Upper Deck Answers My Burning Questions

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Back in March, I wrote a long-winded opinion piece on how Upper Deck can improve their Series One and Series Two hockey card sets. But I hate to just wish for things; I want them to happen. So I forwarded my article to Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager. 

Not only did Chris read my article, but he actually addressed all of my points. As collectors, many times we believe that the card companies can make what we think are a few easy changes that will make us happier.  Well, it turns out that those changes aren’t always easy to make as they might seem — and they won’t necessarily make collecting better, either. 

Here’s a summary of each point from my prior article, along with Chris’ response to each one. Maybe you will learn something; I know I did. 

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Puck Junk Podcast #24 – May 12, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish

It’s been two weeks, so get ready for a super-sized podcast. In this episode, Sal and Tim talk about the second round of the 2017 NHL playoffs, including the Penguins-Capitals series, Upper Deck’s new Bounty program with SP Authentic, and Goon: Last of the Enforcers finally getting a U.S. release date. Other topics discussed include Grandeur Hockey Coins, and Sal’s long-unfulfilled wish for a Youngblood sequel.

Podcast #24 is 1 hour and 23 minutes of hockey goodness. 

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG

Is the Cost of Cards Worth the Reward?

Money photo by Tracy Olson via Flickr.

Y’all — that means “You All” for the Yankees — the hockey card market is getting out of hand. Normally I’d look at buying a box of Upper Deck Series One or Two to enjoy, save the hits, collect a few of the players I like, and entertain everyone with another Best of the Worst post. This past fall with Series One, I dragged my feet on writing that post because there weren’t a whole lot of crazy photos and I wasn’t super-inspired.

I also wasn’t too crazy about the price I paid for the box vs. the cards that I got out of it. Two out of three boxes didn’t yield a jersey card, and outside of a mildly-rarer Shining Stars Alex Ovechkin and one or two Young Guns that may or may not pan out, it was fairly hitless. I shopped around to buy that box online for $70-75; in a local shop it would have cost me at least $85 to $100! The same goes for Series Two which was released in March. Looking at the list of who is in that set and the likelihood of getting anything of value, I can’t say it’s worth the price of admission. There just isn’t much going on in there.

The disparaging look of the other products out there doesn’t seem to help either. Continue reading “Is the Cost of Cards Worth the Reward?”

Puck Junk Podcast #23 – April 25, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

Sal & Tim talk about the craziness that was the first round of the 2017 NHL Playoffs, playing daily fantasy playoff hockey on the Topps Skate mobile app, building sets on the cheap with Upper Deck E-Pack, Dennis Wideman gettin’ sued and more. 

Podcast #23 is an hour long, so grab a tall one, kick back and hit play.

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG

Puck Junk Podcast #22 – April 18, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

Sal & Tim (@theRealDFG) are back for a long-overdue, but always fun, edition of the Puck Junk Podcast. Topics in this podcast include: 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Hockey, coaching change chaos (!!!), the upcoming expansion draft and Zach Werenski, the most badass rookie in the NHL this season.

Total time is 47 minutes, so get comfy and hit play! 

Upper Deck Releases New Hockey Coins

Upper Deck has released a new hockey collectible that will cost some serious…coin. On Monday evening at the Hockey Hall of Fame, the trading card company announced the launch of the Grandeur Hockey Coin Collection, a series of limited-edition coins minted in silver and gold. The coins are available for purchase starting on April 5 and sell for $100 to $500. 

“I look at this as a game-changing product line, similar to what we did in 1989 with trading cards,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck, in an interview with Puck Junk. “Nobody has ever blind-packed precious metal coins before.”

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Box Break: 2016-17 Fleer Showcase

Fleer Showcase is the “I Love the 90s” set of hockey cards. Many of the inserts found in this set use the same design as, or inspired by, hockey cards of the 1990s, along with some football and basketball designs too. Here we have Fleer Ultra, Flair — spelled F-L-A-I-R — Showcase, Fleer Metal Universe and other inserts that would make most kids from the 1990s smile. Oh yeah, there is a base set and some hits too.

A box of 2016-17 Fleer Showcase costs around $72 USD online and has 18 packs. Each pack has five cards. Here is what I found in my latest box break:

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Box Break: 2016-17 Upper Deck AHL

Earlier this month, Upper Deck released a new set of American Hockey League trading cards. Like the 2014-15 and 2015-16 AHL sets, this year’s AHL set is sold in packs and consists of 100 base cards and 50 short-printed cards. (The inaugural 2014-15 Upper Deck AHL set was released as a 100-card boxed set.)

This year’s AHL set is a good mix of prospects who will make it in the NHL, players who have been up-and-down between the NHL and AHL, and players who have not played much in the NHL but excel in the “A.” 

A box of 2016-17 Upper Deck AHL trading cards costs around $40 and contains 20 packs. Each pack has five cards. I recently opened a box. See the results of the break…after the break. 

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Ways to Improve Upper Deck Series 1 & 2

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Last month, 2016-17 Upper Deck Series Two was released in stores and online shops. Other than a few packs I bought to get a promotional card on National Hockey Card Day, I have avoided buying Upper Deck Series One and Upper Deck Series Two this year. Since 1990, Upper Deck’s flagship “Upper Deck” hockey card set was something I always looked forward to. It was usually the biggest and best hockey card set every year during that decade, and set the high-water mark in quality for the hobby. 

But over time, Upper Deck Series One and Series Two have become somewhat…uninspired. Routine. Even boring. This year’s Series One Hockey set has 198 base cards of veteran players, two checklists, 49 short-printed Young Guns rookie cards and one short-printed Young Guns checklist. Likewise, this year’s Series Two Hockey set has 198 base cards of veteran players, two checklists, 49 short-printed Young Guns rookie cards and one short-printed Young Guns checklist.

Other than a little variation in the number of Young Guns, that has pretty much been Upper Deck’s script since 2005-06, and frankly, it is time for a change. 

Don’t get me wrong. The cards themselves look great and are of high quality. But even if you ate your favorite food for a month straight, it will still get dull. So it is time for Upper Deck to spice things up and not just do what has been working, but to seek to make things better. Here are seven ways that would improve Upper Deck Series One and Series Two. 

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Box Break: 2016-17 MVP Hockey

Upper Deck’s MVP Hockey Set was released two months before the start of the season, making it the first hockey card set of 2016-17. Sets released before the start of the season cannot include cards of players who were drafted over the summer or who have not yet played in a single NHL game, so the rookies found in MVP are players who made their debut late last season. Thus, no Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine in this set, though you can hope to pull a rookie redemption card to get cards of those players mailed to you at a later date. 

A box of 2016-17 MVP costs around $40 and contains 20 packs. Each pack has eight cards. Although the set came out earlier in the season, I finally opened a box of 2016-17 MVP Hockey. Here is what I got. 

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