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.

Panini’s Social Signatures or “Twittergraphs” Create Stir

When Panini announced the Social Signatures autograph subset in 2011-12 Panini Elite hockey, it was kind of looked over on their blog. With Chris Olds’ piece on Beckett recently, collectors started to take notice.

A little more about the concept, Panini will be inserting an autographed subset that is the first of it’s kind…an autograph from the player along with an inscription of their Twitter handle will be signed on their card. Not only is that an interesting twist to the autograph genre of cards, it’s great self promotion for the hockey players included in that set. A ton of new followers means new fans to connect with.

With players being able to reach out to their fans with greater ease then ever before, this is a unique idea for collectors and players alike.

Personally, I love that Panini plans on this subset being very limited and I would love to see this brought to football, basketball, and baseball as well. As a Blazers fan, I follow a ton of very talkative Trailblazers on Twitter and I know they would enjoy inscribing their Twitter handles as they love talking with the fans. As I said in my preview of this product, it’s a little gimmicky, but it’s new and interesting so I like it.

Check out at least one confirmed player in 2011-12 Donruss Elite hockey, Paul Bissonnette, or  @BizNasty2Point0

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.