Friday, May 25, 2012

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Titanium Hockey

Schedule Release Date: June 13, 2012
Box Configuration:  4 cards per pack/5 pack per box
SRP: $100/box

Box Break:
5 Memorabilia or Autograph cards (1 per pack)

Case Break: (16 boxes per case)
One Rookie card numbered to player’s number
One Home Sweaters auto
Three Hat Tricks memorabilia cards

My Thoughts:
I was enamored with the Titanium Hockey sets in the early 2000s. While they would not win any awards for design, the sets were fun and they were one of the first products that contained a hit per pack. After 10-12 years I still have a handful of those old Pacific Titanium cards.

Fast forward a decade and now Panini holds the Titanium brand and is trying to put their best foot forward to continue the love that collectors held for those old Pacific products. I feel that they did some justice but on some aspects they lost sight of the prize.

The rookie cards bring you back, even using the red “Rookie” diamond. It is quite a bit larger than before but it still works. The Draft Day autographs are ok, but I do not like the studio shots it just seems like the players are disconnected from the sport. Panini worked in some nice parallels, I like the black backgrounds (#/25) as well as the base cards with the team colors and logos behind the players (not sure what they are titles) and finally the Private Signings are pretty cool too.

Now on to the other side of the coin, the baby-poop brown used for the Game-Worn-Gear is just horrendous. The design itself on the card is decent but the color used and tossing a sticker autograph and I have to add this to my “Dislike” column. The New Wave autograph has a 90s feel but when half of the card is misty for the auto sticker I can pass on this too. Finally, the Home/Away/Third Sweater auto/relic cards… normally creating a card with no obvious identifying cues to which the player is not a great decision. Panini made it work with the 2010 Panini Threads Jersey set but a basketball jersey is more recognizable when compared to a hockey sweater. Add in a sticker autograph and two relics and it seems like the designers had bigger plans then they could accomplish. Maybe if they had included the player’s name across the front it would have been better.

A throwback to the older Titanium Hockey sets

Decent base card designs

Some interesting parallels

Lots of multi-relic inserts

Horrid designs on some subsets/inserts

Ugly ass colors

Not a big fan of the Home/Away Sweaters Auto insert

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5
I think that this is a solid start on the reboot but instead of taking the expected/safe route they went out and tossed in a couple of changes and twists that I do not care for in the end. I would like to see this product continue in the future and evolve in to a solid release each year.

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