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 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.

 

Panini Prime Cuts and the Deal with CMG Worldwide

Probably the most popular Donruss baseball product of all time will be coming back in March in 2011 Panini Prime Cuts. You know what will make it that much better? The deal with CMG Worldwide.

Panini America inked a deal with CMG Worldwide today, which allows them access to some of the most legendary players in baseball history to put on their newly minted MLBPA license. Some of those names include Jackie Robinson, Jimmie Foxx, Johnnie Mize, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Shoeless Joe Jackson amongst others.

You know darn well that deep within the Panini/Donruss vaults is a stash of game used jerseys and more cut autographs from these players back from the Donruss era. I personally can not wait to see what Panini has in store for Prime Cuts in March.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey

This is exciting news that Panini Crown Royale hockey is coming back for another season. Before last year, I had never opened a hobby box of hockey product nor had I opened any Panini product before. So obviously, this product has a special place in my collecting heart. So I’m happy to see a return from probably the most successful Panini hockey product from last year.

The Rookie Silhouettes will return as probably one of the hottest rookie autographed cards from last year. This trend will likely continue after all the great feedback I saw around the hockey collecting community and this may again be the hockey rookie card of the season. On card autographs with a patch from the player behind the picture.

But new this year will be a limited set of veterans with the Silhouette design which will surely make several collectors excited. They added this to football this year and I’ve only heard good things about it, but the hockey version will be different with on-card signatures.

Ice Kings will feature legends of the NHL with more on-card autographs limited to just 99 copies and Scratching the Surface will return with the autographs on the faux playing surface with signatures like Alex Ovechkin, Marty Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr, and Steve Yzerman just to name a few.

And surely several of your favorite inserts should return with jersey and patch parallels to fulfill all of your collecting wants.

I’ve said before that I love die-cuts so this product will always be at the top of products I want to open, plus of the special place in my collecting heart.

This product will hit stores in sometime in the coming months and the price range will probably be about $25/pack or $100/box.

Make sure you check out the official Panini Peek of this product for more information and photos!

 

Review: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Crown Royale is back in it’s second season in a return from the dead right before Halloween and it looks just as good, if not better than last year. With a hit per pack and averaging at least 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards per box, it has the possibility to yield some great hits including some legendary swatches and some awesome Rookie Silhouette prime material autographs.

Well let’s see what is in our box given to us for review from the wonderful people at Panini America, shall we?

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

I’m a sucker for die-cuts. I always have been a sucker for die-cuts. The only thing that I am more of a sucker of is very shiny die-cuts. But these look fantastic. I’ve always loved the design and the great colors that come along with the cards around the crown area which matches the team colors. The shiny borders look good too. Panini is getting better at designing their inserts to where you are starting to not be able to see boxes where memorabilia goes as those get kind of annoying after awhile. The only real complaint is that I’m getting tired of seeing white boxes where the autographed stickers go. I understand you need the autograph to be legible, but can’t you incorporate something into the design like just fading out the deep colors towards the bottom of the card where you put the sticker? Maybe a little round area faded design for the auto cards instead of box (ala Inception)? Surely the design team can do something other than a white box.

Checklist:

In my honest opinion, it’s too large for the amount of cards you get in a box and a pack at the price point it’s at. And by that I mean the base set and the base rookies. How on earth is anyone supposed to put together a set of these cards? The base set is huge. I love the insert sets and especially the great on-card checklist for the Rookie Silhouettes, but I think the base set needs to be cut down a bit. Maybe 100 total cards? 75 veterans and 25 rookies? Even 125 would be better than the current amount of 200.

 Value:

At $25 per pack, this is really hit or miss. But as a box, you might hit it big and get something worth the box itself. It’s tough as there are plain jerseys in here, which is obviously needed, but there are also some REALLY nice possibilities for hits. This sort of feels like Absolute Memorabilia Jr. So I’m kind of not sure how to rate this for value. Two autos and two memorabilia per box, which is better than most boxes at the price, but less total cards. I think there needs to be maybe one more single case hit kind of like the Net Fusion cards to make something for people to chase besides the Rookie Silhouettes. Finally, I’d also like to see the inserts numbered. I mean this is a product where you have to number the inserts. I really want to give this a 3.5 because of its hit or miss nature by pack (and my case by box, just look at sale values), but I always round up for the benefit of the doubt.

Overall:

Overall, I still absolutely love Crown Royale. I love the die-cut design, the colors, and the great Rookie Silhouettes cards. It’s an extremely fun product to open, but I find the huge checklist of base cards kind of disappointing as it takes a lot to try and put a base set together of those awesome looking cards. Back to the Silhouettes, I love that all the autographs are all on-card as it just makes them look that much better. We just need to work on those white boxes…please? Otherwise, it won’t kill your pocket, but you should definitely purchase this by the box and not by the pack. I like the addition of a case hit, but maybe one more type of limited case hit that would shine and be a welcome addition.

Oh, and for those who might want to complain about the Net Fusion manufactured net cards, they count as an insert, not as one of your hits. So you can either like them or not and you don’t have to worry because they aren’t taking the place of any of your mojo.

Again, I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for review. Make sure you visit their website and blog for more information about products like this.

Video is coming up soon!