Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eric Gelinas Prizm Rookie /10

Lou certainly wanted to save the best for last with his summer signing and finally Eric Gelinas resigned with the Devils for what is likely a bridging contract of 1 year at 900k. Last season Eric played very well offensively and when compared with other rookie defenseman, he was among the best. He finished tied for 3rd in points even though he appeared in the fewest games of any in the top 5. Eric also was tied for the league lead in GWG among rookie rearguards and second in power play points. 

This kid is going to be an offensive superstar and that is something the offensively challenged Devils need more of from their back end. I am hopeful that he will prove himself this season and get more minutes and hopefully and lengthy contract. His agent wanted him to hold out for more but I think Eric did the right thing putting team first and I am sure he will be rewarded after this year.

2013/14 Panini Prizm Gold Rookie /10
This amazing piece of art was numbered 1/10 and I found this one in the spring. My biggest gripe about this past year is the sheer number of Daniel Bang autos out on the market ( I count 4 different releases with his auto and he will NEVER be back in the NHL after playing 8 games) and NONE of Reid Boucher or Eric Gelinas.

If there is any hope now it will be in 2013/14 The Cup (assuming it is coming out) which if it does come out won't be until 2016 I am sure.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Appreciation for 83/84 OPC - A labour of love

When it comes to sets from the 80's, some are more memorable or more valuable than others. 83/84 doesn't have droves of fans scrambling to write creative and thoughtful posts heralding its unique traits. Book value isn't high on the set or the cards in the set. With that being said, I love the set. Why you ask?  (but probably didn't)

Well I am going to tell you anyway. For me, I have had an interest in the set ever since I started collecting and it took me nearly 25 years to complete and I enjoyed every moment of it. The set I collated contains cards I pulled from packs, obtained in trade, bought from LCSs and finally a pile I got online in a random box of commons. 

My introduction to this set began when I started to collect Pelle Lindbergh. He was my first PC and the first one I completed when I landed all four of his cards from his playing days in the 80s. I just remember seeing that rookie for the first time and thinking that card is amazing. My LCS as a kid had packs of 83/84 OPC for about 8 bucks a pack so I bought a couple and actually got a Gretzky as a kid which was huge in my world and over twenty years later I bought a few more to help me with the set.  So here is a post about my specific 83/84 set along with some special cards in the set which are cool and/or have meaning to me.  

This set was one of two from the 80's that didn't have a Topps counterpart to so it was the only game in town for hockey cards as far as the masses are concerned. The set itself was 396 cards featuring many cool rookies but for some collectors the rookies aren't worth hundreds of dollars so as a result the set seems to fall through the cracks. However, if you look carefully, a number of rookies in the set are fringe HOF players or player who were all-stars multiple times. 

Here is a shot of a wrapper from the set. I have a couple of these thanks to some packs I opened and thanks to other collectors who know my love for 83/84. I even used a portion of this wrapper for my header on this very blog. 

Card number 2 in the set features a season highlight that many players wish they could experience.  Denis' jersey looks like he and it went through hell to get that Cup. They beat the Oilers that season and it was Gretzky who noticed what it took to win by observing what the Islanders did to win that series. The Oilers would win the Cup next year and so began a new Dynasty. 

Pull this from a pack as a kid and cherished it for many many years. Really happy to have it as apart of the set. Not the best Gretzky card, but I do like the front design of these cards and appreciate the large photo, stick/puck design at the top as well as the cute OPC logo on the bottom right.

The ultimate mustache card? Ray is definitely sporting an unusual look and I really don't know how long he kept that caterpillar alive on his lip but between that and the unibrow, he did look pretty interesting. But did you happen to catch the mustache in the back on Mr Gartner? Yep, this card is awesome.

One of the USA HOF rookies you will find in this set belongs to Phil Housley. While he isn't a member of the main HOF yet, I imagine he will get his call someday. In the meantime, this former Devil (among other teams) is a prime example of some rookies you find in the set. Great players who did very well but are often overlooked among the other greats who played during the same period. For example, Phil was every bit as good as Brad Park if you ask me, however Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey both were in their primes along side Phil and as a result he didn't get the same respect he might have had if he was playing during a different time.

Here is a shot of what the backs of these cards look like. Very simple, very awesome in its subtle ways. The colour scheme is just something different that works well together. The player shooting on the goalie at the top is very neat and the fact boxes are fun to read. There is also a pretty good write-up on most cards to go along with full career stats. I am not sure if many are aware of the Def-Center position but Phil did it well.

This card is an example of one that has an interesting history. I was at my Grandma's for a family dinner and as we were waiting for supper to be ready I was wandering down the street her condo was situated on (the same condo as Pentti Lund). During my wandering I came across a little garage sale where a kid was selling some cards. This was in my first year of collecting and my memory and knowledge wasn't that spectacular but I saw the above Savard card and the price 2.50. I thought geez this is an amazing price for a Savard rookie and I snapped it up immediately thinking I got an amazing deal. When I got home I was sadden to see that it was his third year card and worth exactly what I paid for it. This card reminds me of the fact that I don't always know everything and while I didn't get an amazing deal that day, I did have a fun day finding cards in an odd location. The dirt on the scan is from the old page the card was sitting in when I scanned it.

Another player with an excellent career but not good enough to make the Hall. Bernie had a chance to experience the Wayne effect in 88/89. He was a pretty amazing player in his own right but when Gretzky joined the Kings he scored 70 goals (previous high was 46) and 150 points (previous high was 100). This is Bernie's rookie and is another example of the fun gems in the set.

Here is another blast from the past rookie. 50 goal season, yep. 1000 career points, yep. Former top 3 draft pick, yep. But you can still have this card for merely pocket change which seems so wrong to me. Never heard of his stick company before but stuff like that makes this card that much more fun.

While some might view this card as yet ANOTHER solid rookie of a former NHL star, this card as additional meaning to me. Check out the back.

Check out that tan! This baby spent a few years out in the sun, thanks to my step-father. I remember this card sitting in a window sill for a few years with a signed Carbonneau sweatshirt hanging on the wall below the window where this card sat. He was a Habs fan, through and through and he loved his enforcers, Patrick Roy and Guy Carbonneau. I can't remember how I got this card off of him eventually but I knew when I wanted to build this set, this card needed to be apart of that set. While the condition of the card is low thanks to the sun-tan, the value of this card far exceeds what it lists for in the book.

In a set full of Gretzky cards I chose to also share this one because this card was the last one I needed to complete the set.

Garry Howatt isn't a superstar or even a star. But, I chose this card because it features a Devil wearing the number 88 which was the first time that ever happened for the franchise. The following year, Rocky Trottier would don the same number.

Best card in the set in my opinion. I have my Pelle PC which feature all NrMt-Mt or better cards from his career. I picked up a second rookie for the set so I could keep my PC all together in its frame. Sadly this one isn't mint but is somewhere in the Ex-Mt range.

Had to show off the Walt rookie because of my little connection with him as a person.

Now for a full-fledged HOF rookie in the set. As far as rookies go, Scott Stevens has had the most successful career of them all. The Lindbergh rookie has the most value ($25 in Sept 2014 Beckett) but Scott Steven has some value ($12 in same issue) and is well within most collector's budgets. As a Devils fan, I already had about 3 or 4 of these so I used one of the non-mint ones for the set.

I find its always fun to check out the checklists from the old sets and here is what it looked like in 83/84. The front was a nice bright reddish-orange and the back uses the same text colours as the other card backs and at the top there is just a goalie instead of a goalie and player. 

So there you go, a set all done and a set well done. With a set book value of 125 dollars, you really can't go wrong with this set and when you consider the fact they can be had for under that price you really can find something to love about this set knowing it isn't going to break the bank. When things are all said and done, I am sure I paid close to full set value with my pack breaks and purchases etc but the journey to the end and the sentimental value these cards have to me far exceeds any book value and I am proud to have checked this one off. Now I should turn my efforts over to some of the other sets. I will share another one I am working on hopefully in a few weeks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

13-14 Panini Prizm Tanner Pearson Rookie Auto

Well the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup and I am pretty sure I am not breaking this news to any hockey fans out there. The last time the Kings won the Cup was 2012 against my beloved Devils. During their 2012 Cup run, I noticed a young defenseman who really impressed me named Slava Voynov.

This past run, two players who really jumped out at me were my boy Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson. On a line with Jeff Carter, these three exhibited a great deal of chemistry on the ice, which gave the Kings two solid scoring lines and propelled them to their Cup win.

13-14 Panini Prizm Tanner Pearson Rookie Auto
Here is a card that I put a bid on in the spring and had lost. The seller came back and offered me a second chance because the seller didn't accept the buyer's form of payment. I gladly accepted the second chance and here it is.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2013-14 Dominion Tyler Johnson Auto Rookie /299

Every year there are always the rookies you expect to do well and they are usually the top picks from the last 2-3 drafts. Last year was no different. Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Sean Monahan etc were all expected to battle it out for the Calder Trophy as league's top rookie. All three had fantastic years and sometimes a dark horse emerges from the pack of other rookies to challenge to future stars and such was the case with Tyler Johnson. 

Tyler was a 24 year old undrafted player who had two good years in the AHL before earning a spot on the opening day roster. His season was fantastic and he finished the year with 24 goals and 50 points. His goals total was tied for the most in the league by a rookie and his point total was good enough for 3rd in the NHL among rookies. Will he be the next Marty St. Louis, hard to say but I do know he is off to a pretty good start. 

2013-14 Dominion Tyler Johnson Auto Rookie /299
Dominion cards are always awesome on the secondary market costing much much less than Upper Deck cards of the same caliber and MSRP. I picked this one up in the spring for very little and it will be exciting to watch him grow and develop with a pretty awesome Tampa team.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Future Is Now - Jon Merrill

When you have been a fan of a sports team for over 25 years you are bound to see ups and downs. When I became a Devils fans there was one season of hope followed by a few miserable seasons. In fact from 88-93 were all pretty rough. There was hope, but mostly rough. Then from 94-2004 it was pretty amazing. Three Cups and four appearances in the finals. The last 10 years have had their ups and downs but currently we are trying to re-tool on the fly and some ways I think we have made great progress and others we haven't. I feel we have one or two too many 35+ players on the team but our youth are amazing and players you would want to build a franchise around. For example, the troubled Jon Merrill.

Jon was considered a first round draft pick and had the talent to back that up. However, he also had some rough edges and personal baggage of which I don't know what they were. But Lou felt he was totally worth the gamble when his name was still on the board in the second round so the Devils grabbed him with their first pick in 2010 (38th overall). We didn't have our first round pick that year due to being part of the Kovalchuk trade but it is worth noting that the pick the Devils had turned out to be Kevin Hayes. 

So far, what we have seen in New Jersey has been nothing short of excellent. He has contributed a bit offensively (11 points in 52) games but what he has done without the puck has been superb. He definitely plays like a player with a couple of years of experience and I know he will become more rounded and I expect big things from him. For Devils fans, he could be the next Bruce Driver or Paul Martin (when he was good with the Devils).

 13-14 Rookie Anthology Jon Merrill Auto Rookie /249
I am slowly trying to get some more new Devils into my collection and this is my first of a couple Merrills. I got this online in the spring for a mere 3.00 plus shipping and I really like the design and was very pleased with that steal of a deal. In the end his cards aren't going to make anyone rich but I know he will have a strong fan base and hopefully help the Devils re-tool back to the glory days.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

So When Is It Enough? I am not sure if it will be three.

So my regular readers might have remember when I got my first Dryden rookie a few years ago:

The front is rough, tape stains etc. The back is near-mint. What is this card worth? Who knows some would call it worthless and others would love to have it. I am more in the latter crowd but still, I wanted a better one.

Then a little over a year ago I got this gem:
Crease free, slight rounding of corners and off centered. However, it is also a Topps version but I was very pleased to get it and the price was super fair via auction.

Then that brings me to my latest Dryden acquisition:

Here it is, this one is an OPC one with fantastic centering. The back and front are no where near mint and arguably a little way away from VG. That being said, it still is a wonderful addition to my collection and cost me nothing out of my pocket because it was all trade with my LCS. I got rid of some modern cards I didn't care for anymore and got my third Dryden. In a perfect world I would like my last to be EX or better but I guess I will slowly climb the Dryden ladder and end up there someday.

I know I was supposed to unveil my Richard auto with this post but I don't have my act together in that department so please forgive me!

And for those that don't know, here is my auto from Ken Dryden which of course completes my HOF project on him a couple of times over.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

11-12 Contenders Two Box Break

So what to do. I know I have a small budget and I could buy one box of 13-14 Contenders and get any where from 4-7 hits or I could buy two boxes of 11-12 Contenders and get a min of 6 hits. I played the numbers and went with two boxes because I was hopeful of also getting a base set as well. SO, here are my hits in order of personal appreciation. (I got lucky and here are my 7 hits)

First up are TWO redemption for Greg Nemisz auto cards.

Since I didn't want to scan two redemption cards, I found a pic online of what it looks like redeemed. I got his NHL Ink card and his Contenders Auto Rookie /800. They are ranked 7th and 6th respectively.  Greg is a former Team Canada World Junior which I like but appears to be a career AHL'er which isn't fun from a collecting stand point. I am hopeful these two redemption go stale and I can request a replacement. 

The Calgary hot box(s) continues with an auto of Curtis Glencross. I was a little bummed out about this card but after reading the back he does know how the find the net. He had an off year last season but should be a lock for 20 goals this season. Not a bad auto to have.

Now we are talking! Zack is a former Team Canada World Junior and he plays an excellent role as power forward and agitator. Picture Brad Marchand with size and morals (at least more than Brad). The Hockey News projects some gains this year for Kassian with 16 goals and 39 points as their prediction. I hope he makes it, a fun card to pull for sure.

Two years ago this SP auto would have been loads of fun to pull. Right now I am less excited about it, but it is an SP auto which is somewhat cool and it will either have some great trade value or it will have a home in my collection for the meantime. I do like Reimer and wish him all the best this year in a crowded Toronto crease.

My second favourite hit was of a card I have been wanting for a while. I lost out on a few auctions for Atkinson a year ago and kind of forgot about him. This past year he played great and emerged as a future star with the Blue Jackets. 21 goals and 40 points isn't too shabby and both The Hockey News and I predict he will at least match those if not improve on them this year.

My last hit was far better than all the other cards combined. Look at that auto and patch. White, black, jersey, black, white. Rookie year patch auto of a main PC, doesn't get much better than that I say. I was stoked to pull this card and even though I ended up 10 cards short of a complete set, I consider these two boxes to be a major success.

There you have it another birthday gone, and another birthday hit. I think that makes 4 years in a row now and I am curious to see what next year will bring! Sorry it took so long to get this posted but I will have much more rolling in the near future as routines get established again and in spite of an annoying hand the show must go on!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More Birthday Breaks - 2 Packs of Upper Deck Series 2

Back from camping but I don't have to time to write up my big two box break so I thought I would share a fun moment and a pair of packs. My oldest son (Quinn who is 4) asked me what I wanted for my birthday and he gave me top options toys or hockey cards. I was very surprised that he seemed to think the hockey card answer I gave him was a good answer (though I am sure he would have loved it if I wanted a toy). So to help him out I picked up two packs of UD Series 2 which he in turn gave to me on my birthday. Before I opened the packs I was secretly hoping for a Duncan Keith base card because he is Quinn's favourite player (because he was on Team Canada) and sure enough I actually got one which in turn I put in a top loader and gave back to him as a gift. 

In addition, I also got two pretty awesome cards in those packs. Here is one of them: 

A Cory Conacher Rookie Materials card. Oh how the mighty have fallen. He went from being an early contender for the Calder Trophy to being on his fourth team in just two years. I think if anyone is going to bounce back, the Islanders are the perfect place to do that feat. It worked for Matt Moulson so why not for Cory Conacher? It won't be easy on a team with lots of young forwards but his experience should set him apart and I hope for a big year for him.

The other card was a pretty sweet OPC rookie of Nathan MacKinnon. That is my second MacKinnon rookie with my other being a Select one. While the hits aren't huge, two hockey fans got something fun out of those two simple packs and my son and I shared a fun moment together and I hope there are many more of those in my future.

Coming up will be my two box break and guess what? Richard makes a return!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

12/13 SP Game Used Stanley Cup Finals Materials - Adam Henrique Net Skirt Auto

About a year ago I landed this card in honour of my team losing in the Stanley Cup finals. While I landed it just to have a piece of the finals, I really didn't care who was on it. My plan was just to have a piece of the finals because a Gretzky one or a Fayne one was all from the same net. However, there are also much more rare Net Skirt cards which have autos and those are much more player specific if you ask me. After all, their auto is on the card and that personalizes it much more than a pic. I found this one at random a while back and bought it for a song and a dance.

Pretty sharp card if you ask me with a shot from the Stanley Cup Finals which just adds to the coolness. The auto is his typical one but includes his number 14 which is something Adam doesn't always do. One negative however, is the skirt wasn't prepped properly so the auto is a little faded but in the end it doesn't matter that much to me and the fading is likely why it was a steal. But the key thing I wanted was another piece of a Stanley Cup finals net and I have that with a PC auto on it so that is all amazing if you ask me!

Friday, August 1, 2014

05-06 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia - Double Auto/Memorabilia - Steve Yzerman/Ted Lindsay /34

I am going to try and get caught up on some posts for my blog as well as some of the others ones I write on in the coming month. With that being said, I have a small week long vacation with the family coming up this weekend so I guess there will be a little gap before I really get going so here are a couple posts on cards I picked up in the last couple months.

First off is an auto I gave up in trade and worked on replacing. My old Stevie Y was from the 09-10 UD Ice Set which was a very nice on card glacial graph. However, I wanted to try and get another because the first one I had I really liked and I felt I might luck into a deal if I didn't mind stickers or ITG.

Well, I managed to spend less on this than I did the last. I also managed to get much for my money, check it out!

05-06 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia - Double Auto/Memorabilia - Steve Yzerman/Ted Lindsay /34
Two HOF'ers for the price of one. Included are game worn swatches from Terrible Ted and Stevie Wonder. I love the bulging piece of "Sweater" you get with Ted Lindsay and the dreaded white swatch from Steve Yzerman actually looks really nice on this card. I was able to land it for less than what I paid for my original and while it has two sticker autos, I really don't card because everything else about this card including scarcity is amazing.

Here is a close up of the card. I sometimes am tempted to crack it out if its coffin but I know that will ruin some value if I ever decide to try and flip it so for the meantime it will stay safe in its case. So with this card I now have a swatch, auto and rookie(s) of Steve Yzerman completing the trifecta of him and I have two of three for Ted Lindsay with the most important rookie missing still.