Thursday, May 30, 2013

'30 in 30' LEGACY - Cutthroat

Lately, ESPN 30 for 30 has put out some fantastic short films on their website.  From The Irrelevant Giant and Holy Grail have been two of my favorites but their most recent short might have the deepest connection with my knowledge of the subject.

Cutthroat, which debuted just yesterday on the site, takes a look back at one of the most frightening injuries ever in pro sports.  It was March 22, 1989 and Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk (who is now the Calgary Flames' goalie coach) nearly lost his life when St. Louis Blues d-man Steve Tuttle's skate blade sliced into Malarchuk's neck.

While the initial collision didn't look too bad, it was the aftermath image that would be engraved in everyone's mind.  Clint had mere minutes to live.

Nearly a quarter-century later, the emotions are so raw and entrenched that it's a struggle just to hear him talk about it.  But it's a powerful story.

HEADS UP!!!!  There's some text at the start of the film, but I'll add it as well.  There's some graphic images in the video.  I still have a tough time watching it.

There were many things I didn't realize about Malarchuk before watching this film, but the one that stuck out was his embracing of his OCD.  Telling people to use it as a positive.  Use it as a driving force forward.  Rarely have I heard anyone talk that way about OCD.

It sounds like he is in a better place today as the Flames' goalie coach and I hope he can control that which has controlled him in the past.

After watching this short, I came across an interesting supporting article.  Most people think of what Clint Malarchuk must have been going through and the struggles post injury.  But what about the forgotten player in the event.

There's a great article by Sean McIndoe (AKA Down Goes Brown) about the forgotten players involved in some horrific injuries.  AGAIN, HEADS UP!!!!  There are some tough pieces of video to watch.

Do you remember the Malarchuk incident?  What are your thoughts on the 30 for 30 short?  What did you learn or not know before that you found interesting?

12 in 12 - May Review

Another month down and another book off the list.  This past month was a bit of a blessing as I had a couple long plane trips and needed something to kill the time.  Nothing like a good book and an ipod full of tunes to make time go by pretty quick.

It also allowed me to get a bit beefier a book than the titles I've flipped through so far this year.  And I had this title on the radar ever since I saw the cover.

May's book is about the Boston Bruins' charismatic and controversial character - Derek Sanderson.

Crossing The Line
Derek Sanderson with Kevin Shea
372 pages

If Derek Sanderson doesn't epitomize an NHLer from the 1970's - nobody does.  He was born to play the game in that era.  Rough, unforgiving and often unfair.  He worked for everything he gained and then basically threw it all away.  Numerous demons grabbed a hold of him and it nearly cost him his life.

If you ever wanted to read a roller coaster ride of a story, this is the one to get.

Sanderson gained a strong work ethic from his parents.  His father really impressed on him to work hard - harder than everyone else.  His teammates with Boston continued that drive and no doubt, guys like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito didn't hurt either.

But there were many other names that influenced Sanderson's career both on and off the ice.  Owners, coaches, fringe players.  Derek knew to keep his eyes and ears open and continuously learn.

Sanderson played in an era when player salaries were just a fraction of what they are today.  But to Derek, it was more about playing for the Bruins and getting paid what he thought was fair.  But the stars aligned and he was given the almost unthinkable opportunity to not only become the highest paid player in pro hockey....but in all of professional sports.  He could thank the upstart WHA for that.

Or maybe not.  The road that Sanderson decided to take led him down a path of destruction.  After reading the book, it's pretty amazing that he made it through to the other side.

It's a fairly well written book.  Engaging at times, but a little choppy in others.  He hits a few too many subjects and I think it would have been a better book if he narrowed the focus at times and just elaborated more.

There are some great stories from his playing days (and his pro career takes up a good chunk of the text) but his post-career tellings felt a little rushed - like he was trying to wrap things up quick.

This is a must for any Bruins fan, 70's hockey fan or anyone who like to read about the sensational side of hockey.

3.5 out of 5

June's book...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TRADERS - Actually...I'm Going To Try And Sell These

Slowly but surely I'm scanning in more and more of the cards I picked up at the Toronto Expo.  I have motives other than just a quick show & tell with this bunch though.  I'm trying to sell.

One of the things I told myself when I decided to open a couple boxes of ITG's Ultimate Memorabilia 12 was that I would not let these cards just sit in my trade box.  I'd need to be more proactive in making these cards work towards more Lindens for the pc.

So I'm starting small...four UM12 Redemption cards.  But these ones just happen to be gold parallels each numbered to just 5 copies.  The triple player/jersey pieces should be a desirable bunch for player collectors (I know it was for me) so I'm hoping these will be quick sales.

I posted them up on the hobby board I am a regular on but I thought I'd share them here as well just in case any of you are interested.

If there's anything that catches your eye, drop me a comment.  We can discuss price, shipping and any other questions you may have.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition
Ultimate Legacy Redemption Gold  01/05
Joe Kocur/Bob Probert/Darren McCarty

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition
Ultimate Legacy Redemption Gold  01/05
Felix Potvin/Curtis Joseph/Ed Belfour

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition
Ultimate Legacy Redemption Gold  01/05
Marian Gaborik/Marcel Dionne/Henrik Lundqvist

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12th Edition
Ultimate Legacy Redemption Gold  02/05
Seth Jones/Chris Chelios/John Vanbiesbrouck

Again, if you have any questions - just ask.


RAISE THE CUP - 1974 Philadelphia Flyers

Still going through my Expo pickups and thought this would make for a nice little post.

Without sounding like a broken record, I like cards that capture a memorable moment in the NHL's vast history.  And while newer releases seem to do a great job of celebrating moments via insert or subsets, it's the older moments that can at times be overlooked.

Back when I was a kid collecting cardboard, there were few cards that would not only celebrate moments, but have the photo to match.  There are a few (and I find them really cool) but they are limited.

Some of today's products have picked up a bit of the slack and have really grabbed some nice photos to add to their sets.

2011/12 ITG Broad Street Boys
Greatest Moments
#98 1974 First Cup Victory

This card caught my eye on one of the discount tables at the show and I knew it would be coming home with me.  It's a super simple design, but it lets the photo do all the talking.  Definite win there.  It's got a nice silver foil finish and really reflects the light well (scans not too bad to boot).

Just look at Bobby Clarke's grin.  Dare I say iconic.  Parent looks a little squished in the shot and the angle isn't the most flattering, but the fact that I've never even seen this photo.....let alone on a hockey card is just awesome.

A great moment.

Current Collection - 109 cards

And as a bonus, I found another card from this all Flyers product.  And once again I knew it would be in the keepers pile.

Now that's a goalie mask.  Pure vintage goodness.  Just look at the glare Stephenson is giving out.  I'd love to think that he's eyeing up an opposing player just ready for him to drift a little too close to the net.

And just as a topper....I love that ITG used the moniker "Broad Street Bullies" - that's what they were called as opposed to the product name Broad Street Boys.

Love it.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - It's Time For Some UM12

Well, I finally got around to getting my Linden pickups from May scanned and it's one heck of a grouping.  What's even more impressive is that not a single card was picked up via ebay.  It's been almost two full months since I've bought a card from that site (gotta be a record for me).  My patience and urge to trade for cards plus the big Expo trip was a huge part of the reason.

Now if I can just remember to update my wantlists.

2012/13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro
#24 EX Essential Credentials Future  /19

I think this might go down as the very first pink Trevor Linden hockey card I own.  I don't quite understand the naming convention behind it (or the numbering) but all I know is - I found a copy of the toughest Linden card to get in this product.

I like the "die-cut-esque" aspect of this card.  The player (and darker background area) is cut out and placed on top of the full, lighter card background.  It creates a raised surface that will sure to get caught in your penny sleeve - so watch out.

Numbered to just 19, I found a copy at the Expo and the seller had a very fair price on it - right there with what I was looking to pay.  Always nice to pick up a card in person.

There's a yellow parallel /24 (equally nice...and confusing) that will now serve as the tough find from this Retro product.

2012/13 ITG Forever Rivals
#M-41 Game-Used Jersey Red

I already have a copy of this card, but the jersey piece was a solid red.  I tracked down a two-color piece (red & white) at the Expo...always a nice upgrade, within five minutes of my arriving on the Friday.  I grabbed it without a second thought.

I then saw this beauty.  It's the only blue & white jersey piece I've seen on this card and was a must have in my opinion.  The best part - it was only $5.  I would have paid 4 times that.

So now I have a couple doubles to trade/sell with one of them being a two-color.  Not bad at all.

2012/13 ITG Forever Rivals
#FEFR-40 Linden/Corson/Domi/Tucker  /19

This card was one of the redemption cards ITG was handing out at the last Expo when Forever Rivals was released.  There were 3 different Linden redemption cards to pick up (6 if you count the gold 1/1 parallels for each).  There was a dual player jersey card, this four player and a six player gem.

Again, I found this early on the Friday and it was at a great price.  Patience pays off once again.  I had passed on a number of these that popped up on ebay.  A lot of them were way too high a price.  Unrealistic expectations IMO.

Now I can put this 3-card set to bed and I'm thrilled to be doing so.

2012/13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro
#11 (base)

Boring design, but a killer photo.  That's the theme of Fleer Retro it seems.

Actually, I don't mind the boring design.  It's got a low-end feel to it (which quite frankly was what Fleer cards were back in the mid-90's).

I picked this up at the last trade night when somebody won it in a round of pack wars.  The guy gave it to me for "future considerations".  I hope he's not looking for a 3-color patch down the road.

2012/13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro
#11 base autograph

Second verse same as the first....but slap a sticker on this bad boy.

Fleer Retro to me has come across as a "sticker dump" product.  Not a single hard signed auto and there was no care or consideration for the sticker autos.  This card is a perfect example of just slapping a sticker on a base card.  Where's the creativity.

And to make matters worse, I've seen stickers on crooked, or mis-cut.  It just makes the product as a whole look a little more cheap.  I guess that's why it's not flying off the shelves as quick.  The price point is just too high.

I picked up this copy at the Expo.  When I got back, I realized I overpaid a little for it.  But I might be able to even it out as I was given a second copy at the last trade night.  A very nice surprise.

2011/12 Upper Deck The Cup
Cup Foundations
#CF-TL jersey/auto  /15

This is my last non-UM12 card from the past month.  It came in the mail on Friday.  It's nothing spectacular....yes, it's a nice 4-piece jersey card with a hard-signed autograph, and it is numbered to just 15, but it lacks that certain 'wow factor' that I put on a lot of high-end cards from The Cup.

The patch parallel /5 though....that's a different story.  It's one of two cards (other than 1/1's) that remain from The Cup that are on my wantlist. My first venture into the world of The Cup has been an interesting one.  A lot learned and to be wasn't as scary as I thought. are the goodies from the Expo.  ITG's high-end Ultimate Memorabilia 12 was released on the Friday of the Toronto show and it was hands down the big draw for me.  I reserved two boxes of the product so I could do some opening (and redemption receiving) and the goal was to parlay those cards into more Lindens.

The plan worked to perfection.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Base card  /60

Right off the bat I'd like to say that the base cards look really nice.  I appreciate the attempt last year with the pencil sketch base, but these photos just pop nicer, I like the green color and if you are fortunate enough to get a sharp photo (which this Linden is), you've got a winner.

This green parallel was the only Linden I pulled from my boxes.  And I was happy to get it.  Any Linden pulled from a pack by me is a bonus and a thrill.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Base card Silver  /30

I knew before arriving in Toronto that there were parallels of the base cards.  The hunt was on.  Lots of the product was being busted and much like any other product - people don't like the base.

I found this Linden and although I wasn't able to trade for it, I did pick it up at a nice price.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Base card Gold  /10

A very nice find from one of the booths who knew I was hunting down Linden cards from UM12.  They asked if I was, yeah.  And as a bonus, we were able to work out a trade.

Trading for a Linden /10 is very, very rare.  One of the best finds from the show.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Redemption Silver
Pavel Bure/Trevor Linden/Kirk McLean  /20

I mentioned redemption cards.  Well, here's what they look like.  A nice triple player jersey card.  You would get one of these for ever pack you opened at ITG Land (basically ITG's booth/area at the Expo).  Some of the cards on the extensive checklist have some solid player combos on it - from current and future stars, to team themes to nice vintage selections.

There were also gold versions of each card numbered to just 5.  I received two of them out of the 10 packs I opened.

This Linden & Co. was picked up after the fact.  I really like the blue glove piece McLean is sporting.  I only wish the Linden wasn't solid white.  Oh well.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
To The Hall autograph  /29

OK....this is a bit of a stretch.  I'm a huge Linden fan, but even I will concede that the guy has no shot of hitting the Hall Of Fame.  He's good - really good - but not that good.

Putting him into this set came across to me as just a way to beef up the Linden quotient in the product (22 cards by my count...including gold 1/1 parallels).  If he were out of this insert set, it would have made for a better chase.  Oh well, I was able to trade for this one (one of three Lindens in a bigger deal where I think I might have given up a little too much).  Glad to see it off the list quickly.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
To The Hall jersey & autograph  /19

Here's the same card with a jersey piece in it.  These two cards really do nothing for me.  In all honesty, I was more relieved to get them off the list than I was to track them down.  This insert set was the only groupings of Linden card to do that to me.

Now I just need the patch/auto /9 and then the gold 1/1 parallels of each.  Yawn.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Draft Day Silver
Mike Modano/Trevor Linden/ Teemu Selanne  /24

Now this was a fun card to find.  I like the theme of the set, the photo selection and of course the player selection.

Forever will I link Mike Modano and Trevor Linden when it comes to the NHL.  They went one/two in the draft and after clue.  In fact, I had no idea that Selanne was in their draft class (I knew Jeremy Roenick was)

This was yet another card I was able to trade for.  Those boxes of UM12 I opened really came in handy.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Nicknames  /24

A little better concept and I like the fact that it's a horizontal card.  This Nicknames offering even sports a solid yellow piece of jersey (don't see those too often).  This came to me as part of that three card pickup.  I'm looking back and thinking "This might be one of those cards that a year down the line will be had for pennies compared to what it's getting now."  

My one brief break in patience.  I guess I'm not perfect.  :)

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Nicknames Gold  1/1

But for every mistake (and actually mistake is the wrong word...let's use "minor lack of judgement") there's redemption.  And in this instance, it was a redemption card that helped land my first 1/1 from the product.

I knew of one of the big breakers of this product at the show.  He told me he had a Linden 1/1 and we soon got together with his Linden haul.  He had a few cards and we were able to figure something out.

I had as one of my redemptions a Gold Guy Lafleur/Jean Beliveau/Maurice Richard numbered to just 5.  I put a beefy price tag on that card and it paid off as it was almost a straight across trade for this Linden.

I never would have thought that a free card would translate into a high-end Linden 1/1....but it did.

I have no doubt that we both won in that trade.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Franchise Captains Silver
Trevor Linden/Mark Messier/Roberto Luongo/Henrik Sedin  /24

In what might be the oddest selection of four captains on any of the cards in the checklist, this quad jersey card was nice to wipe off the list.  Mainly because ITG put Messier in a Canucks jersey and slapped him along side my guy.

No more needs to be said.  I will now put this card away.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Franchise Captains Gold
Trevor Linden/Mark Messier/Roberto Luongo/Henrik Sedin  1/1

Even nicer was to track down the Gold 1/1 version at the Expo too.  Now the card can sit in the dark, never to see the light of day.

Ha ha Messier.  Take that.

Alright, I pulled the card back out.  Even I have to admit, it's a great looking card.  Two-colored pieces, seams and's just a solid card.

Now...I'm putting it away.

Well, that's it.  That's all the goodies from UM12 I was able to pick up at the Expo.  A definite success.  Two gold 1/1's. eight regular cards and a redemption.  Couldn't have asked for better to be honest.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Game-Used Patch Gold  1/1

Well, I guess this addition at the last trade night would do it.  Definitely the icing on the cake.

A very yummy UM12 cake at that.

Thanks for sticking around 'till the end.

1 vs. 100 - Crossing It Off...Again

Last fall I made the decision to sell one of the cards in my '1 vs. 100' project.  Normally I don't sell cards from my pc but in this case I was happy to do so.

Putting 64 back on the list wasn't tough to do.  After all, this 100-card project is something that is just a fun build - I'm not taking it seriously and actively pursuing the completion.  Whenever something pops up and is for the right price....I'll bite.

And that's exactly what happened with the replacement card.

I recently found a sale post on the hobby boards I partake in and it had exactly what I was looking for.

2012/13 Upper Deck SP Game Used
Authentic Rookies
#104 Lane MacDermid  /64

Who is Lane MacDermid?  I dunno...but his card is numbered out of 64 (his jersey number).  Because he's not a name player yet in the league, I was able to snag this perfect addition to the set for less than $5.

A very worthy replacement (that said, the Cup rookie patch I sold was a really nice card).  I like that this is a card year and brand that is unique to the project.  Creating a more diverse list of cards really makes the big picture project even more impressive.

With Lane's addition, I'm left with just 8 cards to track down.  The lowest number being 14 and the highest 98 (I'd think I'd have that one by now).

Oh, and I just finished doing some scanning of the Linden cards I picked up from the Expo (finally).  I'll have a nice show & tell thread soon.  Card Of The Year candidate in there?  Maybe.

92 out of 100  (92%)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

OPINION - Being On A Team

Being on a team can be one of the most rewarding and educational experiences in a person's life.  Especially as a kid.  Learning to respect and defend your teammates, working together towards a common goal and developing the joy and enthusiasm in victory and the grace and dignity in defeat.

It's an amazing sight to watch a group of kids develop these skills.  But I see these traits all over the place - as adults - in work, at play, with organizations and with friends.  Team skills are quite frankly one of the most important set of tools a person will develop - EVER....period.

I am very fortunate to have a tremendous team that I work alongside on a daily basis.  People that make me a better worker and a better person.  And I'd like to think (not that I want to toot my own horn) that I reciprocate that towards them.  I'm at a place now where I'm not asking myself "Where will be the next place that I work?"

I can't say enough about my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew along with the rest of my family.  They are a huge part of why I am me (good, bad or indifferent).

One of the other teams that I have been a part of for a number of years is the Condominium Board of Directors where I live.  Ever since I moved into my current place 8 years ago, I felt it important to volunteer some of my time to try and make where I live a better environment - do my part.

For many of those years, the challenges and struggles (some very difficult and pressing) were met with the best effort of the BOD.  I can confidently say that even though I was a bit of a "fish out of water" being a part of a Condo Board - I did my best, with only the best of intentions, and we worked well as a team.

Unfortunately (and I'm sure you saw this coming), the past year has been a blunt example of what happens when a team does not work together.  My tenure on the Board this past year (which renews every May) was a short one.  I resigned early on after a conflict with another member.

Infighting, arguing, loss of focus on the big picture all cost not just a number of Board Members, but the community I live in as a whole, a chance to continue to take steps forward into the new year.

To me, part of being on a team is the ability to show respect for your fellow teammates.  There is a certain level of basic, person-to-person respect that is expected on day one and the respect should grow based on the amount the other person earns it. 

Earning it by listening, sharing, helping, building - whatever can make the sum greater than the whole of each part added together.

Actions like ignorance, disinterest, name calling and bullying is not just detrimental to the team and the people on it, but also to the goals and aspirations that the team has.

I've been told that there are two things you can do to a bully - stand up and fight or turn and walk away.  There are many times when standing up and fighting is not only the right thing to do for yourself, but an inspiration to others in example.  There are however the occasions where it is best (for both the situation and the individual) to turn and walk away.

That's what I did.  No longer will I let the bully have any ounce of my time ever again.  No longer will I spend my energy dealing with this person.  No longer will I shoulder the burden and emotions of the words and actions this person displays.  I've concluded that he is who he is and I don't like it....and I don't want to be a part of it.

I have decided that it is time to find a new team.  Invest my spare time in people and events that can once again create that "moving forward".  I've missed that for the past year.

Your actions on a team create re-actions.  I'm ready to see more positive re-actions.

As an aside, I just finished watching ESPN's '30 for 30' on the 1983 NC State miracle Final Four run and incredible National Championship win.  Jim Valvano and his Wolfpack epitomizes what a team should be and what a team can achieve when they work together, when they respect one another and when they believe.  Survive And Advance.....if you have not seen it - do so.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

MY COLLECTION - Trade Night Pickup

Just a quick post tonight to show off a card I traded for a couple nights ago at the monthly trade night.

I had been sitting on a Martin Brodeur Artifacts parallel /10 for a while and a Brodeur collector just happened to notice it.  He asked if we could work something out.

After taking a look through his traders, I found a couple cards that piqued my interest.  One (which was more of a throw in) has already been packaged up and will be mailed off to a collector of the player.  The other card I thought was pretty cool.

2011/12 ITG Canada vs the World
International Material 
#IMM-34 Mats Naslund Patch Gold 1/1

First off, it's a 1/1.  Second, it's of a player that I used to follow a lot when I was a kid first getting into hockey and hockey cards.  Mats Naslund (and later Hakan Loob) were those highly skilled, speedy guys who lacked in size, but still showed that success could be had with hard work.

Lastly, I liked this piece because the "patch" is from a game-worn Sweden jersey.  I put patch in quotes because there's really no seams in the jersey.  It's more like a jersey piece.  But I'm assuming that Sweden jerseys from that era had painted on logos and such.  It was just a basic mesh.

I'm not sure what kind of hobby love Mats has and I really don't know if the card will give me as much of a return as the Brodeur would have, but sometimes it's better to have a card that is appealing (especially to me) than one that will just bring in the top dollar.

I'm quite happy to have this one in the trade box.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

OUTSIDE THE BOX - 15 Boxes Of ITG Canadiana

When I prepared to set off to the Toronto Expo a couple weeks ago, I knew there would be some Linden hunting, some new product breaking and some specific request fulfilling.

I did not expect my Friday to consist of one of the biggest box breaks I've ever done.  And by "biggest" I don't mean in terms of biggest hit....

I mean BIG!!!

As in 25 boxes big.

I have been on the lookout for a while for some Canadiana singles for a fellow Linden collector.  Carrying around somebody else's wantlist gives me the chance to dig a little more during average or even boring card shows or if I happen upon a card store.

When I found boxes of Canadiana selling for $40 (that's about 75% off regular price) I decided to try a couple boxes.

And then a couple more.

And then half a case more.

And then I texted the fellow Linden collector and bought the other half of the case for him.

25 boxes in total.

Now I could have brought them all back unopened, but that would have meant checking another piece of luggage at the airport and getting dinged about $30.

I had more fun opening it and it could all be tucked into one of my suitcases.

Wanna see what I got?  I'll share just my 15 boxes.

First off.....base.  There were 8 card per box and about 5 or 6 would be base.  The reds are the most common and I was able to get about half of the 100-card set (sadly....15 doubles).

For those of you not familiar with Canadiana, it's a product that celebrates all things Canada.  From sports to politics to entertainers to inventors, Canadiana is a trading card look at our country's history.

There are also blue parallels of the base cards and are limited to just 50 copies each.  I pulled 23 blue base and this Maurice Richard is a great example of the simplicity and cleanliness of the design.

I like the fonts and brushed background.  It works for both old and new photos, color or black & white.  There's decent photo selection although there are a few pics that are a tad on the blurry side.

A nice hit here....GSP black base parallel.

This onyx parallel is limited to just 5 copies.  I've heard that they often sell quite low on the secondary market.  I'm hoping that's not the case with mine.  I'd love to recoup some dough and this could be a big help.

What would an In The Game product be without autographs.  Yes, they are sticker autos but ITG does a really nice job ensuring that the sticker works with the card design (unlike some of the slappers on the new Fleer Retro hockey product....ouch).

A simple design again and I really like the black look with the black pen (done with purpose I might add).

Don Cherry has one nice looking sig and was one of my more favourites out of the break.  In total I pulled 18 (2 duplicates).  Heads up though.  Most people in the product have 2 autos (different photos on each) so there would be a Don Cherry 1 and a Don Cherry 2.

Some of the other faves include a nice Scott Niedermayer and a sweet "Mad Dog" Vachon.

There are also blue auto parallels and the ultra rare red auto 1/1's.

No reds for me, but I did hit six blues.

This one hands down was the best.  Anybody who doesn't know who Stompin' Tom is.....go do your homework immediately.  Do not look at or think about anything hockey.  And return when you are caught up.

Hockey's national anthem (and many feel that it's Canada's unofficial anthem as well).  Awesome.

And now for the Pamela Anderson section of the post.

Yes, what would a product about Canada be without the buxom blonde from Baywatch.  She makes an appearance (actually.....many) in the set.

This is the Mega Memorabilia insert set and is a pretty simple concept.  It works great because there's lots of memorabilia (in this instance...not as much).

Some of these silver versions are limited (90 copies) and some extremely limited (20 copies).

This might be the one single card that would make my sister start collecting.  Corey Haim.  Nice.  I got two of these....not so nice.

In total, I pulled 13 Mega Memorabilia cards, so about one per box.

14 if you count this gold version Scott Niedermayer out of 10.  Anybody know where the green jersey piece comes from?

If there was one gold to hit.....I like that it was a hockey player.

From single to double.  There's more goodies in these boxes.

Double memorabilia cards are set to 90 copies each and feature some cards with just one person with two pieces of jersey...

...or two people with a piece of memorabilia for each.

Yes...more Pam.  And some Trish too.  Not bad.  I pulled 5 Double Memorabilia pieces in total.

Almost done guys.  Hope you're having fun learning about Canada.

These Authentic Patch cards are really nice.  The swatch size is smaller, but the piece is of higher quality.

I like this Angela James piece a lot but must confess that out of the other 10 boxes I opened, there were two....Larry Walker and a short print Steve Yzerman.  Sweet.

That gets us to the final card of the break.  And's Pamela Anderson.

These Autograph & Memorabilia pieces are limited to 35 and are a tough pull.  There was one in my 10-box half case and one in the other half.

It's not a sticker auto but I can't consider it hard signed either.  It looks like a card was signed and inserted into the card cut.  ITG has used this technique many times before and is a nice balance for those who can't sign the actual card for whatever reason.

Well, that's that.  Was the 15 box break worth it?  Absolutely.  Will I get my money back?  Maybe not.  But boy was it ever fun to bust the boxes open. I like the base set and autos so much that I might build the sets myself now.  Further to that, this might be an excellent product to build with my 11-year-old nephew.  We can both learn a little bit about Canada's history (and Pam Anderson) and have fun completing a set together.

Friday, May 17, 2013


In The Game recently released the 2012/13 edition of one of my all-time favourite sets - Between The Pipes.  I normally bust a box of the product (I'll share that another time) with the goalie mask cards being the highlight (and pursuit).

This year's offering is a little different than past sets and I think the changes are an improvement.  I picked up a handful of Masked Men 5 cards at the Toronto Expo and so I'll let the show & tell do all the talking.

John Garrett.  This mask immediately shoots me back to the early 80's.  It's the mask on one of my favourite OPC cards from the era and it is also a huge reminder of the infamous All-Star Game in which Garrett was the replacement for Richard Brodeur.  He was on his way to winning the MVP (and a new car) until some guy named Wayne decided to pot four goals in the third.

Murray Bannerman.  Notice anything about these cards?  That's right....not photos, but artist sketches.  Paul Madden (the same guy who did some work on the Enforcers product as well as Sportkings to name a few) has done some stunning work.  These sketches are bang on capturing the expression and character in each of the player's faces and masks.  An amazing feat if you ask me.

Doug Favell.  Love this Rockies mask.  The crispness of the sketches is far superior than the sometimes blurry photo zoom in that plagued previous releases.  Check the base cards if you want a good example of that.

Denis Herron.  Notice a trend here?  Yeah, I love the vintage fibreglass lids.  They just have way more character than today's masks.  Simple designs and bold colors combined with archaic looking masks create an instant classic.

Mike Palmateer.  Case in point.  This is another of my faves.  So simple, but so cool.  Best ever Washington mask if you ask me.  It's a 50-card set and this year it's all current or past goalies.  No junior or AHL players.  No offense to those guys, but I like my goalie mask sets to be pros only.  In fact, if it were up to'd be vintage all the way.

Bernie Parent.  One of the few non-NHL masks.  Anybody know what team Bernie was playing for when he donned this classic lid?  Shouldn't be too tough (if you're over say 35 years of age).

Gary Simmons.  Sweet!  The cobra mask is another that gets top billing in my book.  I love that the mask doesn't match one bit with his Golden Seals jersey color.  Why should he change's just too awesome.

Billy Smith.  Most of us remember him wearing his helmet and cage from his Stanley Cup winning days, but before he became the go to goalie in the playoffs, Billy wore this cool mask.  The long chin and unique throat guard makes this a keeper.

Wayne Stephenson.  Bold colors again...and a clever way of including the Flyers logo.  Looks very menacing.  Love it.  They just don't make 'em like this anymore.  Shame.

The red background has some funky refracting shiny goodness to it and there is a slight embossing to the mask sketch itself.  One wouldn't think that it would all come together and work - but it spades.  A really solid looking card (and they scan well too).

There were a couple more mask cards I picked up (with a certain Habs collector in mind).

Nice and nice.  One has since been traded away while the other stays in the pc (he had it already).  I've also added a few more from my box break, made a couple trades and as a result.....the wantlist is different.  But I just needed to share these goodies.  I think they look fantastic.