Keeper of The Cup

Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing; who do you got on your bracket? And how about those Golden Knights? Not too shabby, pulling off the sweep against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. I still don’t believe people are taking them seriously, for what it’s worth. Capturing the Cup in their inaugural season seems like quite the stretch but there’s no doubt that these guys can play really well together and are a definite threat. I’ve read comments from people that seem to brush them off and call their success ‘luck’ but I think these guys are more than that, they have proven that they are a hungry team, an expansion franchise like no other before and the record books show it. I’m really looking forward to their second round matchup against the Sharks.

And how about those Kings... it feels like it was only yesterday they were a dominant playoff team - how things have changed.

A couple of days ago I received an envelope in the mail from “The Keep of the Cup” Phil Pritchard. As one of two caretakers of the Stanley Cup and has become kind of a renowned personality in the National Hockey Leauge.  If the Stanley Cup is in sight, you can bet Phil or his buddy Craig Campbell are not far away.

I reached out to Phil and asked him if there was anything he could mail me that I could keep in my collection. Within just a few days, he was kind enough to send me a few signed photos and a card. The oversized Upper Deck 25th Aniversary card is also signed by Campbell.

Phil has his own Day With The Cup card from Upper Deck. He spends sometimes up to 175 days on the road with the Cup over a year, so I bet there wasn’t an issue with choosing a photo to use for the card. This was taken from one of his trips with the Cup to his hometown of Oakville ON.

In just another few weeks you’ll start to see Phil back on television, ready to present Lord Stanley to the Champions, whomever that may be.

Thanks for the stuff Phil, appreciate your time.


Lifting Lord Stanley

It's the first night of the Stanley Cup playoffs! Who else is excited!? I'm sitting here watching the Penguins beat up on the Flyers in Game 1 and it feels so good. I can only hope this sort of play continues and the Pens can make it a three-peat; a third Cup in as many years could define how they’re remembered for generations to come.

Speaking of hoisting Lord Stanley's Mug - ever since Brett over at My Hockey Card Obsession rolled out his 'Raise The Cup' project several years ago, I've wanted to start my own. And that's just what I've recently done.

I've collated the first 9 cards towards my project.

I'm already stoked about this new collecting expedition. I'm really looking forward to seeking out and picking up new cards that meet criteria.

Wouldja look at that; a 7-0 pummelling by the Pens capped off with a Sidney Crosby hat-trick. And the Jets won the first game in their series! I'm loving how these 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs have started off.


2011-12 Upper Deck SPx

Truth be told, I haven't picked anything at all for my collection since my last post. I regularly attend the local flea market and spend an hour or so browsing through binders looking for anything that will peak my interest but I often find myself not knowing what I'm searching for to begin with.

Although here's a pack of 2011-12 Upper Deck SPx that I did open up today.

Hopkins was the 2011 1st overall Draft pick, so traditionally he was the being shopped as one of the next NHL superstar. He is definitely holding his own in the league.

I don't have any other cards from this set so all of these were all new. A /25 Spectrum parallel rookie card was a surprise - I hadn't heard of York previous to this card but apparently he played a few minutes with the Blue Jackets during 2011.


Game Dated Moments Jaromir Jagr

If you aren't aware, Upper Deck has been releasing on-demand cards since the beginning of the hockey season commemorating events or achievements from over the previous week of NHL action - a concept similar to Topps Now. Sold for one week only, each card includes in-game photography as well as the date and a description of the moment.

The cards are sold through Upper Deck ePack and can be purchased provided that you also buy a different ePack hockey product in the same transaction.

I have bought a few ePacks in the past but the idea is lost on me because I enjoy having something tangible; I mean, if I'm going to shell out $5 for a pack of cards - I want it all, even the wrapper.

I haven't given much thought to pursuing any of the Game Dated Moments cards that were being printed but a spark of interest was set when Upper Deck announced the release of the above Jaromir Jagr card back in January.

I figured there probably won't be too many cards featuring Jagr in a Calgary Flames jersey in the future. His 22 games with the club is probably something his legacy would much rather shed. But maybe I'm wrong; To my knowledge there are already three pieces of cardboard highlighting his tenure with the Flames from a couple of different sets.

But I like it, I like the oddity aspect of it, much like a card of a St. Louis Blues Wayne Gretzky or a Boston Bruins Brian Leetch. I like it so much that I logged into ePack that week and bought a pack of Upper Deck Compendium (the cheapest pack that was eligible to unlock the Game Dated Moments card for purchase) and acquired it for my collection.

Despite the nickname the Ageless Wonder, Jag's is showing his age on this one; with the dual exhaust grey hair running out from underneath his lid to that salt & pepper beard shadowing across his face. It all just adds to why I felt like I needed to own this card more than any of the others released.


Making The Jump

The sports card blogosphere is made up of 85% baseball and the rest is everything else. I really enjoy reading everyone's blog regardless of the sport or non-sport; so much that annually when this time of year arrives and Topps releases their flagship product and all the baseball card bloggers are showing off their latest hauls from the racks - I get a hankering to pick up baseball.

I'll be honest, I know very little about the current state of professional baseball. I know the rules of the game and I could name the majority of the teams in the MLB but when it comes to current players; I know maybe a handful, tops.

But this hankering I get - it's not just about buying baseball cards, it's about wanting to know more about the game, about the teams, about the players and ultimately the who's who in the league and follow the game just as I do with hockey.

I went out and picked up a blaster of 2018 Topps Series 1 - I figure I could start somewhere, learn a few things, do a little research on the players pulled from the purchase. I really like the Topps set, the photography is great from what I've seen on the blogs. And when there are mascot cards, I'm instantly intrigued.

I know Mike Trout. I mean, who doesn't know who Mike Trout is right? Is it fair to compare his notoriety in the sport to that of Sidney Crosby in hockey?

Eric Hosmer on the other hand - I have not heard of. I did a little research and apparently he is one of the most consistent hitters in the game and signed as a free agent with the San Diego Padres just last month.

I've heard the name Clayton Kershaw go around a lot in the past so I'm going to go out on a limb and say he is an important player in the league. A snippet from his Wiki entry reads, "He has been described as the best pitcher in baseball." - good enough for me!

I have also heard the name Buster Posey make its rounds in baseball talk as well; I'm not sure on where he falls among the ladder of significant players in MLB but give the guy some brownie points for the name. Buster Posey sounds like you would meet him at high noon for a beer and a show down.

I did pull a couple of Blue Jays from my blaster, Smoak and Morales. If you're either bit of a sports fan, it's hard not to pay attention to the Blue Jays up here in Canada. They're Canada's team after all.

I thought the photography used on the team cards were pretty cool - they all offered a unique shot of baseball. Well, in my opinion they're unique shots - the avid baseball card collector may be sick and tired of seeing another photo used from during the signing of the National Anthem or of a guy running over home plate.

Another name I've heard before, Bryce Harper.

These 'Opening Day' insert cards were distributed in my blaster quite liberally. They're pretty crazy looking, I'm not sure what Topps were attempting to do here. I wasn't familiar with any of the players that I pulled so I'm going to go with Noah Syndergaard because of that hair - it looks almost like a lion's mane.

I received three of these Kris Bryant 'Highlights' cards in my blaster - I believe they are an exclusive. I don't know of him and I can bet he is one of the greatest in the game at the moment. This is a definite indication that I have a lot left to learn. God, this is embarrassing.

Eh a name I'm kind of familiar with - Chris Sale! A first-rate pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

I received three of these 1983 Topps parallel cards; the design reminds me of the 1984 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set due to the similarities in regards to having the players face inside a circle towards the bottom corner of the card. 1984 O-Pee-Chee is one of my all-time favorite hockey card designs so I can totally understand why baseball card collectors have been really into these parallels.

No idea who Justin Turner is but he has a nice beard.

You can't really distinguish by the scan but I believe this is a rainbow parallel. Good to know that the saturation of parallels don't only dwell amongst the hockey cards.

I did receive a serial numbered card out of the blaster /299. From what I've gathered, I think it's a black parallel but don't take my word for that.

Miguel Andujar is apparently a top prospect as well (again, don't take my word for that) - so that's a win! 

So how was my blaster? Value-wise, I have no idea but going into this purchase I wasn't looking for value - I thought it would be something new and fun to open and that maybe I'll gain further interest in pursuing the game of baseball.

That didn't really happen - although I have fond memories of myself and every other kid that I knew having Blue Jays fever during their back-to-back World Series Championships when I was 8 years old, after this break I feel appeased and furthermore reluctant to care anymore than I do for baseball. Nearly 24 hours later and I have no desire to take it on right now. I just wish it didn't take $30 to pacify these fleeting feelings!

That's it I suppose - you live, you learn.


Recently Plucked From The Binders Of Others

Here are a few of my favourite cards that I’ve picked up over the past few months.

Great looking Canvas cards of Matthews and Crosby from the latest Upper Deck flagship.

1950s Hockey Heroes Art card.

This guy has been so much fun to watch this season! He is quickly turning into one of my favorite players. He skates like the wind and is a natural with the puck on his stick. Dude is taking home the Calder this year.

Another rookie stud from the 2017-18 hockey season - Brock Boeser. A legit Calder candidate, he is essentially the beating heart of the Vancouver Canucks right now.

This is from the 2004 World Cup of Hockey in which Canada went undefeated and ultimately went on to capture the Gold.

A couple of Gretzky cards from the 1997 Starting Lineup figure and 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector's Choice set.

I also picked up a few new Crosby cards for my collection. 

Despite his name dropping down the rankings of potential Calder Memorial Trophy winners, there's no arguing that McAvoy is having one heck of a rookie season on the blueline with the Bruins.

I like these checklist cards that are found in the most recent Upper Deck Tim Horton's set. It would have been a cool concept to do the entire run of "100 Greatest Players"; an opportunity missed in my opinion.

The 'Big E' doing his best Rocky Balboa impersonation on the top of the 72 stone steps leading into the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philly

And how about a few game jersey cards to round out the post.

I had some intentions on collecting all the jersey cards from the most recent Upper Deck release but that ambition has since waned.
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