Sunday, January 24, 2016

Iowa Wild Crash OYO Giveaway

During a recent Iowa Wild hockey game, they gave these Iowa Wild Crash OYO figures to the first 1,500 fans. Crash is the Iowa Wild mascot and Lazer 103.3, a local radio station, and Fast Signs were the sponsors.  
 
These figures are made by Oyo Sport, based in Acton, Mass. They make fully-licensed mini-figures  of professional athletes, including baseball, football and hockey. These sets are compatible with other building block toys, such as Legos or Megablocks.
 
According to their website, OYO got its start after a day at the old ballpark.
 
"A father took his son to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game. Taking in the sights and sounds of the park, a true New England rite of passage, the duo would begin exploring the confines of the park in search of toys. As their searches went without results, an idea was born: Creating minifigures of athletes that kids could play baseball with at a game."
 
What does the OYO stand for? Again, according to their website, it's for an OYO face  - "Two eyes, a nose, and a smile! "
 
 Now that that's out of the way, let's get back to the Crash figurine.

This is what the front and back of the boxes looked like.

 
Inside each box was a puck-shaped container that held the 12 individual pieces.


And this is what the completed Crash figure looks like.
 
This was my first actual experience with an OYO figure. While they're kind of cute and all, I can't see myself collecting these. For one thing, the articulation is awful. The way Crash holds the stick just looks unnatural, but it's the only way you can get him to hold it with two hands. Otherwise, the puck, which is attached to the stick, appears to be just hanging from the bottom of it.
 
The skates were a bit of a pain fitting into the slots on the base. You have to put the skates in first and then attach the body to them. The arms, which consist of three pieces also prove a bit difficult. Whenever I tried to shift Crash into a slightly different pose, the arms would pull apart, usually at the "elbow."
 
As an Iowa Wild fan, this is a rather nice collectible. But whcn it comes to OYO figurines, despite the fact these are selling like crazy, I feel I indeed got what I paid for.
 
 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Opening a Christmas Repack, Part IV

What a week. Besides completing a major National Guard exercise, looking through my past files, I realize I hadn't yet posted this particular article. It was supposed to follow Part III of my Christmas repack posts, but somehow it got overlooked.

Oh well, better late than never, I guess.

For Christmas, my wife picked me up a 10-pack hockey re-pack box for my Christmas stocking. It contained a pair of 2009-2010 Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day Canada packs; a 2012-2013 National Hockey Card Day Canada; three packs of 2012-13 Score; a 2014-15 Artifacts pack; a 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack; and a 2012-13 Upper Deck Series one pack and 32-card pack.
  
 
In my first post, I opened the three National Hockey Card Day packs, in my second post, I opened the 2014-15 Artifacts pack and the 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack. in my third post, I opened the three packs of 2012-13 Score.  Today, It's the 2012-13 Upper Deck's turn.
 
Besides a nice autograph card, Upper Deck's Young Guns Rookie Cards would have to be near the top of the list of the cards I'd most like to find inside Upper Deck packs. These packs didn't totally disappoint, with RCs of then-Dallas Defenseman Brenden Dillon (#220), and Michael Hutchinson of the Bruins (#206). Getting a MVP Alexander Ovechkin (#47) card isn't too shabby, either.
 
Originally undrafted, Dillon signed on with the Dallas Stars in March 2011, until he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in November 2014 for D Jason Demers and a 2016 third-round pick. The 24-year old Dillon actually signed a five-year extension worth $3.27 million per season (including a $500,000 signing bonus) with the Sharks last June.
 
Hutchison, meanwhile, was the 77th pick in the 2008 draft. In July 2013, Hutchinson signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets. As goalies tend to take longer to develop, he actually won his first NHL game,  a 2-1 shootout win against the team that originally drafted him, on April 10, 2014. G Ondrej Paavelec is currently on the Injured Reserve, so Hutchison and Connor Hellebuyck are splitting time in the crease for the Jets.        

 
Being a Blackhawks and Wild fan, it's always a bonus to find cards of your favorite teams, even though they may no longer be with that particular team. Still, I was more than happy to find Matt Cullen (#86) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (#88) from Minnesota, and the Blackhawks' Marcos Kruger (#40). Cullen is no longer with the Wild and is now wearing a Nashville Predators sweater and Bouchard is now playing with EV Zug, of Zug Switzerland. Kruger, of course, is still up with the Blackhawks.
 
And when it comes to classic goalies, you can't go wrong with Martin Brodeur (#104), even though it comes near the end of his career.
 
The other cards I pulled were Saku Koivu (#1), Zdeno Chara (#8), Ville Leino (#16), Alex Tanguay (#23), Jarome Iginla (#27), Joni Pitkanen (#32), RJ Umberger (#47), Nikita Nikitin (#51), Brenden Morrow (#56), Niklas Kronwall (#64), Ales Hemsky (#71), Jose Theordore (#75), Jeff Carter (#80), Louis Leblanc (#95), Patric Hornqvist (#99), Patrik Elais (#110), Kyle Okposo (#112); Brtian Boyle (#123), Brayden Schenn (#134), Daniel Briere (#136), Marc-Andre Fleury (#147), Chris Kunitz (#149), Martin Havlat (#158), Brian Elliott (#166), Mathieu Garon (#171), Dion Phaneuf (#175), Ryan Kesler (#182), Brooks Laich (#190), and Alexander Burmistrov (#197).
 
Of course, most all of the cards on this and the previous three blogs are up for trade if anyone's interested in them.
 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

When it rains, it pours...cards, that is, Part II

As I stated in my previous post, I stopped by a local brick-and-mortar card shop called "The Rookie." The Rookie had recently moved, due to the strip mall where it and 15 other shops were located, had been sold and is slated to be demolished for yet another new strip mall.
 
The owner, Anders Olson, was running his "When it rains, it pours" special. Every day it rains, all cards in the $1.00 boxes (three for $2) are just 50 cents. Anders actually sweetened the pot, making those same cards a quarter each. Even though there was still snow on the ground, we were in the midst of a good, cold 38-degree rain storm here in the heart of the Midwest.
 
How quickly a week changes. Today, it's 0 degrees. With the windchill, it's supposed to feel like -11 degrees. No matter how warm you bundle up, you definitely feel it when you're out walking the dogs.
 
In this post, I'll share some of the rookie cards I grabbed. While some people grab them as investments, I like them because they're that players' rookie card - one of the first cards, and, unfortunately for some, perhaps their only card.
 
I'll start out with these 2013-14 Select, which includes a Select Fire on Ice Rookies Austin Watson (#FR24), Alexey Marchenko (#401), Philip Samuelsson (#394), Kevan Miller (#357), and Andrej Sustr (#186),

Canadian cards were also well represented, with the following OPC brand of hockey - a 2013-14 Retro Matt Nieto (#633), 2013-14 Zemgus Girgensons (#642), 2014-15 Update Alexander Wennberg (#U20), 2014-15 Update Chris Tierney (#U25), Derek Peltier (#536), and a 2015-16 Danny Biega (#535).

 
2013-14 Score of Nikita Kucherov (#705), Jack Campbell (#612), Xavier Oullet (#710), Jared Staal (#734), Josh Leivo (#717) and Anthony Peluso (#602).
 
2014-15 OPC Platinum Mirco Miller (#152), 2015-16 OPC Sam Brittain (#531) a 2013-14 Score Gold of Antoine Roussel (#617), and then regular 2013-14 Score rookies of Chris Brown (#735), Jonathan Marchessault (#746), and Alex Chiasson (#723).

2005-06 Upper Deck Victory Henrik Lundqvist (#288), 2013-14 Totally Certified Jacob Trouba (#232), 2008-09 Upper Deck Trilogy Janne Niskala (#110) S/N 806/999, 2014-15 Artifacts Ruby Vladislav Namestnikov (#142) S/N 195/499, 2005-06 SP Authentic Brian McGrattan (#236) 936/1999, and a 2014-15 Artifacts Joey Hishon (#138) S/N 904/999.
 
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any rookie cards of current Iowa Wild players.
 
 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

When it rains, it pours...cards, that is, Part I

Since I had the week off (you have to love "Use it or Lose it" leave), I decided to swing by "The Rookie" a local brick-and-mortar card store. Anders Olson, the owner, recently moved, since the strip mall where he and about 15 other business resided, was sold. The site is to be demolished, with a phased retail development taking its place.

In any case, I decided to pop in and see his new digs.

 
It was fun to see Anders again and his new shop is very nice. It's clean, well-lit, and spacious, with a ton more room for plenty of product.

Another reason I was glad I stopped, Anders was running his, "When it rains, it pours" special. Every day it rains, all cards in the $1.00 boxes (three for $2) are just 50 cents. Anders actually sweetened the pot, making those same cards a quarter each. Even though there's still snow on the ground, we were in the midst of a good, cold 38-degree rain storm here in the heart of the Midwest.

So, I took the opportunity to amass a nice pile of hockey cards.
 
To begin with, I started out with a run on goalie cards. What better way to start, then with a couple of mask cards, one a 1999-00 Pacific Dynagon Ice Masks Mike Richter (#3) and the other a 1992-93 Pinnacle Don Beaupre (#268). And then there's this 2014-15 Artifacts Ruby Ondrej Pavelec (#117) S/N 381/499, and a pair of Patrick Roy cards - an Upper Deck Skilled Stars (#SS5) and a 1993-94 Leaf Studio Signatures (#6).
 
I don't think I saved the best for last, but these four cards conclude my goalie run. First is this 2015-16 Upper Deck Canvas Semyon Varlamov (#C24), 1997-98 Donruss Elite Craftsman Curtis Joseph (#29) D/N 1165/2500, 2012 Panini Black Friday Black Holofoil Jonathan Quick (#20), and a 2013-14 Select Freezers Tuukka Rask (#F11).

I'll continue on with a 2008-09 Black Diamond Premier Die-Cut Sam Gagner (#PDC41), 2013-14 Fleer Showcase Metal Universe Nail Yakupov (#MU8), 2012-13 Certified Mirror Red Wojtek Wolski (#86) S/N 128/199, 2015-16 Upper Deck Full Force Valuable Assets (#VJH), 2012-13 Certified Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (#93), and a 2003-04 Topps Blue Olli Jokinen (#28) S/N 4905/500.

I know some people really rave over the ITG Enforcers set, but this is the first card I've actually seen, and it's from the 2011-12 ITG Enforcers set, with a Brad May Tale of the Tape vs. Jay Wells (#38). I also added a 2014-15 Artifacts Alexander Ovechkinn (#65), a pair of 2014-15 Upper Deck Trilogy cards with Sergei Bobrovsky (#10) and Jacob Trouba (#15), a 2007-08 Sweet Shot Guy LaFleur (#35), 2011-12 SP Authentic Alexander Ovechkin (#18) and a 2007-08 Sweet Shot Mark Messier (#11).

Not too shabby for one thin quarter apiece. In my next post, I'll feature my rainy day Thursday rookie hockey cards.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Iowa Wild and LifeServe Mystery Pucks

LifeServe Blood Center  offered $10 "Mystery Pucks," during a recent Iowa Wild game. The pucks, signed by random Iowa players, were wrapped in red Christmas wrapping and featured a white sticker with a blood type, such as A-, B, AB, or O on the label.
 
The Wild and LifeServe paired up again to host a blood drive the following day at the adjoining Hy-Vee Hall. The first 100 fans received an Iowa Wild flex ticket and an Iowa Wild hat, while the first 50 earned a flex ticket and an autographed Iowa Wild hat.
 
While we weren't able to attend last year's Mystery Puck game, two years ago, my wife and I purchased three pucks that game. Our pucks were signed by Brett Bulmer, Brad Winchester and  Raphael Bussieres. Bulmer is now with the parent Minnesota Wild, while Bussieres is playing with the Quad-City Mallards, the ECHL affiliate of the Wild. Winchester retired from hockey in September 2015.
 
This year, we again purchased three pucks and excitedly opened the wrappers. While our previous mystery pucks had the American Red Cross logo on the back of the puck, this year the LifeServe Blood Center logo appeared on the backside. The players signed in silver ink over the top of the Iowa Wild logo on the front of the puck. 
Iowa Wild Team Captain, D Maxime Fortunus
A 13-year veteran, Fortunus signed a two-year AHL contract with the Iowa Wild after playing the last six seasons with the Dallas Star. He had also served as captain for the Stars, as they won the Calder Cup two years ago.4s. Since the Stars left Iowa for Dallas after the 2007-08 season, so we weren't able to see him play here at Wells Fargo. During that time, he was a member of the Manitoba Moose. In 34 games this year, he's scored one goal and five assists, while maintaining a -6 and 14 penalty minutes.

Defenseman Gustav Olofsson
A 2013 second round selection, Olofsson is now in his second professional season. The Swede played eight games for the Wild in 2013-14, after finishing his college career at Colorado College. His first full professional season, however, was one to forget as he suffered a shoulder injury during his first game of the 2014-15 season, effectively ending his season. In 31 games this year, he has six assists, a +/- of -8 and 12 penalty minutes.

 Defenseman Christian Folin
Yet another Swedish Defenseman which the Wild seem to accumulate like pucks, Folin was signed as a free agent out of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, where he helped the River Hawks win the Hockey East championship in 2012. In seven games with the Iowa Wild this season, he has two goals and two assists, for a -4, and no penalty minutes.
 
LifeServe Blood Center was established in April 2010, when The Blood Center of Iowa joined operations with Siouxland Community Blood Bank. As one of the 15 largest blood centers in the country, LifeServe Blood Center provides blood and blood products to more than 110 hospitals across Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Opening a Christmas repack, Part III

For Christmas, my wife picked up a 10-pack hockey re-pack box for my Christmas stocking. It contained a pair of 2009-2010 Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day Canada packs; a 2012-2013 National Hockey Card Day Canada; three packs of 2012-13 Score; a 2014-15 Artifacts pack; a 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack; and a 2012-13 Upper Deck Series one pack and 32-card pack.
  
 
In my first post, I opened the three National Hockey Card Day packs. In my second post, I opened the 2014-15 Artifacts pack and the 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack. Today, I'm opening the three packs of 2012-13 Score.  

I've always considered the Score hockey set as cards for the common fan. They're fun, cheap, and fairly nice entry-level cards. Thanks to a lot of the current high-end sets, it's getting harder and harder for fans, especially the younger ones who hockey should be catering to in order to keep the hobby alive, to be able to afford much of today's cardboard.

And while the cards may not be much to look at, Score is often a fun, quirky set to collect. This year's set, however, certainly follows that trend - They're certainly not much to look at, at all.

I did manage to get a few good rookies, about one per pack. They include a Gold Rush Jordan Nolan RC (#508), Chet Pickard RC (#537) and Ryan Hamilton RC (#523). There's also a Gold Rush Jacob Josefson (#205), Gold Rush Michael Des Zotto (#316), and a Gold Rush Johnny Boychuk (#67).

The rest of the packs included a Jamie Benn (#13), Francois Beauchamin (#51), David Krejci (#60), Shawn Thornton (#65), Drew Stafford (#73), Jiri Tlusty (#107), Paul Stastny (#132), Brian Campell (#207), Scott Clemmensen (#220), David Desharnais (#256), Blake Geoffrion (#261), Gabriel Bourque (#279), Henrik Lundqvist (#311), Brooks Laich (#463), Mathieu Perreault (#474).

I remember watching Clemmensen, a Des Moines native, playing goalie for our hometown Des Moines Buccaneers Tier 1 team, before he headed to Boston College. I got to see him play again in 2014 when Florida sent him down to the AHL's San Antonio Rampage, as he took on our Iowa Wild. He stopped 29 shots, enroute to a 2-1 loss.

Other Bucs alumni include Erik Cole, Kyle Okposo, Peter Sejna, Noah Clarke, and Peter Smrek.

In my next post, I'll be opening the 2012-13 Upper Deck Series one packs.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Opening a Christmas repack Part II

For Christmas, my wife picked up a 10-pack hockey re-pack box for my Christmas stocking. It contained a pair of 2009-2010 Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day Canada packs; a 2012-2013 National Hockey Card Day Canada; three packs of 2012-13 Score; a 2014-15 Artifacts pack; a 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack; and a 2012-13 Upper Deck Series one pack and 32-card pack.
  
 
In my last post, I opened the three National Hockey Card Day packs. Today, I'm going to open the 2014-15 Artifacts pack and the 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack.
 
I've always enjoyed the Panini Prizm hockey cards. Unlike Panini's MLB counterparts, Panini at least has an agreement with the NHL, rather than the Player's Union, so they don't have to airbrush out the team logos on the sweaters. While Panini puts out some rather fine cards, their MLB cardboard is just a bit disappointing in that regard.
 
With crisp, player photos and a nice black background, these cards don't disappoint. In the four-card 2013-14 Panini Prizm pack I got a Danel Sedin (#187), Prizms Red Brent Seabrook (#128), Patrik Elias (#47) and a Brad Marchand (#5). I've always liked Seabrooks' defensive efforts. And since this is the 2013-14 series of Prizm, the Blackhawks haven't given him the "A" for his sweater yet.

While I also generally look forward to each year's issue of Artifacts, I found the 2014-15 version a bit wanting, at least as far as the layout goes. I don't like how they use a silver box to split the Art - facts title at the top. And while I know the backgrounds are supposed to resemble blade-scratched, game-used ice, I don't think it works real well. I also don't like the use of the box holding the name plate, position, jersey number and logo at the bottom, which fades out the lower portion of the player, often at about knee-level.

Of course, that's just my particular take on the cards. As for the cards themselves, I pulled a Jordan Eberle (#56), Ryan Kesler (#80), Milan Lucic (#68), Vincent Damphousse (#70), and a Team Canada-clad Dan Boyle (#82).

For next post, I'll be tackling the three packs of 2012-13 Score.