Thursday, February 24, 2011

Troy Crowder with a side of fries

Yesterday I received two treats in the mail. The first was an autograph request from my favourite enforcer of all time. Troy Crowder was only with the Devils for 69 games but my memories from him with the organization seem to be more vivid than some players who had been with the Devils for twice that time!

Here is the first match between the two heavyweights.

Bout 1 of their famous two fight game

Bout 2 of their famous two fight game

Here is an autograph from the 90-91 UD Set. This is his RC.

Here is a card from the 91-92 OPC Premier Set. Much higher production number than the 90-91 Set. As you can see Crowder found himself with Detroit after two part seasons with the Devils.
These cards were sent out on the 21st of Dec and I received them on the 24th of Feb.

I received some other mail this week. Sal over at had an all-star contest and these are my consolation prizes. I actually almost won the contest if it wasn't for a goal with 33.6 seconds left. I had picked St. Louis to score the game winning goal which was the case for about the last 5 min of the third until Mr. Staal made it a one goal game.

These are the hologram cards from the 91-92 UD McDonalds set. Sal sent me what I feel are the two best from the 6 produced.

I actually only learned to appreciate how good Neely was after he retired. He accomplished a lot in such a short period of time. Much like another Boston hero, it was his knees that cut his career short. I think his 50 goals in 44 games should be recognized as a true 50 in 50. I don't think it should be team games that they measure it by but the players games. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dave Semenko Autograph

When I started sending out autograph requests 2 months ago, I expected to have luck on maybe 1 in 5 requests. However, as it stands right now, I am seeing returns at a rate of about 1 in 2 which really could be higher as my first requests weren't sent out that long ago.

Dave Semenko was the last of the batch I received last week. Dave had two roles in the NHL
and a majority of fans certainly remember one of them, and that was to protect Wayne Gretzky. In addition to being an excellent enforcer, he could also find other ways to get on the scoresheet. He scored 37 goals in his final 68 Junior games and in the 83-84 playoffs (The first Cup of the Oilers dynasty) Dave scored 5 goals and 5 assists in 19 games.

This card is from the 82-83 OPC set. No need for a helmet with hair like that!

Dave's career was relatively brief. After winning two cups with the Oilers, he had played one season with Hartford and then his final season was with Toronto before retiring in 1988 at the age of 31. Dave is currently still with the Oilers organization as a member of their scouting staff. Looking at the current Oilers roster I would say he has done a pretty good job as the team is oozing with talent and potential. I don't think it will be many more seasons before there are some winning seasons in the "City of Champions"!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ken Dryden - TTM

Without a doubt, Ken Dryden is one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the game. The Hockey News has him ranked as the 7th greatest goaltender of all-time. In 397 career regular season games he won 258 and he only had 57 losses. In fact, he tied 17 more games than he lost. In 8 seasons, he won 7 Stanley cups! If anything, Ken Dryden knows winning!

I mailed this card out in December and received it back about about 2 months later.

I don't have many Ken Dryden cards in my collection. The only two different ones I have are the card you see (Future Trends '72 Summit Series Set) and I once pulled a 78-79 OPC Ken Dryden All-Star card from a pack which had a stick of gum cemented on the back! I love the photo on this card which is why I chose it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Brent Sutter - TTM

These autographs I received a couple of days before the Kisio ones. I mailed these ones out and got them back all within a span of 3 weeks.

1989-90 OPC

1990-91 UD
Both autographs were done with a black sharpie.

Brent Sutter was a great 2-way player who also has the claim to fame of being one of 6 brothers to make it to the NHL. Brent had the longest NHL career of the brothers and also had the most goals and point. Brent's best season as a player was in 84-85 when he scored 42 goals and 102 points for the Islanders.

When he finished his player career he stayed in hockey by both being an owner and a coach. When the Devils pursued Brent to join them as their head coach I was extremely excited because I felt he was going to be our missing puzzle to get us back the the Stanley Cup. He didn't disappoint in the regular season coaching the Devils to 99 and 106 point season respectively, but come playoff time the team just didn't seem to have anything left in the tank and fell in the first round both times.

Brent then left and his departure didn't sit well with many Devils fans, but often we forget how human these people are and how they have families and lives outside of the game and it really wasn't working for Brent to live in NJ and have a family in Alberta. Brent is currently coaching the Calgary Flames and has been for the last 2 seasons.

The Sutter tradition does continue as his son Brandon is playing in Carolina and he has nephew Brett who is also in the same organization as Brandon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kelly Kisio - TTM Gold

Well the last 4 days have been really exciting in my household with 3 TTM successes. This one is my favourite of the three. I sent Kelly Kisio two cards about 3 weeks ago and when I received them back he included a small note. The note said " Dave: Thank you very much for your kind words." and then he signed the note.

This is the first time I have received a note back, and for those of you reading, I am pretty new to the TTM world and I was absolutely shocked. What shocked me was it seems like he really enjoyed my letter. I always felt like the players who read these letters and do use the favour of signing the cards. But, I get a small sense that some (many?) of the players actually enjoy reading what their fans have to say. I guess I never took the time to think about that aspect of things, but I think it gives me more desire to continue this hobby with my current approach.

In many respects I do treasure the note more than I do the other autographs, and I hope that I have the chance to receive more in the future:

Here are the two cards I sent away

I chose this one because it talks about Kelly's strong leadership on the back and I have always liked Parkhurst cards.

I picked this card because it was the first Kisio card I got as a kid and consider 90-91 UD to be one of my top 10 favourite card designs of all-time.

Kelly Kisio was one of those players who seem to fly under the radar of most fans but, if you had paid attention to him he was a jack-of-all-trades. Best season was in 87-88 (my first season watching hockey) where he put up 23 goals and 78 points in 77 games. He would finish with 8- 20 goal seasons and 658 career points.

Currently Kelly is the GM of the Calgary Hitmen and I believe this is the role he was born to play. They have been a phenomenal franchise and one of the main reasons has been Kelly. Currently the Hitmen are rebuilding and I have no doubt that they will return to form in no time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10-11 SPx Review

I was in the card shop the other day (just before Hockey Card Day) and I decided to pick up a pack of 10-11 SPx. There were lots of other choices (no Heroes and Prospects though) so I decided to go for a pack. This is only the second pack of this product I have ever bought (the first being an 08-09 pack that yielded base cards). I can't really say why I have never bought more, but it probabily has to do with the high price (9 per pack) and the low odds of hits for your money. I usually try and stick with the most bang for your buck.

Here is what the front looks like:

I am not a huge fan of the front. The player seems to not be the focus and more than half the card is devoted to a "spirograph" looking design.
Here is the back:
I like the back better. Very Clean and the font is simple. It seems like UD and SPx both incorporate a very modern looking font this year.
Here is the rest of the pack:
Here is Dustin Penner. He has been mentioned a fair bit lately as part of trade rumours.
Chris Pronger. He loves to play with an edge and burn bridges when he leaves his former teams!
And a little surprise. Looks like I found a hit!

Due to the multiple injuries on the Penguins, Nick Johnson is getting some ice time and is finding the score sheet. So far this season he has a goal and an assist in his three games this season. He also has 20 goals in 48 games this season in the AHL. Nick may find himself in the NHL full-time this season and based on his performance I think he has the potential to stay. Time will tell!

Card Quality: 7/10 These cards are of premium quality, definitely a mid-high range product

Photography: 3/10 There really isn't any photography. Each player looks like they had an action photo cropped onto the spirograph background.

Inserts: 7/10 The hits are awesome if you get one. I was lucky to get a low range rookie and even that has a decent swatch on it and numbered /799. My complaint is the hits can be hard to come by unless you pay 140 for a box.

Value: 6/10 These are lottery tickets to me, and I almost never win anything playing the lottery so, they are a gamble to say the least. I imagine buying a box will yield much more satisfaction than buying an occasional pack or two of this product.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hockey Card Day In Canada Results

Well my day can be categorized into three sections: Good, Bad and Ugly
Much like my favourite movie, there was much going on and some surprises to say the least.

For starters, there was no card shop within an hour of my house that was participating (mainly because there aren't any real card shops) so I had a bit of a trek to begin.

The Good:
First place I went to was my favourite shop in Halifax and they gave us two packs (one for me and one for my wife) and from there I opened the pack with the one and only card I wanted. Jordan Eberle. (though I wouldn't mind completing the set)
To me this kid is a Canadian Hero! He has already scored more important goals than Alex Ovechkin and he is not even 21 years old.

The last one is really funny!

The Bad:
The only other two stops I had time for did not EXIST! Clearly someone has scammed Upper Deck into thinking they are an operating card shop because when I went to the advertised locations, I found myself at someone's house or worse yet a locked and empty building.

The Ugly:
This happened after my second disappointment of the day when someone backed into my new car 10 min after my "second" failed stop. Luckily, the damage was minimal (scrapped bumper) but this just seemed to be a continuation of a stretch of some bad luck for me.

The silver lining in this is there is a card shop in Dartmouth that has been nice enough to set aside a couple of packs for me so it looks like I might be able to complete my set after all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Hockey Card Day In Canada!

To all my fellow Canadians, happy hunting! I hope you are all able to build a set! I will share my finds tomorrow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What are your chances?

Well based on my experiences I decided to statistically work out the probabilities of not getting a young gun rookie in either a blaster box or a hobby box. Based on my Upper Deck letter, they basically state the odds are for the ENTIRE production, so in theory you could have a hobby box loaded with YG's or a hobby box devoid of the coveted rookie cards. Using my math skills (I teach the stuff after all) I worked out the probabilities of both.

Starting with Hobby Boxes
Each box has 24 packs (both hobby and retail) and both seed YG's at a rate of 1:4. Based on those odds you could in theory have 0 YG's and 24 YG's if they put at most one in a pack. Here are the odds:

#Young Guns Odds
0 0.10%
1 0.80%
2 3.08%
3 7.52%
4 13.16%
5 17.55%
6 18.53%
7 15.88%
8 11.25%
9 6.67%
10 3.33%
11 1.41%
12 0.51%
13 0.16%
14 0.04%
15 0.01%
>16 Very small chances.....Some a little as winning the lottery

Blaster Boxes 12 packs with 1:6 chances
# Young Guns Odds
0 11.22%
1 26.92%
2 29.61%
3 19.74%
4 8.88%
5 2.84%
6 0.66%
7 0.11%
8 0.01%
9 0.001%
10 0.000076%
11 0.0000028%
12 0.000000046%

So it appears the odds of having a blaster box like mine aren't too outrageous which is a shame for anyone who pays $25 for one and ends up with base cards. With that being said, of course there are various different types of blaster boxes some seed 1:4 and give 8 packs, and I think they do a little QC to help avoid the 0's and 24's especially with Hobby boxes. Has anyone beat the odds before and had a huge number of hits? I am curious, let me know! If there are any other odds you think would be fun to work out feel free to make a request!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Upper Deck makes it right!

In perfect Mike Holmes style, Upper Deck decided to make it right for me. Just before Christmas, Zellers had a sale on blaster boxes (I appear to be a sucker for them) where I got a 12 pack one for 8 bucks. The odds on the box said 1:6 have young guns in them, so I of course think that I should get two. To my surprise, after opening the box I receive NONE.

I know it is an average of 1:6 but I figured I should at least get one. In the past I have had both good (3 yg's in a blaster box) and bad luck (4 yg's in a hobby box and 1 game used instead of 6 and 2) with these averages but I felt I should have had at least 1 for my purchase.

So I called UD customer support and they were very kind and gave me a case number and told me to mail in the box top along with a letter including my information. Fast forward 8 weeks and in the mail comes a letter along with three cards. The letter had a kind message affirming UD stance on pack and box odds being for the whole run and not on an individual basis but they also stated that they wish to give me some complimentary product as a sign that they care about my issue. I believe the gesture was sincere and I think that in the long run the act of kindness from UD will continue to keep me buying their product. Don't get me wrong, I will never be exclusively one company or another, but I think a company that does these sort of acts does show some care about their customer service because I know they could have told me to "cram it with walnuts, ugly".

Here is what I received:

Young Guns Checklist featuring the big three from last season. Duchene appears to be the most successful of the lot so far.

Frazer McLaren will likely have more fights than points in his career but for some people that is OK!

I was really surprised to see this gem in there. I didn't have a Brown G-U in my collection yet and I definitely will hang on to this one. The other two young guns are available for trade if someone needs them to finish their sets.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parkhurst Project cards 4 + 5

Been a little while since I have had a Parkhurst post, so here we go. I picked these two cards up in the fall from Ebay.

The first card I got was Jim Thomson. As you can see the card has rounded corners and tape marks. No creases though, and the colouring is pretty decent.

Jim or Jimmy as he was often called spent almost his entire 13 year career in Toronto with one season (his last) in Chicago. He was one of Toronto's best defensemen of all-time, playing in 7 straight all-star games and making NHL second all-star twice. What Toronto fans might remember him best for is the 4 Stanley Cups he won with them during his career(which is more than a third of the franchise total of 11). This card lists his 50-51 stats which were the best single season stats for his career. That particular year he also finished in the top 30 for scoring and 8th in the league for assists.

The second card was Reg Sinclair. This card has a couple creases and is in pretty poor condition. The colouring isn't the greatest though I do want to point out that mint versions of this card also appear to be doing that strange thing around his skates! It looks as though he was giving the camera a snow job.
Reg's career in the NHL was a short one to say the least. He just played 3 seasons two with the Rangers and one with the Red Wings. He did put up an 18 and 20 goal season which is why I find it strange that he was out of the game so quickly. In fact, he even played in the NHL all-star game two out of his three seasons. If anyone could add to this mystery I would be very interested to know why he ended his career so quickly. Reg is still alive apparently and I may attempt to write him.

Card #82 and 103 and 4+5 of 105 for my set.
Percent Completion:
Cost of Cards:
Total Cost of the Set to Date:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Got hope?

Here is a very cool mathematical representation of what COULD happen over the next few months as the NHL playoffs approach. For us lowly Devils Fans (and love to Oilers Fans) we both still have a mathematical shot at making the playoffs. The Devils cannot finish higher than 3rd but there still are many permutations that exist with us finishing from 3rd to 8th.

Have fun looking up your teams! Even though the Canucks are 99% likely to make the playoffs, there IS A CHANCE, they could still end up 15th....but not likely, and I am sure you are relieved to hear that Michael!

NHL Outcomes

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Well we all know when an NHL player scores 3 goals in a game they have a hat-trick. Then if a player scores 9 goals in a game they have an Ovechtrick. But what about everything in between? Well here is my attempt at naming the others.

1 goal in a game - scoring

I don't see a need to name something goalies have been able to do.

2 goals in a game - Sykoratrick

Petr Sykora has managed to score 30-2 goal games before getting his first hat-trick.

3 goals in a game - Hat-trick

Why mess with a good thing?

4 goals in a game - Gretztrick or Bosstrick

These two guys both scored 4 goals in a game 9 times. Mike did it in a much shorter career!

5 goals in a game - Franztrick

Other players have done this but I am going to give it to the Mule in light of his recent achievement.

6 goals in a game - Lalondetrick

Back on Jan 10 1920, Newsy became the first player in NHL history to reach 6 in a game.

7 goals in a game - Malonetrick

Three weeks later that same year, Joe Malone scored 7 goals in a game which is still an NHL record.

8 goals in a game - Benoittrick

This feat has been accomplished in the CHL three times. Mathieu Benoit (a NJ draft pick) is the only one of the three to NOT turn that accomplishment into an NHL career. Stephan Lebeau and Normand Aubin each scored 8 goals in a game and went on to play in the NHL. So with that being said, I have decided that allow Benoit that shred of notoriety over Lebeau and Aubin who have accomplished a little more than scoring 8 goals in a junior game.

9 goals in a game - Ovechtrick

Thanks to Verizon for coining the term, here is a funny
video explaining it:

Here is my favourite Franzen card from my personal collection. Its from 05-06 UD Series 2 and I pulled this one from a box I bought attempting to get an Ovechkin (didn't happen).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The impact of Panini on hockey TTMs

Last year when it was announced that Panini would be joining the hockey world I really didn't know what to think. I have only ever known them as a sticker company and really that was my own collecting ignorance. It turns out they have been making sports cards for a number of years and doing a good job at it. So I waited for the hockey products to roll out, and they did slowly, and one after another the hockey world was given what Panini had to offer. After seeing Score, Donruss, Certified and Limited I must say they are decent cards and when compared to many of the UD products of years past they are of similar caliber and I will leave it up to each of you to decide who is better.

What I find particularly interesting is it seems as though many of Panini's products which sell for as much as many of UD's products inside the packs, on the secondary market (places like Ebay) the cards are selling for fraction of the value their UD counterparts are selling for.

For example: A Taylor Hall Rated Rookie could be had for 15 bucks on Ebay easily, while the Young Gun version will set you back closer to 50 (if you are lucky) from what I understand statistically speaking you have an equal chance of pulling either from a box that will run you about 70 bucks. It is clear the demand is still stronger for some of UD's products when you look at the comparables from Panini. So what does this mean for collectors?

Options, there are now more options to score rookies and autographs of your favourite players at prices that are more reasonable than in the past. In addition, for me at least, it also means I might buy one or two boxes less of cards because I know I can buy all the cards I want for less than the cost of the box.

TTMs are another area affected by this new saturation. I was very happy to land myself a Nick Palmieri Mirror Red auto from Ebay. This is an auto I have been trying to get for almost 4 months. When I didn't have luck with getting one from my Score boxes I looked elsewhere and my patience landed me this beauty for about a buck and a half plus shipping.

The card is numbered 222/250 and is a nice on card auto of an up and coming NJ prospect. He recently has been playing with Kovalchuk and Zajac and has 3 goals in his last 6 games with the club.

To get this as a TTM I would have needed to get his card (if I already didn't have it) and mail him a letter which would be to the club in the USA which in all would have cost me almost 2 dollars in postage plus the cost of the envelopes and there would be no guarantee that he would sign it.

Where instead for about 4 dollars I did get the card, already signed and mailed to me. For some players, Panini has made collecting autographs affordable especially in cases where a TTM is a longshot or difficult to attain. I do enjoy writing letters to the players and the payoff is an autograph in return but, if you want a player and a guaranteed autograph then it might be advantageous to use the secondary market and just buy the desired card especially now that there are twice as many Palmieri autographs than there were before. (not to mention ITG's products)