Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Jimmy Howard: BY Cards IIHF 2017 WC

Now that Jimmy Howard is officially retired from the NHL, I'm starting to focus on filling in my collection of his stuff with some of the older cards out there. With nothing new likely any time soon, I've been trying to grab anything I can find a good deal on lately.

That includes oddball cards, kind of like the two arena giveaway cards I posted a little while back. My latest pickup is even a bit more out there and actually adds an entirely new card manufacturer to my collection. Haven't been able to do that in a while.

I had been watching this pair of cards on eBay for months and finally decided to pull the trigger and grab both of them in one go to save on shipping. They actually showed up pretty quickly considering they came all the way from Riga, Latvia.

Up first is card #1 from BY Cards 2017 IIHF Team USA set. This was a 27-card set featuring the players and head coach of Team USA. It is actually a really nice looking design and is printed on a quality card stock. I'm definitely glad to have it in my collection.

The second one is card #26 in the set and has an awesome closeup shot of is Team USA mask. While it is definitely strange seeing him in a non-Red Wings mask, this one still looks pretty cool. Even though this is from 2017, I believe it is the same mask from Sochi in 2014.

As you can see from the upper right corner, this set focuses on the 2017 IIHF World Championships that were held in Germany and France. Howard appeared in six games over the course of the tournament posting a 4-2 record, 1.86 GAA and 0.920 save percentage.

While the US did not win, it is still neat to have a couple of cards showing Howard in some international competition. They are the first such cards in my collection, but hopefully not the last. I'm on the lookout for similar cards, so we'll see what I can find.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Box Break: 1999-00 MVP Stanley Cup Edition

Its been over 20 years now since Upper Deck's 1999-00 MVP Stanley Cup Edition set was released and this will only be the fourth full box I've opened. I've probably said this on here before, but I consider this to be my favorite hockey card set. In all my years of collecting, I believe this is the only product that I've ever bought more than one or two boxes of.

There main reason I like the set so much is the parallels. I know there were two previous MVP releases with the same parallels, but this set was my first exposure to them back when I was lucky enough to pull my Dominik Hasek and Alexei Kovalev Super Scripts. Those two got me hooked on this particular set and I've been after them ever since.

Of the four Stanley Cup Edition boxes I've opened, three of them have only happened because of this blog. It wasn't until I started it up that I really dove into looking for Super Scripts to add to ones I already had. From there I expanded to the Gold and Silver Scripts and even all of the insert sets at one point.

I know it would be much easier and cheaper to build these sets through purchasing singles and lots, but box breaking has always seemed like more fun to me. For each of these boxes I've known there was little to no chance of pulling Super Scripts, but there's always that slight possibility so I figured why not give it a shot each time.

Before I dive into the details of my latest break, here are the links to my previous breaks:

        - Previous Box Break #1: October 6, 2010
        - Previous Box Break #2: January 20, 2012

A quick note on that first one from 2010: I realize now that it was actually a retail box and I never even had a chance at the Super or Gold Scripts as they were hobby exclusives. The dead giveaway is the "Retail Exclusive" written right on the wrapper. I'm not sure how I screwed that up, but it's kind of funny looking back on it now.

Back to the reason for this post, here are some quick details about my newest box:

        - Purchased on eBay for $45 plus shipping
        - From original sealed case the seller bought at release
        - Hobby version (28 Packs, 10 Cards per Pack)

I found the listing for this box a few months ago and it had been sitting in my watchlist ever since. It was originally listed for $50, but I after some back and forth offers with the seller I was able to grab it for $45. A little more than I was hoping to spend based on the ones I've bought in the past, but I decided to go for it anyway just for the fun of it.

Here is a summary of what is available in these boxes and what I actually ended up with.

        - 220 Base --> 238
        - 220 Silver Script (1:2) --> 14
220 Gold Script (#/100) --> 0
        - 220 Super Script (#/25) --> 0
        - 20 Stanley Cup Talent (1:5) --> 7
        - 10 Cup Contenders (1:9) --> 3
        - 10 Playoff Heroes (1:84) --> 0
        - 12 Second Season Snipers (1:28) --> 1    
        - 10
Golden Memories (1:14) --> 2
        - 10 Clutch Performers (1:28) --> 1
        - Great Combinations (1:196) --> 0
        - Game Used Souvenirs (1:130) --> 0
500 Goal Club (1:3995) --> 0

Overall this was not too bad all things considered. While I didn't get any of the Golds or Supers I was hoping for, it was still fun to sort cards from my favorite set. The players in this set are the ones I grew up watching on TV so its always nice to see them on cardboard.

A couple of general notes before I get into the details:

        - No serial numbered cards pulled
        - No autographs or memorabilia pulled

        - 7 packs did not have all 10 cards
        - 2 packs had more than 10 cards
        - 1 damaged card
92% base set completion
- 35 base duplicates

In the interest of trying to do something different for a box break post, I was crazy enough to keep track of which cards came from every pack of the box in a spreadsheet. I basically created a box break matrix and thought it would be fun to share on here.

The first column on the left is the pack # as I pulled them from the box. The top row is the card # in the order I pulled them from each individual pack. The cells contain the actual card numbers. The (S) notation is for Silver Scripts and the (D) is for damaged cards.

Card #11 Card #12
1 57 84 111 61 89 113 118 142 166 192 201(D)
2 85 112 139 6 21 49 206 3(S)

3 79 105 18 149 36 57 84

4 70 96 100 77

5 127 155 182 208 122 150 106 133 40(S)

6 1 55 80 SC14 25 172 197

7 67 93 120 45 217 76 80 126(S) 207

8 167 15 62 90 SC5 163 190 179 5 28

9 43 91 114 214 143 CP8 135 12(S) 205 65

10 100 96 208 81 107 134 191 9 198 77

11 183 39 144 170 204 CC9 181 143(S) 194 13

12 127 155 182 122 150 172 GM4 162 214(S) 35

13 72 98 125 137 164 212 21 49 151 192(S)

14 153 11 187 30 71 97 200 178 8 CC3

15 147 175 103 129 SC2 123 161 109 136 159

16 37 58 185 124 97 71 102 128 152 SS10

17 1 25 197 7 SC18 189 23 69 95 211

18 53 78 104 34 68 94 51 73 99(S) 121

19 131 156 210 115 99 126 154 145 171 63

20 173 24 52 12 40 70 SC9 56 73(S) 165

21 50 199 110 135 163 190 215 101 123 22

22 86 116 82 108 148 176 176 220 42 209

23 140 168 10 130 216 158 SC20 148 195(S) 75

24 17 48 193 19 3 31 55 26 47 83

25 132 160 184 27 60 88 SC11 111 154(S) 74

26 177 38 59 20 46 203 GM6 124 181(S) 213 186 14
27 173 24 52 195 12 40 CC5 31(S)

28 2 29 54 157 196 180 188 219 166(S) 202

While that may not be interesting to anyone else, I thought it was a neat exercise to run through. This is a hobby after all and I'm just trying to find some new ways to enjoy it.

Since I've already completed the Silver Script set and posted most of it on here, I thought I would choose a random base card to show off first. Here is card #8 featuring Ray Ferraro of the Atlanta Thrashers and one of my all time favorite NHL jerseys.

As far as the inserts go, I did actually get a few new ones. While I'm not actively pursuing the full master set of inserts, it was still cool to add some to get me a little closer to finishing them. These are from back when people seemed to actually care about basic inserts so the designs are quite nice all things considered. 

We'll start off the run of inserts with Second Season Snipers. These are printed on a nice rainbow foil board and look great in person. This one is card #SS10 and features Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I always liked those jerseys for some reason.

The Golden Memories were printed on a similar foil board and look just as good in person. I really like the old fashioned looking font on on the set name and player name. This one is card #GM6 and features Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.

Clutch Performers is another nice looking insert set with a really cool double image effect. I will say these were a bit harder to scan and it took some editing to make it look this good. This one is card #CP8 and featured John LeClair of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Cup Contenders was printed on a silver foil board and is one of those sets that just does not scan very well. I did what I could to make this one look ok. This is card #CC3 and features Milan Hejduk of the Colorado Avalanche.

Stanley Cup Talent was the most common insert and I'm pretty sure between all the boxes I've opened I have them all. These are another example of the silver foil board that does not want to scan. This one is card #SC5 and features Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche.

Overall this was a really fun experience. I got to bust some packs for the first time in quite a while and they were from my favorite set. While I didn't hit any of the big cards I was hoping for, it was still neat to sort through them all and sort them so I could place them in a binder. I guess its back to eBay for the Supers and Golds.

Unless I come across a great deal on one, I don't see myself opening any more boxes of this stuff. I know I'm better off just buying the singles, but there is just something about busting boxes and hoping to hit something cool that keeps me going back to it. In this case though I'm over it and just want to focus on singles to help finish my parallel sets.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Jimmy Howard: UD Clear Cuts

Upper Deck's Clear Cut base parallels are relatively new, I believe only going back to 2016-17. Seeing that Jimmy Howard was included in UD S1/S2 every year after that through 2019-20, he has some of these cool acetate cards out there.

The closest thing I have are his cards from the ICE sets that were actually acetate. I know for sure I have his ICE Premieres from 2005-06 and at least one other base card from later on. I always thought acetate cards were cool, so the more I can add here the better.

Thanks to a pair of eBay purchases, I now have two Clear Cut parallels. Up first is the 2018-19 version. This thing looks awesome in person and goes nicely with the base versions I already have like the rainbow foil and UD Exclusives. 

Next was the 2017-18 version. The best part about this one is the cool low-angle photo. I said that when I posted the other versions and I wanted to again here. This one is definitely up there in terms of base card photos in my Howard collection, probably top five.

If my math is correct, these give me two thirds of all the Howard clear cuts. The only one I am missing now is from 2019-20, so I will definitely be on the lookout for that to complete the trifecta. That would make for a neat type of "rainbow" on their own.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Jimmy Howard: OPC Platinum Blue Cube

Like I said in my previous post, I've gotten a bit behind in posting recent maildays. Today's post is for another one of many recent eBay pickups and one that helps get me closer to completing another aweome Upper Deck rainbow for my Jimmy Howard collection. 

Here we have a Blue Cube parallel from 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum. I've picked up several others from this rainbow recently and this one brings me to a total of seven out of the nine required to complete it. This one is serial numbered out of 65 and looks amazing.

Below is an updated look at my visual checklist grid for this rainbow. I'm down to needing just the regular rainbow version and of course the 1/1 Golden Treasure.

I'm definitely happy with my progress so far. I started off with the Black Ice version back in July of 2020, so to have this many in eight months of a set from 5+ years ago is pretty good if you ask me. The rainbow will be easy to get so I need to focus on the 1/1 now.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Jimmy Howard: COMC Pickups

I'm getting a little behind on posting all the stuff that's shown up in the mail lately. This post has been in my drafts for a couple months now and I've been meaning to finish it.

Like some other Howard posts here lately, this one will be a bit on the longer side as it will recap all of the stuff I picked up from COMC last summer. Despite the insanely long time it took to be shipped, I am happy to have these in my collection now. I tried to grab a nice variety of lower end stuff to help boost the collection total a bit. Here's what I got.

Up first is my favorite card of the bunch, a speckled rainbow parallel from 2018-19 Upper Deck. This thing looks awesome in person and my favorite of the many variations of this card. While it looks nice in the scan, it looks ten times better in person.

Since I grabbed the rainbow, I figured why not grab the silver foil version as well. This one is a bit harder to see in the scan, but still looks nice. I like how much more the player photo stands out from the background on this one, it makes for a really clean overall look.

While we're on the subject of 2018-19 Upper Deck, I was also able to grab the UD Exclusives version for a few bucks. This one is serial numbered 081/100. The best part is how the change to red at the bottom works so well. If only it were a few shades lighter.

Sticking with Upper Deck, I also grabbed a gold rainbow foil parallel from the 2017-18 set. The pattern on this one is a bit different than the one above. Great low angle photo too.

In addition to that one, I was also able to grab the silver foil version of the same card. I think I am down to just needing the UD Exclusives and High Gloss to complete the rainbow.

The last of my UD flagship pickups was this silver foil from 2019-20.

Anyone remember the old Stoppers cards from Score in the mid-90's? That was the first thing I thought of when I grabbed this Stonewalled insert from 2018-19 Upper Deck.

Moving onto Black Diamond, I was able to get this base card from 2013-14. Like pretty much every Black Diamond card I've shown off on here it looks terrible in a scan.

Up next is a first for my Howard collection, which would be a card from Upper Deck Compendium. I've been aware of this set, but never decided to pick one up until now. This comes from the 2016-17 version and is actually a pretty nice looking card.

Up next is a Green Script parallel from 2019-20 MVP. These are one of those ePack deals where you had to combine 20 copies of a base card to get one. It will look great as part of another MVP rainbow that I can hopefully someday finish.

Sticking with the MVP Green Scripts, here is the one from 2018-19. Both are great looking cards as the green design elements provide a nice contrast with the Red Wings colors.

As far as another MVP rainbow for 2018-19, this Silver Script helps get me one step closer. I will say I'm not a huge fan of this particular Silver Script design. The large black blob behind the facsimile signature just looks off for whatever reason.

Here's another set that I don't believe I had represented in my Howard collection until now: 2014-15 Fleer Ultra. I had a ton of Ultra cards when I was a kid in the 90's so it is always fun to see that name. This one specifically is the Gold Medallion parallel.

UD Canvas cards are always a fun add for this collection as you get some interesting photos for the goalies in these sets. This one has an awesome closeup of Howard spraying himself with some water. You can even read the custom embroidery on the inside of his blocker.

This next one definitely makes me miss Panini. This is a Mirror Red parallel from 2011-12 Certified, which is numbered to 199. These cards look great in person, although I think they could've gone without the word mirror plastered in the background that many times.

Back to Upper Deck, we have this really cool base card from 2013-14 Ultimate Collection. This is one of those higher end base cards on really thick stock. It is even serial numbered to 499. It looks awesome, although I wish they cropped out the entire background.

Die-cuts are always nice to add to the collection and this one from Between the Pipes is another great example. This one comes from the 2011-12 Masked Men 4 set, specifically the Ruby 10th Anniversary version. The red design really works well with Howard's mask.

Up next is another cool Panini card, this time from 2013-14 Prime. This is the base version numbered to 299 and it goes nicely with the Holo Silver version I picked up a while back.

One of the sets from Panini that I really miss is Crown Royale. Even back in the Pacific days I loved their die-cut base designs. This one from 2013-14 looks awesome. I love the detail in the foil crown and the royal imagery at the bottom of the card.

Last but not least is a bit of an oddball. This 2008 AHL All-Stars card from Choice is once that I've had on the radar for a while, just never picked it up until now. This might be the only card out there that shows Howard in this particular AHL All-Start jersey.

So there you have it, another nice boost to my growing Jimmy Howard collection. I'm not even sure how many I actually have at this point as I've been kind of lazy lately about entering all of this new stuff into my spreadsheet. One of these days I'll get a true count.