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Thursday, April 12, 2012

11-12 ITG Captain C Pack Break (SICK Ovechkin Hit!!!)

After seeing some really good breaks of In the Game's most recent offering, Captain C, I decided to give it a shot and see how my luck would turn out.

The title is obviously a play on words of "captaincy," and each card features a player who has had the honor of wearing the "C" on his jersey as team captain. The advantage for the collector is that each player has demonstrated some sort of talent or significance to his team, rendering very few cards as "commons." While I have busted a few packs of Between the Pipes and Heroes and Prospects, this was my first go at ITG's high end, which has garnered quite a reputation in the hockey collecting community.

Each pack of Captain C features 10 cards: 5 base and 5 hits. The base cards come in silver and gold variations, with print runs limited to 50 for gold and 150 for silver. My one big complaint is that while their print runs are defined, there is no serial-numbering on any of the cards. It may be a small thing to some, but for me, if I get one of those super rare cards, it's nice to see that low serial number of /9 or /10. The hits usually are distributed in the form of two autographs and three relics with gold and silver variations of the relics.

I was fortunate enough to get a fantastic box, with the big hit being an Alexander Ovechkin "Complete Jersey" quad relic card. The "complete jersey" refers to the fact that all four pieces come from a different part of the jersey. The four pieces are jersey fabric, player number, team emblem, and fight strap. On my particular card, the jersey and emblem swatches are multi-colored. According to ITG's website, the silver variations of this card are limited to just nine copies, making this an incredible pull.

As if that wasn't enough, I was also able to pull a Brett Hull game used jersey from the gold parallel. The gold versions are limited to just ten copies and this one features a beautiful three-colored swatch from his days with the blues. While I can't vouch for every card in this set, what I like is that they seemed to make a conscious effort to not only feature a photo of the player from the team/time period when he was a captain, but also a jersey from that same time. For example, we don't have to worry about getting that Hull card with a Red Wings or Flames swatch. For me, that extra bit of effort goes a long way.

My third relic was of a guy I am unfamiliar with, but from all scouting projections, it might turn out to be a great card in the future. In addition to the obvious level of NHL talent, Captain C also recognizes players who have achieved the "Captain" designation at the junior level with the Junior Captains relics. Ryan Murray is currently with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Murray scored 9 goals and 22 assists in 46 games, and according to NHL Central Scouting, Murray is ranked second among all eligible North American skaters entering the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Most projections have him being a top 10 pick.

My two autographs were of Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber and former Winnipeg Jets center Thomas Steen. Weber was a second-round pick by the Predators in 2003, was named to the All Star Team in 2009, 2011 and 2012, won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2010. Steen may not be well-known outside of Winnipeg, but he was one of their most popular players in the 80s and early 90s. His number was retired by the Jets in 1995, and the number retirement is still recognized by the Phoenix Coyotes.

My base cards were of Wendel Clark, Rick Vaive, Patrick Marleau, Doug Gilmour and David Backes. It is definitely a line-up that would make any Maple Leafs fan happy, but apart from Gilmour and Marleau, there wasn't a whole lot for me.

If you're going to try your hand at some high end hockey, go ahead and give this one a shot. They all won't be quite as great as this one, but with the sheer amount of star power in this set, you're sure to find something that will make you think it was money well spent.