Friday, December 7, 2018

Box Break: 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee Hobby Box

The 1980s and early 90s are a hotbed of nostalgia, so when Upper Deck put Patrick Roy wearing the Montréal Canadiens' white (then-home) uniform on their boxes of 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee, of course I was going to jump on one; the question was, however: blaster box or hobby box? I had the $100 to spare, so I went on Amazon on Black Friday (no rebate on this product) and got myself 36 packs with 8 cards apiece, and here's what I got from it...

A lot of good-to-sign regular-issue cards, such as these:
Old-school cardboard, just like Topps used to make. 45 cards of players from Canadian teams (which will be easier to get signed, although still no guarantee), and 186 of players on American teams.

There were also a handful of parallels, such as these:
I suppose they don't count as doubles, then...

The best parallels are the colorful Retro ones, though, reminiscent of OPC cards of the 1960s and 70s:
I nabbed 15 of those featuring players. Like the parallels above them, they consist of the same photo as the regular-issue card, except here the picture's cropped differently, sometimes by as much as 75%.

There is one set that is now being repeated everywhere, in every set, and that's Season Highlights:
I could do without, especially since they're poorly translated (the French should read Faits Saillants De La Saison, not Saison Faits Saillants). But not as much as the fucking checklists, of which I got 13:
I don't care that some are Retro parallels, fuck off with them. Please.

The Marquee Rookies are the true highlights of the set, although here again, the translation doesn't mean anything (Marquee does not exist in French; to keep it close, they could have written Recrue De Marque):
I got parallels of Oskar Lindblom and Henrik Borgstrom, as well as regular-issue cards of Tomas Hyka, Zach Whitecloud, Victor Ejdsell, Dylan Sikura, Marcus Pettersson, Louis Belpedio, Morgan Klimchuk, Landon Bow, Casey Mittelstadt, Dillon Heatherington, Mackenzie Backwood, and Michael Dal Colle. That's 14 rookies.

I also pulled 9 Minis, of Mikko Rantanen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, John Gibson, Steven Stamkos, Brent Burns, Jack Eichel, Teuvo Teravainen, T.J. Oshie and Eric Staal (not pictured):
Oh, and a few League Leader cards, which are just slightly better than Season Highlight cards, again, with different picture crops:
All told, I got what I paid for, which is a lot of cardboard to get signed and perhaps a few rookies to trade to some collectors.

OPC is always clear about what you're getting with them, and I love that I can trust their product to be what it is: a relatively affordable way to amass a quantity of relatively current cards; it's an entry-level low-end product that is rich in cheesy history and isn't afraid to wink at it the exact same way every single year.

That consistency has me rating this one a 8/10. But please, fix the French. A quarter of Canada (and of the NHL) is worth that much respect.

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