I've been all over Panini's hockey releases so far this year, but I haven't quite yet jumped into ITG or Upper Deck, and I'm not quite sure why. All three companies to a pretty decent job with their release and provide a similar bang-for-the-buck, but so far, it's been all Panini. Deciding I needed to start breaking that habit, I picked myself up a pack of 11-12 ITG Between the Pipes.
Like Panini with baseball, In the Game doesn't have an NHL license, so it is pretty limited on what they can do team-wise, but that doesn't stop them from putting out some nice cards. As you can see from the scan below, they are able to use the logos, names and uniforms of junior league teams, which allows them to at least get some full-bodied action shots, then for the NHL players, the get up close and personal.
This is an especially great feature when the goalies are fully-masked, like the Gary Simmons.
Not only did I receive those cards in my pack, but I was lucky enough to pull myself a hit. With four autos/relics in each 18-pack box, the odds aren't impossible, but unlikely, when just purchasing a single pack. Mine was a dual-relic from the Aspire insert set, which matches up a pro with a prospect of the pro's team. In this case, Ryan Miller (who I am a BIG fan of) is alongside Sabres prospect Nathan Lieuwen. As always, these can be hit-or-miss, so it's always a thrill to pull one to add to one of your player collections.
While, I haven't broken down for a box myself yet, I can still highly endorse this set for any and all hockey fans. Give it a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.