Sunday, June 30, 2013

12 in 12 - June Review

Busy, busy, busy.  But not too busy that I couldn't catch some of the NHL Draft today at work.  Well done New Jersey.  I think that's going to be the steal of the draft.  Amazing to think that Vancouver passed on a higher 1st round pick, a 2nd and a prospect if the rumours about Edmonton were true.  That's division rivalries for ya'.

I also think the Tortorella Factor came into play HUGE.  I don't know if that trade happens if he's not coach.  Regardless, it creates even more uncertainty and questions in Canucks camp.  Gak!

It's been quiet on the Linden card front recently.  Although he's in both ITG's Draft Prospects product as well as UD Trilogy.  The list keeps growing.

I do have a couple show & tells, but they might have to wait another week until the zoo at work dies down.

Now on to my monthly book review.  I'm at the halfway point and I'm really proud of this year-long project.  It's been fun discovering some great books and great stories.  The toughest part now is deciding what to read and what to pass on.

This past month I've been flipping through a book that I've been meaning to read for quite some time.  I'm happy to say that it can be finally scratched from the list.

June's book is about the iconic broadcaster - Dick Irvin.

Now Back To You Dick - Two Lifetimes In Hockey
Dick Irvin
240 pages

In simplest terms....I can listen to Dick Irvin talk all day.  His stories and descriptions are fantastic.  He comes across as someone who truly is meant to be in this sport - talking about the players, the atmosphere and the era.

On air he comes across as somebody who you could just sit back, relax and listen to.  The written word however is a little different.

Maybe it was me expecting something that wasn't there, but his delivery in this book just doesn't quite work.  The stories are quick, choppy and all over the place.  Flip to a page and you might find 2 or 3 different subjects he focuses on.  It's hard to really dive into.

I was also surprised at how much criticism he has towards today's (this was written in the late 80's) game compared to the game he literally grew up in.  I definitely get the feeling he yearns for hockey the way it was played in the 50's, 60's and 70's.  Sometimes he comes across as a little too critical for my liking.  Sure, one can have an opinion but there's not much follow up to his position.

There's a lot in the book about his dad and his coaching days.  I was hoping for less of that and more of his broadcasting career.  Again, I think that was my expectation (which I probably shouldn't have had).

Overall, not a terrible read, but would have certainly benefitted from a professional book writer as an assist.

2.5 out of 5

July's book...

Inspired by the Bones Brigade doc that I recently watched (again) with my nephew.

Monday, June 24, 2013

BEHIND THE MASKS - That's It...I Cracked

Well, it's all over.  Chicago has won the Stanley Cup and quite frankly I think they were the best team throughout the season and in the playoffs.  I was skeptical that Corey Crawford could keep it together for 16 wins in the postseason but he did it.

How many more do they have in them?  I don't know....but they could be scary good for a while.

And that leaves us less than a week before the draft.  It's like it'll never end.

But tonight I'm posting about some goalie mask pickups over the past while.

This postcard has been hiding in one of my bags since I returned from Toronto last month.  It's a great reminder of the fantastic mask display at the HHOF and also a tremendous trip in general to T.O.

Bonus points to anyone who can name all 17 masks in the pic.  Yes, there are 17 that I count.

I saw this in line when buying a couple Linden t-shirts and just had to pick it up.  A great add to the goalie mask pc.

No I also came home with a good selection of ITG's Ultimate Memorabilia 12 cards.  All nicely slabbed and protected from the elements.

Here's an example of the Linden base that I pulled.

A nice design and really quite a shame that these cards are encased in plastic.

At last month's trade night I came across another copy of this card.  It was a little crooked in the casing and since I was given the card for nothing I decided that I'd have some fun freeing it from it's enclosure.

Yeah.  Now that's more like it.

These are nice cards that have a bit of an embossed feel to them.  The colors are sharp and the green border has a sort of foil feel and look to it.

A very sharp card.

I found another card the same night that I thought would make an equally good piece of cardboard to crack open.

This scan does not do the card justice.  This photo of Pelle Lindbergh is flat out one of the nicest mask pics I've ever seen of him.  Look at the eyes darting out from behind the mask.  The plain white lid is both menacing and intimidating.  It's very loud in its simplicity.

Even the details like the frayed straps and airholes give this photo a sense of era and history.  A great card to add to the goalie mask binder.

And definitely worthy of being freed from its plastic case.

Friday, June 21, 2013

OUTSIDE THE BOX - A Nice Little Bonus In A Book I Bought

For a number of years now I have ventured to a huge annual used book sale in June.  Thankfully work was kind enough to schedule nicely so that I could hit up the sales last Saturday for a few hours.

Predictably, I head straight to the sports section when I get there and this year was no different.  I managed to find a few nice selections which will make for some good reading over the next few months (or even years...I came home with over a dozen books).

One of those books had a nice little gift inside it.  Similar to this little surprise a couple years ago.

This Paul Henderson biography is nicely autographed on the inside cover.  Not by Mike Leonetti...but by the man himself - Paul Henderson.  For a buck, this was a no-brainer pickup.  Too bad the autograph is personalized "To The Weens".  I am definitely not a Ween.

But it wasn't until I got home that the full realization of what this book held came to fruition.

I was leafing through the pages to see what kind of read it might be (and I like to see if there are photos.....I'm a sucker for pictures).  And what do you think literally pops out of the pages?

That's right.  An autographed index card of Paul.  Actually, it's the flip side of a promotional card from an appearance he made at a community church.  Regardless, it's a clean, white, pristine looking signature.  Undisturbed and screaming for me to build a custom with.

While he does have a big swooping "P" to start his sig, I think I can come up with something to house this great graph.

I love books.  Especially those with autographs of (should be) Hall of Famers tucked inside.

RAISE THE CUP - Because I'm Sitting At Home

Calgary (and Southern Alberta in general) has been absolutely pounded with severe flooding over the past 24-48 hours.  Unprecedented amounts of water.  While my place is safe, I know that others can't say the same.

The downtown core has been completely evacuated, the Saddledome has flooded up to the 10th row of seats - the dressing rooms are completely submerged and the Jumbotron control room is totally destroyed.  Countless pieces of memorabilia and history gone.

Quite frankly though, as long as everyone is safe - everything else becomes secondary.

My workplace issued a day off for everyone and I have been glued to my TV all morning.  It's also allowed me some time to sift through some cards.  And so I thought I'd share a couple with you.

Trade night last Wednesday (which seems like forever ago now) brought two more card into the Raise The Cup PC.  One of my favorite side projects, I enjoy finding new cards with great new pics.

2012/13 Upper Deck SP Authentic
#151 Authentic Moments

The newly released SP Authentic product has a very nice subset called Authentic Moments.  Photos linked with key moments in hockey history.  Upper Deck does a great job with their photo selections and I'm intrigued with what the checklist might hold.

I saw some of the other cards from the set and it looks like it'll be a popular build.

Love the shot of Chara here.  I'm glad they got him post-SC cap.  This photo just oozes with character and emotion.  Great card.

2012/13 Panini Certified
Path To The Cup
#PSCW6 Drew Doughty  /99

This card comes from a nice little insert set Panini put out earlier this year.  I've already landed one other card from this limited production.  Not sure what the price range is on these, but I probably gave up a little more than I normally would have to get it.  That said, I gave up cards that have been sitting in the collection for a while and the trade came with the person who got me this gorgeous Linden patch last month.  I was happy to make the trade.

Doing a quick search on ebay tells me that these cards are a little tough to come by (I think because the product wasn't widely opened) and the price point is healthy to say the least.

Bottom line...two more great cards to add to the binder.

Current Collection - 111 cards

Thursday, June 20, 2013

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2012/13 SP Authentic

Work, work, work.  It's been my focus over the past month.  Not coming as a surprise (as every June/July is this way), I've come to enjoy it in some morbid way.  It's a challenge for me (and the rest of the team that I work with) to raise the bar each year and exceed previous standards.

I've missed out on a few things unfortunately as a result of my work.  Some playoff hockey, a couple trade nights/shows, a few of my niece's ball games and my nephew's lacrosse matches but I seem to find a way to fit some of it in.  Tonight was another example of just that.

The monthly trade night reared its ugly head and I was more than ready to make the trek out to enjoy en evening of cardboard fun.  Upper Deck recently released its SP Authentic brand and I was happy to see that my guy is in for 5 cards.  A base, base auto parallel, a retro base, a retro base auto parallel and a patch auto /10.  A nice mixture of easy to track down cards, some tougher pulls and a longshot.  That's what I like to see in a set.

But wouldn't you know it, out of all the pack wars and box breaks, not a single Linden could be found.  I was sure he'd be a short print or something....but alas no.  He's in the main set, just bad luck.

That was until I noticed a box full of base that the shop owner had on the counter.  I asked if I could peruse and was quickly rewarded with this little gem.

2012/13 Upper Deck SP Authentic
#103 base

Yes it's a simple base card (both figuratively and literally) and yes it's probably not tough to track down.  And it most definitely not going to create a dent in the ol' pocketbook (in fact, the shop owner was nice enough to let me have it for nothing.....much thanks).

But what this card represents is the enjoyment I feel when I track down a card on the wantlist, being able to find it and obtain it.  It's just as much fun to cross this one off the list as a number of other cards.

Now as for the card itself, well it's par for the SP Authentic course.  Simple, uninviting, bordering on boring.  The photo selection lacks any sort of excitement and frankly is one of the less desirable "I'm making a turn" pics.  I don't know what kind of photo pool UD has to choose from, but you gotta think there are a number of better shots out there.

Still, it's found a home and is another one off the list.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


A short but sweet blog post tonight.  It's zoo time at work and that means little time for much else.  It's the norm for this time of year and it's not as bad as it seems.  It helps when the weather plays nice too.

But when I got home tonight I saw a nice little bubble envelope sticking out of the mailbox.  I knew exactly what was in it (seeing as it was the only item I've picked up from anyone, anywhere in a while).

ITG's Ultimate Memorabilia 12 just keeps pumping out the solid looking card, but this one might just take the cake.  I've been wanting one of these ever since I learned that Dr. Price and the gang picked up a Linden game used Habs jersey a while back.

2012/13 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 12
Journey Autograph & Dual Patch Gold 1/1

Not much to say here.  It looks even better in person.  A superb Canucks patch from Trev's glory days and a solid 3 color Montreal piece.  The auto isn't a sticker, but rather a signed tab that is inserted into the ITG card (designed specifically for this design....a nice compromise to stickers).

I was unsure if I was going to chase this card when it popped up a couple weeks ago but after some quick chats I decided to go for it.  Somebody said the words "run the table"....I don't know if I can go that far, but I do feel pretty lucky to have 4 1/1's in my possession just a month after the products' release.

We'll see.  I think I'll take it one card at a time.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Most of the cards that I have featured in my Cardboard Photography posts have great action, vintage equipment, unique angles or just an overall oddball feel.  For this particular's something else.

As you may know, I'm a big fan of goalie masks.  I like looking at and knowing about as many different goalie masks that have been worn in the NHL as possible.  Be it the classics like Martin Brodeur, Ken Dryden and Jacques Plante all the way up to today's art like Al Montoya and Corey Crawford.

One goalie who definitely has an iconic mask is that of John Vanbiesbrouck from his days with the Florida Panthers.  Proof's in the pudding.

I don't think there's any debate that when you see this mask - you know who it is.

What I find interesting is that in his days beforehand with the Rangers, Vanbiesbrouck switched up his mask a number of times.  I guess he was never quite happy with the look.  His days after Florida, especially with the Flyers, saw more variations (I remember him adding a glitter-type look to some of his lids).

But with was status quo.

Or was it?

Check this card out.

1993/94 Topps Stadium Club
#85 John Vanbiesbrouck

Lovely posed shot I know, but take a look at the goalie mask John's leaning on.  Clearly something different than his go to mask.  Remember, the Panthers just came into existence in the league and I don't even think Beezer had even played a game in Florida colors before this photo was taken.

Could this be a first version mask?  Is it a mask that belongs to another Florida goalie (Mark Fitzpatrick was the other goalie picked in the 1993 Expansion Draft)?  Or is it a mask that was brought in specifically for the shoot?

In doing some research, I found dead end after dead end.  It doesn't seem as though much is documented about the mask.  Believe it or not, I have seen it a couple times before.

Here's an insert from Skybox Impact's 1996 release.  Clearly a different mask (and I think it's the same lid as in the TSC pic).  So did he wear it in a game?  Maybe practice only?  Do card companies use a lot of practice photos on their cards?  The questions just pile up.

I also saw this mask (don't ask me how I remember this must be from my obsession with masks at the time) in an NHL-produced video called  NHL's Masked Men - The Last Line Of Defense.  Here's the snippet with Vanbiesbrouck (go to about the 3:15 mark).

No mistaking John Vanbiesbrouck there with comedian Jay Mohr....and it's Mohr who is wearing that rare mask.

So what's the story behind this goalie mask?  I for one would love to know.  It just goes to show can often reveal the answers, but there are occasions where it will instead pose more questions.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

CUSTOMS - This Would Be The Top Of The Mountain

Most of you know that I like to dabble in custom card making and have designed, printed and assembled a number of items over the past number of years.  It is something that I thoroughly enjoy and it makes for a (relatively) inexpensive side aspect to my hobby collecting.

I have been asked by a few people over the years if I could help them by creating something for their special autograph, ticket or TTM endeavors.  And I've been happy to help when I can.  I find it time consuming, but something that I embrace as I feel it's just "part of the job".

I've always wanted to see how the pros do it though.  One of the things on my lifelong hobby "bucket list" would be to travel to one of the big card companies and see the inner workings.  Especially the concept and design standpoint.  To me, that would be one of the ultimate thrills.

Well, a couple of days ago, I was made aware of a few short sentences from one of the big companies that got my juices flowing.

Huh.  Essentially an invitation to apply for my dream job.

It's funny, even though (based on the requirements listed) I'm very underqualified, it would surely be a job that would require relocation and the learning curve would be probably more than I have ever encountered...I feel compelled to apply.  Part of me wants to put my name in the hat for no other reason than to say "I did it."

At the same time, I can honestly say that I have never been more happy in a work environment than I am right now (no offense to past co-workers).  My career is one that I am very passionate about, I work with fantastic people and the job itself is challenging and at times very rewarding.  Add to that the biggest trump card of them all - I'm a hop, skip and a jump away from my niece and nephew and can go see them pretty much whenever I want.

Why would I want to change that?

If everything remained status quo, I don't see any reason why I would want to rock the boat.  That said, I've thought about this job opening on more than one occasion every day since I learned of it.

Do I apply?  Do I sit back and continue to enjoy what I have and where I'm at?  Do I pursue more knowledge of the equipment, software and techniques used by the card designers and hone my craft a little more?

Lots to think about.  But in the end I can honestly say that whatever happens....I'll be in a good place.