Monday, August 21, 2017

"Local" Card Shops: How to Run and Not Run Them.

Where I live in rural Nova Scotia, card shops are few and FAR between. In a 45 min drive I have access to exactly three. One is my favourite, the owner and I are friends and he knows how to wheel and deal. In the end he deals with quantity of transactions rather than trying to triple his investment off one card. If you are the kind of person who likes to flip cards he "leaves some meat on the bone" if you want to turn a profit and I have been fortunate to get deals and resell and get deals and enjoy the card as is in my collection. The next one is not really a card shop, more of a junk shop. But awesome junk and I honestly love the place and can spend years in there. The third is a shop that pretty much deals in packs and he keeps little to no inventory so I don't tend to go there much. In all three cases, you can wheel and you can deal with my friends place being the best of the lot. 

This past week I was in Toronto and really hoped to get to a card shop. Sadly the trip was so packed with things and the location of the one I did find wasn't too close I didn't get any chance to get there. I did stop by the Hockey Hall of Fame and got my pic with the Stanley Cup! I also saw the REAL Stanley Cup and many many many other cool things. I'll post some of those things up at a later date. I did see some pretty awesome cards at the HHoF too which I took a few snaps of as well. 

Since I wasn't able to get into a card shop but I was itching to look at some cool cards I decided to check out a shop in Halifax I had never been to before and have only heard things about. I walked into the store and I must say I was impressed. A very large shop with loads of space, immediately I got my hopes up. But as soon as I walked to the first display, hopes were dashed. Every card had a large white sticker on them saying those dreaded and awful words "Book Price". Yep, every card in the store's many display cases had those ridiculous white stickers and Beckett High price. Some did have "Sale Price" on them too but they would be like this following scenario: Let's say you have a Marcel Dionne card in VG-Ex condition. Now, when you read the book price on this card it's 150 dollars (IF THE CARD IS IN NrMT CONDITION). However, they in this shop feel the book price is the book price so they have it listed at book price of 150 which more accurately should have been listed at  45-50 dollars given it was no where near NrMT condition in the past 30-40 years. Then they had the audacity to list it at a sale price of about 90 dollars. To put this into perspective, on eBay a Dionne rookie graded PSA 5 definitely nicer than this card sold for 46 dollars Canadian. 

As I went through the store more and more disappointment, nice cards and insane prices. A pretty decent looking Toews The Cup Rookie... Books for $2000. They didn't for some reason list a book price this time but instead had a $6000 price tag on it. It wasn't even the best swatch I've ever seen on a Toews The Cup and they want 6 grand for it. The best part was I asked about the prices and they didn't even blink when they told me they are all as listed. They did have a display case with 25% and 50% off BOOK PRICE and they were pretty sketchy cards many barely even VG. I can certainly find way cooler ways to spend $6000 on cardboard. Perhaps a Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr rookie for starters. 

So I did what most sane people would do and that was leave. Sad and empty handed. But alas there are two other card shops in Halifax and I went to a different one and found some fun. This stop is half cards and have shirts and memorabilia. They have only one display case filled with cards all sanely priced. There was a nice Terry Sawchuk Memorial card from 70-71 OPC. It books for 60 in NrMT condition but it was sadly only in Ex condition. Price on the card....$20 dollars. What? Should'nt this be a 60 dollar card? At the other shop it would be but in the sane world it's a $20 dollar card. Real Book Price would be about $24 which is a very fair deal given how old and nice looking this card was. I was tempted to buy but I held off because I found something even more interesting for the same $20 dollars it would have case me for the Sawchuk.

1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hives!!!


1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hive Gord Drillon
 First up was the answer to the following trivial question (thanks to the card shop owner): Who was the last Maple Leaf to win the Art Ross Trophy? Gord Drillon 1937-38. While these aren't considered true hockey cards by some, they are to me. Especially if you consider 39-40 OPC as hockey cards. This beauty is at least 70+ years old and looks alright considering. Like most Bee Hives, this one has a beige border and features the same photo as his rookie card:

37-38 OPC Gord Drillon RC (not mine)
                                            Image result for drillon rookie card

Second up is this HOFer which I was particularly drawn to:

1934-43 Group 1 Bee Hive Walter Turk Broda
A blue border! I haven't seen many of these ever and did a double take at first given the subject, colour and price. This isn't the exact photo on his rookie card but still is a pretty cool shot if you ask me. Again, it's hard to say when this card was created but it could have been from any time between 1936-43 given that's when he was active during this production run. However, much like Drillon this card also looks like his 37-38 OPC card putting it in around that time line. 

So I know Bee Hive cards aren't as desirable as other cards from the time period and they tend to be more numerous because people kept them more but these two were purchased for the same $20 as the Sawchuk and more importantly for way less than more things at the overpriced card shop I went to first. I applaud the owner of D&M Sports in Halifax for having reasonable prices and I am sure if I wanted to lump a few extra cards in I could have struck a deal. In the end I have two more beauties and another shop I am proud to call my LCS even if it's an hour away. 

Thanks for stopping by, a couple more fun and card related posts coming up soon! I am curious, do many of you out there have this same problem where there are card shops that are run properly and others that are just foolishly run?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hidden Behind a Wealth of Talent - Kasperi Kapanen

With the exception of a few random successes in the past 20 or so I would best describe the Toronto Maple Leafs as nothing short of a mess. As a devout hockey fan who also used to be a part owner of the Maple Leafs (MLSE to be specific), I know I was often left scratching my head at the way the franchise was being run. However, a few years ago, they gutted the team from top to the bottom and I know Lou isn't getting as much credit as Shanahan (and the Shanaplan) but I honestly believe Lou has helped change the culture and through smart trades of Kessel and a little draft luck the Leafs are now loaded with talent.

IF you dig far enough into the Kessel trade you will see young Kapanen's name was involved as well as a draft pick which turned out to be Sam Steel. However, the pick ended up belonging to the Ducks as the Leafs traded the pick to land Frederik Andersen first and then the Ducks drafted Steel after. While this will never make up for what Kessel cost the Leafs in the first place, it's still a decent return which brings me back to Kapanen.

16-17 Upper Deck Series 2 Kasperi Kapanen Young Gun


I really really hope I am wrong about this but fact of the matter is I am always a realist first and dreamer second. The Calder Trophy for top rookie could be an interesting race this year. I don't believe it will come down to an amazing battle like last year where Murray, Laine, Marner, Nylander, Werenski or Matthews could conceivably have won it had they been paired against a different crop of rookies (ie like 2013 etc) but I do think that Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick and Kasperi Kapanen will be battling some of the other rookies for the Calder. With that being said, I don't know if anyone will be Kapanen for the Calder. While he may not be as talented as the other top picks, he does have a few years of pro experience under his belt which will help and the depth the Leafs have now will ensure he gets some pretty good match ups against the other teams which he could exploit. I am going to go out on a limb and say he's my early prediction for the Calder though I am hopeful that Nico will come out on top in the end!

What are your thoughts? Any extremely early Calder predictions (Strome? Yost? Keller? Someone else?) Thanks for stopping by, my next post will be when I return and hopefully have some stuff about the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

08-09 Upper Deck Ben Bishop Young Gun

Goaltenders are an interesting breed and that is probably true regardless of sport. To be willing to have a collection of athletes pound/shoot/fire objects at you as hard as they can in the hopes you will miss often bring out the most interesting of volunteers who are suckers for punishment. Not only are goaltenders subjected to this, they also have to wear wins and losses like badges of honour or scarlet letters. I believe it is because of these job hazards you get lots of players who just don't cut it and disappear and so very few players in this position go on to have lengthy careers.

However, I also believe to some degree what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger and that is why many goaltenders tend to have their best years during the second half of their career or if you are looking at numbers, in their late 20's and early 30's. This brings me to Mr. Ben Bishop.

Ben is a player who had a tough season last year and I believe is poised to have an amazing year this coming season for a number of reasons. First off, he is headed to a club that grossly under-performed last year and has the fire power to be a Cup contender. Secondly, Ben is now 30 years young in age and I believe he has a few 40 win seasons left in the tank and the next couple years could potentially be his finest which is saying lots because he already won 40 games once and finished as a Vezina trophy finalist twice.


08-09 Upper Deck Ben Bishop Young Gun
As far as Young Guns go, this one is pretty lame. The photo is very plain and almost depressing. Ben hasn't had time to paint his mask yet and he almost looks like he finished up the second half of warm ups and is on his way to the bench. Couple that with the fact that this is my least favourite Young Gun design in the past 15 years you get a pretty average card. However, it's in Ben I trust and this time it's the person that makes this card cool and not the design or photo.

What are your thoughts? Are the Stars contenders again thanks to Ben Bishop? Or will he be revealed as a good goalie because of a good system in Tampa and will be exposed as a fraud in Dallas? I know he is a bit unlucky with the timeliness of his past injuries but hopefully those are all behind him and he will have a great 4 years in Texas. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Load of Legendry Lumber

The 1960's were the final decade of the Original 6 and the golden age of hockey. Expansion would happen in 1967 and change the game forever. With that being said, hockey is still amazing today no matter who you are and while fights are down and talent is up, fans in the 60's were spoiled with some amazing players including these 4 guys:

2017 Leaf Stickwork Decade Leaders Points 1960s /25



Four NHL legends who are all HOFers on one card is cool. Having a game used piece of them is even cooler. The only thing that would have topped this in my opinion is a signature or four. However, it's still a nice piece and I enjoyed landing it. Two neat bits though, first is who is the leader of these four for the decade called the 1960s? I don't believe I would have ever guessed it myself:

By a pretty large margin (41 points) the winner is Stan Mikita. What's equally interesting to me is Stan also had more PIMs than the other three and the most assists.

While the card itself just features for generic pieces of wood which would be it's loan downfall in my opinion, its a relatively low production run makes up for that a bit. Second neat fact is ITG originally made the card in 2014 and it was released by Leaf in 2017 as apart of their Stickwork release.

Anyone else out there have any of these cards? What are your thoughts? Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Hattrick of Nic Petans

The World Juniors each year are a showcase of the young talent around the world when it comes to ice hockey and each year I seem to walk away with a new player or two to admire. A few years ago, Nic Petan wore the Team Canada colours and just seemed to dominate the tournament. It was his second appearance and after finishing 4th in 2014, he helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal in 2015 by scoring 4 goals and 11 points along the way in just 7 games. 

Success in a junior tournament by no means dictates success at the NHL level but I do believe this young 22 year old player has the potential to be a very solid second line NHL player and given he's a member of a very young and exciting Jets team, the future could be very bright for both him and his club. Over the past couple years I've managed to pick up a few of his cards:


2015-16 Upper Deck Nicolas Petan Young Gun
While I Nic'd the scan of this one from the internet, I did pull one or two of his cards during my quest for a McDavid young gun. He didn't stalk me as much as Larkin or Panarin but each time I hit him I was pretty happy with the outcome regardless.

2015-16 UD Contours Rookies Nicolas Petan /199
 Contours was a product that meant to be a little premium and a little different but alas I don't believe collectors jumped aboard the product like Crown Royale fans used to and as a result you can find this product still for a pretty reasonable price. My LCS has boxes for 89.99. I picked this one up for $5 which I'd do all over again.

2015 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors Jumbo Jersey Nicolas Petan /199
 Game used Team Canada jersey? Yes please! I don't think this was from the Gold Medal winning tournament but then again I don't know for certain it wasn't. Either way, it was game worn by Nic Petan which is still pretty cool in a Team Canada game.

Nicolas Petan finished this past year by playing in 54 NHL games where he put up 1 goal and 13 points. Very modest numbers but he mostly was seeing bottom 6 time and support and I believe in time he could find himself higher up in the line up and as a result production will increase. In the meantime I wouldn't be surprised if we see 30 points from him in 2017-18 and more importantly I am excited to see what the Jets will be capable of this coming season after just missing out on a playoff spot. They did finish the season as the hottest team in the NHL with a 7 game winning streak so if that is any indication, look out Western Conference.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Non-Identical Twin McDavids

Two years ago when McDavid was on the horizon of his NHL debut, I am willing to bet it was much like the Summer of 2005. I don't know for certain because I wasn't back collecting again at that point but it would very much be my guess. I missed the Crosby insanity which is a shame because I could have lucked into a couple nice RCs without tanking my financial situation. But alas I didn't and I missed out and given recent trends that appears to be a permanent thing. However, it's all good in my books, I do have an MVP and Ultra rookie of the best player to play the game since Mario Lemieux and some might even argue he's better than Mario (I won't do that today).

I was collecting when #CollectConnor was a thing and I was fortunate enough when the dust settled to have 5 different rookie year cards of him. Today I am sharing the twins.

15-16 Artifacts
These two cards feature a few similar traits. Both are from 15-16 Artifacts, both are numbered to /399 and both are redemptions filled by me and reside in my collection. I was fortunate enough to get them well below the trending rates at the time but I am sure they might have been had for even better deals at the end of his rookie season when he failed to win the Calder and spent half the season on the DL. However, thanks to the success Connor McDavid had last season most of his rookie stuff has steadily climbed and in some cases even beyond the initial hype prices. Please excuse my "scans" they are actually from a photo I took with my dying camera as I didn't wish to put them on my scanner and risk damaging them when I tried to pick them back up.

15-16 Artifacts Rookie Jersey Redemption Silver Connor McDavid /399
 These redemptions came out very nice in my opinion. After seeing the base rookies I must admit I do prefer the redemptions even though they aren't an "official" rookie card. I lucked out into getting a blue and orange swatch which look fantastic with the rest of the card. No eBay 1/1s when it comes to my numbering but then again I never cared much about those anyway.


15-16 Artifacts Rookie Redemption Ruby Connor McDavid /399
The rookie redemption series come in a variety of different levels depending on if it's a jersey or a regular rookie redemption. Depending on your luck and or budget you can try and chase the rainbow if you wished but for me these two are plenty and perhaps one day I will pass one of these each on to my two boys so they can have a piece of the player who might be the best since ...

Thanks for stopping by, hope to have a new post very soon!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A new minor PC - Blake Speers

How many PCs can a fella have? Probably as many as they want or can afford to chase/trade for, but in my case I usually stop ones and start others and while Brett Connolly is big in my collection and I will always follow along, I've officially stopped chasing his stuff and will just enjoy what I have accumulated. As a result I've started a couple small PCs to replace BC with and Blake Speers is one of them.

I really enjoyed his efforts at the 2017 WJHC and he looked really good last fall with the Devils and actually made the opening night line up. I suspect he will make it again this year but perhaps will manage to stick it out this time for the whole season. He's a very tenacious player who does very well at both ends of the ice and has lots of speed which seems to be the direction the Devils are going with their rebuild which makes him a perfect second/third line player.

16-17 Upper Deck Blake Speers Young Gun
 What every PC needs if the card exists is a Young Gun version. I don't have the acetate version yet but they are out there. I'd be willing to make a trade for one if anyone has one to part with.

15-16 Leaf Heroes and Prospects Blake Speers Prospect Auto /80
 Also who could start a PC without an autograph of the player? This one is fun because it's him in a Greyhounds jersey and represents him prior to being in the NHL.

There you have it a couple to kick off a minor PC. I do have a couple more I will share but those will come at a later date! Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie

So when I was a kid just getting started into collecting, I always had an eye for "vintage". Of course the concept of time was still relative so for me anything that was older than 90-91 was considered vintage by my little developing mind. One card I remember distinctly on my want list was the 85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie. It didn't book for much at the time 4-5 dollars and even today it still doesn't book for much $4.00 in the most recent Beckett Hockey Monthly. So when I was at a card shop back in like 1991, the same one where I shelled out 8 dollars for an Upper Deck Ed Belfour Star Rookie, I saw a Kirk Muller rookie for $5.00.

I still remember it like it was yesterday, it sat there in the display case in a 10 count card holder and the card had a bit of curl to it. Later in life I'd learn it's called the OPC curl and basically all the OPC card if left for a long extended period of time outside a toploader or other case it would start to curl on you a bit. So I brought my purchase home with me and was perplexed by why it had curled and figured that I could just flatten it out and shove it into a toploader and that's just what I did. However, in the process of flattening it I created a new problem and that was I damaged the card in a new way...wrinkles/ripples in the center of the card. I was pretty bummed out but still enjoyed owning the rookie card of the best Devils player ever (at that point) and over the years somehow that card managed to disappear.

Several years ago, I was able to build an 85-86 Topps set which got me another Muller rookie this time in Topps form. However, a hole was still there from my childhood and about 2 years ago I was at the LCS and the owner had a bunch of new stock which included a bunch of vintage cards and in there I found myself an 85-86 OPC Kirk Muller rookie in fantastic non-curled shape in the 3 for 5 bin. You better believe I left with it.

85-86 OPC Kirk Muller Rookie
While I always believed that we should have been the ones to get Mario Lemieux and it should be him in this jersey, things still worked out ok and in the end it would be a trade that sent Kirk Muller to Montreal that helped them win a Cup and eventually us win a Cup too. Glad to have you back in the fold Kirk and I promise to just leave you as is.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

73-74 OPC Billy Smith RC

Sometimes a mint card isn't what is needed in a collection, sometimes just having a nice copy is sufficient enough. While it is my hope to collect at least one set a year from 1910-present, I know that goal isn't too realistic. However, having some key single rookies is rather doable and one of the biggest from the 73-74 set without a doubt is Billy Smith! 

73-74 OPC Billy Smith RC
Not exactly an exciting photo of a goalie in action but it is perhaps a bit better than a studio shot of a goalie in his equipment sweating it out under the lights.



Here is the back side of the card. Interestingly enough, this particular year OPC used two different types of card stock one with a light back and the other with a darker back. This is a dark back version. Even his rookie card predicted that Billy doesn't mind mixing it up with players in front of his net.

While I am not a big Islanders fan or even a huge Billy Smith fan, I greatly respect his career and accomplishments and this card falls under the category of me wanting to own every significant player's rookie card in the history of hockey which is a massive under taking in itself and the best part is it's a project that will never end! Thanks for stopping by and until next post...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

13-14 The Cup Scripted Swatches Nail Yakupov /35

Nail Yakupov had a decent start to his NHL career. He was a finalist for the Calder and the future seemed bright. However, in the past year or two many fans are beginning to think he is just another Alexandre Daigle and are considering him a bust. I am thinking perhaps the right situation hasn't presented itself and given he is only 23 years old I want to believe there is hope yet. As I write this, no Canada Day signings have happened yet but I believe someone will sign this kid. Heck, I'd love it if New Jersey took a shot and perhaps we'd be rewarded with a solid second line winger.

Fact of the matter is he needs to change a bit, get a little tougher on the puck but with the right coach and atmosphere this kid's career is salvageable and there are a few teams that could do it for him. In addition to the Devils, I believe clubs like Tampa, Florida, LA or Vegas could benefit from a one dimensional scorer. Time will tell where he signs but regardless, I still wish Nail all the best and hope these past few seasons will be nothing more than a slow start and he will blossom into a 30-30-60 player I know he's capable of being.

13-14 The Cup Scripted Swatches Nail Yakupov /35
About a year ago I put a low ball offer in on this particular card and won it! It's a great looking card with a huge patch and you can actually see three colours on it. The auto is solid and I am pleased to have his number 10 on it to go with some of my other auto rookies of his where he signed them 64.

Thanks for stopping by and no matter where you are or who you cheer for Happy Canada Day / Happy Free Agency Day.