Review: 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey

Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers out there. And when you think of Canada there is only one thing that comes to mind…Santa! No, no, I mean hockey. The greatest thing Canada has given to the world of sport is our review for the day. 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology hockey is kind of a mish-mash product that features designs from several products as well as it’s own design. The reasoning is that there were several cards from other products that either weren’t returned in time for pack out or maybe the rookies didn’t get any ice time with the big club until after pack out. This allows Panini the opportunity to use some of the favorite designs for collectors and have them feature some of their favorite players and rookies. Sound good? It is. Let’s see the review.

Design:

Favorite designs of the year? Check. Great designs from the past? Double check. Great new design for the base cards? Triple check. Seriously, while this is a mish-mash of products thrown into this one product, they definitely picked some of the best designs of the year. Crown Royale, Luxury Suite, Pinnacle, and the new Rookie Anthology design..how can this be not good? We all know the other designs so I’ll get into the Rookie Anthology design. A crisp and clean design, it features a white background with the player really popping off the card. Add in some foil highlights and a slightly thicker card stock and this has the look and feel of a premium product. At first glance and feel I felt like I was opening Ultimate Collection by their competitor, but then saw the beauty of these cards. It was really a fantastic job by the design team on this product.

Checklist:

The checklist is a lot of rookies that made their debut later in the season at the most, with a few of the top rookies sprinkled in with some veterans. This checklist is based off of the rookie class, so it’s not going to be terribly good. But you can’t fault Panini for that too much. They could of loaded it up with more RNH, Landeskog, etc., but they chose to highlight more of the newer rookies. The addition of some veteran hits helped ease the pain a bit, but it seems to be lacking some rookie talent. Again, more of an issue with the actual talent instead of the checklist. It’s been that way all season.

Value:

The value is there, but the checklist isn’t making this a huge must get product. The addition of veteran hits and the box topper really helped this product a bit. I think someone on the team saw something lacking and wanted to amp it up a bit, and that idea really helped.  Having 5 hits in a $100 product is pretty decent as well compared to the usual 3-4 hits in most products at that price point. The memorabilia/autos are very nice and helps add in some value as well, but the plain game used jerseys are kind of dull. I really liked the stick additions once again the Luxury Suite design.  It’s a crazy product with some crazy results, but there are some big hits to be had as well.

Overall:

Overall, rounding up, it’s a very good product in a line of recent solid products from the company. The designs are fantastic and are really what make this product very good from the get go. The idea behind the product to get those newer rookies out there and some of the cards that weren’t returned in time for pack out was a great idea to reduce the load on redemptions as well as create something new for the collectors. This mish-mash style worked well in basketball with the shortened season and I think Panini proved it can work well in other sports as well. While the checklist isn’t the great, they’ve upped the hits to kind of make up for it in terms of value and that always helps in a $100 product. With a few veteran cards scattered amongst the set, Rookie Anthology is a great idea and addition from Panini.

Thanks again to the people at Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

And here’s the haul…

Review: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians who read this blog. I know there are a ton of you and have I got a great break for you guys. Being a quarter Canadian myself and having a fiancee who is 100% authentic Canadian, we celebrate Canada Day in our household in the States. I am celebrating it this year by opening and reviewing a box of 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey!

Luxury Suite hockey is in it’s first year of production. What makes this product interesting is that it features a checklist of zero base cards. Every card is either a rookie, game used memorabilia, or autograph. Pretty cool concept if you ask me to have a product with no base cards. So with 4 packs a box and 3 or 4 cards in a pack (it seems like it couldn’t decide) and 8 total game used/autographs per box, I bring you my break and review of this product from Panini.

Rookies:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

As I have stated in my preview on this product and on the official Panini America blog, I think this is one of Panini’s best designs of the year. While we weren’t able to see the beautiful rookie patch autographs in this break, you can see the good designing in these other cards. I would compare it to the design quality of SP Authentic mixed with Pinnacle. It shares very common characteristics and I think overall it’s a good design. On card autographs galore, great use of memorabilia, and I absolutely love the Private Signings set with the gold foil lettering. That looks great.

Checklist:

Everyone loves rookies, we get that. This product is full of a billion of them. Okay, not a billion but 125 rookies are in this product. There are a ton of star common jersey cards which is great too so you can pull some of the games best current players there. I’ll even say that the retired signatures checklist is okay with names like Gilmour, Roenick, and Dionne. The only thing lacking is the quality of star autographs in the Private Signings set. This is considered to be a high end product by most people. You can find this product at most places for about $170 right now. With a price point this high you should expect at least a few huge names in that list. Johnny T is the biggest name on that list. No Crosby, no Ovechkin, no Brodeur or Thomas…the star power on that portion is really lacking. Sure you have a chance to pull some absolutely awesome rookies in this product, but there should be at least a little bit of star power in your veteran players checklist at this price. If there were a chance for a Sidney and maybe Brodeur that subset would have been easier to swallow.

Value:

So the odds state you should get 8 autographs or memorabilia cards in your box. I received 9 so that is a good start. Including the rookies that breaks down to about $10 per card in this box. At the same price point as something like Absolute Memorabilia, you get a lot more hits for your money. The plain jerseys are high numbered and nothing special but the patches, sticks (which I didn’t pull), and autographs you can pull definitely make up for that. If there was a little more star power in these boxes as far as veteran players went, I think we could of moved closer to a 5 here. This is closer to 3 stars than it is to 5 stars as it stands. I didn’t receive a redemption which is nice and the autographs I pulled were on card autographs as well. Include the multi-colored swatches you can pull and the multi-colored stick pieces and this product definitely has value. But it’s hit or miss for the most part. Still, pretty solid.

Overall:

The design is one of Panini’s best in the hockey arena this year. I think the only product that can outdo it will be Dominion later this month. The swatches and sticks are very nice and the autographs are on card so that makes these cards look even better. While the veterans names on the checklist for autographs are kinda so-so, the rookies you have the possibility to pull amazing cards of are endless and rare so they hold great value. You get a ton of hits, including rookies, for your money and that beats other Panini products and even Upper Deck products at a similar price point. Just some of the selection could be improved in the veteran area. Overall, it is hit or miss but definitely a fun box to open as you know you are getting a couple of hits per pack.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for me to sponsor, please check out the various links I have posted around the site and visit them. I will be giving away a few cards from this break. Not sure which ones yet but I will give some away nonetheless. View the video below to find out how.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w32u0w-0KN0]

Okay, I’ll be nice for all those who don’t want to see my ugly mug. I’ll be giving away something to a random viewer who posts their comments on Luxury Suite in the comment area. Leave a comment about Luxury Suite, get your chance to win a random card or two from the break. Simple as that.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey is one of last hockey products I have yet to preview that is set to come out this season. But rest assured, your preview is here hockey fans!

Your next mid-high end product from Panini is Luxury Suite and boy does it look luxurious from the what I can see. Each box will deliver 8 autographs or memorabilia cards. That’s right 8! At least two of them will be autographs, but I’m sure it’s safe to assume that you will find more. This product will be loaded with the hits you want.

There will be 4 packs in a box. Each pack will contain 2 autographs or memorabilia cards. But that’s not all. Every pack will also contain a rookie card. This product will contain a ton of rookies. 125 different rookie cards have made it into Luxury Suite making it one of the biggest crops of rookie cards. All rookies will be numbered to 899 copies so make sure you grab who you want for your collection. 50 of the rookies will contain an autograph or memorabilia on them. Some of these players are the highly collectible Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, and Tyler Seguin.

Did I mention yet some of the cool memorabilia cards you can pull from this set? Every base card has a memorabilia insert associated with it. You can pull game used swatches of jerseys, patches, and sticks. Sticks have been under used for the most part when it comes to the hobby and Panini is right there by including game used sticks in their memorabilia pieces. The possibilities of hits in this product are definitely up there with higher end products, but for about half the price. Plus the base parallels numbered to 10 and 1 make it a chase for your favorite players more rare cards.

Now a lot of people have been criticizing the designs by Panini on some of their products. However, those critics will be speechless for some of the designs in this product. In my opinion, this is probably one of those most visually appealing designs that Panini has put together across all their products. Luxury Suite looks great. Nice big patch windows, looks to be on card autographs, and fluid designs featuring the player first and foremost. I would put the designs along the lines of SP Authentic of old with Panini’s own twist to it. It’s definitely a good thing. The rookie patch/autographs look amazing and I really enjoy most of the designs. Good work design team.

The end of June will bring you the most luxurious set to come to Panini hockey for a little under $200. I can’t wait to see some of the cards to come out of this product.

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek: 2010-11 Luxury Suite hockey

And as is mandatory in my hockey previews, ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Hall.