dogtown & Z-Boys' (which if you haven't seen, I suggest you do....especially before seeing this film).  Bones Brigade picks up after Stacy's success as a skater and shows the next generation of skaters and the evolution of the sport.

The birth of skateboarding as it is known today is a direct result of the guys focused on in the film.  And are they ever an eclectic mix.  Not only do we meet the prodigy Tony Hawk in his infancy, but we learn of equally gifted Steve Caballero.

Lance Mountain hit me as a person who would inspire the average person who would want to skate.  Why?  He himself describes his style as "not very good".  He just went out and had fun.

Rodney Mullen is an amazing person to both watch and listen to in the film.  He created tricks and moves that revolutionized the way people skate.  He says skateboarding was a way for him to communicate and create.  His passion and perfectionism is equaled by his love for the sport.

It's amazing to hear them talk with such passion and it's equally cool to see that this group of guys were such a positive influence in so many ways.

And it has everything.  All the interviews, all the photos, all the archive video, great music, excellent pace.  There's very little to shoot down when I think about it.

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography a fantastic story and I highly recommend it.  I plan on getting a copy and watching it with my nephew.  I can only hope he gets inspired by it as much as I did.

Here's the trailer so you can get a taste.

 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, April 6, 2013

OUTSIDE THE BOX - It's Official... I'm A Twit

After years of resisting technological advances, after numerous heckles from family and friends and after realizing that I'm doing the hockey card world (and let's face it.....the world in general) a disservice by standing firm....

I've finally caved - but not in a pack ripping or box break way.

I have officially joined Twitter.

I know, I know.  I'm sure most of you could care less.  But I'm posting this announcement so that the few of you who are unaware don't get left out of "the know".

I'm not sure if I'll be a 10-12 post a minute tweeter, a re-tweet twit or a simple follower but that's for me to figure out over the next few weeks/months.

Feel free to follow, then unfollow, then follow again, then block if you must.  My Twitter account might be a little different than this blog as it will consist of a little more than just my cards.  You've been warned.

That said, if you'd like to get to know me a little more, come join the party.

There will be a simple link on the right side near the bottom and I'll make it easy right off the bat.


MHCO Brett  (@bamlinden)

Friday, April 5, 2013

1 vs. 100 - How Low Can I Go?

Trade night tonight and it was a very successful trip.  I managed to find not one.....but TWO cards for my '1 vs. 100' project.  That's pretty amazing since I haven't really been hunting these final cards down (and when you see the serial numbers you'll be even more impressed).

Upon arriving at the card store, I decided to take a casual look through the display cases.  It's a fun way to kill a few minutes and see some goodies (most of which I'll never own).  Some amazing looking cards out there.

While glancing, I came across a card /7 (on the list).  I asked what the price was for the card and it was right in the wheelhouse of something to consider.

I kept that info in the back of my head all night.

Later in the evening, I asked if maybe we could work out a trade for the card.  "Sure".  That's all I needed to hear.  It didn't take long before we had the start of what would be a big trade.

2010/11 Upper Deck SP Game Used
Authentic Fabric Five
#AF5 SWEDE Zetterberg/Franzen/Backstrom/Hornqvist/D. Sedin  /7

Wow!  This was pretty much the perfect card for the pc.  Low numbered, but with a couple guys who don't have strong hobby followings.  And while the Nashville and Vancouver patches are solid, the other three are less than desirable.

Here's the back.  See what I mean.

And did you notice that the Sedin and Hornqvist patches are on the wrong side?  Even nicer for a guy who only really cares about the serial number.

But it gets better.

The card I was asked to trade in return was a little more than this Authentics Fabrics Five.  I was asked if there was anything else I was interested in.

WARNING:  The following card may be offensive to some viewers.

I ended up finding a card, but it is revolting to me that this guy gets some more face time on my blog.  Just goes to show you that this project is truly about the serial numbers....not the player.

I can't believe he's in it......and low - very low.
2008/09 Upper Deck SP Game Used
Famous Fight Straps
#FS-MM Mark Messier  /3


The lowest number left on the list.  In a Rangers uniform (just taunting me).  It's a gorgeous card but for the player.

But I had to have it.  It's not often that a card /3 comes available for trade.

We worked out a deal and the pair came home with me.  I still can't believe it.  Messier.

But with that card I can officially say that I have snagged all the single digit numbers on the list.  That's a huge accomplishment.  It also puts me over the 90% mark.  I don't care what anybody says, 90 is a magical number in this hobby.

Ugh.  Messier.  That's pretty low.  Pretty low indeed.

91 out of 100  (91%)

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Is it me.....or does it feel like FOREVER since Jarome Iginla was playing in a Calgary Flames uniform?  The boys got pelted 8-2 tonight (and actually led 2-0 early on).

She be a long rest of the season.

Anyways, a couple new Linden cards to show off tonight.  It's been a little slow in this department lately (and I ain't complaining).  There are a couple "bigger ticket" cards on their way so the drool candy will return soon.

Not to mention ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12 being released the same weekend as the Spring Expo (my wallet is already crying out) only to be followed up by Decades 90's (which will surely dent the pocketbook even more).

In some ways, I can't wait for summer.  In others......I hope it takes its time.

2012/13 Panini Limited
#187 Captains  /99

Here's my first toe dip into this year's Limited offering.  It's not too bad.  The card looks nice, there are a few parallels to chase and then there's a dual sided card with Zack Kassian (including a short print run auto version).

I decided to hold off on chasing these cards when the product first hit the shelves and I think the patience has paid off (once again).  I managed to pick up not just this copy for a nice price, but found a friend to have it shipped with.

2012/13 Panini Limited
#187 Captains Silver  /49

This silver parallel was up for grabs (listed by the same seller).  I was able to get both for less than the price I thought I'd be paying for the Silver copy alone.  I like that.  Add to it the combined shipping and it's a home run.

To top it all off, I won an auction over the weekend for a gold parallel /25 that was almost cheaper than the regular base version.  That's win-win-win all around.

I like collecting Linden when I can snag some sweet deals like that.
OK.....I like collecting Linden regardless (but I'm smiling lots today).

Go Flames!  What's the saying....."Stop your winnin', draft McKinnon"?

Monday, April 1, 2013

CUSTOM CREATIONS - Well, It Finally Happened

The past few weeks have been a little slow for me here on the blog, and for good reason.  There's been some behind the scenes workings on a very special project that is about 2 years in the making.

Some of you dedicated readers might remember the custom cards I built for a concept called "Backplates".

The idea is very simple - much like the goalie mask card focuses in on the front of the mask, these backplate cards will celebrate some of the interesting (and often personal) messages painted on the back.

These rarely seen parts of the mask will be a first in the trading card industry.  That's right - this concept has been given the green light and the final checklist has been announced.  20 cards in all...all current NHLers.

And am I ever PUMPED!!!!!

This is as close to the final mockup of the card design that I can show you at this time.  This Budaj will not be a part of the set but holds a very special place in my custom building portfolio as it is the backplate that I used when I presented this concept two years ago.

So why now?  Well, with the advent of artist sketches, the ability to build such a set becomes infinitely easier.  Photos only need to be used as guides.  The final card will have a similar artist style as the main goalie mask insert set (since the same artist was used).

The back of the card will give a bit of backstory (see how I did that) on the design and why it is important for the player to have it painted on his mask.  Some great stories and it was very difficult to narrow down the players to just twenty.

The best part - I was asked to be involved in all aspects of the set.  From final approval of the design to the player selection to even writing up the text on the back.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have expected something like this to happen.

So how soon can you get your grubby little paws on some of these gems?  Well certainly not today.......cause it's April Fool's Day!!!