Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Not Mine.......Yet

Lots of stuff happening on numerous Linden fronts this past week.  None of which directly affecting me.....yet.

But these items I'm about to show you are definitely worthy of a blog post - that's for sure.

First of all, Upper Deck is about to release its ultra high-end product next week.  2013/14 The Cup will mark the official end of last season's hockey card product releases (yes, I know....it's dumb) and it will also mark the third season in a row that my guy has been included in the checklist.

While specific numbers are not yet out, I did notice this beauty as a part of Upper Deck's preview.

Oh man.  The drool factor went up a little just now.

Anyone recognize the patch?  For you non-Canucks followers, it's the 20th Anniversary patch.  The only beef I have with this card is that Linden is pictured in a time after that.  It would have been outstanding if UD had put a proper era photo on the card.

But......beggars can't be choosers.  And I guess neither can people with a bit of common sense.

Now that doesn't mean that I'm not chasing this card.  Not at all.  In fact, with a print run of 25, it might be one of the more exciting challenges of the product for me.

Fingers crossed that the checklist won't break the bank.

Just prior to seeing that beauty of a card on UD's Facebook page, I noticed yet another Linden stunner on ebay.

A copy finally showed up (and yes, the photo is that sucky......it's called focus).

This Tundra Sixes patch card from Artifacts has an eclectic mix of Canucks players including Linden.  It's doubtful that I'll pull the trigger on a bid with this copy.  I'm more interested in seeing how high it finishes.

But with only 6 copies of the card in the product, I figured it was worth posting as it might be a while before I see another.

And last....but definitely not least, I was notified about one heck of an auction.  I've got very little intention of pulling the trigger, but massive interest as I think it's one of the coolest items I've ever seen.

First, how many of you have ever seen this photo?

It one of a handful of pics that exist showing Linden in his pre-#16 jersey.

This is the only photo I have from this brief era and it was cut out of a magazine years ago.  I kept it because of the unique #49 shot.  It's such a cool photo....I do wish it was larger though.

But I was forwarded a site that shared the same photo.

Yeah.  That is what it is.

Classic Auctions, one of the premiere sites for sports memorabilia auctions, has got its hands on an 88/89 Linden game-used jersey from his pre-season games.  In fact, CA claims that it's the very first jersey Linden wore in an NHL game (Sept. 16, 1988 in Duncan BC against the LA Kings).

The jersey comes from the personal collection of Canucks Equipment Manager Larry Ashley and has all the proper evidence of being the real deal.

The Canucks wore nameplates on their jerseys in the '88 preseason and there is evidence that this was a recycled jersey prior to Linden wearing it.

Now we've seen the yellow version in a photo, but never the black.  Well, Classic Auctions comes through again.

You can clearly see that in this team photo, Linden is wearing a jersey in which the number ends in a 9.  That's the #49 jersey.

I was also interested to learn that this jersey is very likely to also be a part of another Linden photo.  One that I've had in my collection for years.

This Mohawk team-issued card photo was almost certain to have occurred on the same day as the team picture.  Therefore, it is almost assured that the jersey he is wearing on this card is the #49 jersey being auctioned off.

So what might an item like this fetch in the open market?  I have no idea, but whoever ends up landing this truly unique item will have one jealous Linden collector looking on in awe.

There's always some great stuff out there!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

RATE MY MASK - Devan Dubnyk

With the new hockey season upon us, it's time to get accustomed to new players in new uniforms (Spezza as a Star is still weird) and of course check out the new lids that goalies wearing.

A few to keep an eye out for early on are both Ducks tenders (Gibson with the Pac-Man theme and Andersen with his LEGO look), Kari Ramo's ode to Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven", Jonas Gustavsson's Monsters Hall Of Fame, Ryan Miller's Johnny Canuck alternate lid and lastly...


But not just any ordinary giraffes.

How about some wild west giraffes.

I really don't know what to say.  I know Dubnyk has a thing for giraffes as it's a play on his tall 6'6" frame and I know that he's now playing in the US Southwest, but this might be the most bizarre mask concept I would have come up with.

Painted by NHL mask guru Dave Gunnarsson, this unique lid sports a very Coyotes-themed color scheme.  The logo is present on the top of the mask and has a bit of attitude to it without going too overboard.

But the rest of the mask is one big leap off of the plank.

If you click on this photo, you'll be able to see all sides of this atrocity.

Depicted on the left side is the legendary sherrif cowboy of Arizona, Wyatt Earp.....giraffe-style, ripe with his huge mustache and Tombstone town sign.  On the other side is his sidekick Doc Holliday.  I take a second and third look, but can't get past the ridiculousness of it all.

The backplate is a little....ok, a lot more simple with the focus being a portrait of his son Nathaniel along with some tributes to members of his family, including his mother.  One writer noted that the backplate looks more like the start of a tattoo sleeve.

Now this is where things go from bad to worse.  One of my beefs with masks these days is the inability to decipher what is actually on the mask - especially from a distance.

I'm sure the Coyotes logo would look sharp...if Devan was looking down all the time (and he might just be), but the sides are just a mess of muted colors.

I can't make out a single thing amidst all the detail work.

Heck, even close up it's still tough to figure everything out.

Now I'll give him points for keeping things thematic, but that's about it.

What I find more surprising is that Gunnarsson seemed very excited with his creation, stating "It's so exciting to create designs that work both on a distance as up close."

Um......ok then.

As for Dubnyk, he commented simply with "It looks awesome."

I guess still having an NHL mask would lend that kind of reaction.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

1.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to RATE MY MASK!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

OPINION: Parallels

The hockey season is in full swing and I'm holding my own in the one and only hockey pool I entered.  I'm banking on the Sedin/Sedin/Vrbata line to do well this year.

And with a new NHL season comes some new card products to rip and chase.  The first big one (for me anyways) is Artifacts.

And what do I think of when I hear the word Artifacts?

Parallel hell.

And Upper Deck has done it in spades this time around.

I get that Artifacts' niche is its parallels, but there's got to be some kind of limit.  I took a peek at the checklist and was shaking my head at the damage.

First of all, let me say that this design is one of my lesser favorites.  It's not bad (I've seen worse from Artifacts), but last year's foray into the black background and darker design would've been more preferable for a Linden onslaught.

So let's take a look at the checklist run.

Base Card

Ruby  /599
Emerald  /99
Sapphire  /85
Gold Spectrum  /25
Black Auto  /5
Silver Material (Jersey/Jersey)  /125
Emerald Material (Jersey/Patch)  /75
Gold Spectrum Material (Patch/Patch)  /15
Black Material (Patch/Tag)  /5
Silver Material Auto (Jersey/Jersey/Auto)  /12
Emerald Material Auto (Jersey/Patch/Auto)  /8
Gold Spectrum Material Auto (Patch/Patch/Auto)  /3
Black Material Auto (Patch/Tag/Auto)  /1

That's 14 cards (so far) and more than half of them are numbered to 25 or less.

Now if that was all that Artifacts was offering, I'd be pretty good with it.  But they had to dip into the pool once again.

Yeah, the "ever popular" (NOT) Treasured Swatches dual memorabilia offering.  Why?  Why not I guess.

Treasured Swatches

Base (Jersey/Jersey)
Green (Jersey/Patch)  /36
Red (Stick/Tape)  /12

We're up to 17 cards now with 9 of them limited to 25 cards or less.

These three cards are just an overkill in my opinion.  They really serve no desirability for me other than a push for more, more more in the Linden market.

Dual jersey?  Already in the base version.

Jersey/Patch?  Same deal.

Yes, the stick card is a switch and I would have preferred the Treasured Swatches concept to be a stick card of some sort.  Change it up.

But....we are not done yet.


Tundra Sixes
(Yeah, that's six pieces of memorabilia on each card).  That equals cheap and common right?

Players include: Trevor Linden, Richard Brodeur, Markus Naslund, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler

Bizzare grouping.

Green (6 Patches)  /6
Black (6 Tags)  /1

If you're keeping score, that's 19 cards total and 11 limited to 25 copies or less.

Now if the base parallels were to be trimmed down to say 7-10 cards and the redundancy of the Treasured Swatches concept ditched, I can get on board with a 12-15 card release.  But 19 cards is overkill.

I can't wait to see some of the spectacular asking prices from ebay listings. (extreme sarcasm here)

The nice thing is that historically, these cards go from the feature table to the discount box pretty quick, so a lot of these cards (even the slightly tougher ones) will drop in price sharply.

But my beef (and my opinion) is that while the concept of what Artifacts does is strong, I think they could maximize their return and excitement by scaling back just a hair.  At the end of the day though, I guess they are only concerned with the initial sales and not the secondary market.

I will be looking on the secondary market....seeing as I've got a much bigger checklist to chase now.

So what are your thoughts on the parallel world of Artifacts?  I'm sure many of you have experienced it (or experienced the parallel world in other releases or other sports).  How do you approach a release like this?

MY COLLECTION - Look What I Stumbled Upon

I was digging my camera out of the closet this morning because my niece is borrowing it for her school trip.  I noticed that the card was pretty full so I decided to check what goodies I had on there.

Turns out, I went to the Hockey Hall Of Fame.

Oh yeah.....I kind of forgot about that (well, not the trip.....but the fact that I took photos).

So after transferring the photos off of my camera, I decided to share some of the sweet pics from that awesome day.

Few words.....I'll let the photos do the talkin'.

Anyone know who wore this mask?  The detail looks awesome in person.

And this one?  Too easy right?  Well, how about you young ones out there who have never seen a fibreglass lid?

Now that's a sweater!

Pure awesomeness!

Lanny's lid.  Classic!

Speaking of classic......this takes the cake.

It looks impressive, but I was surprised to see how many "junk wax" type cards were displayed.  I would have loved to have seen what the HHOF actually has in their archives.


The Stanley Cup is truly a one-of-a-kind trophy.  I was gawking at it for a while.

Yup....my guy is actually in the HOF.  He had a couple photos and such on display too, but seeing this trophy was definitely something on my "to see" list when I went.

If any of you get the chance to go - DO IT!!!  Be sure to give yourself plenty of time though.  I was there for about 3-4 hours and felt rushed to finish (as they were about to close).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

BEHIND THE MASKS - A Fantastic Finn

I managed to track down one, measly, single little card for my Masked Men 6 set at Saturday's local card show.

But one is better than none.

And it's of one of, if not THE top goalies on the planet right now.  I took him in my hockey pool.  First goalie picked.  I'm in the lead.  I'm gonna win..

2013/14 In The Game Between The Pipes
Masked Men 6
#MM-49 Tuukka Rask

Everything about this is awesome....except the mask.

Don't get me wrong, Rask has a nice international lid, but I'm dyin' here.  This should've been a Bruins depiction.

Now if ITG were to do say three releases, one pure NHL, one vintage and one junior or international.....I'm all in on that.  But to sprinkle these non-NHL masks in with the lot, it's just wrong in my eyes.

Of course that doesn't stop me from buying them.  After all....I'm trying to finish the set.

So where have you got Rask ranked in your list of goalies this year?  I wanna hear from you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Flawless Treasure Trove

This past week vaulted me back into the Linden collecting full swing.  I landed a few new cards all in different ways.  An ebay purchase, an in person pickup and a card show find.  Can't go wrong with that trifecta.

Especially when all three cards come from Panini's final hockey product (for what might be a little while) - National Treasures.

That just sounds expensive....right?

Well fear not.  I managed to pick up all three cards for what I felt were very fair prices.  One, I even managed to land for a spankin' deal.

Let's take a look at the goods.

2013/14 Panini National Treasures
Past & Present Autographs 
#PP-LK (with Ryan Kesler)  /99

This hard-signed pair really caught my eye when I initially saw the pre-release "sneak peek" photos.  A bit of a bummer that Kesler is no longer with the team, but maybe that helped the price tag a bit.

I was able to pick this up at the local card show (first one I've hit up this season).  People like to set Linden cards aside for me now...I don't know if that's a good thing or bad.  But the price tag on it was more than fair.  It was in cdn dollars and there was no shipping involved.  How could I say no.

The Linden signature is very solid.  I've noticed a few of his penmarks looking a little bubbly or not so solid.  This one is a nice, fresh Sharipe blue.

2013/14 Panini National Treasures
#D-CAN (with Markus Naslund)  /25

The first dual was out of 99.  This pair has an offering out of 100.  I like those big, beefy numbers these days - especially on cards this nice.

This card however is the gold parallel /25.  Funny thing though is that I passed on a number of them when they flooded ebay.  Patience definitely paid off as this piece hit my mailbox for less than what most of the versions /100 have gone for.

Ebay....so confusing.

I still need the more common version of this card, but now that I've set the number on the gold version, I refuse to pay more for the other.

I could be waiting a while.

2013/14 Panini National Treasures
#181 (with diamond insertion)  /5

Well, well.  If I wasn't "back" before, I am now.

This top-end National Treasures card came about because of an ebay auction ending on a weeknight, by a local seller.  Double bonus.  I knew at least one other Linden collector would be passing on it so I decided to take a shot.

And while it did hit the higher end of my bid, I'm still very happy to have landed this one.  I've seen another copy go for much more.  Not sure how much the final three copies will fetch (if they show up at all on ebay) but I'd like to think that my copy will be one of the lower-priced offerings.

The best part, I got to meet up with the buyer locally for an in-person delivery.  He even compensated me for the shipping cost.  Gotta love that.

Now, I did a little research on the jewel embedded in the card.  Straight from Panini's blog...

"Flawless inserts (are) embedded with real diamonds."

Well, that's a first for a Linden card.  What won't they slap on a piece of cardboard these days?

All three cards are thick stock, quality surfacing and have great photos.  The Naslund dual are sticker autos, but with this being Panini's final push of product I can see them dumping a lot of stickers.

In fact, I'm surprised there weren't more Linden cards included in this release.  No memorabilia at all.  Very surprising.

Monday, October 6, 2014

12 in 12 - Read Any Good Books Lately?

It's been nearly a year since I undertook my '12 in 12' project.  Twelve sports books over the span of a year - one a month.

It got me back into reading and I've been on the hunt for more titles ever since.

I still like to flip the pages, but the amount has slowed down over the past year.  That said, it's that time of year for a number of new titles to hit the shelves...so I might be gearing back up for a little more bookworming.

I just finished a good book that Captain Canuck loaned me.  It's on NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip.  It's called DW: A Lifetime Going Around In Circles.

I'm not a NASCAR guy, but I found this read really fun.  DW is a guy who comes across as confident, arrogant (at times), competitive and wore his emotions on his sleeve.  When reading the book I felt like I could hear him saying the words.  It felt authentic.

He had some really good stories about the sport and his personal life.  I think I enjoyed the book more because it was talking from an era when I was a kid.  He was at his peak in the late-80's so I would have been knee deep in sports at the time.

If you are looking for a good read....check it out.  Ive also got a review on Goodreads about it (if you want to follow my page-turning escapades).

But now, I've turned the page and am starting another book.  One that I have been anticipating for a number of months....and for a few reasons.

Hockey Card Stories: True Tales From Your Favourite Players reeks of what I love about this hobby.  Hockey cards, hockey card stories, the 80's, goalie masks, journeymen, you name it.

And to add to the interest.....I used to work with the author.  Ken Reid is an anchor on Sportsnet here in Canada, but when he was first starting out in the television industry we worked together here where I live.  He was a news writer and I an editor.  He moved on to sports anchoring and the rest is history.

I had originally thought that this book was coming out at the start of October.  I decided to do the pre-order thing (long story), so I was patiently waiting for the e-mail that it had arrived.  I get my books sent to the store (again...long story).

So I was waiting patiently and then noticed on my credit card statement that my account was charged for the book.  But I had no e-mail.

So I contacted the store and sure enough....they had it in.  They had it sitting there for nearly 3 weeks.  Arrrgh!!!  Regardless, the book was now mine.

Now I flipped through the pages quickly to see what I was in for and I'm excited.  Pictures and short, concise stories - fresh from the players' mouths.  Looks fun!

So I'm sitting back and starting it tonight.

If you're looking for a hobby-related read....I'd go for this one (even though I haven't read a word of it yet).

But if you'd like a little more info, here is an interview Ken did with the Toronto Star talking about his book.  There's also a Beckett podcast where Ken chats up the book with fellow author Stephen Laroche.  Check it out (Episode 10/2/14 at about the 20:55 mark).

Great stuff Ken!! Congratulations.