Thursday, March 1, 2018

Will Gerard Gallant Ever Get Respect?

I think it is safe to say the answer to my question is yes when he hoists this year's Jack Adams Trophy as best coach. However, this has been a long time coming if you ask me and the number of times he's be slighted or over looked will probably make this seem that much more sweet too.

Even the hobby world hasn't been the kindest to poor Gerard. Let's look at his rookie card.

87-88 OPC Gerard Gerald Gallant Rookie
Well for starters Gerard apparently goes by Gerald for this particular season, I am sure it was a pretty simple misunderstanding given Gerald is likely a more common name than Gerard. Still its never nice to have your first hockey card ever with the wrong name on the front.

 When you flip it over there is more insult to injury. OPC/Topps consistently write his name as Gerald on the back too. Then you look to see it wasn't even his first NHL season. It took three years for Gerard to get a rookie card and in all fairness he put up some decent numbers in some of those seasons. Again, no respect for Gerard.

Once upon a time the 87-88 OPC set was a must have for all collectors. It was loaded with pretty talented and highly priced rookies and second year cards. Some of the notables were Luc Robitaille, Adam Oates, Ron Hextall, Mike Vernon and many many others. Patrick Roy's second year card also has a great deal of collector's attention and the book price was nearly 200 in the early 90's. Today the set can be had for about half that price and many of those rookies came down to earth thanks to the internet making transactions easier and cards more available and a decrease in demand. Still during all that time a Gerard Gallant rookie could be had for a handful of nickels. Gallant would go on and have a decent NHL career scoring 30+ goals 4 times and 200+ penalty min in those seasons which is a feat few have accomplished. A bad back would force him out of hockey until he'd come back as a coach.

Gerard would win two QMJHL championships as the coach of the Sea Dogs and then he would come to the NHL and get the Panthers back in the playoffs. After a rough start the Panthers gave up on poor Gerard and made some other strange strange from office moves. Then came along the Vegas Golden Knights. I almost think the lack of respect poor Gerard has had over the years made him a perfect choice to run the Island of Misfit Toys because this year has been like none other and I believe they could very well make it out of the first round in the playoffs. Regardless of what happens I believe Gallant is a huge factor and maybe a Jack Adams will help get some of that respect and people will know the name Gerard and not Gerald for good!

Despite this season's successes, you can still land a Gallant rc for a great deal. Currently the book price on Gallant is about $1.00 compared to Ulf Samuelsson's rookie from the same set which books for $6.00! Which of those would you rather in your collection or running your team?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Back Checking - Sandis Ozolinsh

Wow, it's been ages since I have done some back checking, so here is one that hopefully will make you smile like it did for me!

About a year ago I was at the LCS and I found a box of 93-94 Upper Deck Series 1 and 2 there for 10 dollars a piece. Given I didn't ever complete either of these sets I decided it would be fun to buy them and break them.

The set as a whole is much like early Upper Deck sets, very well designed, good photography and a backside which featured a second photo and all the necessary stats and vitals.

93-94 Upper Deck Series 1 Wayne Gretzky #99
 Here is a good example. Great colour scheme and a fantastic action shot of the Great One.

 Here is the back side. A different game, same Wayne and all the stats for the past 5 years as well as career totals. Sadly one of those seasons is not like the other and we can all thank Gary Suter for that one.

93-94 Upper Deck Series 1 Sandis Ozolinsh #72
Much like the Gretzky, a pretty cool action shot here. Carrying the puck with his heads up and players behind him are on their feet! Then you flip the card over and I am honestly at a loss for words on this one:

Is that Ace Ventura?

Or perhaps it is his impersonation of SJ Sharkie? Either way, when I saw this side of the card I must admit it made me laugh and even now it's still funny and maybe one of the most memorable card backs I have ever come across. I do comment Upper Deck and Sandis on their creativity and while I must say my first thought was WTF, it's actually a fun card and collecting should be all about fun! What are your thoughts? Is this card a winner or a loser for you? Do you have any card backs that stand out as memorable to you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pair O'Duclair

When Anthony Duclair was drafted in 2013 in the 3rd round by the New York Rangers, they were getting a forward who was a bit on the smallish size but had plenty of speed and potential. In the 14-15 season they gave him a 18 game test drive before sending him back to junior where he tore it up. Then the Rangers saw a chance to land Keith Yandle and that would end up costing them plenty including Mr. Duclair.

2015-16 was an exciting time in the desert as Domi and Duclair showed a great deal of chemistry and Anthony put up a great rookie season which saw him score 20 and add another 24 assists which was exactly what the Yotes were hoping for when they landed him. However, the next two plus seasons have been a disaster and Duclair even spent some time in the AHL. Since that great season, Duclair has played 121 games between the NHL and AHL and has only manged a combined total of 17 goals and 43 points. Truly much left to be desired.

Things got so bad he demanded a trade and he got his wishes. Dealt with Clendening to the Blackhawks in exchange for Panik and Laurent. Interestingly enough, Dauphin Laurent went in the same draft as Duclair, just a round sooner. Since the trade Duclair has played 14 games as has had 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points. Not exactly lighting it up but I have watched a few of those games and he has looked great at times. It just seems he is missing that swagger and confidence he had in his rookie season with the Coyotes.

So with the Hawks season all but over, they will be faced with a tough choice. Do they resign Duclair who is an RFA and hasn't shown a great deal of productivity in his limited time with the club or do they ship him off at the deadline or in the off season? There is no way I see him walking at the end of the year and at the very least I can see the Hawks resigning him at his current price of 1.2 million a year and he will get another chance to showcase what he can do and try and parlay that into a good contract once he hits his prime. Duclair is still a kid and won't even turn 23 until the end of the summer so there is lots of time to grow and develop. Time will tell who gives him that chance!

A couple of years ago I bought a couple packs of 14-15 Trilogy and hit a couple Duclairs. 

14-15 Trilogy Trilogy Anthony Duclair Rookie Premieres Level 1 Green /199

Loves me the Rookie Premieres! Not sure if its the foil board or just the affordability on the secondary market but either way I felt hitting this was a win. 

 14-15 Upper Deck Trilogy Anthony Duclair Rookie Premieres Auto Level 2 Blue /225
This one I hit as a redemption. I must say when it arrived I felt there was much left to be desired in that signature! Still in the end it was a fun hit because I already had it's non-auto match and they pair sit pretty well together in the collection.

Duclair has loads of potential and I think in time we might see that potential come back to the surface and someone will have a great second line winger. He tore it up at the 2015 WJHC scoring 4 goals, 8 points in 7 games while helping lead Canada to gold so he will always have me in his corner. I just hope that he's able to do it before the NHL clubs give up on him and he will be over seas finding his game a little too late like Linden Vey or Nigel Dawes.

Friday, February 16, 2018

09-10 Upper Deck Series 1 Retail Box Break

Last summer I picked up a couple boxes of retail hockey. Two 09-10 and one 14-15. The 14-15 was epic-ally awful. So bad I didn't want to spend any time scanning the cards to share them let alone rehash the experience. The one 09-10 was equally bad. Thankfully there was gone good box in the lot and I will share some of those with you wonderful folks today. If it had been the only box, then I would have called it a success. Sadly it needs to carry the weight of its crappy brethren so that in itself also diminishes the success here.

Without further ado, the top 4 Guns out of 6 I got and one game used card.

09-10 Upper Deck Dmitry Kulikov Young Gun
First up is Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov is a pretty steady defenseman who currently is apart of a pretty solid blue line group in Winnipeg. Having grown up in Lipetsk, I am sure living in Winnipeg isn't as painful as some seem to find it given they get cold weather on occasion in that part of Russia.  

09-10 Upper Deck Artem Anisimov Young Gun
Artem hit a milestone this week scoring his 300th career point. It took him 600 games which is pretty decent, at that pace he'd be good for 41 points in an 82 game season. Playing 82 games in a season has been a challenge for Artem given he hasn't reached that total in the past 7 seasons. Still, he's a very dynamic player and can often surprise defenders with a great move or a superb pass.

09-10 Upper Deck James van Riemsdyk
Oh boy, back in 2009 this was a pretty coveted card. Second overall pick, loads of talent and potential and the sky was the limit. James in now in his 9th season, he's managed some great numbers including a career high in goals of 30 and he's cracked 60 points twice. This year he's on pace for 32 goals and 49 points. However, if we were to look at the 2007 draft class as a whole, he'd likely still be a first rounder but guys selected behind him (Voracek, Couture, Shattenkirk, Pacioretty, Subban, Simmonds, and Benn) may all get some consideration before JVR. With that being said, given the 50 Young Gun cards I could have hit, this is one of the better ones. 

09-10 Upper Deck Jamie Benn Young Gun 
The biggest hit of the box without a doubt is this one. Jamie was a 5th round steal for the Dallas Stars and as of today, ranks second in points from those selected in 2007 with 569 just behind Patrick Kane (805). Jamie has scored 20 goals or more in every season he's played except the lockout year and this season is on pace for 30 goals and 75 points. He's definitely an elite talent and this was one YG I was missing from my collection so in all a very nice hit.

The Game Used Card!
All retail boxes back then came with a single game used card and I think I did pretty well with Anze Kopitar!

So there you have it, been a while since I shared a box break but given how bad my luck has been in this department, you can probably understand how I didn't want to use up too much of my limited blogging time on some pretty spectacularly awful boxes. This was definitely a success but far from my best too.

How about yourselves? Any box luck lately?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Is it time for a Pul Party in Edmonton?

Well, a few months ago my neighbour was in Las Vegas and he asked me if I wanted to lay some money down on an NHL team. At the time, odds were pretty bleak on Devils and Knights so being a casual Oilers fan I asked him to lay down a sawbuck on the Oil.

Damn, that was 10 dollars wasted. While I haven't given up complete hope, the team has struggled and I am not entirely sure what it would take to fix that club right now. McDavid is doing all he can do but the Robin to his Batman, Draisaitl, really hasn't dominated like I had expected he might and their goaltending has been down right awful. When you factor in the RNH injury and Lucic playing like he's 35 years old, someone will need to step up and make a difference in the second half if this team plans on making the post-season for a second consecutive year.

Jesse Puljujarvi has struggled again this season with Oilers and currently has 9 goals and 15 points in 34 games but of late has shown some flashes of skill and talent which had made him a player who was in the same conversation as Patrik Laine. I hope that someday he is able to find his game here in North America much like Leon Draisaitl did last season and when/if he does the Oilers should hopefully at least offer a little more offensive punch which in turn should alleviate some stress off the back end. 

16-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Jesse Puljujarvi Young Gun

Could be a good time to pick one of these up while they are still on the cheap because if he does take off much like Leon did, you could find yourself paying a 5-6x premium in a year or two. With that being said, I don't know much about the Oilers chances for making the playoffs other than SportsClubStats has them listed at 0.8% as of last night and Cam Talbot made a guarantee that they would make it. If Cam is going to be correct, McDavid will need to carry much of the load, Cam will need to improve his puck stopping and secondary scoring will need to come from players like Lucic and Puljujarvi to help overcome those odds!

What are your thoughts? Oilers dead in the water? How are things looking for your club with 30 games to go? Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Other Phil Esposito Rookie

A while back I shared with you one of the bigger pick ups I have had in recent memory and that was my Phil Esposito Rookie. The card books at a whopping $400 usd in Nr Mint condition however, when it is found in the shape mine was in with a crease or two and some tiny paper loss it was very affordable but still nice on the eyes. According to most guides that represents his only rookie card. However, there was another Phil Esposito card released that year with the 65-66 Coca-Cola Set.

While it isn't an official rookie card, I have a slightly more liberal definition of the term and would definitely consider this card his OTHER rookie card. The condition of this one is much much better than my other but still has some rounded corners (2 of them) but much like the other card is very easy on the eyes. The book on this one is $40 dollars in Nr Mint condition so if you are looking to add a Phil to your collection from his rookie year this isn't a bad choice and won't break the bank. I believe I spent about 12 dollars in total on this one and it was definitely worth every penny.

65-66 Coca-Cola Phil Esposito Rookie

Here is the front. Like all cards from this set, they are b&w photos but look very nice in person. I really like the fact that it isn't a canned photo that you've seen on countless other cards before hand and is unique to this set. This is my third one from the set with Howe and Delvecchio being my first two.

Back side
I still love the back side of these cards. So much statistical information unlike the Topps version of Phil's rookie. Both minor, regular season and playoff stats plus some vitals make these cards winners in my eyes. I would love to try and build this set someday because I believe it would definitely make a beautiful set once completed and placed in a binder.

Anyone else out there chasing this set or have it already? Are there any food based sets out there that spark your collecting passion? Thanks for stopping by and Happy Birthday to Wayne Gretzky!

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Pair of Rookie Surprises

A while back I erroneously thought that Kasperi Kapanen would have a break out season. Maybe I was caught up in his playoff performance or maybe I felt the Leafs would be much more of a juggernaut than they have been. Either way, his 10 goals in 22 games is impressive except that's all been in the AHL. Nico Hischier has been everything I hoped he could have been and maybe a bit more but that's not a surprise. Jesper Bratt has been an excellent surprise and I can't wait for Series 2 to drop so I can chase him there. Brock Boeser has had an excellent season but much like Keller this too was expected but you could argue he certainly has exceeded expectations. 

Two guys that definitely might not have garnered much Calder consideration before the season have had great first halves and they are Danton Heinen and Kyle Connor. This past weekend I returned my recycling and got a whopping $9.75 for my troubles and was able to cash in at the LCS and land these two babies with those funds!

16-17 Upper Deck Danton Heinen Young Gun
 Let's start with Danton. Danton was one of those junior players who didn't play at the highest level and was a star for his team. Then went off to College in the States to hone his game and payed his dues with a season in the AHL. Now at the age of 22 he's matured and fine tuned his game to have NHL success. After 36 games he has 10 goals and 30 points. That's pretty impressive for a player picked in the 4th round in the 2014 draft. Both him and Arvidsson were picked in the same round that year. If he is able to keep this pace going he will finish with 22 goals and 65 points in 78 games which would certainly please any Bruins fan I am sure.

16-17 Upper Deck Kyle Connor Young Gun
Kyle arrived at the NHL via the USHL and one year of College. Much like Heinen his is an older rookie but not Makarov old (21 years to be exact) just more experienced than your average rookie. Kyle did have the benefit of a pretty long stint last year which saw him play 20 games and put up 2 goals and 5 points in that time. This season has been a success thus far with him putting up 15 goals and 28 points in 38 games. This would have him on pace to net 30 as a rookie which much like Heinen I believe exceed the expectations of many given the depth the Jets already have at the forward position.

Time will tell if these players are true stars or just Ken Hodge Jr. flashes in the pan. Given the fact that Connor was a first round pick I could see him being a long term star who is a consistent contributor on the power play and second line for the Jets which only makes them that much more lethal with Laine, Scheifele, Little, Wheeler and others in the line up already. Heinen also has a great deal of potential and perhaps he will offer a yang to Marchand's ying for the next number of seasons and when you mix in Patrice and Pasta the Bruins will climb back to the top where they once occupied. Either way, it seems there has been a massive influx of young talent over the past three seasons and I can't remember a time in the last 20 years where hockey was this exciting to watch!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another Case of Cards Becoming Relevant

About 2.5 years ago I bought a couple boxes of 13-14 Contenders when they were being blown out and felt I did pretty good on those boxes. Some cards were surefire hits like a Malkin auto /25 which I would eventually trade away and others were sleeper hits. A couple that was a long-term dormant were these two cards. Recently my team traded away one of my favourite Devils of all-time Adam Henrique and the return was Sami Vatanen. While we gave up lots, I understand why we made the trade but at the same time we as a club haven't been quite the same in Henrique's absence and I can't help but think it has partly to do with the team missing what he used to bring to the dressing room.

With that being said, the Sami has been steadily improving and looking more and more at home with each passing game and I believe in the long term it probably will be viewed as a good move especially given Adam could always return once he hits UFA status in 2019.

13-14 Dominion Showcase Pen Pals Vatanen/Etem /99
Even though this card says it is Dominion, it was pulled from a box of Contenders. Features two on card autos, one of Sami Vatanen and one of Emerson Etem. At the time I thought Emerson could offer a great deal of potential for this card but it appears his career is pretty much done in the NHL/AHL and Sami is getting top billing in my opinion on this card.

2013-14 Contenders Quad Autos Anaheim Ducks
The second Vatanen auto came on this card which was pulled from the same box. This time, he is joined by Lindholm and John Gibson as well as Etem. Three out of the four have adapted well to NHL life and that makes this card a solid one for the collection. Having Sami on the Devils just adds that much more to it in the cool factor department and truly makes it a winner.

I did actually pull a third Ducks auto from the second box and it was a quad booklet of Fasth, Etem, Rakell and Andersen. Only Rakell is still with the Ducks but Andersen has been doing very well for himself as well which makes it a pretty decent hit as well.

I certainly enjoy when cards in my collection become much more relevant due to trades but as with any trade you usually lose someone too and while Henrique is no longer with us, I will continue to enjoy the cards I do have of him in my collection and wish him all the success in Anaheim that doesn't impact the Devils but I won't likely be chasing any of his Ducks stuff in the future. Meanwhile Sami should make us a better team in the long term and I look forward to our Cinderella year continuing in the second half.

Do you have any cards that became much more relevant to your collection thanks to a trade or signing?

Monday, January 8, 2018

I Just Wanted the Carl Yastrzemski With the Big Sideburns

One of my favourite episodes of the Simpsons is "Three Men and a Comic Book" where Milhouse wants to go to The Android's Dungeon to buy a Carl Yastrzemski card and is instead convinced to buy a Radioactive Man Comic #1 with Bart and Martin. As a kid who only collected hockey cards, I had no idea that such card actually existed and probably didn't until a couple years ago. Well along with my Randy Johnson cards I can also say I have a Carl Yastrezemski card with the big sideburns at work as well!

Being a Simpsons fan, baseball fan and sports card junkie I believed this card was a must have in my collection and being able to land it for about 2 bucks from COMC in amazing shape what more could I really ask for!

Simpsons Version

1973 Topps Carl Yastrzemski
Here is the front side, check out those mutton chops!

Here is the base side which is very neat for a couple reasons. First, Yaz was a stud at the plate, check out those numbers. Second, clearly they weren't paid much in the old days given he had a second job as a bank director!

When it comes to pop culture, I can't think of too many examples of sports cards making an appearance. There have been a few and for me personally, this one is probably the biggest that comes to my mind. How about you? Are there some cards that transcended into pop culture that are must owns or have cool stories? Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

State of the Union

Hey all, who knew as you got older the less time you'd have to blog about sports cards? Truth is I still think about them as much as ever and sneak time here and there to tweet about them but apart from that really the blog seems to have suffered the most. Life is good, coaching hockey, playing hockey and soccer, parenting and working all seem to flow together and in the end I daydream of cards I own or cards I wish I had and then the next day begins.

I still feel a little empty because I don't seem to have as much time as I'd like to record my thoughts or interact with some of my fellow collectors I only see on here so I am working at ways to try and spread my time a little more evenly to help include my comrades out here.

Today's post is how I stay connected to the hobby when  I am not at home and one way is by having a few cards at work. For someone who has 99.999% hockey in their collection, I have a large number (proportionally speaking) of baseball cards at work. I thought I'd share a few of the ball cards I have and share some of the others in another post at a later date. As some of you know, my all-time favourite ball player is Randy Johnson and at home I have his UD rookie and an Artifacts relic card. However at work I have a few other RJ Rookies which include:

1989 Donruss Randy Johnson Rated Rookie
While Randy looks angry or annoyed, I do like this card in terms of design and colouring. Perhaps the most visually appealing of the three I am sharing today.

What the card had going on the front didn't carry over to the back. Here is your standard Donruss backs this time in orange. I don't know loads about Donruss but it appears the back sides of their cards were pretty much the same year in and year out for a number of years.

1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Rookie
Here is happy Randy. This card exists in a few different variations depending on how much Marlboro one could see. I believe this is the most common version and thus worth the least. Still like the design of the front and it comes in a close second.

The backside is a mixed bag for me. I don't care of the design so much but it is probably the most informative backside of the three rookies.

1989 Topps Randy Johnson Rookie
This is thoughtful Randy. This card is pretty much as vanilla as 80's cardboard comes in my opinion. However, it seems to have a nice vintage look to it now but I imagine back in 1989 it had fewer fans than it might have now. I believe the same can be said for Bowman and OPC when it comes to hockey from roughly the same time period.

The backside was a bit of a surprise. A little more life back here and the black border is a neat touch. I do like the back of this card much more than the front.

So there are three cards I keep around my desk at work. I've probably looked at them all a hundred times and still give them a glance every now and again. I picked them all up in a lot deal on eBay probably 4-5 years ago and they've lived at work the entire time. I like that they are only at work and it makes them kind of unique in the sense that it's the only place I get to see them. I also like I only have a few cards at work so the ones that are here tend to get a fair bit of my personal attention. Strange? Yeah probably but that adjective probably has been applied to me on a number of occasions but I am willing to bet if you are reading this you probably might have a few cards stashed away or on display at your place of employment too. Am I right? Do you have any special work only cardboard that you have for the occasional mental break? If so, I'd love to hear about it. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your patience with this blog!