Monday, April 27, 2015

1997-98 St. Louis Blues Geoff Courtnall Jersey

On this date in 1998, the Los Angeles Kings hosted the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals with the Blues leading the series 2-0 after a pair of games in St. Louis.

Ian Laperriere opened the scoring for the Kings when he beat St. Louis goaltender Grant Fuhr with assists from Ray Ferraro and Steve McKenna at 11:01.

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The Kings celebrate Laperriere's goal

Yanic Perreault extended the Kings lead to 2-0 when he converted a pass from Luc Robitaille with just nine seconds remaining in the first period with Al MacInnis in the penalty box for St. Louis for holding the stick.

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Yanic Perreault scored the Kings second goal

At 11:03 of the second period the Kings Sean O'Donnell scored from Robitaille and Aki Berg to give the Kings a three goal lead. The period would end with no further scoring and the shots on goal after two periods at 27-20 in favor of the Blues with Kings goalie Jamie Storr turing aside all 27 St. Louis shots.

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Storr held St. Louis scoreless through two periods

Shortly after the third period got underway the Kings Vladimir Tsyplakov was sent off for tripping at 1:42, but Storr and the Kings successfully killed off the Blues man advantage.

Craig Conroy of the Blues took an elbowing penalty at 5:07 for the Blues followed 45 seconds later by teammate Chris Pronger being sent off for slashing, giving the Kings a two-man advantage for 1:45. Fuhr and the Blues were able to not only kill off the 5-on-3, but the remaining time in Pronger's minor, keeping the score 3-0 for Los Angeles.

The game changed at the 8:34 mark when penalties were handed out to Geoff Courtnall of St. Louis for running Storr, Laperriere of the Kings for boarding and O'Donnell of the Kings received a rare, lone fighting major for going after Courtnall with fists blazing plus a game misconduct while Courtnall never even received so much as a roughing minor to go along with his charging penalty. The end result was a full five minute five on four power play for St. Louis.

The Blues were able to convert their advantage into a goal when Pascal Rheaume broke Storr's shutout bid at 9:59 when he knocked in a rebound with assists from MacInnis and Pronger with 3:35 still remaining on O'Donnell's major.

Just over a minute later at 11:03, Blues sniper Brett Hull scored from and nice cross-crease pass from Jim Campbell and Pronger to make the score 3-2 for Los Angeles, but with 2:31 still left in the Blues man advantage.

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Brett Hull

Pierre Turgeon then tied the game at 3-3 just 56 seconds later on a deflection, again from MacInnis and Pronger passing the puck from point to point before firing the puck toward the slot, which was Pronger's third assist in exactly two minutes of play.

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Pierre Turgeon tied the game at 3-3

With the Kings now back on their heels, the Blues attacked with 1:35 still remaining on their power play. Terry Yake then stunned the already silent Kings fans when he scored at 13:06 with assists from Steve Duchesne and MacInnis to put the Blues ahead 4-3 after they were trailing 3-0 just a little over three minutes earlier. Like Pronger, it was MacInnis' third assist on the same power play, only his took an additional 1:07 to accomplish.

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Terry Yake scored the record setting and
game winning goal for the Blues

The Blues four power play goals arrived in 3:07 to set an NHL record for the Fastest Four Power Play Goals in league history.

There would be no additional scoring in the contest, as Yake's goal stood as the game winner for the Blues to give them a 3-0 series lead.

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The Blues celebrate their stunning come from behind victory

The Kings would not recover from their stunning turnaround defeat in Game 3 and would go on to lose Game 4 and the series by a score of 2-1 two nights later, only this time with Stephane Fiset in goal.

Today's featured jersey is a 1997-98 St. Louis Blues Geoff Courtnall jersey as worn during the Blues record setting game in Los Angeles when he ran the Kings goaltender Storr, which resulted in a five minute power play for the Blues when O'Donnell went after Courtnall.

The Blues added a little red trim to their look in 1984. but it really became a large part of their new look in 1995, particularly the road blue jerseys, where the bottom third of the jersey and the sleeve ends became large areas of red, not just a minor trim color.

The multiple stripes across the torso were meant to convey the musical staff. The stripes were oriented diagonally, which was influenced by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim's first jerseys from 1993-94, which led to diagonal striping being used by St. Louis, Calgary and Washington in 1995.

This jersey was used for three seasons until being replaced by their sharp new alternate in 1998-99.

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St Louis Blues 1997-98 jersey photo St Louis Blues 1997-98 B jersey.jpg

In today's video section, Courtnall clobbering Storr, which set off O'Donnell and led to the Blues five minute power play.

Next footage of the Blues record setting power play, during which they scored four goals in 3:07 to steal the game from the Kings.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

1966-67 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr Jersey

Although Bobby Orr was signed by the Boston Bruins at the age of just 14 (prior to the implementation of the NHL Draft), league rules at the time dictated that he could not play in the NHL until turning 18. He bided his time playing for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League and, in his final season in junior hockey, scored 94 points in 47 games, an average of two points per game, an unheard of average for a defenseman.

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Orr had first came up to the Bruins in 1966, and simply revolutionized the position of defense with his end to end rushes and attacks, previously unheard of by players of his position. He benefitted from playing in Boston Garden, where the rink was 9 feet shorter than a standard rink, getting him from one end of the ice to the other that much faster.

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Orr, wearing #27 during his first NHL training camp

Orr would win the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year on this date in 1967 after scoring 41 points in 61 games during his first season with the Bruins . He would miss nine games late in the season with a knee injury, foreshadowing the injury problems that would plague his career. Prior to Orr's arrival, the Bruins had missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons and, while they would not make the post-season during Orr's rookie season, they would make the playoffs in every subsequent season of his career in Boston.

Bobby Orr Rookie
Bobby Orr during the 1966-67 season

Despite only playing in 46 games of the 1967-68 season, Orr would win the first of eight consecutive Norris Trophies. Back on track in 1968-69, he would play in 67 games and top 20 goals for the first time with 21 and total 64 points.

Orr would explode the following season, scoring 33 goals and adding a whopping 87 assists to total 120 points, six short of the league record and become the first and only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring, which would net him the Art Ross Trophy. Additionally, he was named the winner of the Hart Trophy as league MVP. The Bruins would advance through the playoffs, eventually winning the Stanley Cup when Orr scored the cup winning goal in overtime of Game 4, which was captured in an iconic photograph of Orr flying through the air like a superhero in celebration. 

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Following the playoffs, he would be named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy, making him the first player to win four major NHL awards in the same season.

Orr SI cover, Orr SI cover

He would top that mark in 1970-71 with an astounding 139 points, still the all-time record for a defenseman nearly 40 years later. In comparison, the first modern offensive defenseman Doug Harvey's top offensive season was in 1956-57 when he scored 50 points on 6 goals and 44 assists and his highest ever goal total was merely 9 in 1957-58 in comparison to Orr's top season of 46 and five separate seasons of more than 30.

His 139 points included a league leading 102 assists, 26 more than the next closest player, and earned him a second place finish in the scoring race behind Bruin's teammate Phil Esposito while winning the Hart Trophy for the second time. Orr would record a plus-minus rating of +124 that season, an NHL record that still stands today.

After the Bruins Stanley Cup triumph at the conclusion of the 1971-72 season, Orr underwent knee surgery on June 6, removing several bits of cartilage and some bone spurs, causing him to miss the Summit Series with the Soviet Union in September. Once healed from the surgery, Orr was healthy enough to play in 63 games of the 1972-73 season, which included setting a new NHL record for career points by a defenseman, passing Harvey's 540 points in 1,113 games.

Orr Stanley Cup photo OrrStanleyCup.jpg

Orr went on to surpass the 100 point mark for the fourth of six consecutive seasons with 29 goals and 72 assists for 101 points, finishing second in team scoring to Esposito. Orr would play in the NHL All-Star Game and would win the Norris Trophy for the sixth of eight times.

The Bruins would return to the finals in 1973-74 following a regular season in which Orr would score 32 goals and 90 assists for 122 points followed by another 18 points in 16 playoff games.

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Orr in 1973-74

Orr would once again win the NHL scoring race in 1974-75, capturing the Ross Trophy for the second time after a career high 46 goals, becoming the first defenseman to ever score 40 goals, combined with 89 assists for 135 points. He would be named to the NHL First All-Star Team for the eighth consecutive season, win his eighth consecutive Norris Trophy, play in his seventh NHL All-Star Game and win his first Lester B. Pearson Award.

His multiple knee surgeries would catch up to him, limiting him to only 10 games of the 1975-76 season. While essentially playing on one knee, Orr would compete for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup, earning rave reviews and being named tournament MVP in the last hurrah of his storied career.

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Orr playing the last great hockey of his career during the 1976 Canada Cup

A move to the Chicago Black Hawks followed for the next two seasons but he totaled just 26 games and 27 points in 1976-77 and 1978-79.

His final career totals are 657 games played, 270 goals and 645 assists for 915 points after ten seasons in Boston and the two in Chicago. At the time of his retirement, Orr was the leading defenseman in NHL history in goals, assists and points. The only players who have averaged more points per game than Orr are Wayne GretzkyMario Lemieux and Mike Bossy - all forwards.

Orr's speed, acceleration and creative offensive ability, combined with his toughness and defensive skills revolutionized the position of defense and changed the game forever. He also moved beyond the world of hockey, becoming a mainstream celebrity in the United States.

Orr advertisement, Orr advertisement

While we have given you a brief overview of the game-changing career of Bobby Orr, entire books are devoted to his career and the impact he had on the NHL, and we here at Third String Goalie recommend Searching for Bobby Orr.

Today's featured jersey is a 1966-67 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr jersey as worn during Orr's rookie season. The origins of this jersey can be traced all the way back to 1939-40 when the Bruins jerseys first had the gold shoulders with the black trim. The first version of the spoked B logo arrived in 1948-49, changing to the block black B the following season.  This pattern of sleeve stripes was first used in 1951-52 with the width becoming narrower in 1958-59. This style remained in use through Orr's rookie season of 1966-67 before an entirely new style arrived for his sophomore season of 1967-68.

When purchasing a Bobby Orr Bruins jersey, please be aware that Orr did not wear his name on the back of any Boston Bruins jersey during his career, with the only exception being when they were temporarily added for national TV games, as was the practice back then. Quite often Orr jerseys are sold on ebay or other online stores with his name incorrectly on the back of the jersey, as if his iconic #4 wasn't enough.

Even during Orr's first season in Chicago no names were used on the back, making just the final six games of his career with the Black Hawks in 1978-79, a sad and unfortunate end to a great career and not exactly worthy of recreating for your collection, and the 1976 Canada Cup the few times Orr regularly wore his name on the back of a jersey outside of the NHL All-Star Game.

Boston Bruins 67-68 jersey
Boston Bruins 67-68 jersey

While we could post 100 videos of Orr in action, but believe this one captures the dominance of Orr's game. Simply amazing what a complete player he was.

Next is the Legends of Hockey profile of Bobby Orr which includes footage of his famous Stanley Cup winning goal, scored on this day in 1970.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux Jersey

The Pittsburgh Penguins completed the 1988-89 season in second place in the Norris Division with a 40-33-7 record, good for 87 points. They swept the New York Rangers in four games of the opening round of the playoffs to advance to face the Philadelphia Flyers (36-36-8; 80 points), who had upset the division winning Washington Capitals (92 pts.) in six games.

Prior to the playoffs, despite missing four games, Mario Lemieux set personal records for goals (85), assists (114) and points on his way to the NHL scoring title, easily outdistancing Wayne Gretzky 199 points to 168. Additionally, his 85 goals were the third most of all-time and he became the third player ever to reach 100 assists in a season. He also scored 13 shorthanded goals that season to set a new NHL record. Despite all that, the most remarkable achievement of Lemieux's stellar 1988-89 season was joining the exclusive 50 goals in 50 games club, only the fifth player at the time to achieve the feat first accomplished by the famed Rocket Richard when he scored his 50th of the season in his 46th game.

Also during the same season, Lemieux had one of the most remarkable nights in NHL history on New Year's Eve in 1988 when he scored five goals - in five different ways! He started the night with an even strength goal and followed it with one shorthanded, on the power play, a penalty shot and capped off his amazing night with an empty net goal.

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Lemieux celebrates his remarkable five goals on New Year's Eve

Game 1 of the series went to Pittsburgh 4-3 at home, but the Flyers countered with a 4-2 win in Game 2 on the road. The Penguins returned the favor, taking Game 3 in Philadelphia after 12 minutes of overtime by a score of 4-3. The Flyers responded with a 4-1 win in Game 4 to even the series as the teams headed back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on this date in 1989.

Tom Barrasso got the start in goal for the Penguins while Ron Hextall was the starter for Philadelphia.

Lemieux opened the scoring with his 7th goal of the playoffs at 2:15 with assists from Paul Coffey and Kevin Stevens at even strength. Just 1:30 later Lemieux would strike again at 3:45 from Bob Errey and Coffey, again at even strength for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Lemieux then completed his natural hat trick in four minutes and 40 seconds at 6:55 on the power play from John Cullen to put the Penguins up 3-0.

Errey made it 4-0 Pittsburgh 7:07 before Philadelphia got on the board to give them a glimmer of hope at 11:45. Lemieux then tied an NHL record when he scored his fourth goal of the first period, again on the power play, at 17:09 from Dan Quinn on a wraparound into an unguarded net after he stole the puck from Flyers goaltender Hextall, sending the home fans into a frenzy. Just 35 seconds later Troy Loney made the score a remarkable 6-1 for the Penguins after just one period.

Despite giving up 6 goals in the first period, Hextall came out to start the second period, which was more of the same, with the teams combining for five more goals. A mere six seconds into the second period, Pelle Eklund converted a power play opportunity into the second Flyers goal, but Stevens countered for the Penguins just 1:37 later from Coffey and Lemieux at even strength. 

At 9:07, Brian Propp beat Barrasso, but yet again Pittsburgh responded quickly when Rob Brown lit the lamp to restore the Penguins five goal lead at 10:35 from Lemieux and Zarley Zalapski. Brown then made the score 9-3 at 12:55 from Lemeiux and Coffey. It was Lemeiux's third assist of the period to give him 7 points on the night - so far - and resulted in Hextall mercifully being pulled after giving up his ninth goal of the game, but not before the fiery Flyers netminder was given a 10 minute misconduct penalty. Brian Dobbin of Philadelphia then received a match penalty for attempt to injure Cullen during their fight at 17:03. 

The Flyers let the Penguins know they were not going to quit when they scored a shorthanded goal at 48 seconds and then tried to make a game of it by scoring at 10:21, 13:02 on the power play and finally another one 17:23 to close the gap to a worrisome 9-7.

Hoping to pull off the miraculous comeback, Philadelphia pulled goaltender Ken Wregget, but Lemieux sealed the 10-7 victory for Pittsburgh with his fifth goal of the night at 19:23.

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Lemieux's hat trick in the opening seven minutes was just the beginning

The Flyers then began the "message sending" of the era with the game now out of hand with a fight at 19:44 and an all-out line brawl with only nine seconds remaining which included all the players on the ice, including the Flyers goaltender Ken Wregget, who got involved to keep the numbers even, as Philadelphia was shorthanded from the previous altercation. In all, there were six fighting majors, three misconducts, two roughing, three slashing plus single elbowing and charging penalties all in the last 16 seconds in addition to Wregget being tagged for leaving his crease.

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Lemieux tied NHL records for Most Goals in a Playoff Game (5) held by Newsy Lalonde (1919), Richard (1944), Darryl Sittler (1976) and Reggie Leach (1976) and Most Points in a Playoff Game (8) as well as most goals in one period in a playoff game (4 in the first period) and most assists in a period in a playoff game (3 in the second period) that night.

In the 71 year history of the NHL, 8 points in a playoff game  had only been accomplished once prior, that by Patrik Sundstrom just the year before Lemieux. No one has since equalled Lemieux's records of 5 goals or 8 points in a playoff game a quarter century later.

The eight point night was the third of Lemieux's season, as he put up eight in the fourth game of the season and again on New Year's Eve, the aforementioned night he scored goals in five different ways. Lemieux remains the only player in NHL history to have scored eight points in a game three separate times, a feat he accomplished in a single season! It also remained the last time anyone scored eight in a game for 23 years until Sam Gagner managed the feat in 2012 and ranks second all-time for most points in an NHL game behind Sittler's 10.

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey worn on the memorable night during which he scored a record tying 5 goals and 8 points during a single playoff game.

This was the first season for this particular lettering style on the Penguins jerseys with the names on the back now changing to a sans-serif block font. In addition, the font for the numbers changed slightly to a thicker font for the back numbers with the sleeve numbers becoming noticeably more squarish when compared to the previous style.


Today's video section takes a look at the Penguins - Flyers playoff series in 1989, which includes Lemeiux's historic eight point night in Game 5. Ah, Michael, Michael motorcycle!

Here is Brown scoring the Penguins 9th goal of the game, which sets off the always tightly-wound Hextall. Lemieux's assist was his 7th point of the game.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1903 Ottawa Silver Seven Harry Westwick Jersey

Accompished at both lacrosse and hockey, Harry "Rat" Westwick was born on this date in 1876 amd earned his derisive nickname when a journalist covering a rival club from Quebec called him a "miserable, insignificant rat".

He played junior hockey for the Ottawa Aberdeens in 1893 before joining the senior level, fledgling Ottawa Hockey Club for the 1894-95 season. The club had been formed in 1893, but hockey was in such a state of infancy at the time that they were the first club in all of Ontario, and as such, had no opponents to play against!

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The 1895 Ottawa Hockey Club

Westwick actually started as the club's goaltender for his first pair of games, a win and a loss. Westwick would score his first goal for the club that season after being moved up to the rover position after his quick skating ability was recognized.

During the summer he played lacrosse for the Ottawa Capitals, who were accused of paying their players. Those accusations got Westwick suspended from the hockey club. He denied the charges and was reinstated. Eventually, he would play in 8 games of the 1895-96 season, scoring 8 goals. He would play another 8 games in 1896-97, scoring 6 goals that season. After scoring a single goal in five games of the 1897-98 season, accusations of player payments once again arose, the Westwick would again be suspended by the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union.

Westwick returned to the Ottawa Hockey Club for the 1900-01 season with his scoring touch still intact, as he registered 6 goals in 7 games that season for eighth overall in the Canadian Amateur Hockey League. The 1901-02 season saw him hit double digits for the first time, scoring 11 goals in 8 games to lead the club in scoring and finish third overall in the CAHL.

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The 1901 Ottawa Hockey Club,
known in it's early days as the Generals

For the 1902-03 season, Westwick contributed 6 goals in 6 games, as Ottawa finished tied atop the standings with the Montreal Victorias at 6-2, which necessitated a playoff. The first game ended tied at 1-1, but Ottawa stormed to an 8-0 victory in Game 2 to lay claim to the first Stanley Cup in team history. Two days after earning the rights to the cup for surpassing the Victorias as CAHL champions, the Ottawa Hockey Club would have to defend their new trophy against the Rat Portage Thistles, who they easily defeated 6-2 and 4-2 for a 10-4 win in the two-game, total goals series.

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The 1903 holders of the Stanley Cup - the Ottawa Hockey Club

The Ottawa Hockey Club players would each receive a silver nugget for their championship, which quickly led to the team becoming known as the Ottawa Silver Seven. While Westwick was limited to only two games of the 1903-04 regular season, he would score 5 goals. The Silver Seven would controversially leave the CAHL during the season, but the trustees of the cup ruled that it belonged to Ottawa and not the eventual winners of the CAHL.

During the early part of the CAHL season, Ottawa would defend the cup from a challenge made by the Winnipeg Rowing Club. Westwick led Ottawa with 4 goals during their opening 9-1 win. Winnipeg rebounded with a 6-2 win in Game 2, although Westwick had one of the two Ottawa goals. They then retained the Stanley Cup with a 2-0 win in the decisive Game 3.

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Harry "Rat" Westwick in the barberpole stripes that would become Ottawa's trademark jersey for over 30 seasons after being adopted in 1903. It's difficult to tell in black and white photos, but the upper half of the dark stripe is red, while the lower half is black.

1904 would also see the end of Westwick's lacrosse career, which began in 1896, and included three world championships with the Ottawa Capitals club, the final one coming in 1901.

Ottawa became members of the Federal Amateur Hockey League for 1904-05, Westwick's finest, as he set a career high with 15 goals in 6 games, placing third in league scoring. Following Ottawa's league championship, they took part in the most famous Stanley Cup challenge ever, as the Dawson City Nuggets traveled 4,000 miles from the Yukon, a journey which took a month and included travel by dog sled, bicycle, several hundred miles on foot, steamship and eventually a train. Game 1 went to the champion Silver Seven 9-2 with Westwick contributing 2 goals before Game 2 turned into a farce, with mighty Ottawa winning 23-2 with Westwick adding 5 goals to teammate Frank McGee's 14.

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The 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven with Westwick standing in the upper left

For the 1905-06 the CAHL and the FAHL came together to form a new league, which was named the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. During the ECAHA season, The Silver Seven defended the cup with a pair of dominating 16-7 and 12-7 wins over Queen's University in late February, with Westwick scoring four during the first game. Just prior to the end of the regular season, another challenge from Smiths Falls was turned away after a 6-5 and an 8-2 win game them a two game sweep in their best-of-three series.

The ECAHA season ended with the Silver Seven and the Montreal Wanderers tied with 9-1 records, setting up a championship playoff with the cup on the line. A 9-1 win in Game 1 gave Montreal a huge advantage in their two-game, total goals series. Still, Ottawa fought back in Game 2. While the Wanderers scored the first goal of the game, three Ottawa goals cut the deficit to 10-4. After another Ottawa goal to open the second half, Westwick scored twice to narrow the margin to 10-7. Three straight goals by Harry Smith evened the series at 10-10, leading to a five minute standing ovation by the home fans. Smith was then penalized and sent off for the remainder of the game and Lester Patrick scored the game winner for Montreal with a minute and a half left to play before adding another with just seconds remaining to end the three year long Ottawa stranglehold on the Stanley Cup which lasted from March 10, 1903 through March 8, 1906 and included the successful defense of nine challenges.

Westwick scored 14 goals in the 9 games of the 1906-07 season for Ottawa, and then their season concluded, he joined the Kenora Thistles for their final regular season game and then participated in their Stanley Cup defense versus the Wanderers.

For the 1907-08 season, Westwick was back with the Senators, scoring 10 goals in 10 games before one final season of play in 1908-09, scoring 3 more goals in 6 games played.

He would total 92 goals in 93 regular season games as well as 25 more goals in 24 playoff and Stanley Cup challenge games. Westwick was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963, giving him the last laugh over the journalist who dubbed him a "miserable, insignificant rat".

Today's featured jersey is a 1903 Ottawa Silver Seven Harry Westwick jersey with the Senators trademark black, red and white horizontal "barberpole" stripes. This style of jersey was first adopted in 1903, and except for one season with vertical stripes in 1910-11, remained in use through the original Senators final season in Ottawa of 1933-34, with the addition of the letter "O" crest from 1929-30 on.

Harry Westwick Senators photo Westwick 1903 Ottawa Silver Seven.jpg

1973-74 Chicago Black Hawks Tony Esposito Jersey

While not as numerous as the Sutters or Plagers, as flashy as the Bures, identical as the Sedins, offensively gifted as as a pair as the Richards, as highly paid as the Staals or as clandestine as the Stastnys, no other pair of brothers are as accomplished as the Esposito brothers.

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Phil and Tony Esposito

Phil, the older by two years was a two time Stanley Cup champion, five time Art Ross Trophy, two time Hart Trophy, two time Lester Pearson Trophy and Lester Patrick Trophy winner. He was a 10 time NHL All-Star, had his #7 retired by the Boston Bruins and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. Phil retired as the second leading scorer in NHL history and holder of the single season goal scoring record with 76.

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Phil poses with the Stanley Cup in 1970

Tony Esposito, born on this date in 1943, was two years younger than Phil, played college hockey for Michigan Tech University where he was a three time All-American and backstopped the Huskies to the 1965 NCAA championship.

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Tony with the MacNaughton Cup

He first played in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens when both Gump Worsely and Rogie Vachon were injured and saw action in 13 games, including giving up a pair of goals to his brother Phil during his very first game!

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Tony during his early days trying to crack the Canadiens linuep

After being returned to the minors, he was called up during the playoffs when Worsley was again hurt and was part of the Canadiens Stanley Cup winning team.

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The Canadiens, deep in goaltending, left Esposito unprotected in the waiver draft, where he was claimed by the Chicago Black Hawks, where he immediately set a modern NHL record with 15 shutouts, still and NHL rookie record, and a career high 38 wins on the way to being named the winner of the Calder Trophy as well as his first Vezina Trophy.

During his second season, he would guide the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup Finals. The following season of 1971-72 saw Esposito earn his second Vezina Trophy on the basis of nine shutouts and a goals against average (GAA) of 1.77.

Prior to the start of the 1972-73 season, Esposito was named to Team Canada and was the first goalie to defeat the Soviet Union. He finished the Summit Series with a win in Game 2, a tie in Game 3, a loss in Game 5 and a victory in Game 7, as Team Canada, led offensively and emotionally by his brother Phil came back to defeat the Soviets 4-3-1 in the dramatic Game 8.

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Esposito defending Canada's goal against Valeri Kharlamov

The Black Hawks, despite the departure of Bobby Hull to the WHA, returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1972 as Tony posted a 32-17-7 record, one of eight seasons with 30 wins or more.

1973-74 saw "Tony O" hit double digits in shutouts for the second time in his career with ten on his way to a 2.04 GAA and another Vezina Trophy, one of just eight goalies to win the Vezina catching right-handed.

Over the course of the next seven seasons, Esposito would continue his consistent play, appearing in between 66 and 69 games and winning between 24 and 31 times, as the Black Hawks won several division titles but failed to find playoff success.

In 1981, he became a naturalized American citizen and competed in goal for the United States in the 1981 Canada Cup.

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The final three seasons of his career saw his number of games played decline from 52 to 39 to 18 in his final season of 1983-84, but he would record his sixth playoff shutout on this date, his birthday, in 1982 with a 2-0 win over rivals the St. Louis Blues.

Esposito, who originally wore #29 with Montreal, was the first NHL goalie to officially wear the #35, which was assigned to him in training camp due to the traditional goalie numbers 1 and 30 already being assigned. Following a shutout in his first ever exhibition game, he stuck with 35, making it an iconic number for goaltenders for decades to come.

Aside from becoming known for his #35, Esposito is also instantly recognized for his immediately recognizable goalie mask and stance. His mask would later have the addition of protective bars on the front, a precursor to today's hybrid mask worn by nearly all goaltenders at all levels.


Esposito retired in 1985 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and saw his #35 retired by the Blackhawks on this date later that same year, November 20, 1988.

Today's featured jersey is a 1973-74 Chicago Black Hawks Tony Esposito jersey as worn the year in which he won his second Vezina Trophy. This jersey sports the now iconic #35, pioneered by Esposito and adopted by goaltenders all throughout the 1970's, 80's and 90's such as Tom Barasso, John Sebastian-Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin (who originally wore #53 when he joined the Blackhawks), Henrik Lundqvist, Andy Moog, Evgeni Nabokov, Mike Richter, Tommy Salo, Tim Thomas and Marty Turco among many others.

This was the first season for the numbers to have red trim. Names would not arrive on the backs of the jerseys until 1977-78.

 photo ChicagoBlackhawks1973-74jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a Team Canada 1972 Tony
Esposito jersey as worn during the Summit Series, an eight game exhibition series which featured the best Canadian professionals against the best of the
Soviet Union for the first time, as prior to the Summit Series, the best Canadians were not allowed to compete in the amateur only Olympics or World

These heavily patriotic jerseys for were only worn for the Summit Series with
their overszed maple leaf design covering the lower portion of the jersey, while the later Canada Cup jerseys, first worn in 1976, had a similar but different
diagonally bisected maple leaf design.

Player names were not worn on the back, and in their place all members of the roster had "CANADA" emblazoned across their backs just in case the Soviets
forgot who they were up against!

Canada 1972 Esposito jersey photo Canada1972Espositojersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1974 NHL All-Star Game Tony Esposito jersey from the fifth of five consecutive and six total All-Star Games Esposito would play in, which was played in Chicago in front of Esposito's home fans.

This was the first year for this new style which would remain in use through 1981, but was replaced by a more simple style in 1979 for the two game Challenge Cup Series against the Soviet Union.

NHL All-Star 1974  jersey photo NHLAll-Star1974Fjersey.jpg
 photo NHLAll-Star1974Bjersey.jpg

Today's video section begins with a tribute to Tony Esposito by the Chicago Black Hawks from "Tony Esposito Night" in Chicago on March 19, 2008 as the Blackhawks honored Tony and welcomed him back into the Black Hawks family.

Here is the ceremony, in two parts, to honor Esposito on "Tony Esposito Night".

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Top Twenty Names in Hockey History

Here is the Top Twenty Names in Hockey History, as chosen by the staff of Third String Goalie.

Don't agree? Send us your favorites in the comments below!
Top Twenty Names in Hockey History

20. Lou Franceschetti
19. Chico Maki
18. Branko Radivojevic
17. Lucien DeBlois (DEB Low Wah)
16. Maxim Afinogenov
15. Ilkka Sinisalo
14. Tony Twist
13. Pekka Rinne
12. Frank St. Marseille
11. Peter Sidorkiewicz
10. Kari Takko
9. Bubba Berenzweig
8. Sheldon Kannegiesser
7. Radek Bonk
6. Ron Tugnutt
5. Parris Duffus
4. Valeri Zelepukin
3. Per Djoos (pron: Pear Juice)
2. Hakan Loob
And, without a doubt, the greatest name in hockey history, Zarley Zalapski, was born on this date in 1968.

Following two seasons of junior hockey Zalapski played three seasons for the Canadian National Team, then a season long proposition which many players used as a stepping stone to the NHL.

Zalapski Canada, Zalapski Canada
1986-87 Canadian National Team

He was drafted fourth overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut following the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. He would play four seasons for the Penguins, playing a high of 66 games before being traded near the end of the 1990-91 season and just missing out on the Penguins run to the Stanley Cup.

1987-88 Pittsburgh Penguins

1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins

Notice the changes in the customization in the Penguins jerseys from Zalapski's rookie year to his sophomore season. The name on the back is thinner and without serifs, the number changes font and the sleeve numbers move from the shoulders down to the arms.

The Penguins dealt Zalapski to the Hartford Whalers as part of the Ron Francis trade, a move that saw Zalapski see an increase in playing time and career highs in points as a result. The defenseman's only 20 goal season of his career came in 1991-92 followed by a 65 point campaign the following season while wearing the Whalers green jerseys.

1990-91 Hartford Whalers

Prior to Zalapski's final season in Hartford, they would change to their new modernized jerseys, which featured blue road jerseys rather than the traditional green.

1993-94 Hartford Whalers jersey

Traded once more, Zalapski was on the move, this time north of the border to Calgary to join the Flames. Once in Calgary, he would find his customary #3 already in use by Frantisek Musil and adopt the #33 while skating for the Flames. He would play in five seasons with the Flames, although he would miss all but two games of the 1996-97 season with a knee injury suffered in practice.

1993-94 Calgary Flames

Zalapski played a more defensive role in Calgary, as he would never again approach the offensive numbers he achieved while in Pittsburgh and especially Hartford. Zalapski also was present for yet another uniform change, as the Flames finally moved away from their traditional jerseys, which remained unchanged, save for the crest, even after their relocation from Atlanta.

The bold new sweaters featured the addition of a shot of black, reminiscent of the change the Minnesota North Stars made in 1981, where the restrained use of black added to the jersey, rather than taking over, such as what the North Stars succumed to in 1991. The main feature of the new design was the arresting diagonal multi-stripe on the front of the jerseys, which originated just below the main crest and shot off in the direction of the right hip. These bold jerseys would remain in use for three seasons before becoming dated.

1994-95 Calgary Flames

After five seasons in Calgary, Zalapski was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in a deal which brought Valeri Bure to Calgary. His stay in Montreal was brief, playing there for only the second half of the 1997-98 season. Now back in his customary #3 Zalapski would have the honor of wearing the classic "bleu, blanc et rouge" sweater of the storied Canadiens.

1997-98 Montreal Canadiens

The 1998-99 season would see Zalapski's first foray into European hockey with an abbreviated season of just 11 games with the ZSC Lions in Zurich, Switzerland. He returned to North America for the 1999-00 season, which included time with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the IHL for seven games before spending the majority of the season with the Utah Grizzlies, also of the IHL and a return to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers for 12 games.

1999-00 Philadelphia Flyers

His time in Philadelphia would be the conclusion of Zalapski's NHL career, which would finish with 637 games played with five teams, 99 goals and 285 assists for 384 points and one All-Star Game appearance in 1993.

He would begin the 2000-01 season with the Houston Aeros of the IHL for nine games before returning to Europe, this time with the Munich Barons of the German DEL.

2000-01 Munich Barons

A new season meant another new country, as the former NHL All-Star found himself with HC Merano of the Italian league for 26 games. Zalapski began to apparently "dabble" in hockey at this point, playing seven games with IF Bjorkloeven Umea in the Swedish second division in 2002-03, no hockey at all in 2003-04 and 11 games with the Kalamazoo Wings in the UHL in 2004-05.

The 2005-06 season saw a total of just 16 split between three clubs, EHC Visp in the Swiss second division, Innsbrucker EV in Austria and SC Rapperswill-Jona Lakers in the Swiss top division. He suited up for just five games in all of 2006-07 with EHC Chur in the Swiss second division leaving behind a trail of lightly used game worn jerseys in his wake!

2007-08 saw a more serious effort with 33 games for EHC Biel-Bienne, still in the Swiss second division and a move to EHC Olten for a 34 game season and one of the more unique team logos in the world of hockey.

2008-09 EHC Olten
photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

Zalapski continues to play 22 years after his NHL debut, proving once more that there is life beyond the NHL, having moved to Lausanne HC in the Swiss second division and are currently involved in a playoff to determine promotion to the Swiss National League A, the top division of Swiss hockey for 2010-11. Lausanne currently leads Bienne three games to two in their best of seven series with Game 6 scheduled for today and Game 7 if needed on Saturday.

Today's video section begins with Zalapski scoring his first NHL goal on March 19, 1988 on a beautiful feed from Mario Lemieux.


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