Saturday, April 20, 2013

2012-2013 ITG Between the Pipes Review

In the Game releases their yearly goalie centered product - Between the Pipes (BtP)!!! Goalie collectors around the globe can now rejoice! This yearly staple of the ITG line-up is moderately priced and contains a generous amount of packs per box. While fans of the masked men will undoubtably enjoy busting these boxes and packs, it may not have enough variety for everyone. Let's see what a typical box of BtP yields!

Base Card Design -
The main base set comes in five distinct 'flavors' of cardboard: CHL Prospects, Decades, International Stars, Stars of the Game, and Record Breakers. The CHL Prospect and Decades subsets dominate the majority of the main card set. The base cards feature a colorful, graphic-laden design full of geometric shapes - primarily hexagons. You can see the hexagonal theme clearly in the Subban base card example above. While I do like the fact that the cards really pop, the design as a whole feels a little dated. I've used the word dated to describe ITGs designs before, and unfortunately it's been a fairly consistant complaint of mine in regards to their products. ITG's Heroes & Prospects, which is a very similar product to this, released earlier this year with some fresh looks and ideas for ITG base cards. I feel that these BtP base cards took a step backward from H&P's forward progress.

The back of the card is again standard fare for ITG. Though the backs are pretty simple in design, I do appreciate the fact that the designers made the effort to incorporate some of the front's attributes to the back - the graphical elements match up very well. As with almost all ITG base cards, there is a written paragraph of information about each player. All the vital information is included at the top of the card while playing statistics are located towards the bottom.

It is well known that ITG does not have an NHL license to produce cards. This limits their selection of photographs in a major way. ITG is forced to choose only very specific photographs, or crop photos down so that all team logos are avoided. And since ITG comes out with a pretty sizable product line year after year, sometimes they must use the same photograph over and over, year after year (The Irbe above looks awfully familiar). That's really too bad as it gives the sense that what you are buying is the same each year. I know that ITG does their best with what they have, but it does detract from the cards they produce.

Base Card Design:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of 12/13 Between the Pipes will come with an array of inserts, game-used cards, and autographs. ITG has had the reputation of producing some of the best game-used cards available, and their sticker autographs are some of the most 'un-sticker' like that can be found in the hobby.

The standard autograph card in BtP come in the form of these horizontally oriented cards. These Goaliegraph cards remind me of many of the past ITG autographed cards. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's good in that the cards have an ITG identity. Looking at the card, a seasoned collector could tell that it was ITG and not something made by Upper Deck or Panini. But on the other hand, the design of these cards have been consistently plain. They don't have the wow factor that other companies have. If thinking on similarly priced products, SP authentic Sign of the Times autographs have always looked amazing... they look so good that it makes collectors want the entire set on their looks alone. While these autographs are nice, I can't say they cause collectors' hearts to flutter. They are just... nice.

As for game-used cards, here is another example of something very, VERY plain looking. This card was so shockingly plain that it surprised me a little when I pulled it. But he funny thing is... I kinda like it... A LOT! For whatever reason, this card looks awesome to me. This card lacks everything... team logos, fancy font, crazy designs... but it's cool in its plainness. This jersey card will never fetch a great amount on eBay, probably won't be very good tradebait, and isn't particularly limtied... but like I said... I like it!

This dual jersey card is almost the opposite of the Barrasso jersey. It features two swatches from two different players, has graphical design elements, and a fancy 'Junior Gems' logo... but this card just doesn't do it for me. To me it's more generic than the Barrasso card. Perhaps I just think it's too all-over-the-place in terms of design... that could be it... but overall this card is probably my least favorite hit from my box.

The best cards in the new BtP have to be the Masked Men 5 foil inserts. These cards are absolutely spectacular. It doesn't show it in the scan above, but the way the cracked foiling looks in person cannot be replicated on a screen. I LOVE the way these cards look. I mentioned that Upper Deck Sign of the Times cards could inspire a collector to buy them simply by their design. These Masked Men cards could do the same thing. When I pulled the first Masked Men card out of the pack I couldn't believe a card could look the way these do. Everything about these cards are first rate. From the foil to the artwork. HUGE kudos go out to ITG for these cards. These are the gems of this product. These cards get a 'ten' all by themselves! Unfortunately, the overall score drops because the other cards can't hold a candle to these.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Between the Pipes is a fun product to open. As a collector that is not really into goalies, I was still able to enjoy opening up a box and seeing all the cool stuff found inside. For me, it'll be one box and done. For collectors that do like goalies though, I think BtP is a very solid purchase. There is a nice mix of game-used cards and autographs. As usual ITG has included short print cards and amazing patch pieces to find. You can only get these by buying quantity of this product, as evidenced by my single box purchase.

The star of the break in my mind is the Masked Men 5 set. The cards in that set are gorgeous. I'm not sure if it's just the beginning hype that I'm feeling at the moment... but I seriously want to get the entire set of these cards. Their beauty cannot be denied.

At about $100 per box of BtP, it falls squarely in the mid-ranged priced products. There can certainly be value found in BtP. I'd recommend busting one box for everyone, and if you like goalies... bust one then keep on going and having fun with it!

Overall Rating:

Check out my break of 12/13 Between the Pipes:


  1. 12-13 ITG Between The Pipes is an awesome product if you like goalies such as Nabokov, Kipper, Fluery, ect. Like how it's all past, present, and future. ITG did a really good job with that. 8.5/10 for that.

    Inserts: The insert IMO are probably really fun to collect such as the Masked Men. The Masked Men this year are more sparkly and have a better design. I like the fact that ITG made the goalies look like they were drawn. some of the other inserts like Shooting Gallery are more rare. 9/10

    Hits (Autos or Relic): ITG has always done a good job with their autographs, but most of the autographs are very weak. IMO. 7/10 for that. Their jerseys are WAY better then most of the autographs but the autographs have been a better set to collect. 7.5/10

    Youtube: jtayl132

  2. I think this product was great espescially the masked men design. this product is really great cause i love goalies and its what i collect. - Youtube: TeamRGHQ2Sports.

  3. Between the Pipes is the product what goalie collectors wait. The masked men inserts are maybe greatest insert series in hockey cards. In my opinion autos look great but jerseys could been designed other way. Hope they make BtP for many years in the future. Overall nice product and classic looking.


  4. Base Cards: I like the design of the base cards. They are very simple on the front but the design and colours flow very nicely with the player on the card. I like the back alot something about ITG backs are my favourites. I like the player bio, information and the previous stats. It gives you the best of all worlds.

    As you mentioned ITG is limited to its pictures which sucks. If they had the ability to take their own photos this product would be one of the best.

    Autograph Card: I feel these cards look too much like the base cards. They need to seperate themselves from standard. It is always nice to have an autograph but when it looks so much like a base card you don't appreciate it as much.

    Single Jersey: I like this card alot. I like how the wording is bold and easy to read. It is simple with what it says. My favourite thing is the date of game that the goalie made the debut. I am weird like that when it comes to numbers and dates. The cutout for the jersey is nice its not a complete square. Very very little things like that put a smile on my face.

    Dual Jersey: I am not sure if it just that card but I feel there is too much happening on the card to really enjoy it. I like the fact that both goalies are on the same team and one is an away jersey and one is a home jersey. That is a really neat idea that I hope is the same for all of the other dual jersey cards.

    Masked Men: Those cards are simple incredible. The painting is so detailed and eligant. The picture really pops off the card. If someone such as yourself collected them all it would look amazing in a display it would make a neat picture, (If I explaned that right)

    Overall it is a very interesting product that is reasonably priced for what you get. It is something you could try and collect and be proud of it.

    Overall I would rate this product a 8.5/10.

    Youtube: Starnsfan00

  5. ITG still churning out the same repetitive boring valueless junk drivel. Still can't figure out why people throw their hard earned money at unlicensed garbage. Enjoy.

  6. ITG have some problems with their base card dissing because the Irbe card you showed form 12/13 looks a lot like the 11/12 base card! This product still is incredibly great! The autos look great and this year masked men looks just incredible! The base cards are interesting and boring at the same time because no other product has in the base set cards like the decades and the present cards. Only problem is in the years that itg makes these product the cards look the same as the first year!
    Youtube Irbehockey cardcolect

  7. When it came to those two jersey cards, I'm the complete opposite. I really like the Junior Gems, its a nice symmetrical design that allows for two full body shots to fit with decent swatch pieces. The hard angular graphics layered underneath serve to reinforce the whole Gem theme, and also uses some fonts outside of the usually ITG selection. It's probably the least ITG looking card here. If I had a complaint its that the background could be screened back a bit so it doesn't draw the eye away from the players so much.

    Whereas the Barrasso is depressingly plain. Drab colours, an asymmetrical layout with some dead space on the lower right side, lazy font selection and typesetting and a pretty shallow design overall. It does serve to highlight the player, but it lacks any wow factor.

    That all said, those Masked Men 5 cards are definitely a winner, that cracked ice like effect just takes a card to another level in terms of visual appeal.

  8. Overall I am not a big fan of ITG products as I don't usually like the design of the cards. But I do love the design of the masked men this year they look really cool!
    Thanks for the contest!

  9. I LOVE Between the Pipes and was excited at first hype fro them because Heroes and Prospects stepped their game up and mad cool looking cards. These just sent In The Game back which is very unfortunate. There are some good parts to the Between the Pipes sets. They make the "dud"cards collectible with the puzzle pieces and Masked MEN this year is AWESOME. As a goalie and a goalie collector I enjoy this product year after year and will definitely be picking up at least the base set and collect autographs on those

    Thanks for the Contest, I really ENJOY your blog and all your videos.

    Youtube: kosimitz

  10. I like that ITG focuses on the prospects. Keep up those large swatches ITG!
    YT - Skroeker24

  11. I have really like last last year BTP. But I find the Auto's like there is too much going on. I love the game-Used and base design. Other then that it is pretty solid product

    Youtube: Sports149

  12. I really like BTP this year! I think the design is better than last years product. The goaliegraph autos look a tad busy but the masked men 5 set looks fantastic. I love the look of it so much I am going to do the set!

    YT: SuckYourHeadphones

  13. I think the Masked Men cards are beautiful, and I would love to pick some up. Other then that, all of the other cards in this product are really nice looking. Im probably going to pick some of it up.


  14. I really don't know what to think about this because of the boring base and inserts, it's just that the Masked Men and the memorabilia cards are awesome. I have no idea what to think, should I buy more or not spend any money on it?

    YouTube micerule934

  15. Love BTP one of my favourite ITG proucts, which is actually tied with H&P. Love the autos and mem, but the only thing that I don't like about ITG mem cards they are not numbered in the back.
    YouTube: Graboguru

  16. I like the goalies of past and ones I'm still trying to buy a jersey or auto of are Kirk Mclean, Tom Barasso and John Vanbiesbrouck. I think every person growing up who played goalie or enjoyed playing goal would also have a fondness for this product. Like me. I'll have to pick up a box next weekend.

    youtube: ryannturnaa

  17. I have never been a fan of ITG and I think it would take a lot to convert me. Would this product do the job? I don't think so. One reason would be the fact that they are very week on the autographs. That being said, you don't know how the prospects will turn out and there are some nice legends that are very hard to hit.

    That would be one week part of the product. At least in my eyes. A strong point of the product would have to be how it is a good 'set collecting' product. By this I mean that you can go for the base set or masked men, or anything and it would be very fun. You get a wide variety when it comes to goalies. Overall, when it comes to everything, the variety seems to be miniscule.

    I would have to agree that the Masked Men 5 are absolutely gorgeous. I haven't even seen them in person yet. I plan on seeing one at expo in less than two weeks however. Anyways, they did a great job on that. I don't know how hard they worked on it but assuming they did work hard, I wish they spread that work throughout the other cards. I found most rather boring.

    Another thing that did impress me was BtP's ability to disguise the sticker auto. I remember in the video you had a hard time figuring out if it was a sticker indeed or not. If BtP can momentarily stump YOU on that, they did a good job.

    When it comes to the overall design the best word to describe it would probably be "meh" as I don't have much else to say. It could be worse, but it could be a whole lot better. With the Masked Men 5 being marvelous it makes the rest inconsistent.

    Although it seems I am listing many negative things, there are positives. If you like goalies, well, this product was made for you. If you don't, go find a new product. But that seems to be the summary of this product, very one-sided. Here I am bringing up more bad things about this product.

    My overall rating for the product would be 6.5/10

    Whether I hate a product or not, I love your reviews. I found myself write a lot because I think that is the least I can do and it is rather subconscious. The chance at winning a prize is cool too. Although my odds so far have been like the Leafs odds at a cup. But I do love my Leafs.

    Thanks again for the contest!




  19. In past years I've enjoyed BTP but this year it doesn't seem that they have tried too many new things. I do enjoy the new masked men and the inserts however and love as always the past present and future aspects of goalies in the league. I think I will buy this product this year but would like to see something new next year from it.
    YT= CanesOnTheBrains

  20. I am not a goalie guy lol, but the product looks really nice if you like goalies! Good review once again Luke! Glad to see other card products for you to bust!

    YT Datsyukify

  21. Another great review Luke! Personally I think that BTP this year looks really good, and it's one of my favourite products that ITG does!

    Youtube: mukmukfan89

  22. Personally I think that this product is really good. The base are nice looking cards and the autographs look sharp. Gameused could be better but I think value is there. Because lets say that i got this card for corbin boes or whatever his name is lol. I have a chance to see him rise up in the whl and i find that really awesome. I think ITG has me addicted. I love watching players rise in levels and maybe hit the nhl. anyways hope i get the card. GO SACREMENTO GO!!

    1. oops riley thomson user nmame

  23. I personally do not like this set as a whole. I do agree that they look out-dated right off the bat and the subsets do not compliment each other in terms of style and look. It did not seem like they had a central look lined up for this set. The masked men series looks very visually appealing so that is an upside.

    Youtube: thesens8

  24. I think the set looks good for BTP, but it doesn't jump out to me and tell me to go buy a box of it. H&P compared to this just does not compare in my books. The autographs look good and so do the jersey cards. Great review Luke!
    YT- bmurphy1325

  25. Base Cards: I extremely love BtP and for me the base card design is sexy, if i buy a pack or a box, i always keep the box or the packs, the set itself is in a good shape!

    Masked Men: For me, it really looks like that the picture look alike with Transformers because of the great colours they have on the picture and the design of the card,the reason why it is my favorite insert in the big set of BtG is that... First of all, The Designs is so sexy and beautiful as heaven! Second of all,I like der name! (Sorry if i write der wrong!)and Last but not least: it`s that the masks of the goaltender is that it has a really awesome drawing of an animal just like Gary Simmons up there! Autographs: Personally,i don`t really really like the autos because, well the good thing is that der all prospects for NHL in 2 years or so but the bad thing is that Autos,it`s something that you get in every box! Even though some of them are rare! Jerseys: Same thing as Autos but der more fun to get! Overall: overall i would say that this set might be better than Score,O-Pee-Chee and also Beehive and etc... My rating would surely be 8.5/10 just because of the nice design of the insert Masked Men and by the way, i like the name of Masked Men well maybe because it`s all about goaltending! Look at B&P just like bmurphy1325 said, if you compare it, for sure you`ll see that BTP wins by a huge number of margin. The set is as cool as your channel is.

    Regards, (YT)Hockeycards131.

  26. This year's BTP is a bit of a disappointment to me, after last years product which I enjoyed much. It feels like they have taken a step back in almost all of the sets in the product.

    One of the sets that I dislike a lot is the "Big League debut"-set. To me it looks way too plain. They grey colour isn't exciting, and not the background or picture selecting either. Combine that with a plain simple jersey piece and congratulations; you have pulled the ultimate "made it home"-card!

    The autos are neither not that exciting, not a great design and often many unknown names. Sure, some of the CHL prospects can be NHL-goalies in the future, but if you look at the top goalies with a good value to their cards today: how many of them have played in CHL during their junior years? Not that many, since there are few goalies compared to other positions.

    Junior Gems is an interesting set though. Maybe the names aren't the best, but still I like the design a lot. It gives me a good Titanium-feel to them, and in my eyes that's a very good thing.

    And as you mentioned in your review the Masked Men 5-cards looks really nice, probably the best design in the product. One little minus to them are the weak backs to the cards.

    Overall it's a nice product both to the goalie-fan and hockey fan overall. Still I think the 11-12 product was better, with better chance to nice hits and cards and so on.

    Youtube: Majlfp

  27. I am commenting a little late but whatever, For this years between the pipes I am very impressed with some of the sets like the masked men sub set one of the nicest ITG subsets I have ever seen also very nice with the mem with 4 guarantied memorabilia with a chance at 5 and I have even seen 6 the only thing I am disapointed with is no AHL cards in this or heroes and prospects did they lose there license with them? anyways very nice nonetheless and I recommend it to any one.

    Youtube: mncards22