Friday, October 20, 2017

Scott Lachance Autographed Card

Scott Lachance came into the NHL as a highly-touted offensive defenseman from Boston College, ranked second behind Eric Lindros by NHL Scouting in 1991; he eventually fell to fourth-overall (New York Islanders), with Pat Falloon and Scott Niedermayer chosen ahead of him.

He would flourish in today's NHL, with a perfect first pass and good foot speed, and not too much of a liability in his own zone - a bit like a cross between Nathan Beaulieu, Justin Schultz and Dmitry Kulikov - but his relative lack of production (only one 20-point season, 24, coming in his rookie year in 1992-93) often relegated him to a second- or third-pairing role, and to the second wave of any powerplay.

At the time, I thought his 6 points in 57 games with the Montréal Canadiens in 1999-2000 were bad (then again, the entire team was terrible), but his five points and -43 record in 138 games spread over two seasons (2002-04) with the Columbus Blue Jackets probably takes the cake. It was during that time that he signed card #369 from Fleer's 1993-94 Fleer Ultra Series 2 card for me in blue sharpie:
It shows him wearing the Isles' classic blue (then-away) uniform.

Following his two disappointing seasons in Columbus and the NHL lockout, he didn't play at all during the 2004-05 season, then spent one season in Swtzerland with the Kloten Flyers and a final turn in North America with the AHL's Lowell Devils. He then remained with the New Jersey Devils' organization and is currently a scout for the team.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Duncan Siemens Jersey Card

Duncan Siemens is a 24-year-old stay-at-home, 6'3", 210-pound defenseman who is probably on the verge of breaking out and earning a regular spot on the Colorado Avalanche, or at least it would seem so since the team extended him a qualifying offer last summer. He was their second first-round pick (11th overall) in 2011, after they chose Gabriel Landeskog with the second-overall selection.

Back in Juniors, starring with the WHL's Saskatoon Blades, Siemerns was viewed as a smooth skater with a good first pass and a punishing mean streak - which remains true. That being said, he didn't make Patrick Roy's Avs squad because his stick-handling was problematic (and the team had enough trouble coming out of its own zone, Roy didn't want to risk it further by having one guy be susceptible to turnovers if opponents put enough pressure on him), and while he looks good skating for a big guy, making big strides, he's not the fastest skater.

I do feel that he can still develop into a sort of Marc Methot-type, which is very good in and of itself, although it lacks justification for having been selected ahead of the likes of Sven Baertschi (13th), Oscar Klefbom (19th), John Gibson (39th), Brandon Saad (43rd), Markus Granlund (45th), Xavier Ouellet (48th), Nikita Kucherov (58th), Vincent Trocheck (64th), and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (96th).

Here he is wearing the WHL's All-Star uniform on card #SSM-38 from In The Game's 2012-13 Heroes And Prospects set and Game-Used Jersey sub-set:
It features a huge red game-worn jersey swatch from his uniform in the 2012 Subway Super Series. It's the "Black" version of the card.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Box Break: 2017-18 Artifacts Blaster Box

I went to Walmart today to buy a blaster box of 2017-18 Artifacts hockey cards by Upper Deck, which I had seen the last time I was there but opted not to buy, unsure whether it was worth it to pay $30 plus tax ($35) for 40 cards.

After mulling it over for more than a week, I went for it.

It seems like UD's running out of ideas with their designs, as these white-background cards are similar to SP sets from a decade ago, simple and uncluttered, sure, but not as impressive as the Artifacts sets of that time:
The backs (right) still show up to five seasons of NHL stats and the picture on the front (left) fades to white at the bottom - perfect for autograph seekers such as myself. Of note that the back has a cropped version of the same picture that can be found up front.

Out of 40 cards, the only "insert" I pulled was this ruby version of Colin White's rookie card:
It's numbered 20/399 and features a nice close-up of the young prospect.

On the plus side, the cards remain as thick as they've always been, and despite their apparent lack of originality, are still pleasing to the eye. The box I bought contained 8 packs of 5 cards apiece (again, for some $30) but this link gets you a retail box of 24 five-card packs for $65, with jersey cards coming in at a 1:24 clip, so likely better odds and pulls than I got here.

I still like the thick, premium feel of these cards, and they still look better than most sets. I guess I was hoping for better (or more) "hits", but I was glad to fall onto 11 cards of players from Canadian teams, which I usually find easier to get signed. And the cards are still extremely sign-able with the design that gives the pictures room to breathe.

I wish you better pulls. I still rate this one a 8/10.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

5-Pack Break: 2017-18 Upper Deck Tim Hortons

Another Autumn, another food-based hockey set, namely Upper Deck's 2017-18 Tim Hortons series:
At $2 a pop for 3 cards (or one pack at $1 per beverage purchase), it's still a tad on the expensive side, but they look great, so much so that the Tim Horton one looks like it's extremely low-resolution in comparison to the Connor McDavid:
Each pack contains two base cards and one insert; my base card list reads as follows thus far:

1. Tim Horton
2. Duncan Keith
11. Anze Kopitar 
25. William Nylander
38. Nikolaj Ehlers
49. Bo Horvat
64. Mikael Granlund 
84. Steven Stamkos
97. Connor McDavid
98. David Pastrnak

Among the inserts that are back from previous years is the Game Day Action sub-set, of which I pulled a Max Pacioretty commemorating his first career four-goal game:
The young players have an altered sub-set now titled Clear Cut Phenoms, of which I pulled Patrik Laine, which I have already seen sell online at around $20 a pop:
Among new sub-sets is Stat Makers, which has golden foil, as seen on this Sean Monahan card (the silver in the scan actually looks gold in real life):
And, in celebration of the NHL's Centennial, the checklist cards this year feature players who were chosen among the league's Top 100; Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby fit the bill:
All told, they still look pretty cool.

Completing the set will probably almost prove impossible again, and many of the players featured are stars too "big" to sign autographs for adults like myself, but the cards do look really cool.

I'll rate this one a solid 8.5/10.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hedo Turkoglu Swatch Card

Hedo Turkoglu played in the NBA for 15 years, 8 of them with the Orlando Magic, so it's fitting that when I opened a multi-sport repack box with "guaranteed hits", that would be the team I would pull a card of his with:
That's card #72 from Panini's 2011-12 Past & Present set and Gamers sub-set, featuring a two-colour swatch. I find it ironic that basketball jerseys are small and sleeveless while hockey jerseys are big enough to conceal equipment and keep warm, yet basketball jersey swatches sometimes take nearly the entire card and hockey jerseys are a square inch in size.

Turkoglu was born in Istanbul in 1979 and retired from basketball in 2015, earning the NBA's Most Improved Player title in 2007-08 and helping the Magic reach the Finals in 2009 along the way.

He also played for the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. Apparently, his time in Toronto was pretty hectic. Heh.

Monday, October 2, 2017

My Sens Numbers Project: An Introduction

Has it really come to this, a gimmick worth repeating many times over, after my initial Habs Numbers Project and my Oilers Numbers Project?

Actually, it's more that I realized I had a lot of this one down already: so far, I have featured 37/70 numbers used in previous posts:

1: Damian Rhodes: check!
2: Lance Pitlick and Jared Cowen: heck!
3: Zdeno Chara: jersey card check!
4: Chris Phillips: check (and once more)!
5: Christoph Schubert: check!
6: Wade Redden: check!
7: Randy Cunneyworth: check!
9: Milan Michalek: check!
10: Brandon Bochenski: check!
11: Daniel Alfredsson: check!
12: Mike Fisher: check (and once more)!
14: Andrej Meszaros and Colin Greening: check!
16: Brian McGrattan, Bobby Butler, Clarke MacArthur, and Mark Stone: check!
19: Jason Spezza: check! (also wore #44 and #39)
21: Dennis Vial: check!
22: Shaun Van Allen: check!
24: Stéphane Da Costa: check!
25: Bruce Gardiner: check!
27: Janne Laukkanen: check!
30: Brian Elliott: check!
31: Peter Sidorkiewicz: check! (also Alex Auld)
33: Jakob Silfverberg and Pascal Leclaire: check!
38: Erik Condra: check! (also wore #22)
39: Matt Carkner: check!
40: Robin Lehner: check! (also Jeff Glass and Patrick Lalime)
41: Craig Anderson: check!
43: Roman Wick: check!
44: Jason Spezza: check! (also wore #19) (also, Jean-Gabriel Pageau)
46: Patrick Wiercioch: check!
47: André Benoit: check!
53: Ilya Zubov: check!
57: Derek Grant: check!
59: David Dziurzynski: check!
61: Mark Stone: check!
62: Eric Gryba: check!
65: Erik Karlsson: jersey card check!
74: Mark Borowiecki: check!
89: Cory Conacher: check!

Captains: Cunneyworth, Alfredsson.

I'll reiterate that I'm looking for collectibles - ideally signed cards, but also signed pictures or, at the very least, jersey cards of players from every possible Sens jersey number that has been worn.

Here are examples of things I'll be featuring soon - or am looking to add to the list:

13: Peter Regin, Vinny Prospal or Ted Drury I remember
15: I would prefer Shawn McEachern, but Dany Heatley or Zack Smith would do
17: Jody Hull, Filip Kuba and David Legwand are the most famous
18: Marian Hossa will be in the HoF some day, but current wearer Jim O'Brien works too
20: Antoine Vermette or Marek Svatos are players I followed
23: Kaspars Daugavins' current number
26: André Roy, Vaclav Varada and Ryan Shannon have worn it
28: neither Zenon Konopka nor Matt Kassian replied to my TTMs
29: I could totally go for Martin Gerber and his black mask here
32: only Rob Ray and Daniel Berthiaume have ever worn this number
34: only Darren Rumble and Shane Hnidy have worn this one
35: only 5 goalies have worn this one, including Auld, Tom Barrasso and Mike Bales
36: only Josh Hennessy wore it for more than a few games
37: only Dean McAmmond wore it for more than one calendar year
42: Julien Vauclair would be cool for a goalie nerd like myself
45: only worn by Denis Hamel or Alexandre Picard
48: Jared Cowen wore it briefly
49: Michel Picard or Francis Lessard
51: Derek Smith
52: Colin Greening had it for a short spell
55: Sergei Gonchar never replied to my TTM, but Brian Lee also works
56: Lance Pitlick
58: Cody Bass, briefly
60: Mark Stone (who also wore 61)
68: Mike Hoffman
71: Nick Foligno
73: Guillaume Latendresse or Jarkko Ruutu
76: Radek Bonk
77: Joe Corvo
78: Pavol Demitra
82: Martin Straka
83: Ales Hemsky, very briefly
90: Alex Chiasson
91: Alexandre Daigle
93: Mike Zibanejad
94: Stan Neckar
97: Matt Gilroy

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mike Modano Jersey Card

The Dallas Stars overhauled everything they could this off-season: they let backup goalie Antti Niemi go and replaced him with two-time Vezina Trophy nominee Ben Bishop; they let oft-injured right winger Ales Hemsky test free agency (and, ultimately, sign with the Montréal Canadiens) and signed the Habs' best player, Alexander Radulov instead; they went and took Marc Methot - one of the best defensive defensemen in the game - off the Vegas Golden Knights' hands; they did not renew head coach Lindy Ruff's contract, instead picking up Ken Hitchcock, who was behind the bench for the franchise's lone Stanley Cup in 1999, with Ruff on the losing side of that, too; the only "not-win" they have on their summer report card is signing slow-footed Martin Hanzal essentially to replace Cody Eakin. Hanzal almost single-handedly cost the Minnesota Wild first place after a trade deadline deal last year, and didn't do much when they were eliminated in the playoffs either.

All those moves lead me to believe they might take a while to assimilate Hitchcock's system and gel, but that by entering the playoffs as a Wild Card team, they could do like the Nashville Predators last year and make their way to the Stanley Cup Final, perhaps even beating the Tampa Bay Lightning while they're there.

I like this team a lot more than I did the Cup-winning 1999 edition, who had players I didn't like too much at the time (Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull, captain and bruising defenseman Derian Hatcher, Pat Verbeek, Mike Keane), but a few guys I did respect a lot (Mike Modano, Brian Skrudland, Jere Lehtinen, Darryl Sydor, Dave Reid, Craig Ludwig, Benoît Hogue), and one guy I loved (Guy Carbonneau). I did prefer the Stars winning over Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres, though.

This time around, there are so many players I like. Sure, the new guys Methot, Radulov and Bishop are awesome, but so is Cup-deserving veteran Jason Spezza, captain Jamie Benn, star center Tyler Seguin, bruiser Antoine Roussel, and defensemen John Klingberg, Dan Hamhuis, and Julius Honka.

If they want to, they can ask Modano for guidance at any time, because he works for the team as its alternate governor as well as in advisory role.

Despite playing out his final season with his hometown Detroit Red Wings, he'll always be the Original Dallas Star to me, which is why I'm such a big fan of card #M-26 from In The Game's 2012-13 Decades - The 1990s set and Game-Used Jersey sub-set:
It depicts him wearing the team's original (in every sens of the word) star-shaped jersey and features a fairly big white game-worn jersey swatch.