Saturday, April 18, 2015

2002 Belarus National Team Vladimir Tsyplakov jersey

Born on this date in 1969, Vladimir Tsyplakov made his debut in the Soviet Hockey League with Dynamo Minsk in the 1988-89 season at the age of 19. That same season he also appeared for the Soviet Union at the 1989 World Junior Championships. He would play three more seasons for Minsk in the Soviet League before moving to North America to continue his career.

His first stop in North America was with the Detroit Falcons of the Colonial Hockey League, who he led in scoring with 76 points in 44 games. He also played that same season with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL in 11 games.

The 1993-94 season saw him move to the Fort Wayne Komets, still in the IHL. With the Komets, Tsyplakov averaged a point per game over 63 games. He maintained that average over 14 playoff games as the Komets made it to the Turner Cup Finals.

He returned to the Komets in 1994-95, leading the club in scoring with 38 goals and 78 points in 79 games, a performance which caught the eye of the Los Angeles Kings who drafted Tsyplakov in the 3rd round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft at the somewhat advanced age of 25.

1994-95 Ft Wayne Komets team, 1994-95 Ft Wayne Komets team
The 1994-95 Ft. Wayne Komets

For the 1995-96 season, Tsyplakov would play 9 games with the Las Vegas Thunder and make his NHL debut with the Kings, appearing in 29 games, scoring his first 5 NHL goals and 10 points.

In his first full season with Los Angeles in 1996-97, Tsyplakov put up 39 points in 67 games before setting a career highs with 18 goals and 52 points in 73 games during the 1997-98 season.

Tsyplakov Kings, Tsyplakov Kings

Also that same season, Tsyplakov made his debut with the Belarus National Team, which came into being only six years earlier in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Despite having played for the Soviet Union early in his career, players were given the opportunity to choose whether to play for Russia or the former Soviet satellite country of their heritage, and Tsyplakov chose to play for Belarus, who had to endure a long and arduous path to the 1998 Nagano Olympics, first winning a regional Pre-Qualification tournament by sweeping Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania. They then earned a spot in the Olympics after participating in a Final Olympic Qualification tournament, where they tied Kazakhstan, beat hosts Austria and tied Norway to advance along with Kazakhstan.

Once at the Olympics in Japan, they continued their undefeated streak, now at 10, by beating France 4-0, Germany 8-2 and tied hosts Japan 2-2 to win Group B despite the fact the NHL had yet to take a break from it's schedule to allow NHL players from the smaller countries to appear in the the Preliminary Round. All of their success in winning Group B earned Belarus a berth in the First Round where they were placed in Group C with the likes of powerhouses Canada, Sweden and the United States, but at least they roster would now be fortified with the arrival of the Belorussian NHLers such as Tsyplakov.

Tsyplakov Belarus photo Tsyplakov Belarus.jpg

After losing all three games in Group C, their opponent for the Quarterfinals was winners of Group D, Russia, who ended their tournament with a 4-1 defeat. In the five games Tsyplakov was able to play once the NHL began it's schedule break, he scored a goal and added an assist.

He was back with the Kings for the 1998-99 season, although his production would never reach the level it had the previous season, as he scored only 23 points in 69 games. Following the season, he made his World Championships debut for Belarus, scoring twice and totaling 4 points in 6 games.

Tsyplakov Kings, Tsyplakov Kings

After beginning the 1999-00 season with the Kings, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres after 29 games. Now with Buffalo, he scored 19 points in 34 games to give him a total of 32 for the season. After the Sabres exit from the playoffs, Tsyplakov again appeared in the World Championships, leading Belarus in scoring with 3 goals and 5 points in 5 games.

In October of 2000, he would suffer a severe knee injury, which would limit him to 36 games and 14 points. The Sabres would qualify for the postseason and Tsyplakov would score the only NHL playoff goal of his career.

Tsyplakov Sabres, Tsyplakov Sabres

Tsyplakov would return to Europe for the remainder of his career, joining Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian SuperLeague, a move which would allow him to play the entirety of the upcoming Olympics. He would contribute 19 points in 25 games as well as 6 more in 11 playoff games as Kazan would reach the league finals. During the Olympics, Belarus would first have to survive a preliminary round, where they advanced thanks to wins over Ukraine 1-0 and France 3-1 before a 2-1 loss to Switzerland.

Once in the First Round, lopsided losses to Russia, Finland and the United States pitted them against the winners of Group C in the Quarterfinals, which would see them deliver the shocking upset of Sweden thanks to Vladimir Kopat's 70 foot shot which bounced off the head of Swedish goaltender Tommy Salo with just 2:24 left in the game. It was immediately ranked as one of the three biggest upsets in Olympic hockey history, along with the United States 1980 "Miracle on Ice" defeat of the Soviet Union and Great Britian's 1936 defeat of Canada. Belarus could not pull another rabbit out of their hat, as the fell 7-1 to a determined Canada in the semifinals and finished fourth after dropping the Bronze Medal Game to Russia 7-2.

Belarus beats Sweden, Belarus beats Sweden
Belarus celebrates their shocking upset of Sweden

Later that spring, Tsyplakov once again laced up his skates for Belarus with a mission on his mind, as Belarus was seeking a return to the Top Division of the World Championships, having been relegated to Division I in 2001. In five games, a determined Belarus dominated Korea 12-1, pounded Croatia 9-0, hammered the Netherlands 15-4, outlasted Kazakhstan 6-4 and dropped France 3-1 to finish undefeated while Tsyplakov came second in team scoring with 9 goals and 18 points in 5 games and Belarus earned a promotion back to the Top Division for 2003.

Back with Ak Bars Kazan for 2002-03, he scored 18 goals and 24 points in 45 games before yet another World Championships, where he added 3 goals and 4 points to international career totals, only to see Belarus relegated back to Division I once again thanks to a rule which defended Japan's place in the Top Division as the Far Eastern Qualifier despite their finishing last once again, as they did in 2001.

The 2003-04 season was Tsyplakov's final one with Ak Bars, one in which he had his best season of his return to Russia with 15 goals and 25 points in 41 games. At that spring's World Championships, Belarus again dominated Division I, handily winning promotion after going 5-0 in Group A with wins over Norway, the Netherlands, Hungary, Great Britian and Belgium as Tsyplakov was third in team scoring with 5 goals and 7 points in 5 games.

His final season of play saw him move to CSKA Moscow and finish his career with one final appearance for Belarus at the 2005 World Championships, where Belarus avoided the relegation round entirely to ensure their continued participation in the Top Division for 2006.

Tsyplakov would finish his career with 69 goals and 170 NHL points and 24 goals and 48 points while playing internationally for Belarus, while also being named the Belarus Player of the Year in 1992, 200 and 2002.

Today's featured jersey is a 2002 Belarus National Team Vladimir Tsyplakov jersey as worn during Belarus' shocking upset of Sweden at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

This style of Belarus jersey debuted in 1997-98 season and remained unchanged for three years until the Belarus coat of arms patch was added to the chest in 2000-01. The next major change for this jersey came in the 2001-02 season when the upward angled "Belarus" cresting was replaced by a change to horizontal, yet italicized, Cyrillic lettering. This final variation of this jersey would remain in use through the change to the Nike Swift jerseys in 2006.

Belarus 2002 jersey photo Belarus2002F.jpg
Belarus 2002 jersey photo Belarus2002B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Buffalo Sabres Vladimir Tsyplakov jersey as worn during his brief time in Buffalo. The Sabres adopted this style for the 1996-97 season. It was a complete overhaul of their look, debuting brand new red and black colors and an entirely new logo. They would wear these jerseys through the 2005-06 season before a return to their original blue and gold colors in 2006-07.

 photo Buffalo Sabres 2000-01 F jersey.jpg
 photo Buffalo Sabres 2000-01 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Todays extra bonus jersey is a 2003-04 Ak Bars Kazan Vladimir Tsyplakov jersey as worn during the latter phase of his career back in Russia where it began.

Ak Bars finished as Russian Super League runners up during his first season with the club while wearing these attractive jerseys which were clearly influenced by the striping pattern on the Sabres jerseys he wore while in Buffalo.

 photo Ak Bars Kazan 2003-04 F jersey.jpg
 photo Ak Bars Kazan 2003-04 B jersey.jpg

Today's video highlight is Belarus' Miracle in Salt Lake upset over Sweden in the Quarterfinals of the 2002 Olympics.

Friday, April 17, 2015

2001-02 New Jersey Devils Ken Daneyko Jersey

Nicknamed "Mr. Devil", Ken Daneyko, born on this date in 1964, was drafted in the first round 18th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft after a season and a half playing defense for the Spokane Flyers and a half a season with the Seattle Breakers, both of the Western Hockey League. After being drafted, Daneyko returned to the Breakers for one more season during which he scored 17 goals and 60 points in 69 games, a feat he would never come remotely close to equalling.

He made the Devils club out of training camp only to crack a bone in his leg early in the season, but not until after he registered his first NHL goal. After missing 40 games he played the remainder of his season with the Kamloops Junior Oilers back in the WHL.

His 1984-85 season was spent with the Maine Mariners of the American Hockey League, where he proved fully healed by playing in all 80 of the Mariners games as well as playing a single game with the Devils.

After dividing the 1985-86 season between Maine (21 games) and New Jersey (44 games), Daneyko would become a Devils stalwart for the next 17 seasons, never again playing another game in the minors.

It would not be easy going at first, as the Devils would finish dead last in the NHL in 1986-87 as Daneyko would play 79 of the Devils 80 games and rack up 183 penalty minutes thanks to his rugged and self-sacrificing style.

Danyeko Scars

The following season was one of improvement for New Jersey as they finished with 18 points higher in the standings to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since moving from Colorado six years previously. The Devils went on a run, making it to the third round, so after playing in all 80 regular season games, which included topping 200 penalty minutes for the first time, Daneyko totaled and even 100 games played for the season, which would prove to be good training for what lie ahead for the Devils.

Danyeko Red Green

Over the course of the next six seasons Daneyko would play in all but 12 of a possible 488 games which included scoring a career high 6 goals during the 1989-90 season. His solid defensive play and willingness to block shots, as evidenced by his old-school hockey smile lacking any front teeth, made him a favorite with the fans in New Jersey. From 1987 to 1993, Daneyko would top 215 penalty minutes five times in six seasons.

Danyeko No Teeth

At the conclusion of the 1993-94 season, the Devils made another deep playoff run, getting into round three again, which strengthened their resolve for the next season. The next season would have to wait however, as a labor dispute delayed the start of competition until January, cutting the season down to 48 games. After missing 23 of the 48 games, Daneyko was back in time for the playoffs however, as the Devils put it all together and captured the first Stanley Cup in team history by sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four straight.

Daneyko was back to his old self the next two seasons, totaling 80 and 77 games. After going goal-less in 1997-98 because of being limited to a half a season, he rebounded with a full season of 82 games and a pair of goals. It was at this point in his career that he had managed 34 goals in 16 seasons, but began a goal scoring drought in February of 1999 that would eventually stretch to record proportions.

Despite not scoring in 78 games of the 1999-00 season, Daneyko certainly had no regrets, as goal scoring was not his job and the joy of lifting his second Stanley Cup most certainly offset any disappointment of not scoring during the regular season. Daneyko also was named the recipient of the Masterton Trophy in 2000 in recognition of his perseverance in returning to hockey after overcoming his personal issues with alcohol.

Danyeko Masterton

After a second season without lighting the lamp, the Devils returned to the finals, only to fall in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche. The 2001-02 season also passed by with no goals, extending the drought to three seasons plus, which gave Daneyko the record with his 246th consecutive regular season game to surpass Rich Pilon as the record holder.

Entering the 2002-03 season, Daneyko's 20th, people wondered if he would ever score again before calling it a career. The streak finally ended on October 5, 2002 when Daneyko scored from the point with a slap shot against Martin Biron at 17:07 of the first period on a delayed penalty during a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, ending his drought at 255 games, which still stands as the record today.

"You know we're hurting for goals when we ask Daneyko to step up!" John Madden said in the dressing room following the game.

"I've been scoring al lot on Marty (Brodeur) of late in practice," Daneyko said. "I said, 'Jeez, I wish I could do that in a game.' Fortunately, tonight the blind squirrel found an acorn."

Daneyko found the net once again before the end of the season to bring his career goal total up to 36.

That season the Devils again qualified for the postseason, the 14th time in 16 seasons and Daneyko played in the Devils first dozen games, but was left out of the lineup going forward. But when coach Pat Burns needed a spark, Daneyko was back on the ice for the critical Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which the Devils won by a score of 3-0, ending his career on a high note that most players can only dream of, capped off by Burns putting him on the ice for the final shift of the game. He was only one of five players who were on the Devils for all three Stanley Cup championships.

Danyeko Cup

It must be noted however, while Daneyko's goal-less record officially stands at 255 regular season games, he did score during the 2000 playoffs after his first scoreless season, meaning his actual longest drought was more in the neighborhood of 150 actual games, but that's not what goes into the record books. Still, three Stanley Cup championships will make one forget about any number of dubious records.

Having spent his entire career with New Jersey, Daneyko was rewarded with the honor of being only the second player in team history to have his number retired which occurred on March 24, 2006.

Danyeko Number Retirement

He (and his new teeth!) remain with the Devils organization as part of their broadcast team.

Danyeko Teeth

Aside from his 36 NHL goals, his NHL totals are 1,283 games (the Devils all-time leader), 142 assists and 178 points and 2,519 penalty minutes, the vast majority accumulated in the first half of his career, as he never reached 100 minutes during his final seven seasons.

Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 New Jersey Devils Ken Daneyko jersey as worn when he ended his NHL record regular season goal scoring drought. The Devils first adopted this style red and black jersey for the 1992-93 season after wearing their original red and green jerseys for their first ten seasons.

Following the change to their current red and black sweaters, now 20 years ago, the Devils have captured three Stanley Cups, resisted all temptation to introduce a third jersey, have not altered their name and number font even once and insisted they maintain their look during the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys in what is becoming a true league classic along the lines of timeless sweaters worn by the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.

New Jersey Devils 02-03 jersey
New Jersey Devils 02-03 jersey

Today's video section begins with proof that Daneyko was capable of putting the puck in the net despite his record, as he scores during Gam3 1 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals.


This next video is Daneyko's first shift in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, the last game of his career.


We are really, really overdue for some Rick Jeanneret and it's time to rectify that with a good one between Daneyko and Rob Ray, who was very fortunate to have been wearing a helmet.


The softer side of Ken Daneyko, as he competes on the Canadian reality show "Battle of the Blades".

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1984-85 Los Angeles Kings Garry Galley Jersey

After completing his college career for the Bowling Green Falcons from 1981-82 to 1983-84, which included being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1983 and named an NCAA All-American in 1984 after winning the NCAA national championship, Garry Galley made the jump directly to the NHL with the Kings for the 1984-85 season, during which he played 78 games without playing a single game in the minors in-between.

Galley, born on this date in 1963, missed much of the 1985-86 season following a knee injury in early December. He returned to the Kings lineup in mid-February, but was sent down to the New Haven Kighthawks for a week to get back into playing shape, the only four games he would ever spend in the minors! Following his conditioning stint, Galley was recalled by the Kings to play the remainder of the season

Galley Kings photo GalleyKingspurple.jpg

He would return to Los Angeles for the start of the 1986-87 season, but was traded to the Washington Capitals after 30 games with the Kings. After being limited to 48 games in 1986-87 and 58 the following season with Washington, Galley signed with the Boston Bruins as a free agent for the 1988-89 season.

Galley Bruins photo GalleyBruins.jpg

Proving he was more durable than the previous two seasons suggested, Galley would average 77 games a season for the next six seasons. During his second season with the Bruins of 1989-90, Galley would make his only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. After the 1990-91 season with Boston, during which he would play in his first NHL All-Star Game, Galley was traded halfway through the 1991-92 season to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Galley Flyers photo GalleyFlyers.jpg

After finishing the 1991-92 season with the Flyers, he returned for a full season with Philadelphia where he thrived under the Flyers system, scoring a career high 13 goals and setting a new personal best with 62 points, far ahead of his previous high of 38, despite a career high of 115 penalty minutes, also far ahead of his previous high total of 84. He would also finish the season with a +18 rating, all of which caught the eye of Canadian hockey officials, who invited him to take part in his first international competition, the 1993 World Championships.

The following season Galley would eclipse his personal best with a career high of 70 points in 1993-94, which was recognized with his second NHL All-Star Game appearance. He would not finish his fourth season in Philadelphia in 1994-95 thanks to a trade which sent him to the Buffalo Sabres. While the trade to the Sabres affected his offensive numbers, Galley still managed a 54 point campaign in 1995-96. Following that season, he participated in his second World Championships for Canada, winning a silver medal in Austria.

Galley Sabres photo GalleySabres.jpg

After one more season with the Sabres, Galley returned to the Kings as a free agent for three seasons from 1997-98 to 1999-00, which included playing in his 1,000th game late in the 1998-99 season.

Galley Kings photo GalleyKings.jpg

Galley would cross the country once again for this final season in the NHL when he signed with the New York Islanders for the 2000-01 season. His final career totals were 1,149 games played, 125 goals and 475 assists for 600 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1984-85 Los Angeles King Garry Galley jersey as worn during his rookie season in the NHL. Galley bypassed the usual seasoning in the minors before turning professional with Los Angeles, and only a four game conditioning stint due to an injury during his sophomore season prevented him from never playing a game in the minors.

Galley wore an unusually high number of jerseys during his career, as he was with the Kings while they wore purple and gold, the Bruins when they wore their Turn Back the Clock jerseys in 1991-92, the Sabres during the final seasons of their original blue and gold and the change to the black and red era, back to the last of the Kings first black and sliver style and the transition to their new purple and black jerseys in 1998-99 in addition to the styles he worn in Washington, Philadelphia and New York - 20 in all despite playing for only six franchises.

The Kings were founded in the NHL expansion of 1967 and immediately stood out with their brightly colored gold home and purple road jerseys at a time when the most daring colors in the NHL were green and orange. The Kings would adopt this jersey in the template of the Philadelphia Flyers, which is identified by the full length sleeve stripes with wraparound wrist cuffs. The Kings would stick with the purple and gold for 21 seasons before changing their look for 1988 to black and sliver with the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Kings 84-85 jersey photo LosAngelesKings84-85Fjersey.jpg
Los Angeles Kings 84-85 jersey photo LosAngelesKings84-85Bjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Philadelphia Flyers Garry Galley jersey. While Galley wore #3 with the Kings, he was both #12 and #2 with the Capitals and #28 with the Bruins. He was able to return to #3 with the Flyers and Sabres, but finished his career wearing #28 again for the Islanders.

This particular jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch worn by all players during the 1992-93 season, a season in which Galley set a career high at the time with 60 points.

Philadlephia Flyers 92-93 jersey photo PhiladlephiaFlyers92-93Fjersey.jpg
Philadlephia Flyers 92-93 jersey photo PhiladlephiaFlyers92-93Bjersey.jpg

In today's video section, Galley flattens Vancouver's Trevor Linden.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

1992-93 Chicago Blackhawks Jimmy Waite Jersey

Born on this date in 1969, Jimmy Waite played his junior hockey with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 1986-87 and 1987-88. He played 50 games his first season and posted a record of 23-17-3.

During this time he also competed for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships, which included winning a gold medal in 1988 over the Soviet Union in Moscow. At the conclusion of the 1986-87 season he was drafted in the first round, eighth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Waite Blackhawks

With the goaltending situation in Chicago being a crowded one, Alain Chevrier, Ed Belfour and Darren Pang all played 23 games or more, Waite was limited to just 11 games in 1988-89 with the Blackhawks after breaking his collarbone, and played five with Saginaw of the IHL after healing.

Waite needed more playing time, which he received in 1989-90 with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, where, after going 34-14-5 during the regular season, Waite led the Ice to the Turner Cup championship with a 9-1 mark during the playoffs. Waite also suited up for four games with Chicago during the season, who still had an abundance of goalies with Jacques Cloutier, Greg Millen and Chevrier dividing up the bulk of the work.

1990-91 saw Belfour return from his season with the Canadian National Team to dominate the NHL, relegating Waite to the IHL for a second season, where he retained his #1 status, going 26-18-4 in 49 games. Waite managed a single game with Chicago that season, winning in his only start.

As if being behind Belfour on the depth chart was not enough, Domink Hasek had arrived on the scene in Chicago. Still, Waite was called upon to play 17 games with the Blackhawks and divided the rest of his season with Indianapolis and the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

 photo Waite Blackhawks 1992-93.jpg

Waite spent the entire 1992-93 season in the NHL as Belfour's backup, seeing time in 20 games prior to being traded to the San Jose Sharks during the off-season. Once more, Waite was the understudy, this time to workhorse Arturs Irbe.

Waite Sharks

When the 1994-95 season delayed until January due to labor issues, Waite had yet to see any playing time with the Sharks before being dealt back to Chicago in February. It ended up essentially being a lost season for Waite, who played two games with Chicago and four back with Indianapolis.

The same pattern continued for two more seasons with Waite playing the vast majority of his season with the Ice and a few token games with Chicago until being claimed in the waiver draft by the Phoenix Coyotes after eight seasons with Chicago, never playing more than 20 games.

Waite Coyotes

While in Phoenix, Waite was again the number two, and played 17 games in 1997-98 and 16 in 1998-99, a season which also saw him compete for both the Utah Grizzlies and Springfield Falcons in the AHL.

Prior to the 1999-00 season Waite was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but spent the next two seasons with their AHL affiliate in St. John's, where he was the number one, seeing action in 105 games over the next two seasons.

With the NHL portion of his career now at an end, Waite moved to Germany for the 2001-02 season to play for the Essen Mosquitos. After spending the 2002-03 season with the Iserlohn Roosters, Waite found a home with the Ingolstadt Panthers, where he would play for the next six seasons and become a fan favorite, earning the nickname "The Wall".

Waite Ingolstadt

While with Ingolstadt, Waite would be named to the DEL All-Star Game in 2004 and 2007. Additionally, he would earn the DEL Outstanding Goalkeeper Award for three consecutive seasons, from 2003-04 to 2005-06.

His career concluded with a single appearance for the Nuermberg Ice Tigers in the 2009-10 season with a victory.

Waite Ingolstadt

Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Chicago Blackhawks Jimmy Waite jersey. Waite made his NHL debut with Chicago during the 1988-89 season, playing in 11 games while wearing the #30. The Blackhawks goaltending situation was a crowded one that season, with four players seeing significant time in the nets for the club and Waite's time being limited by a broken collarbone.

When he was recalled from Indianapolis during the 1989-90 season, Waite was given an unusual jersey, a vintage Wilson dureen jersey which had been worn back in the 1977-78 season by Cliff Koroll! The Blackhawks, under the thrifty ownership of Bill Wirtz, many of their vintage jerseys were kept and recycled for training camps and call-ups.

This vintage Koroll jersey then had it's #20 changed to #60 and a new, snow white nameplate with Waite's name added to the back for the four games he played that season.

Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 F jersey.jpg
Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 F jersey.jpg
Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1989-90 jersey.jpg
photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Chicago Blackhawks Jimmy Waite jersey. Waite played just a single game in 1990-91, this time wearing the #36. He was back in Chicago for the 1990-91 season, now wearing #29, his fourth different number in four seasons. He would play in 17 games that year, but found himself third on the depth chart behind Belfour and Hasek.

Things were looking uo for Waite in 1992-93, as Hasek was now gone, which allowed Waite to finally spend the entire season in the NHL. While Belfour saw the lion's share of the starts, Waite was able to set a career high with 20 appearances - and was also finally able to wear the same jersey number two years in a row!

Chicago Blackhawks 1992-93 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1992-93 F jersey.jpg
Chicago Blackhawks 1992-93 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1992-93 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1994-95 Chicago Blackhawks Jimmy Waite jersey. Waite was traded to the Sharks for the 1993-94 season, where he continued to wear #29, but before the 1994-95 season could begin due to labor issues, Waite was dealt back to the Blackhawks. Waite only played in two games for Chicago that season, this time wearing #49!

Chicago Blackhawks 1994-95 F jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1994-95 F jersey_2.jpg
Chicago Blackhawks 1994-95 jersey photo Chicago Blackhawks 1994-95 B jersey.jpg

Waite would play in a single game for Chicago in 1995-96 and 2 games in 1996-97, having returned to having the #29 on his back. His eight seasons with Chicago would come to an end after he was claimed in the NHL waiver draft by Phoenix, but not before he wore jerseys 30, 60, 36, 29, 49 and 29 again! That's five different numbers in eight seasons.

So what number would Waite wear in Phoenix? The #28 of course!

Today's video selection is a brief but telling one, showing the fans love of Waite in Ingolstadt.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1960-61 Chicago Black Hawks Stan Mikita Jersey

Stan Mikita's story is unlike probably any other player in the long history of the NHL. Born Stanislaus Gouth in Sokolce, Czechoslovakia in 1940, Mikita's family, fearing the political changes in the late 1940's as the Soviet Union's influence over Eastern Europe grew, sent the eight-year-old Stan, who was unfamiliar with hockey, to live with relatives in Canada just as the Iron Curtain closed and he took the family name Mikita of his aunt.

The Iron Curtain photo IronCurtainmap.png
A map showing Czechoslovakia behind the Iron Curtain

"Hockey was the biggest help in making the adjustment to a new life," Mikita recalled. "I was sitting on the front porch, and eventually I got enough nerve to go down onto the sidewalk to watch. One day they were short a guy, so they motioned for me to come and join them."

"I had no idea how to play hockey, so the first time a guy went around me, I chopped his legs out from under him. I didn't understand a word of English, but one of the older fellows told me, in sign language, "No, we don't play hockey like that." He showed me how to hold the stick and stickhandle. That was my introduction to hockey and where I learned the English language. Needless to say, my vocabulary was limited and included quite a few cusswords."

He made his NHL debut with the Black Hawks in 1958-59 season, becoming the first ever Czechoslovakian-born player in NHL history and scoring his first point and the first of many penalty minutes. He would become a regular the following season, appearing in 67 games, scoring his first NHL goal and racking up 119 penalty minutes, as he employed a rough and feisty style in part due to his smaller size.

"I hadn't completely eliminated the language factor, and kids made fun of me. That made me determined to be better than those kids as a hockey player, but I was also in a lot of scraps. When I got to the NHL in 1959, I was still fighting. My first left-winger was Ted Lindsay, who, at 5 foot 8 inches and 152 pounds, was about my size. I asked Teddy, "You've played 16 years in the league. How did you ever survive?" He answered, "Hit 'em first." I followed that advice and made sure everyone knew that I was tough enough for the NHL," said Mikita.

Stan Mikita rookie card photo MikitaRookiecard.jpg
A Stan Mikita rookie card from 1960

Mikita would improve his game in 1960-61, more than doubling his goal total to 19 and nearly doubling his assist total to 34 for a 27 point increase in points to 53 in 66 games along with another 100 penalty minutes. Following the regular season, he led all goal scorers with six and helped the Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1938.

1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks team photo 1960-61ChicagoBlackhawksteam.jpg
The 1960-61 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks

Another leap in production in 1961-62 saw him in the 20's for goals scored with 25 and 52 assists for 77 points, tied for third overall in the league with Gordie Howe, seven behind Chicago teammate Bobby Hull. While the Black Hawks would not repeat as champions, Mikita had 21 points in 12 playoff games as the Black Hawks again made it to the finals.

After another 76 point season, Mikita would capture his first Art Ross Trophy in 1963-64, leading the league in scoring with a career high 89 points on 39 goals and 50 assists, along with 146 penalty minutes, third overall and just 5 behind the league leader.

Mikita would again lead the league in scoring in 1964-65 with 87 points and 154 penalty minutes plus 10 more points in 14 playoff games as they again reached the finals.

Then an amazing thing happened. Mikita returned home from a road trip and his wife told him that their daughter was watching the last road game on TV and asked "Mommy, why does Daddy spend so much time sitting down?" It was at that point that Mikita thought about how to explain to a three-year-old how her father took a penalty he shouldn't have and was being punished for it. He also figured out where his penalty minutes were coming from and made a conscious decision to eliminate "lazy" penalties such as holding, hooking and tripping, as well as his misconduct penalties and began to play a different style of hockey and keep quiet with the referees.

The results were dramatic.

1965-66 saw a drop in penalty minutes to 58, yet he still managed 78 points, second overall.

Mikita's reinvention of his style continued in 1966-67 as he scored 35 goals and 62 assists tying the single season league record of 97 points to capture his third Art Ross Trophy, yet even more surprising was his mere 12 penalty minutes, 142 less than just two seasons prior, which earned him the Lady Byng Award. Had you suggested such a thing was even possible the first six seasons of his career, you would have been laughed at. Mikita is fond of saying, "I realized that you need an awfully long stick to score from the penalty box." The scoring title, along with reinventing his style in play, resulted in Mikita winning the Hart Trophy as well, the first player to ever win all three trophies in a single season.

Mikita poses with his record setting trio of trophies in 1967

He would repeat the triple trophy feat in 1967-68 with a career high 40 goals, 47 assists for 87 points and just 14 penalty minutes and be named the winner of the Lady Byng, Hart and Art Ross trophies his fourth scoring title in five years.

Although his point total increased the following season to 97, tying his career best, he would finish fourth in the scoring race. The next six seasons Mikita's consistent production saw him average 78 points per season, with none lower than 65. During that time period the Black Hawks would make it to the finals in 1970-71 (18 points in 18 games) and 1972-73 (20 points in 15 games).

It was just prior to the 1972-73 season that Mikita would have a homecoming while part of Team Canada. After completing the grueling Summit Series against the Soviet Union, Team Canada travelled to Prague to play the Czechoslovakian National Team. Mikita was named team captain for the contest, which was the first time he was able to play in front of his parents and siblings.

"The welcome I received from the crowd was the proudest moment in my life," said Mikita.

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Mikita as a member of Team Canada in 1972

During the 1973-74 season, Mikita played in his 1,000th career game in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota North Stars on December 9, 1973. In doing so, Mikita became only the third player to appear in 1,000 games with Chicago. Additionally, on the same date in 1978, Mikita became only the second player in NHL history to register 900 career assists in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

His production would drop from the 80's to the high 50's, partly due to back problems which would eventually cause him to retire on this date in 1980 as the second highest career scoring leader in NHL history, behind only Howe, with 1,467 points from 541 goals and 926 assists in 1,394 games, the 7th most in league history at the time.

His games, assists and points were all Black Hawks records and he would finish his career with 4 Art Ross Trophies, 2 Hart Trophies and 2 Lady Byng Trophies. In addition to his trophy collection, Mikita would appear in nine NHL All-Star Games - 1964, 1967-1969 and 1971 through 1975.

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Mikita played on a line with Howe and Hull in the 1967 All-Star Game

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Slovak Hall of Fame in 2002.

In addition to all his scoring exploits, Mikita was also an innovator of hockey equipment, both intentional in unintentional. Following a concussion in 1972-73, Mikita began wearing a helmet designed especially for him with it's distinctive round crown and even put it into production for others to purchase.


Mikita wearing the Northland Dome helmet

Having even more of an impact on how the game is played, Mikita is credited with the innovation of the curved stick blade in the early 1960's.

"My invention of the curved stick came by accident. One day, I cracked my stick in practice, forming an angle in the blade. I was tired and angry at the thought of climbing the 21 stairs to the dressing room to get another stick. I fired a puck in frustration, and the way it left my stick and the sound it made against the boards caught my attention. Before the stick finally broke, I had taken a half a dozen shots, and each time, it was the same."

"After that, I intentionally bent my stick. I broke a lot before I figured out how to make the wood pliable with heat and soaking. I experimented in practice for a month or two before I used a curved blade in a game."

Handyman Mikita ushering in the curved stick era

The curve gave the puck a fluttering path like a baseball knuckleball, moving unexpectedly. Once put into use by Mikita and teammate Bobby Hull, and combined with Hull's notoriously hard slapshot, the curved stick blade quickly became adapted league wide and by 1963 rules were put in place to limit the amount of the curvature to lessen the effect.

Apparently not everyone agrees with this rule...


Today's featured jersey is a 1960-61 Chicago Black Hawks Stan Mikita jersey from the early days of his career. This sweater has the trappings of a 1950's style with the lace-up collar, one color numbers and no name on the back. This was the first variation where the secondary logo of the C with the crossed tomahawks were above the sleeve numbers rather than overlapping the arm stripes and below the sleeve numbers.

This indian head logo sweater, so revered today and often topping Best Jersey Lists, came into being in the 1955-56 season, replacing the previous style which had a small indian head of a different design contained in a circle logo. The 1955-56 version had no sleeve numbers and a slightly different main crest design before the logo changed to today's more familiar version and sleeve numbers were added in 1957-58. Note today's jersey has two sleeve stripes and long black cuffs, which were changed to three stripes to match the waist striping for the 1963-64 season.

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Chicago Black Hawks 1959-60 jersey photo ChicagoBlackHawks1959-60Bjersey.png

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1973-74 Chicago Black Hawks Stan Mikita jersey from the season in which he played his 1,000th game. This was the first season that the Black Hawks numbers were two colors, previously being one color white numbers. The Black Hawks would not being using names on the back of their jerseys until 1977.


We hope you have some time on your hands today, as we mine a rich vein of video about Stan Mikita and his lengthy career.

First up, highlights of the 1961 Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 where Mikita assisted on the game winning goal, the first Stanley Cup won by the Black Hawks in 38 years and the only one of Mikita's career.


Here is an interview with Mikita who discusses the creation of the helmet he wore and the incident that led to the development of the curved stick and gives you a glimpse of his self-depreciating sense of humor.


Next is a nice career retrospective on Mikita.


In one of the nicer stories in hockey of the last few seasons, here is Mikita talking about rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks family as an ambassador for the team followed by the long overdue Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita Night.



For further viewing, this two part profile of Mikita from 1995 is also recommended. Part One. Part Two.

Finally, for fan's of the movie Wayne's World, no one should be without their own Stan Mikita's Donuts t-shirt.

 

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