Preview: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

I wanted to keep my blog down to one post per day. This one has to be the exception.

Panini has finally put out their preview for 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey.

This is going to be Panini’s effort in direct competition to Upper Deck The Cup and ITG Superlative. Will it contain the goods to dethrone them? So far, I think it may have a chance.

At $350 a box, this product is going to be up there. Your 350 clams will give you 8 cards per box with at least 6 of them being autographs or memorabilia. You will be guaranteed that 3 of them will be autographed. Oh, and by the way, every autographed card is hard-signed. No sticker autographs here. That’s what I’m talking about.

You want to know what’s included in this set?

  • Kindred Cuts, a 1/1 cut signature of some of hockey’s greats.
  • Peerless Patches, a dual or quad booklet featuring patches of some of hockey’s best players of today and the past.
  • Engravatures, cards embedded with real silver that are etched with former Stanley Cup winners, just like Lord Stanley’s Cup.
  • Nifty 50, hard signed autographs of single season 50 goal scorers.
  • Tape to Tape, a very interesting set featuring autographs of stars on embedded pieces of hockey tape from their sticks.
  • Brass Bonanza, saving the best for last. Can you hear that tune yet? I can. A tribute insert set featuring autographs from the legends of the Hartford Whalers.

Now I don’t get very excited often for boxes of cards. But when I hear there is going to be an insert set in tribute to the Hartford Whalers, that gets my attention and excitement. It just brings me back to the days of sitting in my grandfather’s den with the Whalers game on TV, watching the likes of Ron Francis and Kevin Dineen while putting together a puzzle. I wasn’t aware at my young age what the organization was going through and the fact it would leave me without a professional hockey team years later. Flash forward to 2009 when the NHL finally got the rights back to the Whalers name and logo. I knew someday, somewhere the Whalers would return in cardboard form. Okay, back to reality.

Going over the designs shown for the cards I see some very cool concepts with a lot of larger then average swatches. I also noticed that unlike some other Panini products, the over-sized swatches don’t overtake the main focus of the card, the players. I give credit where it’s deserved and these cards look nice. Looking especially nice is the Showcase Showdown insert, which looks fantastic and is pictured below. Sadly, Panini did not post anything featuring the Hartford Whalers and their Brass Bonanza set. I think I’m going to have to bug Tracy Hackler for that.

But overall, despite my overwhelming crush on the Whalers insert set, I believe this set may have what it takes to seriously contend for the high end Cup. Low numbered cards, great autographs, and new ideas may set this apart.

Panini America’s NHL brand manager Al Muir stated, “This is for the high-end hobbyists, the whales.” The “whales” is right.

Pucky is back.

Want more Dominion preview goodness?

(SCB Note: Do you want to see a 2011 Panini Dominion checklist?)

Last Look: About to start packing out Dominion!

Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck Ultimate Hockey

This is one of my favorite products year after year from Upper Deck. This year looks like it will be just as amazing as other years. You may think I may be an Upper Deck fanboy or just like hating on other products after reading this preview but I will tell you one thing, this product just looks amazing. For the record, I haven’t been around long enough to show my praise for Panini Crown Royale hockey being one of the best products of the season. Just throwing that in there to show that I don’t have a Upper Deck bias.

Ultimate hockey brings you the same every year. Every box has 5 cards and sells for around $80-$100 depending on where you are looking. It will contain at least 1 rookie, 1 game used, and 1 autograph. The autograph or game used may also be a rookie extending your luck to pull some of the great rookies this year. Also included are Upper Deck staples like Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr.

As with all high end products, there is risk involved but with how great the rookies are this year and the types of veterans they put in this product, I think it will be more hit than miss. This product will contain the popular 1 of 1 autographed NHL shields, sick patches, and oversized game used cards. Everything will be hard signed as well. For once, I don’t see any manufactured patches in a high end product (take note Panini). If there is anything I don’t like about it is that it has been delayed, a common occurrence with Upper Deck lately. According to Dave and Adam’s Card World it is scheduled for May 25, 2011.

I mean who wouldn’t want to pull this…or something like it:

That is going to be the holy grail of Ultimate pulls this year. But you can’t go wrong with a Skinner, Eberle, Paajarvi, Stepan, Seguin, etc. The rookies this year are talented which makes this product one of the hottest of the year. If you need some high end to hold you until The Cup, this is it.

Preview: Panini Gold Standard Basketball

Panini Gold Standard basketball is the next high end product to come out from Panini will be released on May 25, 2011. This isn’t your regular high end product though, this one is trying to set the golden standard amongst high end products with real gold in your cards. That’s right, 14 karats of solid gold will be found in some of these cards. Inside you will find 3 autographs, 2 memorabilia, 3 inserts, and 3 base. All of which are numbered and some may contain real gold.

Marketing idea? Yes. Good marketing idea? I’ve seen worse. I remember Topps Treasury basketball having rip cards that you could rip and pull out real American currency. I think there may have been one more product made by Topps that featured currency as well, but I can’t remember what it was. It must not have been that good. Panini Gold Standard is one product that will be remembered.

Whether or not it will be remembered for good or bad is still up in the air. From what I’ve seen on the sell sheet I’m not impressed with some of the designs and something that really grinds my gears is the manufactured patch autographs. I can’t think of anyone who enjoys pulling those and that is something that will prevent me from buying a product. 2010-11 Limited hockey? I would of loved to get it, but pulling a manufactured patch autograph as one of my hits is not something I enjoy. Finally, I really hope there isn’t any sticker autographs in this product. At a $200 price tag for a box, I hope it’s like National Treasures where everything is hard signed.

However, I do love a few things. I love the Golden Tickets where you can win some cool stuff like a meet and greet with Kobe Bryant. It may seem weird, but I definitely am interested in the 14 karat gold pieces. What card actually puts something worth money in their cards? Well besides the nickels in Topps Heritage. I would also like to see 14 karat gold cards like found in recent Panini football cards. What better product to put those in?

In all, this product will definitely have it’s niche crowd going out to buy it as well as those high end collectors. The fact that a card has 14k gold pieces in some of the cards is definitely a selling point as it’s something that hasn’t been done (unless you count Topps diamonds). And the autograph checklist of possible pulls looks great. But will it live up to all the hype? Will it be one and done or live a long career as a high end product? When you go to your local hobby shop and you see that gold bar packaging on the shelf, you will definitely want to see what is inside.

Panini has posted an abundance of links featuring this product in their blog to get you hyped. You can see if it’s worth the hype with these links:

Panini Peek: 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

Mining & Pining: An Early Exploration of 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

More Precious Metal Previews from 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

There’s Gold in Them Thar Cards! Seriously. More News on 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

As of July 12, 2011, there is even more finished product on display here!

The first box off the presses opened by Panini!

See that sweet packaging below.