Thursday, January 28, 2010

Completed Set - 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

Each year for the past 3 years I've gone after the flagship Upper Deck hockey set. It's been the perfect set for me to collect at 400 cards (since I don't chase all the Young Guns) split up over 2 releases. It covers all of your major stars and a good deal of the lesser-known players as well, and features some fantastic short printed rookie cards and Upper Deck's fantastic photography.

The other day a package arrived containing the last few cards I needed to complete this year's Series 1 set. Perfect timing with the release of Series 2 right around the corner. Here are a few of my favorite cards from the set. I've already posted quite a few so I've tried to choose some here that I haven't shown yet. I was too lazy to look through my backlog of posts though, so you'll just have to deal with it if you've seen any of these before...

#4 - Zdeno Chara - I love the card but I wish I would see a little more of this out of Zdeno when I'm ACTUALLY WATCHING the Bruins games. It's been so frustrating I've had to resist the urge to chuck the remote at the TV the past few games.

#27 - Jesse Winchester - Unfortunately there are more tightly-cropped dud cards in this year's set than there were last year.

#48 - Evgeni Malkin - Seated next to the Conn Smythe trophy.

#63 - Sean Avery - Sean just lit the lamp, and Jeff Carter's +/- rating just dropped a point.

#87 - Martin St. Louis - OK, help me out with this. Is it possible that St. Louis is photoshopped into this picture? If you click on the picture to look at the full size scan, it almost seems in looking at the edges of his legs and skates like this may have been doctored. The ice seems really white too, almost washed out. I don't see any lines on the ice, and where would Martin possibly be standing during a game where there would be nobody else in a photo covering that large an expanse of ice? The seats are pretty packed, so this doesn't look like a shot taken during warm-ups or anything. For some reason I thought modern Upper Deck hockey sets were immune to doctored photos, but I'm starting to wonder. There are a couple of others in the set that look strange to me too, including Teemu Selanne's base card. What do you think?

#95 - Semyon Varlamov - An absolutely perfect card, probably my single favorite card from Series 1.

#102 - Jeff Woywitka - I really like the Blues uniform, too bad he's a Dallas Star. I watch a TON of hockey and I have to admit that I have never heard of this guy. That rarely ever happens to me.

#109 - Patrick Sharp

#122 - Johan Franzen - Crosby's getting awfully friendly here. The Red Wings have really missed Franzen this year...

#135 - Jonathan Quick - Here's a card where I think the design of the set works really well with the photo they selected.

#146 - Jonas Hiller - This card is just plain odd.

#166 - Daniel Sedin - Gotta love the jersey, and bonus points for a matching logo on the pants. Daniel and brother Henrik are having absolutely outstanding seasons. In fact, at the time of this post Henrik has more points than anyone in the National Hockey League, and Daniel has a shot at besting his career-high in points, despite missing a significant number of games. I wish the Bruins had a few players who could score like these guys...

#175 - Cory Sarich - Cory's just finishing off a nice check here (maybe even a cross-check given that stick position). This check pales in comparison to the one portrayed on teammate Dion Phaneuf's card in last year's set, which is probably one of my favorite cards released in the last couple of years.

#178 - Robyn Regehr - That puck is headed right for Robyn, but luckily looks like it will hit him in a padded area. When I played hockey my elbow pads did not come anywhere near that far down my arm!

#188 - Owen Nolan - I used to love pulling this guy's cards back in the early 90's when he was a Quebec Nordique. I like this shot of the grizzled veteran.

#200 - Sidney Crosby Checklist - As has been standard for the past few years (at least since I started collecting again) the final two base cards in each series are the checklist cards.

On a completely random note...even though Vincent LeCavalier does not have a card in the set, he is pictured prominently on two different cards taking face-offs against the subjects (Nathan Horton and Joe Pavelski).

Well, that about sums it up. I think I like last year's design slightly better, but this is still a solid set and a must have for a hockey card set collector. I will definitely be snatching up some Series 2 when it hits shelves next month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

David Krejci Collection - Card 15

I'm embarrassed to even post this, as the Bruins have been a total joke the past couple of weeks, but I'm trying to stick to my commitment of posting a new David Krejci card each time he scores this season. That shouldn't be hard, as the Bruins total lack of offense (not to mention motivation or determination) has them sinking faster than the Titanic down through the Eastern Conference standings.

Krejci netted a garbage goal in the 3rd period with the Bruins trailing 5-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday evening. I really hope something changes soon here as it has been flat out painful to watch the Bruins these past few weeks. Thankfully I won't have to again until Friday night when they take on the division-leading Buffalo Sabres. If they can manage even 3 goals I'll be one happy fan...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Five Random Flyers

It's been a busy week, as is evident by my total lack of posting. Any free time I've had for cards has been dedicated to scanning in my backlog of cards and adding them to my collection on Zistle. I've been wanting to post something though, and since I've been looking at the Philadelphia Flyers logo regularly since reader forsbergroypronger3 became a follower, I decided to pick 5 random Flyers cards from my collection to show:

1994-95 Topps Premier - #383 - Mikael Renberg - The Flyers have always been a team I liked, in fact if I were to rank all the teams in order they would probably be in my top 5. Part of this is probably due to the powerhouse Flyers teams of the early 90's with names like Lindros, Recchi and LeClair. One of my favorite players from those teams was speedy winger Mikael Renberg. Renberg bounced around to a few different teams and finished out the last few years of his career in Sweden.

1992-93 Upper Deck - #31 - Dominic Roussel - I don't really remember anything about Dominic as a player, but I like this card just because of the contrast between the white and orange uniform and the baby blue advertisement on the boards behind him.

1974-75 Topps - #216 - Stanley Cup Champions - This great card from the 1974-75 Topps set depicts the Broad Street Bullies celebrating the 1974 Stanley Cup championship.

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro Parallel - #574 - Bernie Parent - The 2008-09 OPC retro parallels, which pay homage to the 79-80 Topps/OPC sets, might be my favorite hockey cards released since I got back into collecting in 2007. This Parent card (which is one of the legends cards #'d 561 - 600) is a perfect example of why I love this parallel set. I think I've got somewhere around 400 out of the 600 cards, and this is one set I would love to finish someday.

1990 Bowman - #105 - Ron Hextall - 1990-91 Bowman was a pretty crummy set. The card stock is cheap and the photos are blurry and boring for the most part. For some reason I've always liked this Hextall card though. This is actually the second Hextall card I've featured on the blog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trade with Michel

Reader Michel from Texas responded to my call to assist with my 09-10 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey set with about 10 cards I needed. I sent 23 09-10 Upper Deck Series 1 cards and a few other random hockey needs. Michel included some surprises in addition to the cards I was expecting. Here are a few of the highlights:
A 1998-99 Bowman's Best Ray Bourque base card. I have very few cards at all from around 1995 through 2007, so this is the first Bowman's Best hockey card in my collection. Not the greatest looking set in my opinion but the photo shows a good shot of the Bruins 3rd jersey at the time.

5 1990-91 Score hockey cards, all of which I needed. My brothers and I used to get a kick out of this guy because we thought his last name was pronounced Yah-kee, which would've been comical. I think it's really pronounced as Yake though, as in rhymes with rake.

Michel sent a nice chunk of Red Sox cards, including these 6 '96 Fleer Ultras...

...and some 1995 Leaf Sox cards, another first for my collection. There was an insert from this set thrown in as well:

1999 Upper Deck Encore Jose Offerman. Never heard of this set. Jose's made some news recently...

There were a dozen 1996 Collector's Choice Red Sox cards, making a huge dent in my team set.

A couple of 2008 Topps Heritage cards I needed, including a new Buchholz card which is always appreciated!

My first 3 1996 Fleer Update cards. These cards have a really grainy feel to the fronts, I can't decide whether I like it or not.

A 2008 Topps Stadium Club 1st Day Issue Kevin Youkilis. I think I've mentioned this before but I really wish I had picked up more of this set when it was available in retail. I think the dumb short print checklist scared me away.

3 2009 Upper Deck Red Sox I was missing. I bought very little 09 Upper Deck baseball (like virtually every other collector it seems).

My favorite card in the entire package was this 1986 Donruss "Oil Can" Boyd. Cool shades, a towel scarf, and a custom embroidered Oil Can Boyd jacket. What's not to love?

Thank you for the fantastic trade Michel! I hope we can trade again in the future.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don Larsen's Perfect Game

Everyone knows Don Larsen as the only pitcher in history to throw a perfect game (or even a no-hitter for that matter) during the World Series. Overall he was a mediocre journeyman pitcher, so his name is forever associated with the gem he threw on October 8th, 1956. As a kid who spent a lot of time with his head buried in baseball statistics and books, I was always aware of this fact, but I never really gave it much thought until recently.

Only 18 official perfect games have ever been thrown, and to pull this off on baseball's biggest stage is beyond impressive. It's even more impressive when you consider that Larsen was no superstar prior to this, and had been lit up pretty well in game 2 of the series, just a few days earlier.

Here's the iconic image of catcher Yogi Berra leaping into Larsen's arms after the final out, courtesy of 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces. A couple of other interesting facts that I didn't know until recently:
  • This was the final game for home plate umpire Babe Pinelli before his retirement. Not a bad way to go out!
  • Larsen allegedly took a cigarette break during the 7th inning stretch in the clubhouse
  • Larsen was present during David Cone's no-hitter at Yankee stadium more than 30 years later in 1998. In fact, it was Yogi Berra day and he had thrown the ceremonial first pitch for that very game. Coincidence?

Until recently the two cards above were the only Larsens in my collection. I decided to rectify this and recently won this one on eBay:

I'm very excited to add this card to my personal collection. This is from the 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorite set, and of course depicts Larsen on the '56 Topps design. To me, this is a piece of baseball history and something I will enjoy for the rest of my life, as this very card was held and signed by the only man to throw a World Series perfect game. Not bad for $8 plus shipping huh?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bravo Mark!

It certainly took long enough, but I do give you credit for finally having the balls to admit what you did...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Red Sox Collection - 2008 Allen & Ginter Jason Varitek Jersey

Today has been the laziest day I've had in quite some time. After watching Gran Turino earlier (which was an excellent movie), it's been nothing but sports in my household. Unfortunately I wasted a couple of hours watching the Bruins lose to the New York Rangers this afternoon, and now playoff football is filling my night.

Since it's unlikely I'll be getting off the couch for anything other than a cold beer, I'm going to mail it in as far as posting goes and show this Jason Varitek Allen & Ginter jersey card. Lonestarr of Behind These Hazel Eyes must've sent me this card over a year ago, if not longer, but I only got around to scanning it in when I rediscovered it in a Red Sox box recently. Although Varitek is going to play a diminished role this season with Victor Martinez on board, he's been captain of the team for what seems like forever. This is my only Allen & Ginter "hit" card, and is one of the nicer looking Red Sox jersey swatch cards I've got. The solid red is much more entertaining to the eye than the average white swatch.

Belated thanks for the great card Lonestarr! I've got some stuff coming your way as soon as I get my cards from the Old School Breaks group break...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

David Krejci Collection - Card 14

I'm a bit late in posting this, but David Krejci scored his 8th goal of the season on Tuesday night on the road against the Ottawa Senators. To commemorate, here is his rookie card from the 2007-08 Upper Deck MVP set. The Bruins seem to be up and down lately, but they were able to beat the Senators (currently one spot behind Boston at 6th in the East) to earn 2 key points.

The Bruins take to the ice tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, who are currently the NHL's top team. If the game is anywhere near as exciting as the shootout the last time these two teams met, we're in for a good one!

#1 - 2007-08 Upper Deck SPX (Auto/Dual Relic/#'d to 999)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Filling in Gaps - 1964-65 Topps Hockey

The new year has brought with it a bit of a lull in my collecting, which is probably a good thing. Between Bruins games on consecutive nights and the World Junior Championship, which ended in a thrilling win for the Unites States in the gold medal game last night, I've spent a lot of time watching hockey already this year!

As far as collecting goes, we've got a couple of weeks before the 2010 baseball sets start appearing. On the hockey front, I'm just a few cards away from completing my 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey set, and Series 2 doesn't hit the shelves until the second week in February. I'm taking advantage of the down time to better organize my collection and scan in some older cards, like this beauty from the 64-65 Topps set.

This was another set that was completely absent from my hockey card collection, so I picked this single up on eBay. Of the 1960's sets I've managed to pick up a sample from so far, 1964-65 Topps may be my favorite. These cards really have to be seen in hand to be fully appreciated. This is a "tall boy" set, meaning that while Milt's card is the same width as a modern day card in terms of the top and bottom edges, it's over an inch taller. The design of the card is simple, but the large size really gives it some appeal. Here's the back of the card:

Not the world's most exciting back, but plenty of space for a large cartoon. As I've said before, I love when coach cards are included on a checklist. This card is in really great shape, crease-free with clean corners and a good glossy front. Combine that with the fact that it's a Bruins card and a coach and it was a no-brainer for under $10. This is generally regarded as one of the more scarce 60's Topps sets, and certain cards can fetch good money, so I will likely never complete it. I will definitely be adding some more of these to my collection though if I can find them on the cheap!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Links

Happy New Year everyone! If you're planning on a nice lazy New Year's Day like me, or if your plans happen to place you somewhere where a TV is present between the hours of 12 and 5, I've got a suggestion for you. Tune into the NHL's Winter Classic and watch the hometown Bruins take on the Philadelphia Flyers from within the confines of Fenway Park. This outdoor game is becoming a yearly tradition, and has been a great success for the NHL thus far.

There's something very interesting and nostalgic about watching an outdoor hockey game, and the fact that it's taking place in one of America's most beloved and historic ballparks (my personal favorite, although I'm obviously biased) just magnifies it that much more. Whether you're a hockey fan, a baseball fan, or just a sports fan in general you are missing out if you don't tune in!

Here are a couple of links I stumbled across this morning that I thought were pretty interesting:

Sports Illustrated takes a look at the top 10 goalie masks of the decade
Images from the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago
Goalie masks by team for the 2009-10 NHL Season
Did you know there's a

Go Bruins!
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