Sunday, February 24, 2013

Retail Review #37 (08/09 Be A Player Blaster)

The last Be A Player blaster box I opened was a stinker of a box... so... I hope this isn't a stinker...
 I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker... I hope this isn't a stinker...

Price - 

Packs - 2
08/09 Be A Player Blaster Packs

Since my 07/08 BAP blaster was so terrible, I had to come back to 08/09. My last few boxes of 08/09, while not by any stretch amazing, were decent and enjoyable boxes to open up - I had gotten some respected players of the game. I hope the same thing will happen with this one.

As with all BAP blasters, there are only two packs contained within each box. It's a very fast break, but it's always great to know that an autograph is waiting inside. Certainly somehow makes busting so much more enjoyable! But though I'm certain to get a hit, what that hit is... is the new question. Will it be of a desirable player? Or will it be like my 07/08 BAP blaster box - I really hope not!

Let's go ahead and crack open this blaster and see what comes out!

Review -
The first pack I opened was the one that didn't contain the autograph. And unfortunately it was all base cards - no inserts or rookies inside to provide a bit more excitement. And to continue on with the little-to-no-excitement theme, the second pack tossed out an autograph of a player that (though an NHL veteran of 17 seasons) I had never heard of. That was the entire break. It was a sinker...

...AGAIN!!! ARGGGgggghhhHHhhHhhh!!!

Top three cards, here we go:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Evgeni Nabokov Card No. 153
I see teal! And usually that means an automatic inclusion into the top three unless there are some really good cards from other teams in the break. With two packs in a blaster, that was unlikely. Here we have a Nabokov card to put into my big box of Sharks base. I'm pretty sure I have this one already, but it still goes in!

#2 - Patrick Kane Card No. 38
Ouch, it hurts me to put this one in the top three. The Blackhawks have played lights out hockey since the season began, and the Sharks have lost to them three times already, so I'm not happy putting Kane here. Sigh, but he was the best player found in the box so Kaner gets the number two slot.

#1 - Scott Walker Card No. S-SW
I was like Scott who?!?!? But looking up his information, he played for 17 seasons and had a role with Team Canada. So I guess he was a player with some longevity and significance. He retired the season I just got back into watching hockey seriously so it's no wonder I had not heard of him. Though I spent some time trying to find out more about Walker, I'm still not that excited about this card... but I do feel that this box was a tiny bit better than my last one.

Overall Value -
Like the Sharks of late, here is another strike out and disappointment. Again, I still recommend getting these Be A Player blasters at less than ten dollars a pop, but my last two breaks have soured me a little to them. Hopefully it won't sour you though! You can just tell yourself that Luke from the Cardboard Review got all the bad ones out already!

Let me know what you thought of my 08/09 BAP blaster down in the comments below. What have you gotten out of these blasters? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Retail Review #36 (10/11 Donruss Blaster)

Here's a familiar product - Donruss! It wasn't too long ago that I broke one of these blasters on Retail Review... and here comes the second of three that you'll see me open. For some reason I thought that every blaster of Donruss would at least have a jersey card hit. That wasn't so with my last box, so I'm curious to see what will pop out of this one. I'm hoping for a hit!

Price - 
3 for $16.95 (current price)

Packs - 8
10/11 Donruss Packs

Donruss is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of big potential hits, but it can still be a fun break. Panini has loaded up Donruss with insert cards to chase that bring collectors back to the 90's era. Donruss is a fabulous set for younger collectors to chase as those inserts are fun to look at and easy to pull. Unlike higher-end products, Donruss boxes will yield a big stack of cards to look over and enjoy.

Donruss can also be a product for advanced collectors too. There are definitely some difficult hits to pull out of the product. Chasing these tougher memorabilia and autographed cards would definitely present a fun challenge.

Let's go ahead and break open this blaster of Donruss and see what's inside:

Review -
It was that feeling as I kept going of... man... probably not going to get a hit in this one... and then after the last pack it was like... dang it! Oh well, so I guess not every blaster of Donruss has a hit in it as proven by my last two breaks. This box did contain four insert cards though. Three of the inserts show up in my top three cards, the fourth was a Willa Ford Fans of the Game insert. I'm not sure why, but when I get a fans of the game card, it's almost always of Willa Ford. What did Panini do, double print her? Or maybe she's just haunting my Donruss breaks. If so, the next one better be an auto!

I guess the Rated Rookie cards are considered 'insert' cards as well as I did not receive any in this blaster. That's kind of sad. If I were a young collector trying to make the base set, I would hope to at least get one in a blaster. I remember my last blaster had three rookies... but no inserts. I guess the collation could have been better. At least in an Upper Deck Series 1 or 2 blaster collectors could look forward to two Young Gun cards. The Rated Rookies are no where near as popular as those, but they are a more difficult find when buying blasters - go figure!

Let's see those top three insert cards from this 10/11 Donruss blaster box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Joey Kocur Card No. 3 (Tough Times Insert)
Don't really know the player and not a fan of the Winged Wheel... but Panini sure does know who design a sweet looking tough-guy insert set. These, along with the Pinnacle ones, look awesome! They have the perfect 'feel' for the tough theme. ITG came out with their Enforcers set a while back... I wish those cards looked like these.

#2 - Jonas Gustavsson Card No. 14 (The Goalies Insert)
Ahhh, Panini and their acetate cards... they look good! I'm a big of using different materials to make cards special and unique. It's not just the acetate though, I love the use of the featured goalie's home language on the front. These cards might be low-value easy pulls, but this is the type of card that I think younger collectors could really get into. Heck, I'm into them!

#1 - Sidney Crosby Card No.2 (Boys of Winter Insert)
Though I didn't pull a jersey card, I still got one of the Boys of Winter inserts. Actually, looking at the card I feel that the card looks better without the circular swatch of jersey on it. The star to the right of Crosby is where the swatch would be, however, the star graphic gives the impression of a snowflake... perfect for a winter themed insert card.

Overall Value -
Like I've been saying with all my lower-end blaster breaks... at this price point it's hard to go too wrong. If the intention is to have some fun and bust open some packs on the cheap, Donruss is a fine option to go with. Look forward to getting some nice insert cards and a big stack of base to check out. If you're lucky, a jersey or auto could potentially pop out.

Let me know what you thought of my 10/11 Donruss blaster down in the comments below. What have you gotten out of these blasters? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

12/13 Panini Limited Hockey Video Review

Big thanks to the fine folks over at Panini for sending this 12/13 box of Limited for video review! Watch as I open and talk about the contents of one box. I will be giving away one of the cards from this break. Make sure you check the video and rules on how you could win!

I've asked the hockey card collecting community to tell me one thing they liked and one thing they disliked about 12/13 Panini Limited Hockey in the comments section. Check out the comments and see some real collector opinion regarding this release. For even more thoughts, check out the written review of Panini Limited a few posts below this one. Collectors have a lot to say!

If you haven't done so, please 'like' my new Cardboard Review Facebook page! It's a great place to interact with me. Check it out by clicking here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Retail Review #35 (10/11 Certified Blaster)

Today I'm hoping to get rid of the bad taste that was last week's Be a Player blaster! That box was very disappointing, but hopefully a blaster of Panini Certified will make up for it. Certified blasters are a bit pricier than what I usually like to buy at retail, but the price is consistent with what you would pay per pack at a hobby store. That being said, I was able to get this box for half the retail price at

Price - 

Packs - 3
10/11 Certified Packs

I love the fact that Panini puts out Certified at retail stores. It's a great option for collectors who want to get their hands on a hobby product when a hobby store isn't around. Like I said, these blasters do cost more, about $30/box, but when you compare that to a standard hobby pack of Certified... it comes out pretty much even as hobby packs are about $10 each.

Each blaster of Certified will come with one hit. This is also pretty comparable to its hobby brethren. In a 10 pack hobby box of Certified, collectors could expect to find four hits (unless it was a hot box - in that case it would be more). So it works out to a hit per 2.5 packs. Well, with 3 packs in a blaster, it's pretty even. And for the record, I have gotten 4 packs of Certified at the hobby store and gotten no hit. So at least here with the blaster it's a guarantee.

I was able to pick up this box of Certified for under $15. That's a really great price for one of these. At this price, if you bought four blasters to get four hits you would be only paying $60. That's less than a hobby box!

I feel like I've been talking a lot of math. Time to stop!

Let's take a look at this blaster of Certified (IT BETTER BE BETTER THAN LAST WEEK!):

Review -
It was pretty obvious to me which pack had the hit in it as it was noticeably thicker than the others. On the off chance it was a decoy, I went and opened it first. Yep, a hit was there so I decided to save it. I think many collectors do this to hopefully have a big ending to their break!

As for the packs without the hit, I thought they were decent. First off, the cards look really great. I am always impressed with I see 10/11 Certified base cards. There is something about them that just scream 'premium card' to me. Scans and pictures do not do them justice. The 10/11 base have not yet been topped by the subsequent iterations of Certified. And as for the cards themselves, it was very nice to pull a few Sharks out of these packs. Though not in my top three, I really liked the Dany Heatley base that came out.

Let's take a look at what did make the top three:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Patrick Marleau Card No. 123
It was a toss up between Heater and Marleau - and I really wanted to put Heatley in, but Patty Marleau had such a blazing hot start to the season that I had to go with him. It's awesome how Marleau is pictured in full beard here. You never really see him sport the beard unless its playoff time. It's a cool and different shot of good 'ol number 12!

#2 - Jordan Staal Card No. 9 (Certified Champions Insert Set)
My only insert card of the break was this Jordan Staal Certified Champions card. Though I'm not a huge fan of the design of the card, I always appreciate being able to pull serial numbered cards out of blasters. This particular card was numbered 463/500. I think the idea with this card was to feature an autograph at the bottom. If an auto were there this card would look so much better. As it is though, the bottom portion looks like a bunch of wasted space. Panini has improved in this design area recently, and I'm thankful for that.

#1 - Pavel Datsyuk Card No. 51 (Mirror Red Dual Jersey)
I was happy to get this card - great player and relatively low numbered (for a retail product). Though Datsyuk plays for the rival Red Wings, he has always been a gentlemen and a pleasure to watch skate. He has crazy moves and amazing stick handling. This Mirror Red jersey card works well because the whole thing is pretty much team-themed. There's just a whole lotta red on this card. This particular card is numbered 46/50.

Overall Value -
At $15 I'd buy this stuff all the time! It's a very nice deal... and as I mentioned before, if you're just looking for hits, four blasters will give out the same number of hits as a hobby box of it. At the $30 retail store price, Certified is above the impulse buy price for me, but it still is a fair deal for what it is. I've seen and heard a lot of good things coming out of these Certified retail blasters. They are definitely a box that I would recommend to give a try!

Let me know what you thought of my 10/11 Certified blaster down in the comments below. What have you gotten out of these blasters? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2012-2013 Panini Limited Hockey Review

Limited... what an appropriate name for a card brand, as there will certainly be only a limited amount of products for hockey collectors to buy this season! Hopefully though, with less product will be better concentrations of value. Panini's Limited brand of cards has always given collectors a very concentrated amount of cards for its price point. Let's see what kind of value it yields as I rip into a box!

Base Card Design -
I have to say that I appreciate Panini's approach to Limited Hockey. It has a very different feel to it compared with their basketball and football Limited releases. With the other sports, there is a focus on foil and shine in the base set. Here with hockey, the base cards are more subtle... they are more refined and understated. The cards are sweet and mature. Panini has gone away from the paper thin foil card stock and have instead gone with a thicker base card. The image of the player on the front of the card has an art effect on it that makes each card look as if it were drawn rather than shot with a camera. This effect softens up the card in a way that really makes these base cards look classy. Furthermore, the subtle foil accents and minimalist graphic design of the card only increase the amount of class these cards have. There are no gimmicks here, just clean, beautiful cards that look and feel premium. Like every card in the product, these feature serial numbering. Standard base cards are limited to only 299 copies.

The back of the Limited cards have a horizontal orientation - certainly an interesting choice given that the cards are vertical on the front. It works though, and works well. Just like the front, everything about the back screams clean and classy. There isn't any wasted space, and though there is not player image, the back looks good enough that it doesn't need one. The little banner with the team logo is a great little design element, as is the frame that borders all the pertinent information about the player. There is only enough room for one line of statistics, but this is pretty much the standard for higher-end cards.

As usual, the manufactured patch rookie cards are again part of the Limited base set. These cards have always gotten a mixed reception with collectors. I, for one, am not a huge fan of any manufactured pieces except for country flags. So I'm in the camp of collectors that would prefer Panini to change it up with their Phenoms rookie cards. The box that I opened at D&P Sports Cards was a redemption, but if you have seen the Phenom manufactured patch cards, they look very similar in nature to ones produced in other years. The athletes sign a white piece of cloth with some sort of manufactured logo on it. These aren't terrible cards by any means, but I think collectors are ready for a move in a different direction. With Limited being a higher-end card release, I am sure that collectors expect (want) to have some sort of player-worn material for their rookie card pulls over these.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The great thing about Limited is that collectors can tell a lot of thought went into creating the cards in the product. There are a myriad of different inserts, game-used, and autographed cards to find in boxes of Limited.

Shown here is one of those cards that has definitely been given much thought into creating - a Limited Duels acetate insert card. This insert card has a lot going for it - it's made of a special material (AND has foil), has serial numbering, and can be combined with another card to create a larger one. When I think about how insert cards should be, this is what I think the standard is. It's great that the Limited inserts have been designed creatively. Insert cards have definitely fallen in terms of quality since their heyday in the 90's, but that doesn't mean companies should just put out lame, stale 'throw away' cards. It's awesome that there are inserts like these that cause collectors to stop and think: 'Wow, this is a neat card that I have here!' Really great job by Panini with these. Collectors can find these and other smartly crafted acetate cards in Limited this year.

Because of the NHL lockout, the powers that be decided that there will be no rookie cards of new players this year - only holdovers from the last season. That's a real bummer for collectors, but to alleviate the bad situation a little, Panini has inserted redemption cards for new players that are skating for the first time this year. These cards will be released (most likely) after the season, and give collectors a chance at having a nice card waiting for them later. Panini did this last year when the NBA's lockout derailed the basketball rookie class that year. These cards are definitely delayed gratification cards, but it's a nice gesture by Panini to try and get collectors cards of the best new players from this 12/13 hockey season. The cards do not state what players collectors will get, but they do state the team - these are similar to Upper Deck Artifacts rookie redemption cards. Panini has stated that their intent is to pick the very best of the new skaters and include them in the redemption checklist.

New this year in Limited are the Limited Travels cards. These cards document a player's movement between teams and highlights that movement with game-used material from their different teams' jerseys. It's a fun idea to incorporate material worn by the player while with different teams. I'm sure many player collectors will find these cards a unique and fun addition to their collections. I actually really appreciate what Panini has done here as I'm sure they have tried to get the appropriate material imbedded in the card. So often collectors find material in game-used cards that are mismatched with the photo used on the card. Here, it is imperative that Panini puts the right pieces in the right place. Though this card concept is certainly unique, I cannot say it is completely new as I have seen other companies (namely ITG recently) do this in their releases.

Back this year with a different look are the Jumbo Material cards. I remember pulling the black-background-horizontally oriented cards last year and liking them... this year I still like them... but these are now on a white background and are vertically oriented. I'm sure the designers at Panini wanted to change the cards up a little, but it's funny how these cards are pretty much the exact and direct opposite of their counterparts from last year.

Like I said earlier, Limited has a ton of things to find in it - beautiful things. Collectors can look for gold parallels to 25... other parallels, puck pieces, on-card autographs of trophy winners and Cup champions, net pieces, patches, and even the entire Reebok logo from a jersey. There's just a ton of great looking cards to be found. Of course, the best will be tougher to find than the rest. Check out video breaks of the product and I'm sure you'll be impressed by some of the content you'll see.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Value -
Though Limited has a ton of amazing things to find in it... it is a product that does not give its best cards out easily. Often times collectors will find, like I did, a few jersey cards and an autographed rookie manufactured patch card - cards that are not of great value for the $100 price point of a box. To really find the spectacular hits, collectors need to purchase Limited by the case... or by cases. Otherwise, the risk is a bit too high. I like to think about it this way... when looking for case hits, I like to think about the number of boxes per case. In Limited's case, it's 15. That's A LOT of little Limited boxes! Finding the one or two boxes with the big hit is a pretty tough proposition. At least with the mid-end or lower end products, not getting a case-hit will yield a bunch of cards. In Limited, there are only seven cards per pack. Though they are beautiful cards, it's just not a lot of cards!

So overall, I'd have to say that Limited is a product you have to really think about carefully when buying at the box level. You have to realize that the risk of getting some jerseys and a random rookie are pretty high. For me, I love to try everything, and I love taking risks on stuff like this... but it's definitely not for everyone. It's probably a smarter idea to simply find the singles of Limited you want after the big boy collectors bust it open and put their pulls on eBay.

But of course, the ultimate decision is with you! I personally like Limited and the way it looks. I'm definitely intrigued by what can come out of a box. But this year I think I'll be looking more for Limited singles rather than cracking a bunch of boxes. Let me know what you'll be doing with this new release from Panini!

Overal Value:

Check out my break of 12/13 Limited:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Retail Review #34 (07/08 Be a Player Blaster)

After breaking a fair amount of 08/09 Be a Player blasters, I thought it would be fun to go back a year and try my hand at some 07/08. Be a Player is almost always a quick and fun break. It's great to know that an autograph card will come out of the box. I wonder who's autograph I'll pull out of my blaster today!

Price - 

Packs - 2
07/08 Be a Player Blaster Packs

Upper Deck Be a Player blasters have always come in the same format - 2 packs per box with one pack containing an autograph. Very simple, very concentrated. The autograph is what you really buy this box for. Though there are base cards in the box, most collectors don't pay too much attention to them. They might be enjoyed by younger or newer collectors, but I don't know too many collectors who go for Be a Player base sets or individual cards. They might look for their PC player or team... but other than that, the base cards here are not sought after in any significant way.

That being said, there is an off chance that an insert or rookie card might be found in the blaster. As they are pretty difficult pulls, those cards would be a fun little gem to uncover when breaking these boxes. I wouldn't count on finding one though... in all the blaster boxes of BAP that I have opened so far, I have only come across one rookie/insert card amongst the standard base cards.

Let's take a look at what inside this blaster of 07/08 Be a Player:

Review -
Opening up Be a Player takes no time at all as there are only two packs per blaster. But before I talk about the break, I would like to mention that Upper Deck made an interesting design choice with the blaster box. The left side of the box has been indented to create a unique design element to the packaging. I really think it makes these blasters stand out in a special way. I mean, you just don't expect to see effort in designing blaster box packaging. I've not seen anything like this from Upper Deck since. It's definitely not a huge thing, but it was something I found interesting about this product.

As for the break, this had to have been one of the worst breaks in terms of content. My first pack yielded no players that I would consider an NHL star. The biggest names was Nathan Horton... yep... Nathan Horton. At least in my previous BAP experiences, I was able to pull Crosby and Ovechkin - not this time!

The second pack, which contained the autograph, was only slightly better. It did have a big name NHL star... but the autograph card was of someone that I had never heard of before. Sigh... it would have been nice to at least get someone who's name you recognize. But that's how it is! Better luck next time I guess!

Here are the top three cards from this blaster (maybe the saddest top three ever!):

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Brian Campbell Card No. 166
Campbell gets the third spot in this break only because of the jersey he is wearing in the picture - gotta support the team! Anytime I can pull Sharks out of any product it's always a nice thing. And actually, looking at the base cards... they are pretty nice looking. I actually like that the designer chose to go with all lower caps for the player and team name. A very cool thing to do!

#2 - Henrik Sedin Card No. 194
I can't believe it! Another week and another Canuck in the top three! But gotta play the cards that are dealt, and Henrik was the best player overall that I pulled in my two packs.

#1 - Aaron Voros Card No. S-AV
Sadly, Aaron Voros is the number one pull from this blaster - and solely for the fact that it was the autograph I pulled. I wonder if Aaron Voros has made any other top card lists... I'm guessing probably not! I can't say I'm too excited about getting this card. If you're a huge Aaron Voros fan... let me know! I'm sure we could work out a trade!

Overall Value -
This particular blaster box of BAP was very disappointing. I know that not all the blasters are like this... and at about $10 a box, it's still a good deal. I guess it's good to have a box like this on occasion though, it's a reminder that this hobby can be very good... and very bad too! Let's see what next week's blaster brings us. This one is like a bad game that just needs to be forgotten!

Let me know what you thought of my 07/08 Be a player blaster down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a bunch of loose retail packs? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2012-2013 ITG Heroes and Prospects Review

ITG's 12/13 Heroes and Prospects came out earlier this week, sorry for the lateness of this review as it is harder for me to get these on release date compared to Upper Deck and Panini. Huge thanks to D&P Sportscards in Sacramento, Ca for carrying ITG products though! I know not everyone does. Anyways, I'm excited to see this year's edition of H&P! This staple ITG brand has always been a big hit with collectors.

Base Card Design -
Heroes and Prospects has always been about showcasing the best and youngest talent before they hit the NHL, and collectors have traditionally flocked to this release to pick up the first cards of these young players. This year's base cards come in three varieties: Heroes, Prospects, and 2013 Draft Picks (in 3-D!). Most of the set will look like the Malcom Subban card shown above. The cards are pretty 'busy' in terms of design and action. Each Prospects card shows the featured player playing for their CHL team. It's a breath of fresh air to see team logos on ITG cards as they usually aren't able to with their NHL themed releases. The cards have an overall sense of minor-league-ness to them. And that's not a bad thing at all! They really capture the spirit of the CHL, and are totally appropriate for what they represent. To me the cards also have a hint of international hockey card design, cards that you might find produced in Sweden or Russia. Again, not a bad thing, just the impression I get when going through these cards.

The back of the card is very traditional ITG. It's mostly devoid of any color except for the ITG and CHL logos. Though they are plain, the backs do have all the standard vital information and one row of statistics. The best part of the back has to be the information given about the player. Often times this product is the first opportunity to learn about these new upcoming players. The write-up gives a nice snapshot of who they are and how they have done. It'd be nice to have a fancier, prettier back... but I'm pretty used to the function over form with these cards. It's not a huge issue, but something ITG could improve upon in future releases.

The Hero base cards really surprised me. They are absolutely amazing. Rather than using photographs, ITG has employed an artist to depict the players via art. And I have to say that the artwork done on these base cards looks sweet. This has to be my favorite artwork that ITG has used thus far. To me, these are more fun and cooler than the ones inserted into History of Hockey - not as elegant as those, but these have style in spades! I can see many collectors enjoying the look of these cards.

To cap off the base set this year, ITG has inserted 3-D 2013 draft pick cards. The basic design of these cards is similar to that of the Heroes and Prospects, but done with a three-dimensional coating. Obviously you cannot see the 3-D effect in the scan above, but I do hope that you can see one of these cards up close for yourself because these have been done perfectly. I remember Sportsflix 3-D cards of the past in baseball. Those cards were pretty neat, but the photo quality was always a bit blurry. The ones found here in H&P don't have that problem. These are done right. Looking at them makes you want to stick your finger into the card to see if you can reach behind the player and card design elements. These cards are short-printed and fall about two per box.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Though Heroes and Prospects is a mid-level priced product, there is quite a bang for the buck per box - collectors will find both autographs and memorabilia cards inside, as well as other inserts. There really is a bit of everything when breaking H&P.

The box I opened up came with three regular insert cards. These cards had special numbering to set them apart from the base set. I've mentioned before that insert sets like these don't really do much for me. They are nice in that they showcase special events such as the card shown above, but these are cards I don't see being clamored over by collectors. To add collectibility ITG could have made these cards foil or even applied their 3-D technology to them. But as they stand, they pretty much as exciting as a standard base card. If anything, they could probably have just been absorbed into the base set as a subset of those cards. That would have made more sense to me with these.

The H&P autographs this year have taken on a radical change in philosophy. In past releases, the autographs had their own (usually horizontal) design. It used to be a very standard looking ITG-type design that could be spotted a mile away... but not anymore! This year, the autographs come at collectors as a variation of the base card. I have to say that this was a brilliant move by ITG. The autographed cards look so much more dynamic in this fashion. Though these are sticker autographs, ITG has done a magnificent job of making the cards look 'right'. These aren't just stickers slapped on the front of a base card like *ahem* another company sometimes does. The entire card here looks cohesive. It makes sense. It looks great. And now collectors can put a little card rainbow together with the base cards and the autograph version!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any standard jerseys in my box of H&P this time :) but I did get this Mathew Dumba Game-Used Number Silver memorabilia in my box. As usual, ITG does a remarkable job of letting collectors know where the inserted memorabilia piece comes from. In this case this part of Dumba's number was from his 2012 Subway Super Series jersey that he wore during a game. Like all the other cards I have reviewed, this card is definitely a step up design from previous years. The colors used on it are modern, and the design itself is clean and pleasing to the eye. Having the words 'Game-Used Number' in silver foil definitely makes this card pop.

The nicest card from the box was either the Dumba number patch (limited to only three copies by the way) or this Nathan MacKinnon auto and jersey card numbered to 40. In terms of design, the Dumba is a bit cleaner... but I have to give kudos to ITG for making the entire background of the MacKinnon card the logo of his team. Having the player's team represented in the design of the card always scores big points with me, and here is ITG again stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run in terms of improving their card designs.

One last type of card I would like to mention are the 'He Shoots-He Scores' point cards. These cards are to be saved up and redeemed for special ITG memorabilia cards. Collectors will need to save up 150 points in order to participate in the redemption program. It's quite a bit to save up, but the cards collectors can attain through this will be very limited in number. And just like last year, the fronts of the cards can be put together like a puzzle piece to create a big image. It was a fun idea then, and it still is now - definitely reminds me of the old Donruss baseball puzzle from way back when.

There are many other things to find in boxes of H&P. There are Nameplate cards limited to only one copy each as well as Made-to-Order cards which give collectors a chance to tell ITG what they want in their card... so awesome! I hope you are one of the lucky few to find these amazing cards!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
This year's ITG Heroes and Prospects is better than ever. ITG has improved upon this already impressive brand. There is a stunning amount of content to be found here - from standard jerseyes to autographs, to game-used numbers, nameplates, and more! Collectors will be hard pressed to find another product with better value and quality for the buck. Boxes of H&P can be found for under $100. And as H&P is a prospecting brand, you never know if the cards you pull will be massive hits in the future. This is a product that collectors should definitely not miss out on! I can easily recommend this product to just about anyone.

Overall Rating:

Check out my break of ITG's Heroes and Prospects at D&P Sportscards: