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 ITG Captain-C Hockey

ITG has come out with another new hockey trading card product this year featuring those are their team’s fearless leaders. ITG Captain-C features those which have that coveted “C” stitched onto the front of their sweaters. And coming on March 29th, 2012, these leaders on and off the ice will be immortalized in trading card glory.

Each box of Captain-C will contain 10 cards. 5 of these cards will be the “base” cards featuring players from a 100 card checklist who donned the “C”. The other five cards will be a mix of autographs and game used memorabilia cards from players like Dave Keon, Roberto Luongo, Bobby Clarke, and Jean Beliveau.

Like ITG Enforcers, this product will be limited so get your hands on it early. A full checklist for autographs and base cards can be found on the official ITG website here. And I have to say the checklist looks pretty good with a ton of great players from today and the past in the set.

I commend Dr. Price for trying something else new with his products and this looks like a great product to open. And at $88, it’s not priced terribly high either.

 

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.

 

February 2012 Sports Card Releases

February 2012 sports card releases…let’s get ‘em going! As always, the rating at the end is my excitement level.

Baseball:

2012 Topps Series I Baseball – February 1, 2012 – $65/$121 – 9/10

Topps Series I means a couple things. It’s just about baseball season. People are going to go crazy for these next few weeks trying to put their sets together. And Brentandbecca is going to open a million cases of this product.

Basketball:

2011-12 Panini Preferred Basketball – February 27, 2012 – $200 – 8/10

The first NBA product of the season…finally. It starts out with a bang with this high end product full of autographs for the high end autograph collector. Some sweet designs from a mix of Panini products, it looks like it will be a good time for NBA collectors.

Football:

2011 Panini Prime Signatures Football – February 17, 2012 – $60 – 9/10

Panini does lower end products well. This is kinda one of them. The design is beautiful so let’s hope the checklist is just as nice as the design.

2011 Panini Totally Certified Football – February 16, 2012 – $120 – 9/10

Loved this product on the basketball side so I can’t wait to see what is in store on the football side. The ever popular autographed Panini HRX autographed video trading card should command a great price and maybe the low numbered parallels may do just as well as basketball.

2011 Panini Contenders Football – February 15, 2012 – $135 – 7/10

One of the top NFL rookie autograph cards makes it’s yearly debut and rookie collectors everywhere are ready for this offering from Panini.

2011 Topps Five-Star Football – February 22, 2012 – $475 – 10/10

The product of the year is back for it’s second season. Can it live up to it’s first year? It better and it will.

2011 Upper Deck SP Authentic Football – February 7, 2012 – $112 – 8/10

It looks like another great NCAA licensed product in their SP Authentic brand from Upper Deck bringing back the retro look with today’s rookies and veterans. The rookie patch autographs are always something to behold with larger patch windows this year.

Hockey:

2011-12 ITG Heroes & Prospects Hockey – February 23, 2012 – $78 – *

No preview yet.

2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey – February 8, 2012 – $100 – 9/10

My personal hockey product of the year last year returns once again including all the greatness that made last year’s product fly off the shelves and hard to find.

2011-12 Panini Elite Hockey – February 29, 2012 – $120 – 7/10

Elite hockey makes it’s debut with autographs a great parallels that it features as well in other sports. The debut of some interesting autographed cards including Social Signatures makes this a fun product to watch.

2011-12 Upper Deck Series II Hockey – February 28, 2012 – $68 – *

No preview yet.

Other:

2011 Upper Deck World of Sports – February 21, 2012 – $75 – 6/10

Keeps getting pushed back…so it is what it is. Terrible last year, looks improved. For the niche collector.

There are definitely a lot of great products to look forward to this February, which one do you want to bust open the most?

Upper Deck’s Big 3 Hockey Exclusives Down to 2

First, ITG announced an autograph deal with Gordie Howe last week. This signing left many of us, including yours truly, wondering if Gordie Howe would sign anywhere else, specifically Panini, now that his exclusive contract was up. I even Tweeted Panini yesterday asking if Panini was going to sign an autograph deal with Gordie Howe.

Well today, that question has been answered. Gordie Howe will now be signing for Panini hockey products. This creates a great boost in value to Panini’s hockey product line and will definitely be a great selling point for products.

Prior to this season, Upper Deck had a stranglehold on possibly the 3 best hockey players of all-time with their exclusive deals with Gretzky, Howe, and Orr. With Howe now moving on and signing with the 3 major hockey companies, that leaves just two exclusives with Upper Deck remaining.

Will “The Great One” and “Number 4, Bobby Orr” be joining “Mr. Hockey” any time soon? Only time will tell, but I am happy to have more options when I would love to pull a Mr. Hockey autograph, especially in a Whalers uniform. (Take note Panini/Upper Deck)