Seeing Red

Now that’s a nice hockey card. Patrick Roy holding both the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smyth back in 1986. I was nearly two years old at the time.

Then just a few years later, the Canadiens would win yet again in ‘93. To put it this way, the Montreal Canadiens were already a popular team by 1993 but I remember the fandom was heavily prevalent during my childhood. So were the Blue Jays! And the Talkboy!

My Grandfather was a big Habs fan, growing up I remember he was really into them; like he was a Hockey Night In Canada at night Sports Desk in the morning  - Big fan. And because of that, my 17 aunts and uncles were raised as Canadiens fans and so on.

I remember him really liking this 1997 Donruss Studio Saku Koivu card that I owned. My sister had bought me a pack of Studio at a pharmacy earlier that evening and I ended up pulling the Koivu 8x10. I wanted to show him because I knew he would like it. As I had hoped, he did and so I gave it to him. That’s my only hockey card memory I have involving my Pop.

You know, the Koivu Studio is a card with a personal memory attached to it. One of the many cards that holds that effect for me. Every time I look at that card I’m instantly taken back to my grandparents house with a pack of 1997 Donruss Studio that my sister bought for me earlier that day at a drug store.

And that’s one of the things that I love about cards. That they have all these specific memories and stories to tell; it’s kind of like those songs that you hear and they take you back to a moment in your life like a bookmark. How simple yet so appreciative, that ability a Saku Koivu Donruss Studio can have.

The above eight Montreal Canadiens Memorable Moments cards were a promotional set released through Upper Deck at the 2017 L’Anti Expo which took place in Montreal. The design is a continuation of the 'Memorable Moments' short prints found in the popular 2008-09 Upper Deck Montreal Canadiens Centennial set.

In order to have received the full set of cards that look back at the best moments that took place between 2008-09 and 2016-17, collectors attending L’Anti Expo would have to break 10 sealed packs that were purchased from a Certified Diamond Dealer on the floor.

I'm missing just one card from the release, #MC-0 Jonathan Drouin. It's considered a 'special card' and getting one was a bit of a challenge since they were randomly inserted into packs.

Any cards in your collection have that sort of effect on you as the Koivu Donruss?


Oil Change

This card arrived in the mail earlier this week - It's the Upper Deck 20th Anniversary parallel of the Young Guns checklist card from 2010-11. It has been up there on my want list for some time now but I just never liked the going price for it. But with a little patience, I was able to score it for less than half the running listing price. THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

Hall and Eberle were expected to be two major components in the rebuilding of the Edmonton Oilers. A rebuild that didn't go exactly as planned and thus it was 1st overall pick after another. The Oilers loaded their team with THE best young player from across the world entering into the NHL for three years in a row. Despite how talented the team looked on paper, they just couldn't execute while on the ice.

Over the six seasons in which Hall and Eberle played together, the Oilers missed the post-season in all six of those years - finishing 30th, 29th, 24th, 28th, 28th and 29th in the 30-team NHL. They became the joke of the NHL.

Although they lost a ton of games over those years, I'll wholeheartedly admit that I really enjoyed following the Oilers over their disastrous run - the team played fast, they were youthful and the media hype, I’m sure came into play as well.

Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov heck even Magnus Paajarvi; there was a lot of young blood flowing through the veins of the Edmonton Oilers.

Much of the teams lack of success was shifted onto the shoulders of Taylor Hall albeit it was out of his control. A poorly constructed roster and constant organizational changes (I think they had 4-5 coaches over six seasons) undoubtedly played a big part in leading the franchise into consistent losing territory.

Hall was traded to New Jersey two years ago and enjoyed the best year of his NHL career just this past season; doing what he was expected to do in Edmonton, carrying the New Jersey Devils on his back and into the post season sunset. He has also been nominated for the Hart Trophy. They do say the best revenge is living well.

Eberle was moved to the New York Islanders last year in exchange for Ryan Strome and has remained offensively consistent. The trade free'd up cap space for the Oilers, who had big-money signings coming up with Draisaitl and McDavid entering their final year of their entry-level contract.


The Rat King

Here are a few Brad Marchand cards since he has found himself a topic of conversation over the past weekend. He is so hard to like; the guy has shown that he has the skill - but he can’t help himself on the ice. From the slew-footing, suspensions, the consistent hits with intent to injure - there’s a lot about the way he polices himself during the game that is to be frowned upon.

And that will be his legacy. ‘The Rat’. Fans will always remember the bad stuff, and because of that, just how offensively talented he is will be nothing more than a footnote. He has been an elite winger for awhile now but it has been only over the past few seasons where he has had the numbers to back it up. Multiple All-Star worthy performances, crippled by a bad reputation.

I had this Brad Marchand 12-13 Score card signed towards my autographed set through a private signing. Marchand doesn’t sign autographs much.

If I remember correctly, this is the last card that I've added to my project. Just 17 left to go! Which reminds me, I got a really big addition through the mail recently that I can’t wait to share.

I actually don’t have many Marchand cards in my collection. I never did actively collected him. After this whole debacle, I’ve kind of had a hankering to pick up a few more. So what does that have to say about my opinion on Brad Marchand? Well, I appreciate his play, I just wish he would tone it down a little. Maybe go a season without trying to knock someone’s head off. I did feel like his licking antics crossed the line.

All the same time, I do enjoy that villain character that he has created for himself in the league. He is certainly a player who you can love to hate.


Threads From Friends

Last night I was pulling some cardboard to scan and I came across a few cards from Brian who writes for Just A Bit Offside that I never got around to posting. Even worse, I still hadn’t sent out my end of the cards - this exchange happened months ago! You’re cards will be in the mail within the next day or so.

Brian sent a very generous fabric friendly package featuring a duo of my all-time favourite players.

Kariya and Tkachuk actually played parts of 3 seasons together with the Blues from 2007-10.

Tkachuk's stay in Atlanta is often forgettable, suiting up for just 22 games with the Trashers before being traded back to the St. Louis Blues.

Here's a fantastic looking manufactured patch card from 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Premier commemorating the 4th overall selection from the 1993 NHl Entry Draft, Paul Kariya.

I want to say thanks to Brian for sending these beautiful cards my way. Appreciate the extra thought that went into this blind trade.


Big Buff

I just watched a clip of the Jets/Predators game from a couple of nights ago featuring “Big Buff” Dustin Byfuglien ragdoll-ing two players from Nashville during a scrum after the whistle. The confrontation was two nose honks and an eye poke away from treating Roman Josi and Austin Watson like Larry and Curly - a la the Three Stooges.

Byfuglien is one of the few I would consider monster players in the league. One that is dominanted by smaller, faster players. He is a big guy, he is a 6’5” giant on skates (according The the jost mass index he is the biggest player in the league) who delivers hard physically and sticks up for his teammates. He plays a solid play in his own zone but isn’t one to shy away from joining in on the offensive rush and it works. Not only that, he is considered to own one of the hardest shots in the NHL.

I pulled this 2011-12 Panini Certifed several years back from a box during the time of its release. It’s probably the only card that I ended up keeping in my collection over the past 6 years.

While we’re on the Big Buff trainn.

Great to see the Jets win again last night, I think the entire country of Canada is behind them during this post season run. The atmosphere at Bell MTS Place looks and sounds incredible.


Blog Bat Around: All-Autograph Team Hockey Edition

I really like the idea for the most recent Blog Bat Around that has been circulating around the sports card blogosphere courtesy of Torren' Up Cards - construct a starting nine/10 lineup with their best baseball autographs at each position. Simple enough.

I'm not a baseball card collector but I certainly am an autograph collector. Collating completely hand-signed hockey card sets have been my main hobby focus since returning to the game a little over 6 years ago. At the moment, I am working on three sets - 2012-13 Score, 2011 Panini Stickers and 1990 Panini Stickers. I'm only 18 cards away from finishing the entire 548 card Score set and have made significant progress on the other two.

So here is my starting lineup of my best/favorite autographs by position - Centre, Left Wing, Right Wing, 2 Defensemen and a Goalie.


Sidney Crosby / Centre - He's my current favorite player so few other could trump Sid as the centre selection in my starting lineup. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time.

This card was signed by Crosby after the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2017 Stanley Cup Parade.

Jaromir Jagr / Right Wing - This was probably the most difficult position that I hadto select but in the end Calgary Flame's legend, Jaromir Jagr, takes the throne. Honorable mention goes to Brett Hull.

Jagr signed two cards from this set at a signing.

Bobby Hull / Left Wing - The Golden Jet.

Nicklas Lidstrom / Defence - One of the most reliable defensemen to ever play the game. Oozes leadership both on and off the ice.

Through the mail.

Paul Coffey / Defence - Embodied everything an offensive defenseman could be.

Received Coffey through the mail a few years back.

Patrick Roy / Goaltender - Unarguably one of the greatest to man the pipes.

Roy signed his ‘90 Panini through a private signing.


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.
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