Review of 2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology

Product Grade: A-

2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology accomplished what it set out to do. It’s a product that covers a wide range of products that are missing due to the lockout shortened year. It covers those products pretty well and even provides some new surprises with the great addition of the Prizm product. All in all, it’s worth busting at least a box to see what the hype is about.


Base: A- (Base Set Completion 43 of 100 [43%] with 0 double)


HB: I was a big fan of the base set design in 2011-12 Rookie Anthology and that continues a year later. Another sharp design that’s simple and clean, but the gold touches add just a hint of class to the design. We were able to put together just under half of the base set so my guess would be that 3 boxes would complete a set. Not much else to say here. Clean design, different from last year but similar enough to say, “yeah that’s a Rookie Anthology  card.”

HB’s Grade: B+

HG: I have been so excited waiting for this product to come out. I think Rookie Anthology is such a neat product because you get hits from several different products, but you also get new cards as well, like the base card set. I like the clean, simple design of the base card. The small amount of foil on the bottom and lettering gives the otherwise minimal design some flash. The other thing I liked about the base cards is the back text. I realize this is an odd thing to comment on, but the text on each card is quirky and unique, discussing such thing as Jerome Iginla’s extremely long name, Jordan Staal’s wedding, and Tuukka Rask’s interest in studying plumbing in high school. As a girl who likes a good storyline, these unique bits of information about familiar players are fun and interesting to me! Overall, I think these base cards are well thought out from front to back!

 HG’s grade: A


Inserts: A

(I, Hockey Boy, somehow deleted the picture of the inserts. There will be a picture here soon!)

HB: I’ve always been impressed by the face that Panini does a great job with coming up with different and well designed insert sets for their mid-end sets. They may have gone over the top (in a very good way) in 2012-13 Rookie Anthology. Every insert set (and I count 7 different sets) has a unique, clean, and great looking design. There is a nice mix of designs from the shadowy and black Contenders trophy sets to the black and white “Legacies” set. There are also 2 acetate sets in “Great Outdoors” and “Intensity.” Panini does a very good job when they design an acetate set. The “Great Outdoors” set is my favorite with it’s great wood grain frame of the card. Then you have the addition of a Prizm bonus pack and possibility of putting together the Prizm set which would be a fun endeavor.

HB’s Grade: A+

HG: What I love about Rookie Anthology is that you get a sampling of many different products in one box. I think this is especially cool with the inserts, where you can find some unique and out of the box designs. I love the design of the Contenders’ Legacies inserts. The black and white photo and silver foil makes this card look really classy. I also love any acetate cards, so the Elite Great Outdoors cards are one of my favorites. I think it is a great idea to make an insert set focusing on the fun and unique event in the hockey season that the outdoor games have become. We got two of the Contenders insert set and while there isn’t anything about these cards that I dislike particularly, there are so many other neat inserts in this product that these are not my favorite. Overall though, I think the inserts in Rookie Anthology really add something to the product.

HG’s grade: B+


Rookies: B-

photo copy 2 photo copy

HB: This season has been a weird one with the lockout and the holdover on rookies for the 2013-14 product. So it makes producing rookie cards tough with a mediocre rookie class (at this time). But like we’re seeing with Krug-mania, if a rookie in the 2012-13 class gets hot, the prices on their cards could skyrocket because their isn’t much available. The Prizm rookie cards that are found in the Prizm bonus packs (funny how that works, huh?) are really nice and I would think they will be a popular RC for player and team collectors. Throw in the 4 different parallel levels (Rainbow, Red /50, Blue /25, and Gold /10) and putting together a “rookie rainbow” will be a fun, but possible chase. The Elite RC’s are nice as well but they are meant to be die-cuts, which funny enough, they are (albeit in a parallel form)!

HB’s Grade: B

HG: Although I don’t think I can be considered a novice to hockey card collecting anymore, it is still tricky for me to talk about rookies, because I have not gotten much better at keeping track of who is the big up and coming name to watch out for. That being said, I asked HB, and he said we didn’t really get anyone to exciting and I believe him. 😛 The design of the cards aren’t bad though. I like the Prizm Rookie cards better than the Elite Rookies, just because I think the design is thought out a little better. I like how they look like they are textured but they are not and I think that adds a little something to make them stand out. To me, the Elite rookie cards look like they want to be die cut but they are not. If they had made them die cuts I would have liked them a whole lot more. So all in all, the rookies were, ironically, my least favorite part of Rookie Anthology. 

HG’s grade: C+


Hits: A-

photo copy 3

HB: Panini did a great job with packing each box chock full of inserts and hits. There are very few base packs and with 4 and sometimes 5 hits per box, the chances of an exciting pull are good.  The “Rookie Treasures” cards are pack again and are definitely a a draw. They are super thick which give them a high end field (although they would complete that feel if it weren’t for the dreaded sticker auto). “Rookie Silhouettes” make a return in this product and with 4 silhouettes per case (2 rookie and 2 veteran) you have a 1/3 chance of pulling one if you buy a box. I was pretty disappointed by the caliber of hits in the 2011-12 product at it’s initial price point, but this year I think Panini did a much better job. At this point I’ve already seen close to 4 cases of this stuff being opened and on average, each box has at least 1 noteworthy hit. We had 5 hits in our box, including 3 autos (1 being a Rookie Silhouette) so there isn’t much room for me to complain. Panini can’t control if a rookie plays well or not to make the hits worth more, but they can do a good job of giving bang for the buck and I thought the hits accomplish that.

HB’s Grade: B+

HG: The hits in this product make this a fun box to break. The product is loaded and there are some really cool cards you can pull. Obviously the Crown Royale Silhouette is the card that everyone wants, and we managed to pull one, Chet Pickard from Nashville. I love these cards. I have a Tim Thomas silhouette from last year that is one of my favorite cards in my personal collection. The design this year is so nice. I love the balance of the white design on the top and the ample white space for the auto. I do wish the player photos were better laid out so you could see more of the patch, but that doesn’t take away from the draw of these beautiful cards. We pulled one Rookie Treasures, which we could have talked about in the “rookie” section but it is a nice card so we decided to call it a hit instead! I like the clean design of this card, with just a little embellishment along the corners in the gold foil. My favorite hit we pulled is the Towering Defenders. How epic are these cards? I am trying to put together the set for my PC because I think they are so cool, so I am thrilled we pulled one. I think you are either going to love or hate these cards, and I love them. The hits made this product really fun to open and with how loaded this product is, you have a good shot at pulling something exciting!

HG’s Grade: A


Satisfaction: A-

HB: Right now, 2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology is priced around the $90 mark. It is definitely a mid end product with it’s price point. I think Panini creates satisfaction by making an effort to cut down on the number of base packs. There are nice serial numbered inserts in what seems like every pack plus 4 or 5 hits per box. Some packs you walk away with an insert and an autograph. You really can’t ask for much more than that form a $10 pack. 2011-12 Rookie Anthology was a little bit of a dud last year. When it debuted, there never seemed to be much real excitement over the product. It’s a fun box (and especially case) break now that the price has dropped pretty significantly.  After watching 3 cases being broken online last night, there definitely seems to be some buzz about the product.  It even seems like people who never like much Panini offers are, at the very least, intrigued by it.  But one of the hardest things to gauge about 2012-13 Rookie Anthology is the question, “Is this product a creature of it’s environment?” By that I mean, is this product loaded with various insert sets and hits because of the lockout and lack of other product releases? Obviously a part of that answer is yes absolutely. But my hope is that Panini will leverage the momentum of the 2013-14 double rookie class and create another great Rookie Anthology product next year. They’ve definitely improved on the Rookie Anthology brand and that’s all I can really ask for as a collector.

HB’s Grade: B+

HG: Rookie Anthology is definitely worth checking out! Not only do you have a decent chance at getting a very nice card or two, but you get to see cards from several different great products. It is a well designed product that delivers on quality and variety, and I would highly recommend you go pick up a box or two and check it out yourself!

HG’s grade: A


Much love,

Hockey Boy & Hockey Girl


2012-13 Panini Rookie Anthology Checklist

Review of 2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro

Product Grade: B+

2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro had the potential to be a truly breath of fresh air for the hockey card community. Had Upper Deck taken the risk of including no autograph content, but adding 2 more inserts and lowering the price to around the $125 to $150 mark, they would have had a complete product that is desperately needed right now. Even still, the inserts in this product are going to be highly sought after in the time to come. It’s still worth it to break one box at the $200 price point. It’s VERY worth it to get into a few case breaks of this product. It’s funny that a product known as “Retro” is starting small murmurings of a possible new era in the hobby. Maybe the page has been turned and a new dawn of hockey collecting is rising (cue epic music). Or maybe not. Only time will tell.


Base: B

HB: 2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro features a very simply 100 card base set with a strong mix of past and present players.  Of course, in my excitement to open our second box of this product and review it, I didn’t keep track of how many base we pulled. I know we didn’t pull any doubles and we probably had somewhere between 15 and 20 cards left to complete the base set.  Between the two boxes we opened, we had a full base set.  The design is simple, I’m not a HUGE fan of the design. I think there were other retro designs they could have used that would have looked better.  But the mix of players and the simple design was probably a smart move with the mix and intensity of the rest of the designs.

HB’s Grade: B

HG: Fleer Retro was so much fun to open! Not only because it is the first new product to come out in a longgg time, but also because there are some really fun cards you can pull too. The base card design is simple, but with so many of the inserts being over the top with their throwback designs, I think it was a good decision to keep the base card design minimal. They still have that 90’s element, but are not direct copies of a particular product of the past. Overall, while the base cards aren’t anything too spectacular in and of themselves, as a part of a whole product I think they work quite well. 

 HG’s Grade: B+


Inserts: A+

HB: I’ve been saying for a quite a while that what this hobby desperately needs is an mid-high end, solely insert driven product. Although this product isn’t all the that, it is a very big step in the right direction. The inserts in this product are absolutely perfectly well done.  Yes, the designs are just updated inserts of old, but as a 90’s kid, I could not love the inserts in this product any more than I do. It’s so great to see the stars of today on all of my favorite cards of yesterday.  The rarity of some of these inserts adds to it as well and I really think in a year or so some of them will be HIGHLY sought after and go for some big money.  Combined with the rare inserts are the extra insert base sets (92-93 Ultra, 93-94 Ultra, 94-95 Ultra, Metal Universe).  These 25, 35, 40, and 60 card sets will be fun, challenging, but attainable sets for collectors to put together.  The Metal Universe set is by far my favorite and belongs in an art museum. I would love an uncut sheet of the Metal Universe cards (hook me up Upper Deck!).  The one thing that I could say I was disappointed in was the distribution of inserts. We pulled 2 of the Playmakers Theatre cards (in another box, 3 of the 4 inserts were the Electrifying cards).  As beautiful as these cards are, I wish we didn’t hit two of the same insert in 1 box. I could go on for days about the inserts in this product.  They’re amazing. And I do truly think the inserts in this product alone make it worth the $200 price point (which will not be a popular opinion).

HB’s Grade: A++ (It’s Fleer Retro so I went with the grade school “A++,” stop judging me)

HG: The inserts are where this product really shines. All of the cards are just so much fun! And even though I did not really collect cards in the 90’s, I can still relate to the nostalgia this product holds as I have come to love HB’s collections that he collected as a kid. My favorite inserts that we pulled are the Flair Showcase cards. They just look so epic! I wish they put as much care into modern designs as these cards have. I love the foil background of the players face with the full player photo next to it and the big script name on the bottom. I think they are gorgeous cards and I would love to collect the full set. My other favorite insert we pulled are the EX cards. I have always loved cards that have clear plastic as a part of the design and this card uses that so well. The raised up player photo also gives it a uniqueness that I love. They really are such nice cards, and much better in hand than in the picture too. And I know it is going to sound like all of them were my favorites, because I really did like all of them, but I do have one more favorite that I want to write about; The Metal Universe cards. HB has a set of the 90’s baseball Metal Universe cards and I loved them, so I was so excited when I learned that they were making a hockey set for this product. They are such cool cards. The foil space scene behind the player photo is so bizarre that is is amazing. I LOVE these cards! We also pulled two amazing Playmakers Theater cards which are beautiful. (in case you couldn’t tell, I really liked the all the inserts in this product :p) The inserts make this product and if you accept that fact when you buy a box, you will not be disappointed! 

HG’s Grade: A+


Rookies: N/A

There are no true rookie cards in this product. Because of that, no grade will be given or factored in for Rookies.


Hits: C

HB: I debated for a long time what to qualify as hits. This product is going to be greatly misunderstood because people want and expect the “hits” to be the autographs.  They’re not, although in this review they’re listed under hits. The autographs were an after thought for Upper Deck in this product.  That CLEARLY shows. My guess would be they had a lot of extra stickers of guys who are not big names that they needed to get rid of so they threw a ton of them in this product with some big name guys to mix it up.  The autographs can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t be what drives or dooms this product.  It’s not fair. The inserts are the true hits of this product and should be looked at as such. I wish the secondary market would back that up with the sales of these inserts and maybe in time it will. I’m not complaining about pulling a Taylor Hall autograph, and I know most people pulled much worse autographs. But I would gladly give up all 6 of these autographs (yup, including the Hall auto) for 2 more inserts.

HB’s Grade: C-

HG: Now I know a lot of people who have opened this product already are disappointed in the quality of the hits, and I won’t argue with you there. The hits are not, or should not be, the reason to buy this product. However, with that said, there are some amazing, very high end, buyback autos of Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky that you have a chance (although probably pretty slim) of pulling. We didn’t pull any of these unfortunately, but we didn’t do bad with hits either. We pulled Four Autographics cards, including a Wendel Clark, and then three other players I don’t really know. And we pulled one Rookie Sensation auto of Reilly Smith of the Dallas Stars. The nicest hit we got is a 93-94 Ultra Auto of Taylor Hall! I like the design of all of these cards, but none of them really compare to the inserts to me. 

HG’s Grade: C+


Satisfaction: A-

HB: I will say this right from the beginning and I know I am in the minority but, I am satisfied with having paid $200 for this box break. Yes, it’s a lot of money.  As someone who’s getting married in just over 2 months (Hockey Girl said yes on New Years’ Eve! So maybe we will have to start referring to her as Hockey Wife?) to spend $400 on 2 boxes of 2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro was a little bit of a stretch.  But it’s the most fun I’ve had opening hockey cards in quite a while. My encouragement and advice to you reader would be to give the product a chance. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I think this is a good change for the hobby. I think it’s a needed change for the hobby.  Maybe I’m giving too much credit to Upper Deck and Panini, but it seems like they’re starting to get it.  There are too many game used jerseys and autographs that are really anything but “hits.” I’m excited for Panini Prizm to come to hockey.  And I loved that Upper Deck released Fleer Retro for us hockey collectors.  Give the product a chance.  Maybe you can’t spend $200 on a box of Fleer Retro, but pick up a few singles on eBay of your favorite team or player. Instead of spending $20 on a blaster or a few packs, spend $20 on a nice insert. We’ve complained so much for so long about how game used jersey cards and autographs aren’t as rare as they used to be. Let’s follow through with that by spending money on inserts that are incredibly well designed and tough pulls.  I should probably get off the soapbox now, but I can’t help it.  I really do love this hobby.  I want to see the hobby return to the FOC (“fun of collecting” – just coined that term myself) rather than ROI.  And for me, 2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro was all about the FOC.

HB’s Grade: A

HG: Finally hockey cards are back! And I couldn’t ask for a better product to re-kick off the blog with! This product was so much fun to open! The only disappointment about this product is the price. $200 a box definitely is steep for this product because your chances of getting a valuable hit are slim. However, if you do have some extra money lying around, and especially if you were a 90’s kid, I would recommend you get a box as a fun splurge, but don’t expect to make all your money back. If you go into it with the mindset that you are going to pull some crazy fun inserts though, then I think anyone could enjoy opening a box of 2012-2013 Upper Deck Fleer Retro!

HG’s Grade: A-


Much love,

Hockey Boy & Hockey Girl


Don’t Call It A Comeback! 1 Box of 2012-13 Fleer Retro

(Hockey Boy checking in today!)

Ok, ok so maybe it is a tiny bit of a comeback.  We haven’t posted something in over 6 months.  But to be fair a lot has happened since that time.  The NHL locked out and then finally after several months of no hockey and what was a painful back and forth, the NHLPA and NHL reached an agreement.  But there have been VERY few products (and really none worth opening, sorry) in that time.  Hockey Girl and I were quite discouraged and didn’t want to continue putting effort into the blog if there was nothing to be excited about.  But now there is! And we’re fully committed to bringing you reviews, previews, and more in the months ahead!

Hockey Girl will be making her reemergence on Friday night as we do our box break and review of 2012-13 Upper Deck Fleer Retro, but I was stupidly excited and nostalgic about this product since I’m a proud 90’s kid.  So I snuck a second box past Hockey Girl so I could open it right away.  Shhhhh, don’t tell her!

Here’s what I pulled:









So many awesome inserts, but here were my two favorite pulls of the box:



I don’t want to say too much about what I thought about the product without Hockey Girl, so the pictures will have to be enough for now!


Much love,

Hockey Boy

2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #6

WOW! What a case and we’re pretty sure we’re going to need some bookshelves after this!



2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #5

Ok, we have no idea what’s going on with our case, but it’s getting pretty insane in the membrane!



2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #4

It may or may not be…CASE HIT TIME!


And now for the card that will hopefully blow your mind like it did ours!




Ohhhh, you probably want to see the front huh? Well, I guess that’d be ok! 😉




2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #3

Another tin with 9 cards.  This time it’s 3 base cards, but we’re certainly not complaining!

2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #2

The silliness continues in tin #2! This stuff really is absolutely incredible! A Mr. Steve Downie made an appearance to the party, but even he can’t stop this party!

2011-12 Panini Dominion Case Break – Tin #1

Um, what a way to start! 7 hits and 2 base cards – we’ll take those odds every day of the week! This is going to be FUN!