Thursday, June 1, 2017

#UDRAK Upper Deck Random Act of Kindness

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and more importantly types. Good surprises are always preferred over bad ones and I don't think I am alone in this thought. Sure there are some that don't like surprises at all but the world is full of all types of people and I am one that loves a good surprise once in a while. Just before Christmas, Upper Deck sent me a good surprise. It was a completely unexpected and entirely enjoyed. I came home from work one day and sitting on my deck was this box. It looked cold and in need of a good home so I brought it in and took this photo.

I truly felt fortunate receiving this wonderful act of kindness.

Inside was all this cool stuff! I loved the Young Guns shirt and a load of Devils and two boxes of Upper Deck Series 1 which I hadn't had a chance to break any yet. Here is a close up of some of the great things that were in my UDRAK package. 

16-17 UD Series 1 SP2 William Nylander 
A pretty awesome prospect who finished this year with a solid 22 goals and 61 points. A Calder winning performance in some years.

16-17 Upper Deck Midnight Adam Henrique and Damon Severson /25
Upper Deck sent me the whole team set and I have decided to showcase my two PC players I received from the set.

16-17 Upper Deck Victory Black Miles Wood
Once upon a time Victory Black were some of the scarcest cards on the market with a print run of 5. Lots has changed since 05-06 but they are still a pretty cool card to get via NHCD or a Card Expo. I was fortunate enough to get a Miles Wood and a Pavel Zacha.

16-17 Upper Deck Victory Pavel Zacha
Pavel learned a great deal in his first season. During times he showed some great flashes and I'm excited to see how the Devils and Pavel grow and improve next season. This card is a beauty, definitely one of the better Victory designs in the past decade.

12-13 Fleer Skybox Autographics Patrik Elias
You may remember this card from a previous post which featured my tribute to Patrik Elias. It was Upper Deck that sent me this card and given the legacy he had as a Devil it was a very nice inclusion.

2015-16 SP Game Used Patrik Elias
More Elias!!! There were a number of other Elias beauties including this card and the next one.

2015-16 Upper Deck Top Draft Pick Jaromir Jagr
What a great looking retro card. Love the 90-91 design and seeing a young Jagr sporting a deer in the headlights look and puffy mullet are key components to this card's awesomeness. While his time was brief with the Devils, it was nice to see him continue to be so successful.

14-15 Upper Deck Premier Jaromir Jagr /249
Another Jagr, this time from his days with my beloved Devils. I have said this before but I am a fan of the Upper Deck Premier product line. Perhaps even more so than The Cup.

14-15 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary David Clarkson Auto Young Gun /25
The collector I am from 5 years ago would have felt this was the best card he has ever been given. In those past 5 years, David left NJ, went to Toronto, and unceremoniously was shipped to Columbus. Chances are he will never play again. During that time I had lots of chance for reflection and healing from a move that stung me a great deal but meant even more to Clarkson as a person. I would say I am a fan once again but only of his time in NJ and that will be how I choose to remember him. This card definitely exhibits those days well and I love the photo of him during training camp which adds to the cards authentic feel. Thanks for a gem Upper Deck!

2016 Team Canada Wayne Gretzky Program of Excellence Rainbow
The Great One in his 1987 Team Canada uniform? Yes please! This series was like my personal 1972 since I was not in existence for the Summit Series.

15-16 Fleer Showcase Hot Prospects Trio O'Neill/Blandisi/Hrabarenka
A nice little trio here. I believe if we can keep Blandisi after the expansion draft, he will be a solid producer for the Devils organization. So much potential and hopefully his diving days are done.

15-16 SP Game Used Sergei Kalinin RC /51
Shame we lost Kalinin during this past season. He's a solid defensive forward who would be great for any bottom 6. Best of luck and hope to see you back in the NHL soon!

15-16 Upper Deck Ice World Junior Championship Robby Fabbri /1299
A nice little Team Canada addition here. Robby is a pretty solid forward and one reason why the Blues will continue to be a playoff team.

Upper Deck was so kind to also send along some boxes to break open. I am going to share some of the highlights that I discovered in the boxes. I was fortunate enough to complete a base set from the two boxes which is an awesome start!

16-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Steve Santini Young Guns Exclusive /100
Wow!! What a hit. While there were bigger names in the box, to get a Devils player is a fantastic outcome for me.

16-17 Upper Deck Signature Sensations Jori Lehtera
I was also lucky enough to hit a case hit on my second box! This is my second ever Signature Sensations I have ever pulled.

16-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Game Jersey Matt Duchene
I also hit a Matt Duchene jersey card. Nice sized swatch and I like the larger photo too. I'm hopeful this summer the Devils can land another scoring forward or two via trade. Eberle, Duchene or Landeskog would all be good outcomes.

16-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Young Gun Josh Morrissey
Other than my Exclusive, this is probably the most exciting Young Gun I hit. Josh had a very very impressive rookie season in Winnipeg and I believe he will be a fantastic defenseman for the Jets in future years.

16-17 Upper Deck Young Guns Canvas Connor Brown
I did also hit a Canvas Young Guns from Toronto. While it wasn't Mitch Marner, I did get both a base and canvas Young Gun of Connor Brown. Brown was a nice surprise for both myself and the Leafs this season. Brown hit 20 goals this year and added 16 assists. I am not sure what his ceiling is but I am guessing he hasn't hit it yet.

2016 Team Canada Nolan Patrick
Is this foreshadowing? I would be pretty pleased to see him in NJ.

2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 Gretzky/McDavid SP1
A Gretzky/McDavid card? Oh my, thank you very much! Definitely one of my favourites from this amazing random act of kindness.

15-16 UD Ultimate Platinum Blue Relic Cory Schneider
The best for last? Depends on your taste of course but this is the most unique piece of the package!! Love the tag. 

Well there you have it, a sampling of my truly phenomenal UDRAK package. If you are reading this and are a sports fan, I hope you too are able to receive on someday as it's truly a cool experience and one that I don't imagine many companies do for their customers. What makes this package truly remarkable is I didn't even ask for it or sign up or enter any contests. It just showed up and the people at Upper Deck know my interests and just dropped a box of kindness on my lap. There were even other PC players in the package like Adam Henrique and Damon Severson which I didn't get a chance to share yet but will at a later date. One last time, thank you Upper Deck and thank you for stopping by. More posts to come very soon!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Kind Gesture By a Friend...

As I mentioned in the previous post I would get to a post about a nice gift I received from a friend of mine. Given I live in a rural community and have little friends who share my interest in collecting, any one I do have in that category are fantastic in my books. Truth is I only have about two people whom I would call friends that I could drive over and see and have card collections of their own and one of them is the guy who owns the LCS. The other is my friend and neighbour and Christmas 2015 was one time I will never forget what he did for me.

Like all collectors I was trying my best to pull and Connor McDavid rookie (YG in particular). I was striking out on my attempts and while Dylan Larkin (4 YGs and 2 Canvas YG) later showed me a couple things. Upper Deck's collation isn't terribly random and Mr. McDavid wouldn't be finding me that Xmas. However, my friend did have success. He bought just two boxes and a blaster or two and hit TWO of them. What he did next I wouldn't have ever expected but he showed up on my steps after telling me he hit another and just gave it to me. No strings and no expectations back. A truly selfless act and one I really really appreciated.

I went to my own collection, grabbed a gift bag and I filled it with cards to show my appreciation in return and in the end both sides were happy and I still display this card frequently and I know that this card will always mean more to me than just some BV amount.

15-16 Upper Deck Connor McDavid Young Gun
Sorry for the poor quality but I took the photo with my cell phone because I didn't want to risk damaging the card pulling it off the scanner bed with my fingers. I loved this card from the moment I saw it and I know that Upper Deck had to have picked this particular pose for McDavid for the following reason:

Is it just me or do they look similar?? Anyway, thanks so much Brett and I look forward to many more trades either open ended or agreed upon! Next post will be a more recent gift I received from the fine folks at Upper Deck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Parkhurst Project Card 37: Mr. Hockey

If there was ever a fire and my family was safe and I could go and grab one item, this might be it for me. I have made it very clear 1951 Parkhurst is my favourite set all time and when it comes to this set there really isn't much bigger and better than this.

1951-52 Parkhurst #66 Gordie Howe Rookie
 As you can see from the front, there is some damage. A pretty significant crease and some tape stains. With that being said, I only see beauty. This card is in fantastic shape and thanks to being taped in some book for a number of years have helped preserve the card I believe and prevented other creases from happening.

To see the card in person is a pretty awesome experience to be honest. It's hard to truly explain but for me personally this could be one of the best cards I will ever add to my collection and one I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life.

It is worth sharing the backside to show that this card is indeed a gem. Nice clean back with the same crease you may have noticed on the front.

What adds to my enjoyment of this card is the fact that I got to meet him many years ago and get a couple autographs. More recently, I bought and read his book Mr. Hockey which was a fantastic read and in ways I felt brought me closer to the man that was Gordon Howe. In many ways this marks a turning point for me in the set as I have been able to land a few whales from this historic set but alas there are a few more in the sea (Richard, Sawchuk, The Goal) but patience has got me this far and patience will be what it takes for me to finish it too. Thanks for stopping by and while my next post won't be featuring any cards of this magnitude, it does feature an amazing surprise!


Card #66 and # 37 of my set

Percentage Complete:


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dollar Bin Signatures

Sometimes you go to a dollar bin and see the same cards you already have in your collection 10 times over (Mark Recchi 90-91 UD Rookies) and sometimes you find something that makes you go...."Hey!". I had such moment finding these:

89-90 OPC Brian Bradley Auto Rookie
This is not a buyback rookie but likely an autograph that someone got in person. Not having any comparables or anything like that I bought this card on blind faith. Seriously, who'd forge Brian Bradley's signature.

Here is a legit one I found online as a comparison

Apart from a sloppy thick sharpie on my signature is all seems legit. Brian wore 19 during his prime years so I am guessing that is why he signed this one with a 19 instead of 10. Also dates my autograph in the post 1993 range. 

Brian Bradley was a fun pick up because I remember him as Mr. Expansion draft and he had a monster year with the Lightning scoring over 40 goals in a season.

90-91 Bowman Wendell Young Auto Rookie
Here is another fun auto for a dollar. In fact, I got two of him. There was also an OPC rookie as well which I grabbed but only bothered scanning the one card. I didn't doubt this one for a second because Wendell was from Halifax and this autograph could have been easily obtained by a collector in my province who bumped into Wendell Young. Neat fact I learned while researching this post is Wendell Young is the only person who has rings from the following championships: CHL, AHL, IHL and NHL. Certainly a very fun trivia question to ask someone!

Anyway, two fun players who both had some successes and at a cost that was totally worth the risk. I don't believe I could even buy two stamps and get these via TTM for that price. Have you ever taken a chance on an autograph that wasn't certified? Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and happy collecting!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Parkhurst Project Card 36: Woody Dumart

Continuing on with pick ups from the past is card number 36 in my set and 28 in the set which is Woody Dumart. To be clear, this is NOT his rookie card. There are a number of rookies in the set and this isn't one of them. Dumart and a small number of others who were still playing in the NHL at this time had rookie cards make it into the OPC sets of the late 30's. 

With that being said, there is still actually loads of demand and value on some of these cards despite more than a decade of time has passed between their first and second cards. Landing another HOF'er off the checklist was very rewarding and the condition of this card is very acceptable for my personal needs and was a very welcome addition.  

1951-52 Parkhurst Woody Dumart #28
Not a bad looking card, a little bit handled and some soft and rounded corners. The red ink on the bottom is very faded as well but you can still read it all when you look at the physical card. I definitely get a great deal of enjoyment each time I cross one of these off the list and the fact it isn't just a common increases the enjoyment! I am nearly caught up with just a couple left to share. One big fish coming up sometime soon so keep an eye out for it. Thanks for stopping by!!


Card #28 and # 36 of my set

Percentage Complete:


Monday, April 10, 2017

89-90 Topps Gum

This may be the strangest post I have ever put up to this point and may be the strangest I ever do, time will tell on that one. A while back I bought a box of 89-90 Topps for a couple reasons. First the box cost me a dollar plus shipping and I wanted to have some cheap ripping fun, maybe build another set and hopefully create some art. I kept all the wax packs and hope to create something cool with them this summer. As far as the set goes I am almost done sorting it and it appears I will have one complete set for sure which is also nice (only hit one Sakic) but I believe I am missing a sticker or two.

When I was opening the packs, each pack had this strange foreign non-cardboard object. I decided to put one of them in a top loader so some day I could show my kids what used to come with hockey cards.

89-90 Topps Gum
That baby is MINT! Not flavored but mint in terms of condition. I thought it kind of silly at first but it actually does look a bit neat in person to see a top-loaded piece of gum. Anyone else out there have one of these preserved for future generations to enjoy? I have been tempted to buy another box and never open it but I haven't gone as far as doing so yet. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, I promise no more gum in my next post (not even the famous 90-91 Upper Deck Joel Otto card). 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Happy Trails Patrik!

They say you don't know what you have until you lose it. Long story short we as people can often be guilty of taking things you have for granted and I certainly have been a repeat offender in that department. However, this post isn't really about me, it's about Patrik Elias. It's hard to find a player who has silently put together such an amazing career playing for a defense first team but still putting up All-World Numbers. Many might be skeptical but don't worry, I will share some supporting figures.

First off, his raw numbers are pretty decent:
1240 Games 408 Goals 617 Assists 1025 Points and another 125 Playoff Points all are franchise highs for the Devils with the exception of games played. Patrik played in 4 All-Star games, made the All-Rookie Team and one First All-Star Team and he won 2 Stanley Cups.

If you look at all those raw numbers I think ANYONE would induct him into the Hall of Pretty Good. However, there are many players out of the Hall of Fame with better numbers and stats. So here is where we consider the fact that Patrik Elias did play a majority of his career in the dead puck era and those numbers are much more amazing than they appear. If you take a visit to Hockey Reference you will find many of the facts I am about to point out.

408 Goals actually adjusts to 464 Goals when you consider overall scoring. That total puts him in the same group as Bure (463) Bossy (461) and Hawerchuk (435) and to be honest, Patrik wasn't known as a goal scorer.

617 Assists adjusts to 680 Assists. That change has him in line with stars like Guy Lafleur (681) and Peter Stastny (637).

1025 Points adjusts to 1144 Points. This is the most telling stat in my opinion when you combine his goals and assists you get a true sense of his place and standing. This total is 57th best All-Time and has him around players like Crosby, Gartner, Perreault and Henri Richard.

In addition to putting up offensive numbers he was really valuable to the club in all situations and would kill penalties and back check with the best of them. When you consider the player as a whole I believe he will make it to the Hall of Fame. Probably not on the first ballot but I do honestly believe he has a shot. Now time for the cards!

97-98 Upper Deck Ice Patrik Elias Rookie

97-98 Donruss Priority Patrik Elias Rookie

97-98 Upper Deck Star Rookie Patrik Elias Rookie

97-98 SP Authentic Future Watch Patrik Elias Rookie

97-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Patrik Elias Rookie

97-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Patrik Elias Auto Rookie

00-01 Be A Player Signature Series Gold Patrik Elias Auto

12-13 Fleer Skybox Autographics Patrik Elias

06-07 Be A Player Signature Duals Elias and Rafalski

These are a few Elias cards from my collection including some of my favourite rookies and all my autographs of Elias. I do have a few game used cards as well but nothing that I felt would have added to this post so I decided to leave them out. While Elias was never a PC of mine per-say, I have collect a few cards of him over the years and I will continue to enjoy what I have and maybe add a few more in the future as I continue to appreciate all he has done for the franchise. Happy Trails Patrik and thank you very much for all you've done and I wish you health and happiness in your retirement. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Russian 3

Back in 1992 the NHL was an explosive and exciting league and offensive numbers were high and no one was aware of the decline that was eventually to follow. Selanne and Mogilny tied for the most goals in the league with 76 and 14 players in total would score 50 goals that season. Mario Lemieux had an amazing 69 goals in 60 games. If Mario played the full 84 games he may have scored 96 but fact of the matter is streaks and slumps happen but I do believe he might have scored 90 that year.

What was equally exciting was the promise of all the young stars in the league and in particular Fedorov, Mogilny and Bure. Fedorov was coming into his own setting a career high in goals (34) and points (87) while just playing 73 games. Mogilny as previously mentioned scored a career high 76 goals and 127 points. Meanwhile, Bure scored his first of consecutive 60 goal seasons and he would flirt with that total a few more times in his short career.

Having lived through this golden age of hockey I have always been interested and enamored with these three superstars and hope all three make the Hall of Fame some day. As a result I was pleased to land all three in autograph form. What is another cool tie is all three have their rookie cards in Upper Decks 1990-91 release where Bure and Fedorov were listed as Young Guns. However, Mogilny had already played an NHL season with the Sabres so he didn't get the same cardboard treatment but nevertheless is a rookie in the set. Seeing these cards as a kid and wanting to pull them out of every pack I believe only adds to my nostalgia with these three players. So here are their autos, please enjoy!

2015 Leaf Signature Series MVPs Sergei Fedorov Auto

Unlicensed products can really be amazing or really awful. What Dr. Price and ITG accomplished in their over 10 years of making products like Heroes and Prospects and others must be acknowledged. I believe ITG was a fantastic company that did quite a bit with very little and pushed other companies to step up their game and use their licensing to it's fullest. Since the buy out, Leaf has tried to continue the trend but to be honest with you I really can't comment on the product as I don't really own many pieces or have tried purchasing any packs or boxes. I do own a couple singles with the being one of them and I like the card and feel that it's a good product. Given collector's hesitation towards this product, secondary market prices are low and this card was had for a very good price (about half book value).

95-96 Be A Player Global Training Alexander Mogilny Auto
The second auto of my trio is a card from the mid-90's. If I have one regret it wasn't loading up on boxes of this stuff once upon a time. With that however, who would have known that little from this era would have been very desirable. Even over time lots of the auto stuff has diminished to very affordable prices too and this potential HOF on card auto was a very affordable 10 dollars.

99-00 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Pavel Bure
Despite Mogilny's 76 goal season and 473 career goals in less than a 1000 games, most would probably name Pavel Bure as the best goal scorer in the bunch. Personally I do consider him and Alex equals in those regards but with that being said, Bure was the most explosive of the three. Hard to say what may have happened if he didn't have all those injuries (how many times have we said that about a player) but two 60 goal seasons and a couple near misses showed everyone what he was capable of accomplishing. I love this card and the large and prominent auto. Florida isn't how I'd like to remember him but nevertheless this was a pleasure to add to the collection.

Do you have any memories of these three lighting it up? Would you have a preference of one over another on your team? If I could pick one it would be Sergei because he was the most complete but if I had just one game to play, Bure in his prime would be pretty awesome too. Thankfully the Devils did have Mogilny and we do have a Cup to show for his efforts! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky RC

Oh boy, I figure it is about time to share this one. I have actually had it for about a year and a half but with my time away and stuff I have finally got around to scanning and sharing this. The unfortunate part is this card is slabbed so scanning it wasn't as successful as I hope and I didn't really feel like playing around with the camera today. So please keep that in mind as you proceed through this post.

1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky RC
To say I have wanted this card my whole life would be a bit of hyperbole as I have only been collecting since 1990. However, I have wanted this card ever since then so that pretty much feels like my entire life. Having a pretty tight budget meant that I couldn't drop 2000+ on a PSA 9 or 10 but at the same time I felt life is short why not at least get a decent one for a decent price and then worry about a better one for my OPC set later. As it stands I am not done my Topps set and even with this card I am still about a dozen (give or take) away from the set. While my set is an average of Ex-Mt or better I was willing to let a little go when it came to the Great One.

The card itself is stunning in person. Don't let the grading fool you at first glance it looks like a 7. However, it is truly a 4 and it's flaws are visible if you take a few moments to scan around and tilt the card. You can see corner wear on the upper right and bottom left.Tilt the card and you will see the upper left is a tiny bit soft. On the back by the 1978-79 there is a tiny hairline crease that sometimes takes me a while to find depending on the light etc. Also a tiny bit of browning on the edge of the card make it truly a 4 I suspect. Enough of the bad, this card is all great to me and it a very very fun addition to a collection I always felt needed at least one Gretzky RC.

Here is the back side, the scanning didn't turn out as well as the front but I wanted to share it anyway.

I bought this card knowing it was a PSA 4 and would have its flaws. Given how difficult they are to spot I felt it was an amazing purchase and am so pleased to have it in my collection. I honestly don't ever see myself getting rid of it ever, even if I added more Gretzkys to my collection. My end goal is to have a nice one in the 7 range in both Topps and OPC to go along with my autograph and game used Great Ones.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing one of the most important cards in my collection. Are there any cards in your collection that you would say are keystone cards which you had to have or knew needed to be apart of the collection?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Parkhurst Project Card 35: Doug Bentley RC

This Parkies set is one which has small fries, medium fries, large fries and massive potatoes. This pick up is one of the medium fries in my opinion. Even though Doug began his career in 1940 this card is indeed his rookie. One misconception I see all the time is vendors assume that ALL the cards in the set are rookies cards which sadly isn't the truth. Players like Elmer Lach, Turk Broda and others make appearances in card sets from the 30's. However, Bentley was just late enough to miss the 39-40 OPC set and here is his rookie and really apart from his Bee Hive photos doesn't have any other cards from his playing days. With that being said if I were to only ever have one card created of me, this one is pretty darn awesome. 

I love the snow shower picture and the fantastic "Black Hawks" sweater. The Hawks players seemed to think this was a great idea as well as a few other cards in the set have the same idea

1951-52 Parkhurst Douglas Bentley Rookie
As you can see the text and front of the card are pretty clear and in person the colours are nice. There is some definite rounding of the corners and some creasing but nothing that really takes away from enjoying the card. I can't remember what I paid for this card but I do remember picking it up and another from a card shop in Halifax for around the price of a blaster.

Doug Bentley was a very good player from the 1940's who lead the league in goals twice and points once. He was eventually inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame which is pretty impressive for a young lad who grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. Having just finished reading Mr. Hockey it seems there were a number of these young farm lads from Saskatchewan and I both enjoyed the book and this card greatly! Thanks for stopping by, not sure what I will post next but I will find something fun to share.


Card #48 and # 35 of my set

Percentage Complete:


Officially I've crossed the 1/3 way mark. I have about another half dozen to share but it's still cool to see that milestone on here. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Parkhurst Project Card 34: Robert Goldham RC

Wow, I cannot believe it has been nearly 3 years since I have updated the Parkhurst Project. In that time I have added a few cards, some found in random card shops, some online and even one was sent to me out of the kindness of a fellow collector's heart! With all that being said, I am making a slight alteration to the project because I have long forgotten what I have paid for some of the cards it's going to continue forward without a cost tally.

Today's addition I am going to share was my freebie thanks to Sal from Two summers ago he sent me a nice package with all kinds of cool goodies and this card was one of the ones in the package. I was totally floored by his generosity and couldn't thank him enough. In fact, Sal, thank you once again!!

1951-52 Parkhurst Robert Goldham RC

The card is pretty nice and clean. Two tiny tape stains on the bottom left and upper right corners and some rounding of the corners but otherwise this awesome. No real creases to speak of and original gloss make it a card that's even better looking in person.

Robert Goldham better known as Bob had not just one nickname from his playing days but two! He earned the nickname "Golden Boy" during his Malboros days and then "Second Goalie" for his fearless puck blocking. In an era of limited armour, the puck blocking is extra impressive if you ask me. His career in the NHL spanned from 1941-1956 but he did miss a few seasons while serving his country in the Navy. Thankfully he returned home safe where he would have an impressive NHL career as a defenseman. During those years he would win 3 more Cups to go with the one he won as a rookie in 1942 (His 1946-47 Leafs would win the Cup but he didn't meet the games requirement to make it on the Cup). This card lists his best offensive point total of his career where he would score 5 goals and 18 assists in 61 games. For his career of 650 games he would finish with 28 goals, 143 assists for 171 points. Not too bad for a player who gave up many of his prime years to fight for his country.


Card #67 and # 34 of my set

Percentage Complete: