Wednesday, September 24, 2014

RAISE THE CUP - A Pair That Epitomize The Project

It's been a long while since I've added any cards to my Raise The Cup project.  In fact, it's been downright embarrassing.  So much so that I think I'll be a little more aggressive in digging through boxes this season looking for these inexpensive gems.

I've got two cards to show off today.  Both came courtesy of Captain Canuck.  He's always keeping an eye out for my collections and I very much appreciate it.

What I like about both of these cards is that they reek of exactly what this project is all about.

This Jean Beliveau offering is spectacular.  The vintage black and white photo, the classic, snug sweater, the beaming smile of one of the classiest players ever - period, and the holy grail in plain view.  Love it.

Sadly, I did have it in my collection already.  But that doesn't mean it's not worthy of an encore showing.  Plus, I'm taking out the previous version and adding this card in its spot.

I remember where I was when Ray Bourque lifted the Cup for the one and only time in his career.  It was a fantastic moment.  Oh how I wished my guy would have been able to do that as a player (because he still could as the newly minted President of the Canucks).

This is a great shot of Bourque's pinnacle moment.  Low-angle camera, an even bigger grin than Beliveau and he looks as if that Cup is never coming down.

All that captured on a McDonald's card.  Yup...that's right.  This card came in a pack with a Happy Meal.  And while it scans horribly, it looks great in person.  The faint Avalance logo in the foil background really makes Ray pop out of the card even more.  And I love that Pacific decided to not zoom in on the photo - thus cropping out the Cup.  I'm glad they realized how important it was to have the whole shot in there.

So thanks very much again Captain Canuck.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you find for me next.

Current Collection - 113 cards

Monday, September 22, 2014

K4K - Putting The Word Out

Hello.  I'm taking a moment to step away from hockey cards to promote a charity event my nephew is taking part in.

Earlier this spring, we were visiting the Horror Convention that came through town.  Cool costumes, fantastic artwork, special guest signers and an all-around fun atmosphere.

While we were waiting for the doors to open, my nephew noticed a table with a video game station set up.  Being big into video games...he was naturally intrigued.

What we both learned was that the table was there to raise awareness for an organization called Extra Life.  Extra Life is an organization which raises money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals around the playing video games.

Not everyone is a runner, not everyone is math guy, not everyone plays music.  Some.....are drawn to gaming.

Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $8 million through donations by people like you and me.  All triggered by the efforts of video gamers.

So how do they raise funds?

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, Extra Life will be the portal to a massive video game marathon.  An annual event that my nephew Kyle Pelletier has decided to participate in.  The goal is video games for 24 hours straight.  OK, maybe it's not so simple for a kid in Grade 8.  But the idea and spirit of Extra Life is that everyone pull together at the same time to raise awareness as well as funds.  He will be playing on team YYC (Calgary) and raise money for the Alberta Children's Hospital.

My nephew has committed to play 24 hours of video games for this event.  He will do 2 hours a night Monday-Friday leading up to the big day, and then chug through a monstrous 14 hour marathon on Oct. 25th.  His goal is to raise $500.  I hope he crushes that goal into oblivion.

That where my shout out to you comes in.

If you would like to donate towards my nephew's efforts, you can do so by going to his donation page on Extra Life.  It's super simple and your donation is tax deductible.  Bonus!  All proceeds go to help kids in these hospitals.  Double bonus!!

Any amount you can give is very much appreciated.

Getting the word out is equally as helpful.

Lastly, I have started a blog for my nephew and I to share this quest with those who are interested.  We plan on keeping you informed on his progress and to also share in the fun that this video game marathon should be.  You can keep tabs at

THANK YOU very much for taking the time to read this post and consider this cause.

BEHIND THE MASKS - More Masked Men 6

I added a pair of Masked Men 6 cards to my growing mask card collection.  Believe it or not, it came from an insanely exciting Between The Pipes snake draft with Captain Canuck.

Yeah.....not that exciting.

So much so that I'm not even going to scan the rest of the goodies.

But here are the two Masked Men 6 cards.....and my comments.

2013/14 In The Game
Masked Men 6
#MM-43 Tom Barrasso

International masks should not be included in Masked Men sets.

2013/14 In The Game
Masked Men 6
#MM-21 Spencer Martin

Junior masks should not be included in Masked Men sets.

Thank you for your time.

In all seriousness, these two cards do nothing for me.  While the Barrasso mask does have a nice design, the USA treatment just takes away from what I'd like in a 50-card mask set - all NHLers (masks and all).

The Martin mask just should not be included period.  The design is not exciting enough.  I'm more impressed with the artist's detail on the guy's neck hair than I am his two-colored lid.

There are more than enough goalies in the NHL (past and present) to easily fill a 50-card set.  Junior masks and International masks need not be included.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Someone Was Left On The Desk

My desk isn't too messy right now, but that's not to say there aren't a few pieces of cardboard sitting around.  This morning is a good time to work on a bit of a tidy.

Early in the spring I spent a bit of time scanning in a few of my traders.  I figured it was about time I try a little harder to turn cards I don't want into ones I do.

Funny worked.

I've sold a few and have managed to trade for a few.  Some went right back into the trade box, but a few have been added to my projects.

This latest addition to my Hall Of Fame autos is one such card.

Peter Stastny
Inducted in 1998

Peter Stastny will unfortunately always play second fiddle to the explosive Oilers of the early 80's, but there is no doubt that his contribution to the game is massive.

He (and his brothers Marian and Anton) brought a level of excitement to the Quebec Nordiques shortly after the WHA/NHL merger never before seen.

He was the first rookie in NHL history to collect over 100 points in his rookie season (Gretzky had 137 in his first year in the NHL but was not considered a rookie due to his play in the WHA), is one of four players to record 1000 or more points in the decade of the 80's (only outscored by Gretzky) and was the 4th fastest to score 1000 points (682 GP).

He also spent time with the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues and finished his HOF career with 1239 points in less than 100 games played.

He was also involved in the first IIHF event for Slovakia when the team competed in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.  They finished a very respectable 6th (tying the eventual gold medal winners Sweden and beating the silver medal winning Canadian team in round robin play).

He retired from the NHL in 1995 and since 2004 has served as a Member of the European Parliament for Slovakia.

Always outspoken and honest with his comments, Peter Stastny remains one of the top players in my mind from my childhood.  I discovered the NHL in the early 80's and guys like Bossy, Gretzky and Stastny were paramount in my excitement towards the game.

And you can't deny how slick those Nordiques jerseys looked (this coming from a Canucks' sweater lover).

The card I traded for is from a great set put out by Panini....Prime.  Their Prime Signatures cards are very popular.  Too bad they couldn't prep the cards properly.  The marker bubbling is a definite turnoff.

But I decided to pick it up anyways.  I'll keep it in the collection for a while and then eventually upgrade it.

He does have a nice looking signature though.

Current Collection - 60 HOF cards

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2014/15 O-Pee-Chee

It was an interesting summer for my Trevor Linden collection.  When I decided to go on my hiatus, I was curious to see the Linden landscape upon my return.  How many new cards would I have to chase?  How many rare pulls would have come and gone?  How long would it take just to get my list updated?

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a bit of a lull had occurred with new Linden cards.  Getting back on track took next to no time.

There were no In The Game additions over the summer.  It looks like ITG took the summer off too.  I've heard that they merged with Leaf and will be releasing products via a team effort.  I'm very interested to see what they come up with moving forward.  ITG has been a definite love/hate relationship but I can never complain about not having some great looking Linden cards to chase.

Panini, in their final months of releasing hockey products (before Upper Deck begins its exclusive deal with the NHL) didn't provide much until their final push - National Treasures.  I'm adding one card from Playoff Contenders (/499) and four (non 1/1) cards from NT.  A very reasonable chase.

Upper Deck, who normally leaves Linden out of their products (except for The Cup it seems recently), added him into their Ultimate Collection checklist (a nice hard-signed autograph card) and then the ever-popular O-Pee-Chee release.

I've enjoyed the OPC releases for years now.  I think the overall look and build of the product for its price point is one of the best on the market.  A big, beefy base checklist, some simple short-print cards, inserts, parallels and the odd big hit make this a fun break for all levels of collectors.

With Linden in the mix, there are six new cards added to my wantlist.  I landed the first one a couple weeks ago.

2014/15 O-Pee-Chee
#563 Marquee Legend

They aren't breaking any new ground with the design this year, but I do enjoy the look of this card.  I would have loved a photo of him in the yellow, orange and black but what can you do.

There are five parallels of this card still on the list.  A blank back, Rainbow, Rainbow Black (/100), Red and (what I'm looking forward to most) Retro.

I don't see any of those cards breaking the bank (although the blank back could be a tough find....I'm still looking for one from the 08/09 product).

While I was updating my list this morning I decided to scan the other two cards I picked up this summer.  My little cheat from the hiatus if you will.

2012/13 In The Game
History Of Hockey
#3439 ITG Buyback 2002/03 BAP Signature Series

These slabbed ITG History Of Hockey cards have always intrigued me.  Such a low-end card in a high-end product.  They never took off the way I think some anticipated they would.  I never really saw any huge appeal or big dollar value to I stayed away for the most part.

I did pick up his slabbed OPC rookie card (as there are only 7 copies of it) and one other buyback auto (the 10/11 Decades 80's...which by my numbering is the only one they made of it).

This 02/03 Signature Series auto has 6 copies in three different numbering designations.  Please note...I'm still trying to figure out the whole checklist for this.  It's quite confusing.  And I've seen the card pop up numerous times over the months since it hit the open market.

It wasn't until it dropped to under $10 that I decided to pull the trigger.  Heck, just slabbing the card itself costs that much.  I thought it was finally the right price.

2013/14 In The Game
In The Game Used
#CC-10 Captain C Gold

Another release that had me patiently wait for prices to ease back down, this Captain C Gold version (limited to 10 copies) was in no rush to hit my collection.

When the card first came out it would've gone for $40-50.  I paid $15 for my copy (which was just a little more than the regular Silver version).  Patience pays off.

So that's it.  My Linden collection is back up to date.  A few more cards on the list, but all in all a very manageable climb.

What I have noticed though is how passive I have been with ebay since the start of September.  I see cards that I normally would have struck at, but right now the aggressiveness just isn't there.  Have I become too patient?

Let's check back on that in a month or so.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A TRIUMPHANT RETURN!!! (aka...I'm Back)

Hello everybody!!!

It's been nearly three months since I last posted and I can't believe how fast the summer has come and gone.  I knew it was going to happen since the summer months are by far the busiest at work.

Last Sunday was the end of a hectic season at work and now it's the quick sprint to Christmas.'s true - it'll be here soon.

So what did I do during my hiatus from the hobby?  Well, other than work there was the odd round of golf (one of my better years in a while).  I've caught up with some friends, spent some time with my niece and nephew and just really took advantage of my down time.

I've watched a number of solid sport docs and am still on the lookout for more.  Reading was a little lighter than I wanted.  Still trying to finished my latest book (it's been a few weeks since I turned a page).  That said, I went to the library today and on a whim took out the next book I'm going to read.  Seems like this time of year is a popular one for new releases.

Listened to some new music, bought a few cd's (yes...I still buy cd's) and even managed a concert.  Overall, I just wanted to enjoy the things I like.

Which is why it was a little tough to stay completely away from the sportscard hobby.

I'll admit - I caved.

I was good for the first 6 weeks or so.  No real anxious twitches to search ebay or lurk on the hobby boards.  But around the end of July I decided to do a quick Linden search on ebay...just to see what all was new out there.  To my surprise - very little.  Just one new card (numbered to 499). The hiatus timed perfectly with a Linden lull in the hobby.

My "one time" search lasted about a week until I searched again.  Then a couple days later.  Then....

Let me begin this story by saying that my Linden wantlist is organized chronologically (the earliest card at the top and the newest releases at the bottom).  Those cards near the top of my page have been there for a while.  Some well over a decade.

Wouldn't you know it....the card that popped up on ebay was the first card on my list.  A 15-year-old card that I have never seen a copy of.  Until I decide to go on hiatus.

Well....that went out the window pretty quickly.  I made the decision to bid and bid big.  To my enjoyment...the card went for less than half what I was willing to pay.  I was thrilled.

The card arrived about a week later and I can say that I had zero remorse about going back on my hiatus.

1998-99 Topps Gold Label
#42 Class 3 Red  /25

The first year of Topps Gold Label holds a special place in my heart.  It's the product that ruined my dream of owning one of every copy of a Linden card in existence (there are 9 different 1/1 cards) but it did supply me with my first ever 1/1 Linden.

I have been on the lookout for this card year after year and have never seen it.  With only 25 copies, I was reserved to the fact that I'd never cross it off my list.

You can see the faint embossing of the serial number along the right side (12/25).  There are three different color levels (gold, black, red) and each color has three "classes" (one, two and three).  And then each of the nine cards has a 1/1 version.  Back in 1998, I hated this concept.  To be honest, I still do.

But other than the 1/1's, this Class 3 Red is the rarest in the product, and clearly the toughest to find.

So what's on the top of the list now?  The 1999/00 Be A Player Millennium Emerald /10.  Another one that may never pop it's head out of the ground.

So after grabbing this gem, I decided to take a closer look at the Linden cards on ebay.  I did cave and buy two more....the prices were just too good to pass on.  But you know what - that's it.

Three Linden cards.  That's all I've picked up since completing the Nameplate in June.  I'd say that's a pretty successful hiatus.

But with any good hiatus, the return can be equally as fun.  So stay tuned as I've got a few goodies to show off and a special surprise for one lucky reader.

I hope you all had a great summer!