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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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Even More Zach Parise Additions

Here's a real quick look at a few more additions to my Zach Parise collection. I like to do individual posts on some of the bigger ones, but there is just too many at this point to do a post for every single card. Anyway, here's what I got.

2013-14 Contenders Quad Auto 20/20 (Parise, Dany Heatley, Mikael Granlund, Darcy Kuemper)

2014-15 Ultimate Ultimate Collection Patch 27/35

2015-16 Artifacts Dual Patch 3/8

2012-13 Prizm Auto

2013-14 Score Team 8s( Parise, Cal Clutterbuck, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Dany Heatly, Torrey Mitchell, Ryan Suter, Niklas Backstrom)

2013-14 Luxury Suite Stick 127/199

2013-14 Artifacts Treasured Swatches Dual Jersey

That's it for now, but I'm sure I'll have plenty more new ones to show off real soon.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Zach Parise Diamond Relic 1/1 from 2015-16 Black Diamond

Apart from the Prime Skates card of Zach Parise that I already have in my collection, this is the first MEGA purchase since starting my Zach Parise collection. From 2015-16 Black Diamond, I have a Pure Black Diamond 1/1 card that didn't cost me nearly as much as I thought it might, especially considering it comes from a new release.

Of course, like all Black Diamond cards, this one is no different, in that it really doesn't scan well. The player image on the front is in black and white, and the foiling is done in a way that the image becomes clearer when more light shines on it. The 1/1 serial numbering is front and center on the card, but done in a way that doesn't really distract from the overall design. The diamond itself is given the proper treatment, with enough space and framing around it to really make it stand out.

If you read the fine print of the fine print on the back of the card, it reveals that the "diamonds are lab created." While some people may be somewhat let down by this fact, it really doesn't bother me. It's still something valuable, it's still a one-of-a-kind card, and honestly, the cost would be WAY too high for the product as a whole if they used the same stuff the use in your wife's wedding ring.

It's not very often where you get the chance to add such an epic card to your player collection, but when opportunity and available funds come together at the right time, it was just meant to be.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2014-15 The Cup Zach Parise Signature Renditions

I managed to pick up a pretty amazing card, at an even more amazing price, when I scooped up this Zach Parise Signature Renditions card from 2014-15 The Cup for just 10 bucks + shipping.

Unlike most cards from The Cup, there is no serial number, but what it does feature is gold ink on the hard-signed signature. It goes well with the foil on the card, and looks much better than what the scan would convey. The other cool thing with this card, and all others in this insert set, is that it focuses on a particular key game in a player's career. In Parise's case, that game is game 6 of the first round of the 2014 playoffs, where he scored two goals and two assists to force a Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild would win the series in Game 7, but lose in the nest round to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Few Zach Parise Additions

In starting off my Zach Parise player collection, I went on a few buying sprees, and picked up the following additions to my collection. There is some memorabilia, a couple autographs, and some amazingly low serial numberes, and each one of them is absolutely awesome.

2013-14 In the Game Stickwork Game-Used Stick /19

2014-15 Upper Deck High Gloss 5/10

2012-13 Upper Deck UD Exclusives 1/10

2011-12 Elite Prime Numbers 301/341

2013-14 SP Authentic Chirography 13/35

2012-13 Limited Gold 24/25

As always, if anyone has some Parises to send my way, don't hesitate to let me know!

Friday, January 22, 2016

2014-15 The Cup Ryan Johansen Signature Patches 61/99

Most of the time, I'll buy a card for a purpose. Either it's a player/team I collect, a set that I'm working on, or I'm getting ready to send out some TTM requests. Other times, however, I buy a card simply because it looks great and is at a good price. This is one of those cards.

From 2014-15 The Cup, this is a Ryan Johansen Signature Patches card, numbered 61/99. The patch itself appears to come from the Civil War hat located on the shoulder patch, and it features what is known as one of the worst-looking signatures in the NHL today. It is up for trade if anyone is interested, and if not, I'm perfectly content keeping it.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Player Collection: Zach Parise

So, after a couple of years of collecting Sidney Crosby, I decided I needed another player to pursue in my card collecting. He's an expensive player to collect, for one, and two, since his cards have such a high value, when extra funds are needed, his are the first to go. Earlier this year, my family and I were taking a trip down to Texas to visit family, and since money was tight, my Crosby collection ended up stripped of its better cards in order for us to afford it. Now that that took place, which I had no problem doing, would come the task of replenishing the autographs that were sacrificed. The problem is, with my growing collection of in-person autographs and memorabilia, there isn't really as much funds as there used to be to spend $100+ on one autographed card.

I want collecting to be fun, and I want to have a player who I can get some amazing cards of at a great price, and I need it to be a player who has enough cards produced every year, so that I can continue to pursue some great-looking cards as each set is released. Well, after an autograph signing last month, and that fact that I already liked him quite a lot anyway, I have found that player.

Living in Moorhead, MN, with family hailing from neighboring North Dakota that not only borders my state, but my town, I claim allegiances to both, and Zach Parise is the perfect player for me. He grew up in Minnesota, as his dad, J.P. Parise, played for the North Stars, and played college hockey at UND in Grand Forks, ND. After two years in college, Parise signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils, where he would play for his first seven NHL seasons, before returning home by signing a contract with the Minnesota Wild. He also represented Team USA that the last two Olympic Games, serving as alternate captain in 2010 and captain in 2014.

As detailed in my memorabilia blog, Not Pulled From Packs, I had the opportunity to meet Parise at an autograph signing last month. Minneapolis/St. Paul is about a 3.5-hour drive from where I live. I have no problem making that drive, but for me to convince the wife that such a trip is a good idea, and for us to arrange all-day babysitting for our three girls, it has to be for someone big, or at least a big event. This one would definitely qualify for me, and the fact that my wife is familiar with Parise helps convince her that this is a big deal, so we were off.

What sealed the deal for me on Parise, was simply just how nice he was. I have never been to a signing where the guest is a complete grouch, although I have heard of it, but I have been to signings where the guest treats it like a job. Not that they are miserable to be there, but they are just there to essentially, punch a clock, do their job, and go home. Parise, on the other hand, I have heard is truly nice to his fans, and I have heard as much from quite a few people over the years. During the photo session portion of the event, I must have been the 100th or so person Parise took a picture with, but he still had a smile on his face, was conversational, and offered his hand for a handshake as I was walking up, before I even had the chance to offer mine. He is a true gentleman, and that in-person experience sealed the deal for me.

I already had a few Parise items in my collection, and now have a few really great ones on the way, but here's a quick look at what I have so far:

That's what I have so far, with more one that way. As always, if anyone has anything I can add to it, please let me know!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Panini Redemption Redeemed: Valeri Nuchuskin Prime Quad Rookies 177/199

After not too long of a wait, I got the redemption for my Valeri Nichushkin Prime Quad Rookies card that I pulled from a box of 2013-14 Panini Prime a month or so ago. This one features an on-card autograph, as well as four jersey swatches, and is numbered 177/199. 

While I tend to not like white jersey swatches so much, the fact that they are accompanied by the black helps. I also like that the texturing of the fabric is going in different directions, which lets you know that there are four pieces of fabric, instead of two larger ones. It's a small detail that might not matter to some, but it makes a difference to me.

I'm still waiting on the other redemption, which is a dual autographed card of Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. Depending on who they are waiting on with this, I'm not sure if it'll ever be returned, considering Howe's health issues. Part of me is willing to wait forever if I need to, but another part is considering asking for a replacement, just to see what such a high-dollar card could get me in exchange. I'm playing the waiting game for the time being, but my curiosity has definitely been sparked.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

3/6 Marc-Andre Fleury Namesakes Cards from 2013-14 Panini Prime

While perusing Ebay a while back, I came across a Pittsburgh Penguins mini goalie mask, autographed by Marc-Andre Fleury. Everything looked legit with it, and the bidding price was still low, so I decided to go for it. I ended up winning, and the best part is that as a "bonus," the item also included three autographed Manesakes cards from 2013-14 Panini Prime.

These cards feature a manufactured letter patch meant to represent the player's name plate, are numbered /25, and are autographed right on the letter. This one in particular is designed to resemble the nameplate on the back of the 2011 Winter Classic jerseys that would also become the team's alternate jerseys for the next two years. The letters I got were F (12/25), L (10/25), and U (25/25).

Here's a look at the cards:

Now, I'm not sure is there are only 25 cards total of all the letters, or if each letter has 25 copies, but either way, now that I'm halfway there, I have to complete this set.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2014-15 Upper Deck The Cup Box Break

My final box of cards in the lot purchased from Dave & Adam's Card World is a box of 2014-15 Upper Deck The Cup. This is the highest of the high end when it comes to Upper Deck, so each card not only packs a value, but a higher end look overall, with think card stock and plenty of autographs and memorabilia pieces.

Each box is supposed to come with 5 cards: 1 base, 1 rookie auto patch, 1 auto patch, and 2 other autograph or memorabilia cards. Mine came with six.

Here's what I pulled.

Vincent Damphousse 93/249
While he was a great player during his time, he never got the mainstream recognition of his contemporaries. He reached the 90-point mark four times in his career, and was selected to play in four All-Star Games, winning the game MVP in 1991. He would eventually win his only Stanley Cup in 1993, with the Montreal Canadiens. 

Klas Dahlbeck Rookie Auto 190/249
The Cup's bread and butter is the Rookie Auto Patches, but due to the sheer number of rookies throughout the year, not everyone gets that treatment, getting either just an autographed rookie, or an unsigned rookie card. Klas Dahlbeck is one with just an autograph. Although he is pictured here as a Blackhawk, Dahlbeck was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in a deal that sent Antoine Vermette to Chicago. I actually got a puck signed by Dahlbeck toward the end of last season before a Coyotes morning skate, so this card is my second autograph of his.

Andy Andreoff Rookie Auto Patch 28/249
As I said before, the Rookie Auto Patches are the big draw of this product, with cards of the top rookies sometimes selling in the thousands. Unfortunately, I did not get one of those top guys, and pulled Andy Andreoff of the Los Angeles Kings. This card features an on-card signature right below the player's image, and beneath that, is a piece of his jersey patch, which is mostly silver with a sliver of black on the right side.

Gustav Nyquist Scripted Swatches 10/35
So, this is the only time I can excuse a solid-colored patch on a card, especially in jumbo form. The whole idea of these, is not only to feature a premium swatch, but also to have the autograph be right on that material. Here, they take what is most likely the back jersey number from the away sweater, and have Nyquist sign the fabric in gold. The card looks fantastic, and the gold of the pen matches the gold foil very well. I know there are bigger names in this set, but it's such a great looking card, that I'm really just happy to have it.

Carey Price Signature Renditions
I got two pretty big autographs in this box, and this is the first one, of last year's Hart, Vezina, Lindsay, and Jennings Trophies winner, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.  Signature Renditions is a simple, clean design containing a photo that is shaded on the sides, and a nameplate on the bottom. The picture is taken from a specific game that is detailed on the card and this one spotlight's Price's 4-0 shutout over the Bruins in the 2014 Playoffs that would avoid elimination and force a game 7.

Ray Bourque/Glen Murray Dual Signature Patches 5/35
Now this one is really cool. It's a basic design, and similar to ones they used in the past, but if it isn't broke, there's no need to fix it. It's a low-numbered card, and features both on-card signatures and multi-colored patches of two Boston Bruins greats. Next to Bobby Orr Bourque is a one of the most beloved players in Boston Bruins history, and despite not being known as well nation-wide, Murray had some great years during his two stints in Boston, including a 92-point season (44G, 48A) in 2002-03. 

That's it for this break. Of course, this is an expensive box to open, and I'm really only able to pick one up every year or so, but it's nice to know you really get something for the money you spend. I'm sure there are better boxes out there, but overall, I'm very happy with what I pulled.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

2013-14 Panini Prime Box Break

So now that we got all of those smaller boxes out of the way, now is time for some BIG TIME box breaking! There are two boxes left to go in this purchase from Dave & Adam's Card World, and I certainly saved the best for last. Now, I am saving my other box for the end, mainly because it was the more expensive of the two, but I think this one might win out on simply having better hits.

Now each box of Prime is guaranteed to contain seven cards, which include the following: 2 base cards, 1 rookie quad memorabilia autograph, one autographed card, one memorabilia card, and two other autograph or memorabilia cards. As it turns out, my nine-card box also contained an additional base parallel and one additional hit.

Here's what I got.

Base: Dustin Byfuglien 295/299 & Sergei Bobrovsky 187/299. I've said it before in other box breaks of mine, but I really love these card. The overall darkness is really cool, as it better spotlights the full-color image of the player, and if you can get these autographed, either in silver or gold, they will look fantastic.

Patrick Kane Holo Silver Parallel 3/10. I was very happy with this one. Not only did I get a super-rare parallel, but it is of one of the game's premier players. Despite Kane's off-season issues, he hasn't lost a step at all, and is still one of the very best.

Aleksander Barkov/Mikael Granlund/Olli Maatta Prime Trios 85/100. This card features features three of 2013-14's top rookies, each of whom comes guessed it, Finland. For one, this card contains Maatta, a Penguin, which is awesome in itself, but not only that, each of the swatches comes from each of their team's colored home jerseys, which makes this card look so much better than it would with white swatches.

Cory Conacher Showase Patches 16/20. Conacher's NHL career was a promising one when he entered the league in 2013. The lit things up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and was a key element in the trade that dealt Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators to the Lightning. Unfortunately, Conacher couldn't find that magic again in Ottawa, and after two more seasons in the NHL, with the Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, Conacher left the NHL, and signed with a Swiss club, SC Bern, of the NLA.

Valeri Nichushkin Prime Rookies Quad /199. Here's where things start to get really good. This is one of the set's rookie cards, but in Prime, each of the rookies contain four pieces of memorabilia and an on-card autograph. This one is the base version, in which all four memorabilia pieces are plain jersey swatches. Still as a bit of a Stars fan, this was a great one to get. Nichushkin was their top rookie for 2013-14, and made a big splash in his rookie season. In 79 games, he scored 14 goals and 20 season, which is a pretty good start to one's career.

Olli Maatta Prime Rookies Quad 89/199. Even better than Nichushkin is Maatta, who is Penguins brightest young defensive prospect. In a 2013-14 season that saw Pittsburgh's defensive corps riddled with injuries, Maatta proved to be a constant, playing in all but 4 games that season, scoring 9 goals and 20 assists. Unfortunately for him, 2014-15 was a different story, as he was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and had to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Soon after making a full recovery from that, he re-injured the shoulder he had surgery on in the off-season, and would miss the remainder of the season to have another surgery to repair the shoulder. Despite all that, Maatta was ready to go at the beginning of this season, and looks forward to being a defensive mainstay for years to come.

Bryan Trottier Prime colors 3/26. OK, this one is just plain awesome. This is my fifth box of Prime to open over the past couple of years (3 from 2012-13 & 2 from 2013-14), but this is the first time I have ever pulled a Prime Colors card. This set basically takes the patch card and completely blows it up to the extreme. You don't just get a window of a patch, the whole card is a patch. Now some are better than others, but this Bryan Trottier is about as good as it gets. Of course, it comes from a sweater he wore during his time with the New York Islanders, where he won for Stanley Cups (he also won 2 with the Pittsburgh Penguins). It comes from the bottom of the jersey crest, where you can see the corner of the white stick blade of the "Y" in "NY" and the "and" in the word "Islanders." The really cool thing with these, is that you can really see the intricacies of how these are put together, and when you compare it to more modern patches, it gives you a good look at how these things have changed over time. And as an added bonus, there's even a few puck marks, just to show you how tough Trottier was.

Now as good as that card is, for those of you keeping count, there is still one more card that is even better than that one. What could be better than that, you ask?


Gordie Howe/Steve Yzerman Prime Signatures Dual Gold /25. Easily the best card I've pulled all year, this card featuers on-card autographs of the two greatest Red Wings of all time, which is pretty impressive, considering the names that have work the red and white. Howe, of course, is a legend, and set most of the NHL records that Wayne Gretzky would eventually break. "Mr. Hockey" is royalty in this sport, and depending on who you ask, is in the list of top three hockey players of all time. Yzerman played a lot more recently, of course, but as far as hockey fans in the Motor City are concerned, holds a place right next to Howe. He won three Stanley Cups in Detroit, as well, as many other individual awards, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009.

That's it for this box, and it was epic. There were two blockbusters, two really good rookies, and a few other great ones as well. I did get two redemptions, but an Ebay search revealed that live versions of these cards are out there, so I shouldn't have to wait long at all to get them in. Looking at the redemptions, I noticed that they will be expiring at the end of January, so if I wnt to get any more Prime boxes, I will need to hurry.