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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, October 21, 2014

2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup Sidney Crosby Stanley Cup Signatures Autograph /50

It took me a few years of collecting Sidney Crosby, but at long last, I have an autographed card of his from Upper Deck The Cup!


This one comes from the Stanley Cup Signatures set of the 2011-12 release. It features an on-card autograph on top of a team logo, right beneath a photo of Crosby, and is numbered 33/50. What I really like about this card is what I like about most of the higher-end releases, which is that they are simply at their best when they dispose of all of the bells and whistles, and just give you a clean, beautiful, high-quality piece of cardboard. It just doesn't get much better than this.

Well, it does, actually, when I put this card right next to the Mario Lemieux and Ron Francis/Paul Coffey cards from this same set.


There ya go.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trade with Wax Stain Rookie

This trade took place a while ago, but to to personal issues (all good ones) getting in the way, I just haven't had the time to post these. Well, here I am, with a day off of work, and the wife out with the new baby (girl #3), so let's get to it!

This was a pretty easy trade, as Dave H from Wax Stain Rookie expressed interest in a few cards that I pulled from my box of 2013-14 Prime, and offered up a few cards for my various collections.

2011-12 Between the Pipes Matt Murray Future Stars Goaliegraph
While it may not be easy to tell, this one lands in my Pittsburgh Penguins Collection. Murray is a prospect in the system, having been drafted in the third round (83rd overall) in 2012. After playing the past four seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, Murray has landed a spot on the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


2009-10 Black Diamond Travis Zajac Gemography
The Zajac card is going right into my University of North Dakota Alumni Collection. Zajac plyed for the Fighting Sioux during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 season, and played on a team with future NHLers Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Drew Stafford, Brian Lee, Taylor Chorney, Chris Porter, and Matt Smaby. After trading two picks to the Dallas Stars in order to move up to the 20th overall spot in the 2004 draft, the New Jersey Devils made him their first selection that year.



2005-06 Ice Ed Belfour Frozen Fabrics Jersey
Like the Zajac, this Belfour jersey card is heading to my UND Alumni Collection. He spent just one season with the Fighting Sioux, in 1986-87, but he made it count, finishing with a 29-4-0 record, on the way to an NCAA National Championship. He would sign with the Chicago Blackhawks after that season was over, and had a 17-year NHL career that saw him win one Stanley Cup, two Vezina Trophies, four Jennings Trophies and one Calder Memorial Trophy. He was elected to the NHL Hall of Fame in 2011.


There were a few other throw-ins along with these, but these cards are really the ones that drew me in. Thanks for another great trade, Dave!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2013-14 National Treasures Case Break Loot

After buying into two case breaks of Prime and a case break of National Treasures, and coming up with nothing more than one base card and one parallel in total, I finally got me some hits on my second National Treasures case break.

Marc-Andre Fleury Silver Parallel 2/25
I'm not really sure if this counts as a "hit," but it is an incredibly rare parallel of the Penguins' netminder. Like most parallels, this is basically just the base card, with a different colored foil, and a super-low serial number.


Mario Lemieux Century Materials Jersey 30/99
This may be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill jersey card, but I really like this one. Not only is it of the greatest Penguin in history, but you actually have the swatch matching the photographed jersey, which is especially cool, considering the rarity of him wearing the powder blue. I believe it was only worn during one of the alumni games before one of the Penguins' two Winter Classic games.


Eric Hartzell Rookie Treasures Autographed Patch 39/99
Apart from The Cup, which is slated to hit hobby shops later this month, National Treasures is providing the top rookie cards of the 2013-14 collecting season, with on-card signatures and some jumbo-sized patch pieces. This one is of Penguins' netminder Eric Hartzell, who is currently playing with their ECHL affiliate, Wheeling Nailers. He still has a few steps in front of him before reaching the NHL level, but with Fleury's future with the team always in question, he may soon get the opportunity.


After some unsuccessful case breaks, I was glad to finally have some hardware to bring home with me. There weren't any major pulls here, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2013-14 National Treasures Nathan MacKinnon Timeline Prime Jersey /50

While I've gotten my hands on all sorts of different cards of all sort of different varieties, the one thing I had yet to get my hands on was a Nathan MacKinnon hit. That is, until now.


The card comes from the Timeline insert set of 2013-14 National Treasures and is serial-numbered 36/50. It contains a die-cut of the player's name overlaying a single piece of prime jersey. In this case, there are actually four colors, which is pretty amazing, with blue, black, white, and a sliver of red right at the top. The card itself doesn't scan well, so i placed it on the scanner at a slight angle, to try and get some kind of clarity on the foil.


Not sure if that helped, but trust me when I say that this is one fantastic card.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jeff Zatkoff Autographed Printing Plate from 2013-14 National Treasures

Here is a really cool card I was able to pick up in a raffle on a Facebook group that I am a member of:


From 2013-14 National Treasures, this is a yellow printing plate of Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. This card is from the autographed rookie card portion of the set, and the cool thing is, like the regular version, features an on-card (or rather, on-plate) autograph. What I also like about the card, is that like other Panini high-end releases, they put the card backing on the back side of the plate, which makes it look like an actual card, and gives you all the information as well. And, of course, the all-important "One of One" serial numbering.


Time willtell on Zatkoff. He had a decent season last year, and is biting on the heels of Marc-Andre Fleury. Regardless of his long-term viability, this is still a great card, and one that I am more than happy to add to my collection.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2013-14 Black Diamond Dustin Jeffrey Gemography Autograph

Even though he is no longer a member of the Pittsburgh penguins, I just had to pick up this Dustin Jeffrey autographed Gemography card from 2013-14 Black Diamond.


Jeffrey played for the Penguins since signing a free-agent contract in October of 2007, until being waived by the team in November of 2013. He spent his time with the Penguins going back and forth between Pittsburgh and their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barrie, with his most productive year being in 2010-11, when he scored seven goals and five assists in 25 games with the pro club. The Dallas Stars picked up his rights after Pittsburgh placed him on waivers, he played 24 games in Dallas, and finished the season with their AHL affiliate, Texas Stars, and helped the team win their first Calder Cup as the AHL champions. During the 2014 off-season, Jeffrey signed a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2012-13 Limited Bobby Ryan Game Pucks /25

Here's a hockey card I got, just simply for the fact that it looks cool:


From 2012-13 Limited, this comes from the Game Pucks insert set and features a piece of a game-used puck. The card is numbered 25/25 and features what is obviously a New York Rangers puck, meaning that this puck came from a Ducks/Rangers game that was played in Madison Square Garden. I'm not particularly a collector of Bobby Ryan, or the Ducks, or even the Rangers. I just thought it was a fantastic-looking card & didn't want to miss the opportunity to add it to my collection.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Replacing an Average-Looking Hit with a Much Better One: Jonas Brodin National Treasures Rookie

As much as I loved opening up my box of National Treasures a couple weeks ago, I HATED the fact that my Jonas Brodin Autographed Patch Rookie card had a one-colored patch. It is supposed to be one of the showcases of the product, but without at least a secondary color, it just looks so bland. So, I set out to get myself a better one, and picked this one up, numbered 19/25.


There are three colors in this patch, and it looks SO much better than the solid colored one that I pulled. I guess that was my big frustration with it. This is supposed to be a high-quality product, but they can't seem to take the time to ensure that we get high-quality memorabilia pieces, especially when you're dealing with a rare parallel. It's frustrating, but at least I have a better card now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2013-14 Prime Zach Parise Prime Skates Extreme 1/1

While I've posted on some awesome cards I have pulled from packs over the past year, here's one I just received that moves to the top of the list of individual cards that I have purchased as singles. From 2013-14 Prime, it's a Zach Parise Prime Skates Extreme 1/1.


I actually got this card because of the Jamie Benn Prime Skates Extreme 1/1 I pulled from a box of Prime last month. After pulling the Benn, which has a Bauer logo literally bursting out of the cardboard, I posted it on a Facebook Hockey Card group that I am a part of. Before the evening was over, I negotiated a deal with a buyer that was simply too good for me to pass up. In the past, I have sold some high-dollar pulls, and ended up dispersing that Paypal to a few different ones, turning one awesome card into a few really good ones.

I was determined not to have that happen this time.

I'll admit that I did have a slight bit of seller's remorse, almost immediately, but a deal is a deal. To remedy that, I determined that what I needed to do, was use those funds to purchase an even better card, and turn it not into a sell, but really more of an upgrade. Looking at other Prime 1/1s on Ebay, I was concentrating mostly on Prime Skates Extreme, Prime Gloves Insignia, and Prime Ties. One card I came across was this Parise. The seller had it listed at WAY more than I was willing to spend, but he had a "best offer" option available. Upon looking at the listing, I realized that it was halfway into a 30-day listing period, and there had been no offers. I was hoping to eventually purchase the card at 50% of his listing price, so I gave him a low-ball offer of 40% thinking he would counter with the price I was hoping to pay. It took a few hours, but lo and behold, I would receive a message from Ebay saying that I had bought this item, meaning he accepted my offer. Not only that, but the price worked out that I would only have to add $25 to what I was paid for the Benn to Purchase the Parise. I was very happy with the "exchange rate" for the two cards.

Truthfully, between the Parise, the Benn, and the Pascal Dupuis that I already own, none of the scans of any of these cards do them justice. This one in particular has the fabric as almost a vinyl type of material, which gives it a texture and a slight amount of grey variation throughout. The logo itself is stamped in to the fabric, and it seems like there's just a slight amount of a sheen to the black and red coloring. What really sold me on this card, apart from the player it comes from is the stitching on either side of the logo, which signify it as coming from the heel of the skate. As cool as Benn's Bauer logo was, the heel placement and the stitching from it was just way too cool of a feature to pass up on.

Monday, September 22, 2014

2013-14 National Treasures Sidney Crosby Century Materials Prime Jersey 42/50

A couple of weeks ago, I opened up a box of National Treasures, and actually pulled a Penguin, getting an Evgeni Malkin Prime Jersey Booklet /25. I pulled a few other good cards as well, and was able to flip one of them for another Penguin. I parted ways  with a Brendan Gallagher autographed card and got this one in return:


From the Century Materials insert set, this is the Sidney Crosby Prime Jersey Parallel, numbered 42/50. I'm always glad to add another Sidney Crosby card to my collection, and it's even better when I can get a multi-colored swatch as part of it. Like Panini usually does, the seam of the swatch goes right down the middle, with the black and white clearly visible. It's a great card, and as much as I would have been ok holding on to the Gallagher, I had no problem swapping it for this one.