Preview: 2011-12 ITG Heroes & Prospects Hockey

Coming in for it’s 8th year on February 23, 2012, this product from ITG is back to bring you the hockey heroes of present and the past, and hockey prospects that you can not find on any cards currently. It’s a good mix of players that delivers value in first licensed cards of some players and autographs and memorabilia of hockey legends.

This year, you can find a great list of autographs including Henri Richard, Tony Amonte, Red Kelly, and the newly signed Gordie Howe. You will also find current NHL stars autographs like Carey Price, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, and Dion Phaneuf. And of course you will find your prospects too. Click here for the full 2011-12 Heroes & Prospects checklist.

As always, you have a nice group of authentic game used materials as well, with amazing patch cards that ITG always does so well in their products. Also this year, features a tribute subset featuring the players whom have died too early: Derek Boogaard, Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Luc Bourdon.

So at 18 packs per box and 9 cards per pack and 2 autographs and 2 game used memorabilia cards per box, it’s a solid offering at $78.

 

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Titanium Hockey

Panini is breathing some more fresh air into classic products with its announcement of the release of 2011-12 Panini Titanium hockey this April. Based on the turn of the century Titanium product from Pacific, this is another remake by Panini to try to excite collectors with nostalgia from the past in today’s trading card market.

This product will be a hit per pack product featuring 4 cards per pack and 5 packs per box. One highlight of this product is the limited rookie cards, just like the former product. Every rookie card will be case hits and will be serial numbered to that player’s jersey number on their sweater.

But there will be more than just hard to find rookies in this product. Each pack will contain an autograph or memorabilia card. You will find Home Sweater Autographs that feature both a dual game used jersey piece and an autograph. You may also find Hat Tricks which feature three game used pieces. With even more memorabilia featured on a card you may even find Four Star or Six Star memorabilia pieces.

Some more possible autograph hits include quad game used jersey autographs and Game Worn Gear Patches which are said to be some of the nicest patch cards of the season.

If all of this is true, it looks to be a solid addition to the Panini hockey family that looks to establish itself even more after a solid rookie season of hockey products last year.

Why don’t you check out the Panini Peek post featuring a little more information and some more great looking cards in this product?

 

Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

We are still looking at the college stuff here, but this time in a different light under a brand that just about everybody recognizes, 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball. What I have always loved about the SP Authentic brand in all sports is the quality of the base and hits that goes into each box. This year is no different.

You will get about 3 hits per box this year in SP Authentic, but the interesting thing is that you can find a Jordan or Lebron auto in one half case, or a Jordan/Lebron/Bird/other legendary high value autograph in the other half case. Some may say it dilutes the autograph market a bit, which it does, but it makes opening a box a little more exciting. Let’s see what we pulled:

Design:

It seems like every year SP Authentic has some great designs. This year again is no different. There are some very clean looking cards with a white background, as usual. The photos they use are great action shots in the player’s college uniform and I like the light background design that really makes the bold colors in the player photos stand out. The lettering is easier to read, unlike last year. If I had any complaint what so ever, it’s gotta be that large white box below the player’s typed name. What is it and why is it there? I mean, it looks okay, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the first thing I noticed when I opened the first pack of cards. But other than that, very good design work.

Checklist:

The checklist has it’s negatives and positives but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. First, why is the plain base set just 50 cards? I pulled two complete plain base sets (minus Rookie F/X) in one box with a few cards left over. That is asinine and strangely impressive. I also find that there just isn’t a lot of current NBA talent on the checklist. A ton of rookies, just not many current players. I’d love to see more current players in their college uniform. There are some great legends as well so can’t complain with that. Next, the hit checklist, especially for autographs, is wonderful. There are tons of awesome legendary player autographs to be had. Again, lacking in current talent as well. I feel like they should rename this product Rookies & Legends.

Value:

First, the doubles and triples hurts. I know it saves the company money, but it doesn’t help the consumer (unless it’s put toward more autos). Second, the Jordan Brand Classic jerseys are just that. Plain old jerseys. I know what they tried to do, but this is a $120 product. Plain jerseys aren’t fun. Next, Jordan floor cards are played out. Great with an autograph, played out when plain. But everything else is pretty nice. I like that I got a full regular base set and like that the Rookie F/X cards are a little hard to get. I also really like the auto checklist and the Alonzo Mourning auto I pulled makes me giddy as I’ve always been a fan of ‘Zo. The manu-patch autos I could still care less about, but some of the names are solid. Overall, not bad at all.

Overall:

Overall, UD Rookies & Legends is a solid product and is what I will now call this product this year. The design is beautifully done with another great, clean look for this brand. It always brings that sort of nice clean design so I shouldn’t be surprised. The checklist is a bit small for the base set, but the autographs checklist is pretty stacked. While the doubles and triples hurts the consumer value a little bit, as well as the plain jersey cards, the autographs can easily make up for it. I like what Upper Deck tried to do with this product and I would judge it as a moderate success. But I can’t wait to see SP Authentic football.

As always, I’d like to thank Upper Deck providing the box to review. Please visit their official website, official blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about them.

And remember, after tomorrow’s last review I will be giving away a ton of Upper Deck cards to some people so stay tuned for that.

Video coming up soon.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SPx Hockey

Upper Deck is back again with SPx hockey, looking to improve a bit on last year’s product and they are adding the cards needed for that improvement.

With a large number of game used jersey cards and autographs, this is one product where the “hit” seekers will be happy to find their hits. Each box will include 1 rookie autograph jersey, 1 rookie jersey/materials card, 1 Winning Materials dual jersey card, 1 Winning Combos dual jersey card, and an ICE Premier bonus pack featuring a limited rookie card.

With 8 packs per box and 5 cards per pack, you’ll also have a nice little base set to put together as well.

But there are also other additions you might pull like Upper Deck’s patented Shadowbox cards featuring the Programme of Excellence with Team Canada. While I like seeing Upper Deck feature the Programme of Excellence with Team Canada and understand most of hockey product is sold in America’s hat, why not feature some Team USA players sometime? Just a thought.

You may also find some legendary autographs as well with Flashback Fabrics or a Winning Trios card, each found 1 per case.

You want hits, 2011-12 Upper Deck SPx hockey brings you hits. This product is set to hit stores January 17, 2012, but I’m guessing it is going to be pushed back a little bit and you’ll be paying around $120 for a box.

 

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.