Monday, March 31, 2014

5 down, 1 to go

Like many of the older baseball sets that I've completed since I started the habit blog almost 3 years ago, I want to start trying to complete a lot of the older hockey sets that I've left unfinished for years.  One of those is the 1999-00 Upper Deck MVP silver signature set.

Both of these guys were Leafs at one time or another during their great careers
This set is as basic as it gets.   Silver signatures were inserted one per pack, and with only 220 cards in the set, this was a very realistic set to complete, even back then.



There weren't even any big RCs in the set (Jochen Hecht was the priciest, listed at 75 cents), so this parallel set shouldn't have been that difficult to complete, right?


Even with a multiplier of 3x, the Gretzky cards (3 of them) were even affordable.  But over the years the set just got pushed to the side while the latest and greatest came out.

Now, it's finally here.   I'm at the pinnacle.  One card to go.   Mike Richter, #133.   I only see one on eBay right now, but it's in Canada, the shipping is $3.50, and the seller has a nearly 3 week delay before shipping.

I'll keep waiting....after all, I've gone this long, right?

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I didn't go to the show looking for this

It just kind of fell in my lap.  At the big Ohio Sports Collector Convention on Saturday, I was spending a good deal of time looking for a specific '73T baseball card, when my eyes came upon this card.


The dealer who had the card had it taped to a poster board (inside of a top loader, naturally).  The original sticker on it said $2, but it was far enough back from the table that I wasn't 100% sure that the sticker actually said $2.  So I called him over and asked if my eyes were failing me and if the card was actually that cheap.

Upon seeing the sticker, he laughed and said no, but he would price it for me if I liked.   I said sure, and that I would take it if it was reasonably priced.

$25 was his response after looking it up.

Sold.

60-61 Parkhurst #1, Tim Horton.  Easily the best hockey card that I now own. 

You just never know what you'll find when you're not looking.   I have to remember that.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just one of the million reasons I won't get tired of hockey cards

It's a lot easier for me to write about hockey cards.   I've loved them with a passion since I was a lad. 

Baseball is great too, but for me nothing can compare to Canada's game.   The designs. The sweaters. The feel of the game when you are in a rink is amazing. 

It's usually not hard for me to find a card that just jumps right out at me.   Take this Trevor Kidd card for example:

1999-00 Upper Deck # 230

No doubt Trevor carried his custom designed pads from his time in Carolina down to the Sunshine state.  Yes, they may be a bit loud, but it's characters like Kidd that just enhance the game even more for me. 

I always get a kick out of goalie masks when a netminder moves to a new city.  It's a reflection of their personality.  I think that the goalie pads could be more of an extension of a goalie's personality if they wanted them to be. 

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Losing it

The last half dozen games for the Leafs have been heartbreaking to endure.  6 losses after coming back east from the first 3 games of a difficult road trip. 

The playoffs looked all but certain back then.   Now, the Leafs are part of a 4 way tie for the 2 wild card spots, and they are in the worst spot of all 4 squads, having played more games than any of the others.

For myself, I have something to rejoice.  Max from the Starting Nine blog sent me the first hockey cards that I have received from a fellow blogger since I start the "Just another HC blog".   A trio of Leafs to take my mind off of my teams struggles...


Even if the Leafs lose it, and fall out of the playoffs altogether, these three players are going to be vital cogs for the franchise going forward.  If people wonder if Tyler Bozak should be mentioned as part of the core, I would tell them to look at the 1st line's struggles while he was out hurt.  Then when he returned they became maybe the most dangerous unit in the NHL. 

By the way, any card that features a Leaf in their '67 style sweater is an instant hit in my book.  I will have one of those for myself some day.

For whom does the bell toll?  The bell tolls for thee....

thanks for reading, Robert


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1995-96 Upper Deck Special Edition

Another one of the many busted insert sets that I started collecting back when I bought anything and everything, the 95-96 Upper Deck Special Edition set consisted of 180 cards.  While most of the cards are action shots, I found what probably is the best card in the set.

Especially if you are a Detroit Red Wings fan:


Paul Coffey with an octopus on his stick is a classic photo.  If you're not aware of the octopus legend in Detroit, take a look at this page on NHL.com for the story of how the octopus became a part of playoff hockey in the Motor City.


A quick look on Sportlots shows that most of the cards are priced at the base $0.18, although for some strange reason the cheapest Steve Yzerman card is listed at $1.49.  Thank goodness I already have that one.

I need about 80 of the 180 cards for the set, so I'll probably break down and buy the rest sometime and then show off the entire set for you. 

Thanks for reading, Robert


Monday, March 24, 2014

The beginning of the end?

After finishing the worst part of their road trip with a 2-1 record, the Leafs looked really good in my eyes.  I believe they were in 2nd place in the Atlantic division when they came back east.

Then the Leafs came back east.  Yes, they've been bad defensively at times this year, but starting in Washington 8 days ago, they looked even worse than ever (at times).   What happened in Leaf land next was not surprising.   The finger pointing started, and they were aimed squarely at this guy.

No, I didn't use a SCORE card to illustrate a point

It's a shame, because at times he's looked very good.  Other times, the team has made him look bad.  And finally he's made himself look bad on a few occasions as well.  I think that when the Leafs acquired Jonathan Bernier last summer


that any confidence the players/management had in Reimer was eroded.   Now that Bernier's hurt, the team had to fall back on a guy that management doesn't have 100% faith in. 

Now, the Leafs are on a 5 game losing streak, and that playoff spot they looked to be a lock for last week is dangling on a wire. 

Funny how a week in the NHL can totally turn things around, isn't it?   Don Cherry on Coach's Corner said that Reimer needs to get out of Toronto this summer; move him to another club for a fresh start.

He's 100% right in my eyes.  Not that I don't like James Reimer, that's far from the truth.  But when the Leafs acquired Bernier last summer, that was the beginning of the end. 

Much like the last week has been for the Leafs playoff chances.

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dave Legwand's butt ending incident vs. the Penguins

While looking through a stack of jersey cards tonight, I came across this card from the 07/08 UD Black Diamond set.


Seeing this brought me instantly back to the game earlier this week between the Red Wings and the Penguins, when this incident occurred.



For me, it's been a long time since I played any kind of hockey, and I know that emotions on the ice can run high at times.  I know that Legwand was in a physical battle and had his helmet removed just before this happened. Yes, there are times when stick fouls are accidents, however a butt end is a deliberate attempt to injure another player.   The butt end doesn't just happen, a player has to physically take his stick, draw it back and thrust it into the opposing player.

With all the emphasis on player safety over the past few season, plays like this really need to be taken into consideration for suspensions (Legwand did receive a $5,000 fine from the NHL).   What makes this foul even more ridiculous for me is that Legwand turns to the referee after the play is blown dead and shrugs his shoulders as if to say "really?"

I don't remember the last time I saw a butt ending penalty in the NHL.  I thought that the NHL Department of Player Safety could have sent a strong message and suspended Legwand for this.  I don't know if Legwand was a first time offender and only received the fine because of that. 

I guess that's why I'm on the sidelines and the higher brass get paid the big bucks!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, March 21, 2014

Were French versions of the same set really necessary?

Ahhh, the glory days.   The early 90's gave us a frenzy of new stuff to collect.  Being in college back then, with no family to support, I had a ton of disposable income to spend on the latest and greatest card releases.

While going through a box of cards from that era, I found this card amongst the rubble...

The French version of the 1991-92 Upper Deck set had a lot of people chasing cards.  That was in large part because the 1990-91 Upper Deck French version was going for mad money.   Anyone remember the Pavel Bure rookie going for triple digits?  The multiplier on French cards back then was at least 10x (if my memory serves me correctly), and with the base Bure card valued at around $12, the French version just went crazy.


While I applaud the idea of creating a "parallel" set that was perceived as scarce, and with no offense to our French cousins in La Belle Province, I think that Upper Deck missed on this one.  When a large portion of your target market has no idea what a "rondelle" is, it's a recipe for trouble.   Before too long, the French version of the product fell in line price wise with the English version, and the French parallel experiment ended. 

So if you think that gimmicks are just exclusive to the 21st century, this card is a great example that gimmicks have been around for a while.  Most of them end up dying a slow death, much like the French version of Upper Deck hockey...

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back in time: Kimmo Timonen

While digging through a pile of cards for a post idea, I came across this 94-95 Upper Deck SP card:


I knew that Kimmo had been around for a while, but to find a card from a 20 year old set stopped me in my tracks.   Kimmo actually played in the world junior tournament as an 18 year during the 93-94 season and had 6 points in 7 games.   He followed that up the next year with an 8 point tournament in the same number of games.  Kimmo was drafted in the 10th round of the 1993 draft by the LA Kings, and his rights were traded in 1998 to the Nashville Predators.

Timonen's NHL career didn't begin until the 98-99 season with the Predators, appearing in 50 games and recording 12 points.  His rookie campaign would be the only one to date that doesn't have him averaging 20 minutes of ice time per night (19:04).

Fast forward to now, he's appeared in over 1000 NHL games, and still averages just under 22 minutes a night for the Flyers.  It'll be interesting to see if he receives another contract from the Flyers, or anyone else around the league.   At age 39, it will be tough for GM's to pay big money for Kimmo with the emphasis in today's NHL being on developing younger stars. 

Kimmo has been a solid player in the league for quite a while, and even though he plays in Philly, I'd like to see him get a chance at another long playoff run towards a Cup.

He's definitely earned it.

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rich Peverley has heart surgery

When Rich Peverley collapsed on the Dallas Stars bench in a game March 10th, the hockey world kind of took a step back and rallied around one of their own.  A lot of players and some coaches tweeted their best wishes for Rich. 

I can't even imagine what his teammates and coaches went through while Rich was being attended to.  I believe that my shock would have mirrored what Alex Chiasson experienced.

It was announced today that Peverley had heart surgery to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, and it is still unknown whether he will play hockey again.

2013-14 Upper Deck #314

The surgery was done at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the best hospitals in North America.  Here's hoping that Rich has a quick and speedy recovery and is able to get back on the ice sometime in 2014-15.

The March 10th game between Columbus and Dallas was postponed, and will be replayed April 9th.  Both teams are fighting for playoff positions in their respective conferences, so this game should be quite intense in big D.

Best wishes Rich!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2008-09 Upper Deck Masterpieces

I bought a couple of boxes of these back at the November Expo for $25 apiece.  I opened them not too long after that, but never posted a word about them until now. 

These cards are incredible.  Similar to the baseball releases, these artistic cards feature some of the greats of the game in some memorable poses.

How about the Cup presentation ceremony in '94 for the Rangers?


Even though Bettman is in the drawing, it's still a memorable moment.

Don Cherry's greatest player of all time, Bobby Orr, looks great in the '76 Canada Cup.  I can still remember Darryl Sittler's overtime goal to beat the Czech's. 


How about a pair of all time greats in the cage for the blue and white?


One of these days I will own actual vintage cards of both of these guys.  I still love watching interviews with the "China Wall" Johnny Bower. 

This set even includes a couple of cards depicting Lord Stanley and Lady Byng.


A history lesson never hurts when it comes to cards, especially when the people portrayed are responsible for part of the game's history.

The framed cards are also very cool.   I pulled a couple of Oilers from their 80's dynasty teams.


Finally, the jersey card that was in the box features a great red swatch from the "Big Bird", Larry Robinson.


One of these days,  I should be able to get these 2 boxes sorted and see if I have at least one set, if not 2. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

I should have done this a while ago

I finally realized while writing the post called Damn Tins on my other blog that I enjoy writing about hockey cards.   A lot.   That post was one of the easiest posts to write in quite a long time.  That fact told me something.

This blog is way overdue. I love hockey too much not to focus more time on my passion for the game.

I'm not going to stop writing on my other blog, but it will slow down over time.  The $30 a week habit blog will also become a little more baseball centric.  Which is fine.

What are you going to see here you ask?  A lot of Maple Leafs cards.   The Joe Sakic PC has been moved from the other blog to this one.  The hockey want list has also been moved over as well, and will be added to over time.

You will also see posts that represent my opinions on topics, events or anything in general related to the world of hockey.  There are lots of commentators on TV that talk a good game (or at least they think that they do).   They are fair game. 

The one card rule will still apply here.  Just because the word (card) is in brackets, doesn't mean that you're not going to get your dose of cards here.  They could be the focus of a post.  They could just augment an opinion I'm making about something (or someone).  


Should this guy have been named captain of the Leafs a couple of years ago?  Who knows, because being captain of a team in today's NHL doesn't mean what it used to.   Just ask Ryan Callahan. 

Hopefully this little corner of the universe will add a little something to your hockey enjoyment. 

Oh, and there's one other thing that will make its way over from the other blog.

thanks for reading, Robert