Thursday, September 29, 2016

A mystery solved and major thanks!

SO about a month ago I received a package in the mail that I wasn't expecting. I hadn't bought anything and the package itself was of an unusual size. Of course my next thought is someone has been very thoughtful and sent me a package but when I look at the return address, it doesn't jump out at me as one of the usual "offenders".

Inside there were a number of items including a business card of a company I didn't recognize but upon further research they were affiliated with a company I bought stuff from before so I figured maybe they did some data mining and they were fishing for sales. In the end, I decided this mystery wasn't solved and I was going to put up a post asking for the sender to identify themselves so I could properly thank them.

Well time passes and one day out of the blue I get an email from my friend and fellow blogger Sal from and he asks me if I received the stickers in the mail. Immediately I thought, no I didn't get anything from you yet, am I to expect something and then I remember the mystery pack and ask him if he had anything to do with that. Sure enough Sal did which makes WAY more sense because the first thing I have listed is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received especially given my history of cheering for the New Jersey and how I selected them as my team (a story for another day).

Complete Team of New Jersey Devils players for a Rod Control Hockey Game
The 8 year old version of me would be in tears if I could have had this gift as a child. Sadly it came many years too late but that doesn't diminish it's awesomeness. The game is long gone but these stickers could potentially find themselves on a game before I die or at the very least an enjoyed part of my collection. I love the goaltender the most, it almost looks like Chico Resch. There was even a sticker for the puck which I can't remember if my set had one or not. I did have the deluxe version which had it's own legs and a clock/scoreboard at centre ice where you'd drop the puck through a hole in the top for faceoffs. 

Super Sticker '96 Martin Brodeur
No idea what set this is from or exactly how it was to be used. From what I can tell on the back there were instructions like it attached to some popout or something. The image of Marty and his signature are both die cut and could be removed which is pretty cool. The size of the sticker isn't much different than your traditional Panini sticker for those that are curious.

88-89 Panini Sticker Pack
The last item in the package was a pack of 88-89 Panini Stickers. I haven't opened the pack as of yet and am learning towards not opening it and just enjoyed it as is. The coolness of an unopened pack for me outweighs the potential success of hitting a rookie like Hull or Shanahan etc. I like seeing the shots of Mario at such a young age with so much of his HOF career ahead of him.

Well there you have it, I had a mystery and now it's solved. In hindsight I should have known Sal had something to do with it and to be honest I wasn't surprised when the connection was made that it was him but at the same time I am humbled that he would take some knowledge and go through all the trouble he did to make this happen. Thank you very very much, I don't ever imagine getting a surprise package beating the sentimental value contained in this one. Thank you :)

Thanks for stopping by, another nice package coming up in my next post!

Friday, September 23, 2016

15-16 Trilogy Signature Pucks Nikita Kucherov Auto

It is difficult in today's era to "miss" a rookie when you look at the sheer number of autos and rookies the card companies pump out with each set but sometimes a star slips through the cracks. One classic example is Jonathan Quick. Try and find one of his rookies, you will see a few out there and the prices are insane on them. Try and find his auto rookie and you will find none. The reason is he's in so few sets and some of those sets have very small print runs making it difficult to land his cards because there is so much competition for them. 

Nikita Kucherov isn't exactly at the same level, but his rookies are relatively limited and there are no auto rookies that were printed during his rookie year. What makes that crazy is you look at some of the other auto rookies from that particular year 13-14 and you are left wondering wtf? Kucherov was a second round pick so there were some expectations but both Panini and Upper Deck didn't track him down or include him in any of their autograph sets/subsets. Since then Upper Deck had him sign some Young Guns for their buyback set but it still isn't the same.

It would be two seasons before Kucherov's auto would be available in packs and even this one below was in there was a redemption. It seems the card companies aren't the only ones at fault as Mr. Kucherov might be difficult to reach too. When this redemption finally arrived I was pleased to see it as I have grown into quite a fan while following the Tampa Bay Lightning and the best part is we may not have seen his ceiling as of yet! After scoring 30 goals this past season, Kucherov light up the playoffs scoring 11 goals in 17 games. I honestly see him settling into a 35-40 goal and 75 point per season kind of player and when combined with all the other Tampa talent, this is a team that will go far. 

15-16 Trilogy Signature Pucks Nikita Kucherov Auto
The puck signing things started back in the old Sweet Shot sets and it looks like it's here to stay in the Trilogy sets. While I'd love to have an auto rookie, not having access to any true ones, this card certainly is a nice consolation prize. I like that there are no stickers here but I am willing to guess that he likely signed a pile of "pucks" and then they were glued into place when they arrived at Upper Deck. Either way, I still like this card and perhaps I will land myself a more traditional auto of Nikita Kucherov some time in the future! Thanks for stopping by, my next post will be a mystery I was faced with and recently solved thanks to a follow collector!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

09-10 SPx Brad Marchand Auto Rookie /799

With the win yesterday, Team Canada is on to the finals and if you told me this time last year Brad Marchand would be on the team I would have had two thoughts. Really? and Good for him! After this past season and the World Championships I would have been disappointed if he had been left off the roster because as much as I'd love to see the best pure offensive players Team Canada has to offer, we still need to work both ends of the ice and kill penalties. So far this tournament Brad Marchand has been excellent and completely deserving of his spot on the team and on the line with Bergereon and Crosby.

09-10 SPx Brad Marchand Auto Rookie /799
09-10 was the last season before Upper Deck would have a joint license with Panini so if you're an Upper Deck fan, there were plenty of options for Marchand rookies. I already had a couple before getting this one, most notably was my Young Gun. I used to have a Marchand auto as well but I traded that away for some HOF autos so I was hopeful that I would eventually land another and this was the one that came my way as a replacement.

Brad definitely has one of the more interesting autos out there with his number 63 the only legible aspect on this particular auto. Other times you can see Brad but his last name in my experience is more difficult to decipher.

As far as Marchand goes, I have been a fan of him to some degree since his junior days. I remember seeing him play for the Mooseheads and I would see him do things on the ice no other players would (with the puck) and of course he is still known for doing this other players wouldn't (without the puck). Seeing him have this success is nice being a Nova Scotian and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of this tournament and the rest of his career. He's truly a player in the mould of Claude Lemieux or Esa Tikkanen and when it comes to building a winning team, sometimes you need one or two of these guys. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When you are done checking out this card can you pass the syrup?

I have posted a few Bee Hive cards over the years and while I will never ever chase this set, I do love the cards and have gone looking for a couple over the years. I have nearly all the Delvecchio ones except the one very very rare Group 3 one and now I have his former goaltender.

1944-1963 Bee Hive Group 2 Terry Sawchuk (Stick blade cropped)
The card isn't in mint condition but I would consider this very respectable and the backside is clean and adhesive free which is pretty uncommon given the fact many of these cards were glued into albums of some kind.

What is interesting about a set that spanned nearly 20 years is whenever a player got traded, they just slapped a new photo and kept pumping out cards. Terry Sawchuk had three versions come out during this set. One is super rare and is worth 4 figures and they other two have been produced in large enough quantities that their value is rather small compared to the significance of the player and the age of the card. Whether the blade has been cropped or not doesn't matter much to me because in either case I believe this was the photo used to make this card:

The photo of his rookie and the Bee Hive appear to have come from the same original photo which is pretty awesome in my opinion and adds to the cool factor of the Bee Hive card. Some day I hope to track down a nice Sawchuk rookie for my Parkhurst project and have both of these cards in my hand at the same time.

For those who have never seen these before, here is one version of the checklist that you would use to mail away for your Bee Hive "card".

The back side looks like this:

What is neat about the checklist is it would change and players would be added, altered or subtracted from the list as the years would go by. The source I grabbed these photos from claim it's from the 1962 Season. If you look closely, poor Terry's last name is spelled incorrectly as "Sawchuck". Definitely not the last time that's happened.

As far as my future goes with collecting this set I would like to add a few more players and perhaps a checklist before I would say I'm all done. Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull are must haves I believe and I wouldn't mind getting a few other players who were born in Fort William/Port Arthur aka Thunder Bay before I am going to say I'm done with Bee Hives.

Do you have any Bee Hives in your collection? Have you ever had the syrup? It's fantastic on waffles if you haven't tried it yet. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

11-12 Canada Vs The World or 15-16 ITG/Leaf The Vault Duncan Keith Auto

I've posted a few Vault cards on here and I don't even know what to call them any more. Lets just say it's a Duncan Keith auto and be done with it.

11/12 or 15-16 Canada Vs The World Duncan Keith Auto

Apparently this card has been sitting under a rock or in a vault for the past number of years and ITG/Leaf decided to let it out into the public after branding it with a V. I am more than willing to look past everything and just treat this as a cool card of an amazing defenseman who appears to be in a Team Canada uniform. Duncan Keith is also my son's favourite player and it's my hope to send out a pair of TTM requests to Mr. Keith from each of us seeing if we could potentially get another auto or two to add to this one.

Sadly as Canada is set to play the USA tonight, Duncan Keith is recovering from injury and pulled out of the World Cup which leaves us without a pretty amazing option on the back end. However, we do have depth at all positions which has been evident as we've been playing without Seguin, Benn, Keith and many other snubbed All-Stars. I want to wish Duncan a speedy recovery and I hope this season he is able to get back to the level he wants to play at and has continued success. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy tonight's game and this card! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Has it been 35 Seasons Already?

Back during the 1991-92 season, Upper Deck released a few 8.5 x 11 cards including this one below which is for Devils fans and commemorates their 10th anniversary in the NHL. I can't remember all the other cards released but as you can see from this one, fans at the Blackhawks vs Devils game on December 21st 1991 would have received one of these cards. I'm not sure what happened to any extras or if there were other ways to get this card but giveaways like these are always cool in my opinion. I looked the game up on Hockey Reference and it looks like they battled to a 1-1 draw.  

That was of course 25 years ago which would make this their 35th anniversary and I curious to see if the Devils do anything to celebrate that this season or if the rebuild means we will just continue business as usual and maybe have something worth celebrating in 5 years.

1991-92 Upper Deck Devils vs Blackhawks Commemorative All-Star Sheet /24000
What I like about this sheet is you get a bunch of cards pictured that weren't apart of the 91-92 Upper Deck Set. What I also love is they are in *All-Star uniforms and players like Walt Poddubny and John MacLean are getting a little love. This card was a must have for me and when I found it on eBay I threw a bid at it and was the only bidder winning it for 0.99 plus shipping! This card is now framed in my office since it is a blank back card anyway and will soon be hanging on the wall once I finish decorating my office.

*Worth pointing out, if you look closely at the photos, the colour of the players gloves gives you an idea which team they were actually playing for in the NHL during the time the photo was taken. Walt was with the Leafs for example or Stastny was with the Nords.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy Belated Birthday To The Devils Greatest Coach...

Leading all head coaches in Devils history with wins it's Jacques Lemaire with 276 wins in the regular season plus a Stanley Cup in 1995 as head coach. As much as I loved all the Devils Cup wins, the first one was probably the most memorable and important as it turned our franchise from a Mickey Mouse one to a legitimate organization. This past week was Jacques' 71st birthday and I hope he is having a good time as the Special Assignment Coach with the Leafs. 

2012-13 ITG Forever Rivals Autos Jacques Lemaire

Oddly missing from my collection for a very long time was Lemaire's auto. I have autos from pretty much every member of that Cup winning team except the head coach (perhaps a few others I really should check). I came across this about 7-8 months ago at the LCS when the owner said he got a huge binder of these in and was looking to move them. I'm sure I could have found a home for all of them but this was the only one I bought. Now that I have this one crossed off, it takes care of part of my HOF project with him and my informal "let's get all the '95 Devils autos".

The card itself is a nice on card auto in red ink. I don't have many red ink autos but given it's the main colour for the Devils and Habs I believe it's very appropriate to use it on this card. In all this was a very well done product by ITG despite no license. As the years have gone by I have been less and less into ITG for reasons I am not too sure of. Leaf seems to be running the ship and oddly I see less and less of their stuff in the LCS and in the media in general. Have you noticed that too? Or is it just where I live and it's more prevalent in the USA now? I'm curious to hear your thoughts and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

13-14 Select Reid Boucher Cracked Ice Rookie

Shane from Shoebox Legends has had some posts over the years involving shiny cards and I am often loved seeing them and when I looked at my own collection I see very few. I decided to take matters into my own hands and track down a nice and shiny card which features junior scoring ace Reid Boucher. 

13-14 Select Reid Boucher Cracked Ice Rookie
These cards might not carry loads of value, the way the light catches the surface of this card makes it cool to admire and appreciate on some many other levels. I can see a complete set of these being a pretty amazing experience to flip through but in the meantime I'll enjoy this one for all it is.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Back Checking - 79-80 OPC/Topps Bob Sauve

So as most hockey and baseball collectors know, Topps and OPC for the most part have been siblings in the card world. Depending on the sport, one is more desirable than the other and Topps was the American thing to do and OPC was the Canadian. With OPC when it comes to hockey, you usually had a larger set, you traditionally got a dose of French with your card and the card stock was lighter in colour and the cards were often poorly cut.

In 1979-80 Wayne Gretzky's rookie year, both sets had some similarities and differences based on a few factors but in all the first 264 cards in the set were mostly the same. To accommodate the new franchises, Topps made a single card and OPC made several introducing fans to the team's logo and players in the set.

While skimming through my Topps and OPC sets I found a neat difference by accident. Check it out!

1979-80 Topps Bob Sauve
Here is the front of the Sauve card in Topps form. As you can see, the card is cleanly cut and the blue is very bright and other colours are clearly define as well . IF we were just looking at the front of the card, Topps always wins hands down.

1979-80 OPC Bob Sauve
The OPC offering isn't as easy on the eyes. The colours are more faded/muted and this card features a pretty typical off-centre cut that OPC was notorious for especially in the late 70's and early 80's.

1979-80 Topps Bob Sauve
Here is the back side to the Topps card, darker card stock than the OPC version below but what I want to draw your attention to is the comic. I guess instead of having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, Bob kept his on the posts but made a habit of cutting them off! As a math teacher getting ready to go back to work next week, there have been countless times I have had students measure "angels" when attempting trigonometry and I always make a point on how to correctly spell angles but sadly it still is often spelled incorrectly. Apparently this artist on this card had the same issues as some of my past students.

1979-80 OPC Bob Sauve
What I find cool about the OPC version is when they went to translate to French or potentially immediately following the Topps release they fixed the spelling on "angles" and it appears correct on this card. From what I can tell, I don't think they ever changed it on the Topps version so it would technically be an UER because from what I can tell the Beckett Hockey doesn't have it even listed as an error so for there to be two versions is pretty unlikely.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, it has been ages since I did a back checking post so hopefully you enjoyed its resurrection!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

83-84 Vachon Foods Wayne Gretzky

Today's post features a card that I found in my LCS about a year ago and was one that I thought I had seen before in my life but completely forgot about it and very well might have never seen more than once. 

When I first saw this card I am pretty impressed, I knew it was from the 80's based on a few obvious characteristics and when I looked at the back I saw a neat fact and that was it was from the 83-84 season. If you are a collector of hockey cards you should recognize that this card design is a tiny bit similar to a pretty important set from the 80's in particular the famous 85-86 OPC/Topps set which is home to Mario Lemieux's rookie. There are differences too which means that one isn't a rip off of the other but there are still enough similarities that made me wonder if OPC/Topps were inspired by this release. Either way, I loved this card and was able to walk out with it for well under the price of a blaster.

83-84 Vachon Foods #26 Wayne Gretzky
On the front you see a nice framed photo of Wayne in action and I find myself drawn right to the photo every time I look at this card. I love the Titan 2020 stick in the photo and the look on Wayne's face as he is preparing to either take a pass or steal the puck. The design on the bottom with his name and number looks great with the rest of this card.

Here is the backside and again you have a well designed card. No yearly stats but two write ups in Canada's official languages and vitals at the top. There really isn't anything I can complain about when I look at this card and I love that I haven't seen hundreds of these in my life which means they are at least reasonably rare.

While I am not typically a collector of cards from random and obscure sets, a Gretzky card from the 80's with a fantastic design was something I couldn't leave behind. Combine that with the fact that this card is pretty much as close to mint as the 80's have to offer at a price less than half of book I knew at the very least it would make great trade bait. However, even as I write this my appreciation for how cool this card is might have been keeping it for good. Thanks for stopping by!