Thursday, April 24, 2014

'30 in 30' LEGACY - From Harlem With Love

Well it has been a mighty long time since I have posted anything referencing my '30 in 30' project from a year and a half ago.  Remember that?  30 sports documentaries (that I have never seen before) in 30 days.  It was a lot of fun and I saw an wide range of topics, production styles and editing "looks" that really made me appreciate the sports documentary form even more.

If you're interested in checking out some of my past viewings, go to the Labels section on the right hand side of my blog.  Click on 30 in 30 and you're in business.

You won't see many ESPN 30 for 30 selections on my list mainly because I have seen them all.  I'm always looking for new episodes on TV and couldn't buy the first set of 30 fast enough on Blu-ray.  I'm patiently waiting for the second series to be complete (they have about 10 or so left) so I can purchase that one too.

What has caught my eye a bit recently is the spin-off '30 for 30 Short' series that can be viewed online.....for free.  Free is good.

Basically, it's a 30 for 30 documentary, but shorter.  They sit in the 12-15 minute range.  Many of the topics don't warrant a full hour of production, so this 'short' vehicle works perfectly.  There have been quite a few titles released so far.

My favorite without question is Holy Grail which focuses on one of the most iconic baseball cards of all time.  If you decide to watch it, keep note in the back of your head that there have been some recent developments.  Watch it....then do some research.  An incredible story.

I also really enjoyed Jake, The Irrelevant Giant, Cutthroat and Arthur and Johnnie.  But all of them are enjoyable.  Soon you can do your own mini '30 in 30'.  There are almost enough titles.

This past week was the premiere of the newest doc...From Harlem With Love.  It's subject is a little near and dear to my heart - The Harlem Globetrotters.  If you'd like to check out some of my past ramblings on The Trotters, do a quick blog search.  They are a true sports institution.

But the story presented in this latest video is one I did not know about.  There's some great footage that I had never seen before and a certain basketball player that many never even knew played for the team.

Worth the watch....

And if any of you have seen a sweet sports doc recently, drop me a comment.  I'd love to hunt down some new viewing material.

Monday, April 21, 2014

RAISE THE CUP - Four Beautiful Blackhawks & One Sweet Stevens

I finally took some time to get my Raise The Cup project organized.  It had gotten a little out of control (if you can call a 100-card pc "out of control").  There were cards strewn all over my desk, duplicates sitting in my binder and frankly....some cards that just needed to go.

Without going into a ton of detail.....I've streamlined.

No longer will the Panini Certified insert sets be a part of this project.  Instead, I will slowly build the sets on their own.  They will sit as an accompanying part of the collection, but not part of the project.

Cards in these binder sheets will now be full on cards that have the player on the front clearly celebrating with The Cup.  No more duplicate cards (french/english, US/Canada variations, etc.).  Sorry to the dozen or so cards that have been given the boot.  It's for the greater good.

In addition to the housecleaning, I decided to scan some cards.  So let's take a look at some of the new additions.

2013/14 Upper Deck Series I
#117 Jonathan Toews

Yeah...this one was a no brainer.  What a fantastic photo.

Sweat-drenched hair, championship cap, playoff beard, outburst of joy.  What more does one want in a card?

Oh yeah.....The Cup!

I love the angle of the shot in this photo.  The side view allows one to get a good look inside the bowl.  Very cool.

2013 Panini Black Friday
#18 Jonathan Toews (shiny version)

This card sucks when scanned....but looks fantastic in person.  Wavy, shiny, black and with a simple design.  It looks great.

This card was a part of Panini's Black Friday promotion last year, so I assume it was a giveaway card.  I was able to trade for it a number of months back.

It's been sitting on my desk ever since.  For shame.

2011/12 Panini Donruss Elite
#14 Dustin Byfuglien

I was told that this shiny offering comes from another Panini giveaway thingy.  Works for me.

Dustin is looking a little more chill than Toews and I love the crooked hat. Slick.  The "deer in headlights" facial expression is the icing on the cake.

But....he's hoisting that trophy.  It's in.

2013/14 Upper Deck Series I
UD Canvas
#C50 Patrick Kane

Speaking of chill.  Kane looks cool like Tom Cruise in 1983.

The ticker tape background gives this card a great looking effect and oddly makes Kane and the Cup pop out....and yet at the same time blend in.  Optical.

2000/01 Topps Stadium Club
#33 Scott Stevens

But the king of ticker tape cards might just go to this Scott Stevens offering.

The low angle shot makes Scott look like he's king of the world and the background just sits so abstractly.

So with that, I'm now up to date on the collection.  Let's see how long that lasts.

Current Collection 112 cards

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Earlier this month I picked up a few cards for the trade box when I was at the final monthly card show of the season.  It was a great opportunity to do some replenishing and it also gave me a chance to check out some cards I normally wouldn't spend the time or money on.

There are a lot of cards I just turn my head away from and ignore.  Not because they aren't nice cards, but because I just can't focus on too many pieces of cardboard out there.  I've got enough on my plate as it is.

But when the goal is to hunt down some sweet deals....the eyes open up a little wider.

And when I saw this beauty sitting in a $5 box, I decided to strike.

2012/13 In The Game History Of Hockey
Great Moments In Hockey
#NN - First Goalie To Score Silver  /40

Nowhere on the front of this card does it say the name Billy Smith, but I knew exactly who this card showed when I laid eyes on it.  And yes, he was the first goalie ever to be credited with scoring a goal.

Now the photo has him in a shooting position....but make no mistake, he did not fire the puck down the ice like you've seen may times since.  More on that in a moment.

When I saw this card, I immediately thought of a card from my youth.  A card that really represented a lot in terms of my collecting life.

1980/81 O-Pee-Chee
Record Breaker
#5 Billy Smith

This was sitting on the front page of my collecting binder.  Center square.  The very first set I collected, the very first set I finished.  I was 8 years old at the time.

I didn't quite understand at that time how or why Billy Smith was credited with scoring a goal.  All I knew is that Billy Smith did something no other goalie had ever done.  That made him cool in my books.

The back of the card might lend more of an explanation...
Ah ha....Colorado Rockies.  Nuff said.

Here's the video evidence (it's short)...

It took me a few years to realize that Billy never really shot the puck.  And in fact, it wasn't until Ron Hextall did it right that I fully realized that it was nothing more than a bizarre set of circumstances that allowed Billy to receive credit.

Still.....pretty cool.

Which is why I decided to pick up the History Of Hockey art card celebrating this important moment.  It's a nice rendering and includes a piece of Smith's jersey.  But really, it was the price that did it for me.  I had seen this card at $40, then $30, even $10 and not a sniff from me.

For $5.....I'll do it.  I'm contemplating cracking it out of the slab.  It's a nice card.  And I might just hunt down the 80/81 offering to match it up with.


'DID YOU KNOW' - Ron Tugnutt

Congrats to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winning their first ever playoff game last night. It was an exciting game and could make for an interesting series. I thought I'd share a CBJ flavored post to celebrate.

Most of the time when I see a card that fits into the 'Did You Know' subject it's because of an obscure bit of information virtually hidden on the back of a card.  Or maybe it's because the card itself has some meaning that might not be readily known to the masses out there.

But in this instance, the info it clear as day....right on the front of the card.

But I thought that with the regular season now over and the Stanley Cup playoffs in full effect, it would be an appropriate stat.

Take into account the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets have returned to the dance for just the second time in team history (although they blew it in game one) and the fact that the card itself contains one heck of a sweet mask.

Yeah....what can I say. I like masks.

'DID YOU KNOW' - Ron Tugnutt holds the record for most wins by a goalie on an expansion team with 22?

Back in the 2000/01 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets entered the NHL and one of their first free agent signings was Tugnutt (who played for Ottawa and Pittsburgh the previous year).  He appeared in 53 games that season and won 22 times.

He tied the longstanding record on the final game of the season.  Who did he tie?  Minnesota North Stars tender Cesare Maniago (who had 22 wins with the first year team back in the 67/68 season).

I just had to throw this card in.  Love it.

Anyways, let's go back to Tugger's (or is that Nutt's) mask for a moment.  I love the splash look that covers the front of his lid.  It's something that he incorporated way back in his Montreal days.

"I was in Montreal and had to make a new mask so I decided a Molson (Canadian beer) splash would be cool.  That is what has given me ideas since.  If you look back to '94, all my masks have a splash effect on them."

Mask painter Frank Cipra has painted many of Ron's mask and has always incorporated this staple Ron Tugnutt look.

From his days after Montreal when he backstopped Ottawa for three seasons... his brief cup of coffee with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The masks create an instant identity.  The team name along the chin and big splash on the front.

But Ron Tugnutt isn't just remembered for his mask...or his expansion team wins record...

On March 21, 1991 while playing for the Quebec Nordiques, Tugnutt stopped 70 of 73 shots to earn his team a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins, the second highest number of saves made in a regular season game in NHL history.  His performance evoked such respect that several Boston Bruins players came over to congratulate Ron after the game ended.

Or how about this one...

Ron Tugnutt was in net for the May 4, 2000 playoff game against the Philadelphis Flyers where he made 70 saves once again.  This time on 72 shots.  The 72nd shot just happened to be Keith Primeau's OT winner (in the fifth extra stanza).  The longest NHL game since the 1930's.

Tungnutt finished his NHL career with 186 wins in 537 games over 16 seasons.  He's more likely to be known for his moments in time as opposed to his overall career.

And his killer mask designs.

Did I just milk this post into a goalie mask love-in or what?

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Last week was a quiet one for Linden pickups.  But that doesn't mean that what I reeled in wasn't of significance.

There's a collector that goes to the monthly trade nights who has a small stash of Linden cards.  He knows I collect him and he picks up the odd card here and there when he can trade for them.  Many times in the past he has helped me add a new card to the pc.

Last month, he had a new card I needed.  But even though I had a full box of traders, we weren't able to complete a trade.

See, he's a Detroit collector.  I can appreciate that.  And I didn't have any Red Wings cards.  So that meant I had to do some replenishing of the ol' trade box.  Which I managed to do early in this month.

So when April's trade night happened last week....I was ready.  And I was happy to land this new add.

2012/13 In The Game Decades 90s
#A-TL Autograph

This hard signed signature was a card that I just let slip by time after time after time on ebay.  Two reasons for that.  One, I refuse to pay $20+ dollars for this card.  It's just not worth that.  Even now, it's in the $10 range.....I won't budge.

Second, I knew that eventually I'd be able to trade for this copy.  It's not numbered and it's not a high-demand Linden card (even for a guy who has it on his wantlist).

So I waited.....and waited.  And I finally made a trade for it.

Cross that one off.

The second card comes from a trade I made on the hobby boards.  It involves a piece of my awesome one box break of In The Game Used last month.  This product is paying off in spades.

I was able to trade the quad gold card (as well as a couple other smaller value cards) for this one...

2013/14 In The Game Used
Past, Present & Future
#PPF-08 Horvat/Sedin/Linden Gold

This gold parallel is limited to just 10 copies.  And even though I slightly overpaid, the fact that I was able to trade for this card makes it all worth it.  The other cards I gave up were either cards I picked up cheap or have been sitting in my trade box for a mighty long time.

Three great two-color jersey pieces with thick seams on the Horvat and Linden pieces.

Is it a stunner of a card?  No...not really.  It's a little par for the ITG course.  But it's a low numbered item that hits my pc via trade.  And for that, I applaud......myself.

With these two cards off the list, it looks like I'm adding a couple more back on.  I guess I spoke too soon when I said it was a good thing Linden didn't win a Cup.  It seems as though he has been included in the latest ITG offering Lord Stanley's Mug.  A Cup Rivals card that has Linden share the space with Mess....ugh, I can't even say it.  The first dual card featuring the pair.  Yuck.  He also has a quad card - around the bases we go again.  All that's left is to see what kind of parallel offerings there are on these cards.





There are some hockey cards that truly evoke the saying "frozen in time".  A while back I posted a pair of Dominic Roussel cards that fit the bill perfectly.  And last week at the monthly trader night, I found one more example.

2011/12 Upper Deck Series II
UD Canvas
#C206 Tomas Vokoun

This closeup shot of Vokoun as he focuses on the puck creates some cool imagery.  Is he David Blaine-ing it up and performing a feat of levitation?  Or is he about to pounce on the puck like a kitten with a ball of yarn?  Maybe he's in the midst of a mental lapse as he watches the puck drift by him....unable to react?

Whatever it's a cool photo.  And I'm a sucker for shots like these.  Especially when you add into the equation the closeup of the goalie mask.  It's like the card was made with me specifically in mind.

Even on the canvas textured card, you can make out some of the bold detail on Tomas' mask.  I do like what he had done with his Caps lid.  The team theme with the red, white and blue colors.  Good symmetry and not a ton of minute detail.  A eye-catcher from a distance....just like all good masks are.

If I did have one little beef, it would be that Vokoun's eye is a little covered by the cage of his mask.  If the photographer would have been able to time it where his eye would have been clear through one of the would have been a home run.  Instead, it's a solid triple....with an error to get him home.

What a great card to add to the collection.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Over the past few months I have picked up a couple Hall Of Fame autos as "throw-ins" in a pair of trades.  By no means am I saying that these cards are worth fact, I think they are huge adds to the pc.

So big in fact that I have decided to start a new project.  Yes....I know.  How many frickin' projects can a guy have???!!!  Answer - As many as I want.  Ha.

This Dick Irvin signature is so cool to have in my collection.  Irvin is one of the all-time great storytellers, color commentators and hockey historians - PERIOD.

His voice triggers a time in my life where hockey was new to me.  Collecting cards for the first time, discovering favorite players, rooting for top teams and listening to those who would shape not just my hockey knowledge going forward....but teaching what has occurred in the past.

A definite inspiration for me when it comes to hockey - and television.

Dick Irvin is such a key part of hockey history.

There has been only one voice of the Calgary Flames in the 35+ years of existence....Peter Maher.  His knowledge of Flames history is astounding and he makes every game a fun one to listen to.

Never a homer....he projects excitement and intensity regardless of the team that scores.  I like that.  Don't get me wrong...he likes to jam it up when the Flames win a big one, but he never downplays a visiting team's effort.

And while the time is drawing closer to the day when he won't be calling the Flames games anymore, I will continue to enjoy what he brings to the table.  He's not a Hall Of Fame Broadcaster for just his years of service.  He works hard and does it the right way.

I picked up this Bill Clement signature last night at the monthly trader night.  I'll be honest, the only reason why I traded for it is because I had the other two cards above.  When I saw the Clement, I thought for a bit about more than just the person on the front of the card.

For almost 20 years, I have been in the broadcast industry.  First as a volunteer at the local community station, then I worked in news as an editor (what a fast-paced world) and then the past decade-plus in post production houses.

Currently, I work as a producer/editor as at a world-class sports facility here in the city.  And to say that I enjoy the world of sports broadcasting would be an understatement.  I love watching high level people in the business hone their craft.

From cameramen to replay guys, color commentators to documentary producers.  Sports on television is where it's at for me.

So seeing some cards that celebrate these people is something that I'm drawing closer and closer to.  And last night I made the decision to pull the trigger.

I'm starting a collection of broadcaster cards - Voices Of The Game.

I know of a few insert sets that have been produced by Panini and inserted into their Crown Royale sets.  There's about 40 cards over three years to chase.  Some big names along with some unknowns (to me).

There are also some cards here and there in other releases - such as the infamous 06/07 Parkhurst autograph set.  And of course some killer cut autos (like Foster Hewitt....but I've got a bit of a trump card on him).

All in all, I think it will be a fun collection to build and it will remind me of the two worlds I love converging.  I'm looking forward to taking this project out for a spin.

Current Collection - 3 cards

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Two Beauties

There are cards that just scream "Yes!"  Cards that are the ideal....the pinnacle.  The single best example of a card that can be had.

Yesterday at the monthly trade night, I picked up a pair.

I'm always looking for cards to add to my HHOF Autos project.  But part of the process is the need to have adequate traders in my box.  A couple weeks ago I replenished my traders and was excited to see if I could land some new goodies.

One person in particular had a couple autos I really had my eye on.  They would be classified (in my eyes) as the top example of each player auto available.  But he's a Red Wings collector....and I didn't have any Detroit cards last month.  So I scooped up some new red & whites and proceeded to try again.


Johnny Bower
(Inducted in 1976)

This is easily the best Bower auto I've ever seen.  In recent years his signature has gotten a little smaller on cards and the hand isn't quite as steady as it once was (the guy is 89....and still going strong.  AWESOME!).

This autograph comes from the Upper Deck released set commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Leafs winning the 1967 Stanley Cup.  The sweeping penmanship is truly stunning.

Everything about this signature is perfect and when I compare it to other Bower autos available for sale....I can easily say that I have the best example.

And I love the retro look and feel of the card itself.  I need not say anymore.

Bernie Federko
(Inducted in 2002)

Yes!  I finally snagged a copy of this card.

When I traded for the 06/07 Parkhurst Federko currently in my collection, I knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before I upgraded to this card.  While the Parkhurst set is a beauty...this card takes the cake.

In my eyes there was only this copy that I wanted in my collection.  A great photo that oozes 70's hockey, a simple but eligant card design and a rock solid signature - big and bold.

I've been doing a lot of upgrading so far in my quest to obtain 100 hard signed Hall Of Fame autographs and I feel that each one has only grown and diversified my project.  I really like the looks of things as I close in on the halfway point.

I can't believe how things have moved so quickly on this venture.

Current Collection - 43 HOF Autos

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Bubba Lightning

I spent a bit of time last weekend watching The Masters golf tournament.  I enjoy breaking out the sticks myself and smacking the ball around and every once in a while I'll catch some golf on TV.  But The Masters tournament is something to really behold.  Everything is kicked up a notch.

From the manicured greens to the pristine fairways.  Cameras that are so hidden it makes it seem that you are out there with the competitors.  Gorgeous ambience and of course the green jacket.

It's an amazing event.  So much so that I've added it to my bucket list.  I'm going to go to Augusta one day to watch this spectacle in person.

So what does this have to do with cards?

Well, I dug this out of my trade box.....the only golf card I own.  And I thought it would be a fitting show.

2011 Goodwin Champions
Lightning Parallel
#29 Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson.  The lefty with one of the more unorthodox swings on tour.  But boy can he rip it.  Now a two-time Masters champion after besting the field last weekend.

He cracks the mold when it comes to what a golfer is.  He's creative in his swings, fiery with his emotions and cool when it counts.

I saw this card a while back and added it as a toss in to a trade I made.  I had (and still have) no clue what the card even is.  I know it's a lightning parallel of his base card.  No hard numbers given on scarcity...but it appears to pop up around one per case.

It's got a artist painting feel to it and Bubba almost looks like 70's science fiction robot alien......who golfs.  And the lightning in the background just adds to the drama.

I would think that now's the best time to move it as his popularity would be as good as it's ever been.  But I don't do ebay this might be the only chance you have at it.

Not that I'm looking to shuffle it out of here.  I'm quite content keeping it too.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

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

I mentioned a couple days ago that there was a package waiting for me at the post office.  There was one card that was still in transit from my recent ebay binge and I was pretty sure that the card was waiting for me.

I was right.

There are times when I get pretty excited to see a new Linden card hit the desk.  New concepts like the Captain C top and bottom half, tough finds like a quad patch /5 from a decade ago and even simple cards with a cool photo.  There's a lot out there that gets me pumped for the quest (and the conquer).

Recently, the frequency of exciting purchases has diminished.  I think part of that is the sheer number game when it comes to Linden cards.  The past four years have seen a virtual explosion of Linden cards come onto the market.  It's tough enough just keeping my list up to date.

Trevor Linden Cards Produced
2008/09 - 14 cards
2009/10 - 1 card
2010/11 - 85 cards (first year of Panini & ITG inclusion of Trevor as a retired player)
2011/12 - 103 cards
2012/13 - 167 cards
2013/14 - 58 cards (so far)

While the 10/11 season changed my collecting habits considerably, it was in a new and exciting way.  There had been a few years of little to none.  It was the 12/13 season that changed my attitude towards my player collection forever.  When there's too much stuff out there, the 'wow factor' goes down.  Even when you have low numbered cards.  Heck, even 1/1's aren't what they used to be.

I'm now a lot more patient when new products come out.  I'm a lot less pumped for the new waves of cards being thrust into the secondary market.  And I'm not going to pay high-end prices on cards that don't give me that 'wow factor' - even if it's a 1/1.

But today I can say is a day that I was excited for.

A few months back I landed my first Trevor Linden Nameplate.  Again, when it's the first of something in my collection - I get a big grin going.  Would I like to land all six letters?  Sure.  But realistically that's not going to happen.  I'm content with just the one letter from the set.

Today, I landed a second letter.

2013/14 In The Game Used
#NP-426 Nameplate "D"  1/1

This letter just happens to be from a different jersey.

I realize his days as a Hab were limited (about as much as most of his cards out there these days), but fact is - Trevor Linden wore one of the most iconic jersey in the history of pro sports.  And nothing will take that away from him.

To obtain a nameplate letter from a game used Montreal jersey....yeah, I'm excited.

Again, am I looking to get all the letters?  Sure.  Will that happen?  Not likely.

But I do think I'd like to build a "career" nameplate.  And so far I've got a "D" and an "N".  I'm a third of the way there.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

BEHIND THE MASKS - Masked Men 4 Finished

Part of my big bulk ebay purchase a couple weeks ago included a number of Masked Men cards.  When I can pick them up for a buck a piece, I'll jump.

What I didn't realize at the time these came in were that they would finish off my Masked Men 4 set.  50 cards....and I've got them all now.

It's weird.  It's been a little while since I finished off a set.  Feels good.  Feels like I've accomplished something.

Shall we take a look at the final pieces of the puzzle?

Kirk McLean.  Can't go wrong here.  His simple skate logo mask was one of my favorites back in the 90's.  I'm sure my allegiance to the Canucks might have made my decision a little biased.

I've said it many times about these Masked Men cards....I love the die cut set.  I love that the regular (non-limited) set is the one that got the die cut treatment.  Not the silvers (which have become the "ignored middle brother" IMO) and not even the limited gold parallels were given the 10th anniversary cut.

Ok.....these Patrick Roy's were not a buck a piece.  But I didn't pay too much more to pick up this pair.

As for which mask is better....I'm going with the Montreal bleu, blanc et rouge.  It's just how I remember him from his playing days.

A trio of Toronto players with Reimer sitting at the bottom of the pile.  Sadly, much like his career has been going of late.

I don't see too much Eddie The Eagle cards with him as a Leaf.  Lots in Chicago (naturally), but many with Dallas and even some San Jose.  Nice to see him get some Toronto love.

The last on the list, and the card that finishes the set off, is this Scott Clemmensen beauty.

Scott has had a number of great masks in his career.  Forever a backup, I don't think he was ever really given a true shot at being a number one on a team.  It's a shame too because I think he could've done the job.

But that hasn't stopped him from donning some sweet masks.

And with that.....we have a completed set.  Woo hoo!!  And just in time too as the latest Between The Pipes product is coming up quick and it'll have Masked Men 6 ready to roll.

I'll be waiting - literally.

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Striking The Patch

A big package arrived in the mail yesterday.  Massive bubbler.  Overkill if you ask me.....and a recipe for disaster.

A handful of toploaders just jingling around inside.  Thankfully none of the cards were damaged as the toploaders were taped at the top.  But still....dicey.

I won a Linden card on ebay a few weeks back and I knew that the seller had a number of other cards up for auction.  I started picking off auction after auction - many of the cards were $1 Masked Men (I'll pay that price all day long).

I even picked up a second Linden (not worthy of scanning), a Decades 90s jersey card....again for a buck.

But the main card was absolutely not a dollar pickup.  I wish it were.  But it's worth the few extra bucks I paid.

2012/13 In The Game Decades 90s
#M-44 Game-Used Patch Black

Limited to just 6 copies, this patch card was the second or third copy I've seen pop up.  I was calm and cautious on the outside but inside I really wanted this item.  Like I said, it was sitting at a pretty fair price and I knew that this might be my best shot at landing this piece.

It's a great three color patch, matching the jersey shown in the photo.  It's small things like that which really make a card complete.

And while I still have a number of cards left on the Decades 90s wantlist, it's nice to strike off one of the tougher items.

On a side note, there are a couple new Trevor Linden cards going on the wantlist.  Panini's latest offering - Playbook - has included Trev in just one insert set.  AUTObiography is a signature card (out of 99) so it should be a fairly easy snag.  There's also a gold 1/1.....meh.

Now I'm off to the post office.  Me thinks there's a very big Linden card waiting for me.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

RAISE THE CUP - I Think I Need To Trademark My Project

I was taking a peek at ITG's newest release - Lord Stanley's Mug - and couldn't help but notice a sweet little insert set that reminded me of something.....oh I don't know.

Hoisting The Cup looks like a pretty cool concept (I'll take a small fee for that thank you).   :)

In all honesty, I love the idea of players hoisting the Cup over their head.  Capturing that lifetime dream moment on cardboard forever.

But this latest take on the concept is not the first we have seen of this.

Panini Contenders had a subset called Contenders Legacies which shows (or almost shows) players raising the Cup in celebration.

I would have loved to have seen a more comprehensive checklist on this one.

But there is one release that really had me thinking that I was on to something.

The very first hockey product put out by Panini back in 2010/11 had an insert set called Certified Champions.  In it, a nice selection of players past and present celebrating the pinnacle of hockey excellence.

At first I decided to chase the set, but didn't pursue it with a whole lot of gusto.  I think I even need a couple cards still.  Things multiplied when the following season another round of Champions were released.

I'm still on the fence as to how to approach these cards.  Part of me likes what I've built because (for the most part) the cards are unique to the product.  They aren't parts of sets or anything.....they just fit together nicely when in my binder.

These purposeful product releases would mean that I have a checklist to babysit.  I don't know if I want that.

Don't get me wrong.....they're nice cards and all, but are they what I want for my collection?

That's the question.

By the way, this is the one time I think I'll ever say this.....

I'm really happy that my guy didn't win a Cup.  It's one less bit of checklist adding I have to do.  That Lord Stanley's Mug product looks really nice.  The auto set looks amazing.


I love talking about hockey cards.  I love remembering the things that make the hobby fun.  I love hearing from those who are an influence and inspiration to my collections.  I love discovering new ways to do things, new sets, new cards, new debates, new friends.

A response to my post by the man himself got me a little nostalgic this afternoon.  I went back and did some digging in my custom card archives.  I found this little gem.

A set that I hope will finish one day.  Sixteen cards - commemorating Linden's career.  From Draft Day all the way to the final game.

This one's my favorite though.  What a great photo.

Thanks again Eugene.  Stay in touch.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CUSTOM CREATIONS - A Special Linden Set

Just giving you all fair warning....this post has a lot of words.  But it will also have a lot of cards.  And more important than anything, it will have a great story of the enjoyment of the hobby.

When I started this blog almost five years ago, one of the first posts talked about custom card creations.  I love the art of design, observing techniques, dissecting layouts and trying my hand at it.

The first custom card I ever made was this Ilya Kovalchuk offering.  I look at it now with a sweet smile and a bit of a gawk.  I can see where ny ambition level was at the time but I can also see what I have improved on over the years.

For those of you who remember the days where the Beckett Boards were the place to hang out and talk cards, you may remember some of the custom card contests that were set up.  The rules were pretty simple.  A head-to-head knockout tournament.  Each person developing a new card for each round with the board members submitting their votes.

I always enjoyed these contests because they were nothing but fun.  No egos or prizes, just creating for the joy of it.

What I also enjoyed about those contests was the simple, but important, organization brought by one certain individual - a fellow custom card creator.  At the time his handle was WingzOfKyiv but I got to know him as Eugene.  A person passionate about creating new and exciting addition to seeing what others could offer in the same respect.

For years after the great Beckett Battles, Eugene drifted away from the hobby.  I moved on to another forum once Beckett made some changes (it's never been the same since).  But a few months back I noticed some new customs pop up from a guy names Wingz198.  They had a flavour and style that I instantly recognized.  Sure enough, Eugene was back to show off some new creations.

I offered a hearty hello and enjoyed what he had created.  I mentioned how much his designs and overall attitude towards the hobby had an impact on me.  To this day, I think very highly of his efforts.

A couple months ago I received an e-mail from him asking for my address.  I didn't know what to expect but happily forwarded it to him.  Not long after, I received one of the coolest gifts I've been given in this hobby.

Here's where the cards begin.
Customs.  Trevor Linden customs.  Sixteen of them to be exact.

Each unique and done with the attitude and essence of enjoyment.  I can sense it in every single card in the set.

And make no mistake....this is a set.  I have already proudly put them in toploaders and placed them in amongst my other Linden cards.

Part of the collection, they will be a strong reminder of those great memories and of a solid hobbyist.

I really enjoy the fact that Eugene hunted down many different photos.  Rather than just reuse the same one over and over again.

Each design built with a vision in mind.

These scans do not do the cards justice.  I have seen the digital version of these cards and the vibrancy is much greater (he mentioned that he was still experimenting with the printing process (I think we all are).

This is one of my favorites.  A great photo from a fantastic season.  It also has a similar look to a set that I have er, was designing.  I feel like a little revisit is in order.

I like that each card has something new to it.  Always trying new things.  One of the biggest lessons I learned from my early days of creating.

When you find something you like, keep it in the arsenal.  But always look to do more.  Expand your horizons.

Eugene often had an international taste to his concepts.  Even though he lives in Omaha, his roots are in Kyiv.  And I have no doubt that the world of international hockey was a part of his life growing up.

Mmmmmm....Trevor at the Olympics.  What great memories of that.

I'm just glad Rob Zamuner was on that team in 1998.....made Trev's inclusion a little less critical.

He scored a big goal in the game against the Czech team late to send it to overtime.......

where they botched it in the shootout.  No Gretzky?  Why no Gretzky?  I think he's still pondering that one on the bench.

Colors, cutouts and a cool title.  That's what customs are all about.

Well, back in the day they were.  Did you see my Kovalchuk?

Recognize that jersey?  Bonus points if you do.

And double bonus points if you know the set that was the inspiration for this card.

I like the fonts used in this one.  The photo is great too.  I love how it fills the frame up fully.

Oh yeah!  Some junior hockey goodness.  I love when a person does some digging.  Another great photo.

A parallel.  An auto parallel.  I hope there aren't a bazillion different colors to chase now.

Again, always trying different things.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.  But if you never make a bad card......don't expect to ever have a good one.

Not that this one is bad.

Bonus points times three for the name of the player who was drafted first overall just ahead of Trevor.

Last, but certainly not least, one last card.  Commemorating Linden's two Memorial Cup titles with the Tigers.  I can still remember back to those days fondly.

Just like I can remember the wonderful times spent creating cards in those early days.  Hours spent just trying to figure out how to use the photo editing program.  Discovering new textures, colors, fonts, techniques.

Eugene....thank you very much for the absolutely wonderful gift.  I will cherish these cards and include them in my collection forever.  Thank you as well for your efforts in making the hobby a more enjoyable place for me to visit and be a part of.

Thanks to everyone who stuck with me until the end.  These cards are worth it.

HHOF AUTOS - Yet Another Trade To Announce

Last weekend was the final card show in the "monthly card show" circuit.  Boy does the season ever go quick.  It seems like only yesterday that I was drafting my hockey pool team, cursing my picks immediately after and trekking out to the first show of the year.

And now here we are.....only one more local card show before the summer months hit.  I'm kind of looking forward to the change of atmosphere, cracking out the golf clubs, a few beers on the patio, BBQ nights.......and relaxing a bit from the Linden chase.

I'm getting ahead of myself.....back to the cards.

In addition to the many cards I picked up to replenish my trade box, I also made a last minute trade for yet another Hall of Fame auto.  It's a name that I already have crossed off the list, but the card just spoke to me.

Red Kelly
(Inducted in 1969)

See....I told you so.  This is a great looking card.  A nice big signature...solid and crisp.  A good action photo with a great Leafs logo in full view.

I picked it up because I knew that I'd be trading for it.  I wouldn't have picked it up as a cash only deal.  I figured "Why not".

It replaces a card which is quite nice in its own right....but is playing second fiddle to the new add.

A tough choice I know.  Especially when you add in the dilemna of which team to go with.

Red played more years as a Wing, but had better offensive numbers with the Leafs.  I decided that the card and photo trump all.

So with that, another card is added....but the final tally remains the same.

I'm looking forward to the big show in May.  One last hurrah for the season.

Current Collection - 42 HOF autos