Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A New PC Damon Severson Let's Start With a Pair of Upper Deck Premier

For a good length of time the Devils had one of the best defense corps in the NHL. I think in some cases it was so good that it overshadowed the amazing play of Martin Brodeur and perhaps cost him a Vezina or two. However, that blue-line was not built over night and only a handful of years ago the Devils were faced with a pretty weak blue that was dubbed the No-Name Defense. Truth is, they played well but it was a combination of great goaltending and a good system.  Since 2011 the Devils have been re-tooling and our defense has improved greatly and I believe with a little offensive help up front we could be back in the playoffs next season.

One big key to our defensive success will ride on the shoulders of Damon Severson. He broke into the NHL on an amazing pace last year until a broken ankle set him back a bit. This season the confidence slowly came back and he finished the year pretty strong. Now, he is in the AHL since the Devils missed out on the post-season helping the Utica Devils in their quest for the Calder Cup. Through 2 games thus far he has 3 points and they are in action yet again tonight.

14-15 Upper Deck Premier Rookies Damon Severson /249

14-15 Upper Deck Premier Rookies Silver Spectrum Damon Severson /125

Here are a pair of Upper Deck Premier insert cards. The differences are pretty obvious and while I like the design of the base Premier Rookie insert, the Silver Spectrum parallel has a nice look to it in person and the swatch is a nice addition. I picked up a lot deal on Severson last summer and a few other singles here and there that I will share as part of my new PC.

I am a big fan of this kid and feel from what I have seen is he's a poor man's Aaron Ekblad and I believe both him and Adam Larsson would be great cornerstones to the Devils rebuild on the blueline. Time will tell what his potential truly is but in the meantime I am enjoying collecting him so please keep an eye out for future posts!

Previous Severson Cards:

The Cup

Fleer Showcase

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson

How often is it a person gets to die twice in a career? Sadly in this case both times were far too young. There seems to be much death in the celebrity world in the past 12 months and for me personally Scott Weiland, David Bowie and now Prince have all been big blows to me. Prince is probably the one I took the hardest because I have been a fan of his for as long as I can remember and have always loved his music. One album I am very fond of commemorates his first death when he switched from Prince to The Artist...

Sadly he passed away again yesterday well before his time and I hope everyone who was a fan gets a chance to reflect on how amazing his career was. His music was revolutionary and spanned many genres and generations. Rap music sampled his music, artists covered his songs and he penned many other songs for other artists. In his time on this planet he made some of the best music of all-time in my opinion and while he was known for many things, I will always remember him as an amazing guitar player. See example below:

The solo in this song is epic in my opinion!

The other thing I will remember him for is his songwriting abilities and one of my favourites that many may not have heard of is a song called Gold.

A few years ago, Prince came to Halifax and I was hemming and hawing on whether or not to go. I asked a few friends if they'd consider going and sadly no one wanted to so in the end I decided to go on my own. The tickets were pretty high up but in the Metro Centre in Halifax only seats about 10 000 so bad seats are few and far between so I was able to enjoy myself and see a pretty amazing show that would have impressed even the hardest working man in show business. The atmosphere was electric and it was like Prince was running a non-stop dance party. People were on their feet most of the night and he played a pretty solid set.

November 30, 2011

  1. (The Cars cover)
  2. (The Time cover)
  3. (Michael Jackson cover)
  4. (Bob Dylan cover)
  5. Sampler set
  6. Encore:
  7. Encore 2:
  8. Encore 3:
  9. Encore 4:
  10. (Sylvester cover)
Thanks Prince for everything and hope you are working your magic in the afterlife!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

11-12 Crown Royale Ryan Ellis Rookie Silhouettes Auto /99

The second one I grabbed with my money from the aforementioned sale was another Crown Royale auto rookie of a defenseman but this time it's one of my PC guys, Ryan Ellis. 

11-12 Crown Royale Ryan Ellis Rookie Silhouettes Auto /99
Here is another example of Crown Royale's Rookie Silhouettes and I think it's a beauty. What had happened was I wanted to use the money to help my PC of Ryan Ellis and when I saw this card I wondered if the seller had any other cool cards and the Gudbranson was an addition to my order. In the end I was super pleased with both cards and the Ellis is by far the centerpiece of the order. 

For those who are wondering, Ryan Ellis has made some excellent strides this past season hitting career highs in goals (10), assists, (22) and points (32). It is this consistency that in some ways made Seth Jones expendable and helped bring in some much needed scoring up front and Nashville looks to be a serious contender this post-season!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

11-12 Crown Royale Erik Gudbranson Rookie Silhouettes Auto /99

Last summer I helped my neighbour out by selling a couple cards from my collection to him so he could give the cards as gifts to his nephews. One of those cards was able to net me two Rookie Silhouettes and this is the first of those two.

11-12 Crown Royale Erik Gudbranson Rookie Silhouettes Auto /99
While I never bought a box or a pack of this stuff, I do enjoy the Rookie Silhouettes a great deal and have a few in my collection now. The swatch is a nice 3 colour jersey piece that really pops out and the autograph is large and very visible. Erik was a member of the 2011 Canadian U20 team and helped them to a silver medal. Erik was a 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft and really have developed into a spectacular shutdown defenseman for the Panthers who logs over 20 min a game on the blueline. He isn't going to wow with offensive numbers but he does help out on occasion and as he grows and matures I could see him chipping in a bit more as his career progresses. This is my first Gudbranson auto rookie and was on my to-do list for a while. I was able to add another blueliner with my proceeds from the card sale and I will share that in a future post.

Friday, April 15, 2016

97-98 BAP Joe Thornton Auto "Rookie"

So with the playoff now underway and nearly all teams have played at least one game, my sentimental favourite to win the Cup is Joe Thornton. Don't get my wrong there are a few other teams I would like to see win the Stanley Cup over the Sharks (namely Chicago (my second team), Panthers (I enjoy their rise to success), Nashville (Ryan Ellis) ) but Joe has always been there in the NHL working hard and has done much of it with a level of class and professionalism (if you don't mind forgetting about Hertl's four goal game).

One project that has really hit the backburner is my attempt at all 250 cards in the 97-98 BAP autograph set. At the moment I am about half way there with a few of the big names missing and in the last year I was able to cross one off and with the Sharks winning last night I felt it was a good time to share this one.

97-98 BAP Joe Thornton Auto
I use the term "rookie" in quotes because while this card is from his rookie season, during the 90's it was very common for companies to try and poach rookies before they were rookies in the NHL. The most classic case is Eric Lindros but many others were poached by Upper Deck thanks to their license with Team Canada.

This is my second Thornton auto, my first is on coaster of his Junior B team thanks to an ex-girlfriend who was a high school buddy of Joe's. I like this card a great deal because it has his old number 6 on it and it helps me get one step closer to completely my set.

For those of you who's teams are no longer in contention, do you have any back up teams or sentimental favourites for this post-season?

Friday, April 8, 2016

13-14 Totally Certified Boone Jenner Auto Jersey Rookie

13-14 brought it's fair share of rookies and rookie cards. Being the final year of the dual license and dual rookie class meant rookies galore for collectors. Boone Jenner is one rookie a few years ago that some collectors might have had on their radar but probably for the most part were caught up in plenty of others to pay him much attention.

I have known about Boone ever since his OHL days thanks to a few hits from ITG Heroes and Prospects and as a result have had a bit of a soft spot for this power forward. This past season has been a spectacular one for him personally and even The Hockey News has given him some praise on his season to remember.  With 2 games to go, Boone has 30 goals and 48 points and I believe this is just the beginning of many 30 goals seasons for the 22 year old sniper. Here is one of two auto rookies I picked up in the last year and a bit.

13-14 Totally Certified Boone Jenner Auto Jersey Rookie
This is one of the few times I really appreciate a nice white swatch. It almost pops out of the card. The design of the card isn't too hard on the eyes and apart from the card not being numbered there really isn't much to complain about it. 

 This season of Boone's has brought additional joy to an old hit of his that I am going to share once again!
11-12 ITG Heroes and Prospects Boone Jenner Game Used Number Black /6

Congrats on the great season Boone. I am looking forward to seeing how your career progresses and perhaps you can help bring Columbus the success that has so far alluded it as a franchise.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Pair of Killer Blueliner Autos

Growing up in the 90's provided me a chance to see the game of hockey change drastically. In the early 90's a point a game player was my mental cutoff between an offensive star and an average player. During the 92-93 season, 69 players scored 75 points or more that season giving nearly all of them a point a game average. Eric Lindros had 75 point in 61 games that year and Gary Roberts had 79 points in 58 games. Even Kelly Kisio who wasn't known as a superstar had 78 points in 78 games. By the end of the 90's, the 98-99 season would only see 15 players score 75 points or more and the scoring would never be much higher than that going forward. Even this season with the final week getting underway, we have 8 players who have 75 points and the potential for a couple more but that's about it.

What has not changed however for the past couple decades is the importance of having a defenseman who can make a difference at both ends of the ice and that is what today's post is all about. One of the best defenseman of all-time in Al MacInnis and one of the best in today's game with Victor Hedman.

2013-14 Titanium Game Worn Gear Auto Al MacInnis /50
Al MacInnis will always be remembered in my head as a Calgary Flame but I am more than willing to accept him as a St. Louis Blue too since he spent 10 seasons there. Al scored 10 goals or more 19 times which is very impressive and it would have been 20 probably had there not been a lockout shortened season in 94-95. Al is without a doubt one of the biggest reasons the Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989 and he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after leading the NHL in postseason scoring with 31 points in just 22 games.

2013-14 Titanium Game Worn Gear Auto Victor Hedman /50
Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year and fell just short to the Chicago Blackhawks. Even with a healthy Tyler Johnson and co it's hard to say they would have had enough in the tank to take Chicago but it definitely would have been a closer series. During the postseason of 2015, Victor Hedman was a rock and he played some of the best hockey of his career. Statistically, he averaged nearly 24 minutes per game and finished 4th in assists with 13 during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was also second in +/- with 11 just behind Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith.

Al MacInnis had one of those careers that most people envy and any rookie starting in the NHL would love to live. Victor is just part way through his and how well it will end only time will tell. At the beginning this year it looked like Tampa could be a force to be reckoned with and for periods of time this season I would say it's true.However in the past couple days it looks like they will be making the attempt at a second straight Stanley Cup Finals without their marquee sniper Steven Stamkos who is out with a blood clot for a period of 1-3 months which could very well mean we have seen the last of him in a Lightning uniform. Thankfully for Lightning fans, Hedman is under contract for one more season before he too will hit the market as a UFA.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

08-09 SPX Winning Combos Bobby Hull/Dale Hawerchuk Game Used

Do you ever find a killer card online and find yourself checking out the seller's other items just to see if there was something out there you didn't know you needed until you saw it? Well need is a pretty arbitrary word and I am sure I need more cards about as much as I need a hole in the head (my parent's words not mine) but truth is you never know sometimes until you look. This card was one that I discovered in such a fashion and was able to land it for a couple dollars as a combined purchase.

08-09 SPX Winning Combos Bobby Hull/Dale Hawerchuk Game Used
I think this card is a great idea. Two former Jets who are both members of the Hall of Fame. The best Jet from the WHA days meets the best Jet from the NHL days. If Bobby held on for a few more seasons he could have even played with Dale, how great would that have been? After scorching the WHA for 303 goals and 638 points in just 411 games, Bobby was not the same player he was after the WHA folded and decided to call it quits after one season in the NHL split between the Whalers and Jets.

Dale Hawerchuk is the NHL Jets all-time leader in Goals (379), Points (929), and Power Play Goals (122). He is second in Assists with (550), 3 behind Tomas Steen and second in Game Winning Goals with 29, 2 behind Doug Smail. Dale would eventually get traded and put up some great numbers in Buffalo before making stops in St. Louis and Philadelphia. 

So I am not sure if you are wondering this, but I will pretend you are...Is that actually a Bobby Hull Jets jersey?

Well, lets look at the back, specifically the guarantee. 

I have professed this on a few occasions, I am NOT an English major. In fact, I am not the best writer by a long shot, but I do believe I am reasonably literate and I am going to hope the person making the text on these cards understands the rules of the English language. Based on those assumptions, I am left with the idea that Dale's blue swatch is event worn (Jets Alumni game perhaps) but more importantly Hull's swatch is game worn! Now I could be wrong and they just listed the Game-Used first because its more exciting but I want to think the Hull is actually game worn. 

If you look at his swatch it is definitely an older style jersey piece and would work for the time period in question. My only concern is he played just 18 games for the Jets that season and I am not sure how many jerseys he had for that time period and Hawerchuk swatches are plentiful so why would they use an event used one? 

In the end I have the rules of the English language and appearances supporting Hull Game-Used and I have probability theory supporting Hull Event-Used. I may never know which is right but my heart wants to believe that swatch is Game-Worn so I will go with that for now but of course always welcome your opinions too!

Friday, April 1, 2016

11-12 Dominion Adam Larsson Auto Patch Rookie /99

One question I get asked all the time, why are you a Devils fan? While I have a fun story about that, my answer should be because the hockey cards are cheaper! One thing I truly believe is if Adam Larsson was on the roster of the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Montreal Canadiens his cards would probably sell for more than twice the value they do as a Devil and fan base is a huge factor in that. However, exposure is one too. What I have had the privilege to see him do on a nightly basis has me a believer in why he was such a highly touted pick.

NHL defensemen are very similar to wine in my opinion (this coming from a guy that doesn't touch the stuff). Some are fantastic right from the start but as their careers progress, there is little to no improvement in their game and in some cases there may even be a regression. Others seem to just get better year after year. Look at Victor Hedman or Scott Niedermayer. Both highly touted picks and both had a little mud slung in their direction early in their career but both get better year after year and by the end of it Hedman is getting some votes for the Norris and Scott is a HOFer.

I am not sure what the ceiling is on this kid but with the Devils looking to improve and rebuild, Larsson will hopefully be a fixture of the defense corps for many seasons to come and potentially take over Andy Greene as the go to man on the back end.

11-12 Dominion Adam Larsson Auto Patch Rookie /99
When it comes to Dominion, the 2011-12 design is by far my favourite and I love that the print run on these are just /99 copies. The swatch I was able to get here was pretty sweet too (3 colour) and is part of the Devils emblem on the front of the jersey.

For how much I like the front, I am a little disappointed with the back side. I am not against the obscure facts and in fact welcome them but zero stats or vital info is a big negative to me. Plus is it just me or did you always find seeing a plain old Panini emblem instead of a hologram or foil somewhat underwhelming?

Well despite the lack luster backside, the front more than makes up for it and this card is a nice addition to my collection for a price that I felt I could pay any day and all day (less than the price of a blaster).