Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mikael Backlund Autograph Card

While the Calgary Flames' injury situation isn't as bad as the Columbus Blue Jackets' (who are missing two lines, a Vezina-winning goalie and half their top-4 defensemen), having four forwards including two centers (Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan) and their leading scorer (Mason Raymond) missing is going to be a blow for the team, who is off to a very good start this year.

Backlund's injury is the same one that afflicted him at the tail end of last summer, prior to training camp. In an ironic twist, the player recalled to replace Backlund, Micheal Ferland, was injured (concussion) in his first NHL game two nights ago, courtesy of a check to the head by Anton Volchenkov, which in turn will keep the Nashville Predators defender out of action with a four-game suspension:
Back to Backlund, who at 25 years of age is coming into his own, with 39 points (18 goals) in 76 games last year on a low-scoring team and who was playing 18 to 20 minutes per game this year (with a high of 22:29 against the Chicago Blackhawks, of all teams). I see him as a big part of the Flames' top-6 that will bring the team back to respectability, so I was very stoked to get this card in a pack of Panini's 2013-14 Playbook set:
I really dig the Social Signatures concept (of which this was card #SS-MB, technically #10 of the sub-set inserted in boxes of the Playbook product), where not only does it have an on-card autograph (in this case in blue sharpie), but where the player also added his Twitter handle, so you can find him on social media.

The one thing I don't like is that the sub-set had 70 cards, spread across the most expensive Panini releases of 2013-14, so collecting them all was nearly impossible. And they weren't evenly spread, either: Playbook had 35 of them while Titanium had 10, and Totally Certified had 17 - not even a ''round number''. It didn't feel entirely thought-through. And that's without counting that the most famous hockey tweeter, Roberto Luongo, isn't part of the series.

It's a concept they certainly could have worked on and perfected, but the brand will have to do so with other sports than hockey, because they lost their NHL license, due to Upper Deck's usual backdoor dealings.

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