Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canada vs USA

Today looks to be one of the most exciting hockey games in the last 30 years. The Americans I feel have really added to the drama first off by winning the round robin game and thus making themselves the favourites to win and secondly by Patrick Kane calling out Luongo in his little way.

As a hockey fan, I would love for this to be a great game that is decided by the players and not by the officials so I am hoping for great hockey and no controversy. But as a Canadian, I am hoping we wipe the floor with the Americans and show some dominance in the sport once again.

But whatever happens today, I am sure it will be talked about for some time. I think the key for the Canadians to be successful will likely fall on the shoulders of Jonathon Toews. This young centre has had an amazing tournament thus far and really has played excellent as a second line centre. If he ends up having a big game I think that will be all Canada needs because it will really relieve the stress from the first and third lines and allow them more room to operate which in turn will lead to more production.

For the Americans to be successful, I think they need their best players to be the best players on the ice. That roll will fall on to Zach Parise. Zach is a noted Canadian killer. He won the World Juniors on his own back in 2004. He, Langenbrunner and former Devil Brian Rafalski were the key reasons the Americans won the round robin game. If Zach steps up his game, I think that will make it tough for the Canadians to over come and with an unproven Luongo in net it may be too much.

No matter the outcome, I think it will be an excellent opportunity to showcase North America's finest players and I personally am looking forward to it.

My prediction for what it is worth is Canada 4 USA 2.
Toews will have 2 points and Parise will have a goal.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hot Packs Part 3

The final set of hot packs I bought was from the 07-08 UD Ice set. I really like the Ice product and am glad they brought it back. The base cards are simple in design and are of a higher quality than most of the Upper Deck base cards and the Ice Rookies are acetate cards which pretty much have every rookie that has ever walked into an NHL building from that season. The cards are numbered and for the most part hold their value well. Unfortunately, like jersey cards, the weight of an acetate card is different than the base cards and are detectable which is base news for the average pack purchaser. The good news, there are plenty of these hot packs for sale on ebay.

Scenario 3

07-08 UD Ice

4 packs (all to have rookie hits)

Total cost with shipping $19.50

For a cost of less than 5 dollars a pack, at first glance, this is a really good deal. My local hobby shop was selling these packs for over 5 bucks so I am already getting them at a discount and they will all have rookies in them. The goal is to hopefully pull a Kane, Toews, Price (maybe not so much now) or a Backstrom. I am aware this will be very unlikely due to the numbers being very skewed towards scrub NHL'ers and players who only sckated in one NHL warm up and spent the rest of the game watching it from the bench.

Scrub Rookie # 1 oops I mean Ice Rookie # 1

Joe Piskula

When I saw Joe, I saw disappointment. I had never heard of him, and I didn't spent much time finding out who he was. He is likely Alec Martinez's partner down in Manchester (AHL) which bodes well for me if anyone is looking to get the rookies of this dynamic duo, but with the rest of the prospects in LA it is likely Joe will be a lifer in the AHL. Value (1/10)
Ice Rookie # 2
Jamie Hunt
I have heard of Jamie, but it was only because I pulled him out of other packs. This happens to be my first numbered Jamie Hunt rookie, is that a good thing? Jamie was a superstar during his time in the NCAA, but really isn't even a full-time player in the AHL. More disappointment. Value (1/10)
Ice Rookie #3
Joel Ward

Ok Joel Ward, he is a bonified regular NHL player and I saw him play as a member of the University of PEI! He gets himself third line minutes for the Nashville Predators which isn't the best gig in the NHL, but it is a living. I have no concerns for Joel's employment future, but as for me and my pack pulls this makes me 0 for 3. In all fairness, Joel is having a career year with 12-16-28 points in 58 games. He is 7 points and 5 goals away from matching career highs. At his age, this former CIS hockey star is likely going to have a few more seasons potting around 15 goals a year but nothing to cheer about here. Value (3/10)
Ice Rookie #4
Marc Methot

Marc Methot is a 24 year old who has yet to play a full NHL season. He is not an offensive dynamo and his hockey style is more like Mike Commodore than Mike Green. This will not be an investment egg of a card that is for sure. The only plus about this card is it is number /999 which makes it much more rare than the Joel Ward card, but still being a fringe NHL player this card will never leave the commons bin. (Value 3/10)
Ok so this was definitely a bust. The potential was there and even though I was guaranteed to have 4 rookies, in many cases a base Sidney Crosby might have been better than any of these rookies as a pull. However, I didn't even get that, my best base pull was likely the Malkin. In closing the final verdict on this one was a BUST. Value (2/10)
So from these three cases I didn't really have what I would say was an amazing pull. In fact, if I really wanted I could have used the 19.50 from the 07-08 ICE hot packs and used it towards this: and I will still have received the Joel Ward!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hot Packs Part 2

Upper Deck's base sets are always a great value for the average collector. Their pack/box prices are always reasonable compared to some of the other products and at about 4 bucks per pack you get some nice quality cards, good photography and the young guns cards tend to hold their value especially for the stars.

Scenario 2

09-10 Upper Deck Series 1

6 packs

Total cost with shipping $22.00

First off at a cost of less than 4 dollars and each pack having a young gun I would take this deal just about any day. Of COURSE the hope with buying 09-10 Series 1 is that you get a John Tavares RC but there are some other decent prospects in the set and getting 6 for $22 could be a decent deal.

Young Gun #1 Alec Martinez

I would first of all have to say WHO? I follow hockey pretty closely, and this was not a name I was familiar with. In a system where the team is stocked with really good young talent, especially at the defense position, Alex tends to be near the bottom on the depth charts. I see Alec going between the AHL and NHL for a majority of this career. Value 2/10

Young Gun #2 Mike Santorelli

I have heard of Mike, but not much about him. Doing some research has shown me that both Mike and Mark (brothers) are in the Nashville system and Mike has had some success offensively, but difficult to tell right now what his future and his brothers has in store. I can see him making the NHL on a consistent basis, but I don't see him on the same level as Patric Hornqvist but he could find himself some third line minutes down the road again. 2 goals in 32 games doesn't usually land you on the first line. Value 3/10

Young Gun # 3 Jhonas Enroth

I remember Enroth from the World Junior Championships from a few years back. He is a pretty good goaltender stuck in a system with Ryan Miller. Millertime means little time for Enroth, but with "5-hole" Lalime as a back up, Buffalo make look to move Jhonas up sometime in the next season or so. He has starter potential and is playing well in the AHL right now. I hope he is able to find some permanent role at the NHL level because he could be star much like his fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist. Value 5/10

Young Gun # 4 Michal Neuvirth
Well is Michal was not in Washington I would have been much more excited about pulling him. In my opinion Varlamov is the man of the future, and Neuvirth is likely a future back-up or a former Capital. Personally, I think there are a few teams that could use a young goalie like him and he does have much potential, but in Washington there seems to be a small log-jam of goalies there and his currently injury has him down at Hershey now. He does have a great deal of potential and I rate his value at 6/10.

Young Gun # 5 T.J Galiardi

Well Galiardi is making the most of his current situation. He is a young player, on a very young and rebuilding team so as he gets nearly 20 minutes a night he himself 8 goals, 16 assists in 45 games. He has a lot of the tools to be a good second line player and if he can learn to shoot more he may make a pretty decent career out of it. Hard to tell right now where he will be in 5 years, but he is only 21 and has found himself playing full time on a team that will be really good in the coming years. Value 6/10

Young Gun # 6 Tyler Myers

I saved him for last for obvious reasons. Tyler Myers is a monster player with what seems to be never-ending potential. He is a 20 year old who plays like he is 30 and really in my opinion defensively reminds me of Marc Staal, but offers the offensive potential of a Chris Pronger. He is huge, intelligent and seems to be a real team player. Right now he is the leading candidate for the Calder Trophy but it is a very tight race and offense usually trumps defense. I think he is the best All-Round defensemen to debut in the NHL since Dion Phaneuf. I think as time goes by and he bulks up a little bit he could fashion himself a spectacular career. Value 8/10
So in all for $22 I got one really good rookie. If I had pulled a Tavares, that would have been a huge success and made this unquestionably a 10/10 but, no Tavares, Duchene, Kane, Hedman or van Riemsdyk. Myers was a quality pull and some of the other rookies do offer some potential. I wouldn't call this a bust, with plenty of sub-par rookies in the set I could have easily pulled 6 Jay Rosehills so I think in all I did ok and would definitely try this deal again.
Overall Value 5/10

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hot Packs Part 1

Hot packs are an item that some collectors really swear by and others don't really see any value in them. I personally like the idea, but of course it is only worth it if you are able to pull something of value. With all the different sets and options now, memorabilia cards really aren't as scarce as they once were. If a person wants a few jersey cards, they can bid on a lot of different jersey cards on ebay and end up with an 8 pack for about a dollar a piece. So buying a hot pack with a guaranteed jersey card may not be all it is cracked up to be. Over the next couple posts I will show you three different lots I bought on ebay and will see if I did get a deal or did I just get ripped off.

Of the three lots I did buy, every single time the packs came back to me as advertised so I did get exactly what I purchased, but did I get anything to make it worth the cost?

Scenario 1

09-10 Upper Deck Artifact Retail
2 packs
Cost with shipping was $13.39

I like Artifacts for the most part, and in fact if you purchase a hobby pack you are "guaranteed" a hit in each pack. But at a cost of over 15 bucks a pack from my local card shop, $13.39 for two retail hits seems like a decent deal. I would like to say though, all these people offering hot pack on ebay leaves me to wonder if there are any hits left on the shelves of Walmart in their little pack bins near the checkout lines!

The first pack:

First off was a Frozen Artifacts Cam Neely, not a bad pull in the least. I have always admired Camand this is the first memorabilia card I have ever owned of him so that is decent and the swatch though is mainly a dirty off white, I do see a little bit of black as well. Definitely better than a patch of bleached white fabric.

Pack Number 2:

The second pull was a Marty Turco Treasured Swatches. Well at least this wasn't Ruslan Fedotenko, I have far too many of his cards (If anyone wants one, let me know a deal can be had)! But back to Marty, not the worst card to get in the world, but definitely the norm I think when it comes to a lot of these hot pack deals. So one good card and one average card, but in the end this was a pretty decent experience. I think getting the Neely proved this round to have been worth while so I will give it a 7/10.