Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I can't believe we are days away from November!  Where has the time gone?  Where has my golf season gone???  It snowed on the weekend here and was a harsh reminder that winter is upon us.

But things aren't all doom & gloom.  There are some great happenings going on (especially in the hobby) for me.

In a couple instances, it was just a simple back and forth with fellow hobbyists..."talking shop" and getting to know the inner workings of collectors' habits.  I always love hearing how, when, why, who.  Tons of fun.

I've been the recipient of some very kind words over the past week that really not just made my day....but made a real impact on my approach to this hobby I love.

And I've seen some great, selfless acts from people trying to go above and beyond in helping out others.  Man....there's nothing better than that.

Case in point....young Colin's pink stick tape fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research.  A very worthwhile cause and a great idea for raising money.  Best of luck with your remaining auction(s).

Now it's been a bit of a quiet go on the Linden front as of late.  One very interesting note though.  Last week my mom had lunch with Trevor's mom and dad (my family knew the Lindens when I lived in Medicine Hat for a year...I was in grade 2).  They did some catching up as it had been well over 10 years since they had seen one another.

My curious bone got the better of me and I had my mom ask them about this jacket I bought a while back.  If the meeting wasn't so "spur of the moment", I would have had her take it along to show them.  Nonetheless, they seem to think (based on my mom's description) that it's legit.  #9 was indeed Trev's number at that time.


Another big score recently was a fanta-stick ebay find.  And a definite blast from the past.

2000/01 Pacific Private Stock
#58 Game Used Gear (stick)

This stick card was the very first stick card Trevor ever had.  I remember trying hard to track down a copy at the time.  Ebay was a new vehicle for me to use as a tool and the local shows had nothing of the sort.  I eventually landed one but it came with a slight rip around the window.  I kept it but always hoped to upgrade.

Years later I did find another copy.  But it was signed by Trevor.  Sure it was nice and all...but it didn't quite count as a replacement.  Well over a decade later - I have found the card that will sit proudly in my collection and I am no longer looking to upgrade.

It was fun to take a close look at this card again after all these years.  The design is a little unique to say the least.  Pacific at the time really had some "out there" looks on their cards.  Trev's sporting his shortly-used Habs jersey and the card is thick and has a nice gloss finish.

But what really drew me to the card was the stick piece.  Lots of great detail and color in the piece.  It's a shame the window couldn't have been twice as big (the card definitely has the room for it).

The best part.....less than $9.  Oh, and did I mention FREE SHIPPING!!!

That is one heck of a steal in my books.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OUTSIDE THE BOX - A Little Lesson To Always Be Nice

I received an item a little while back that fits nicely into my Linden pc.  It's not a card (and most times when it's not...I move along), but the price was right and I had never really seen one before.

But this item comes with a little story (and lesson).  I like stories.

So I was doing my daily hourly Linden search on ebay when I came across an item that was distinctly Linden.  I say distinctly because it was housed in NHL & NHLPA strewn packaging.  That's always a first look when I go after things that are not cards.

I noticed a low BIN (very low in fact) with a surprising twist....FREE SHIPPING.

Wow!  I decided to e-mail the seller just to make sure.  He lived in the States and so when I got the all good...I hit the BIN.

A couple weeks later I receive a plain white envelope in the mail with my item...the packaging nicely bent and ripped.

Now I'm a Linden collector, so an item like this is something where I had planned to keep it unopened and just stored with my other Linden extras.  No such luck here.  So I did what most would do...I contacted the seller.

I contacted the seller with the intention of opening up dialogue.  I did not ask for a refund or replacement.  I did not bitch and complain.  I just mentioned that I received my item damaged (an item that was described as "New").

The response I got was actually pretty stunning.

I was lambasted because the guy sending had to spend almost twice the price of the item just to ship it (remember, shipping was free in the auction).  He offered to send me his wallet seeing as what I received wasn't good enough.

Now I kept my cool, but inside I was ticked.  So I mentioned just how surprised I was in his response.  I mentioned that the auction clearly stated that shipping was free and the item was "New".  It's not my fault that I wasn't opening up the item (it was just the packaging that was damaged).  Calmly and cooly I sent the message.


So I did what most would do.  I slapped him with a negative feedback.  I was honest about my comments and I decided to move on.

Well, that wasn't good enough for him.  He responded by further (and not in the right way).  So I wrote to him again.  I simply stated that my communication to him was done with nothing but respect and honesty.  I was very disappointed in his responses and felt the shoe fit.  I told him that my intentions were to have this transaction end in a way where we can both win.

He went back to look at what he wrote and soon apologized.  Stating that he was in the wrong.  He wanted to make things right.  He said he had a bunch of the Lindens and he sent me off another package.

I received this in the mail earlier this week.

It's a Trevor Linden magnet jersey.  And in fact, he didn't just send me one (in a bubble envelope this time), he sent me four.  And a couple Brett Hull magnets to boot.

So I e-mailed him back and asked what he had paid in shipping for both packages.  I was planning on sending him a bit of paypal to offset some of his costs.  He refused, saying that again he was in the wrong.

I told him that I would reverse my feedback.

Long story short, dealing with people respectfully and in a "nice" manner is really the best way to get positive results.  Sure there are times when you're dealing with complete jerks (and they shouldn't get the time of day from you), but when the ball is in your court - you control your actions.

It looks like I might have a couple Xmas gifts for fellow Linden collectors.

Friday, October 18, 2013

MY COLLECTION - Some Big, Bad Bruins

OK, maybe not big or bad.....but definitely Bruins.  Three of them to be exact.

Earlier this week was the ever popular and frequented trade night.  Something I look forward too just as much as the weekend show or...well, pretty much anything that has to do with hockey card collecting.

Lots of stuff on the radar (and one bite as you'll soon see).  But there's always things that catch my eye on a spur of the moment.  And no, this month it was not boxes of cards.  No caving.  Just a couple rounds of pack wars that yielded nothing.

You may remember my post last month about Boston goalie Doug Keans.  Well, just to update the story, the cards successfully made it to Colin and were promptly signed.  And a good chuckle from Doug when he learned of my "pinky" comment.

This month, one of the trade boxes had some 84/85 OPC in it.  What are the odds of that?  And what do you think the odds are that sitting in those few singles would be a Keans rc?

Yup....pretty good.  After a fun story was told to the card owner, the piece of cardboard was happily passed along to me - and will be promptly mailed off to Colin.  Now he has the grand slam of Doug Keans cards.  All four of them!

Sadly, like most of his other pics, Doug gets the pregame treatment.  I do like this design (my fave of the 80's) and the pic oozes of the time.  All things considered - a great card.

Next up is a card that represents many different messages in this hobby.

When I go to trade night, most of the crowd is (if I had to guess) 30-40 year olds.  With the hobby evolving the way it is, I'm not surprised at that. But every once in a while there's a young'n....and I'm not talking a guy in his early 20's.  I mean somebody that would be in the 12-15 year old range.  One such person is now what I would consider a "regular" to trade night.

At first, it was interesting to see the dynamic of the shop.  How would people interact with him?  Would they give him hobby respect?  Would they simply dismiss him as just "a kid"?  Would they flat out ignore him?  I'll say this, he made a solid first impression on me (and others I think) and has really made a positive name for himself at trade night.

Why?  He's polite, respectful, easy going, and honest.  In fact, there are some guys who come through the door that could learn a thing or two from him.  And the dude has a super-organized trade box and binder.  Makes me look REAL BAD!

So I mentioned that I'd be looking to trade and was sifting through his binder.  Thinking I would come away with a handful of goodies, I was surprised to find just one card that caught my eye.  It was a low-ender to say the least.

So what does this guy do?  He says "You can just have it."  He mentioned a trade we made a couple months back and how it favored him slightly.

That's a pretty cool gesture.  For anybody at any age.

This is the card.  Now Rogie may not be known primarily for his days in Boston, but the mask he's sporting in the pic is sah-wheet.  Have I mentioned I like the vintage lids?

So to Dylan (I hope I'm spelling that right), thank you very much.  Not just for the card, but for being a fantastic addition to my trade night festivities.

Lastly, the card that would be classed in the "spur-of-the-moment" column.

Some of you may know that Bobby Orr is coming out with a biography (on the reading list to be sure).  As part of the promotional push, Orr is doing some publicity (a ton of it by his standards).

Recently there was a fantastic article in the Boston Globe about the All-Star defenceman and I just finished watching a great interview he did with  Peter Mansbridge (those of you in Canada know who I'm talking about).

Take all that and add to it that I'm currently reading Searching For Bobby Orr and well, this got the best of me.

I saw this card sitting in a trade box and asked what it would take to get my hands on it.

A hard-signed Orr...not bad at all.  Sure, the market is a little saturated right now with his signatures, but still, he's one of the greatest players ever to lace up the skates.  And one of the classiest to boot.

A little back and forth and the card came home with me.  It's one I don't think I'll be putting in my trade box any time soon.  I like having this one in the collection.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Brought To You By The Letter "N"

Last month when I learned that my guy would be included in ITG's Decades 90s "Nameplate" subset, my first thought was "It's about time!"

Nameplate cards have been around in the hobby for a few seasons now.  Some products use manufactured patches, some use the real deal.  I'm a real deal kind of guy.

ITG When the product went live, I was eagerly anticipating seeing what these new adds to the list might look like.  Six little letters....one big chase.

The "L" was first to pop up on ebay and my initial thought was "Sweet!", then...."What?", then "Aw man."

Any time a new concept is introduced into my player collection I get excited.  While base cards are fun (and so too are autos, jersey, patches, etc.), they can sometimes feel a little redundant.  Concepts like the Captain-C upper & lower half blew me away.  A quad auto with Lemieux, Yzerman and Sakic - dropped the jaw.  And a monster patch celebrating Trev's charity work...that's the pinnacle.

But is it just me or is something a little off when it comes to this nameplate card?

Yes, the "L" is off center, but that's kind of expected seeing as it comes from a gamer and the available jersey in between letters is scarce.  I'm more looking at colors.

The black and yellow of the "L" clearly indicates that the jersey it comes from is the black skate logo design.  The background of the card though...not so much.  Unless the blue and green are constant throughout the entire Nameplate run, I'd say it's representing the colors of Vancouver's current threads.

The contrasting hues are indeed eye catching.  Sadly, not in a good way.  Imagine for a moment that the colors were say yellow and red.  Or black and yellow.  Mmmmmmmmm.  One can dream.

The "L" went quick on ebay.  It had a BIN that was way over the top (at least twice what I was willing to pay for one) but somebody made a deal for it.  Good for them.  The dream of owning all six was quickly extinguished (actually, I wasn't holding my breath at all about that one).

The goal for me - own one of the six letters.

Well, a couple weeks ago I came across another letter.  A collector in Finland got it in a group break.  I quickly asked if it was available.  It was. And we soon agreed on a price (and a reasonable price at that).

The card arrived and it now sits in with the collection.

2013/14 In The Game Decades 90s
#NP-81 Nameplate "N"  1/1

Much like the "L", this "N" is a little lopsided...which is fine by me.  I know that it's the final letter in the name so why not utilize a little more jersey.

I'm even more curious to see what the middle letters look like.  Hopefully they don't appear too squishy in the window.

On a side note, I found out tonight that Upper Deck is going a second round with Linden in The Cup.  My initial thought was "S#&@!!!!", but after seeing the checklist I must say that I'm really impressed.

Nine cards.  That's it.  A base /249, a gold parallel /25, a black parallel 1/1 and four printing plates.  A patch gold /10 and a Brilliance auto.  This auto has me really excited.  A new subset in The Cup....hopefully they hit it out of the park with the design.  But a huge sigh of relief (and a quick bit of typing on my master list).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Diving Into Decades

With ITG's Decades product now out for over a month, I can confidently say that the initial wave is over.

A lot of Linden cards showed themselves on ebay and for the most part I sat back and watched.  High price jersey cards that will soon go for a fraction of the price, big ticket cards that soared over the price I was willing to pay and the few base cards (does anyone actually sell base on ebay anymore?) lingering around.

I did pick up some cards though.  It wasn't a complete drought.  And actually, I think I'm making out quite well right now with putting a dent into the wantlist while remaining sane on the final dollar amount.

This game used jersey card is the silver parallel.  It's the ignored middle brother in the product.  While the black version (the most readily available) gets a lot of interest from set builders and the likes and the gold parallel is the rarest, most highly sought after, the silver version doesn't get much love - except from player collectors.

I was lucky enough to find a person selling one who must have thought the same thing.  He had it priced to go.  In fact, he had it priced lower than what I would have paid for on the black version.

I noticed he had opened quite a bit of the product so I asked if he had any of the Mask cards.  I ended up making a deal to get 8 cards tucked in with the Linden.


This jersey/auto black card was one I had my eye on for a few weeks as it sat unwanted on ebay.  A high Buy-It-Now price will do that.

The card isn't overly exciting to look at (sticker auto and plain white jersey) but it is limited to just 3 copies so the scarcity factor was what I was looking at.

Earlier in the week, I found out that another Linden collector picked up one of the other two out there.....and for how much.  Knowing that there were now only two left, I sprung into action.

I made an offer on the card quoting the other price and the fact that this card had a white jersey piece (which usually brings down the price).  It worked out and I made the deal for the card.

A couple days after paying for the card, I noticed one of his other auctions.  I made a quick inquiry and surprisingly, I walked away with another card.

This game-used patch card is the gold 1/1.  It's a nice looking card with a healthy swatch.  The four-color piece is what I would expect with a 1/1 and I'm glad ITG didn't disappoint.

I got it for a healthy market price so I can't brag about a sweet deal on this one.  But I think when combining it with the other Linden cards I've received so far from Decades 90s, I've made out ok.

That said, I've got a long ways to go.....but I'm not in any rush.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1 vs. 100 - I Have A Trade To Announce

Recently I received an e-mail from a collector who noticed my 1 vs. 100 collection.  In it there were a couple cards that he's been trying to track down for a little while.  He asked me if I'd be willing to trade.

Now in the past, I have traded some of the cards from my project, but only for cards that fit equal criteria.  In all honestly, I could care less if I have a Colton Orr/Matt Carkner dual fight strap card /2 or a Kris Versteeg dual patch /2.  To me...it's all about the /2.

Before I could even explain my trading practices, the e-mailer laid it out plain and simple.  It's as if he had already done his homework.

All I had to do was wait.

The cards arrived late last week and here are the swip swaps.

Gone is this Tom Poti gem.  Remember when he was a decent player?  Me neither.

In it's place is this rookie patch auto card from The Cup.

I'll take that trade all day.  I don't even care if I have no clue who "Fishy" is.

Another card from the SPGU Auto Draft set is this /33 of Timofei Shishkanov (I think it took me over a minute to type his name).

Drafted in 2001, I'm pretty sure he didn't pan out.

Zdeno Chara on the other hand is a name I recognize.  The Bruins captain makes his way into the collection with this Authentic Fabrics card numbered to his jersey number.

So while there's no change to the number of cards I have left to finish the project (7 BTW), I can safely say that I've improved the overall look of the set.

I guess it's not always just about the numbers.

93 out of 100  (93%)

RATE MY MASK - Steve Mason

With a new NHL season comes many new goalie mask designs.  Tenders have been traded to new teams and need to sport the home colors (or go with the mid-90's fave....the all-white lid), goalies need to re-invent their mojo (clearly filtered through their mask) or they've just grown tired of the same ol'.

For a guy like Steve Mason....I think there's a bit of all three.

Pushed away from Columbus last season, Steve is now the "starter" in Philly.  Of course that's a very loose stature - especially seeing that their coach was recently canned.

Mason has always had some interesting designs (my fave being the one that included the Evil Dead skull).  So with a fresh palette to build on, a new design was created.

Zombie Ben Franklin, zombie George Washington and zombie Betsy Ross.  Why not.

With the un-dead being in fashion right now, I'm not surprised that Steve stayed with a theme that's he's gone with in the past.  And even though Washington is mostly associated with Virginia (?) the Philly theme is strong.

I picked this mask as the one to rate not just because it was an interesting choice, but because there were some pics of the painting process used in some of the news stories.

In fact, the NHL went one further and created a video on the designing of Steve's new lid.  Check it out...

Here are some more pics that show off some of the impressive detail in the mask.

Painted by Franny Drummond who runs PaintZoo, this mask is the first from PaintZoo that I've seen.  I really like the stitching effect on the cheeks and forehead.  The color is a little lacking...but then again it is a zombie mask.

The left side gives good symmetry with the right.  The business of the mask is a little more than my liking (especially with what I see as a bit of a blast from the past with more bold, solid color masks making an appearance...am I right?)

The Flyers logo on top and "Mase" on the chin looks crisp.  The name is similar to the way the players have their names on the backs of their jerseys.  Sadly, that shouldn't be the highlight of a new mask.

The backplate continues the trend with a little "We The People" action.

"Horror without the horror movie" is what Steve asked for and I think he got just that.  There's a great article at InGoalMag that has a few more killer pics of this new mask.

So at the end of the day, does the mask garner a good score?  Not quite.  While it is a nicely painted mask, the theme does feel a little redundant.  I would have liked to have seen a little more orange in it.  And the big one for me....from a distance you can't really appreciate the mask.  That's no good.

2.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to RATE MY MASK!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

12 in 12 - September Review

Hello everybody!

September has been one of the craziest months of the year.  Work went into overdrive with what annually is the biggest week of the year.  I've been trying to get in that last round of golf....but alas it never happened.  I (in a true spur of the moment) decided I needed to go to Chicago for a "bucket list-type" event.  My Linden collection took on a whole new dynamic with the inclusion of Trev in Decades 90s (and for some reason Enforcers II).

And while my blogging slowed down considerably (I hope to ramp that back up now that hockey is in full swing), I did manage to add some nice items to the collection and (as you will soon find out) stay on pace with my book reading.

In fact...September brought about a surplus of page flipping.

Crazy.  I know.

My month started off with one of the fastest reads I've ever had.  You've all heard the term "I couldn't put the book down".  Well this book is that and more.

No...it's not a sports book (although the person of focus did run in the Berlin Olympics...and the author did write Seabiscuit) but it was quite bluntly the best book I've ever read.

There are plenty of reviews and synopsis' (synopsi's? synopsyses?) so I won't go into it here, but if you want a story of resilience - this book is for you.

Never has a book brought me to tears.  Never has a book literally knocked the wind out of me.  Never has a book made me stay up REAL late page flipping.  This book did.

It took days - not a month.

And so what did I do after that?  I read a book my niece has been bugging me for over a year to read.  And I needed to read it before the movie is released.

The second book in the Hunger Games trilogy - Catching Fire - was my next quest.  It was an entertaining read (and I did finish it with time to spare for this month's sports pick).  You'd think I had tons of spare time or something.

Yes.  Crazy.

Anyways, I finished up the third book of September tonight and I hit a pretty solid trifecta.

September's book was a suggestion from fellow WHA nut Captain Canuck.

The Rebel League - The Short And Unruly Life Of The World Hockey Association
Ed Willes
265 pages

Back in June, I ventured to WHA Day at the Canada Sport Hall Of Fame.  It was the weekend of our terrible flood, but when I heard that they were still putting on the event I decided to go.  And while it was a little underwhelming, it got me in the mood for more things WHA.

Soon after I was handed this book as a suggestion for a monthly read.  I'm glad I took up that suggestion.

The Rebel League surprised me a bit.  I was concerned it would be more of a "surface" story.  Not really getting into details of the 7-year venture that was the WHA.  It turned out to be a very well-written, detailed story.

Sure, there are the must-haves like Gordie Howe and his kids, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, the Slap Shot inspiration, the goonery.  But this had more.

Details, details, details.  Lots of interviews - and from a very diverse bunch.  That was a big part of the enjoyment.  Recognizing names that I haven't heard since I was a kid.

By the way, I can see this book being a more enjoyable read to those who recognize names like Steve Durbano, Real Cloutier, Anders Hedberg and John Garrett.  Connecting those memories with their stories really made this a fun read.

Concise, but with good stories.  Well organized and expressively written.  The Rebel League is more than just a "history of".  It documents the real push the WHA had vs. the NHL.  It unveils the impact the league had on player salaries, overall game style innovations and the incredible merger that impacted the league for the next 20+ years (in fact, the impact is still resonating).

A great documentation of one of the most important 7-year sport ventures  in all of pro sports.  It left me wanting more.  Read it.

4 out of 5

October's book:

Inspired by a fantastic Boston Globe article that has me drooling for yet another autobiography.