Monday, January 31, 2011

Don Cherry TTM

Here is what I received in the mail last week as mentioned. Don is a very generous signer as I only send him one card and I received three personalized ones in return.

06-07 Parkhurst Card

I am not sure where this photo comes from but he included it with my request.

This is a photo from his videos that was included by Don as well and it was cut by him to fit in the envelope that I send with my request.

Like most Canadian kids, I grew up loving Coaches Corner and the Rock'em Sock'em videos so sending Don a fan letter was a lot of fun. Of course it doesn't hurt when you receive some great autos like these ones back in return! For those of you interested, there is a really good movie done on the life of Don Cherry called "Keep your head up, Kid". Don's son Tim had a hand in writing it and from what I have heard it is pretty accurate to the life Don has lived in hockey. Definitely one of the better hockey movies out there!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Mail Day!

Another fun day in the house with all sorts of goodies in the mail! Just received a package from Michael over at Collectingforkicks and received a bunch of 10-11 Score to help complete my set in exchange for a couple Canucks cards. I also received another TTM, this time from Don Cherry. He signed the card I sent as well as included two additional treats. I will post them all tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dale Hawerchuk

Well if Doug Gilmour was not enough positive reinforcement to keep me on the TTM train then certainly HOF'er Dale Hawerchuk must be! I couldn't believe when I came home from work to find a second TTM in as many days. I opened the package and found these two cards signed. First off, I chose these two cards because they are 2 of the 3 cards that were released of Hawerchuk from his rookie year. I elected not to send his RC just in case I didn't have success. But the neat treat from this success is how he chose to sign his IA card with his number 10 and the team leader one he just signed with his regular signature. I had mailed these out on Dec 22 and received them back on Jan 20. An amazing turn around time and he signed both cards I sent out with a blue sharpie.

I have been a Hawerchuk fan as long as I have watched hockey. I always seem to be a fan of the players who quietly go about their business in a dominating fashion. Dale definitely fits that mold. Had he been drafted a year earlier he would have been a Montreal Canadien, and a year later would have been a Boston Bruin. Either team would have resulted in much more fan fare for Hawerchuk but instead he was a Winnipeg Jet which for some people made him invisible.

From the onset he was a star, rookie season numbers were 45 goals and 103 points, not too bad for an 18 year old. Then for the next 9 seasons he was a dominant player in the NHL averaging 42 goals and 102 points as season on a team that could never get out of the second round of the playoffs. He turned guys like Laurie Boschman and Andrew McBain into 30 goal guys! Probably the brightest point in his career was the 1987 Canada Cup where he, Wayne and Mario beat the Russians on their own. It was on that stage where Hawerchuk showcased his immense talent to the world.

Not long after, Dale was traded to Buffalo where he continued his strong play and then finished his career with stops in St. Louis and Philly. He unfortunately never won a cup, but he did win the Memorial Cup twice and the Canada Cup twice and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Friday, January 21, 2011

TTM Success

Almost 16 years after receiving my first TTM I have received my second. Over the past month I have mailed out several autograph requests and my first one arrived.

Doug Gilmour!
I sent it on the 23rd of Dec and I received it back on the 19th of Jan.
I send two cards and he signed them both with a blue sharpie.

The Upper Deck card has always been one of my favs because of the cool stare he is giving to someone. I chose the Score one because I thought it would look nice with my 10-11 Score set that I am working on. I cannot express my excitement of this one enough as Doug is also a former Devil. His stay with NJ was pretty brief but in his 83 games over two seasons he did put up 75 points. Watching this guy play was always fun. Doug played like he was 3 inches taller and 20 lbs heavier. For his career he put up 450 goals and 1414 point while averaging nearly a point a game. To me, he will always be remembered for the 92-93 season where he carried the Leafs on his back to the conference final. During the regular season he had a career high 127 points and then in the playoffs put up another 35 points despite not making it to the Stanley Cup final. Hard to say if he will eventually make it into the HOF. I believe Doug belongs there and time will tell if he receives his place there or not. Either way, he is a class act and I appreciate the time he took to sign my cards.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh boy, a sale!

So I was at Walmart yesterday and was picking up some diapers when I decided to cruise by the card section to see if there was anything fun. Sure enough, I was greeted by Mr. Toews and it turns out he is 40% off. So for my 15 dollars I would be receiving 8 retail packs containing 8 cards per pack and 1 oversized UD card. Based on the odds, I could also expect 2 Young Guns, 4 Victory rookies and a couple other inserts. So the debate with myself begins, do I make the purchase? Well I am not finished the set as I am missing 13 base cards so I figure at worst, I get 6 rc's and a pretty cool tin. Deal! (I guess I really am a sucker for series 2)

Upon opening the package I immediately find:

An oversized Marian Gaborik. Not a horrible start....

Then inside I find:
49 base cards, 3 of which I needed
3 Victory base cards: 253 Michalek, 266 Howard, 286 Antropov
1 Champions Insert - Jennifer Botterill (an actual Champions I would want for once)
1 Hockey Heroes - HH19
1 Playoff Performers - PP10 Patrick Kane
1 Captain's Calling - CC1 Crosby
4 Victory rookies - 303 Myers, 308 Benn, 310 Gagnon, 319 Gilroy

Then the surprises

3 Young Guns - 451 MacGregor Sharp, 482 Bobby Sanguinetti, 495 Mario Bliznak
1 Victory Gold rc

So for once I exceeded the Young Guns odds which is a first. I almost always get what I should or sometimes less. The Reimer is a nice surprise because first of all I didn't realize his rc was from 09-10 because I don't believe he played his first game until 10-11. Secondly, a Victory Gold rc is almost as good as a Young Gun in my books so they card could be a keeper.

In all, I think the tin was decent. Nothing that will be worth of a UD facebook post that is for sure, but decent inserts, 3 yg rc and 5 victory rcs including one gold makes for a 6/10 in my books. What are your thoughts? Did I get my 15 bucks back? What would you rate this break?

Friday, January 14, 2011


Who remembers Jiri Dopita? There was a time when he was the “Best player outside of the NHL”. How many OTHER players have earned that same designation? Some names come to mind like Jonas Gustavsson, Pavel Patera, Igor Larionov, Dominik Hasek and maybe even Anders Hedberg. We as hockey fans always fantasize about the next big superstar that could end up playing for our team and helping them win the cup and GMs are no different. They keep their ears and eyes open for prospects that may have been late bloomers and try to draft them or woo them to sign with their team as a free agent. Pavel Patera is an example as he was drafted at the age of 26 after 5 professional seasons and scoring 231 points in 190 games with Kladno. Gustavsson was the most recent that comes to my mind as numerous teams were attempting to sign “The Monster” to their roster.

Are these stars able to transfer their skills to the NHL? Some have with seemingly no transition period at all, while other struggle like they have never played the game before. In the case of Jiri Dopita the answer was no. Dopita was sought after on more than one occasion as he was drafted by the Bruins at age 23 and then again by the Islanders at age 29. He was a superstar in both the Czech and German leagues by 2001 including some league scoring titles in 97 and 2000 as well as numerous playoff and regular season MVP honours. Dopita was even named top Czech ice hockey player in 2001 beating fellow countrymen like Hasek, Jagr and Cechmanek. So in his prime, he is signed by the Philadelphia Flyers, and the expectations are high to say the least. The result of his rookie NHL season is 52 games resulting in 11 goals and 27 points. The Oilers took a chance on Dopita the next season and he managed just 1 goal in 21 games thus ending his brief NHL career. Was Dopita washed up? Definitely not, he returns to Europe where he proceeds to lead Pardubice in scoring and finished 8th overall in the league scoring. So what went wrong? Why did he fail to make an impact in the NHL? At 6’ 3” and 220 lbs he had the size, skill and drive to be a top notch NHL player but when it came down to it, he was like a fish out of water. He did end up with a knee injury which hampered him slightly but even then he was a third line player with the Flyers prior to the injury. I believe that sometimes the intangibles of the game don’t mesh with a player’s style.

Now Toronto has made a move to get the latest version of “Dopita” by trading the Stars for Fabian Brunnstrom. Brunnstrom has shown a fair bit of potential in his rookie season, but last season seemed to take two steps back. I believe this will be his last chance at North American hockey and I am very curious if the chance of venue will make a difference. I know the millions of members of Leaf Nation will be supporting him and why wouldn’t they? They gave very little for a player who could present a huge upside. What are your thoughts? Will Brunnstrom be the next Dopita bust or could he parlay himself a good career like many other Eurostars such as Larionov or Anders Hedberg?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Holiday Hits 4

The last of the holiday hits is one I bought for myself. Like many people I don’t mind getting myself a little treat over the holidays and I decided to go with a hobby gift this year. I normally don’t buy ANY cards except for hockey. However, I do have one love that almost matches my love for hockey and that is Audrey Hepburn. I found a card like this online one day and have been debating if I should try and get one on ebay. A few weeks ago, I found an auction that had her name misspelled so I decide to throw a max bid of 15 bucks and see if I could win it. Sure enough, for 15 dollars I had Audrey delivered to me. Some might think I over payed and I may have, but when it comes to love it is hard to put a price on that! I like the swatch, it is a fabric that I wouldn’t doubt was worn by her and the style is very neat. The photo is also very nice of her which must makes this card that much more attractive. On the backside there is a little write up about Audrey and the card is numbered 305/400. However, much like the ad, there is a spelling mistake on the back by Donruss citing her work with “UNISEF”.

What do you people think of these Hollywood swatch cards? Does anyone have any collections that extend beyond the sports world?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday Hits 3

The next gifts came from my wife. She found a great deal at the local Walmart and picked up a couple of boxes of 07-08 Hot Prospects Blaster boxes.

The Hot Prospects blasters come with 11 packs per box and 4 cards per pack. These packs really never contain any inserts because the seeding for rc's is 1:100 and 1:100 for numbered hot commodities. So essentially you need to buy 5 boxes before you can expect an insert and there are also game-used cards as well but they do not give you the odds of those hits.

From the three boxes, I was almost able to finish the whole base set when combined with a few random packs I picked up over the years. I really like the design of these cards and am going to try and finish the 1-100 set. Box 1 had no surprises and based on the odds I suggested above, it really was no surprise. Box 2 did have a treat and for a moment I thought it was going to be something great, but it turned out to be nothing more than a Tomas Popperle rc #'d to 999. Box 3 also had a nice surprise with a game used card lurking in one of the packs. I found a Mike Cammalleri Hot Materials card. Not a bad find, I can't tell you what the odds of finding that one were, but I was very happy to find it.

This one looks exactly like the one I pulled. This is my first Cammalleri G-U so I won't mind adding this to my little collection. As for Popperle, I don't believe I could care less, if anyone out there is a fan of his send me a line and I will send it your way.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mystery Card

Like many collectors I started collecting during the big hobby boom in the early 90's, 1990 to be exact. I collected like mad for a few years and then as I got older both girls and my car got in the way of being able to afford to collect so I stopped. Then 2007 rolls around and my wife actually got me back into collecting and the love for the hobby has remained strong ever since. However, between 1994 and 2007 I somehow received this card in the mail.

I don't know why I received it and frankly I know very little about the card. I do know it came in the mail with a letter from the NHLPA. I do not remember what the letter said, but all that came with it was the card. There is no number on the card, but it was manufactured by Topps. I am curious if anyone out there knows anymore about the card or not. I brought it to my local card shop and the guy working there couldn't shed any light on it and I am also curious if it has any "value". I have yet to see this card on Ebay so I really have nothing to compare it to. I do look forward to any help with this!

Holiday Hits 2

My next set of holiday hits come from two blaster boxes of 09-10 UD Hockey. I received these as a gift from my in-laws as well. I was very happy to see these because each box should have two young guns and I am still working on both series 1 and 2 so there are bound to be a couple I need. These blaster boxes each have 12 packs with 5 cards per pack and the young guns are seeded at 1:6. The jersey cards are at a near improbable 1:240 which means you find one every 20 boxes!

The first box was my favourite of the two. I found an Alex Ovechkin Top Guns insert as well as two solid rookies. The first rookie hit was Ryan O’Reilly of the Avalanche who is a solid two way centre and at the age of 19 still he has many years of growth and development ahead of him. I already had this RC, but I can always trade one now as he is going to be desirable in the future. The second rookie was one that I was really wanting but didn’t have yet, Evander Kane. Evander brings back great memories especially in light of the recent loss by Canada. Kane was a member of Canada’s last gold medal winning Junior team and has already by the age of NHL developed into a decent NHL’er. I am excited at the potential this kid displays. I really believe there is no reason why Evander will not be a consistent 35 goal guy in the next couple of years.

The next box wasn't as strong, but it did produce two rookies and one surprise. The rookies aren’t household names in the circles I run in as John Negrin has only played 3 NHL games so far in his career and currently is with the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL. The other rookie is Mika Pyorala who played for the Flyers briefly but has taken his talents to the SEL where he has joined P.J Axelsson on the Vastra Frolunda roster. Currently Pyorala is second on the team in goals with 11. Neither of these cards are going to make anyone foam at the mouth with excitement but maybe someone needs them for their set. The biggest surprise came from the inserts. I pulled the usual couple of inserts and one of them was a Malkin Top Gun and a Malkin All-World Team. I joked to myself that this was a Malkin fan's dream box. However, I was pleased to discover the All-World insert was actually a SP. So even though the Guns were duds, I did have a decent Malkin card to show for it. I hope to get my inserts for trade updated with my "higher" end cards and the SP'ed ones. Malkin will be on that list shortly.