Friday, February 28, 2014


Last year, In The Game released the sequel to their popular (and somewhat controversial) Enforcers product.  A lineup solely of tough guys.  Fighters, goons, whatever you may call them.

This niche product definitely caught the eye of a certain hockey audience and even those who might not lean towards those players too.  Heck, I ended up buying a box myself.  It was a fun break and I really liked what ITG did with their autograph cards.  They do a great job of incorporating the sticker autos into the design of their cards.

Enforcers II wasn't really on my radar when I first heard of its impending release.  Once around the block was good enough for me.  Especially knowing that my guy would never be included in an enforcers set.

Hold the phone!!!!!  He's what??????

Yeah.  A little digging through the checklist revealed that Linden would have a card in Enforcers II.  And not just a simple base card or auto.  How's a Duel Tough Patch suit ya?

The Duel Tough Patch card (in my eyes) represents two players that have a connection in the enforcers world of the NHL.  Two guys that have dropped the mitts, toe to toe.  Epic battles.

Probert vs. Domi

Odjick vs. McSorley

Potvin vs. Hextall (yup....they're in there)

But not Linden vs. Witt

I've seen a few of these cards pop up on ebay and the hobby boards and there is no question that they look great.  But I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that Trevor Linden (good for about 35-40 PIMs per season, never drops the gloves...and when he does - it ain't pretty) would have a card in this set.

So what would be my reaction when the card surfaces?  It's a 1/1 by the it took a while.  Well, let's find out.

Here's the front of the Duel Tough Patch.  A nice big juicy Brendan Witt Washington Capitals piece.  Looks great.  A good start.

Linden's on the flip side......ready?


For a card like this to truly shine in my eyes, the patch has to be more than just average.

Yes, there are numerous breaks in the patch.  Yes, there are multiple colors.  But the detail and uniqueness of the patch isn't there in my eyes.  It's not instantly recognizable as to what the patch is or where it comes from on the crest.  It falls short.

So there it is.  The card exists, it's been pulled from a pack and in fact - it was presented to me with the opportunity to buy.  What to do?

Would I like the card?  Sure.  It's on my wantlist.  It's a Linden.  I'd love to add it to the collection.

Was the asking price fair?  Sure.....I guess.  I dunno.  With 1/1 cards, it's hard to gauge the demand.  I'll admit, when I first heard that Linden had this card in Enforcers II, I wasn't thrilled.  I felt he was included in the product not because he was an enforcer....but because his name was Trevor Linden.  And Linden cards sell.

So the desirability factor was lower than normal.  I decided to pass on the card.  I know where it currently lives.  And if down the road I change my mind, maybe I'll still have a shot at it.

But if I never land this piece, it'll be one of many that will never hit my collection.  And I'm ok with that.

Oh, and by the's the photo that was referenced from the "fight" between the two guys on the card.  It was 2002, neither combatant dropped the gloves and neither was given a penalty on the play.

When I think of Brendan Witt vs. Trevor Linden........oh wait - I don't.  Maybe I'm not on the fence with this card like I thought I was.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LINDEN ITEM OF THE WEEK - What A Unique Find... Or Is It?

Wow!  Post #4 of the month.  I'm flyin'.  I'm on pace for a whopping 50 posts this year or something.

Yes, it's true, my blogging has fallen off a little this year.  There's just been a lot on the plate still (does it ever end?).  But fear not.  Things are ramping up a bit and I just picked up a number of cards for a few of my projects.  Now I just need to clean my desk off, scan some stuff and get typing.

The past couple weeks have been spent over at my sister's place while she and my brother-in-law flew off to Vegas.  I got to hang out with my niece and nephew.  Awesome!  Cards definitely took a back seat, but I still managed to find some cool items when out and about.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to pick them up as the price tags were a little large (antique show....what do you expect).

For this post I thought I'd show off an item that I was pretty pumped to purchase and equally excited to open when it arrived.  But all might not be what it seems.

Anything and everything Medicine Hat Tigers with Trevor Linden on it is of automatic interest to me.  Sadly, the number of items are low....very low.  He played junior at a time when junior cards or memorabilia were not on the radar of collectors.  So this poster/photo was an immediate eye-catcher when it popped up on ebay a few weeks back.

It was surprising to me that the price was reasonable considering that in the 15+ years I have been collecting Linden items I have never seen this piece before.  I contemplated it for a day then hit the Buy It Now button.  I was really thrilled with the purchase.  For a day at least.

What I thought was a rare and unique item turned out to be not quite as scarce.

Not a day had gone by after purchasing the poster when up popped another copy - from the same seller.  So what gives?  Is this item a reprint?  A fake?  One of a billion that he has in his basement?

The envelope arrived in the mail a few days later (as it was coming from a short distance away) and upon opening it was confused even further.

The item is fantastic.  It measures approx 8x9 inches (a bizarre size if you ask me) and is printed on a paper that has the look and feel of something 25 years old.  Do I think it's a fake?  No way.  It looks pretty legit to me.

But I'm tempted to email the seller to see if he has any more info on the item.  How many copies he has...where he got them from...what's his connection to the piece.

Whatever the answers may be (if any), I have no hesitations or regrets when it comes to this Linden item.  It's a great photo that definitely screams of the era.  Bad mullets, cheesy expressions and badly colored wood seats.  How can you possibly go wrong?  Oh, and can you pick out Trev in the mix?  I think I figured it out....but even I'm not 100% sure.

Monday, February 10, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - A Big First Day

My, my, my.....what a difference a day makes.  A trip to the local card show with a renewed purpose and a bit of digging in my own personal collection has created a monstrous show & tell post.  Probably the biggest single day haul I'll have for this new project.

I'll begin by showing off the new adds from my existing collection.

Andy Bathgate
(Inducted in 1978)

I purged a few cards from the 'One Sheet, One Set' Parkhurst page I built.  While it was tough to split this page up, I felt that these Hall Of Fame cards belonged in this new project.  I'm sure I'll fill the holes nicely with other hard-signed signatures.

To me, Andy Bathgate will always be the guy responsible for drilling Jacques Plante in the nose with a slap shot that caused Plante to don the goalie mask in 1959.

Great autograph.

Red Kelly
(Inducted in 1969)

This card has become the earliest inducted member in my project.  I'm curious to see who holds that distinction when I've reached card number 100.  I'm going to predict that there will be older.

Marcel Pronovost
(Inducted in 1978)

I like this card, but there might be a different Pronovost that makes it into the collection.  There's another one that I have my eye on.....if it's available.

Marcel's sig is slightly off center.  It's messing with my Fung Shui.

Clark Gillies
(Inducted in 2002)

Clark, or as I like to call him "The guy who consistently gets named when the subject of who shouldn't be in the HHOF comes up" lays down a killer auto on this sweet card.

Pulled from my 'Raise The Cup' set, I had to move it to this new project.  It's just too nice of a card.  I'll be looking to replace it with the non-signed version.

Johnny Bucyk
(Inducted in 1981)

Another card that was slated to into the 'Raise The Cup' set, The Chief gets moved into this new group.

A gorgeous card that just shimmers in the light.  So much so that the scan is blown right out.

So far there's been some great variety in the card releases and designs.  I hope to keep it up.

And so was the case on Sunday when I went to the card show with my traders.

I hit the show on Saturday and let a couple guys know of my project.  They said they would do some digging and I was excited to hit the show on a rare Sunday.  I did not go home disappointed.

Grant Fuhr
(Inducted in 2003)

I'm loving the fact that I've added some Cup cards.  They look great and really add to the beef of my collection.

The photo used on this card is an interesting one.  It's got Grant wearing a mask that I personally don't associate with him that much.  But the orange looks fantastic.

Jari Kurri
(Inducted in 2001)

This was a last minute find.  I had a couple dealers scramble to find cards for me (I must have had some solid traders with me that day).

I'll be honest, I didn't think that I'd have some pretty solid HOFers so quickly.  I was expecting the Adam Oates and Bernie Federkos to be knocked off the list first.

Bill Barber
(Inducted in 1990)

And thank you Bill Barber.  Here's a guy that would be on the low end of the desirability scale.  If there was a "common" player in this would be Barber.

That said, I'm glad I was able to get him on this Parkhurst Champions card.  I have no doubt that there will be more from this product making an appearance before all is said and done.

Joe Mullen
(Inducted in 2000)

I like that I was able to get Joe in a Flames uniform.  I remember him more from his days in Calgary than in St. Louis or Pittsburgh.  That's something I'll be keeping a bit of an eye on for future cards.

Another Cup card too.  Love it!

Mike Bossy
(Inducted in 1991)

This is a gorgeous card.  Love the design, photo, and huge signature along the bottom.  Really happy to have been able to trade for this one.

With some guys, there are so many cards available out there.  I'm pleased to have a quality piece for this star sniper.

Ray Bourque
(Inducted in 2004)

Didn't expect to get this one, but I think it's a fantastic add.

Unique looking card, great signature.  It's cards like this that make me really excited to start this project.

Denis Potvin
(Inducted in 1991)

Denis Potvin gets ZERO hobby love.  And that is a shame.

Except in this instance.

Can you believe that this card would have a hard time hitting $7 on ebay? Maybe he just signs too much.  Maybe he got lost in the Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque world.  Maybe he just sits second...third....fourth fiddle - ON HIS OWN TEAM.

Whatever the case may be, Potvin (along with Marcel Dionne) just do not generate any sort of excitement in this hobby.  But I'm really happy with this add.

One last card to put in this show & tell.  He's in the Hall Of Fame, but is not a player.  I decided to pick it up because it was more of a throw-in on a trade.

The "Voice of the Flames"....Peter Maher.

And a little tidbit for you.  His daughter and I were in the same class in elementary school.

Small world.

Now Peter's card doesn't officially count towards my 100 card goal. I'm just keeping tabs on players.

And a quick couple adds on the "rules"

Rule #6 - No cards with jerseys or patches on it.  Autograph only cards.

Rule #7 - No oversized or mini cards.  I saw a couple Parkhurst Champions minis that had me contemplating....but I'm holding off for now.  I might go back and revise this later.  Again, Fung Shui.

I can't wait for the next trade night.  Hopefully I can continue this torrid streak.  And it's so much fun re-discovering the art of the trade.  So simple....yet so many have forgotten about it.

Current Collection - 17 HHOF Autos

Friday, February 7, 2014

NEW PROJECT - Because I Just Don't Have Enough On My Plate

I finally am pulling the trigger on my newest project.  And a lot of the inspiration for this side project comes from Casey over at Drop The Gloves! (or what used to be.....he looks to have a new site launching in a week or so.  I for one am excited to see what he's up to).

A number of months ago, Casey showed off his Hockey Hall Of Fame autograph project.  An impressive collection of signatures representing the players inducted into hockey's ultimate shrine.  It got me thinking.

Much like my "Raise The Cup" project, I liked the fact that Casey's autos captured a piece of hockey's rich history.  Those cards (for decades to come) will stand the test of time as a collection of players that have reached the pinnacle.  It got me thinking.

Last year I was drawn to a couple cards that just spoke to me.  Spoke to this new project of mine.  And I decided to add them to my collection.  At first I kept the cards in my trade box as I contemplated what it was I wanted to do.  But now I have pulled them aside and they now sit in my personal collection.

So with that, let me introduce to you my new project.

Hard signed signatures of Hockey Hall Of Fame members.

(I'll show off the cards first and then explain the parameters of my venture).

Billy Smith
(Inducted in 1993)

This card was one that drew my eye instantly.  The Islanders dynasty of the early 80's was right in line with my introduction to hockey and hockey cards.  So many great memories of that team and of that time period.

It was a no-brainer for me to pick this card up.....especially with the low price tag on it.

Bob Gainey
(Inducted in 1992)

This was in a $2 binder.  Enough said.

Actually, take a moment to look at the photo.  A great snapshot of late 70's/early 80's NHL.  Gloves that go up to the elbows, skin tight jerseys, wood sticks, white (puck marked) boards

And Gainey has a great signature to boot.  A steal for a toonie.

Harry Howell
(Inducted in 1979)

An oldie (in this early incarnation of my collection) but a goodie.  This card comes from my all-time favorite set, the 06/07 Parkhurst product.

I'm predicting that this won't be the last time we see a card from this set pop up.

Larry Murphy
(Inducted in 2004)

I pulled this card from a pack of ITG's Decades 90s just last month.  At first I thought of not using it in my project as I was contemplating going with just vertical cards.  But then reality set in and I decided that it would be too limiting.  So in it goes and it'll soon be joined by other horizontal sigs.

Bobby Orr
(Inducted in 1979)

Much like the Billy Smith, this Bobby Orr card spoke to me.  Spoke to this project.  And after I successfully traded for it, I started to form the ideas that would be basis of this collection.

One of the big sigs in this portion of the project, Orr's addition to my pc really makes this an attainable and exciting start down this road.

So that's the "first five".  A good way to kick things off if you ask me.  So now (as with every side project I have) I've decided to set some simple parameters.  Call them loose "rules" which will hopefully keep things fun, affordable and challenging.

Rule #1 - Hard signed autographs only (NO STICKERS ALLOWED)

Rule #2 - No slabbed cards

Rule #3 - No dual, triple, etc. auto cards

Rule #4 - (and this is the big one) I can only acquire cards through trading.  No money will be shelled out to purchase any card from this point on

Now, You might be thinking "How will you possibly trade for the likes of a Howie Morenz, Cyclone Taylor or Georges Vezina?"  Well, here's where the last piece of the "rules" puzzle comes into play.

As of 2013, there are 259 players in the HHOF.  My goal is to hit the century mark before I re-assess the "rules".

Rule #5 - The goal is to reach 100 HHOF autos through trades only

I think it is very realistic that I can trade for 95 more HHOF hard-signed autographs before I run out of cards in that wheelhouse.

And with that, you have now witnessed a new birth in my collecting world.  Cigars will be handed out in the near future.  I hope you enjoy my future posts as much as I will enjoy hunting down new cards.  Anybody ready to trade?

Current Collection - 5 HHOF Autos

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Select Black Friday Promo

The slow start to the year has continued into February but I am sensing that things might ramp up a bit.  In The Game has posted the checklist for their newest product Stickwork and Linden shows up on 8 cards (4 silver versions and 4 gold 1/1 parallels).  I'm curious to see the print runs and initial pursuits on his cards.  I will be holding back a bit but will probably jump in at some point.

Today was a rare sight for the mailbox in 2014......a yellow bubble envelope.  I knew what was inside (as it was the only card that is on the 'incoming' list right now).

2013-14 Panini Select
#178 Retired Prizm Black Friday Promo  /35

When I first heard that Panini was doing a Black Friday Promo for Select, I was kind of excited.  A good chase number (35 copies) and who knew if all the cards were distributed.

I waited patiently for prices to come down on the card and during my wait I received a comment on these boards from a person saying they had a copy of the card if I was interested.


We worked out a trade - YES...A TRADE!  Talk about old school.  And the bubble mailers were sent off.  I received my end of the deal today, but there was more than just the Linden in the mailer.

2014 National Hockey Card Day
USA Version (1 pack)

This is cool!  A couple weeks ago Upper Deck held their National Hockey Card Day in both Canada and the US.  I didn't get out to any shops for my free packs but was thrilled to see a US pack in my envelope.

I had my eye on a certain card from the set and sure enough....

Ka-ching!  What a great card and a cool looking mask.

Now you might think that Tony should be in the Canadian set - after all, he was on the 1972 Team Canada during the Summit Series.  But did you know that he also suited up for Team USA at the Canada Cup in 1981?  It says so right on the back of the card.

Read your card backs people.  It's fun!

Here's what the rest of the pack yielded.  Nothing spectacular, but still very cool to get some cards that I otherwise would never have come across.

And what's better than one free pack?  How about two.

2004 Press Pass National Trading Card Day (1 pack)

I had to do a double take when I saw the year.  I thought at first it said 2014 but then noticed it was a decade prior.

I've never heard of this promotion so it was really exciting to rip open this wrapper.

Out of the two football and four NASCAR cards in the pack.....these would be the best two.  Again nothing special, but the generosity and thoughtfulness is what I was really taken by.

So thank you very much Duff for reaching out to me about the Linden, for a seamless trade and for the bonus goodies.  I really appreciate it.