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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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Trade with Beware the Hockey Card Closet

Right before Christmas, I got the contents of a trade I made with Kyle from Beware the Hockey Card Closet. I sent him a bunch of hits from various hockey boxes I busted earlier this year, and in return, I got a few cool items to add to my Penguins collection.

The first is a dual jersey card of Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal from 2009-10 SP Game Used Edition, numbered 23/100. I like when they actually take advantage of the fact that there are TWO swatches on the card, by including two different colors. Something they could have taken a hint of for this year's Black Diamond, but that's a rant for another day.


I also got something that I did not have, an autograph of former Penguin Ryan Malone. He was with the team for their 2008 Stanley Cup appearance, but signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning the following off-season. Unfortunately for him, the very next season, he was watching his former team win the Cup. Malone actually has history with the team, as his father, Greg, once played for the Penguins.


I also got two autographs from 2010-11 Certified, of Nick Johnson (242/250) and Eric Tangradi (385/899). Johnson is now playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, but Tangradi is still wearing the black and gold, splitting time between the pro club and their AHL affiliate.


The last of the autographs were IPs of Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Kunitz. I've got a few Fleurys already, but I love the look of his signature, and this marks my first auto of Kunitz in a Penguins sweater.


Lastly, Kyle also included two base cards. Luckily for me, with as many Crosbys as I do have, he managed to get me one that I was still in need of, from 2008-09 Be A Player.

(NOTE: I discovered after posting this that the Neal is autoraphed, as well. He signed the black marker right on the black pants, so it was difficult to see at first. It actually shows up pretty decently on the scan.)


Thanks for the trade!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 WWE Heritage Rack Pack Break

I went a little bit away from hockey for a second and picked up a rack pack of WWE Heritage from Wal-Mart. The pack contained 16 cards, including four inserts, and pays tribute to the 1985 Topps design.

The set contains a mix of current stars and Legends (or at least the Legends signed to a WWE Legends contract). My pack contained five current stars, with the best being Cody Rhodes and Kane. By the way, has anyone fallen further this year than Tensai? In the spring, he was an unstoppable monster, and now, he's jobbing to mid-carders.


My pack also gave me 7 WWE Legends cards, most of which were in their prime during the era when the original Topps set came out. All of them are considered to be among the best, but me being an Attitude Era guy, it would have been nice to get a couple from that time frame, too.


There were 3 Finishing Moves cards, which is one of the big insert sets from Heritage. Like the base cards, this also mirrors the 1985 design and focuses on the finishing maneuvers of the various wrestlers. While the Brock Lesnar is nice, the Harley Race and "Cowboy" Bob Orton cards really show how moves that used to be such a big deal are just commonplace nowadays.


Lastly, I also pulled one sticker car, of WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat. Like the Finishing Moves cards, this also comes from the 1985 Topps set, which really shows how true-to-life they were in paying tribute to that set.


Overall, I like this set quite a bit. They really tried to be accurate to the original source, which Topps seems to do a good job of with their baseball set as well. Depending on what I decide to do with hockey, I might pick myself up a hobby box of this. It would be a fun break to do.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Couple Dominion Autographed Patch Cards from Ebay

I just simply can't stay away from a good Dominion deal.

I found a couple of cards I needed on Ebay, took advantage of the combined discount, and added some great looking cards to my collection.

The first is an awesome looking card of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. I've always been a fan of the Staal brothers, especially with Jordan helping the Penguins win a Cup in 2009. Eric won it in 2006, making Marc the only Staal in the NHL without his name on the Cup. Baby brother Jared is playing with the Hurricanes's AHL affiliate, but has yet to make his NHL debut. Marc's contract with the Rangers runs out in 2015, so maybe he'll decide to make Carolina the destination for the Staal family reunion in a couple of years.


I also grabbed up a couple cards for my collection of 2011-12 Dominion Rookie Patch autos.

The first is of Flyers rookie Harry Zolnierczyk. The card is numbered 134/199 and features a piece of the crest. Zolnierczyk scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, on October 18, 2011. He ended up splitting time between the Flyers and their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, but was at the NHL level for 37 games, scoring 3 goals and 3 assists in the 2011-12 season.


Gustav Nyquist was a fourth round selection (121st overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the majority of the 2011-12 season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, but played 18 games at the NHL level, getting one goal and six assists.


That's all the Dominion for now, but I'm sure there will be much more before too long.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012-13 Black Diamond Box Break #2

Here's a look at the second box of 2012-13 Black Diamond that I opened. When I posted about box #1, which was LOADED with rare extras, I wondered to myself if that was the exception or the rule. As I found out with box #2, it was the exception. 

There were no Stanley Cup Rings, no Hardware Heroes, and no super-rare parallels, but I did get better players for my two guaranteed dual-jersey cards with Nicklas Lidstrom and Claude Giroux. However, with these two, as with the ones from my first box, we see two swatches of the exact same color, which is one of my biggest memorabilia card pet peeves, second only to one-color patches. At least the Giroux swatches are a different color than the white pieces on the other three.



I wrote some descriptions of the set in yesterday's post, so I won't re-hash all of the details. Instead, I'll just give a quick rundown of the rest of the box:

Ruby Parallels: Ron Hextall 12/100 and Tomas Fleischmann 62/100


 Quad Diamond: Bobby Orr and Jakob Silfverberg


Triple Diamond: Bobby Hull, Ron Francis, Mike Gartner, Mat Clark, Aaron Ness, and Ryan Garbutt


Dual Diamond: Marc-Andre Fleury, Paul Coffey, Anze Kopitar, Gilbert Perreault, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask


Upper Deck Ice bonus pack: Ryan Miller, Dany Heatley, John Tavares, Daniel Sedin, and Jason Zucker Ice Premieres 278/999


That's it for box #2. It's amazing how my opinion of the product would have been greatly affected, had I just bought one box. I could have either gotten box #1 and thought that this was simply a loaded product and one of the best I have opened this year, or I could have just gotten box #2, and thought that this product was a waste of my money, and never touched Black Diamond again. I guess this product, like all others, is simply a crapshoot. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and that's really all there is to it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A LOADED Box of 2012-13 Black Diamond (Box #1)

Along with my box of 2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1, I also picked up a couple boxes of 2012-13 Black Diamond. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as each box only promises two dual jersey cards and two quad diamond cards, but I figured I'd take a shot and see what I came up with.

My first box was definitely a whinner, as not only did I get the guaranteed inserts, but I also found a couple other rarities that apparently aren't found just in every other box.

My first extra hit was a Championship Rings insert card, featuring left winger Simon Gagne. There are 24 cards from this insert set, each featuring a player from the L.A. Kings. The printed area of the card is die-cut on the sides and placed on a rectangular clear card. The surface of the ring is also a shiny material that changes colors, depending on which angle the light hits it. These cards are inserted at a rate of one in every 5 boxes, and to pull a good player like Gagne was pretty awesome. He isn't quite as valuable as Jonathan Quick, and it isn't as cool as the suited-up Luc Robitaille, but it's still better than Andrei Lokitonov or Alec Martinez, for example.


Another major rarity that I got was a Hardware Heroes card of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, numbered 8/100, which recognizes his King Clancy Trophy award in 2012 for exemplifying leadership qualities on and off the ice and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community. Like the Crosby that I have from 2010-11 Black Diamond, the card is die-cut around the trophy and features a translucent inset of the player's picture, with an opening on the back to let light through. There is no official insertion rate on these, but there are only 100 of each of the 18 cards, making them quite the rare find.


The last of my major rarities was an emerald parallel of Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. One of the rarest parallels in Black Diamond, Each of these cards are numbered to just ten copies (this one is 2/10). Quite a few of these emerald cards are autographed as well, but of course, I got one of the ones that isn't.


My two dual jersey cards were of Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are both decent enough players, but the problem I have with these two (as well as the two I ended up pulling from my second box) is that there are two swatches, but both swatches are of the same color. Yes, they are both white, but they could have easily been yellow or blue and my reaction would be the same. If there are two swatches, there are two for a reason. Make them different. Otherwise, just give me the one white one. I'm ok with that. Using the same color on both panels just seems like a lost opportunity.



Apart from the actual hits themselves, the other draw with Black Diamond is their quad Diamond cards. These fall at a rate of two per box (one star, one rookie) and are some of the most sought after cards of the issue.

Just like with my extra hits, I got lucky on this box when it came to the quad diamonds, too, getting a card of top rookie Chris Kreider. With no 2012 draft picks in the set, rookies end up falling to players who made their debut in 2011-12 at a point where it was too late to get their rookie cards produced in that year's set. Kreider didn't play a game for the Rangers in the regular season, but he did get called up for the playoffs, getting 5 goals and 2 assists in 18 games.


My other quad diamond card was of Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk. This card, like all of the quad diamond cards of current players, shows him in his All Star Game uniform.


Triple Diamond cards fall at a rate of six per box, with three being current or former stars and three being rookies. My former stars were all Minnesota North Stars players, which was pretty cool: Mike Modano, Dino Ciccarelli, and Neal Broten. My rookies were Torey Krug, Colby Robak, and Philippe Cornet.


I also got six dual diamond cards, of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Kane, Marcel Dionne, Bill Ranford, and Pekka Rinne.


When I went to pull out my Penguins cards, I noticed that I had the full team set from the single diamond base. What I did not know until I collated the rest of the cards from this box, as well as the second box, is that EACH box contains the base 100-card single diamond set. Very cool.


Lastly, each box also contains a bonus pack of 2012-13 Upper Deck Ice cards. Each pack contains four base cards and one Ice Premiers rookie card. My cards were of Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Quick, and Jamie Benn with a Jordan Nolan Ice Premiers card numbered 822/999.


That's all for that box. Since this was really the first box of Black Diamond that I had ever opened from any year, I wasn't sure if I hit it big, or if this was a typical break. As I would find out from box #2 (which I will post tomorrow), I hit it pretty big with this one. Since I now have two complete base sets, I probably won't be buying any more this year, but I'll definitely be in line when next year's release comes out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1 Box Break

As big of a hockey fan as I am, there is one thing, oddly enough, that I have never done: open a hobby box of Upper Deck. For hockey, Upper Deck is basically the flagship set, contains some of the most coveted rookie cards, and has some of the best photography you will see, but for some reason, I have pretty much relied on retail backs, blaster boxes, and the occasional trade to build my Upper Deck sets.

Until now.

With a little extra Christmas money, I got myself a couple of hockey boxes, one of which was 2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1.

I pulled five base cards of Penguins players.  I especially was happy to pull the Crosby, as I already got one from my blaster box, and with any Crosby card, I need one for the PC in addition to the one for the set.


The most waited for rookie cards are always the Young Guns cards from Upper Deck. With the lockout still in effect, the 2012 draft picks are not inclueded, and we are left with the players who came in late in the 2011-12 season. The rookie class isn't quite what Series 1 usually brings, but there still are a few winners. My six Young Guns cards were the YG Checklist (Chris Kreider, Sven Baertschi, Jaden Schwartz), Jake Allen, Mike Connolly, Robert Mayer, Mat Clark, and Jordan Nolan.


My two hits were jersey cards of Tuukka Rask and Craig Anderson. Kind of blah, but hey, they can't all be winners.


My four Canvas cards were of Brandon Manning (Young Guns), Magnus Paajarvi, David Perron, and Kyle Okposo. They introduced this insert last year, which features a canvas-like texturing on the front, along with an alternate photo. These are easily some of the best looking hockey cards out there.


I also got two Silver Skates insert cards, of Adam Henrique, Milan Lucic. My first thought when I saw these was how much they looked like an insert set we would have seen from Upper Deck in the mid '90s. As it turns out, these cards are basically a tribute to an insert set they had in 1993-94. I was right.


My two Hockey Heroes cards were of Marcel Dionne and Gilbert Perreault. These are both decent cards, but I liked it better when Hockey Heroes just focused on one player, and showed them at various points int heir career.


My four MVP cards gave me two good ones (Taylor Hall and Ryan Miller) and two not-quite-as-good ones (Keith Yandle and Brayden Schenn)


Lastly, I received one UD Exclusives card, which is basically the base card with "UD Exclusives" on the side and a serial number. The cards has the "Ebay 1/1" number of 100/100, which should get me some extra scratch on Ebay, but it's Saku Koivu, so probably not.


Well, there you have it. Nothing ground breaking, but I got the box primarily to try and build the set, so mission accomplished. I still have a few that I need, so go and check out my needs list and let me know what you can do.

Panini Redemption Fulfilled: 2011-12 Dominion Daniel Sedin Auto Patch

After totally freaking out when I realized that twin NHL superstars Daniel and Henrik Sedin pretty much DID get their autographed Dominion cards sent in to Panini at the same time, like, of course, twins always do, I was left to play the waiting game on Daniel's card.

Luckily for me, on Christmas Eve, I was greeted by a friendly Swede in my mail box.


Like the Henrik, this one features what appears to be the jersey number from the back of the sweater. It is a great looking card that I got for a great price, plus, now I have the matching set.

But wait, there's more.

The first thing I noticed was how close the serial number (21/60) was to Daniel's jersey number of 22. Close. Then, I decided to scan the pair of them together, and noticed one more thing about the serial numbers.


They BOTH have the serial number of 21/60!!! How cool is that!

Seriously, they both were redemptions, so what are the odds that I would be sent BOTH cards having the same number? Very cool.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

ISN'T THERE ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT???

Sure, Charlie Brown. I know what Christmas is all about...


Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Damaged Hit Sent to Panini for Replacement

 A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a box of 2012 Panini Rookies and Stars Football. I busted the box and posted my cards, but what I did not mention was the damage that was done to the best hit out of the box.

The Slideshow autographed card of Justin Blackmon is one of the coolest looking cards I have pulled from football ever since I have been collecting. Unfortunately for me, just on the bottom of the card, right beneath the Rookies and Stars logo, the clear coating on the front of the card is peeling off.


If you can't see it there, here's a closer look.


Anyway, I filled out the proper paperwork, and sent in the card for replacement. I asked if the card can't be replaced with the identical card, it could be replaced by a hockey card of a player from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The last time I had them do this, they replaced a Kyle Okposo autographed patch card /15 with an Evgeni Malkin autographed card /25. We'll see how they do this time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2010-11 Luxury Suite Sidney Crosby Jersey/Prime

While I have indulged myself greatly in my hockey collecting over the past year, one thing that has gone neglected has been my love for 2010-11 Luxury Suite. I've always had an appreciation for this set, and Panini's desire to strip all the BS away from just one set and give us nothing but autographs, memorabilia and serial-numbered rookie cards.

For the longest time, I have had just one Crosby from this set, the "base" card, which is a single-colored jersey card, but I finally found is a companion.


This one features not only the single-colored swatch that the base version does, but also has a second swatch, which contains a piece of "prime" memorabilia. I'm not sure if this exists with other sports, but in hockey, at least, this refers to a seam where a piece of fabric is sewn to a piece of different colored fabric, and due to the design of the uniforms, I think this only applies to hockey. I know in football, Panini has used "prime" to refer to a single-colored patch.

Anyway, the card, is numbered 22/150, and knocks that one off of my needs list. next on the agenda is a Luxury suite card with a jersey swatch and a piece of his stick!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The World May Not Have Ended...

But this is now my Ebay feedback score:


Yikes.

2008-09 Upper Deck Sidney Crosby Hockey Heroes Painting Card

I picked up a card I have been eye-balling for quite some time. A Hockey Heroes Painting Card from 2008-09 Upper Deck. I already had cards 1-8, so me being the completionist that I am, I just had to get this one. It wasn't too bad, though, and it was quite the rarity. I couldn't find the exact odds, but the painting cards from 2012-13 Upper Deck hockey Heroes are 1:600 packs, which works out to 1 in every 25 boxes!

Damn.


The front of the card looks great, and features an image of Crosby in all three of Pittsburgh's uniforms, including him celebrating his game-winning shootout goal in the 2008 NHL Winter Classic.


One of my favorite things about this card, though comes from the back. The first line reads"Despite and almost unfair amount of hype..." Okay, Upper Deck released a special 20-card "Phenomenal Beginnings" set in 2006 and inserted a thirty card "Diary of a Phenom" insert set in packs of 2005-06 Upper Deck. Them calling out Crosby's "unfair amount of hype," would be like ESPN saying, "Maybe people are talking about Tim Tebow just a little too much." You can't criticize the hype that YOU help create and capitalize on, that's all I'm saying.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster Break

Not wanting to wait until I can go and purchase a hobby box, I went and got myself a blaster of 2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1. Like Topps baseball, Upper Deck is pretty much the base, flagship set among all brands, so I figured I'd pick up what I could.

I picked up three Penguins from the box, and apart from Evgeni Malkin (who will be in Series 2) and Kris Letang, these are the three that I would want to get. Of course, I will need to get another Crosby at some point for the set, as this one will be going to by player collection.


I pulled two Young Guns cards, which are less of a big deal than other years, as all of the 2012 draft picks are nowhere to be seen, due to the lockout. Players cannot have an NHL-licensed card until they play an official NHL game, so all of these guys are players who came in late last season or during the playoffs. Foucault and Prout combined for 6 games in 2011-12, with 0 goals and 0 assists. Awesome.


I do, however, love both of these inserts. The Canvas cards have a textured front and a different, but usually better, photograph than its base counterpart. The Hockey Heroes cards used to spotlight one particular player, but this year's (and last year's, I think) focuses on multiple players. I pulled one of Marcel Dionne, who I have always had an appreciation for, but doesn't seem to get any hobby love.


Finally, there were two MVP cards, one of Brad Richards and one of Alexander Burmistrov. I guess instead of releasing it as a low-end product, they decided to just include it as an insert set.


Overall, I really like this year's release, and since they are not trying to wedge in another sport with the same design, they are able to include the team logos on the front, which is a good thing. I'll definitely be picking up a box or two of this real soon.