Monday, May 18, 2009
Born on May 18th, 1960, Jari Kurri played 3 seasons for Jokerit Helsinki before joining the Edmonton Oilers and being paired up with linemate Wayne Gretzky. Kurri would go onto win five Stanley Cups in a 17 year career, play in 8 All-Star Games, win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and score a career high 71 goals in 1984-85. He finished his career as the highest scoring European player in NHL history with a total of 601 goals, 797 assists and 1,398 points, having now only been surpassed by Jaromir Jagr. He was ranked #50 in The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Players in 1998.
Today's jersey is a 1988-89 Edmonton Oilers Jari Kurri jersey and features the Edmonton Oilers 10th Anniversary patch. We were very happy when CCM released the Vintage Collection Throwback Series. Seeing how much money collectors were spending for old Minnesota North Stars and Quebec Nordiques jerseys, CCM smelled blood and knew there was an opportunity to make some cash from the throwback craze, first introduced when the Original Six teams wore Turn Back the Clock jerseys during the NHL's 75th Anniversary season of 1991-92.
Much better quality than the original, undersized and lightweight (to the point of being see-through) replica jerseys of the 80's, many retired styles were remade with the current-for-the-time 550 Series replica model, which provided the consumer a very high quality replica for the price.
This jersey also features the Edmonton Oliers 10th Anniversary patch, which is odd since the Oilers were founded in 1972 as one of the original members of the WHA, making 1988-89 the Oilers 16th Anniversary season. This patch was clearly meant to commemorate the anniversary of the Oilers 10 seasons in the NHL following the demise of the WHA in 1979, a league the NHL chooses to pretend never actually existed.
There is also an image of a single Stanley Cup in the patch, but the Oilers had actually won four cups at that point, something most teams would have probably driven home by putting a 4 on the cup or picturing multiple images of the cup, as the Islanders would do 3 seasons later.
Kurri's #17 has been retired by not only the Edmonton Oilers, but also by Jokerit Helsinki and the Finnish National Team. He is currently the General Manager of the the Finnish National Team.
Dasherboard: The Eastern Conference Finals start tonight at 7:30 PM EST on Vs. with the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Carolina Hurricanes. The defending Eastern Conference Champion Penguins now have last year's playoff experience to draw upon, and will look to return to the finals for a second year in a row.
The Hurricanes are not lacking in playoff experience either, having won the Stanley Cup as recently as 2006 with players Brind'Amour, Cullen, Staal, Whitney, Cole, LaRose, Kaberle, Wallin, Babchuk and most importantly, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward all still on the roster.
It's really going to come down to a matchup between goaltenders in my mind. Can Ward hold off Crosby and Malkin long enough for Staal and Whitney to get the needed goals past Marc-Andre Fleury? The real key to that is the health of Sergei Gonchar, injured during the last round of the playoffs. He did return in time for Game 7, and Pittsburgh's surprising large lead allowed coach Dan Bylsma the opportunity to cut his ice time significantly. The four days off will give him additional time to heal, tipping the scales in our minds to favor the Penguins.