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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.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Facebook Trade #4

My fourth Facebook-instigated trade was a simple one. I swapped a Mats Sundin Crystal insert card with Pascal M. In exchange for this card to add to my Pittsburgh Penguins Collection.

This is an Evgeni Malkin gold parallel from 2013-14 Dominion, numbered 17/50. This year, Panini slashed the price of Dominion in half, and there are a couple of ways they were able to do this. For one, the memorabilia swatches are smaller, allowing them to produce more card from the same jersey, and two, the serial-numbering is larger (like gold parallels numbered to 50, instead of their previous 25), which takes a little bit away from the rarity. Either way, I got a great card with a great trade, and I'm a happy Penguins collector.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Facebook Trade #3

Here's another trade made through my Hockey Cards" Facebook group. In order to get the following cards, I had to depart with 12 Montreal Canadiens hits, which seems like a lot, but most were lower-level rookies, with a few Carey Price jerseys mixed in. Either way, they were cards that had been collecting dust in my trade bait folder, so I was happy to get rid of them, and I got three pretty amazing cards in return.

2010-11 SP Authentic Jonathan Toews Sign of the Times auto
Not only is Toews recognized as one of the best captains in the NHL, but the card also fits comfortably in my UND Alumni Collection. He has, so far, led the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups, and may very well have more on the horizon.

2011-12 Heroes & Prospects Jonathan Huberdeau Autograph
I'm not too much of a Panthers fan, but any time you get an opportunity to acquire an autograph of the reigning Calder Trophy winner, you go ahead and do that.

11-12 H&P Henri Richard
Like Huberdeau, I'm not particularly a fan of his team (Montreal Canadiens), but if you have the chance to acquire an autograph of a player who has won the Stanley Cup ELEVEN times, you go ahead and do that.

That's it for this trade. It's always nice when you can get rid of a pile of cards that are useless to you, in exchange for some pretty amazing items.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Evgeni Malkin Dominion Printing Plate + A Couple Other Cards from Ebay

After spending quite a lot of time looking for the right deal, I finally landed this fantastic Evgeni Malkin black printing plate from 2012-13 Dominion. If you are going to go after a plate, black is definitely the color you want, as it gives you the clearest player image. This one, though, has a weird black line going through the middle, which appears to have been caused during the actual use of the plate. The way I look at it, a little bit of damage on these is kind of like finding a flaw on the swatch of your game used patch card. Anything to really show that a piece really has been "used," makes it that much better.

Of course, the plate is a cool enough piece in and of itself, but Dominion makes the best plates, because they actually attach the card's backing to the reverse side of it. You get the same exact back-side of the regular card, except this one has that fancy "1 of 1" stamp on the upper right-hand side.

From the same seller, I also picked up these other two cards.

2012-13 Dominion Martin St. Louis Gold Parallel 7/25
St. Louis is one of those guys who no matter how amazing they are as players, their cards are for some reason way too affordable. Now, I won't complain about getting this card as cheaply as I did ($1.75), but man, his stuff should be worth WAY more than it is.

2013-14 Crown Royale Henrik Zetterberg Silver Chalice Jersey
Now, I'm not a Red Wings fan by any means, but I just thought this card looked cool. The only mystery here, is whether there are two jersey pieces or just one. It's really hard to tell, but an awesome looking card either way.

The Zetterberg is up for trade, if anyone is interested. The other two aren't heading anywhere, so you'll just have to sit there and admire them from a distance.This, by the way, set me back a whole $32 shipped, which is insane for a group of cards containing a Malkin 1/1.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two-Box Break of 2013-14 Panini Playbook Hockey

With the release of Panini's Playbook Hockey last week, I just HAD to get my hands on some. Playbook is one of the few Panini products that have crossed over to another sport, which is something that used to be quite common, but has tapered off in recent years. The product line started off in football, which gave collectors the opportunity at guaranteed booklet cards. For close to $200, a four-pack box contained two booklets, along with two autograph or jersey cards. For hockey, Panini took the same concept, but cut the pack-out (and price) in half, guaranteeing one booklet and one jersey or autographed card. Hockey also gives one base card, which is something added from the base-card-less football line.

I ended up purchasing two boxes of the product at my LCS last week. Here's the video of both boxes, with scans to follow:

Box 1
Martin Brodeur Base 231/249
The base cards of Playbook are very similar to those from 2012-13 Prime, especially with the look of the player name and team name on the bottom. The big difference, though, is the big and bold team logo in the background. These are some VERY good looking base cards.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson Holo Silver Parallel 7/10
Like most parallels, Panini just used a different foil color to distinguish its rarity. All of the parallels are pretty rare, too, with gold /25, holo silver /10, and purple 1/1. Any parallel is rare, but to pull one numbered to just 10 was pretty cool.

Morgan Rielly Breakout Patch 8/10
A great pull here. For one, Rielly is one of the more sought-after rookies this year, but also, despite a small space for the swatch, there is still a great-looking patch piece, giving two colors and incorporating a giant seam right down the middle. This is also my SECOND card numbered to 10 out of the four cards in this box.

Morgan Rielly Rookies Booklet 59/199
Hey, there's this guy again! I don't always love pulling two hits of the same player, but in this case, I don't really mind. Each booklet contains a shadowbox effect with the two images on the left side, right next to a piece of the player's jersey. On the left side, you get another jersey piece, right beneath the player's signature on a clear surface. These are some really nice looking booklets, and they are sure not to waste ANY space.

Box 2
Patrick Kane Base 233/249
Kane makes it 2-for-2 on pulling a superstar player as my one base card from the two boxes. With only a 100-card checklist, both of current and retired players, most are going to be really good, but these two are pretty great.

Eric Lindros Limited Edition Jersey 60/99
Panini really cranked up the rarity of a lot of these inserts, as simple single-colored jersey cards are numbered just to 99. While having a different background, these cards are basically the current/retired player version of the Breakout jersey cards, which I pulled the Rielly patch of.

Dmitrij Jaskin Rookie Booklet 100/199
While Jaskin is nowhere near as good of a pull as the Rielly I got out of Box 1, I do like how I got colored swatches on both cards. Plenty of them do contain white, but both of these look MUCH better with the bright bold blue of the two teams.

Dual Rookie Classbook Seth Jones/Dougie Hamilton
The Dual Rookie Classbook cards feature a player on each side, along with four jersey swatches. Spotlighting the "Double Rookie Class," this set takes a player from 2013 and a player from 2014 who have some sort of link together, whether it be team, draft position, or player position. In this case, we get Hamilton and Jones, who are linked together as the top defensemen from their respective rookie classes.

After opening up two boxes of this product, I must say, I was very happy with what I found. Now, I may be wrong, but the guarantees from this promise one base, one booklet, and one auto or jersey card, but I think that each box actually contains four cards, with the final one being from either of those categories. I may be wrong on that, but based on these two, along with the breaks I have seen on line, that appears to be the case.

Either way, I love me some Playbook, and I'm sure I'll have plenty more coming my way in the future.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Topps Redemption Redeemed: 2011 Marquee Paul Molitor Titanic Threads Autograph /20

Just two weeks after pulling a Paul Molitor autograph redemption from a box of 2011 Topps Marquee, I already have the card in hand. This card comes from the Titanic Threads insert set and is the autographed version, numbered 19/20.

When you buy an older product, you run the risk of pulling an expired redemption. That luck, though, could turn in your favor when the redemption is still active three years after the product was originally released. That gave Molitor plenty of time to return his signature to Topps, which I was hoping would lead to a quick turnaround. Fortunately, I was right. Of course, I love that he is pictured as a member of the Minnesota Twins, but what I love most of all is the perfect centering of those horizontal pinstripes. I've seen some other pinstriped swatches from this set that are horizontal or diagonal, so to have these not only going horizontal, but right though the middle, makes me feel really lucky. Great job on this one, Topps!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Facebook Trade #2

Here's a quick look at the second trade completed with a fellow member of a "Hockey Cards" Facebook group that I am a part of. This one came from Justin M. and in exchange for a couple Zdeno Chara jersey cards, he sent these two cards:

2005-06 Upper Deck Steve Yzerman Jersey
I'm not a Red Wings guy, but I do like Yzerman. So far, the only Yzerman jersey I have is a quad with him & three others from the 1997 Cup-winning team, so it's nice to also have one of him by himself.

2013-14 UD Olli Maatta Young Guns
Maatta is one of the Penguins' top prospects, and did well enough early on this season to be kept on the roster. He made it into Upper Deck's Series One, but there still aren't a whole lot of autograph or memorabilia cards of his out there.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My First NHL Game in 10 Years + 3 Autographed "Mystery" Pucks

After 10 years, I finally went to an NHL game. The last one I went to was in Dallas March 18, 2004 where the Stars beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Marty Turco was credited with his 20th career shutout and Bill Guerin and Jason Arnott each had a goal and two assists as Dallas continued its franchise-record home unbeaten streak.

Well, now that I am living up in Minnesota, "The State of Hockey," I knew that I needed to see the Penguins play as soon as they came to the Xcel Energy Center. Once the schedule was released, I immediately searched for the date and then began the LONG wait until the game took place (5 games from the end of the season).

At long last, the day had arrived, and after the four-hour drive from Moorhead to St. Paul, my wife & I were finally there!

Unfortunately, the game didn't carry with it too much excitement. The Penguins were shutout 4-0. Malkin & Letang were out, and Fleury was on the bench, but I did get to see Crosby, and that's the important thing. The tickets were a birthday gift from my parents, and they were nice enough to get me seats on the 10th row, which gave me a great up-close view of the game.

 Plus, we set the Xcel Energy Center for attendance at a Wild game with 19,409 people.

They also had this really cool fundraiser for the Minnesota Wild Foundation, which raises money to support various pediatric medical causes throughout the state. For $40, you could purchase one "mystery puck," which was autographed by a Minnesota Wild player. The great thing here was, they actually pulled the top 10 players from the team to do this, instead of just going the easy route with the 3rd & 4th liners. The 10 players featured were Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Ilya Bryzagalov, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter, so no matter what, you got a pretty legit player.

I ended up picking up one each time I went on a beer run, giving me a total of three.

I did pretty well, too, picking up Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, and Jared Spurgeon. 




At first, I assumed they just did this at every game, but as it turns out, they only do this a few times each year, so I just got lucky. Still, I was very happy to add these pucks to my collection. My Autographed Puck Collection was getting pretty USHL-heavy, so it was nice to give it a stronger NHL presence.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Facebook Trade #1

I recently completed quite a few trades with this "Hockey Cards" Facebook group that I am part of. This trade came from Bruce K. and ironically enough, involved no hockey cards.It was mostly a football trade, but I was able to get my hands on a few cool items.

2009 UD Icons Tom Glavine
This one goes into my Baseball HOF Relic Project.

2003 Fleer Ultra Touchdown Kings Peyton Manning
This is my second Peyton jersey card, but now I need one of him in a Broncos uniform. 

2013 Topps Archives Chuck Muncie Auto
I'm not too familiar with Muncie, but I love any of the Archives autos, whether baseball or football.

2001 Topps Archives Chuck Bednarik Shibe Park Stadium Seat Relic
Not your typical "jersey" relic card, but the stadium seat relic allows older players to be featured from an era where spare jerseys weren't mass-produced like they are today.

This turned out to be a great trade with some really cool items. I'm keeping the Glavine, but all three football cards are up for trade, so if anyone is interested, let me know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Few WWE Relic Cards

Now that the Wrestlemania hangover has arrived, here's a quick look at a few other WWE relic cards I picked up while building my Daniel Bryan Collection.

2013 Best of WWE & 2014 Topps Dolph Ziggler

2013 Best of WWE The Miz

2013 Best of WWE Brodus Clay

The Zigglers and The Miz are keepers, but I'm ok trading the Brodus Clay if anyone is interested.

Now, let's get ready for My favorite Monday Night Raw of the year: the Night-After-Wrestlemania Raw!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Daniel Bryan Collection

With Wrestlemania taking place tonight, I figured I'd show off some of the recent cards I picked up of my favorite wrestler, Daniel Bryan. He may be a bit of a hippie, but I just love the idea that you can pay your dues, work your ass off, get the fans behind you, and it pays off in a big way. His response from the wrestling fans has been so intense, that it has basically forced the WWE to figure out a way to shoehorn him into tonight's WWE World Heavyweight Title match. (Unless, of course, that was their plan all along)

Anyway, here are the cards I was able to get my hands on to kick off my Daniel Bryan Collection.

2013 & 2014 Topps Autographs

2014 Topps Relic (Print & Plain) & 2013 Best of WWE Relic

2014 Topps Championship Plates (Tag Team & United States)

Now, let's enjoy Wrestlemania!