Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

The Cup is coming.

We are less than one week away from one of the hottest releases of the season in hockey. The ultra high-end The Cup hockey is back for the craziest of hockey collectors. The one pack per tin product is always a hit and features some of the most valuable cards of the collecting season.

As is common with the product, you will find 5 card per pack/tin of The Cup. Some of the more valuable pulls are the rookie patch autographs which you find one per box. Upper Deck has stepped it up this year with an additional patch autograph in the product from either another rookie or a veteran. The final hit is another autograph, memorabilia, or rare paralleled card. To round out the box, you’ll have 2 base cards as well.

But it’s not just about the rookies. It’s also about the sweet veteran cards as well. With the Limited Logos insert set, you can find some of the greatest patches anywhere or patch autographs from some of the top talent in the game. Also popular is the Draft Board autographs which are back again, possibly for the final season due to who gets use of the memorabilia. You’ll also continue to find Scripted Swatches, autographed on-patch cards, and a fan favorite as it brings a ton of cash on the secondary market, NHL Shield cards.

The product is just loaded with everything that hockey collectors love, rookies, sweet patches autographs, legends, superstars, and book cards. The high price may scare some collectors away, but the die hard collectors know how great the product is time after time and love the rush.

The Cup is released on September 11, 2012, and should run you around $400 for a box if prices haven’t moved since last season.

For more information and a checklist when it’s available, check out the product details on Cardboard Connection.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

One of the favorites among hockey collectors is set to release tomorrow in 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic hockey. Featuring some of the games best retired, veteran, and rookies in the league, SP Authentic always has quite the following amongst collectors. With an autograph heavy lineup for hits and the ever popular rookie patch autographs, it returns for hopefully another successful season.

While it is releasing late, Upper Deck has done their best to get the most content that it can in the product to make sure there are as little redemptions as possible. Speaking of hits, there should be about 3 autographs in your box. You will have a mix of Future Watch autographs, Sign of the Times, and Chirography autographed cards. Of course, the hottest are the rookie autos of players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog.

Each box will contain 24 packs per box with 5 cards per pack. Some of the cool additions this year include Signature Stoppers featuring some of the best goalies in autographed form and Rookie Extended Series which showcases more of the first year players.

Other than that, it’s really your typical SP Authentic product from the past with this being the 15th installment of this product.

Hockey fans, make sure you hit the hobby stores on July 11, 2012, for your shot at this product. It looks like it has risen in price a bit around $110, but I’m sure that won’t matter to many hockey collectors.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Contenders Hockey

Contenders is back with a bang for it’s sophomore season. The previews of the product looked like a much needed upgrade to a product that crossed similar lines as its counterpart in football. Last season, I thought this product could contend with SP Authentic as the top product for rookie autographs. Little did I know, the product would include upgrades that made it almost identical to that product in terms of content.

2011-12 Panini Contenders hockey is now set up to be a winner in the hockey card arena. While Panini continues to establish it’s name amongst hockey collectors, this product is a great example of the things they can do to compete in that marketplace. All of these good things written and you haven’t seen the review yet…right. Let’s check that out.

Design:

Panini said they were going to work on their designs and they are truly doing that. I’ll start with the negative on why I wouldn’t give this 5 stars. The white boxes for the rookie autographs are a bit out of place. It’s not as bad as other products, but it could still be a little better. And also, what happened to the ticket design? I love the ticket design…is that going to remain football only while Panini carves out the landscape? But all of that doesn’t matter when you see how clean these cards look. They’re just pretty to look at. Like that really cute girl you might see walking around. Not that really hot one you have no chance with, but the really cute one you might buy a couple drinks for at the bar. Comparing cards to girls…I should start doing that more often.

Checklist:

Contenders is known for the rookie autographs.  Obviously, there are a ton of rookie autographs in this product. So you’ll be able to find a ton of great rookie autographs from all around the league. The one issue that I’ve seen the most complaints about is the checklist for NHL Ink. There are a lot of no name type players on that checklist people are having a hard time swallowing. As for me, I like the addition of players who aren’t rookies and the veterans in the patch autograph realm which is usually reserved for rookies. At least the non-rookies you know can play in the league and probably won’t wash out. It really just depends what you collect and what you expect in a product like this.

Value:

From what I’ve seen, for $100 this is very hit or miss. Again, kind of like SP Authentic which is a natural comparison. The rookie class is kind of a weak one, so it makes it hard to want to spend this type of cash on a product that has very little to perk you up. Another reason Panini did a good job adding what it added this year. The rookie class is providing lower than usual value, so add in some great chase cards. I was lucky, however, and pulled a redemption for a card that’s worth about the same amount as the box. You may hit a really nice patch autograph, a sweet veteran autograph, or something nice and low numbered. Again, it’s just hit or miss. I have to also mention the less inserts this year, which I kind of miss as well. I miss the acetate cards and the Leather Larceny from last year. But the inserts this year kind of fall well in line with the rest of the theme, so I can’t complain too much. Plus less inserts is sometimes better.

Overall:

Overall, this is still a fantastic second year product from Panini. The design is very pleasing to the eye and very clean all around. When people say you have a clean looking card, you know you did a very good job according to their eye. The checklist has all the rookies you could want, but leaves a little bit to be desired as far as the non-rookie autographs go. Colin Greening was my non-rookie hit…not a terrible player at all but others haven’t been so fortunate. But my real value came with my redemption card. With the rookie class being weak, Panini did a solid job adding value to what seemed like something you may not get much out of. Patch autographs in the product really add to the value, but I wasn’t lucky enough to pull one of those beautiful cards. It’ll be hit or miss mostly because of the rookies this year, but that’s not Panini’s fault.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else online. Let them know what you think of this product.

Not shown: Redemption for NHL Ink Dual Autograph Gabriel Landeskog/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Young Gun

It’s obvious who’s Young Gun from 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I hockey is going to be the most valuable this year…and it’s by a pretty big margin.

This card arrived in my mailbox yesterday. After opening two boxes of Upper Deck Series I hockey, I was not lucky enough to pull one. However, Field Level View, a friend of the blog, pulled one in his box of the product and was kind enough to send it over in a trade.

I know I’ve mentioned before how I don’t care for the Young Gun design this year, and I still don’t. However, this one must be the most beautiful of all the Young Guns I’ve seen this year. I believe the photo is from Nuge’s first goal for the Oilers and you can see the great expression on his face. Even the colors from the Oilers jersey looks really good on this card.

Young Guns are the most sought after non-autographed rookie cards of the year and often hold and retain their value for years to come. The Crosby and Ovechkin Young Guns are still worth quite a bit, as well as other NHL stars. This one will be no different.

I am psyched to have this in my collection and it is the only non-autographed card I currently have in my display case of sports cards.