Blake’s Takes: Kaprizov Locked Down in St. Paul

The Kirill Kaprizov standoff has ended. The Russian-winger will suit up with the Wild this season after signing a massive extension. That will be my first take of the week. I’ll also report on new jersey patches, the league’s outlook on full arenas, and a few other interesting tidbits.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: Offseason Madness Continues

The second wave of offseason craziness was just as hectic as the first. Massive contracts were signed across the league. There were also a few blockbuster trades that involved the games’ best players.

In this week’s column, I’ll give my two cents on some of my favorite transactions from the last week or so. I’ll also talk about some of my favorite puck junk I acquired over the last week.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: More Free Agency Madness

In this week’s column, I’ll look at some of the major free-agent signings of the last few weeks. So much happened around the league during the first week of free agency that I couldn’t cover everything in my previous column. 

In addition to free agency news, I’ll highlight one of my favorite new uniforms released in the last few weeks. Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: Big Goals and Huge Surprises in the Standings

This week’s Blake’s Takes highlights two things, big goals, and huge surprises in the standings. This past week featured two of the best goals in the NHL over the last few seasons.  Also, I’ll dive into two teams that are playing above and below their offseason expectations.

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Wrapper Redemption Review at the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention

redemptionsFrom July 31 to August 4, Chicago was host of the 34th National Sports Collectors Convention. I attended the show and participated in the redemption programs held by Panini and Upper Deck.

For those who have never done a redemption program at a card show before, it basically goes like this: You buy packs or boxes of cards at the show and open them up at a company’s booth. In turn, you get special packs that contains cards you can only get at the show.

Here is my rundown of the Panini and Upper Deck redemption programs at the 2013 National.

To participate in Panini’s redemption program, you had to buy an entire box of cards. You would get a specific amount of redemption packs based on what box of cards you purchased.

For example, I bought a box of 2013-14 Score Hockey jumbo packs, which merited me four redemption packs. Thus, a redemption pack of Panini cards would cost you about $25, and only had two cards.

Here are the highlights from my four Panini redemption packs.

panini_crosby panini_toews

The set was made up of athletes from all sports, and was a tougher set to put together, since you’d only get two cards and the redemption set was around 30 cards or so.

Panini’s redemption also had a greater variety of hits — including autographed cards, exchange cards for an over-sized autographed card, jersey cards and jersey/autograph combo cards. I pulled one jersey card from my four redemption packs:

barnes_guI never heard of Harrison Barnes, but he must be popular because there’s like ten of this card on eBay right now.

I only participated in Panini’s program once, earning four packs. For me, it was too expensive of a program to participate in further. But it was well-received by many other collectors, as evidenced by the high amount of foot traffic in Panini’s booth during the convention.


Upper Deck
Upper Deck’s redemption program was a little more streamlined. Their 20-card redemption set was a bit easier to assemble. On Thursday, you could get cards 1-5. On Friday, cards 6-10. Saturday’s redemption packs had cards 11-15 and Sunday’s packs had cards 16-20. So, if you went every day and got one redemption pack each day, you’d get all of the cards needed for the set. Of course, you had to then participate every day.

Upper Deck’s redemption program was also a bit cheaper to buy into. For the cost of two packs of Fleer Retro Hockey ($12), you could get an Upper Deck redemption pack. However, you were limited to four packs per day.

Here is what the set looks like:

ud_gretzky ud_saadThere were athletes from other sports in the 20-card set, but 5 of the cards were of hockey players, so no complaints here.

As for “hits,” Upper Deck kept it simple, offering only autographed cards as an incentive. Their lineup was pretty good, though, and I was lucky enough to get two autographed cards:

auto_toewsauto_lebronAs you can see, I got one autograph from a damn good hockey player, and a damn good basketball player.

My rate of success with the Upper Deck redemption packs was better because I participated in their program every day, getting four packs each time. I liked their program better because it was easier to assemble the redemption set and the “hits” were bigger. And if you got a hit, it was in addition to the five “regular” cards already in the pack.

Did anyone else participate in either redemption program at the National this year? If so, how did you do?