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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.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Upper Deck Redemptions Redeemed - Four 2013-14 Artifatcs Rookies /899

Man, it feels like it's been almost a year, but finally, the Upper Deck Artifacts Rookie Redemptions have arrived.Due to an early-season release, Upper Deck was unable to produce rookie cards for played debuting during the 2013-14 season, so they inserted redemptions which would be valid for a rookie from a specific team. Between the boxes and packs that I purchased, I pulled  four redemptions, from the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, and St. Louis Blues, which gave me the following cards.

Carl Soderberg 393/899
Ryan Murray 847/899
Codi Ceci 496/899
Dmitrij Jaskin 835/899


I'm not quite sure how I feel about these, though. I basically wait nine months for four cards that I don't really care that much about. Of course, the feeling would be different if one of these cards was a Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, or Olli Maatta, but with these, I could take them or leave them. Anyway, if anyone is interested in trading for the Murray, Ceci, or Jaskin (Soderberg is already promised to someone), let me know.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trade with Sportscards from the Dollar Store

While I opened up plenty of Rookie Anthology boxes this year, four to be exact, I failed to pull any Penguins apart from a couple base cards. Mainly with this product, team collectors are looking for rookies, as it has updated early-season sets with rookies and veterans on their new teams. Luckily for me, though, Doug from Sportscards from the Dollar Store pulled himself a couple, and sent these four my way:

Olli Maatta Prizm
Jeff Zatkoff Prizm Parallel
Zach Sill Select Prizm Parallel
Kris Letang Rookie Anthology Gold Parallel 98/100


I was very excited to land the Maatta, as I had to wait until halfway through the season before his cards started landing in packs, so I have some catching up to do. Zatkoff is also an interesting case, as he was thrust into the backup role this past season after Tomas Vokoun's injury kept him out for the season. He actually did pretty well, and may have earned that backup spot on a more permanent basis, depending on what happens to Vokoun. Sill was called up for 20 games this season, but was scoreless, so the jury is still out on him. Other "updated" rookies from the Penguins include Brian Gibbons, Brian Dumoulin, Eric Hartzell and Jayson Megna, which means there's still a lot of work ahead of me, so if anyone has a few to spare, be sure to let me know..

Friday, June 27, 2014

Minnesota Wild Personal Appearance - Matt Cooke, Wes Walz, Mike Greenlay

I had a great opportunity to meet some members of the Minnesota Wild organization earlier this week, as the Minnesota Wild/Wells Fargo Road Tour stopped in Moorhead, MN Tuesday. Matt Cooke, along with  Fox Sports North analyst Wes Walz and FSN broadcaster Mike Greenlay were on hand to sign autographs at the Moorhead Youth Hockey Arena.

Luckily, I had the day off of work, as I was scheduled to work the overnight shift, so I grabbed a couple pucks and a few cards of Cooke and Walz, and headed to the arena. Luckily for those who did not bring their own items, each of the three guests had 5x7 photos from their playing days. This was great for me, because I had cards of Cooke and Walz, but Greenlay never had an NHL card, as he played only two games for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1989-90 season.

Everyone was really great and was happy to meet all the Wild fans, and signed everything I brought, which was really cool. Here's a quick look at the newest autographs for my hockey collection


Matt Cooke





Wes Walz





Mike Greenlay



There were actually three legs of the Road Tour, with these three as Leg 1. Leg 2 was current Wild players Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker, as well as former North Star Tom Reid and his radio broadcasting partner Kevin Falness. Leg 3 was current Wild players Erik Haula and Stephane Veilleux, along with former Wild player Antti Laaksonen and FSN broadcaster Anthony LaPanta.

My leg was the only one to feature just one current Wild player, but seeing as though it is the one guy who is a former Pittsburgh Penguin, so I'd say I did pretty well.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Roger Maris's 61st Bat and Ball and a Visit to the Roger Maris Museum

Fargo's Roger Maris Museum had a special guest Monday, as the bat and ball from his 61st home run made an appearance. The two baseball artifacts were in town on loan from the Baseball Hall of Fame, and on-lookers got the opportunity to take a peek at a big part of baseball's history.





While there, people also got the chance to glance at the various artifacts from the museum. It is actually located in Fargo's West Acres Mall, and consists of a line of display cases containing the various items from his career.


The exhibit starts off with this Replica of Maris's New York Yankees locker, which contains a full uniform and a few bats.


Next, we have a wide range of trophies given to Maris, which range from his playing days to his retirement, including some very important ones, like his 1960 & 1961 MVP Awards, his 1960 Gold Glove Award, and a trophy given to him by the fans of the Baltimore Orioles, the team he hit #61 off of.






The centerpiece of the exhibit features a painting of Maris, along with a few key items. His two Sultan of Swat Awards frame a bat an ball display. The bats are commemorative versions which pay tribute to various achievements in his career, like his home run record, MVP seasons and World Series Championships. The baseballs, however, are game used, as each one is one of the 61 home runs. There are nine balls on the rack, with blank spots for two others. The missing spaces represent home run #59, which is owned by a private collector and #61, which is (usually) on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame.


While he is mostly known as a Yankee, the museum also recognizes the other teams he played for, with jerseys and caps from the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals.


The display finishes off chronologically, spotlighting some of the things he was involved with once his career was over, specifically the Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament. Maris was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1983, and put together the first annual tournament in 1984 to raise money for cancer research and treatment.


Maris passed away in 1985 in Houston at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (which is the same hospital where my wife would be treated for thyroid cancer 27 years later), but his legacy lives on in Fargo. Billboards across the city claim Fargo to the the home of  baseball's "legitimate home run king." The cancer unit of Fargo's Sanford Hospital is named the Roger Maris Cancer Center, and every year local business host the week-long "61 for 61" fundraiser, which raises money for the cancer center.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 NHL Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2014 NHL Award winners!

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player) - Sidney Crosby


Ted Lindsay Trophy (Most Outstanding Player as voted on by NHLPA) - Sidney Crosby


Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman) - Duncan Keith

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender) - Tuukka Rask


Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) - Nathan MacKinnon


Art Ross Trophy (Most Points) - Sidney Crosby


Rocket Richard Trophy (Most Goals) - Alex Ovechkin


Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward) - Patrice Bergeron


Jack Adams Trophy (Coach of the Year) - Patrick Roy


William Jennings Trophy (Goaltender for Team with Fewest Goals Allowed) - Jonathan Quick


Messier Trophy (Leadership) - Dustin Brown


General Manager of the Year - Bob Murray

Bill Masterton Trophy (Perseverance, Sportsmanship, and Dedication to Hockey) - Dominic Moore

Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct) - Ryan O'Reilly


NHL Foundation Player Award (Community Service) - Patrice Bergeron


King Clancy Trophy (Leadership On & Off the Ice, Community Service) - Andrew Ference

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two Tier One Anthony Rizzo Autographs

The Cubs got rid of a lot of their star power over the last couple years, dumping big contracts in the name of building with young stars. Soriano, Ramirez, and Zambrano are long gone, leaving the team to Rizzo, Castro, and Barney. Of course, that also means less and less of a cardboard presence, so when I can get a good deal, I jump at the chance, like with this pair of Anthony Rizzo autographed cards.


Both of these are from Topps Tier One, with his 2011 rookie card numbered 152/999 and his 2012 card numbered 61/235. So far this year, Rizzo is batting .276, with 66 hits and 14 home runs, and leads the team in runs scored (45), home runs (14), runs batted in (38) and walks (46). He is definitely one of the cornerstones of this young team, and hopefully he can contribute to the Cubs becoming a successful franchise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Matt Erzar Game-Used Jersey

Usually, when I go to a sports game of any kind, I like to wear some kind of gear to represent that team. For the most part, this manifests itself in the form of a jersey. Now, our local  USHL team, The Fargo Force, sells replica jerseys in their team store, but our baseball team, The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the AAPB, does not. They do, however, sell game-used jerseys in their team store, and at a very affordable price.

So, naturally, when I attended a recent game, I had to pick one up. Now knowing very little about the individual players of the team, I really wasn't picking a particular player. I knew I wanted the red version of the jersey instead of dark blue, mostly since they are still using the red, and I think the blue is an outdated design. Anyway, there were three reds available, and with no knowledge of the individuals themselves, I just had to pick which number I liked better. There was 29, 48, and 55. I ended up picking #48, simply because I think the number looks better on a baseball jersey.

The jersey belonged to Matt Erzar, who only spent one year with the team in 2010 as their pitching coach, when they went 61-39 on the way to their fifth Northern League Championship in the league's final season. The Redhawks actually wasn't his first Fargo-based team, as he played four years of college baseball with North Dakota State University.

It's a great-looking jersey, with a bright, bold red color and sewn-on patched for the logo, numbers, and nameplate. It also has more of a mesh-type of fabric, which is great during the hot summer days, which breathes a lot better than a solid material. Watching a few games so far this year made me realize that the Redhawks really do the jerseys right, as some teams will screen-print the name and number on the back, or leave the name off entirely and just print the number.

Here's a few photos of the jersey:







Monday, June 16, 2014

Facebook Trade #7: Marc-Andre Fleury Peerless Patches

This Facebook trade came all the way from Sweden, and surprisingly, the shipping took less time than a lot of my Canadian trades.  Anyway, it was a simple 1-for-1 deal, which netted me this amazing card:


From 2011-12 Dominion, this is a Peerless Patches card of Marc-Andre Fleury numbered 16/40. I love the look of Fleury's signature, as always, but what really makes this card is the patch. We get three colors on four pieces of fabric, which likely comes from the back-side jersey number. An equal amount of attention is given to all elements of the patch and it looks fantastic.

All I had to give up for it was the Elias Lindholm autograph I pulled from 2013-14 Artifacts. It's always nice when you can swap a card you couldn't care less about for something so perfect for your own collection.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trade with Sportscards from the Dollar Store

I think I actually got this package about a month ago, but here's a post anyway about the most recent trade with Doug from Sportscards from the Dollar Store. He sent me set-builders from the following sets:

2013-14 Select (3 Cards)
2011-12 Titanium (7 Cards)
2013-14 Prizm (2 Cards)
2013-14 Black Diamond (18 Cards)


Not only did I get help on some sets I was working on, but I was actually able to complete two sets here! I was very happy to finally knock these Back Diamond and Prizm sets off of my set needs, so thanks for the trade!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Group Break Loot: My Own Stash

With the group break over, I figured I'd show off the cards I was able to pick for myself.

As usual, I selected the Pittsburgh Penguins, and in order to get the break going, I had to take the remaining two slots, where I selected the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings. Each slot also included two randomed teams, where I got the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues.

So, anyway, here's the best of what I got:

Hits: Tanner Pearson Titanium Rookie Gear Autographed Jersey 24/100, Tomas Jurco Rookie Treasures Autographed Dual Jersey 44/249, Brock Nelson Score Hot Rookies Autograph


Rookies/Inserts: Dmitrij Jaskin, Stefan Matteau, Alex Grant, Johan Gustafsson, Bobby Ryan Gold Parallel, Matt Moulson Prizm Parallel


Penguins: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal


Pretty much everything is up for trade, so if anyone is interested, be sure to let me know.

Also, I have updated my Group Break Hall of Fame page to reflect this break, and inducted the Dave Andreychuk Totally Certified Patch Card, which went to Dave H of Wax Stain Rookie.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Group Break Results Part 3: 2013-14 Rookie Anthology

The Last box in the break brings us to 2013-14 Rookie Anthology. Most of the hits from this product are updated versions of previous releases, which is especially handy for early-season products that came out too early for some of the top 2013-14 rookies like Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Tomas Hertl, and others. Rookie Anthology contains ten packs of 5 cards, and promises four hits, including one autograph, but pretty much every box I have seen opened has had 5 or 6.

So let's get to it:



Here are the scans:

Score: Jarome Iginla (BOS), Stephen Weiss (DET), Clarke MacArthur (OTT), Tyler Pitlick (EDM), Johan Larsson (BUF), Radko Gudas (TB), Johan Gustafsson (MIN), John Gibson (ANA), Bobby Ryan Gold Parallel (OTT)


Select: Dustin Penner (WSH), Alex Grant (OTT)


Daniel Alfredsson (DET), Mark Barberio(TB), John Albert (WPG), Matt Moulson Prizm (MIN)


Eric O'Dell Titanium Rookie 37/39 (WPG)


Brock Nelson Score Hot Rookies Autograph


Tomas Jurco Rookie Treasures Dual Jersey Autograph 44/249


Sheldon Souray Luxury Suite Stick 165/199


Taanner Pearson Titanium Rookie Gear Jersey Autograph 24/100


Thank you to all who participated. By the time you all are reading this, all packages will have been mailed out, so I hope they reach you safely and quickly.