Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Box Break: 2013-14 Upper Deck Series 1

I touched upon purchasing two blaster boxes a couple of days ago when I reviewed my 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee box. Now it's time for the second one, Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1:
At roughly $25 for 64 cards, you want to get at least one good insert - I'm talking about about an autograph or jersey card; I got neither. Ebay could have easily netted me 3 of each for the same price... but I never learn.

Here is how it broke down:

Total cards: 64, plus an oversized Young Guns rookie card of Boone Jenner:
Young Guns: these two, probably the pulls of the box (Nathan MacKinnon's one of the bigger rookie names and should get me a quarter of my box money back, but I particularly like Alex Killorn, who grew up in Montréal and shares my birthday):
 UD Canvas: Frans Nielsen:
MVP: Ray Bourque (retired) and Mikael Granlund (Rookie):
Montréal Canadiens (my home team): 2: captain Brian Gionta (as usual) and David Desharnais:
All in all, it's a fine-looking set, with ample room for the in-action picture, the look and feel is classic Upper Deck - very glossy, roomy, and the back is also typical UD:
I'll see what the MacKinnon, Granlund and Jenner cards will net me and how many of the rest I can get autographed on my own, but one thing's for sure, I am more positive about my box break after writing this post than I was upon unwrapping it.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Box Break: 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee

Before I went to Ohio to visit my mom for Christmas, I went to my local drugstore for medical supplies for my trip, and two kinds of hockey cards were being sold at the cash register. Here is the first one, a blaster box of Upper Deck's 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee cards:
The bottom/back of the blaster box had this two-card ''sheet'', which is available for trade as is or cut without the box contours:
It also gives a decent idea of the regular set cards' design, which is reminiscent of the O-Pee-Chee sets of my youth, mixed with awful colour combinations.

 Here is how it broke down:

Total cards: 60

Stickers cards: Miikka Kiprusoff, plus this one of Paul Coffey:
Marquee Rookies: 5: Radko Gudas, Michal Jordan, Jon Rheault, Greg Pateryn, plus this one of Eric Selleck:
Rainbow Foil: Dwight King:
Retro Parallel: 4: Grant Clitsome, Ladislav Smid, Jack Skille, and this one of of Justin Peters:
Leaders: shutouts:
This useless, ugly checklist:
Retired players: 3 (including the Coffey sticker, 4 if you include Adrian Aucoin who retired after being unable to find a team for the season): Brett Hull (with the Dallas Stars, of all teams), and this one of Bryan Trottier):
Montréal Canadiens (my home team): 2: Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec, plus new-Hab George Parros in his Florida Panthers uniform.

All in all, despite the vomit-inducing colours and cardboard backs, I still like this set because the design reminds me of my childhood, and because it's the least-glossy set on the market, making it the most autograph-friendly, as does the fact that it contains 600 cards (100 rookies, 500 others).

I could do without the tons of cheap inserts and sub-sets (particularly the parallels), and would prefer the packs to be in the $1 range rather than $2-3, especially considering it's so cheap to manufacture, but it does what it should, in my opinion.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Keith Primeau Jersey Card

As I was putting my collection in order, I realized I had a Keith Primeau jersey card I hadn't featured before, though with the same white (home) Philadelphia Flyers uniform as a card I had. Last time it featured a black swatch, this time it's a white one, from Upper Deck's 2002-03 Vintage set (card #FS-KP of the Framed Sweaters sub-set):
It's a beautiful card, numbered 21/50, cleaner than the scan would lead to believe.

Primeau was one of those guys, a home team favourite but little-known elsewhere type of player, like Tomas Plekanec is these days. He was the captain of his team, and more often than not was the top centerman (except for his time with the Detroit Red Wings, where he fell behind both Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov).

He wasn't a point-per-game player (266 goals and 619 points in 909 regular-season games), but had his clutch moments, including two 73-point seasons, three 30-goal seasons, and two terrific postseasons (13 points in 18 games in 1999-2000, and 9 goals and 16 points in 18 games in 2003-04, inspiring the Tampa Bay Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier to adopt a tougher playing style, which got him to be named the 2004 World Cup MVP).

However, Primeau will always be remembered as one of many players whose career was cut short by concussions. He officially announced his retirement on my birthday (September 14th), in 2006, about a year after his last NHL game.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Trader/Collector Hall Of Fame: Sal

Last week, I arrived to a box that contained this:

9 figurines making up 69% of Provigo's 1989-90 Montréal Canadiens figurines set, namely Bob Gainey (23), Bobby Smith (15), Mats Naslund (26), Brian Skrudland (39), Stéphane Richer (44), and Russ Courtnall (6), as well as the still-wrapped Petr Svoboda (25), Mike McPhee (35) and Craig Ludwig (17).

Now I just need to get my hands on Patrick Roy (33), Guy Carbonneau (21), Shayne Corson (27) and Chris Chelios (24). It would have been easier, back in the day, to get my hands on the latter two if I was a good looking girl or a policeman after 3AM (I kid, I kid).

The figurines were sent to me by the best trader and collector out there, Sal. He sent them as a token of appreciation for my ''participation and help'' into writing his most recent piece in Beckett - fulfilling my life-long dream of having my name in the Beckett, though I thought it'd be as a player! - but, really, all I did was reminisce about collecting these in my childhood, and playing with them.

Every collector I write to, trade with, whose blogs I read, every single one of them has at least one, sometimes half-dozens of instances where Sal helped them out and sent out way more than was expected or even necessary. Or just freely. Most of us have this karmic thing were it all probably evens out - give a little more here, receive a little more there - but I'm fairly certain Sal's karma point extend way beyond the hobby, because he just gives and gives and gives. Perhaps we should all hire him.

That is why I nominate him for the Hall OF Fame, should there ever be one.

Again, thanks, Sal.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Two Tim Burke Autographed Cards

Before John Wetteland, the Montréal Expos' closer I was most accustomed to was Tim Burke, who held the job from 1987 until mid-way through 1991, when he was traded to the New York Mets, essentially for Ron Darling.

He led the majors in 1985 with 78 appearances on the mound (and tying a rookie record), and was an All-Star in 1989, giving up two hits (no runs) in two innings in a 5-3 loss.

I would guess I got these before a game in 1991, but I don't recall having owned a blue sharpie that early in my life. But since he retired at the end of the 1992 season and lived in Colorado afterwards, the only other opportunity I would have had to meet him (which I recall happening) would have been if the team had brought back alumni players prior to moving to Washington at the turn of the century.

Which brings me to the cards. This one is from Score's 1988 Score set (card #187), the first baseball card set I started collected in my life (along with the 1988 Topps one):

The next card is from Leaf/Donruss' 1986 Donruss set (card #421), one I was too young to collect when it was current, but I purchased singles from - including this one - in 1990 and 1991 at a local card shop:

Both cards show him wearing the Expos' classic powder-blue away uniform, one piching (1988), one watching from the bullpen (1986). He looks a bit like a 1980s actor, a cross between Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) and Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver).