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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2013-14 Dominion Case Break Loot

I hadn't gone into a case break in a while, but with so many 2013-14 hockey sets out now, and attention spread elsewhere, I decided to buy into a break of 2013-14 Dominion. I picked up the Penguins, and got them at a decent price, which I'm sure has a lot to do with this now being a six-month-old product. With a high-end product, there aren't a whole lot of extra cards in the boxes, so there is a chance you will walk away empty handed. Luckily, that didn't happen, as I pulled the following cards:

Beau Bennett Rookie Patch Autograph Emerald Redemption /5
Apart from a nice Crosby or Malkin autograph, one thing I really wanted was a Bennett rookie. He is the only Penguin included in the Rookie Patch Autograph set, since Olli Maatta, I guess, didn't make his first NHL appearance until after production had begun. Unfortunately, the Bennett is a redemption, but hopefully this will get filled soon. I have a bunch of Bennett hits already, but this one contains an on-card autograph, a patch, and a low serial number. All the elements you need for a fantastic card.

Jeff Zatkoff Rookie Autograph 267/299
Zatkoff was the only other Penguins rookie to make the Dominion set, but his card just has the on-card autograph, with no memorabilia swatch. Still, this was a card I definitely wanted, as Zatkoff was really put to the test this year. After Tomas Vokoun was sidelined from surgery to remove a blood clot. Instead of trading for a veteran backup to replace Vokoun, they decided to give Zatkoff a shot.

I just got those two cards from the case, but luckily, they were two that I really wanted. Now I just have to play the waiting game with the Bennett, but I'm sure it will be well worth it once the card arrives.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2013-14 Fleer Showcase Box Break

With Upper Deck soon to become the only official licensee of hockey card products, I have been trying to transition my buying habits more in that direction, if for no other reason, to discover what they really do well and what products of theirs I really like. With that in mind, I picked up a box of Upper Deck's most recent release, Fleer Showcase. Similar to last season's Fleer Retro, Showcase pays tribute to various Fleer products of the past, keeping true to the older products, while updating them with new players.

Each box contains 15 packs of 5 cards. Each pack contains an insert or a hit, and the big guarantee is the Hot Prospects cards, which feature an autographed rookie card, complete with a patch piece. One Hot Prospects card is promised in each box, and there are also two other autograph or memorabilia cards guaranteed.

So, without further ado, here's the video of my box, with scans to follow:

Plenty of good base cards here, with a nice, clean design. I'm not sure if these are based on a specific design from the past or not, but they definitely look like something from the early 2000s. I got two Penguins, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Malkin is pictured as an All-Star, and the cool thing with the All-Star cards, is that the team logo used is the All-Star logo from the same game he is pictured in.

I also got a Hot Prospects Trios card of Ben Hanowski, Drew LeBlanc, and Oliver Lauridsen, numbered 173/399. With the dual rookie class, this allows them to get as many rookies as they can into the set, while keeping the set size down.

The Fleer Ultra cards are very similar to the 2007-08 design, with a few tweaks, and feature veterans, retired players, and rookies. My four were base cards of Steven Stamkos and Peter Forsberg, with rookies of Linden Vey 270/499 and Morgan Rielly 64/499.

Each set also has parallels, like this Red Medallion Parallel from Ultra of Marian Gaborik, numbered 44/99. 

Like Retro last year, Metal Universe is a big part of Showcase. The five I pulled were Tyler Seguin, Brett Hull, Cam Neely, Vladimir Terasenko, and Claude Giroux. They don't scan well, but these are some interesting Cards. The look very "late-90s," which is appropriate, since I think that's the era that the set comes from.

One Skybox Premium card came in my box, of Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman. This might actually be a set that they grabbed from a different sport, as I don't think there has ever been a Skybox Premium hockey set before this one.

As far as hits go, I pulled a jersey card of Montreal Candiens goaltender Carey Price. It may just be a plain white swatch, but it's good to pull at least someone from his team. I just traded a bunch of Canadiens away, so I need to restock.

I was aslo lucky enough to pull not one, but two, Hot Prospects cards. These are the big draw of the product, as they feature all the top rookies from the dual rookie class. Not only that, but they also  feature and autograph, as well as a patch piece. Each one is numbered to 375, or 175 for the higher profile rookies, with parallels numbered to 27 or 18, with pieces of fight strap or glove. This one here is of Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson, featuring an amazing three-colored swatch that I think comes from the shoulder patch of the home jersey, numbered 65/375.

I also pulled another Hot Prospects card with a three-colored patch, of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Richard Panik, numbered 357/375. I got excited when I saw a Lightning card as a big rookie hit, but unfortunately, this isn't one of the two Lightning rookies nominated for the Calder Trophy. He did spend the entire season with the team though, scoring three goals and 10 assists in 50 games.

If you have the chance, I would definitely give this product a shot. You get some great looking cards, with a bit of nostalgia thrown in, and no matter what, you get an autographed rookie patch card. Upper Deck really did this product right.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fairfield Hockey Autographed Card Repack

About a month ago, I found a re-pack from Fairfield Sports that contained three hockey packs and one memorabilia card. Well, earlier this week, I found the autographed version, so I had to pick one up, just to see what wonders would await me inside the box.

The memorabilia version of this box contained three packs, but the autographed version contained four: 2011-12 Victory, 2012-13 Score, 2008-09 Collector's Choice, and 2008-09 MVP. All are low-end sets, so there isn't a whole lot to be expected, but here's a quick look at the best card I pulled from each pack.

My autograph was a Ultimate Signatures card of Gilbert Brule from 2005-06 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection. Brule was selected sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets int he 2005 NHL Entry Draft, but never could live up to expectations. He played parts of three seasons with Columbus before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers, and was later claimed on waivers by the Phoenix Coyotes. Brule retired from professional hockey on Jan. 1, 2014.

Well, that's it for this box. As usual, nothing earth-shattering for the buyback hit, but these are always fun boxes to open.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Jonas Brodin Rookie Redemptions from 2013-14 Panini Playbook

I really only needed one of these, but it came as a lot of two, so why not? These Panini redemptions are each good for one Jonas Brodin rookie booklet from 2013-14 Playbook, serial numbered to 199. 

With the rookies from Playbook, Panini really threw all of their tricks into one thing. You get autographs, jersey swatches, die cutting, and even a shadowbox, all in one single item. They do look really cool, and being a bit of a Minnesota Wild collector, I figured I'd grab up a couple really cool cards of their brightest young defenseman. Now, I just have to decide whether to redeem one and sell the other, or redeem them both and have the option of picking which one I like better before selling the other one off.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beau Bennett Lot for a Buck

Here's a really cool lot of cards I got for a REALLY cool price. These are three cards of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett. The really great thing about these three cards, is that they just cost me a dollar. Not a dollar each. All three combined were just a buck plus shipping. 

2013-14 Crown Royale Heirs to the Throne Prime Die Cut 36/50

2013-14 Crown Royale Heirs to the Throne Jersey

13-14 SP Game Used Edition Jersey

I guess what that price came to was horrible marketing from the seller. The listing was, specifically, "13/14 BEAU BENNETT HEIRS TO THE THRONE JERSEY/DIECUT/SP GU PITTSBURGH PENGUINS," which despite the full used of maximum characters, told you nothing, or at the very least, was way too difficult to understand. He also used the plain jersey from Crown Royale as the display image instead of the die-cut prime jersey, so it didn't draw anyone in visually, either. I'm not complaining, though. I'll GLADLY take these cards for the price I paid.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Facebook Trade #5

My fifth Facebook trade was a basic 2-for-1 deal, and netted me a pretty cool dual autograph. I swapped a couple Montreal Canadiens hits with Serge L. in exchange for this card.

This comes from 2007-08 Be A Player and features autographs from Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal.It's a few years down the road now, but back when this card came out, it was a really hot item. Staal was one year removed from being the second overall draft pick in 2006, and Fleury was four years removed from being the first overall pick in 2004, so you're looking at a card autographed by two of the hottest young stars of the time. Fleury is still backstopping the Pens, and Staal was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012. Both were a part of the Penguins' Stanley Cup run in 2009, so things worked out pretty well for these young stars.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Facebook Trade #4

My fourth Facebook-instigated trade was a simple one. I swapped a Mats Sundin Crystal insert card with Pascal M. In exchange for this card to add to my Pittsburgh Penguins Collection.

This is an Evgeni Malkin gold parallel from 2013-14 Dominion, numbered 17/50. This year, Panini slashed the price of Dominion in half, and there are a couple of ways they were able to do this. For one, the memorabilia swatches are smaller, allowing them to produce more card from the same jersey, and two, the serial-numbering is larger (like gold parallels numbered to 50, instead of their previous 25), which takes a little bit away from the rarity. Either way, I got a great card with a great trade, and I'm a happy Penguins collector.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Facebook Trade #3

Here's another trade made through my Hockey Cards" Facebook group. In order to get the following cards, I had to depart with 12 Montreal Canadiens hits, which seems like a lot, but most were lower-level rookies, with a few Carey Price jerseys mixed in. Either way, they were cards that had been collecting dust in my trade bait folder, so I was happy to get rid of them, and I got three pretty amazing cards in return.

2010-11 SP Authentic Jonathan Toews Sign of the Times auto
Not only is Toews recognized as one of the best captains in the NHL, but the card also fits comfortably in my UND Alumni Collection. He has, so far, led the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups, and may very well have more on the horizon.

2011-12 Heroes & Prospects Jonathan Huberdeau Autograph
I'm not too much of a Panthers fan, but any time you get an opportunity to acquire an autograph of the reigning Calder Trophy winner, you go ahead and do that.

11-12 H&P Henri Richard
Like Huberdeau, I'm not particularly a fan of his team (Montreal Canadiens), but if you have the chance to acquire an autograph of a player who has won the Stanley Cup ELEVEN times, you go ahead and do that.

That's it for this trade. It's always nice when you can get rid of a pile of cards that are useless to you, in exchange for some pretty amazing items.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Evgeni Malkin Dominion Printing Plate + A Couple Other Cards from Ebay

After spending quite a lot of time looking for the right deal, I finally landed this fantastic Evgeni Malkin black printing plate from 2012-13 Dominion. If you are going to go after a plate, black is definitely the color you want, as it gives you the clearest player image. This one, though, has a weird black line going through the middle, which appears to have been caused during the actual use of the plate. The way I look at it, a little bit of damage on these is kind of like finding a flaw on the swatch of your game used patch card. Anything to really show that a piece really has been "used," makes it that much better.

Of course, the plate is a cool enough piece in and of itself, but Dominion makes the best plates, because they actually attach the card's backing to the reverse side of it. You get the same exact back-side of the regular card, except this one has that fancy "1 of 1" stamp on the upper right-hand side.

From the same seller, I also picked up these other two cards.

2012-13 Dominion Martin St. Louis Gold Parallel 7/25
St. Louis is one of those guys who no matter how amazing they are as players, their cards are for some reason way too affordable. Now, I won't complain about getting this card as cheaply as I did ($1.75), but man, his stuff should be worth WAY more than it is.

2013-14 Crown Royale Henrik Zetterberg Silver Chalice Jersey
Now, I'm not a Red Wings fan by any means, but I just thought this card looked cool. The only mystery here, is whether there are two jersey pieces or just one. It's really hard to tell, but an awesome looking card either way.

The Zetterberg is up for trade, if anyone is interested. The other two aren't heading anywhere, so you'll just have to sit there and admire them from a distance.This, by the way, set me back a whole $32 shipped, which is insane for a group of cards containing a Malkin 1/1.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two-Box Break of 2013-14 Panini Playbook Hockey

With the release of Panini's Playbook Hockey last week, I just HAD to get my hands on some. Playbook is one of the few Panini products that have crossed over to another sport, which is something that used to be quite common, but has tapered off in recent years. The product line started off in football, which gave collectors the opportunity at guaranteed booklet cards. For close to $200, a four-pack box contained two booklets, along with two autograph or jersey cards. For hockey, Panini took the same concept, but cut the pack-out (and price) in half, guaranteeing one booklet and one jersey or autographed card. Hockey also gives one base card, which is something added from the base-card-less football line.

I ended up purchasing two boxes of the product at my LCS last week. Here's the video of both boxes, with scans to follow:

Box 1
Martin Brodeur Base 231/249
The base cards of Playbook are very similar to those from 2012-13 Prime, especially with the look of the player name and team name on the bottom. The big difference, though, is the big and bold team logo in the background. These are some VERY good looking base cards.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson Holo Silver Parallel 7/10
Like most parallels, Panini just used a different foil color to distinguish its rarity. All of the parallels are pretty rare, too, with gold /25, holo silver /10, and purple 1/1. Any parallel is rare, but to pull one numbered to just 10 was pretty cool.

Morgan Rielly Breakout Patch 8/10
A great pull here. For one, Rielly is one of the more sought-after rookies this year, but also, despite a small space for the swatch, there is still a great-looking patch piece, giving two colors and incorporating a giant seam right down the middle. This is also my SECOND card numbered to 10 out of the four cards in this box.

Morgan Rielly Rookies Booklet 59/199
Hey, there's this guy again! I don't always love pulling two hits of the same player, but in this case, I don't really mind. Each booklet contains a shadowbox effect with the two images on the left side, right next to a piece of the player's jersey. On the left side, you get another jersey piece, right beneath the player's signature on a clear surface. These are some really nice looking booklets, and they are sure not to waste ANY space.

Box 2
Patrick Kane Base 233/249
Kane makes it 2-for-2 on pulling a superstar player as my one base card from the two boxes. With only a 100-card checklist, both of current and retired players, most are going to be really good, but these two are pretty great.

Eric Lindros Limited Edition Jersey 60/99
Panini really cranked up the rarity of a lot of these inserts, as simple single-colored jersey cards are numbered just to 99. While having a different background, these cards are basically the current/retired player version of the Breakout jersey cards, which I pulled the Rielly patch of.

Dmitrij Jaskin Rookie Booklet 100/199
While Jaskin is nowhere near as good of a pull as the Rielly I got out of Box 1, I do like how I got colored swatches on both cards. Plenty of them do contain white, but both of these look MUCH better with the bright bold blue of the two teams.

Dual Rookie Classbook Seth Jones/Dougie Hamilton
The Dual Rookie Classbook cards feature a player on each side, along with four jersey swatches. Spotlighting the "Double Rookie Class," this set takes a player from 2013 and a player from 2014 who have some sort of link together, whether it be team, draft position, or player position. In this case, we get Hamilton and Jones, who are linked together as the top defensemen from their respective rookie classes.

After opening up two boxes of this product, I must say, I was very happy with what I found. Now, I may be wrong, but the guarantees from this promise one base, one booklet, and one auto or jersey card, but I think that each box actually contains four cards, with the final one being from either of those categories. I may be wrong on that, but based on these two, along with the breaks I have seen on line, that appears to be the case.

Either way, I love me some Playbook, and I'm sure I'll have plenty more coming my way in the future.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Topps Redemption Redeemed: 2011 Marquee Paul Molitor Titanic Threads Autograph /20

Just two weeks after pulling a Paul Molitor autograph redemption from a box of 2011 Topps Marquee, I already have the card in hand. This card comes from the Titanic Threads insert set and is the autographed version, numbered 19/20.

When you buy an older product, you run the risk of pulling an expired redemption. That luck, though, could turn in your favor when the redemption is still active three years after the product was originally released. That gave Molitor plenty of time to return his signature to Topps, which I was hoping would lead to a quick turnaround. Fortunately, I was right. Of course, I love that he is pictured as a member of the Minnesota Twins, but what I love most of all is the perfect centering of those horizontal pinstripes. I've seen some other pinstriped swatches from this set that are horizontal or diagonal, so to have these not only going horizontal, but right though the middle, makes me feel really lucky. Great job on this one, Topps!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Facebook Trade #2

Here's a quick look at the second trade completed with a fellow member of a "Hockey Cards" Facebook group that I am a part of. This one came from Justin M. and in exchange for a couple Zdeno Chara jersey cards, he sent these two cards:

2005-06 Upper Deck Steve Yzerman Jersey
I'm not a Red Wings guy, but I do like Yzerman. So far, the only Yzerman jersey I have is a quad with him & three others from the 1997 Cup-winning team, so it's nice to also have one of him by himself.

2013-14 UD Olli Maatta Young Guns
Maatta is one of the Penguins' top prospects, and did well enough early on this season to be kept on the roster. He made it into Upper Deck's Series One, but there still aren't a whole lot of autograph or memorabilia cards of his out there.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My First NHL Game in 10 Years + 3 Autographed "Mystery" Pucks

After 10 years, I finally went to an NHL game. The last one I went to was in Dallas March 18, 2004 where the Stars beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Marty Turco was credited with his 20th career shutout and Bill Guerin and Jason Arnott each had a goal and two assists as Dallas continued its franchise-record home unbeaten streak.

Well, now that I am living up in Minnesota, "The State of Hockey," I knew that I needed to see the Penguins play as soon as they came to the Xcel Energy Center. Once the schedule was released, I immediately searched for the date and then began the LONG wait until the game took place (5 games from the end of the season).

At long last, the day had arrived, and after the four-hour drive from Moorhead to St. Paul, my wife & I were finally there!

Unfortunately, the game didn't carry with it too much excitement. The Penguins were shutout 4-0. Malkin & Letang were out, and Fleury was on the bench, but I did get to see Crosby, and that's the important thing. The tickets were a birthday gift from my parents, and they were nice enough to get me seats on the 10th row, which gave me a great up-close view of the game.

 Plus, we set the Xcel Energy Center for attendance at a Wild game with 19,409 people.

They also had this really cool fundraiser for the Minnesota Wild Foundation, which raises money to support various pediatric medical causes throughout the state. For $40, you could purchase one "mystery puck," which was autographed by a Minnesota Wild player. The great thing here was, they actually pulled the top 10 players from the team to do this, instead of just going the easy route with the 3rd & 4th liners. The 10 players featured were Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Ilya Bryzagalov, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter, so no matter what, you got a pretty legit player.

I ended up picking up one each time I went on a beer run, giving me a total of three.

I did pretty well, too, picking up Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, and Jared Spurgeon. 




At first, I assumed they just did this at every game, but as it turns out, they only do this a few times each year, so I just got lucky. Still, I was very happy to add these pucks to my collection. My Autographed Puck Collection was getting pretty USHL-heavy, so it was nice to give it a stronger NHL presence.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Facebook Trade #1

I recently completed quite a few trades with this "Hockey Cards" Facebook group that I am part of. This trade came from Bruce K. and ironically enough, involved no hockey cards.It was mostly a football trade, but I was able to get my hands on a few cool items.

2009 UD Icons Tom Glavine
This one goes into my Baseball HOF Relic Project.

2003 Fleer Ultra Touchdown Kings Peyton Manning
This is my second Peyton jersey card, but now I need one of him in a Broncos uniform. 

2013 Topps Archives Chuck Muncie Auto
I'm not too familiar with Muncie, but I love any of the Archives autos, whether baseball or football.

2001 Topps Archives Chuck Bednarik Shibe Park Stadium Seat Relic
Not your typical "jersey" relic card, but the stadium seat relic allows older players to be featured from an era where spare jerseys weren't mass-produced like they are today.

This turned out to be a great trade with some really cool items. I'm keeping the Glavine, but all three football cards are up for trade, so if anyone is interested, let me know.