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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Minnesota Wild Additions

Here's a few cards I've had in the hopper for a while now, I just haven't had the time to post on them.

Anyway, I was on one of the Facebook hockey card pages that I follow, and expressed interest in a card or two of players from the Minnesota Wild that I was interested in. While working on the deal, the seller kept coming up with more and more cards from the Wild that I might be interested in. Of course, I bit, and a transaction that began for 2 or 3 cards, ended up being for 13 in total.

Here's what came my way:

2013-14 National Treasures Matt Dumba Rookie Treasures Holo Silver (Jersey Number) Parallel 23/55

2013-14 The Cup Matt Dumba Signature Patches 45/99
2013-14 Prime Jonas Brodin Prime Parallel 1/50

2013-14 Titaniam Game Worn Gear Niklas Backstrom 9/100
2013-14 Titanium Game Worn Gear Zach Parise
2013-14 Totally Certified Mikael Granlund
2013-14 Totally Certified Mikael Granlund
2013-14 Totally Certified Jason Zucker
2012-13 Certified  Freshman Signatures Kristopher Foucault 926/999

2013-14 Fleer Showcase Zach Parise
2013-14 Fleer Showcase Darcy Kuemper
2013-14 SP Game Used Edition Charlie Coyle/Mikael Granlund Rookie Fabrics
2012-13 Certified Niklas Backstrom Goalie Pulls

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2014-15 Masterpieces Scott Hartnell Red Framed Autograph /30

Opening up that box of 2014-15 Masterpieces, I was impressed with some of the things I saw, but I was really impressed with the look of the autographed cards that were inserted into boxes. There's just something about that canvas-like surface that really makes that signature stand out as something amazing. I trolled around Ebay for a bit to see what I could find, and came across this one that I ended up winning for just $.99 + shipping!!!

This one is a Scott Hartnell autographed red-frame parallel, and is numbered 24/30. It's just like the Bill Ranford I pulled from my box, in that you have the colored frame with in to match. I'm really surprised that I got this one that cheap, too, not only because of the low numbering, but because Hartnell is a pretty good player. Still, I'll never turn my back on a deal, and I'm thrilled to have gotten it for the price that I did.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2014-15 Masterpieces Box Break

While I absolutely hate the fact that the NHL & NHLPA have an exclusive producer of licensed hockey cards, at least Upper Deck has been stepping it up with a few of their releases, including bringing back an old product that I really like: Masterpieces. I have been a huge fan of the short-lived sets in baseball and hockey, due mostly to the fact that it is an all-painted set, which looks really cool. Not only that, but they add an effect to the cards that makes the surface feel like an actual painter's canvas.

I picked up one hobby box, which gave me 15 packs of 5 cards each.

Here are the highlights.

As far as the base cards g, I got two Penguins: Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. The old Masterpieces set has a white border that fades into the painting itself. This year's has a gold border on the right and left sides with a faded bottom side for the player's name. I liked the old way a little better, though. It made it seem more museum-like.

Cards 1-90 are the "base" cards, and cards 91-150 are short prints. It seems a little overboard to have almost just as many SPs as base, as it will cause some frustrations for set collectors who will have a difficult time completing it.

The next 15 cards in the net are short-printed black and white portraits, which look really cool. They definitely have a high-end look to them, and they really set them selves apart as something special in this set.

Lastly in the set are cards 166-180, which are all rookies from this past season. I got three of them in Johnny Gaudreau, Teuvo Teravainen, and Bo Horvat. I'd say I did pretty well with all three.

Lastly in the set are 60 wire photo cards, which take a black-and-white photo and place a newsprint-style description of the action beneath it. I really don't like these, and for two reasons. One, It takes away from the painted look of what this set is supposed to be all about with these being photos instead of paintings. Two, they already did this same thing a few years ago with Parkhurst Champions, and not only did they recycle an old idea, they did almost nothing to change it.

And what would a box of cards be without parallels!!! These are actually framed parallels, in which a frame is placed where the plain gold foil was, and adds a red coloring to it. I got two of the red ones: Patrick Kane 12/100 and Jeff Skinner 86/100

Each box contains three hits, one of which is guaranteed to be an autographed card. My first his is of Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz. It's just a plain white swatch, but at least it's of a guy from my favorite team.

Next up is a pretty good one, as not only is it of one of the best players in the league, but a parallel, as well. This is a red-framed jersey card of Alex Ovechkin, and is numbered 73/85. It basically combines the best of both worlds. Not only do you get the red frame that comes from the parallels, but you also get the jersey swatch and low serial-numbering. Not quite a patch, but still not a bad memorabilia pull.

Lastly, is my autograph, which is of former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Bill Ranford. All of the autographed from this set are signed on-card, which is really nice. This, like the Ovechkin, is a red-framed parallel, and is numbered 21/30. The really cool thing about the parallels, is that the card is signed in the same-colored ink, which really ties it together well.

I was really excited to take a stab at Masterpieces this year, and I'm very glad I did. The card look great, and you  have the chance at some really cool-looking hits out of the product. I'm not sure if I'll be building the set, though, considering that over 60% of the set is short-printed. That seems a bit extreme, but if nothing else, this is a fun product to open.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2009 Elite Extra Edition Austin Kirk Autograph /599

Every Wednesday home game, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association of Independent Baseball have a post-game autograph party where the entire team signs for the fans. Of course, I am always up for this, and I try and pick up some cards of the few players who have had one issued. In some cases, like this Austin Kirk card, the player also had a certified autograph card, as well.

This one is from 2009 Elite Extra Edition, and has Kirk listed as a member of the Chicago Cubs organization.He was drafted by the team in 2009 and spent the last few years bouncing between the Cubs' A and AA affiliates. Kirk was released by the Cubs this past April, and soon after, signed with the Redhawks. So far this season, he is going 1-4 with an 8.36 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 6 games started.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Three Packs of 2015 Diamond Kings

So, yeah, I just looked at my post history and realized I haven't put anything up in about 3 months. Yikes! I would say I haven't bought a whole lot in a while, which is kind of true, but I could always come up with something to write. Maybe I've just gotten lazy. Who knows.

Anyway, here I am, and while I haven't been buying a whole lot as of late, I did make a stop by my LCS last week and picked up a few packs of a product that kind of intrigued me: 2015 Panini Diamond Kings. 

I've always liked the Diamond Kings cards, back from when they were simply card #s 1-26 in each year's Donruss set, so strictly for nostalgia's sake, I had to at leas get myself a sample. Here's the accumulation of my three packs.

Veterans: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Garrett Richards, Jose Fernandez

Rookies: Jorge Soler, Matt Barnes, Buck Farmer, Gary Brown, Steven Moya, Dalton Pompey, Anthony Ranaudo

Retired: Roger Maris, Lefty Gomez, Lloyd Waner, Sam Crawford, Nellie Fox, Elston Howard, Paul Waner

Parallel: Framed Bobby Murcer

Insert: Jimmie Foxx HOF Sluggers

Hit: Hunter Harvey Mini Jersey 10/99

Not bad for just three packs. The cards all look great, even for an unlicensed product. I do think that the painted pictures for each player somehow make the logo-less uniforms much less awkward. Really, this is the first 2015 baseball product I have purchased apart from buying into a case break of Heritage, but I think I may just have to test out the waters on this one a bit more.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2014-15 SPX Box Break

I really haven't been getting too much into cards this year. First of all, I've been focusing more on my autographed memorabilia collection, which I am chronicling on Not Pulled From Packs. Secondly, I was mostly a Panini guy up until they lost their NHL and NHLPA license, and I just haven't been as excited tis year with many of my favorite brands now off the market. Still, I have been picking up the occasional box, just to get used to An Upper-Deck-only card market, and most recently purchased 2014-15 SPX.

This brand is actually one of the Upper Deck brands I've picked up pretty consistently the past few years. I find that their base cards have a really cool design, the inserts are great, and you typically get some pretty cool hits.

Here's what this year's box got me:

Base Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury
Typically, if I pull a Penguin, it's usually one of "Flower." Luckily, I am a fan of his, so all is good.

SPX Finite Rookies: Adam Clendening
These actually come individually wrapped as a box-topper. Clendening is now playing for the Vancouver Canucks, and has 1 goal and 3 assists for the year.

SPX Retro: Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, Blake Wheeler, Ty Rattie
These are all throwbacks to the 1997-98 SPX cards, complete with die-cuts and holograms, and look! I got a Crosby!

SPX Rookies Andrew Agozzino, Sam Carrick, Anton Forsberg, Oscar Klefbom
Most of the top rookies from this set come complete with autographs and jersey pieces, but these are a few who did not get the full treatment.

Evgeny Kuznetsov Rookie Inagural Materials
A white jersey swatch from the Capitals young center who is making quite an impact in his rookie season. So far, Kuznetsov has notched 10 goals and 21 assists in 72 games.

Seth Griffith Rookie Inaugural Materials Patch 51/99
Griffith may not have the same first year stats as Kuznetsov, but man, is that a great looking patch. You don't always get good pieces, especially with a relatively small window, but all three Bruins colors are clearly visible, making this quite a fantastic card.

Doug Harvey Winning Materials Dual Stick
A dual-relic card of a Hockey Hall-of-Famer. Both pieces are plain wood, but at least there are some differences in them, which makes it extra cool. 

Darnell Nurse Rookies 279/399
These are the typical rookie cards that are guaranteed one-per-box. each one contains an autograph, plus a large piece of fabric. They are great-looking cards, and I managed to pull a good one with Nurse. Despite not buying a whole lot of hockey cards this year, this is my second card of his I pulled, the first being a jersey card from SP Game Used.

I was definitely glad I purchased this box. The cards all look great, and although there wasn't anything earth-shattering, I ended up with some pretty decent hits. It's a product that's definitely worth a try.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2014-15 ITG Leaf Metal Box Break

I'm really not a prospector when it comes to my hockey card collecting, but I decided to roll the dice on a box of 2014-15 Leaf Metal. The product is an all-autograph set, and primarily features players from the CHL, including the NHL's next big rookie, Connor McDavid, who is projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. There are also a few autographs from current and retired NHL stars as well, and most five-card boxes seem to have a collation of 4 CHLers and one NHLer.

There are also plenty of parallels, but each one is pretty rare, as the highest numbered parallel is /25. Depending on where you live, there are USA and Canada Editions, with each having a parallel with a background representing that country.

Here are the cards that I pulled.

Ryan Kubic Base

Anthony Beauvillier Blue 12/25

Brendan Guhle Purple 3/15

Jeremy Roy Star is Born Die-Cut 14/25

Ray Bourque Canadian Pride Blue 3/10

Of course, the star of this box was the autographed Ray Bourque, numbered just to 10!!! Still, the others were pretty decent, too. Of the prospects, Beauvillier seems to have the biggest upside, scoring 42 goals and 52 assists this season for the Shawnigan Cataractes. It's always tough to tell this early, though, so only time will tell if any of the four are successful at the NHL level. Even if they are not, I still was able to walk away with an autographed card of an NHL hall-of-famer.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Topps Redemption Redeemed: 2014 Triple Threads Mike Olt Future Phenom Sepia Parallel /75

I'm a bit more patient than most when it comes to the idea of redemption cards, so it wasn't a huge issue for me to purchase a redemption for a sepia parallel of Mike Olt's Future Phenom autographed triple relic card from 2014 Triple Threads.  It took about two months to get it in hand, but at last it has arrived, and here it is with an autograph, three jersey swatches, and is numbered 19/75.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 10 Pack Pulls of 2015

Here's a running tab of the top 10 cards I have been lucky enough to pull from packs during the 2015 calendar year.

Updated: 8/19/15

10. 2014-15 SPX Doug Harvey Winning Materials Dual Stick

9. 2014-15 SPX Seth Griffith Rookie Inaugural Materials Patch /99

8. 2014-15 Leaf Metal Brendan Guhle Purple Autograph /15

7. 2014-15 Leaf Metal Jeremy Roy Star is Born Die-Cut Autograph  /25

6. 2014-15 SP Game Used Pekka Rinne Patch /50

5. 2014-15 Leaf Metal Anthony Beauvillier Blue Autograph /25

4. 2014-15 SPX Darnell Nurse Rookies Autographed Jersey /399

3. 2014-15 Masterpieces Bill Ranford Red-Framed Autograph /30

2. 2014-15 Leaf Metal Ray Bourque Canadian Pride Blue Autograph /10

1. 2014-15 SP Game Used Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks Autographed Patch /35

Monday, January 26, 2015

2014-15 SP Game Used Box Break

Admittedly, my card-buying has been rare as of late. Upper Deck is now the only hockey card on the market, so I haven't been flooded with Panini releases, and they seem to save their biggest products for the second half of the season, so there hasn't been a whole lot that I have gotten excited about.

One product that I was looking forward to, however, was SP Game Used. This year, Upper Deck completely re-tooled the brand, taking it from a regular base set brand with a few hits, to a hits-only product. Every single card is either a memorabilia card, an autographed card, or a "base" card that is serial numbered to a player's jersey number.

Each box contains one pack of five cards, with one of those five guaranteed to be autographed. Here's what my box got me.

Mark Visentin Rookies 2-Color Jersey  53/499
Visentin was the first round draft pick (27th overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010. The team appears to be giving him time to develop, as he has only made it up to the NHL for one game, which came during the 2013-14 season. He had been playing for the Portland Pirates of the AHL, but is now out for the season following ankle surgery.

Darnell Nurse Rookies jersey 288/499
Nurse is one of the big rookies in this year's product, having been selected seventh overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He also has an athletic pedigree, being the son of former CFL wide receiver Richard Nurse and a nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. He played in 2 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, but was sent back to the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for another year of conditioning.

Duncan Keith Stadium Series Jersey
The cool thing with these Stadium Series cards is that the swatches were cut from the actual jerseys worn during the Stadium Series games. This one comes from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who played against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stadium Series game held at Chicago's Soldier Field. Keith went scoreless in the 5-1 Blackhawks win, but did get 4 PIMs.

Pekka Rinne Patch 20/50
Rinne may have been a late draft pick in 2004 (258th overall), but over the past decade, he has developed into one of the game's top goaltenders, being named a finalist for the Vaezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top goaltender, in 2011 and 2012. Rinne is having his best season yet in 2014-15, compiling a staggering record of 29-6-2, with a 1.96 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.

Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks autographed patch 1/35
So, far, this is only my second hobby box purchase of 2014-15, and already I pull an autograph of the year's top draft pick! The Florida Panthers picked him first overall this year, and already, Ekblad is making a name for himself. In 44 games, he has totaled 6 goals and 19 assists, for 25 points, putting him tied for fourth in scoring among rookies.

This product is definitely a risk, I will say. I did pretty well on my box, but I've also seen plenty of boxes with four plain jersey swatches and an autograph of some lower-level rookie. Still, with all the risk, there are plenty of great cards to be had, and I was lucky enough to pull one of them.