Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mikael Backlund: 3 Autographed Cards

What a pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday, my second return of the year but first of my 2014 mailings. I had sent Mikael Backlund two regular cards and two I had custom-made on January 28th, 2014, and received three of them back a mere 27 days later (February 24th) - he kept one of the customs.

A first-round pick (24th overall) of the Calgary Flames in 2007, Backlund has been on a steady climb to greatness since his junior years, when he played in a men's league from age 16 onward. He has been named Player Of The Week in both the CHL and AHL and has improved each year in the NHL despite being on a low-scoring team, going from 1 goal and 10 points in 23 games in 2009-10 to 10 goals and 25 points in a full season (73 games) in 2010-11 to an injury-riddled 2011-12 in which he had 11 points through 41 games to last season's 16 points in 32 games in Calgary to go with his 30 points in 23 games in the Swedish Elite League. So far, he has 14 goals and 29 points in 57 games this year and ranks second in team scoring on one of the league's five worst-ranked teams.

I think he should have earned a spot on the Swedish Olympic roster, but playing for the Flames can be a deterrent for team selectors. Still, he has represented his country 5 times, winning bronze twice (2007 U-18 World Championships and 2010 World Championships) and silver three times (2008 and 2009 World Juniors, and 2011 World Championships).

At the 2011 Worlds, he had three goals and 5 points in 9 games. At the Juniors stage, he has 15 career goals and 22 points in 21 games. He will be a reliable, talented player for years to come, and I foresee a few All-Star Games on his resume before his career ends.

And now, onto the cards, which he all signed in silver sharpie with his jersey number (11) tagged at the end. First, showing him in the Flames' red (home) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1 set (card #165):
Then, showing him wearing the Flames' white (away) uniform, from Panini's 2013-14 Score set (card #59):
And finally, from what I have just now decided to call Hell's Kitchen's 2013-14 Series 1 (card #5B, the white-jersey variant in a retro ''mini'' size that I'll likely cut to show just the picture):
For this card, I was going for the style of the end-of-the-1980s O-Pee-Chee mini cards. They were my first attempt, and I only sent them out because I'd gone through the trouble of printing two of each, but my Series 2 looks much better, in general, with an actual design.

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