Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Forgotten New York hockey team

 Being from New York, I get two say I have multiple local teams, although one of our teams is 8 hours away. I support all three teams, but did you know there was once another? 

Indeed, the original New York team was the New York Americans, which debuted in the 1925-26 season renting out Madison Square Garden, which would prove to be a fatal mistake for the franchise, as their success prompted MSG to create their own team- the Rangers- the very next year. The two teams would share an uneasy situation with both teams playing their home games in the same arena for the entirely of the Americans' existence. 

The team was constantly facing financial difficulty and barely made it through the Depression, and it could not survive losing the vast majority of it's players to World War II- the team last played during the 1941-42 season. 

The team's final season was known as the Brooklyn Americans, although they played in MSG, which is in Manhattan, not Brooklyn. 

Getting a card from the Americans was something I was looking forward to happening, but my options are fairly limited. They have almost 250 cards issued, but the vast majority were issued during the team's actual existence, and are quite rare. However, I managed to get my hands on a box of the 2004-05 In the Game Franchises sets for both the US releases, and this allowed me to add both versions of the Americans to my collection. 

Red Dutton was player, coach and even owner of the Americans- and layed a curse on the Rangers saying they would never win a Stanley Cup during his lifetime...which turned out to be true. 
Although he grew up in Canada, Schriner was the first NHL player who was born in Russia. 

The Uniforms they wore during their New York Americans days were based on the flag, with one version having the star field in blue, and the other in red. I do not know which was the home and road versions, or even if they were home and road versions. 

This set goes pretty in-depth, and the sole year of the Brooklyn Americans is also represented. In fact, the Database shows only 10 cards ever issued for the Brooklyn Americans, and 7 of them are from this set. These two base cards are the complete team set, and both have two regional promo versions making up the majority of the team's cardboard history. They only ever got one card issued during their only season of existence, and only 4 base cards make up the complete collection for the team- this one set provides 50% of them. 
I don't really know much about Chuck Rayner, despite the fact that his entire NHL career was spent in the New York area- 1 year with the Americans, 8 with the Rangers. He is a Hall of Famer. 
I know even less about Mel Hill, although his Wikipedia entry mentions that he also played professional soccer. 

All four players are appearing for the first time in my collection. My main focus being on getting at least one card of every person to get one, or at least as many different people as possible. The pre-Original 6 era is largely absent from this project. 

When this team folded is when the Original 6 era began. The NHL entered the 1930s with 10 teams, but three failed during the depression and the Americans failed during WWII. The league would operate with only six teams until the 1967-68 season, when it doubled in size. 

Despite being around a short time- 17 years - with minimal success, the team managed to put 14 people into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and set some sports history by being the first team in ANY professional sport to include the player's name on the back of the uniform, if Wikipedia is to be believed. 

Getting an Americans card- often called Amerks- was something I didn't think would actually happen any time soon. Although my "Top 10 most wanted" list on the sidebar mentioned an unnamed team, (that was the Cleveland Barons- now named because the team is present in my collection, stay tuned) it really SHOULD have been the Americans...I just didn't think it would be possible. I still don't think getting a card issued when the team actually existed is possible, but I won't give up hope.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

A look inside the birthday blasters

 The other day when I wrote up the post about the blasters I got for my birthday, I hadn't actually opened them yet when I published that. I did right after I got the post up, and now I'll share some highlights. I got 251 new cards so naturally I will not show them all, just the highlights.

I'll start with MVP, which is the first 2022-23 season cards I've gotten! 

This was my first card from the new season, #106 in the set. This year's MVP eschews stats and unfortunately the pronunciation guide, which I really found helpful, and just has a small blurb about the player.
The Ice Battles parallel returns, and I'm not entirely sure about the concept of it, but more parallels is never a bad thing to me. The orange theme is more visually interesting the last year's slightly different blue than normal. 
the tradition MVP Parallel of Silver Script returns, and for the first time in several years they have foil again! It really makes these cards look very nice. This Gaudreau was in my first pack. There were two in both blasters I opened. 
Gold Script is once again a blaster exclusive parallel and they generally fall one per blaster...
but I got lucky and pulled a short printed rookie, which falls at 1:70 packs, the rarest card I got on the day. This is the first Kraken parallel in my collection also, an added bonus. 

there are some inserts as well...
and even a parallel of the inserts, of which I got one between both boxes. There is also a "Domains" insert which I got two of but didn't get scanned yet. 

My favorite card from the MVP blasters is this one, though:

my first Rangers card for Ryan Reaves! He may not score much but he's got such a great personality, he's one of the "heart and soul" guys that every successful team relies on. I'm so glad he came to the Rangers. And he's one of the last the end of the 2020-21 season, Capitals player Tom Wilson bodyslammed and injured Artemi Panarin, and though the Rangers at the time did try to take him on, they lacked a true enforcer. We brought Ryan Reaves in for the 2021-22 season and Wilson literally cowered during the game, not even registering a single hit during one of the games! 

Moving to the 2021-22 Upper Deck cards, I believe I've talked about that set already...I can't remember if I did...I have not gotten many of them scanned yet. 

Here's the base card as a reminder
the Dazzlers inserts...these are spectacular! They come in multiple colors but green has always been my favorite color, so this is probably my favorite card I got for my birthday. Scans cannot do these cards justice. 
I also got an Orange one. 
I think the checklist for UD Canvas is actually short printed, so that's cool. This is not a Rangers card to me, this is just a checklist, but still....I collect checklists so I'm happy to have it.

Now, the 2020-21 SP set. I hadn't seen any of these before, even though now a couple of years old. 
This is the base card. Like all modern SP/SP Authentic sets, there isn't much to it but that makes them very easy to scan. 
You get one numbered rookie card per box.
The blue parallels fall one or two per pack
with one of them being a Rookie card. I really like this one because I like the purple and yellow uniform shown here. 

I also got a rarer parallel, the Patterned Foil which falls 1:50 packs. I got the blue version of the Pius Suter card as well, which is kind of cool. 

Thanks again Mom!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Birthday Cards (and cars)

 Today is my birthday and my Mom somehow managed to find not one but a bunch of blasters! Not only that, but my first cards from the 2022-23 NHL season at that! The SP set is also new to me despite being from 20-21 season, I didn't have any previously. 

My brother hit my other primary collection with some NASCAR diecast. 

What a great birthday! 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Xhekaj makes it!

 On October 12th, Arber Xhekaj played in his first NHL game for the Montreal Canadiens. While dozens of players will be making their NHL debuts this week, Xhekaj is different, because his is the first name that starts with X to EVER play in an NHL game...or any of the three sports I collect! Think about this...this is the 105th NHL season. Next week, the NBA will begin it's 76th season, and NASCAR has just 1 month left of it's 74th season. That is a LOT of people, and not a single one of them had a last name that started with X, ever...Until now!

I wrote about Xhekaj once before, when I got this card of him. But now that he's made it to the NHL that means he will be getting NHL cards. The NHL's contract stipulates that all players who appear in a game MUST get cards, which is the only way to do it right. 

I will definitely be chasing them when they do appear, later in the year. Well, later in the hockey year. Probably 2023 in actuality. 

He only needs one more card to become my Letter Leader in my entire collection...which would be pretty amazing to do with only two cards. (Two letters, G and J, the leaders have over 1000 cards in my collection)

In case you didn't read the earlier post, his name is pronounced "Jackeye" and is Armenian in origin although he is Canadian. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Skating through the South

 When I travel to new states, I like to open some cards in each new state, if I have the chance. I forgot to bring any cards from my stash to open on my trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, even though I had saved some NASCAR packs for just such a purpose. I simply forgot to pack them, so I thought I was going to go without on this trip, but when we stopped for lunch in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, there happened to be a Wal-Mart in the same plaza as the Subway we were eating at, and luckily enough they did have a blaster of 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series, aka Series 3. That was great because I didn't have a single card from the set, so they would all be new. 

For three of the four packs I opened on this trip, I did them at the Welcome Center for each state. Maryland didn't have a Welcome Center, and we were only in it for 12 minutes, so Falling Waters, West Virgina was the first opportunity. Series 3 is Kraken heavy, with each player in the team's first ever game getting a card. This is how it should be for every team every year. 
Next stop, nearly an hour later, was in Virgina. The first two packs both yielded a retro insert, although the 1999-00 SPx Retro is much more noticeable than the 2006-07 Upper Deck retro from pack #1.
After a long drive through Virgina, we hit North Carolina and I opened my final pack of the trip down. No inserts in this pack but I did get a Young Guns card of Justin Barron of the Avalanche. 
Unfortunately for me, I forgot to bring any of the cards with me when we went into South Carolina for those couple of minutes, so none from my furthest south state currently. 

On the way home, knowing there was no welcome center or anything really in those short 12 miles through Maryland, we got off at the first exit and found the first parking lot we could find which happened to be a church, which was surprisingly deserted for a Sunday morning. There I opened this pack and pulled my favorite card from the trip, the Mark Stone HoloGrFx insert. I don't know if this is a retro insert or just inspired by one of UD's former brands but I like it a lot. I also like the name of that road visible on the screen- Hippety Hop Lane.