After scoring four goals in just over three minutes during the third period of last night's contest, the Hawks came back and shocked the Avalanche with their fifth straight win. Over the course of those successive victories, the Chicagoans have opened up a seven point lead over the rival lately listless Minnesota Wild in the Central Division standings. Furthermore, as if all of that wasn't exciting enough, last night's win clinched the franchise's ninth straight playoff berth.
With their record currently standing at 47-20, after a fairly mediocre start (by their standards), this young team is growing even stronger by the day. With excitement building towards another deep playoff run, it was appropriate that I would receive a PWE with the following message scribbled on the seal:
Clearly someone else is feeling this fever pitch, as well.
That someone else is prolific blogger Kin Kinsley, of I Feel Like a Collector Again and Bean's Ballcard Blog fame. We might not agree when it comes to baseball; however, come hockey season, we're both fervent Blackhawks supporters. We've found our common ground. In fact, Kin has quickly become one of my most supportive Blackhawk card suppliers. My all-time roster collection for the franchise simply wouldn't be as comprehensive without his assistance.
Before we go on any further, I must confess that I am not as on top of things when it comes to hockey cards. New sets can come and go without catching my attention because, oftentimes, my focus is on the latest in baseball. With that in mind, I completely missed that Upper Deck had put out a set called Compendium this past December. This was partially due to the fact that this innovative new product is available exclusively through UD's E-Pack program
Clearly, Kin is much more cutting edge than I am, as this PWE was compiled with nothing but Compendium. From my understanding, E-Pack allows you to open packs of product online and then decide whether or not you'd like to pay to have the cards you "pull" shipped to you. It's like Bunt or Skate or Kick or what-have-you by Topps, that is, if you could have those digital .jpg's converted into physical, real cards.
Kin - thanks a bunch for choosing to have these particular Blackhawks cards shipped, because they were all needs for my Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection:
A couple of the new, young faces helping to power this incarnation of the Blackhawks dynasty. Tanner Kero has been a serviceable rookie, with 12 points in 36 games and a 12 +/- rating. Meanwhile, Gustafsson is a rook who has 14 points in 41 contests and a +/- rating of 11. Thus, combining their relative success with their "newness" to the league, it's not surprising that their cards have a slight premium attached to them at my Chicagoland LCS locations.
Richard Panik was a bit of a reclamation project who blew into the Windy City midway through last season. So far, the winger has certainly proven to be worth the investment, with his highlight reel goals, veteran presence, and 38 total points. It's not quite a Jake Arrieta-like turnaround, but he's proven to be a vital part of their potent offense.
Now, those three cards were the only completely new additions to my binder; however, while the guy pictured on this next card was already represented in my Blackhawks binder, it had been in the wrong color sweater:
I may be biased, but I think Andrew Desjardins (and anyone, really) looks better in the red, Indian-head sweater. Andrew has been something of a spare part and an almost forgotten man during the 2016-17 season; but, nevertheless, the winger needed to be repped in the proper swag within my binder, just the same.
Fun fact - that Sharks Score card from a few years back dates back to the beginning of my Hawks tome, a prize from the first hockey dimebox dig that provided the base for said collection.
Finally, the final card contained within Kin's generous PWE was a need... that is until I purchased a card for the same purpose at my LCS, not even two days before his gift arrived in my mailbox. Remember - patience is a virtue, kiddies!
The 16-17 OPC card is cool and all and marks the first time I was able to locate a card of the Czech defenseman (despite being around Chicago since 2012), but any card that is gifted to me is ultimately much cooler and more appreciated. As such, I'll be using Kin's Compendium to fill Michal's slot in my Hawks binder. I definitely feel more of a connection with a gift than an impulse buy, don't you all?
With that, we've finished off the contests of Kin's surprise envelope, chock full o' E-Pack exclusive Blackhawks cards that, otherwise, would have likely never come close to my possession. Plus, to top it all off, he even used a stamp that features my wife's favorite animal - major bonus points:
Though she feverishly collects rubber ducks, penguins are truly her bird of a feather. Meanwhile, mine is definitely the Hawk(s)!
Many thanks, Kin, for thinking of me and taking the time to mail these wonderful new additions to my collection. I'll definitely make sure to get a proper return package in the mail as a proper thank you. You rock!
Here's hoping that our favorite hockey team can continue their momentum tomorrow versus the Vancouver Canucks and claim their sixth straight victory. Taking advantage of a significantly weaker team and adding some even more ground between Chicago and Minnesota sounds like a strong possibility to me. What say you, Kin?