Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brian Gionta TTM

This week's Dirty Dangle post is my Brian Gionta TTM I received last week. Mailed this one out in early Feb and received it last Monday.

Signed in Blue Sharpie and numbered.....just how I like them!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Countdown to draft day - Calgary Flames

Calgary was one of those teams that started in one city and ended up in another. Calgary began as the Atlanta Flames and it was in 1980 when the move occurred which brought the Flames to Calgary. Atlanta’s first ever pick was certainly better than Calgary’s first ever pick. Atlanta chose Jacques Richard (no relation to Henri or Maurice) and Calgary chose Denis Cyr (no relation to Paul). I don’t believe you will ever see stats vary as much as they did for Richard.

In 1979-80 Richard spent part of the season in the minors and had 3 goals in 14 NHL games. The following year (80-81) he was a 50 goal man with 103 points. Then in 81-82, he was down to 15 goals and 41 points. Then in 82-83 he was back in the minors again. All I have to say is; did he sell his soul for a 50 goal season? That is just really strange!

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When it comes to bad drafts, Calgary has had a couple of candidates of late. If you add up the total number of games played from the 05 and 06 drafts it would add up to 25 games. In fact, no one from the 06 draft has played in the NHL yet. But I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. So my choice for worst draft is the 1997 entry draft. In this draft, Calgary had the 6th overall pick and rather than select Marian Hossa, Dan Cleary, Sergei Samsonov, Brenden Morrow or any other future NHL player for that matter, they selected Daniel Tkaczuk who is currently a member of the Nottingham Panthers.

Daniel played part of one NHL season and had 11 points in 19 games, but he could never crack a NHL lineup again. By now, he has probably played in more countries than the Harlem Globetrotters and the Flames are probably wishing they hadn’t wasted 10 picks in the draft on players not named Brian Campbell. That’s right, the Flames actually had 10 picks in that draft before Brian Campbell was selected in the 6th around by Buffalo. So I think this qualifies as the worst draft in Flames history.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guy Lafleur - TTM

Received three Lafleur autographs in the mail last week. Beautiful autograph, numbered and done with a blue sharpie. Best part was the 9 day turnaround!

Check out the rest of my post at Dirty Dangle.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

05-06 The Cup - Jimmy Howard

Paul from Card Boarded asked about the odds of pulling a Jimmy Howard rookie from a tin of 05-06 The Cup. I am interested in a similar case, which would be pulling a Zach Parise from a tin. Either case has the exact same odds which I will get in to in a moment.

The 05-06 The Cup set featured 91 rookies and 100 base cards. The base cards where numbered to /249, the patch auto rookies which were cards 101-177 where numbered to /199. There were three shorter printed patch rookies which were numbered to /99 and finally there were 11 other auto rookies numbered to /249.

In all, there were 18359 rookie cards printed in the set. In the case of Jimmy Howard, he made up 199 of the 18359. When doing the probability of the getting a Jimmy Howard in an 850 dollar tin, you need to know how many rookies you are going to get in your tin. Each tin was supposed to have 5 cards in them. Some would be base cards and the rest are rookies, parallels or inserts. Based on what I have seen online, you can expect on average between 1.5 and 2 rookies per tin. Some will only have one, while others seemed to have 2 or 3. I will use 1.5 as an approximation.

Based on an average of 1.5 rookies per tin the probability of getting a Howard or Parise rookie is:


Not the greatest odds, but much better than the 0.81% chance of getting a Crosby RC.

05-06 The Cup Howard rookie. Probably better to just buy it rather than hope to pull it.

05-06 Parise RC. Much like the Howard, can be had for cheaper than the box.

The Cup is always a great product, but has been far beyond my price range. I would rather use the money to buy a couple different boxes than take a chance with a 5 card tin of The Cup. With that being said, I still like to try and snag The Cup singles when I come across a good deal but the risk on buying a tin isn't worth the gamble for me. Have any of you bought a tin before? How did it turn out?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pulling a Wayne Gretzky rookie from a pack

A little while back I put out a request for math and collecting related ideas. Sal from Puck Junk gave me a few good ideas and here is the first one.

Something that has always been a dream of mine is to open a pack of 79-80 OPC and pull a pack fresh Wayne Gretzky rookie card. Having been too young when the cards were available for 20 cents and not having the $13495 for a box or $300+ dollars for a pack, all I can do is dream and look at the math.

Before I get into the math, there are always assumptions one makes with probability.

All packs are sealed, unsearched and you don't look at the back to see what card is there.
Each pack has 14 cards, no more and no less.
That each pack has randomized cards and by buying a box you aren't guaranteed to get a full set and you could get doubles of cards in the same pack.

Getting a Gretzky in a pack
Based on the set size and pack size, you have about a 3.48% chance of getting a Gretzky in a single pack. This includes the fact that you could get doubles of some cards in the pack.

Getting a Gretzky in a box
Based on set size and pack size, you have about an 81.72% chance of getting a Gretzky in a 48 pack box. This includes getting more than one which I am sure anyone spending 13K one a box would hope for a couple. Each box should give you 672 cards which in a perfect world would be a complete set and 276 other cards.

Here is a pretty cool image I found online of a Gretzky still in the pack.

Here is a shot of the front.

Here you can see the back and a bit of the Oilers jersey. I wonder if Wayne has a wax stain?

Another shot of the back.

Just for fun, I did a computer simulation of opening a 79-80 OPC box.

Here are some of my hits:

1 Gretzky Rookie #18
2 Jets Logo #81
2 Oilers Logo #82
1 Ken Dryden #150
3 Gordie Howe #175
1 Bobby Hull #185
2 Mike Bossy #230
1 Nordiques CL #261

Virtual Box Break

329 out of 396 (83%)
343 doubles

In all, my virtual break wasn't as successful as I hoped...good thing I didn't pay 13 grand for it. 1 Gretzky is better than none, but the grade and condition could make or break it. Missing 17% of the set also sucks, but with 343 doubles I am sure I could have traded for the rest.

I enjoyed doing the virtual break and would like to maybe do some others, if you can think of other boxes that need to be "virtually" busted please send along some ideas!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parkhurst Project Cards 6, 7 and 8

The other day I saw on eBay a seller who had a few different 51-52 Parkhurst auctions on the go and was willing to do combined shipping. I looked at the cards and to be honest, because of the photography, it was difficult to tell the shape the cards were in except for the little write up about the defects of each. I decided to take a chance and put a max bid of 5 bucks on each auction based on what the seller said.

Sure enough to my surprise, I won all three for 5 bucks a piece. When the arrived about 10 days later, I was happy to see they were all in pretty decent shape.

Ed Slowinski
Card number 102 and card number 6 in my set. As a card, Ed Slowinski has one corner that is rounded and the other three corners are worn but still have some sharpness to them. There is a very light crease near the middle of the card, but the colouring more than makes up for that.

As a player, Ed Slowinski didn't have a long career but he did have a few solid NHL seasons. He played from 1947-53 in the NHL and in 291 games he finished with 58 goals and 132 points. His best season was in 51-52 where he had: 64 gms, 21 goals, 22 assists for 43 points. After 1953, Ed tore up the AHL for a couple of seasons before leaving hockey in 1958.

Don "Bones" Raleigh
Card number 93 and card number 7 in my set. Of the three cards, Bones is in the roughest shape having a couple light creases and 4 round corners. The colouring is much nicer in person than in the scan and the text is sharp.

Bones played 10 NHL seasons all with the Rangers. His best year was in 1951-52 where he had: 70 gms, 19 goals, 42 assists for 61 points which was good enough for 4th in league scoring. Bones would play in two NHL all-star games (1951, 1954). I think I know where the nickname came from, according to Total NHL (the book) Don Raleigh was 5' 11" and he weighed 150 lbs.

Hal Laycoe
Card number 25 and card number 8 in my set. The card is in pretty good shape, a very very faint crease on the bottom, rounding on the corners and a very light stain on the back. Like some of the other cards, the colouring is great and the text is sharp.

Hal Laycoe's claim to fame is he had a significant role in the Richard Riot. Click the link to get brought up to speed if you were unaware of the history of that event. As a player, Hal was actually a Montreal Canadien for 4 seasons and would have played with Richard during those years. Laycoe was a stay-at-home defenceman who never scored more than 5 goals in any one season. Of the three cards I bought, all being rookies, his card is the only one listed in the Beckett with a Near Mint value of $80. I imagine the value of that card is associated more with the Richard Riot than with his accomplishments as a player.

Card #25, 93 and 102 and 6,7 and 8 of 105 for my set.
Percent Completion:
Cost of Cards:
Total Cost of the Set to Date:

With this latest pick up, I really think this is a set I am going to be able to complete.....It is just a matter of time (and a little money).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stephane Richer - TTM

I had a little TTM success earlier this week. Check out the story at Dirty Dangle

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Countdown to draft day - Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo’s first draft was in 1970 and they made the most out of their first choice by selecting Gilbert Perreault.

Buffalo’s drafting history has been pretty strong over the years. Years like 1970, 71, 75, 79, 82, 83, 88 and 01 all produced many full-time NHL players. Selecting a best year was the most challenging to this point but I had to go with 1982.

Phil Housley and Dave Andreychuk in the same draft is one heck of an accomplishment. Housley was one of the best offensive defensemen in USA hockey history and Andreychuk would finish his career with 640 career goals. On the strength of those two I would have to give this draft an edge over the 1983 draft.

Here is the 83 draft, did I make the right choice? You can make a case for this draft based on the number of players that would make the NHL. Though not offensively deep, Puppa and Barrasso would be starting goalies and Krupp was a steal in the 11th round.

The worst draft in Sabres history was a Titanic Failure! In 1973, Buffalo picked Morris Titanic with their first pick. Titanic would turn his decent junior career into 19 NHL games with no points or PIM. 19 NHL games and never once made a scoresheet, now that is an accomplishment! None of the other 7 Sabres picks would ever see NHL action thus making this draft quite bad. FYI, Rick Middleton was picked two spots AFTER Titanic so I would have to say Buffalo dropped the ball on this draft..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Martin Brodeur - Fan of the week

About a month ago, I took my family down to see the Devils play the Caps in New Jersey. I had seen the Devils play live before, but I had never seen them play a home game so this was a big deal for me (almost like going to the promised land). I have always wanted to see my boys play live at home and to have 17 625 fans around you cheering is a great feeling! We got tickets in the lower bowl near the home goal and were high enough up that you didn't have the glass obstructing your view. The score wasn't what I had hoped for (3-0 loss), but being there on Retro Night and seeing those old green uniforms was worth it, no matter what the outcome was!

When we got home, I submitted a photo of my son Quinn to Martin Brodeur's website. I found out yesterday that he was selected as fan of the week which prompted me to share this story.

Here is the screenshot of the page or you can see by checking this link

Here are a few photos of our trip to the game.

Here is the Prudential Center of the outside. A much nicer arena than the old Meadowlands!

The view from the inside. Three Cup banners, not too bad! I remember each clinching game and to see those banners brings back great memories.

One reason I chose the game was because we were playing against Washington. Ovi had two points in the game and one really nice dangle in the third period that resulted in a shot on goal.

Washington opened the scoring, here is the first goal. Marty looked great in the retro uniform, and his replica helmet. He actually wore 29 for the first couple of games in his NHL career.

Clarkson has had a tough season. Didn't quite live up to expectations but did have a strong second half. We need more out of him and others if we are going to learn from this experience.

Kovy really stood out in this game, created a few great opportunities, but also a couple of costly turnovers. I know he will get his own Cup ring someday and silence his critics.

Here is Quinn at the end of the game, tired out from all the action.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

97-98 BAP Ebay Auto Lot Purchase

If you are ever looking to get some cheap autographs look no further than 97-98 Be A Player. Boxes of these are still out on the market for about 32 bucks which will land you 16 autographs. The one knock against this set is NO Wayne, Mario or Patrick autos. I was looking at two auctions the other day on Ebay. One was for 3 unopened packs which had a buy it now for 8 bucks or a lot of 10 which was up for auction and I won with a 6 dollar bid. So having won the bid, I decided not to take a chance on the 3 packs and instead won another auction on some sweet vintage which I will share next week!

Here is my haul which tallies for 60 cents a card.

Steve Washburn Rookie.
Autograph isn't the finest I have ever seen but it isn't an initial either. Steve had a short NHL career with the best season being his 3rd where he had 19 points in 58 games. Steve kicked around a few pro leagues but never met the expectations on him from junior where he had a great career with the '67s.

Scott Walker

Scott Walker was a bit of a late bloomer like Ray Whitney. Had a couple of decent seasons with Nashville and Carolina with the best being 03-04 when he had 25 goals and 67 points.

Janne Niimimaa
I like that Janne numbered his autograph, and I wish more players did that! Janne started his career off well with the Flyers and Oilers before making himself disappear in Montreal (which I am sure isn't easy). He reappeared in Europe where he is currently a star defenceman with Lulea HF of the Swedish Elite League.

Aaron Miller
Aaron Miller may have some seriously bad luck. His rookie season he played just 5 reg season games, meanwhile, the Avalanche would then win the Stanley Cup but that meant no ring for Aaron because he played no playoff games and only 5 regular season he hadn't played enough games to qualify as a Stanley Cup member. Then the next time Colorado would win is in 2001. Well half way through the season Aaron found himself traded to Los Angeles. This deal was important because Rob Blake found himself in Colorado which used their top notch defence to beat the defending champion NJ Devils. So again no ring for Aaron. Aaron was also a member of the 2002 USA Olympic team which lost in the gold medal game to Canada. Don't worry Aaron, you are a winner in my heart!

Dan McGillis
As a former Devil, I was happy to get this autograph. However, we had him buried in the minors before the season was out with us and he never played in the NHL again. Not one of Lou's best signings that is for sure.

Vladamir Malakhov
Speaking of bad signings, Malakhov is also a former Devil. The first time around he was picked up was before the trade deadline and along with Mogilny were they were very instrumental in the Devils winning their second Stanley Cup. Lou signed him in 05 for another go with the club and the season didn't quite go as planned as Malakhov had trouble playing well after the lockout and was traded to the Sharks in 06 as a measure to get his salary off the books. It cost NJ a first rounder and in exchange we were given players who are either in Russia or some beer league right now.

Ken Belanger
Don't let the mullet fool you, he was a tough guy! Averaged almost 3 PIM a game for his career. Interesting auto too!

Craig Simpson
Poor bastard was apart of the Gretzky trade that sent Wayne to St. Louis. Couldn't live up to expectations and only broke double digits for goals twice.

Jeff Brown
This card was the main reason for purchasing the whole lot. I liked Jeff Brown a lot as a kid and always felt he was underrated! 747 games played and he finished with 585 points, not bad for a d-man and made one Cup final with Vancouver. Neat auto too!

Kevin Dean
Another Cup winner with NJ. A part of the Devils '95 win but only played a few playoff games. Bounced around between the NHL and AHL but made it for a total of 331 games. Nice to get another auto from the lot of former Devils players.

As you can see, 10 autographs for pretty cheap. Many wouldn't be my first choice and I already have Malakhov from a previous pack but to me Brown, Niimimaa, Ward and Dean are worth the price alone and the others are as good as freebies.

Goes to show that TTM's aren't the only way to get cheap autos, keep an eye on some Ebay auctions and you might find there are other deals to be had!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Odd Ball Cards - 1991-92 Pro Set Puck

Been a while since I did a card related post so I thought I would share a little surprise I had the other day. Going through some old cards I found two 91-92 Pro Set Puck cards (see picture below).

Here is Jeremy Roenick who is card 6 from the set of 30 cards. No player was more fun to use in NHL '93 on the Sega Genesis!

Wayne is card 11 in the set.

Here is what the back of the cards look like. Nice to see the Great One is a fan of the Tigers too!

I thought I would see if they were worth anything according to the Beckett. I went to look them up online because I was sure Gretzky had to have a BV of around 5 bucks and to my surprise, I was wrong. Turns out it was valued at about $40 which means I probably had the most valuable Wayne Gretzky Pro Set card ever produced!

For those of you who don’t know, Pro Set produced “Puck Candy” during the 91-92 season which was their attempt at tying food and collectibles together. Basically it was a Jos Louis cake with a card inside. I have no idea if they mass produced these like they did other products, but I can imagine that many of the cards did get damaged because I don’t remember the cards being very well protected other than being wrapped in cellophane. The puck inside was pretty tasty much like Jos Louis’ are!

Anyway, it is nice to find little surprises like this from time to time. The nicer surprise was both cards are in pretty decent shape; crease free, showing very little wear after all these years and 4 sharp corners.

Has anyone else discovered little gems like this from the past that were once considered junk?

If you are interested in building the set, here is a link to jump start that. 20 cards different cards are available for bid on ebay.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Countdown to draft day – Boston Bruins

Boston is an original 6 team which means they have been a part of every entry/amateur draft since 1963, when the first draft took place. In that first draft, Boston had the 3rd overall pick and they selected Orest Romashyna. Orest, never made it to the NHL but he did end up playing for the University of Waterloo which is where I did my undergrad degree. We should give the Bruins a break because that wasn’t exactly the most loaded draft in NHL history with a total of 21 players being selected and only 5 making it to the NHL. The best player from that draft ended up being the second overall pick Pete Mahovlich.

The Bruins over the years have had some pretty good luck with the draft with years like 2006, 2004, 1997 all proving to be loaded with full-time NHL players. But when you try to pin down Boston’s best year you need to go a little further back. In my opinion I would have to say their finest year was 1979.

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Every player selected in that draft, eventually played in the NHL. In fact, 5 out of the 7 picks would end up playing at least 400 games and the gem of their draft was selecting Ray Bourque with the 8th overall pick. Other guys like McCrimmon, Crowder and Krushelnyski all would go on to have very successful NHL careers.

It is difficult to determine which draft was the worst in Bruins history. In 1963 none of their 4 picks would skate in the NHL. Boston’s last four drafts have also yielded few NHL skaters at THIS point but it is a little early to classify them as busts. At this point, I am going to have to suggest that the worst draft for the Bruins was in 1996.

-taken from

For starters you get a gold star if you actually heard of any of these players other than Aitken or Whitfield. They ended up being the only two players out of the 10 drafted that would go on to play an NHL game and even then, their first pick Johnathan Aiken would finish with his NHL career with 44 games, 0 goals and 1 assist. Bruins would make up for this draft the following year when they would use their first overall pick to get Joe Thornton who as of today is one point shy of 1000 for his career.

Interesting fact that year, the San Jose Sharks had the second overall pick that year so they missed out on selecting Thornton but drafted Patrick Marleau. Thanks to a trade with the Bruins, both Marleau and Thornton are united on the same team (picks 1 and 2).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Countdown to draft day - Atlanta Thrashers

Atlanta’s first NHL entry draft was in 1999. With their first pick in franchise history and the world watching they selected Patrik Stefan first overall. I think they would like a mulligan on that one. I really believe it did set the tone for the franchise as they have struggled to be successful both on the ice and in the ticket office.

Looking at the positive, Atlanta’s best draft year would have to be 2001 which I think just edges out the 2000 draft year. I went with the 2001 year because with only 9 picks compared to 14 the previous year 4 players made it to the NHL for at least 20 games where the 2000 draft only 3 out of the 14 played in the NHL.

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Kovalchuk is by far the best player selected by the Thrashers and through yesterday has played 698 games and has scored 367 goals and 698 points. He will likely reach 700 games and 700 points this season. Michael Garnett and Colin Stuart are still both playing high level professional hockey. Garnett is a starting goaltender for Moscow Dynamo in the KHL and has a 17-12-2 record so far this season with a 2.24 gaa and 2 shutouts. Stuart has played for the Sabres this year but is currently playing in the AHL and has 41 points in 67 games with the Pirates of Portland.

Their worst draft year without a doubt in my mind is 2004. The reason why the choice is simple is because NONE of them have ever scored an NHL goal. That would make sense if they drafted 9 goalies but there are 8 skaters taken in this draft and they have a draft class combined total of 82 NHL games and 7 assists. Valabik is the closest to an NHL regular having played 80 games since getting drafted.

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Based on their draft history it is easy to say the scouting staff with the Thrashers could probably use an overhaul, or they could just stick to getting players from teams who are hard against the salary cap in exchange for their well selected "prospects"!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Countdown to draft day – Anaheim Ducks

It is 84 days until draft day and I thought I would count those days down by looking at each team’s draft histories. I will showcase what I think were their best and worst drafts. Going alphabetically I will start in Anaheim which has been participating in NHL entry drafts since 1993. Their first ever pick was Paul Karyia which isn’t a bad choice to start your franchise off. However, I would have to say their best draft year without a doubt happened 10 years later in 2003. Here is how the draft went that year.

- Screenshot taken from

With two first round picks, Anaheim selected Getzlaf and Perry. Perry is currently leading the NHL in goal scoring with 46 goals and Getzlaf is averaging nearly a point a game since joining the NHL. Without a doubt these are two guys to build a franchise around and the Ducks have already won a Cup thanks to the help of these guys (and a couple of others).

Drew Miller and Shane O’Brien are no longer with the Ducks but they are both NHL regulars. I would say just on the strength of their first round this was the best draft in Ducks history but Miller and O’Brien aren’t bad picks either especially considering they are 6th and 8th rounders which seals the deal for me.

The worst draft was a little harder to pick because the Ducks have had a couple of pretty bad years. Anyone remember former first round picks Chistov or Smirnov?

In spite of those, I will have to choose 1997 for a couple of reasons.

- Screenshot taken from

For starters, Holmqvist is the only player left playing professional hockey and it isn’t even for an NHL team. Secondly, only Holmqvist played more NHL games than Balmochnykh‘s 6 NHL games. In fact, these two are the only ones to ever see NHL action without buying a ticket and their combined NHL career stats are:

162 games, 18 goals, 18 assists and 74 PIM.

Not great totals for a first round pick let alone an entire draft year.

I would like to point out that Vaillancourt did go on to get an education at McGill University so there must be something said about that!