Sunday, July 20, 2014

Connor McDavid

For all the TTM success I had this season, one player I didn't hear back from was Erie Otters center Connor McDavid. Kevin happened to see that Erie was selling signed photos (an 8 x 10 of the team card set design) for a pretty reasonable price, so I grabbed one for each of us. With McDavid projected to be the first pick in the 2015 NHL draft, deals like this may be hard to come by in the future. 
The 17 year old had 28 goals and 99 points last season, 
improving on the 25 goals and 66 points he put up as an OHL rookie. 
The Otters also have signed photos and pucks of 
Andre Burakovsky (Capitals, 2012 - 23rd overall) and Dylan Strome (projected high pick in 2015) available. If they would have had any McDavid pucks still in stock, I probably would have grabbed one of those as well - it would be great to see more OHL teams offer affordable signed products like this and I will definitely be checking back when the season starts. Included with the signed photo was this COA:

Below are McDavid's first 2 cards, from ITG's Heroes and Prospects sets
The one on the right is like the one I sent to him TTM.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tomas Jurco -
2013-14 Grand Radpids Griffins Team Set

During the Grand Rapids Griffins' Calder Cup playoff run last season, a few familiar faces ended up back in town. One player who returned after the Red Wings were eliminated from the playoffs was winger Tomas Jurco, which gave me the chance to add the signed card above to my team set. I now only need Alexey Marchenko and Martin Frk (both will be back next year), 
Patrick Eaves, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening (tried all TTM; no success so far)
as well as trade deadline loss Calle Jarnkrok.

One interesting note is how Jurco's signature has declined as he hits the "big time" -
it used to be his full name and is now pretty much a J and scribbles.
Here's a look at my TTM while he was in the QMJHL
as well as a signed puck from his first season in Grand Rapids
and a couple of photos
now his auto looks like this on his certified releases (below) and more recently signed cards

Monday, July 7, 2014

TTM: Joel Edmundson

2010-11 and 2011-12 ITG Heroes and Prospects
Mailed: 4/4/14
Received: 4/23/14

While I didn't have any success with the Chicago Wolves in person last season, a few of their players were nice enough to return my TTM requests. Rookie defenseman Joel Edmundson made quite a splash in the AHL last season, and he signed and returned my 2010-11 and 2011-12 ITG Heroes and Prospects card in black sharpie while adding personalization. The St. Louis Blues like Edmundson enough to take him 46th overall in the 2011 draft, and they had to be pretty impressed as he chipped in four goals and eight points while racking up 108 penalty minutes and finishing the season with a +14 rating.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

TTM: Jim O'Brien

2010-11 Score Rookies and Traded
Mailed: 11/10/13
Received: 6/11/14

While the TTM returns haven't exactly been pouring in, this return from Jim O'Brien was a second addition to my 2010-11 Score Rookie and Traded set this summer. A 2007 draft pick of the Senators, O'Brien has bounced between the Binghamton Senators of the AHL and Ottawa for the past five seasons. He's currently a UFA and coming off the second-best season of his minor league career (11G-18A-29pts). He won the Calder Cup in 2011 with Binghamton, and played for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds before turning pro. He signed my card in blue sharpie through the AHL Sens in about seven months.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

TTM: Jeff Petry

2010-11 Score Rookies/Traded
Mailed: 11/22/13
Received: 5/3/14

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry helped add to my 2010-11 Score Rookies/Traded set when he returned this card in May. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich. (home of the Wolverines), Petry played his collegiate hockey for the Michigan State Spartans. His father, Dan, was an MLB pitcher who won the 1984 World Series with the Detroit Tigers - and he's frequently in attendance when the Oilers visit the Red Wings. The younger Petry had the best season of his career in 2013-14, playing in 80 games while scoring a career-high seven goals and recording 17 points. He signed my card in black sharpie and sent it back in about six months.

Friday, July 4, 2014

TTM: Jason LaBarbera

2010-11 Panini All Goalies and ITG Between the Pipes
Mailed: 2/3/14
Received: 6/11/14

I had tried former Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Jason Labarbera once before TTM with no success, but this time I was able to get two cards back signed by him while he was with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. After four seasons of limited action in Phoenix, Labarbera started the 2013-14 season with the Edmonton Oilers. He played seven games there and appeared in two for the Oklahoma City Barons before finishing the season in Rockford. He posted a 15-15-2 record for the IceHogs, with a 2.94 goals-against average. He signed with the Anaheim Ducks on July 1st, so he'll either be headed back to the NHL or be seeing time with Norfolk (AHL) next season. Labarbera signed my 2010-11 Between the Pipes card and a Panini All Goalies card, both in black sharpie.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Panini Prizm World Cup cards

Jozy Altidore is one of the 6 USA players featured in
the 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup soccer set.
One of my favorite non-"Big 4" sets growing up was Upper Deck's 1994 World Cup release, and I figure between me and my brother we opened at least two boxes. While we were familiar with some of the U.S. players at the time, that set opened us up to stars from around the world - like Roberto Baggio (Italy), Carlos Valderamma (Colombia) and Jorge Campos (Mexico). It helped that the World Cup was in the U.S. that year and we watched a lot of the matches that year.
Here's a look at what the cards looked like that year:
With this year's WC in Brazil approaching, Panini released a set that looks similar to their Prizm releases in other sports last year. Card design has come a long way since that time and I think this set turned out pretty good. I don't often venture away from hockey collecting anymore, but I'll make exceptions when it comes to the Netherlands (like I did for MMA cards of Stefan Struve).
Here's a look at the nine base cards:
Featured players are goalkeepeer Jasper Cillessen, Bruno Martins Indi,
captain Arjen Robben, Kevin Strootman (out with knee injury),
Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart (also out with injury), 
Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt and star striker Robin van Persie.
Robben and Van Persie are also featured in a "World Cup Stars" subset
and there is a team card, this being one of the numerous shiny parallel versions of it

There are many inserts and parallels in this set, with the highlight being autographs of current and former stars - those have pretty high price tags on the secondary market so far.
For example, autographed cards of former U.S. player Alexei Lalas ($29.99 BIN)
and Argentina star Lionel Messi (bids up to $810 so far) show the range in prices well.
I'd love to get my hands on some of those, but for now the team set is good enough for me.
A hobby box goes for $124 on Amazon and around $107 on ebay.
There are also quite a few box breaks for specific teams on ebay.