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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2015-16 Contours Box Break

Now that they have the exclusive NHL license, Upper Deck has had some room to introduce a few new products to the market, one of those being Contours. I'm not sure what the "theme" of this release is, other than every card is die-cut. They also have included some hits from famous fans, so I guess this is Upper Deck's answer to Panini's Crown Royale. Either way, I decided to pick myself up a box, and here's how I did.

Here's a quick look at the base set. It's the typical player image in front of a photoshopped background, and the "contouring" takes place right above the silver foil on top of the card.

Of course, there are parallels, as well.As an added bonus, they also die-cut the sides of these cards to give them that extra bonus beyond just different-colored foil.
Steve Yzerman 121/499, Andrew Ladd 116/499

Rookie Resume Connor Hellebuyck  286/399
The rookie Resume cards are an insert, of course, but I'm not sure if they really provide anything different than the base cards, apart from a serial number and a lack of die-cutting. 

Oscar Lindberg Rookie Resume Proof 40/50

Youth Movement Sean Couturier 307/399
The Youth Movement autograph cards, I think, focus on the younger players in the league. Although I hate the Flyers, you could do much worse than pulling Couturier.

Oscar Lindberg Rookies Auto 328/499
These are the rookie cards for the set. 30 cards feature just an autograph, and 30 feature an autograph and a jersey swatch. Not a bad hit at all, but like the Couturier above, it is a sticker auto.

High Profile Fans Larry King Jersey
This is what I think is kind of cool. They have included a few celebrities from outside of the hockey world who are huge fans as hits in the product. While I am not a huge Larry King fan, in particular, I do love that Upper Deck tried to do something different with this product. 

High Profile Fans CM Punk
The High Profice Fans cards are inserted at a rate of 1:41, so it's nice to grab two of them in my 4-pack box. As a massive fan of pro wrestling, that fact that I grabbed a card of one of the most prolific wrestlers of this era, is even nicer! Looking at King & Punk, though, I do wish Upper Deck included a short write-up on their fandom in the text on the back, instead of just their accomplishment in their particular lines of work. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Day With the Cup

I was overjoyed back in June when the Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth Stanley Cup, but it keeps getting better. Matt Cullen, who is from Moorhead, MN, was a key part of the team throughout the regular season and playoffs, and brought the Cup back home to share with the community last weekend. My family and I live right here in Moorhead, so we had the wonderful opportunity to see the Cup. My wife and I dropped our girls' off at my parents' house, and were on our way.

I was expecting just to be able to look at it, and hopefully, take a picture with it, which would have been incredible just by itself. However, as we got closer, I noticed that Cullen himself was right there with it, taking pictures with every single fan right next to the Stanley Cup. After an hour and a half in line, there we were. 

It really was an impressive operation they had set up. In order to get as many people through as possible, they hired two professional photographers, and assembly-lined everyone through. Pictures were then uploaded almost immediately to a computer station, where they did the necessary cropping, and printed up a 3x5 for each person in the shot, as well as e-mailing a digital copy for social media use. 

After having some time to share the Stanley Cup with his family in the morning, Cullen took it to visit children involved with his "Cully's Kids" charity, which helps battle childhood cancer, then brought it to the Moorhead Youth Hockey Arena, where he shared it with local youth hockey players. After that, it came to a tent set up outside the arena, which is where my wife and I saw it.

It may have been Matt Cullen's "day with the Cup," but I was so grateful for the opportunity for my "moment with the Cup."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mike McCarron Artifacts Redemption

Well, close to 8 months after the set's original release date, Upper Deck is finally sending out their rookie redemptions for 2015-16 Artifacts. As the set was released early in October, rookies from this season hadn't made their debut when production began, so Upper Deck included redemption cards, so that they could produce cards of this year's rookies after they made their debut.

The redemption I got from a box I opened last fall was a "Wild Card" that ended up being of Montreal Canadiens right wing Mike McCarron, numbered 444/899. McCarron made it up to the NHL for 20 games this past season, scoring just one goal and one assist. Might not be the best rookie available, but at least I finally have the card in hand, after quite a long wait. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

2015-16 Fleer Showcase Box Break

I think I got this box almost two months ago, but really just never got around to posting it, despite scanning the cards and basically doing everything but typing it up. Anyway, 2015-16 Fleer Showcase is a product in its third year, and is Upper Deck's way of paying tribute to (or maybe just capitalizing on) past products of the Fleer brand, which Upper Deck owns.

The base cards are actually a unique design, as all of the Fleer "tributes" are inserts, and are very similar to what you would see from one of their SP lines, but with a colored background instead of white. 

Trios Hot Prospects 64/599: Alex Biega/Alexandre Grenier/Andrey Pedan
The trios cards are just a way to put in some of the season's late-comers, and as such, it's rare to find a whole lot of players with a whole lot of superstar potential, as they most likely made their debut earlier in the season, and are part of the main rookie line.

Then, there are the insert sets that pay tribute to past Fleer issues. In previous sets, they were able to to a more precise replication of these, but as they run out of former sets, they instead have to go with more of a "tribute" thing, which gives a more modern take on what those sets could have looked like. 
Flair Showcase: Tuukka Rask, Jordan Eberle

Flair Showcase Rookies: Jake Virtanen

Metal Universe: Noah Hanifin, Jake Virtanen, Radek Faksa

Skybox Premium Prospects: Mike Condon

Fleer Ultra Rookies: Jack Eichel 587/699

Then, there were the hits:

Jonathan Quick Showcase Jersey Red Glow Parallel 88/99
This is a jersey card, but witht he smooth fabric of silver, I almost thought it might be a one-colored patch. Nope, just a jersey swatch, but still a good card of a great player

Guy Lafleur Showcase Jersey Red Glow Parallel 14/25
Some of the jersey cards have an extra-low serial number for some reason, but I'm not sure why. There's only 25 of these, and the fact that it's a hockey legend makes it extra cool, as well. 

Hot Prospects Nikolay Goldobin 233/499
This is my guaranteed Rookie Auto Patch card, of San Jose Sharks forward Nikolay Goldobin. There are three colors on the patch, which is great, even if it's only a slight bit of teal in the upper right. He spent most of this past season with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, but was with the NHL team for nine games, scoring one goal and one assist. 

I didn't strike gold with this one, but there were some respectable pulls, not only with the hits, but with a Jack Eichel rookie card. I know it's a bit of a gamble, as any box of cards can be, but with a guarantees Rookie Auto Patch, you'll always walk away with something pretty nice.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Some Trade Bait Additions

Nothing much to write about in detail, but here's a few Additions to my traders that I have come across recently. If anyone is interested in any of these, let me know at

2012-13 Limited Jason Spezza Patch 20/25

2011-12 Prime Cody Eakin Prime Rookies 185/199

2008-09 Trilogy David Clarkson Young Star Scripts

2012-13 Limited Jordan Nolan Phenoms 318/499

2013-14 Trilogy Bobby Ryan Signature Pucks

2013-14 SP Authentic Emerson Etem Future Watch Limited Auto Patch 1/100

2014-15 Trilogy Tomas Tatar Signature Pucks

2014-15 SP Game Used Jonathan Drouin Rookies Patch 96/99

2014-15 SPX Corban Knight Rookie Inaugural Materials 11/99

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Some Zach Parise Cards All the Way from Austria

Being a hockey fan, I have grown accustomed to having to wait longer to receive my items due to international shipping. Usually, the cards in question are on their way from Canada, but every now and then, they come from even further, like this three-card Ebay purchase that came all the way from Austria.

2014-15 Upper Deck Premier Rinks of Honor Autographed Booklet

2014-15 Upper Deck Black Lustrous Signatures 23/49

13-14 National Treasures Dual Auto Gold #34 Charlie Coyle/Zach Parise 10/25

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Zach Parise Collection Additions

The nice thing with starting out a new player collection, is that there are plenty of cards to choose from that you don't already have. Here's a quick look at some of my newest Parise cards:

2015-16 Fleer Showcase White Hot Glove 12/15

2015-16 Fleer Showcase Flair Showcase Jersey

2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Premier Remnants Patch 17/25

2011-12 Certified Mirror Gold Prime Jersey 22/25

2012-13 Certified Fabric of the Game 13/299

Friday, April 29, 2016

Zach Parise Team Trade Marks from 2011-12 Limited

Back when I first got back into the hockey card game, the very first box of new product that I opened was 2011-12 Panini Limited. It was also the first mid-to-high-end product that I ever opened, and it introduced me to the idea of a low base/high hit product.

I really like how the major elements of the card are highlighted. Base cards will give you full-color images that really take you into the game. These, on the other hand, sacrifice a little bit of the background in favor of the "hit." The player image is important, but room is always left for things like an autograph or a piece of memorabilia.

I recently got my hands on two fantastic cards of Zach Parise from the 2011-12 Limited Team Trademarks insert set. The first is an autographed jersey card, numbered 20/49, and the second of an autographed card, numbered 19/99.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2015-16 SPX Box Break

It's already April, and I finally got my hands on some cardboard. As I have now split my collecting interests between cards and autographed memorabilia, I haven't quite been buying as much cardboard as I used to. Still, I do like to open up a brand new box of cards, and picked up some 2015-16 SPX.

Each box contains 10 packs of four cards, and is guaranteed to contain one rookie autographed jersey card and two additional hits. Here's what my box gave me:

Base: Top four cards for my team/player interests were Evgeni Malkin, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zach Parise, & Tyler Seguin.
I like the design of the base cards. you have a slight design on the right side of the card that corresponds to the team color, with a little bit of gray on the top. There isn't much of the actual background visible in the photos, but they way they have these laid out, it really makes the player image jump off of the cardboard.

SPX Rookies: Tommy Cross, Joonas Kemppainen, Tanner Kero
Two ok Bruins, but for me, Kero is the real winner here. It's not that I'm a Blackhawks fan, but Kero played in the USHL for my local team, the Fargo Force, and is the fourth Force alumnus to make it to the NHL.

Name on the Front: Nicklas Lidstrom
The title of the insert, I believe, makes reference to the Herb Brooks line in "Miracle," "The name on the front of your jersey is a hell of a lot important than the name on the back." However, there isn't any reference made to the "name on the front," in the text on the back of the card, so maybe someone just thought it would be a cool name for an insert set. 

Stick Wizards: Johnny Gaudreau
I guess this makes reference to a player who is a good stickhandler? Like the Lidstrom card, the test on the back of the card makes no reference to anything about the name of the insert set. Still a nice-looking card, though. 

Shift Change: Aleksander Barkov, Viktor Arvidsson
Again, I'm not sure what the name of the insert set has to do with anything, but I will say this: as a TTM collector, these would look amazing to be signed, especially right on that chunk of blank space on the bottom right of the card. 

The Hits
Monochromatics: Daniel Sedin
OK, so these are really cool. Basically, It's a black and white image of the player, with one color. That color, of course, is for his jersey, and not only that, but the jersey swatch is of that same color. While some of their ideas with the insert sets seem kind of random, this is one that actually works, and looks fantastic. 

 X-Jersey Dual: Ryan Getzlaf/Ryan Kesler
There really isn't much to this, other than it's a two-player, four-jersey-swatch card, and with the two Ryans, we have a couple of pretty decent players. 

Connor Hellebuyck
Lastly, is the big draw, the guaranteed Autographed jersey rookie card. This one is of Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, and features an autograph and two pieces of his jersey. I actually pulled a decent one, as Hellebuyck seems to be one of the brightest young stars in the Jets' system, and there will be an opportunity in the future for him to take things over. 

I kind of like this set. The hits are decent, and the base set looks really cool. I'm not sure if I will be investing any more money into this in the future, but it was still a fun break.