Monday, March 5, 2018

I'm Down With OPC

What happens when you publicly say that you had a bad month in your private life? The cardosphere sends you a bunch of stuff to cheer you up, that's what happens.

In recent times I've received a nice lot of cards from Night Owl Cards, Johnny's Trading Spot and Stealing Home. The cards from NOC and Johnny are currently being scanned and stashed away for future posts that involves Star Wars and Yankees Prospects of the past. The package from Stealing Home came to me last and with all due respect to the other two, it probably left the biggest mark.

Since it basically doubled my New York Rangers collection.

Ever since my first foray into hockey I've accumulated a nice amount of Ranger cards. Having said that, I'm finding that trying to gather cards on the cheap isn't as easy for hockey as it for baseball. There's a lot of reasons for that, mostly just less demand (both in the past and now) leading to less being produced. And with less being produced, the less likely it is that these cards are going to appear in any dime boxes or bargain bins. At least around here anyway where the cheapest hockey base cards will cost you at least 50 cents. Don't get me wrong, hockey is popular and hockey cards are very popular too, but it's no question that baseball cards just operate on a far larger and different scale. Enough that it's printed in a large quantity and can be acquired on the second hand market for insanely cheap. Like six cents (shipped) on eBay cheap.

I'm not entirely sure how Stealing Home found the cards I'm going to show today (presumably from a card show) but I hope it didn't cost him a fortune. It wouldn't surprise me if they did because look at these.

O-Pee-Chee! Straight from O-Canada!

OPC cards are always fun to add. The fact that they're international cards and even written in another language only add to their coolness.

Or at least I think they're cool. What makes them even better is that these come from a time when helmets had just become mandatory in the NHL so we have a nice mix of people with helmets and those who were grandfathered in without needing to wear them in exchange for signing liability waivers.

Although personally I don't see the point of letting your hair be free if you don't have a giant mop on your head that flows like water.

Nice quartet of '88 OPC here.
I love the thumb-tack holding the player nameplate motif, it's very cute. Instead of rehashing old baseball card designs over and over, Topps may want to look into exploring into other kinds of vintage sport cards. They had the right idea and wrong execution with the football stuff.

Or since Upper Deck basically has the OPC brand in their wing now, maybe a hockey version of Heritage? Although I'm guessing demand for such a thing would be pretty small.

If you think catchers in baseball are cool, well you're right, but goaltenders in hockey are just as cool in my opinion. The helmets especially are dope as fuck. They're wearing every piece of protective padding in the world night in and night out to make sure the other team doesn't score. Much like how catchers control a lot of the game in baseball, hockey basically revolves around how much of a brick wall the guy in the mask is.

With baseball I'm a bit of a stat-nerd who leans heavily on sabermetrics.
In hockey I'm still getting used to advanced stats. Apparently hockey is going through it's own stat-revolution of sorts. Makes sense since we're now in the era of big data dictating every little bit of our lives. As best as I can tell, the stats you see there like goals, assists, power play goals, etc... are the hockey equivalent of the RBI, runs, etc... of the baseball world. Interesting, but I'd imagine that front offices are taking other evaluation methods into cosideration.

The cool thing about these Canadian OPC cards is that they're written in both English and French. So if you ever wondered what certain words were in French, you have hockey cards to teach you something. This may or may not come in handy if you ever go to Quebec.
Sidenote: if you're going to the parts of French Canada that isn't Montreal or tourist friendly, learn or at least be prepared to use French. The people there can speak English, but won't.

I'm a sucker for simple but effective designs and this is about as effectively simple as you can get. I'd imagine that these are perfect for autographs like a lot of the 70's/80's era cards are.

Nice mix of people with 70's hair and helmets. The Ulf Nilsson is one of the action shots I received in this package and boy does it deliver.

I scanned the back of the Ulf for the heck of it.

And we'll finish off on the first card that kicked off this post. I knew this Chytil relic was heading my way thanks to a previous post that Stealing Home made, and boy am I glad.
The Rangers are currently in a Yankees-style rebuild, which is to say they just acquired a bunch of young talent and draft picks after trading away the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, J.T. Miller, Nick Holden and Ryan Graves apparently. Their core is still young enough and also good enough that they could easily be competitive next season since it's looking like that's the plan. Chytil there will be a big part of their rebuild along with Lias Andersson and a few other notables currently playing for the Hartford Wolfpack. He's not coming up this season (service time manipulation and all), but he could be up next season. Should be fun to watch.

And those were the now oldest hockey cards in my collection. Big thanks to Stealing Home again for the awesome Rangers. I'll have to send back some Doyers and Kings in return.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by :).

Take care.


  1. I'm glad you dig those cards, ZZ. I'm also glad they helped to smooth out the rough edges from your past month.
    Hope everything is flying free and smooth now, just like an old time Ranger's hair without a helmet.

    1. Thanks again SH.
      It's hard to say that things are freer/smoother lol, but at least things make sense again lol.

  2. Great stuff. It took a few decades... but I switched my allegiance to OPC (over Topps) a few years ago.

    1. In terms of hockey or just in general? lol.

    2. In general. I'm especially fond of 80's OPC baseball rookie cards.