Review: 2011-12 Panini Elite Hockey

Elite has been brought to the hockey side which means some pretty cool things for the hockey collectors. Featuring a ton of foil board, it’s a product which has transformed alot over several years but has always kept some of greatness from the original Elite series back in the day.

Now in hockey, it features some goodies of old as well as some really cool additions, which I was able to pull so I’ll get to talk about it more in the review! It’s great when things add up like that. So thanks to Panini for providing this box for review and we will get down to it with the first year of Panini Elite hockey.

Design:

I love how the design is just like some old school Elite. It’s very boxy with the frames around the foil board, which isn’t seen that much anymore. However, the design in itself is basic to the point where it just looks clean and clear. No extra frills in the base design or even the inserts. It’s quietly very nice for what it is. The Aspirations die-cuts are always nice, however I wonder why they aren’t numbered like in every other Elite product? But what shines is the Prime Numbers insert. You have 3 different die-cut cards which you can put together to form one long card with a game used piece, autograph, and autographed patch. They are beautiful and a fun thing for a collectors to try and put together.

Checklist:

The checklist is phenomenal for this product. Packed with today’s stars, recent superstars, and some future stars as well, this product has something for just about everyone other than the vintage hockey collector. Although I find there is a large number of rookies in this product, they still have all the top names with the great rookies being mostly SP’d, which isn’t bad as that helps their value, but it also makes finding them a little harder and most will be stuck with no name rookies. But other than that, there are some great names in the inserts and “hit” cards, so I think this is a job well done.

Value:

Now this part is difficult. $120, in my opinion, is a bit much for this product. However, it does have some great autograph names involved so that may be a reason why it’s priced a little higher as well as on-card autographs (more for shipping to players.) I was close to a 3 1/2 on this one but I went with the 4 stars because the checklist is so good. Another issue I have though, is that the Aspirations die-cuts weren’t numbered like they are in almost every other version of Elite. I think that may bring down the value a bit as well as we don’t really know the print run on the regular Aspirations. Value is always the toughest part to judge in a product and I think Panini’s prices in general start off a little high, but the market will dictate the price soon enough. I think this would be better around $90-$100.

Overall:

Overall, Panini did a pretty swell job their first time through with the Elite brand in hockey. The design is nothing exciting, however, it is very good for what it is. I love the die-cuts and LOVE the Prime Numbers insert set as well so those were definitely good ideas. I thought the checklist was better than usual as well with some more recent superstars in autograph and jersey form as well as their own little insert sets. Finally, the price on the product I find to be a bit high, but that’s nothing new coming from me and looking at Panini products. I’d like to see a breakdown of what costs what in this product to find a way to bring the price down to where I thought it would be more reasonable. But that’s just me. But still, good job to Panini on this one.

Thanks again to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them all over the internet by viewing their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and they probably have a ton of other stuff too.

Not pictured: Rookie Autograph Variations of Erik Gudbranson Redemption

Review: 2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey

My personal product of the year last year as returned, featuring some of the best rookie patch autographs of the season as well a great looking die-cut base set. I fell in love opening this product last year, and this year was no different. Although I still have a redemption out for this product from last year. *shakes my fist* That hasn’t stopped me from opening another box this year, but this time, sharing it all with you and reviewing it. We want to see if the magic is still there from last season’s version of Crown Royale hockey.

Every box contains 4 packs and 4 hits. You can find usually at least 2 autographs per box from some of the best rookies and veterans of the game. For more, check out our official preview of this product. You can see what we didn’t pull and maybe something you could pull from this product.

As is the new standard in my reviews, the hits are at the bottom. But don’t skip down unless you want to ruin the suspense. So let’s get to it…

Design:

You should all know by now that I’m a sucker for two things, die-cuts and shiny cards. This has a bit of both. The die-cuts are fantastic again this year, despite them being the same design. But that’s what Crown Royale is all about. You also have die-cuts in the rookie patch autographs that are fantastic, albeit we didn’t pull one. What I did pull looked very nice though, including the colored parallel base cards. Only issue with those is why aren’t they numbered this year? I pulled a red parallel and a light blue parallel. What does that mean? I’m lost. But why did football only get 3 1/2 stars for practically the same product? Simple. The inserts here are a little better, more on-card autographs, smaller white box of death, and the colored base parallels. Some improvements were made, and I’ve noticed.

Checklist:

Great list of rookie autographed patches for one. I mean, you can’t beat the best rookies of the year combined with the best rookie autographed patches. Priceless. As always, a great selection of current veterans as well. But Panini also has changed things up in this product where it hasn’t in any other product by adding some of the best hockey announcers in the game. While I personally wouldn’t want one as my hit, there is a place for collecting these announcers and I know Canadian fans love their announcers.

Value:

The rookie patch autographs bring tremendous value to the hockey collectors out there, more so then football. They aren’t found in every box like they are in football, which keeps the value up and the collectors wanting them that much more. The patches in this product are always decent and as the checklist shows, you can pull just about anyone. It’s one of the better mixes in a product out there with the highly valued Silhouette autographs mixed with other hits of patches and autographs. If you like hits, this is the product for you.

Overall:

Overall, I didn’t feel the same magic as I did when opening it last year. But don’t get me wrong, there was still magic felt while opening it. I just think the magic was just that big last year. This year, the design is the same, but it’s a solid design in the first place, so don’t change that up too much. The checklist for Panini products is usually quite solid and this shows that once again that Panini likes to pack up just about everyone in every product. Finally, the value is there with the tremendous Silhouette patch autographs and the other great possible hits in patches and autographs. I think 2 autographs, a patch, and a jersey card is okay in my book. But please, return the numbering back to the parallels! I don’t want to have to look up how rare a certain color is, it should just tell me.

Thanks again to Panini for providing this box to review. There won’t be a contest yet for these groupings of products as we are going to put together something nice for the 100,000 views and one year blogoversary combo party. Stay tuned!

And ah! My camera cut off some of the pictures when I uploaded them…sorry!

Review: 2011-12 Panini Pinnacle Hockey

A big step up from last year, Pinnacle hockey looks much better and feels much better than the product Panini put out last year. With a nice large base set, a few autos thrown in, game used pieces, and light on the rookies, I’m feeling a UD Series I type feel with this product this year. That’s a good thing.

But this is Panini’s product and it has Panini’s way of doing things. Whether or not that translates in similar success is a matter of time, but this is a good start for a product that I feel is pretty similar in it’s concepts.

But let’s get to the review and see what we pulled.

Here’s what we pulled:

Design:

A very simple and clean design goes a long way. The design of these cards is very nice with a nice clean swipe across the bottom where the player information goes. An accent in the team colors is always a plus in my book and the marble background in the swipe makes everything pop. The rookies (Nufex) and inserts looked good as well with the ones that we pulled, including the game used cards. I also really like the different photography shots that Pinnacle used, a lot of shots you won’t see and shows off more than just the style of play the player has. It shows a little more personality with the players which is always nice in one or two products a season.

Checklist:

The checklist is a semi-robust 290 cards with some rookie SP autographs thrown in there for good measure. With a solid group of autographs and game used cards as well, there are some great names to be pulled as hits with the price point of this product. Crosby, Ovechkin, Roy, Bourque, and your top rookies all have autographs in this product. This is definitely a well thought out product when it comes to the checklist. It feels like it’s missing something though and I can’t put my finger on it.

Value:

For essentially the same price as UD Series I, you are getting pretty similar products. This product features an easier ability to get game used and autographed cards while Series I has more valuable rookies. Could Panini limiting the rookies in this product pay dividends with value on the secondary market? I find the products to be similar, although Panini has done something different as far as insertion of their inserts. There are several different levels of case hits for their inserts which makes them a little harder to collect, which would raise secondary value a bit. I like what they did this year in the value department.

Overall:

Rating this product was weird. It doesn’t feel like as good as product while you are opening it, but after reflecting on your break and other similar boxes, it really is a pretty good product. The design is one of Panini’s better designs and I like the clean approach this time around. The checklist is expansive in all aspects, which makes for a ton of different players and cards to collect. But collecting a full set will be difficult, especially a master set. With different levels of case hits and short printed rookie autographs, it adds some value to a product that needed a little more value after last year. I’m surprised at my own results for this product, but it deserves it.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Score Hockey

The best value in sports cards is back, this time hot off the ice. Panini Score hockey brings you pack after pack for only $1 each, filled with inserts, die-cuts, rookies, and even the occasional autograph. You can see my preview of the product here with more information. But here is my box of 2011-12 Panini Score hockey, brought to you by my future mother in-law as a Christmas present.

And here’s our pulls (one example of each):

Design:

The design of Score is always solid all around. This year, the design brings me back to the 70s or 80s. Back in a year where I was probably not even born. But the design still looks good to me with the colors designed to match the team colors. As always, I love those little additions that make designs merge better into the card. The inserts are all beautiful as well. My favorites being the die-cuts, Making an Entrance, and the Net Cam inserts. This whole product is very solid in the design department and for a $1 per pack product, that’s great.

Checklist:

As with all of Panini Score products, the checklist is always great. This product is full of all the stars of the league, a ton of veterans, and a good number of rookies. Some may dislike some of the better known rookies being short prints, but I think it’s a great idea to add some extra value, which will be discussed below. The only thing that some people may not like is some of the game’s greatest players in history. Personally, I believe that every product does not need to contain those facets. Just like I believe that every product doesn’t need to be a ton of rookies. But the checklist of veterans and rookies in a 500 card checklist is great for set collectors, especially with it being $1.

Value:

The value of this product is some of the best in the industry. $1 per pack of trading cards. How does it get better then that? There are short printed rookies of the top rookies, a ton of base cards, a great number of inserts and limited inserts, and the occasional autograph thrown in there at a better rate then other company’s low end products. As I stated earlier, the best value in sports trading cards is Panini’s Score brand and they don’t disappoint once again.

Overall:

Overall, the Score brand has been a staple of quality low-end products of Panini since they brought it back to sports. The design is always solid in all facets of the product. The checklist is always filled with what seems like every player in the league so you will be able to find your favorite team or players in every box. And when you are buying those boxes, it won’t hurt your wallet and you might get some decent value cards from the box. Say you pull a rookie short print and an autograph in the same box? You are doing well for yourself there. Overall, it’s a great product that gets you in the hockey collecting mood for the entire season.

No video this time around, couldn’t set it up while opening the box by the Christmas tree.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Certified Hockey

The Certified hockey is back bringing you some of the first rookie autographs of the season from your favorite rookies and stars. Couple that with some other great memorabilia cards and the popular mirror parallels, this is usually an early season hit with the hockey collectors out there trying to grab this year’s earlier cards. Let’s see what I pulled and you won’t believe it.

Oh, and while I am typing this, why don’t you test out my new slideshow plugin I installed. All you have to do is click the image or the next button to go on to the next card. Tell me if you like it or not as I’m trying to reduce clutter on my review pages.

And oh, this is definitely a hot box so it’s hard to review.

jeffskinnercert
PatrickRoyImmortals
franzenpatch

#/25

gustavssonsig
johnnytpatch

#/25

karlssonjersey
kovalchukjersey

#/25

marcafmarvels
markstromjersey

#/399

ryansmythcert

Ryan Smyth Mirror #/10

(Not pictured: Brandon Saad Freshmen Signatures Redemption)

Design:

I really like the design of the product this year with the starburst effect. The foil board really makes it stand out and I think it’s one of Panini’s better hockey designs, so I hope this is a new trend going into hockey this year as Panini’s designs are usually easily identifiable and get kind of redundant after awhile. I like this change of pace and think they did a great job with this product’s design. The base, the inserts I did get, all looked great. It’s hard to grade design when you get mostly hits in this hot box, but these cards did look good.

Checklist:

While the checklist is above average because of all the rookie autographs put into the product this early in the season, it’s not great. The lack of legends you might find is kinda low. This may have to do with some exclusivity issues with other companies, but I do understand it’s hard to compete when there are exclusive autograph contracts done. I’m sure there are a few legends out there who don’t sign much you can add to a few of your products like Certified. I just find it lacks the star power in the legends arena.

Value:

This one is too hard for me to do myself with the hot box, so I relied more at a number of breaks online. With what I’ve seen, it looks like you can get some pretty decent hits in this product, but we don’t have as many hot rookies as last year. The Nuge is selling for a ton, but others aren’t so lucky in that regard. My rookies aren’t great and I didn’t pull one of the rookie jerseys, but the low numbered patches, jerseys, and parallels would do well on the secondary market. Oh, and got to love the on-card autograph I received.

Overall:

Overall, this is a solid early season offering from Panini. The new designs look great and I hope it is a sign of great things to come this season. The checklist could use a little more star power in the legends front especially in the autograph selection, but there are a ton of nice veteran autographs to be found. The value is there in most boxes, but the rookies really aren’t helping this season as only RNH is putting up big numbers, but we might see those rise with the breakout of a couple more rookies throughout this season or next. It’s just hard to review a few things with a hot box. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all and it was a blast.

As always, a big thank you goes out to Panini America for providing this product for review.

Video to come up soon, writing this too late tonight.