After showing a two-pack preview of 2012-13 Panini Certified last night, here's a look at some of the goods that a full box brought me.
I like the base cards MUCH better this year. For one, it was nice to see a change, as 2010-11 and 2011-12 looked very similar, and two, despite using a HEAVY amount of foil on these cards, they managed to do so without the warping that I saw with my 2011-12 Certified cards.
I was lucky enough to pull three Penguins, and when you consider that there is a 100-card base set and you pull, on average, 44 cards, three players from your favorite team isn't bad at all.
The box also contained five insert cards. The four serial numbered cards were a ruby parallel of Patrik Elias 159/199, Ryan Miller Masked Marvels 828/999, Marc-Andre Fleury & Scott Hartnell Path to the Cup (Quarterfinals Game 5) 39/399, and Certified Stars Erik Karlsson 927/999. The Path to the Cup card is the only one not being completely covered in foil and features a card for each game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I was lucky to pull one featuring a Penguin, even though that ended up being a DISASTROUS series. The Masked Marvels set is also one of my favorites, and to pull one of my favorite NHL goaltenders was pretty cool.
In order to garner interest during a lockout, Panini has thrown a few brand new things into the mix, including the Goalie Pulls insert. These cards feature a shadowbox kind of effect, with a goal in the background and an image of the goaltender on an acetate material that can be pulled out. It may seem completely unnecessary for the base issue, but there are rare parallels of this that feature a jersey swatch as a background, which is pretty cool when you pull the goalie out and have this HUGE swatch of fabric revealed. My box contained the base version of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith.
Each box also contains four hits. Judging from my two boxes, it seems to work out to be two autographs and two memorabilia cards. I'm not sure if that's the guarantee or if it is just a coincidence, but that's how it worked out for me, which is cool. In my opinion, the more autographs, the better, even if they are all stickers.
My big hit of this box is an autographed memorabilia card of St. Louis Blues rookie Jaden Schwartz. He, along with Ranger Chris Kreider, are the two big rookies of the early products, at least until the lockout ends and the 2012 draft picks make their appearances. These cards are almost identical to their 2-11-12 counterparts, except for the slight variations done to the signature area of the card. I immediately threw this card on Ebay with a RIDICULOUS BIN/OBO price. With no sales of the card yet, I wasn't sure of A) what the card would end up selling for, and B) if I even want to sell the card to begin with. We'll see what happens.
I also pulled a Fabric of the Game card of B.J. Crombeen, who was traded this past off-season from the Blues to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a couple of draft picks. This card shows something that we're going to see a lot because of the lockout, which is mismatched photos and team designations. Usually they could just plaster up some preseason photos of Crombeen in his new Lightning uniform, but until these guys get some ice time, it'll be a Lightning card with a Blues photo.
Apart from pulling a cool rookie auto relic, one of my favorite memorabilia cards that I have seen so far this year is the Patch to the Cup variations. In addition to the horizontal insert versions that I pulled, the vertical variations contain a jersey swatch from each of the two featured players, underneath a cut out shape of the Stanley Cup. This is a very cool concept and some great looking cards, and another cool concept is that the rarity increases as the featured rounds do. Mine is from the Eastern Conference semifinals between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, featuring Marian Gaborik and John Carlson, and is serial numbered 90/99.
My final hit was an autographed Freshman Signatures card of Avalanche center Mike Connolly. He spent most of last year in the minors, but came up for two games during the 2011-12 season. Right now, Connolly is playing for the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters.
That's all for box #1. Stay tuned for box #2, which should be up tomorrow.