Preview: 2011-12 ITG Between the Pipes Hockey

Now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It’s the 10th anniversary of one of ITG’s most beloved products, the all goaltender product Between the Pipes. 2011-12 Between the Pipes will be celebrating this accomplishment along with everything else you are used to in this puck stopping product.

As with every year, this product features your favorite current, past, and future NHL goaltenders. But don’t let that limited and seemingly one-dimensional checklist fool you, there are some amazing cards to be had in this product.

Besides your basic base set, there will be some beautiful autographed and memorabilia cards inserted into this product that are sure to open up your eyes. Everything from game used stick cards, to goalie pad cards, to die-cuts of memorabilia cards designed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this product.

This product features some of the finest memorabilia cards on the market at the price they are selling this product for. But beautiful game used and autographs like the one above aren’t all. ITG will be featuring insert sets that commemorate the 10th anniversary of the product as well as BTP favorites liked the Masked Men set.

But one of my favorites this year is seemingly so obtuse, you might just blow it off. I really love what ITG is doing with their decoys in this product. That’s right, the decoys. Every decoy will have a photo on it that when put together from the 8 others that go with it, will form a 9-card picture of a legendary goalie. How cool is that? I’m surprised no one has really thought of this earlier but it really adds something to the product besides blank pieces of cardboard. Now all I need is to convince Dr. Price to come up with some sort of box topper for this product…

But for now, this product releases on May, 3, 2012 at just about $90 for this product. It definitely looks just as good as last year, if not better. You can find the 2011-12 ITG Between the Pipes checklist here.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Game Used Hockey (SPGU)

Releasing tomorrow is one of Upper Deck’s flagship memorabilia based products that has been coming out for several years now. 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Game Used hockey will return featuring a ton of game used and autograph cards from your favorite NHL rookies and stars in the league.

SPGU features everything from your plain jersey card to stick cards, patch cards, autographs, and even goalie pads this year. Every pack will contain a memorabilia or autographed card in this box so the excitement is there with every pack you open.

And at 6 packs per box, you are getting a ton of what you collectors look for when opening products like this…the hits! So you’ll get 6 hits per box along with 2-3 rookies.

Some of the new additions this year include manufactured patch autographs of letters and numbers, a subset of autographs of 500 goal scorers, Trophy Marks manufactured patch autographs, Rookie Faceoff patches from All-Star Weekend, and Supreme Pads featuring ginormous pieces of leg pads from some of the games greatest goaltenders.

The new additions are great, but this product seems to have an issue with unnumbered plain jersey cards, so I’m hoping with these additions there are less of those plain jersey cards this year which ends up in the dollar bins. So I hope Upper Deck added some value in this direction.

We’ll see it all when this product releases tomorrow, April 12, 2012. Each box should run around $180.

I also have the checklist for 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Gamed Used hockey for your disposal as well.

Review Deus: 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I Hockey

Well I already have my official review of 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I hockey but Upper Deck sent me another box to review. I actually would of given the entire box away had I pulled the one card from the set I wanted, the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Young Guns card so I opened it up to see if there was anything different than my first box.

Basically, it was the same type of box. Random assortment of Young Guns, a couple of GU cards, and some inserts including the popular UD Canvas inserts. Take a look at what we pulled:

While I didn’t pull a Nugent-Hopkins Young Gun like I was hoping, I did pull my first specialty Young Gun along with a few other canvas cards.

I have to admit, that canvas Young Guns is the most beautiful Young Guns card I have EVER seen. Why that isn’t the basis of the regular Young Guns I don’t know but it is gorgeous. Just need a different Canadian team and player…

Speaking of Young Guns, here is the rest of the Young Guns haul…

A bunch of Young Guns I don’t have yet so that’s good. Some other inserts I pulled were…

The UD Heroes card is really nice and reminds me of the older products. The other types of inserts are nothing new compared to my review, just different players. The same goes for the game used jersey cards…

Again, nothing different to write home about.

Although my boxes were almost identical as far as content went, I was pleasantly surprised by this box’s UD Canvas Young Guns card. It was absolutely gorgeous and I wish it was the design of all the Young Guns in the set. Definitely a highlight of the box.

As always, UD Series I is a fun break when you are searching for Young Guns or the rare autograph or other case hit. A big thanks goes out to Upper Deck for providing this box to (kinda) review. You can visit their official site, official blog, Facebook and Twitter pages at those links.

I’ll be adding some of these cards to the giveaway this weekend, so make sure you sign up if you are interested.

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: 2010-11 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Hockey

I know it’s a little late and this product has been out awhile now, but I have been wanting to bust open a box/pack of this for awhile. With all the great rookies last year and some of the big hits that come out of this product, why not give it a shot? Well I did, with a little Black Friday help from DA Card World.

This Upper Deck product features one pack in a box with a base, rookie, a game used, and an autograph. Let’s see what we pulled:

Base:

Game Used:

Autograph:

 Design:

Overall, I really enjoy the design of these cards. The design is very clean as it is with most Upper Deck products. I also like the photo and color designs with this product, especially the base card that I pulled. I even notice some of the little subtleties in the design, like on the Crosby game used card that I really like, for example where they placed Sid’s number is different, but looks really good. Even though the background is similar to other Upper Deck high end releases, it is always just enough tweaking to look fresh and clean.

Checklist:

Upper Deck usually seems to put out a quality checklist with their high end offerings and this is no different. Not only can you pull some unbelievable cards from some of the season’s top rookies, the veteran presence in this product is great. With Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and other stars, combined with Upper Deck exclusives Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, and Bobby Orr, there is always a chance for a nice hit. While some may complain it dilutes the market or they want more of a variety, I like having those possibilities when I buy a box. But I would like to see more veteran/retired variety every once and awhile.

Value:

Value is a tough one with a product like this. It’s a single pack product with two hits. It’s going to be extremely hit or miss with a product like this. But when you do hit it good, it’s a big hit that will hold some value, especially if you hit a big name rookie. My rookie auto isn’t the greatest, but it was made up for by the Sidney Crosby dual game used. While there are a ton of big hits, there are even more of hits like my Brandon Yip rookie autograph. The Sid is a good hit though for a game used card. Combining the checklist with value gives me a pretty good idea where to rate value in a product like this.

Overall:

Overall, I do really like this product. It’s definitely a lesser gamble than say, my break of The Cup. But you still have the possibility for some huge hits like great rookie autograph patches or shields, or some legends autographs. Single packs products are a gamble and you need to recognize that when purchasing a product like this. But with a solid design and checklist like I found here, even if you don’t pull something extremely valuable, you have some good looking cards that do hold some value while giving you some pretty nice trade bait.

What did you think of this product? Let me know!