Monday, January 23, 2012

Lars Eller Autographed Card

I had originally sent Lars Eller the three following cards, on November 19th, 2011:
Today I received this one back, signed in black sharpie:
... and the other two unsigned. Whether that means he doesn't like Panini or Score cards or just signs one at a time, I'm unsure.

To many, Eller is the promising center the Montréal Canadiens got from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for playoff hero goalie Jaroslav Halak. To others, he's the 4-goal man from a month and a half ago.

To me, he's the heir to Tomas Plekanec as the all-around quality two-way center who can rack up nearly a point per game regardless of who he is playing with. In a few years, of course.

In the meantime, he can continue on his quest to be the best Danish player in NHL history.

The card he did sign was from Upper Deck's beautiful 2011-12 Victory set, and is card #105 in the collection.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Phil Kessel And Nikolai Kulemin Dual Jersey Card

I seem to collect these dual Phil Kessel jersey cards, don't I? Well, I don't. So this one and the one linked in the previous sentence are for trade, if anyone's interested. For reason of Leafs and Bruins...

Phil Kessel is currently proving he is a first-line sniper in the NHL because the Toronto Maple Leafs are no longer a laughingstock... although they are a far cry from where they were when the season started. He will be participating in his second straight All Star Game later this month and played in his 400th NHL game in December against... his former team, the Boston Bruins.

Nikolai Kulemin is currently in his fourth season with the Leafs after they chose him in the second round in 2006. He managed to rack up 30 goals and 57 points last year, which is pretty impressive considering he played with Mikhail Grabovski all season long.

This card, from Upper Deck's 2010-11 SPX set, the Winning Combos sub-set (card #WC-KK). The piece of jersey belonging to Kessel is white while Kulemin's is blue, and both are guaranteed to have been used in an official game.

Again, it's for trade.

Miki Black Autograph Card

Benchwarmer's 2011 Vault set was advertised as a means for the brand to liquidate past redemption products it still had in stock as inserts, with added brand-new autograph cards to boot. This is card #14 in their ''recycled-image-for-new-autograph-card'' sub-set.

Miki Black - formerly known as Miki Twinning - is a model who has appeared in such TV shows as Entourage, Manswers, CSI: New York and Las Vegas and has recently started a rock band in which she sings and plays guitar. She has a B.F.A. in Commercial Art/Computer Design from Millikin University (Illinois), though, so she's more than just a pretty face.

But what usually catches most people's eye is her attraction to problems, namely alcohol, drugs, and a propensity for drama which allegedly can turn into failed suicide attempts, according to a guy who claims to be her ex. He has written this very public open letter to her, probaly trying to catch a bit of the vapors from her success:
My name is John Hofman & in 1991 I dated a sexy little lady whos name was Miki Twining , now known as Miki Black. She was one little hell cat for sure. I could tell you some tells ,but for now I wanted to share how very srewed up mentaly , she was.
     At the time she was taking Lithium & on 2 occassions she slit her wrists . Once sitting on my couch she took a knife & stabbe herself in the leg. Another time while driving down the street she opened the door ( she was driving ) & hung outside the car & was being drug down the street.
        I realy loved that girl but I got caught up in her problems & ended a mess myself. The thing I will always remeber was when she looked me in the eye & said " I am evil & you do not want to fall in love with me "
       I just recently found out that she is now Miki Black , the model. I hope & pray she is doing good & has overcome whatever problems that haunted her back then. If for any reason Miki should read this , I want to say how very sorry I am that I could not love her & care for her as she needed because of my own problems with drugs & alcahol . I hope you will forgive me & know I will always love you . 
                                                       John S Hofman
 Good luck, man.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

David Desharnais: 2 Autographed Cards

This season, David Desharnais has arguably been the Montréal Canadiens' top center. A star playmaker since his days in juniors, where he captained the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, he went undrafted because of his diminutive stature (5'7'', 177 pounds) but was signed as a free agent after a tryout with the Habs, then promptly shipped to the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones, where he dominated, gathering 106 points in 68 games (plus 33 more in 22 playoff games) to win league MVP, Rookie OF The Year, First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team awards and leading his team to the championship.

He then spent the next two seasons with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, scoring 24 goals and 58 points in his rookie year in 2008-09, then 78 points in 60 games to lead the team in 2009-10. Last year, he had collected 45 points in 35 games with the Bulldogs before getting called up with the Habs, where he's been ever since.

The card on top, showing him in the Bulldogs' white uniform is from In The Game's 2009-10 Heroes And Prospects set (card #43), while the one on the bottom, in the Habs' white jersey, is from Panini's 2011-12 Score (card #252). Both are signed in blue sharpie, with his jersey number from the card tagged at the end, 36 and 58 respectively, both rare feats considering he generally wore #51 at all professional levels. The cards were signed in person at a pre-season game in Québec City (one before, one after); a fellow collector traded these to me in exchange for some basketball (2) and football (1) autographed insert cards.

I'm a big fan of this little man, and I hope to send him some TTM cards soon as well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brian Engblom Autographed Card

A few weeks ago, I participated in a contest organized by the reference in hockey card collecting, Sal Barry. And I won, kind of: I did answer correctly, but wasn't the first to do so. He did send me this magnificent consolation prize, though: an autographed 1981-82 Topps Brian Engblom card (card #10 in the set manufactured by Topps).

It is signed in black sharpie and I'm pretty sure he got it through the mail, as can be attested by his other Engblom success, which includes a nice back story on how he's now a very interesting colour commentator. He mentions writing to him in the future, and that post does have the same card, but signed in blue, so I assume mine is from a later shipment.

I would like to thank Sal publicly - for being a really nice guy through contests like these, but also for being the reference we all follow through his Q&A section - as well as for the fact that he's always available to answer any new questions we might have.

And since I was born in the late 70s, I don't really have many memories of Engblom as a member of the Montréal Canadiens, with whom he won 3 Stanley Cups. Instead, I view him more as a King or Capital; thanks to Sal for making Engblom a member of my hometown team in my mind from now on!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Colin Kaepernick Jersey Card

Colin Kaepernick is a young quarterback with a cannon arm and his name in the record books already, for having passed 10,000+ yards and rushed for 4,000+ more - the only QB to do so in FBS history while with the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, he will have a shot at joining the ranks of 49ers immortal QBs such as Joe Montana and Steve Young.

This card was a steal on Ebay at 99 cents. It is card #5 of Panini's 2011 Absolute Memorabilia set, numbered 6/50. It contains a piece of clothing - likely the pants considering the seam - that he wore at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere, specifically on May 21st 2011. I like that Panini went out of its way to include the date, it shows attention to the product and care for the fan - and an added touch of authenticity.

Mathieu Carle Autographed Card

For a few years, Mathieu Carle was considered the Montréal Canadiens' top prospect on defense, ahead of such players as Mark Streit, Yannick Weber and even P.K. Subban. Unfortunately, freak injuries at two three consecutive training camps where he looked poised for a roster spot have turned him into one of those ''probably-too-good-for-the-AHL'' players who'll never get a full-time position in the NHL because of a stall in his development and... a lack of experience caused by little more than bad luck.

The Habs traded his rights to the Anaheim Ducks in July 2011 in an attempt to give him a shot somewhere else. I would have loved for him to be sent to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he could have been paired with... their Matt Carle. ''Matt Carle to Matt Carle, back to Matt Carle''... that would have been priceless.

Here's what Hockey's Future has to say about Mathieu Carle:
Carle is a strong offensive presence from the blue line, with good skating and strong puck-handling ability. He can tend to get a little too focused on his offensive game, though, and will occasionally neglect his defensive responsibilities. When he does focus on his own end, he is willing to drop in front of shots, and is good positionally. However, that is when he does. Consistency and focus is an issue with Carle’s play. He has good size, and is willing to get his nose dirty from time to time, but will have to use his size more effectively, and more regularly, in order to intimidate the opposition. 
Carle has the talent to be a top four defenseman in the professional ranks. Whether or not he can get the focus to attain the level of his ability is another matter. He will look to further improve his defensive game, while cutting back on needless penalties.
This card is from Upper Deck's 2009-10 Series 2 set (card #472). He signed it for me (in blue sharpie, adding his jersey number, 72) after a practice at training camp prior to the 2010-11 season where he... suffered a freak injury for the third straight year.