Saturday, May 23, 2020

18-19 Upper Deck SP Evan Bouchard /25

Despite my previous post about the gamble with opening product, the truth is I still buy the odd pack here or there but much of what you will see has occurred over the past year and a half (and at a rate significantly less that I have at any point in my life). If I do buy a product it's usually where the cost is low or the promise of reward is congruent with my beliefs. One product that came out at the end of last year was Upper Deck SP. Not to be confused with SP Authentic.

The analogy that I will use is think of SP Authentic as Coca-Cola or Pepsi. It's the name brand flashy version of soda and SP is the RC Cola or Great Value version. Both have their markets and I personally think both are great. However, SP Authentic carries a pretty high pack and box price where SP can be had for much less. SP delivers some neat rookies and rookie parallels and offers a nice bang for your buck which had me drawn in. While they don't have the resale value of SP Authentic's Future Watch, I personally wasn't buying packs for that.

I bought a couple packs from my local Walmart and was fortunate to his this card:

18-19 Upper Deck SP Evan Bouchard Rookie Authentics /25

Simple SP Authentic inspired design here, sticker auto which is a detractor for some but not me. It's very low print run is one think all people can get behind. 

I love the back. Stats, vitals and a guarantee. Can't ask for much more.

Evan Bouchard was drafted 10th overall in 2018 and is considered a blue-chip prospect. He put together an excellent junior career playing for the juggernaut London Knights in the OHL and you can see his second last season on the back of this card. He'd return for more "seasoning" where he'd score 53 points in 45 games and another 21 points in 11 playoff games and another 8 points in 8 playoff games with the Condors. This past season he played all his games in the AHL and has put up a very respectable 36 points in 54 games which is good enough for a tie for second in team scoring and tops among their d-men.

This success is far from a given as many players who have done well in junior have had trouble translating it to NHL success, especially when a player has benefitted from other talent on the team. For example, Aaron Berisha scored 45 goals one season with the Knights (good enough for second just behind Christian Dvorak) would never get drafted, play university hockey in Canada before heading to Austria.

When it comes to Evan, I think he will make it to the point he will be an NHL player for good and a good one at that. He has the potential to be the best defenseman on the Oilers or at the best least their go-to offensive defenseman. When you add him with the weapons they already possess you get the feeling they could be as good as Sid, Gino and Letang were and still are. Time will tell but I do feel good about this prediction. Thanks for stopping by and see you next post.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

In The Game Really Had Game

Since 1910 hockey cards have existed in many different configurations and the evolution over the past 110 years has shown collectors many advancements. Are those advancements good ones? Since 2000 when In The Game made history but cutting up history for their 2000-01 Be A Player Memorabilia Set collectors and fans have had mixed feelings. As a whole, I'd say it has been positive as many more sets would feature "memorabilia" pieces embedded in cards and there is a whole culture of collectors who live and breathe "APRs".

There has also been cards on CD, virtual cards and many other different iterations. Autographs on card, on sticker and even pieces of table clothes and banners from special NHL events. Personally, I like some of the changes but there are many I can live without. However, for ever fan out there who dislikes much of this stuff, there are others who use products like e-Pack all the time and strive to complete rainbows and chase "Bounties".

I have become disillusioned a bit by the many products that are out there today which really are just repeats of other ideas that were lukewarm received at best the first time. Is it laziness in companies like Upper Deck or is it just a case where collectors really only care about the top 5% players in the league and the rest are nothing more than just filler cards? Once upon a time the jersey card was a chase card which was the result of truly beating some incredible odds. Today even low production numbered jersey cards from high end products leave you with a card that may be worth no more than a couple bucks on the secondary market. Collecting isn't necessarily about the money but for a fan of someone like Duncan Keith, what motivation is there to drop 200 bucks on a box when you could just by that card for 5 bucks on eBay? The answer is simple, gambling. The hope you could land the $1000 autograph or rookie that box is potentially hiding.

As a person who has always loved vintage, this has just confirmed for me that vintage cards are one way to keep my passion going when it comes to the hobby and there really is no shortage of very cool and very fun vintage sets out there. However, not all modern cards are junk. I also have found myself appreciating the many cards that In The Game has put out over the years (specifically from 2000-2015). So today I am going to share one such card.

2009-2010 ITG Superlative Vol 2 Milt Schmidt Patch SP /15

The front of this card is what truly makes this a winner and for what the back is lacking in my opinion the front is making up for it. You get a good photo of Milt on the front and you are coupling it with an amazing patch which you can completely picture where it came from on his jersey. What you don't see is loads of foiling and modern embellishments which you get on many cards today. 

 Here is the back side of the card. Very plain and while I'd love to see something about Milt or at least some vitals, you are treated to a write up explaining what you are seeing on the front of the card. Try and find that on most modern cards today. I have both bought and pulled cards which did leave me puzzled wondering what article of clothing or gear was my "player worn" piece originated as when it was on the player.

As I finish up this post I want to make something very clear, I am not shitting on any one company or any one collector. If there is something out there you like/love, chase it, collect it and don't let the opinions of others diminish your enjoyment of that pursuit. For myself, I have changed over the past couple years and while I still appreciate the memorabilia card, the need to own 30-40 pieces of a single player definitely isn't there anymore. With that being said, please keep enjoying your finds and successes and I will continue to do so myself and share them on here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Forgotten Records

If you were to ask the typical NHL fame, many would be able to tell you who has the NHL record for most points in a game. Darryl Sittler's magical night happened Feb 7th 1976 when he scored 10 points (6G, 4A) against the Bruins. Sure many have come close but no one, not even the Great One equalled this number.

In the AHL, the single game record has stood for so long even the Leafs have won a Cup or three since then. Art Stratton put up an impressive 9 assist performance on St. Patrick's Day 1963 against the lowly Pittsburgh Hornets. Despite his impressive point per game production (1.14 ppg) based on 766 points in 669 ganes, he'd never get much time in the NHL.

This takes us now to the WHA. The most point in a WHA game record belongs to Jim Harrison who matched Sittler with an amazing 10 point performance (3G, 7A) against the New York Raiders nearly three years before Sittler's 10 spot. Jim being no stranger to setting records apparently set a record (I discovered while researching background on this) he scored the fastest natural hattrick in WHL history scoring 3 goals in 24 seconds.

1970-71 OPC Jim Harrison RC

Jim would have a better NHL opportunity than Art Stratton as he'd see 324 games of NHL action compared to 232 WHA games. While his NHL production wouldn't match his WHA, he'd put up some fine numbers including a career high of 41 points in just 60 games with the Blackhawks during the 76/77 season.

What are some forgotten records that stand out to you?