Wednesday, October 26, 2016

1955-56 Montreal Canadiens Doug Harvey Jersey

The story of Doug Harvey begins in 1945-46 when he began to play for the Royal Montreal Hockey Club of the Quebec Senior Hockey League. During his second season with the club, he helped the Montreal Royals capture the prestigious Allan Cup as senior champions of Canada.

He joined the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League for the 1947-48 season, and after 24 games the defenseman then made his NHL debut with his hometown Montreal Canadiens for the remaining 35 games of the season.

Harvey Rookie Card

Harvey, playing in an era where defenseman did not rush up the ice with the puck, never put up the same kind of offensive numbers seen in today's game in the post-Bobby Orr era. He was however, a key factor in the Canadiens offensive attack of the day, as he utilized his speed and passing ability to help make Montreal into a championship squad and earn him the recognition as the NHL's first offensive defenseman, paving the way for the likes of Orr.

Another way Harvey changed the game was by controlling the tempo of the action, either by making a rush up the ice or a quick pass to speed up the Montreal transition to offense, or by holding onto the puck and slowing the tempo of the game to slow down an opponent and give his teammates a chance to catch their breath. Harvey, Eddie Shore and Orr are widely regarded as the three men who had the greatest impact on the position of defense over the history of the NHL.

Harvey Canadiens

During Harvey's fourth NHL season of 1950-51, he would make his first of ten consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup finals. The 1951-52 season would see Harvey gain recognition as one of the game's best, as he would make his first of 11 straight NHL All-Star Game appearances.

The 1952-53 season saw Harvey's name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time following a 4 games to 1 defeat of the Boston Bruins.

A new trophy was introduced to the NHL for the 1953-54 season, the Norris Trophy, which would be awarded to the league's top defensive player. Harvey would become the second recipient of the award in 1955 and make it virtually his own, as he would win it for seven of the next eight seasons, including 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958 thanks to his stellar defensive skills in addition to his offensive contributions, which made him a complete player unlike any other defenseman in the previous history of the league.

Harvey Canadiens

1955-56 would also see the beginning of not only another streak, but a dynasty, as the Canadiens would capture their first of a record five consecutive Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960, giving Harvey a career total of six. During this streak of consecutive All-Star Game appearances, Norris Trophies and championships, Harvey would set a personal best in 1956-57 when he would set a personal high with the only 50 point season of his career from 6 goals and 44 assists. Recall, this was an era when the NHL schedule was shorter, at just 70 games.

With Harvey quarterbacking the deadly Canadiens powerplay, they would often score twice on a single penalty, as players were required to serve their entire two minutes as per the rules of the day. That rule was finally amended in 1956 to allow the penalized player to return to the ice once a goal was scored in response to the Canadians domination.

After teammate Tom Johnson won the Norris Trophy in 1959, Harvey reclaimed the award in 1960 and 1961.

After the retirement of Maurice Richard, Harvey would be named to the prestigious position as captain of the Canadiens for the 1960-61 season.

Harvey Canadiens Captain

His time with Montreal would soon come to an end however, as he was an outspoken critic of the team's ability to own players for life, which kept them not only tied to their clubs, but keep their salaries low. Also questioning how players pensions were being handled and funded, he and Detroit's Ted Lindsay went so far as to attempt to organize the players association, which infuriated the Canadiens ownership to the point that they traded their perennial Norris Trophy winning All-Star to the lowly New York Rangers, who had not even qualified for the playoffs in a six team league for 8 of the last 11 seasons.

Harvey responded with winning his third consecutive Norris Trophy during his first season with the Rangers. After one more season in New York, he split the 1963-64 season between the Rangers (14 games), St. Paul Rangers (2 games) and the Quebec Aces of the AHL (52 games).

He spent all of 1964-65 with Quebec and moved to the Baltimore Clippers, also of the AHL for the 1965-66 season. 1966-67 was divided between the Clippers and the Pittsburgh Hornets, as well as making a brief return to the NHL when he appeared in two games with the Detroit Red Wings.

With the NHL doubling in size for the 1967-68 season by adding an additional six clubs, there were plenty of opportunities created, one of which was for Harvey, as the St. Louis Blues came calling for the playoffs after Harvey had been a player/coach during the regular season with the Kansas City Blues of the Central League. Harvey would see action in 8 of the Blues 12 playoff games, as they were the West Division's representatives in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Harvey would return to the Blues for the 1968-69 regular season at the age of 44, playing in the final 70 games of his long and illustrious NHL career.

Harvey Blues

His final NHL totals were 1,113 games, 88 goals and 452 assists for 540 points. In addition, he would appear in 137 playoff games, scoring 8 goals and 64 assists for 72 points on his way to six Stanley Cups and seven Norris Trophies, which still remains second all time after Orr's eight.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973 and became the first defenseman to ever have his number retired by the Montreal Canadiens on this date in 1985 when his #2 was lifted to the rafters.

Harvey Number Retirement

In 1998, The Hockey News ranked Harvey as the #6 player on their list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players. In 2000, he was honored by the Government of Canada by having his picture on a postage stamp.

Today's featured jersey is a 1955-56 Montreal Canadiens Doug Harvey jersey. Harvey was an NHL All-Star, Norris Trophy winner and Stanley champion that season.

The Canadiens would first adopt a red sweater with a blue band as far back as 1912-13 in order to differentiate their barberpole style jersey from that of the Ottawa Senators, five years before the formation of the NHL.

They would adopt the "CH" logo in 1916 and the jersey would remain essentially unchanged ever since.

Montreal Canadiens 55-56 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1961-62 New York Rangers Doug Harvey jersey as worn later in his career after being traded away from Montreal for his union organizing activites. Harvey would win yet another Norris Trophy during his first year with the Rangers.

The Rangers debuted in 1926 wearing blue jerseys with RANGERS diagonally across the front and, aside from having arched lettering in 1946-47 and wearing jerseys with their shield logo in 1976-77 and 1977-78, they have worn basically the same jerseys ever since, especially since arriving at their current font for the cresting in 1941.

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New York Rangers 1962-63 jersey photo New York Rangers 1962-63 B jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Our video selection today is an excellent biography of Harvey with great video footage of him in action.

Next, a TV commercial where Doug and his son Doug Jr. battle it out for the household table hockey championship. Man, what we would give to be able to buy one of those today for $5!

Finally, a recap of the 1960 Stanley Cup Finals, Harvey's sixth and final championship.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark Jersey

Toronto Maple Leaf fan favorite Wendel Clark was born on this date in 1966.

Clark played two seasons with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL during which he averaged 27 goals, 50 assists, 77 points and 239 penalty minutes per season, catching the eyes of NHL scouts everywhere.

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Clark with the Blades during his junior days
while wearing the notorious Cooperalls long pants

The rugged Clark was drafted first overall in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft by Toronto and made his debut for the Maple Leafs later that year. He actually played defense in junior hockey, but was converted to a forward by the Maple Leafs, a club he would return to again and again during his career.

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1985 first overall draft pick Wendel Clark

A true heart and soul player, the tireless Clark became a hugely popular player with the Toronto faithful for putting everything he had in to every shift, every game. Plus, he sported one of the top, yet underrated mullets in hockey history. Clark rocked the hockey hair in 1996 like few others before or since, not to mention the classic hockey mustache to go with it.

Wendel Clark mullet
Clark with the buzz cut mullet in 1996

While it may lack the sheer volume of the Jagr or the overexposure of the Melrose, the ratio of the shortness of the buzz cut on top to the length of the "mud flap" out back ranks it among the greatest mullets in NHL history.

Clark would announce his presence in the league with 227 penalty minutes in during his rookie season in addition to his 34 goals despite a broken foot limiting  him to 66 games. The legend of Clark's toughness would begin to grow as the broken foot happened when he was hit in the skate by a teammate's slapshot, but he continued to play the rest of the game before it was diagnosed. Clark would raise his reputation the following year by increasing both totals to 37 goals and 271 penalty minutes.

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A back injury suffered after being cross-checked into the crossbar during the 1987-88 season would limit him to 28 games and his physical style would take its toll as he would see the ice in just 15 games the following season and only 38 in the following, mainly due to recurrent episodes of his back problems.

His games played would increase over the next four seasons of 1990-91 to 1993-94, but he would still average just under 60 games with 59 per season during that time period. After campaigns of 18, 19 and 17 goals, he would explode for a career high with 46 in 64 games of the 1993-94 season. His drive and leadership were recognized when he was named team captain in 1991. The Maple Leafs would make it as far as the memorable conference final seven game series against the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings in 1992-93, with Clark scoring a hat trick in Game 6 as part of his 20 points in 21 playoff games that season.

The summer after his 46 goal season, with his trade value at it's highest in years, the physically aggressive but physically unreliable Clark was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in a blockbuster deal which brought Mats Sundin to Toronto.

Clark would begin to frequently move from team to team for the remainder of his career, being traded by the Nordiques to the New York Islanders after just one season with Quebec following a contract hold out which meant Clark never played in Colorado when the Nordiques moved there for the 1995-96 season despite two years remaining on his contract. He would only play 58 games with the Islanders before another deal saw him finish the season back in Toronto.

Clark Islanders photo ClarkIslanders.jpg

Two more seasons in Toronto, of just 65 and 47 games, would be followed by a 65 game stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, during which he scored an impressive 30 goals to prove he had not lost his offensive skills. It was not enough to afford him any level of stability however, as he was again traded, this time to the Detroit Red Wings at the deadline. His 12 games with Detroit gave him a total of 77 for the season, easily his highest total in 12 years.

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Clark scored 30 goals during his brief time in Tampa Bay

He would begin his final NHL season with the Chicago Blackhawks, but once more return to the Maple Leafs to finish out his career with a final 20 games in Toronto where it all began.

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Clark during the final 20 games of his career back in Toronto

Clark's final career totals were 793 games played (an average of just 53 per season) 330 goals, 234 assists, 564 points and 1.690 penalty minutes. Such was the impact of injuries on Clark's career totals, his 147 goals scored during his four seasons of 30 goals or more accounted for 45% of his career total at an average of 37 goals per season, while his remaining 11 seasons saw him average just 17 goals.

Clark had his #17 jersey raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre in November of 2008, the 16th player to have his number honored by the Maple Leafs.

Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark jersey. The Maple Leafs ushered in the 1970's with a brand new jersey style for the 1970-71 season featuring a new modern style with a full length arm strip and matching, single, bold waist stripe. It still carried over a classic lace-up collar. The jersey changed to a v-neck in 1972-73 but then reverted back to the lace-up collar in 1973-74 for two seasons. The v-neck was reinstated permanently starting in 1975-76. Begrudgingly, names on the back arrived on the blue jerseys late in the 1977-78 season and the whites followed in 1978-79.

This style would remain unchanged through the 1991-92 season, a run of 22 seasons but with very little on ice success, advancing past the second round of the playoffs just once and missing the postseason seven times.

This 1986-87 jersey features the King Clancy Memorial patch in honor of the Maple Leafs legend. Five different patches were worn on this style, the first being in 1983-84, the first patch ever worn on a Maple Leafs jersey in their long history, that being the City of Toronto 150th Anniversary patch.

In addition to the King Clancy patch in 1986-87, the home white jerseys also had the "Heart and Stroke" patch that same season to raise awareness of health issues. 1990-91 saw another memorial patch, that for Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard. The final patch worn during this jersey's final season was the NHL 75th Anniversary patch, worn by all players league wide, the first time every player in the NHL would all wear the same patch.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995-96 New York Islanders Wendel Clark jersey, representative of the frequent changes in teams Clark was subjected to during the second half of his career, with stops in Quebec, Long Island, a return to Toronto, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Chicago and a final return to Toronto.

The unfortunate Fishsticks jersey was derided by the fans, media and players upon it's introduction. While Clark only had to wear it for 58 games, the Islanders were forced to wear it for two seasons before a hybrid version with the classic Islanders crest replaced it full time in 1997-98.

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New York Islanders 1995–96 jersey photo NewYorkIslanders1995ndash96B.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark jersey. Following the success of the Maple Leafs Turn Back the Clock jerseys worn by the Original Six teams the prior season in celebration of the NHL's 75th anniversary, the Maple Leafs redesigned their jerseys for the 1993-94 season, finally ending the run of their previous jerseys which had been worn since 1970.

The Maple Leafs went back to 1934 for the simple but classy jersey template which had been worn through 1966-67, only now mated with the modern maple leaf crest first used in 1970 and the throwback maple leaf crest from the TBTC jersey of the previous season now used as the secondary shoulder logos.

This style has remained in use by Toronto ever since, with a few minor tweaks and a variety of number fonts, even surviving the loss of the waist stripes with the introduction of the new Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007, supposedly due to the original concept of the jerseys being tucked in.

Still, the waist stripes returned in 2010-11, as did the retro maple leaf secondary logos, which had been discontinued in 2000-01.

Toronto Maple Leafs 1993-94 jersey photo TorontoMapleLeafs1993-94jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra extra bonus jersey: Today's extra extra bonus jersey is a 1999 NHL All-Star Game Wendel Clark jersey as worn during the 1999 edition held in Tampa, Florida for the second of Clark's two all-star games, with the other being in 1986 although he was named to the 1994 game, but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.

This style was worn for twice, first in 1998 and again in 1999 during the era of the World vs. North America format, with the North Americans wearing red, while the World wore white trimmed in blue.

NHL All-Star Game 1999 jersey photo NHL All-Star Game 1999 jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Normally we research the daily video section just hoping to find some relevant video of an NHL player or perhaps something, anything, on an obscure European player, but not today. Oh, no. Clark was so popular in Toronto, and had we had an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

 If you are not familiar with Clark, we urge you to watch today's first video clip to truly understand the type of player he was, as just statistical numbers don't capture the spirit of a player like Clark. Without further delay, strap on your helmet for The Best of Wendel Clark!

Hell yea! Now that was some Old Time Hockey!

Here is a profile of Clark which looks back on his rookie season.

In advance of his number being honored, Clark revisits Maple Leaf Gardens and recounts some of his favorite memories as a Maple Leaf in a very well done piece.

Next is the ceremony where the Maple Leafs honored Clark's #17 in 2008.

Finally, here is Clark's first game back in Toronto to begin his second stint with the Leafs. Feel the love people, feel the love...

Monday, October 24, 2016

1979-80 Boston Bruins Terry O'Reilly Jersey

During his junior hockey career with the Oshawa Generals, right wing Terry O'Reilly started out with 5 goals and 20 points in 46 games during the 1968-69 season while compiling 8 penalty minutes to  illustrate the tough part of his game. His offensive numbers jumped to 13 goals and 49 points in 1969-70 as his penalty minutes sank to 60. He put it all together in 1970-71 with a ten goal increase to 23, which combined with an improvement in his assist total, saw his points rise to 65 while his penalty minutes increased 150% to 151.

This caught the attention of the Boston Bruins, who drafted O'Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

O'Reilly would play the 1971-72 season with the Boston Braves of the American Hockey League, finishing the season with 9 goals and 17 points and 134 penalty minutes in 60 games. He would also play in 9 playoff games with 31 additional penalty minutes as well as 4 points. He was called up to the Bruins to make his NHL debut that season, during which he scored his first NHL goal.

He made the Bruins lineup out of training camp in 1972, no easy feat considering they were the defending Stanley Cup champions, and O'Reilly never played another game in the minors for the remainder of his career. He played in 72 games for Boston as a rookie in 1972-73, scoring 5 goals and 27 points while topping 100 penalty minutes with 109.

His durability was noteworthy, as he would never play less than 68 games in a season, and that was the only one under 70 for the first ten seasons of his career. His second season saw a modest increase in his offensive numbers to 11 goals and 35 points and a drop in penalty minutes to 94. The Bruins made a deep playoff run that year, and O'Reilly played in another 16 games with 7 points and 38 penalty minutes.

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O'Reilly during the 1973-74 season

The 1974-75 season saw his goals rise to 15 while his point total remained stable at 35, but his toughness began to take shape as his penalties rose to 146 minutes to lead the team for the first time. He also competed in his first NHL All-Star Game that season.

While his penalty totals remained relatively the same over the next two seasons of 1975-76 (a team leading 150) and 1976-77 (147, second on the team to Mike Milbury), his offensive game continued to improve. He achieved his first 20 goal season with 23 in 1975-76 on his way to his first 50 point season with exactly 50, which surpassed the following year with a 14 goal, 41 assist season, good for a new career best of 55 points.

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O'Reilly had many tough battles during the brawling 1970's

His game reached another level in 1977-78 when he set a career highs with 29 goals and 61 assists (6th in the entire league) for 90 points to lead the team in scoring while also lead the team in penalty minutes with his first 200 minute season with 211. His 90 points were seventh overall in the NHL that season. His fine play carried over into the playoffs, as he scored 5 goals and 15 points in 15 games with an additional 40 minutes in penalties. His fine play that year was recognized with his second NHL All-Star Game appearance.

While he would never reach 90 points again, it was hardly a fluke, as he followed that up with 26 goals and 77 points in 1978-79 and another 205 minutes in the penalty box.

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O'Reilly in the trenches as he cross checks
the Vancouver Canucks Gary Smith

O'Reilly set a career high in 1979-80 with 265 penalty minutes, good for fourth in the NHL, while contributing 19 goals and 61 points during a season marred by an incident on December 23, 1979 when, just after the conclusion of a game against the rival New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden when a scrum of players formed as Rangers goaltender John Davidson confronted the Bruins Al Secord over a sucker punch he delivered earlier to Swede Ulf Nilsson.

The players coming off the bench eventually joined the group, which then moved over next to the stands. It was at this point that a Ranger fan reached over the much lower glass used in those days, and clobbered the Bruins Stan Johnathan in the face with a rolled up program, drawing blood from a cut under his eye. As Johnathan raised his stick, saying it was to protect himself, the fan yanked the stick clean out of his hands, which incensed O'Reilly.

With the fuse now lit, O'Reilly set off the explosion when he immediately scaled the boards and launched himself into the stands and began to wrestle with the attacking fan.

O'Reilly into stands
O'Reilly hurtles over the glass, setting off chaos in the stands

"I went into the stands because somebody, who had no right to, punched Stanley," said O'Reilly. "It's none of the fans' business. We don't interfere with them if they leave us alone. When I got in there it was pretty bad. I regret it, but I don't think I had a choice. There was no way he was going to strike one of my teammates and steal his stick, wield it like a weapon and then disappear into the crowd and go to a local bar with a souvenir and a great story. A soon as I got him into a bear hug, I felt like I was being pummeled by multiple people. All I could do was cover up."

Seeing O'Reilly enter the stands, where he was going to obviously be heavily outnumbered, several other Bruins didn't hesitate when the brother of the fan O'Reilly had gone after started hitting O'Reilly and the Bruins poured over the glass into the seats.

Bruins into stands

Brad McCrimmon, Bob Miller, John Wensink and Secord all scaled the glass while Peter McNab, who was not known as a thug in any way, having totaled just four penalty minutes the previous season, went after the brother of the fan who had clearly been hitting O'Reilly and threw him down onto the seats.

"Peter was usually the guy who'd pick up our gloves for us after a fight," Jonathan said.

Things then reached a level of absurdity when Milbury, who had already left the ice when the incident broke out, rushed to his teammates aid, ripping a shoe off the fan McNab had pinned and hit him with it! "I went from happy and content, and ready to go home for Christmas, to full combat mode in about 20 seconds," he recalled.

In the end, four fans were charged with disorderly conduct with the charges eventually being dropped. O'Reilly was suspended for eight games, while McNab and Milbury each had to sit out six games. All 18 of the Bruins who entered the stands were fined the princely sum of $500 each.

The 1980-81 season saw a drop in goal production to just 8 on his way to 43 points but he still protected his teammates with the same zeal, racking up 223 minutes in 77 games. His offensive numbers rebounded the next season as he achieved his fourth 20 goal season with 22 as well as 30 assists for 52 points, his sixth of 50 or more. He also had his fifth consecutive season of over 200 penalty minutes with 213.

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Not just an enforcer, O'Reilly once led the Bruins in scoring

Injury and age began to extract their toll on O'Reilly and his streak of 68 games or more ended in 1982-83 when he played in just 19 due to a finger injury and later a knee injury. He was named the team captain for the 1983-84 season, which saw him play in 58 games, thanks in part to being suspended for the first 10 games of the season for hitting referee Andy Van Hellemond in April of the previous season, with 124 penalty minutes and his final season of 1984-85 saw him back up over 60 games with 63, scoring 13 goals, including his 200th, and 17 assists, including his 400th, for his second consecutive season of 30 points, which included his 600th point. His 168 penalty minutes also put him over the 2,000 mark for his career.

He retired at the end of the season after spending his entire 14 year career with the Bruins, playing in 891 games with 204 goals and 402 assists for 606 points as well as 2,095 penalty minutes, which included leading the Bruins six times. With the Bruins fielding highly competitive teams during his career, frequent deep playoff runs (seven times he played in 10 or more postseason games) allowed him to score an additional 25 goals (including three overtime game winners) and 67 points as well as 335 career playoff penalty minutes.

Although widely regarded as a tough guy who had over 200 penalty minutes in five consecutive seasons, unlike today's fighting specialists, O'Reilly was a more complete player who scored over 20 goals four times with a high of 29 in 1977-78 when he totaled 90 points to go with his 211 penalty minutes that season. His number 24 was retired by the Bruins on this date in 2002.

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O'Reilly's #24 was retired by the Bruins on this date in 2002

O'Reilly remained with the Bruins organization and became their head coach during the 1986-87 season. The following year he led them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, which included defeating the rival Montreal Canadiens for only the third time in 22 tries, after guiding them to a 44-30-6 record. He coached them for one more season in 1988-89 to a third straight winning record of 37-29-14.

Today's featured jersey is a 1979-80 Boston Bruins Terry O'Reilly jersey as worn during the infamous brawl when O'Reilly entered the stands at Madison Square Garden in New York to confront a fan who hit Bruins teammate Jonathan.

The Bruins arrived at this jersey style in 1974-75 when they dropped the colored shoulders they had been using since 1967-68, as well as the lace-up collar. In 1976-77 they added the secondary logos to the shoulders followed by names on the back for the first time the following season.

The fonts for the numbers would evolve slightly over time, but essentially this jersey would remain unchanged for 21 seasons and frankly we can see no reason why they ever changed away from it, as this could have been their iconic, steadfast style in the manner of the Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and the Rangers.

The Bruins appear to be in near agreement with us, having brought back the previous version of this jersey with its colored shoulders as a throwback alternate in 2006-07 before promoting it to their primary jersey in 2007-08, albeit with a modern version of their spoked B logo and three color numbers and overly busy three color names, which remains in use to this day.

Boston Bruins O'Reilly 79-80 F
Boston Bruins O'Reilly 79-80 B

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1984-85 Boston Bruins Terry O'Reilly jersey as worn during his final season of play while serving as the Bruins team captain.

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Boston Bruins 1984-85 jersey photo Boston Bruins 1984-85 B jersey.jpg

Today's video section begins with a very well done tribute to O'Reilly as he punches, checks, steamrolls and indeed scores goals during his path of destruction and mayhem through his National Hockey League career. He was indeed one of those players you loved if he was on your team and hated if he wasn't, the problem being he only played for the Bruins!

We single out two of O'Reilly's fights, the first against the Philadelphia Flyers Mel Bridgman, which starts about 30 seconds in and is quite violent, and the second against the Flyers Behn Wilson, which starts when O'Reilly hits Wilson like an absolute runaway train, which leads to another slugfest.

Next, footage of O'Reilly's most notorious moment when he invaded the stands at Madison Square Garden to confront unruly Rangers fans, which earned him an eight game suspension, which would likely be ten times that if it were to happen again today.

Next, footage of the gloved swipe against Van Hellemond that earned O'Reilly his ten game suspension and whopping $500 fine in 1983, exacerbated by a questionable penalty against O'Reilly in the final seconds of a 2-1 Game 7 loss against the Quebec Nordiques that was about to end his season.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

2005 Slovakia National Team Miroslav Satan Jersey

Born on this date in 1974, Miroslav Šatan was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers 11th overall in round five of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft after playing professionally for Dukla Trencin in the final season of the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League of 1992-93 and then again in 1993-94 in the first season of the new Slovak Extraliga following the division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Satan was a standout that season, scoring 32 goals and 48 points in just 30 games, no doubt pleasing the Edmonton Oilers who had drafted him the previous spring.

He played one well-travelled season in the minors in North America in 1994-95 with the Cape Breton Oilers  of the AHL (25 games), the Detroit Vipers (8 games) and the San Diego Gulls of the IHL (6 games) and even one game with the Detroit Falcons of the low level Colonial Hockey League.

He made his NHL debut with the Oilers in 1995-96 and scored 35 goals over the course of two seasons before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres near the end of the second season in Edmonton.

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Satan broke into the NHL with the Oilers

He would go on to play eight seasons with the Sabres, leading them in scoring six times with a career best 40 goals in 1998-99  and a career high 75 points in 2002-03. The Sabres would also make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 for the first time in Satan's career.

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Satan played eight seasons with Buffalo

Following the NHL lockout of 2004-05, when he played 18 games back in Slovakia for Slovan Bratislava, he became a free agent and chose to sign with the New York Islanders where he would finish tied for first, second and then third in team scoring during his three seasons on Long Island, highlighted by his 35 goal 66 point season in 2005-06.

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Satan scored a high of 35 goals on Long Island

Satan would then sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2008-09 season, scoring 36 points in 65 games before being placed on waivers on the trading deadline late in the season. After being assigned to the minors with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, he was recalled by the Penguins a month later and rejoined the Penguins during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He would appear in nine games and score a goal and four assists on his way to winning the Stanley Cup for the only time in his career.

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Satan celebrates the only Stanley Cup of his career in 2009

His final NHL season saw Satan sign with the Boston Bruins in early January halfway through the 2009-10 season. During that season's playoffs, Satan would score the game winning goal against his old club Buffalo in double overtime and then score the series clinching goal five days later.

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Satan spent half a season with Boston

After 14 NHL seasons, Satan would move back to Europe to continue his career. A shortened 2010-11 season saw him play 10 games with Slovan Bratislava and 6 more with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL.

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A rare shot of Satan with Dynamo Moscow

Satan would play a full season with Slovan Bratislava in 2011-12, a successful campaign that saw him average more than a point per game with 52 points in 49 games, capped off by leading all scorers with 22 points in 12 playoff games as Slovan captured the league championship.

He would play two additional seasons with Bratislava, who had now moved to the KHL for the 2012-13 season before retiring at the age of 39 following the 2-13-14 season.

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Satan as captain of Bratislava in the KHL

Satan's final NHL totals were 1,050 games played with 363 goals and 735 points with an additional 114 goals coming while playing in Europe.

Internationally, Satan has appeared for Slovakia in the World Championships 14 times, including helping the newly formed nation climb the international ladder system in the quickest time possible, as Slovakia was initially placed in the lower levels of the system while the Czech Republic remained at the top in Pool A after Czechoslovakia divided in two.

In his first World Championships, Slovakia won Pool C in 1994 (where Satan was named Best Forward), followed immediately by Slovakia winning the Pool B in 1995 to reach the Top Division in just two years. Satan was on the Slovak roster in 1996, their first in the Top Division.

He then earned a silver medal as team captain in 2000 (where he was again named Best Forward) and was captain again as Slovakia reached the pinnacle of winning World Championship gold in 2002.

Satan Slovakia photo SatanSlovakiaGold.jpg
Satan hoisting the World Championship trophy

Satan was captain once more in 2003, winning bronze and appeared in the World Championships again in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 (winning silver), 2013 and one final time in 2014.

Additionally, he has played in the World Juniors in 1994, the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004, again as team captain, as well as the 1994, 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. He was also named to the 2002 team, but with the NHL not suspending play during the qualification rounds, Slovakia was eliminated before he was able to participate.

In all, Satan would win one gold, two silver and a bronze at the World Championships while appearing in 180 games, scoring 86 goals while being a vital member of the of both the fledgling national team program which started life in the bottom rung "C" Pool and eventual world champions in the span of eight short years.

Satan Slovakia photo SatanSlovakia.jpg

Today's featured jersey is a 2005 Slovakia National Team Miroslav Satan jersey. For the 2005 World Championships in Austria, all the participating team's jerseys were redesigned, only to be quickly replaced by the new Nike Swift jerseys for the 2006 Olympics, leaving today's featured jersey with a all-too-brief lifespan of one year, making it quite rare.

This jersey features the IIHF patch, the Slovakia Ice Hockey Federation patch, Satan's captain's "C" and a pair of our custom made Skoda sponsorship patches, from the loyal sponsor of the IIHF World Championships.

Slovakia 2005 jersey photo Slovakia2005HF.jpg
Slovakia 2005 jersey photo Slovakia2005HB.jpg

Today's first featured videos are from the 2002 World Championships when the Slovakian National Team excited the nation by capturing the gold medal.

Here is a compilation of goals scored by Satan. Do not miss the first one, shot between his legs and behind his back. A real beauty.

Last up is a highly professional look at Satan's national team career well worth your time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

1967-68 Minnesota North Stars Bill Masterton Jersey

The Minnesota North Stars were granted a franchise in the NHL expansion of 1967 and their name was chosen following a name the team contest, with 608 different names submitted from 1,536 entries. The name "North Stars" was inspired by the Minnesota state motto "L'Etoile du Nord", French for "The Star of the North".

Other suggested names were Blades, Norsemen, Muskies, Lumberjacks, Mallards, Voyageurs and the simply horrid Puckaroos!

A new arena was a necessity in order for Minnesota to be granted one of the new franchises, as the largest arena in the area had a capacity of just 8,500, well short of the 12, 500 minimum for the NHL. It was decided  that the new Metropolitan Sports Center would be built across the parking lot from Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball club, in the suburb of Bloomington.

The location was a compromise between the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as the two cities had a rivalry in minor league baseball which dated back to the turn of the century, and the fears were that an arena built in one city would alienate the citizens living in the other.

Met Center
Metropolitan Sports Center

"Met Center", as it was more commonly known until 1982 when it became the arena's official name, was built at a cost of $7 million and was known for it's great sightlines, excellent ice surface and distinctively colored and randomly distributed gold, white, green and black seats, which at times during the North Stars history were all too visible.

Met Center seats
Met Center's distinctive colored seats

The North Stars played their first four games on the road before returning to Minnesota for their first ever game in the brand new Metropolitan Sports Center on this date in 1967.

North Stars 1st game ticket
North Stars first game ticket stub

Workers were still installing seats on the day of the home opener against the North Stars fellow expansion cousins the California Seals, who Minnesota defeated 3-1 for the first win in franchise history on goals from Bill Goldsworthy, Ray Cullen and Dave Balon.

Goldsworthy first goal at Met Center
Bill Goldsworthy scores the first goal in Met Center history

Following their first home game, the North Stars alternated between hot and cold, going undefeated for four games at a time, but alternating with winless streaks of five or six games until finding themselves at 14-15-8 on the night of January 13th, 1968, when Bill Masterton, who had scored the first goal in North Stars history, was checked and fell backwards, hitting his head on the ice, knocking him unconscious. Masterton suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and died two days later at the age of 29, the only player to ever die of an on ice injury in the NHL.

Masterton's #19 was retired by the team and ushered in increasing use of helmets in hockey, which later became mandatory in 1979. The Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded annually in the NHL for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey was created in his memory.

Bill Masterton
Bill Masterton

Following Masterton's death, the North Stars understandably lost five of six and regrouped to play near .500 for the rest of the season to finish at 27-32-15 in fourth place in the West Division made up of the six expansion clubs, four points back of the first place Philadelphia Flyers.

The North Stars were led in goals (35) and points (56) by Wayne Connelly while Andre Boudrias had the most assists (35) and Cesare Maniago led the goaltenders with games played (52) and wins (21). Goldsworthy led the team in playoff scoring with 15 points in 14 games.

1967-68 Minnesota North Stars
The 1967-68 Minnesota North Stars

In the playoffs, the North Stars would eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in seven games, which included three victories on home ice, before falling to the St. Louis Blues on the road in Game 7 when the Blues scored with 11 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, costing the North Stars a chance to host a Stanley Cup Final in the Met Center's first year of operation.

It would not be until 1981 that the finals were played on Met Center ice when the North Stars unsuccessfully attempted to derail the New York Islanders dynasty in progress. Ten years later the Pittsburgh Penguins would hoist Lord Stanley's Cup following their Game 6 defeat of the Cinderella North Stars at the Met Center.

The Met Center was also home to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament from 1969-1975 as the best high school teams from all around Minnesota, from Rochester in the south to Warroad near the Canadian border skated on the same ice as the NHL stars of the day to determine annually who was the best in the state in front of sold out crowds of 15,000 screaming fans.

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The Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament
playing to a sold out crowd on the North Stars home ice

Other teams to call the Met Center home were the short-lived Minnesota Muskies and Minnesota Pipers of the ABA and the Minnesota Kicks and Minnesota Strikers indoor soccer clubs. Many concerts were also held there throughout it's history, ranging from Frank Sinatra to local superstar Prince.

Eventually the Met Center fell victim to it's outdated design, which lacked the essential number of private suites, although several remodeling efforts added a club area at the upper end of one end and some jury-rigged suites hanging from the roof at the opposite end, but it was not enough to save the North Stars from being relocated in 1993.

Today's featured jersey is a 1967-68 Minnesota North Stars Bill Masteron jersey. This jersey is the first style of sweaters worn during the North Stars inaugural season with a lace-up collar before they were replaced by a v-neck collar early in the season.

The following season the sweaters would change again, with the addition of a white shoulder yoke and remain in use until 1975 when the single white stripe on the arms and waist would be broken into two parallel stripes plus the addition of highly attractive drop shadowed numbers.

Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 jersey photo Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 F jersey.jpg
Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 jersey photo Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 B jersey_1.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1967-68 Minnesota North Stars Cesare Maniago jersey as worn only during the North Stars first preseason series of 14 games from September 16 through October 5, 1967.

Aside from the two styles of sweaters worn during their first season, our friends at have brought to light a different set of jerseys worn during the preseason, which featured a different version of the well known "N" logo and a different font used for the numbering, which you can read about here.

This set was discarded before the regular season began for a few reasons. Apparently the North Stars trainer shrank the jersey by washing the cotton/nylon jerseys in hot water and then compounded the mistake by putting them in a hot dryer! Additionally, the team did not like the thin version of the N logo, with it's downward angle upper serif and tiny star above the arrow.

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After this set of jerseys was identified through photos in publicity shots, hockey cards, newspaper articles and programs, the mystery began of just whatever happened to this set of jerseys?

A few years later the most unexpected thing happened. An auction for the contents of a storage locker in 2013 turned out to contain the set of the North Stars white preseason only jerseys, the whereabouts of which were unknown for over 45 years!

To date, only one of the green preseason jerseys known to exist is the Masterton jersey, which his family donated to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 preseason jersey photo Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 preseason F jersey.jpg.png
Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 preseason jersey photo Minnesota North Stars 1967-68 preseason B jersey.jpg.png
Photos  from

Today's video segment begins with the story of Masterton.

Our next video is one of Met Center's most memorable games, a bench clearing brawl between the North Stars and the rival Chicago Blackhawks.


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