Giving 2012-13 Upper Deck Black Diamond A Whirl

Upper Deck Black Diamond has been a set that I've never been quite sure how I've felt about. Over the years, Black Diamond has kept their familiar foil heavy design that you either love or hate - the scanner seems to visually loathe the product.

2012-13 Black Diamond was released 4 years ago this month while the NHL lockout continued to drag on. Therefore, like most of the releases from 2012-13, the only rookies are those who debuted late the previous season and during the playoffs. In a nutshell, the rookie crop was weaker than usual. On the bright side, the slim pickings of notable rookies has severely lowered the cost of the majority of hobby boxes from that year - you can pick up a hobby box of Black Diamond for as low as $50-60.

Despite the lack of top rookies distributed in the product; Black Diamond offers quite a few unique inserts, memorabilia cards and autographs at an affordable price.

I rolled the dice and grabbed a couple of packs for cheap while at the flea market this past weekend.

#70 Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Gotta start the pack scans off with 'Super Mario'. I'm going to guess that this photo of Mario was taken during the 2002-03 season as he is wearing the distinct Nike Quest helmet that he helped the company launch that year ('03). Lemieux's Nike contract expired September, 2003.

#98 Nathan Gerbe, Buffalo Sabres
I used to be into Gerbe because of his underdog size. As a vertical challenged person myself, all 5'5" of me, I've always cheered those guys on a little harder.

#85 Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers
A card featuring Ryan Smyth in an Oilers sweater is like sitting at home by the fire, all is calm and all is right.

#60 Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche

#41 Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild
#82 Alex Tanguay, Calgary Flames

#146 Brendan Smith, Detroit Red Wings - 2x Diamond
You may not be able to distinguish from the scan but this Brendan Smith is actually a Double Diamond short-print.

#57 Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars

#ATG-16 Chris Drury, Colorado Avalanche, Championship Rings (All Time Greats)

It was a very nice surprise to pull this sparkly acetate insert featuring Chris Drury of the Colorado Avalanche. At a rate of 1:168 packs, these 'Championship Rings All-Time Greats' fall at an average of 1 per case. A case hit, totally unexpected.

Drury received his Stanley Cup ring in 2001 after helping the Avalanche put-away the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals 4-3.


Completed Insert Set: 1996-97 Score Sudden Death

It took over five years in the making but a few months back I finally picked up the last couple of cards to complete one of my all-time favorite insert sets, 1996-97 Score Sudden Death.

Randomly inserted in hobby packs at a rate of 1:35, this 15-card holofoil set featured two action photos simulating matchups of some of the deadliest snipers against the league's top netminders.

The mid-late '90s is my beloved childhood hockey era so any inert set featuring the greats of the game during the time is totally up my alley. Pulling one of these cards seemed just as difficult as winning the lottery back in 7th grade; who knew that twenty years later you could buy the majority of 'em for a couple bucks.

I'm pretty sure I bought the final card (picture above) from eBay. Surprisingly, finding the final two cards deemed more difficult than I had imagined given that they're a set from the 90s.

I thought the player selection was pretty good. I would have personally switched out Pierre Turgeon for Peter Forsberg or Eric Lindros and replaced Corey Hirsch for Patrick Roy but that's just my opinion.

The most valuable card from the set book wise would probably be the Wayne Gretzky/Felix Potvin matchup, quite frankly because it's a Gretzky card.

Here are scans of the complete 1996-97 Score "Sudden Death" insert set for your viewing pleasures.

#1 Pierre Turgeon, Montreal Canadiens/Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

#2 Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings/Jim Carey, Washington Capitals

#3 Brendan Shanahan, Hartford Whalers/Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres

#4 Ed Belfour, Chicago Blackhawks/Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues

#5 Jeremy Roenick, Chicago Blackhawks/Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings

#6 Pavel Bure, Vancouver Canucks/Curtis Joseph, Edmonton Oilers

#7 Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins/John Vanbiesbrouck, Florida Panthers

#8 Alexander Mogilny, Vancouver Canucks/Jocelyn Thibault, Montreal Canadiens

#9 Jaomir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins/Mike Richter, New York Rangers

#10 Mark Messier, New York Rangers/Tom Barrasso, Pittsburgh Penguins

#11 Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche, Daren Puppa, Tampa Bay Lightning

#12 Wayne Gretzky, St. Louis Blues/Felix Potvin, Toronto Maple Leafs

#13 Paul Kariya, Anaheim Mighty Ducks/Corey Hirsch, Vancouver Canucks

#14 Sergei Fedorov, Detroit Red Wings/Ron Hextall, Philadelphia Flyers

#15 Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Mighty Ducks/Nikolai Khabibulan, Winnipeg Jets


2016-17 Upper Deck Series 1: Blaster Hunting For Auston.

Here I am, back again! I decided to start from scratch and pick the hobby back up for the meantime. I've just really missed collecting and blogging about hockey cards as a pastime.

What better way to kick things off than with Upper Deck's annual flagship release. A set that I have decided to pursue in putting together. As per usual, the set contains 200 cards featuring veteran players and as expected, 50 Young Guns cards - off course, I'll be chasing those as well.

Speaking of chasing, on a whim I broke the seal by picking up a few blasters. I thought it would be a good way to get my feet wet again while accumulating the base set as well as whatever inserts and Young Guns may fall. I'm not going to lie, pulling a coveted Auston Matthews rookie was certainly dancing like sugar plums in my head.

I've decided to post the contents of each box individually showing my favorite cards from each break.

In my opinion, the design looks fantastic! The photography selection is a step above from last years release as I thought there were way too many close-ups in the 2015-16 Upper Deck set.

#199 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins/Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks CL
Let's strike the match with one of the two checklist cards included in the 200 card base set; featuring two captains who helped lead their teams to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

#12 Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes
I've always had a special place in my heart for the Phoenix Coyotes inaugural Aztec jersey.

#24 Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres
I've recently taken a liking to Ryan O'Reilly since watching him play at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as well as his tenure with the Buffalo Sabres thus far.

#99 Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens
Galchenyuk has been an exciting player to watch for the Canadiens. Hell, I'll swallow my pride and go so far as to say that the Habs have been a fun team to watch this season in general.

#112 Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
Another throwback jersey and just in time; very festive looking Henrique!

#121 John Tavares, New York Islanders
Nice shot of one of my favorite players in the league right now.

#146 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
#144 Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
Despite having very solid numbers for a rookie netminder, Murray's name doesn't drop as much as Laine and Matthews when it comes to the 2017 Calder race. I think the fact that he is technically still considered a rookie is overshadowed by how much he stood between the pipes for Pittsburgh and accomplished last season during the playoffs.

#145 Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
Nice card featuring Phil the Thrill in the retro Penguins threads.

#148 Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
It's crazy how far this guy has come in the NHL. From being moved around like currency, Burns has finally found his place as a Shark. From helping San Jose make a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, capturing the World Cup and being an early favorite for the Norris Trophy - Burns has taken his hockey career to new levels.

#131 Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Here's a card capturing one of the feel good moments from last season. Spoiler alert: Ryan scored a goal in the second period and the kids received their puppy as promised which they conveniently named 'Bobby'.

#152 Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

#180 Derek Dorsett, Vancouver Canucks

#183 Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks

#195 Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

#212 Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets YG RC
Kyle Connor was picked in the 1st round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and has seen a fair share of ice with the Winnipeg Jets so far into the season.

#215 Zach Sanford, Washington Capitals YG RC
I'm unfamiliar with Zach Sanford but he has seen 19 games with the Capitals thus far this season, recording one assist.

#244 Austin Czarnik, Boston Bruins YG RC
Czarnik has been a regular member of the Bruins lineup, recently snapping a 16-game goalless drought.

C113 Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes YG
Although my Young Guns weren't named Matthews or Laine, I did end up with a consolation prize - a 4th Young Gun, a UD Canvas to boot. The UD Canvas Young Guns are a tougher pull than their normal counterparts so it's always more special when you uncover one.

Lawson Crouse has been having a promising rookie year with the Coyotes, developing into a valuable role-player on the team whilst showing flashes of power-forward potential.

I also pulled a couple UD Portraits and Shining Stars but those insert sets haven't 'done it for me' since their inclusion in the annual flagship roll-out.

It was a fairly decent tin of cards overall, no complaints here. I picked up nearly half the base set and although I didn't hit any of the highly touted rookies that I was hoping for, it was a good mix of cards all-around. I'm looking forward to sharing what's inside the next box.


Who I Am And Why I'm Here

Hello readers, welcome to my hockey card blog.

Lately I've found myself spending some of my downtime reading trading card blogs from all over the internet. I've begun to miss the ol' hobby and have been hankered to pick it back up again. I want to start all over to be exact and begin working with a clean slate.

My earliest memories of collecting cardboard stem from receiving a Champions Hockey Card Collectors Starter Kit (endorsed by Patrick Roy) at the age of 7 as an Easter gift. I was hooked - spending countless hours as a young boy organizing and trading with friends. It was the mid-'90s and it was all about the hockey card.

My all-time favorite player is Mario Lemieux, I've been a Pittsburgh Penguins fan since I can remember following the game. Unfortunately I can recall David Volek of the New York Islanders scoring an overtime goal in game seven to upset the Pens in '93 more clearly than their Stanley Cup celebrations from the previous 2 years.

As I got older, hockey cards took a backseat to many other things; I didn't collect and hardly thought about it, to be honest I stopped following the game in general.

I started to get back into the sport several years ago just like I did when I was 10 - maybe my passion has even gone a little deeper.

As far as set goals collecting-wise is concerned, I am not sure where I want to go with it right now. But getting over this first blog post hump will be a huge accomplishment (if you've ever had to write an introduction post, you know what I mean), that's for sure.

I'm not here with aspirations to become the #1 sports card blog in the blogosphere; I'm here to have fun, share my collection with others and meet new people who share the same interests.  Pretty simple really.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you join me on my rediscovering of the hobby.
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