Tuesday, April 30, 2013

With the Devils out, who do I cheer for? Eastern Conference Version

Well my team is out, but that doesn't mean I go into hibernation for the post season, with all the cards I collect and my love of the game prevents me from giving up. So here are my options and reasons for each team:

Eastern Conference Teams:

Pittsburgh Penguins
Why cheer for the Pens
Well there are a few reasons for me to back this team. Being a Nova Scotian (my current residence), Sidney is huge out here and the choice of many out this way is the Pens so I will have a few people to cheer with. My man Bill Guerin works in the front office which is another huge plus and Robert Bortuzzo and I share the same birth place which I always cheer for Thunder Bay boys.

Why to cheer against the Pens
I dislike teams that go and buy championships at the trade deadline and the Pens are pretty much a time that kind of team this year. Also, they are heavy favourites and I tend to like underdogs a little more.

Montreal Canadiens
Why cheer for the Habs
The only reason I have to cheer for them is, I keep pulling Habs hits like they are going out of style!! Wait until you see my next couple box breaks. So if the Habs win the Cup, I am hoping to unload these cards at high prices or at good trade values.

Why cheer against the Habs
I have lots of friends and people I know (some obnoxious) that make it far too easy for me to want to cheer against them. Therefore, I don't see myself really ever wanting them to win anytime soon.

Washington Capitals
Why cheer for the Caps
Nick Backstrom is a favourite of mine and to see him do well would be great and I don't hate Ovi so it might be fun to see him go on a playoff run and grow a caveman beard. Joel Ward has been known to jack up his play during the playoffs and a former CIS kid winning the Cup would be cool too.

Why cheer against the Caps
They are a Southeast team and barely deserve to be in the playoffs let alone a third place seed. Ovi can be obnoxious too, but I really can't hate this team no matter how hard I try.

Boston Bruins
Why cheer for the Bruins
Boston won the Cup two years ago and I was meh about that, but this time around they have Jagr and Pandalfo which would be two feel good stories about them winning the Cup. Tyler Seguin is a player I like a fair bit so seeing him win would be cool too. Unlike some teams in the post-season, their roster is pretty much been the same for the past few seasons.

Why cheer against the Bruins
They are just one of those team I have never loved. Maybe it goes back to the 88 post-season when they bounced the Devils in 7 in the Conference Finals.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Why cheer for the Leafs
They are my assigned team in the Drop The Gloves! playoff tournament and I am a former team owner! Seriously, I was an Ontario teacher before moving out east so technically I owned some of the franchise.

Why cheer against the Leafs
Everything from their misspelled name to the many fans in Leafs Nation that feel the need to write graffiti in all the washrooms in Southern Ontario give me reason to cheer against them. I just can never bring myself to doing so and I am really sorry Mark because I do want you to be happy and you are a good friend.

New York Rangers
Why cheer for the Strangers Rangers
Marc Staal.

Why cheer against the Rangers
I don't need a reason, I am a Devils fan.

Ottawa Senators
Why cheer for the Sens
I have a few reasons here, first I used to live in Ottawa so I wouldn't mind seeing them win. They have survived many injuries and they are a young and fun team with lots of home-grown/drafted talent. I even met Craig Anderson's parents during the 08 WHC in Halifax and they were so nice to me that I became a fan of his before he had a starting gig anywhere. The Sens have maybe the most underrated defense in the NHL (and sure they have Karlsson, but every one of their defence would be top 4 on most NHL clubs). Daniel Alfredsson has given as much to that franchise as any other player has to their respective clubs and seeing him win would be a feel good story.

Why cheer against the Sens
There aren't many reasons for me to cheer against them except that the Canadian media would start to annoy me.

New York Islanders
Why cheer for the Isles
John Tavares is a player I like a great deal and I think it would be huge if he could get his club deep into the playoffs because he would be the reason for their success, no doubts there. Also, there would be a fair bit of neat irony with Nabokov making it to a Cup final with a team he refused to join at first. Keith Aucoin would be a great feel good story for a career minor league superstar to finally get a Cup chance.

Why cheer against the Isles
They are pretty close in proximity to the Devils, but they were never a hated rival really since their domination in the NHL was ending as the Devils became a NJ franchise. I don't have many reasons to cheer against them other than Garth Snow would likely get more credit for the win than he deserves.

Well that is the Eastern Conference, I will try to finish up the Western Conference in the next day or two and get back to my HOF autos!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blog bat around, what would you buy with 1600 dollars on the 'Bay

For me, I would nail this with just two cards:

The first is a PSA 7 Wayne Gretzky Topps rookie which would be perfect for my 79/80 Topps Set that I am building. This card is on eBay, click card for link at a BIN price of just $399, a great deal if you ask me.

The second would be a PSA 3 Gordie Howe rookie which also would be perfect for my 51-52 Parkhurst set I am building. This card has a cool BIN price of 1200 dollars thus exhausting my 1600 dollars for the contest.

Thanks Casey for the contest and if you want to participate just go to this link:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

12-13 ITG Superlative III Vladislav Tretiak Auto

For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of the '72 Series. Even though it happened 7 years before I was born and 15 years before I started watching hockey, I haven't been able to get enough of that Series. Being Canadian, of course I am very pleased that Canada was victorious, but at the same time I have a real appreciate for the talent the Russian players possessed and their approach to preparing and playing hockey. Tretiak is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite players. Several years ago, The Hockey News put out an issue on the Greatest Debates and I still have my issue from 2005 which featured some pretty awesome topics including a "What if?" section with two awesome debates:

"What if New Jersey won the Mario derby?"

"What if Tretiak played in the NHL?"

Tretiak is a player who was someone I idolized long after his playing days were pretty much over. Vlad came into the spotlight as the starting goalie for the Russians in the '72 Series and unlike Canada, the Russians played him in all 8 games instead of playing Zinger or Sidelnikov. What the Canadians ran into was a goalie far more capable than they anticipated and for a goalie who never played pro hockey in North America, you would be hard pressed to find any non-NHL goalie more famous than him. He played 15 seasons for CSKA Moscow and he was even drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1983 at the age of 31. However, it was never meant to be as he would never defect to CAN/USA so it will always be a guessing game to what he COULD have done in the NHL at that point or in his prime. Vlad has had a huge impact working with many NHL goalies as both a coach with the Blackhawks and on his own with this goalie school. Ed Belfour can thank much of his career as a goalie because of Tretiak who be both idolized and received direct coaching help from the Russian great. Tretiak was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989 making him the first Russian player inducted into the Hall of Fame and arguably the first European. 

12-13 ITG Superlative III Vladislav Tretiak Auto
Is this what a perfect card looks like? I am not sure, but I do think this card is pretty amazing with all the features I look for in a memorabilia card. The photo is great, the swatch is game used team Russia and a good size and the auto is clear and on-card. I have wanted a piece of Vlad for as long as I have been collecting and to get this into my collection is pretty awesome. This card ranks as the second best pick-up in my collection as far as HOF autos go in the last year.

There you have it, another HOF auto, I have two left to share including my number 1 favourite pick-up in the last year before I can end this series and share some more pack and box breaks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

90-91 Score Fern Flaman Auto

Sorry for the little break in posts, I spent the last couple days dealing with our house move which is set to take place this Saturday! Super happy because our little house is just too little and my new home will feature a hockey card room (instead of my tiny closet) and a good sized media room for hockey games and air hockey. Anyway, this post is another in my series of HOF posts and like the Lemieux one, it is a base card signed and JSA certified.

Fern Flaman is far from a household name in today's day. However,  back in the day, he was a very very tough stay-at-home defenseman who could fight, hit and occasionally chip in a point here or there. If you want someone to compare him to, my best guess is think of Adam Foote with the toughness of Chelios. In terms of Devils, think about Scott Stevens being crossed with Ken Daneyko.

Fern didn't tear up the NHL as offensively as he did in the minors, but he did establish himself as a very dependable rear-guard and a player you didn't mess with. Fern was a three-time second team all-star and he appeared in 6 NHL all-star games. Gordie Howe even once said that Fern was the toughest defenseman he ever played against. 910 career games, 34 goals and 210 points are what he did offensively, but it is impossible to measure what Fern did off the scoresheet, but in 1990 he did get the recognition he deserved and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1990-91 Score American Fern Flaman Auto
Here is this front side featuring a great autograph in my opinion. Nice and clear, on-card auto with a blue sharpie. The card features a great spot where Fern was able to sign an unobstructed auto next to his picture.

Here is the backside and again a 9 out of 10. What does a 10 signature look like BGS? Anyway, it might not be Super Mario or Steve Yzerman, but it is a HOF'er and I can thank Shane from Shoebox Legends for putting him on my radar. I actually scored this back in the summer for the price of a hobby pack of Artifacts!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

05-06 Victory Mario Lemieux Auto

I have been showing off my HOF auto pick ups from the past year and really have done so in no apparent order. But, I do plan on identifying my top 3 and this one comes in as my third favourite of the past year.

Some would argue (and may even win) the argument that Mario Lemieux is/was the greatest hockey player of all-time. I have lots of respect for Super Mario and I think he was an amazing player, greatest of all-time? Not in my books. But, he would be in my Top 5 of all-time that is for sure and what could have been if he wasn't a smoker, didn't get injured and didn't get frustrated and retire for a number of seasons, who knows. I do believe Wayne's major records would still have been safe, but he would be the NHL's number 2 all-time scorer. I just wish that the Devils tanked on purpose like the Penguins did in 1984 and won the Mario Sweepstakes. Kirk Muller was an OK runner up prize, but Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille would have been better number 2 choices.

Enough talk, here is the Magnificent One!

05-06 UD Victory Mario Lemieux 
This card is from Mario's last season in the NHL and it features an on-card auto in blue sharpie. I LOVE how this auto pops on this card. I did some thinking and I would take this card any day over a Mario auto with sticker technology. I may not be the biggest fan of the card choice, but the fact that it is a certified on-card auto was definitely cool to me.

Here is the back side, apparently the auto warranted a 9 out of 10 score which I don't entirely understand. The auto seems flawless to me, but maybe it would have been better if some of the ink didn't go over top some black portions of the photo. What is coolest about this card is the price. I paid what a person would dish out for a pack of SP Game Used (tax included) to land this card with shipping included. My favourite dealer had it on their page for a while and I asked if they would take a lower price and he told me he would lose money if he took that offer. However, he came back with his absolute bottom line and I wasn't going to argue. This is my first and only Mario auto, but for a first I think I couldn't ask for much more!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

09-10 UD Ice Glacial Graphs Steve Yzerman

Continuing the trend of HOF autos, here is the next one I landed in the last year. My first and only Steve Yzerman auto. In hindsight, I probably should have put some white paper on the back when I scanned it because the black top of the scanner cover takes away from the autograph. With that being said, the rest of the card did end up pretty cool too....

This is a 09-10 Glacial Graph which is a busier looking card than my favourite 05-06 Glacial Graphs but I still like the card. Good use of colour and space with an "ice" background. 

Steve signed this card with a blue sharpie and like all Glacial Graphs I have seen, it is an on acetate auto. Steve included his number with this signature which is always a bonus to me. I thought about rescanning to show the auto off better, but the card is now in a one screw screwdown and I don't see it coming out any time soon :)

Whenever I get a chance I will try and chase a player's Glacial Graph, are there any collectors out there who target a specific auto release (Autofacts, Brushstrokes, Signature Sensations etc.)? Normally I do a small write up about the player, but time is a little short today so if you are more curious about Stevie Wonders pro hockey stats, check out this. His 155 point season will always stand out in my mind, but his performance at the 89-90 World Hockey Championships is pretty cool as is his 6th place in all-time regular season points with 1755.

Friday, April 12, 2013

10-11 Limited Brett Hull Auto /49

In my opinion, Brett Hull is the greatest goal-scorer I have ever seen. I am old enough to have seen Gretzky and many others play, but since my watching days began at the age of 8 in 1987, I have never seen anyone as prolific or skilled at scoring goals than Brett Hull. I think it would have been interesting if the NHL's 3rd all-time leading goal scorer would have been born a few years earlier and had a few more seasons in the 80's instead of a few in the 00's. 

Brett's career includes 2 Cups, 741 goals, 650 assists and 1291 points. He also was a three-time first team all-star, he played in 8 all-star games and is 8th all-time in career goals per game with a 0.58 average which is fittingly enough, 0.01 goals per game higher than 9th place Bobby Hull. His 86 goal season will always stand-out in my mind as one of the most phenomenal performances I have seen. Brett was inducted into the HOF in 2009 which I believe was his first year of eligibility.

10-11 Panini Limited Retired Numbers Brett Hull Autograph /49
This is my only Brett Hull auto. I tried getting him to sign TTM which I heard he did regularly, but to this point I have received nothing back. Still, this is a decent copy which features a clear blue sharpie auto on sticker technology. I have several Bobby Hull autos and someday I will likely feature each in a two-card screw down if I ever manage to get a second Brett Hull auto.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

06-07 Parkhurst Edgar Laprade Auto

My next series of posts (because for some reason I think a theme is a good idea) is about HOF autographs! I think I have a little over a week's worth of HOF autos I have landed in the past year that I haven't shared online yet. So unlike the Sweet Shot posts, these may be a little more interesting to some so please, come back!

The first is an auto I already have, but am fixing an unfortunate error. I mailed away a New York Rangers card from the 08-09 OPC set because I didn't have any cards of Edgar Laprade that I was willing to lose in a TTM request. However, what I didn't anticipate was he would sign the back of the card which wasn't prepped by me and therefore smudged when he signed it. Believe it or not, it actually bothered me that the auto wasn't perfect. I didn't hold any ill will against anyone but myself for that one. So, being the patient guy I am, I kept waiting and creeping on eBay auctions. I had seen the same one time and time again go with no bids by a dealer who I believe was pretty reputable. Finally I wrote him and said, "hey if this auction doesn't sell, would you take 4 bucks with shipping for that card?" He wrote back pretty fast and said bid on it and if you win, then yes. So I bid and yes I won! So here is what it was, a base card of Edgar Laprade from the 06-07 Parkhurst set. 

06-07 Parkhurst Edgar Laprade Auto Base Card 
I had much interest in this card because he is from my hometown and he is a HOF'er. From what I read, he wasn't a super amazing offensive superstar, but rather a very talented two-way player who worked very hard on the ice and was a former Rookie of the Year winner and Lady Byng Trophy winner. Because he served his country in WWII, he was a little later arriving in the NHL but he was very good Senior Hockey player before enlisting and was a four-time NHL All-Star.

So we kick off another theme, I promise some pretty sweet autos before this is all over and through!

BTW for those interested, there is an auto insert parallel in the 06-07 Parkhurst set for those looking for a certified auto. However, Edgar is a very gracious TTM signer and I would recommend anyone to write him because he does enjoy the fan mail!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Generosity from Shoebox Legends and a trade with The Hockey Card Closet

So now that the Sweet Shot love-in is over, I can get on to other posts that have been piling up on an already large list. This is an important post with a great act of kindness and a simple but fun trade to highlight.

First off, an act of kindness from Shane over at Shoebox Legends. I sent him a few cards that didn't belong in my collection and he was far too kind (especially if you consider he was robbed at the post office, insane shipping rates that now exceed what we Canadians overpay). He sent four cards, all Devils, all cards I don't own and all cards I do like having! 

Card 1: 05-06 Artifacts All-Stars Patrik Elias
 Our all-time leading scorer numbered to 899? Thank you!

11-12 Artifacts Emerald Zach Parise
 I was going to mention this in a later post, but I am over Zach ditching us! I still like him and understand to some degree why he left.

03-04 OPC Blue Brian Rafalski
 Only good memories of Brian here.

10-11 UD Retro Kovy
Love the 90-91 Retro cards and love Kovy....Together on a piece of cardboard....mind blowing.

Thanks a million Shane, next time I will try and make up for the shipping differences in this exchange and any other future ones :)

This next card is part of a trade I made with Kyle from Beware The Hockey Card Closet.

In a trade with Kyle we did two cards for two cards and this Khabby auto was the centerpiece. Despite his run-in with the law, he was and still is a pretty fine goalie. Over 300 career wins and 46 shutouts, not to mention, a gold medal at the 92 WJHC as a member of team CIS (remember those days). Neat auto in black sharpie on sticker with number. 

So there you have an expected card that looks great and some unexpected cards that are just awesome! Thanks boys and happy blogging!  

Monday, April 8, 2013

07-08 Sweet Shot Marc Staal Auto

At long last, the final of the Sweet Shot posts. This time it is my fellow Thunder Bay boy Marc Staal. This is my second rookie year auto of a Staal boy with my other being a 06-07 Jordan Staal BAP one (I actually traded away my original and bought another after traders remorse). I still have yet to land an Eric Staal, but I may have to try and get it through the TTM route!

07-08 Sweet Shot Puck Signings Marc Staal 
Here is another puck signings for the collection. Silver sharpie on a fake puck. Very similar auto to Jordan's which is very cool to see and even Eric's has some similarity so some day these will be a neat trio! I actually landed this card for free last year thanks to eBay dollars.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

07-08 Sweet Shot Nick Backstrom Rookie

Here is my second last Sweet Shot post of a rookie that I really really wanted to have. Nick Backstrom next to Jordan Eberle is the second most desirable player I wish was on the Devils. Nick has had a bit of a bounce back year in terms of points even if his goals are still down a little bit. Nick through today currently sits in 3rd for assists with 33 and 11th for points with 39. I just salivate at the thought of him and Kovy playing on a line together. However it is wishful thinking unless the Caps decide to blow their team up (never going to happen). Nick currently is a couple years in on a 10 year contract so even nabbing him on the free agent market isn't very likely to happen soon.

Unfortunately this is just a regular Backstrom rookie numbered to /599, I am very pleased to have it in my collection. This is my second bigger range Backstrom to go along with his Young Gun rookie. His cards are very affordable for his skill level and can be had for the same price as many semi-stars in their respective sets.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

07-08 Sweet Shot Petr Kalus Auto Rookie

And I keep them coming, this is the last of my auto rookie Sweet Shot posts, worry not there are still more other Sweet Shot posts on their way. Mr. Kalus is by no means a household name, but the card is still a looker in my opinion. Petr's situation is an interesting one because he only has 11 NHL games in his career yet, has 4 goals and an assist. I think it was a case of Petr not producing in the AHL therefore he never really got another NHL shot when time would come for call-ups. As a result, Petr is overseas and I am guessing he will likely never be back. Still, it is a Sweet Shot rookie and it set me back less than 2 dollars so, why not? 

07-08 Sweet Shot Petr Kalus Sweet Beginnings Auto /100
Not entirely sure what that auto says, but it is on-card with blue sharpie and my guess is Petr Kalus, though I wouldn't be surprised if it said "Kelp Way"

Friday, April 5, 2013

07-08 Sweet Shot Bryan Little Rookie Auto

Here is another Sweet Beginnings Auto, this time it is of former 30 goal scorer Bryan Little. Bryan was a junior hockey scoring machine! He broke 30 goals as an OHL rookie at the age of 16/17 and during his four seasons amassed 153 goals and 342 points with the Barrie Colts. Bryan also represented Canada at the WJHC so you know I am a fan. However, Thrasher Jets fans must be getting a little frustrated because after an awesome 31 goal sophomore season, he has struggle to hit that total again. Bryan is only 25 years old and I think he still has some good seasons ahead of him especially once the Jets build some depth in the forward position and get Bryan some support.

07-08 Sweet Shot Bryan Little Sweet Beginnings Auto /100 
Unlike the Carter, there is some colour variation with the swatches and like the Carter a nice signature with a blue sharpie that is ON-CARD which is a nice bonus in a product that was designed to be higher-end. Really really like these cards and someday I wouldn't mind having some of the big guys from this set (Toews, Kane, Backstrom etc) with the auto variation. I recently watched a Toews version of this card sell for over 150 dollars so I am not sure if it is in the budget anytime soon...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

07-08 Sweet Shot - Ryan Carter Rookie and Rookie Auto

So I guess I have a small confession here and that is I have a guilty pleasure called Sweet Shot. Particularly the 07-08 release. A long time ago, or so it seems, I busted a box of this stuff with very little success. However, on the secondary market I have bought autos of Radulov, Marc Staal, Erik Johnson, and a few other cards I will share at a later date. The next few posts will be a love-fest for 07-08 Sweet Shot so you may want to come back or ignore my blog for the next few days :)

Today, current Devils 3rd/4th liner Ryan Carter is the focus. I have a pair of Carters the first being the standard base issue rookie which is numbered to 599.

07-08 Sweet Shot Ryan Carter Sweet Beginnings Rookie /599
Here is the front, I like the design of these a fair bit and I really don't know why. The swatches of course are all photo-shoot/event-used stuff and in this case all the same colour. Still I am a fan and I can't tell why.

Both cards have similar back and what I do like is there is a small burb that almost goes unnoticed in the upper right about each player.

07-08 Sweet Shot Ryan Carter Sweet Beginnings Autograph /100
I also have the autographed version of the card. These are almost identical with numbering being limited to 100 and of course the signature.

The next couple posts will be all my Sweet Shot pick-ups over the last year which were obtained via eBay, LCS and trade.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

1964-65 Topps Jim Mikol Rookie - My First Tall Boy

Ignorance is sometimes just ignorance. I never thought much of the old 64-65 Topps, in fact I pretty much felt it was one of the most overrated sets of all-time. When Fleer Power Play hit the market in 93-94 I was only that much more irritated at their large size, hard to store and otherwise foolish look. In fairness though, I never had held an original tall boy in my hands and I guess I was basing my opinion on very little.

Well this past fall, I finally held my first tall boy and it was AFTER I won it in an auction. I didn't go out looking to buy this card, but when I won a different auction I started looking at what else the seller had and this gem was there with only moments left so I threw a bid in and stole it!

64-65 Topps #36 Jim Mikol Rookie
This card is in amazing shape! No creases, solid centering and the corners are pretty decent.

I love the card backs. Good use of space and don't let the numbers fool you, those are Mikol's AHL numbers with the Cleveland Barons. He finished tied for second on his team behind AHL legend Fred Glover. Jim Mikol didn't have a HOF NHL career and actually only ever had one NHL card made during his playing career. Despite that fact, I still really like this card and I must say I have more of an appreciate of the Tall Boys now that I have one in my collection and even though I am still not a die-hard, I can appreciate them enough to say they aren't the most overrated set of all-time, but maybe just a tiny bit overrated.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

11-12 Cody Eakin Prime Rookie

Cross another things off the to-do list. Finally a Prime Rookie to my collection and a solid higher end Cody Eakin rookie. Cody was shipped from Washington to Dallas as part of the Ribeiro deal during the off-season and Joe Nieuwendyk must be pretty pleased at his return. Cody has a solid 6 goals and 19 points this season which is way higher than the 8 points he had in 30 games last year. He is continuing to improve and has been an awesome second/third liner for Dallas seeing some time on the PP occasionally. He is the kind of player all teams need and I look forward to seeing his career progress. 

11-12 Panini Prime Cody Eakin Rookie /199
These rookies remind me a lot of how some of the old OPC Premier rookies used to look back when UD was still producing them. This is a solid 2 colour, 4 piece set of swatches with a good blue sharpie on card auto. Totally a worth-while pickup that was very affordable.

Monday, April 1, 2013

10-11 Certified Nick Bonino Red Rookie Parallel

Nick is a victim of a horrible looking rookie card photo. However, I am not a victim picking up a great auto rookie parallel for less than 2 bucks shipped. I believe he could be a good second line center for the Ducks if he continues to develop. He has shown some great potential already this season including a 3 goal, 4 point night against LA on Feb 2.

10-11 Certified Red Nick Bonino Rookie /250
I have a hard time reading this auto as Nick, sort of looks like Nat B...but a blue sharpie on card auto is what this is and I certainly couldn't pass it up.