Saturday, May 9, 2009
Ovechkin this and Crosby that. It's the heart of the NHL playoffs, but the highlight of our hockey day is the Bronze and Gold Medal games of the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Bern, Switzerland.
The USA will be taking on Sweden for the Bronze with the headline matchup being old rivals Canada vs. defending Gold Medalists Russia.
With that in mind, today's jersey is a 1996 Team Canada Martin Brodeur jersey. If you are going to collect jerseys from this era, be aware that Bauer jerseys from this time period of the "Waving Flag" style consistently run a size larger than others.
The "Warsteiner" sponsorship patch was one that we made ourselves since patches like that cannot be purchased. It's not an embroidered one like the game worn jerseys have, but from any sort of distance look quite nice, especially without the shine the flash has given the one in my photo. Some day when we don't have a relevant jersey to post, we'll publish a tutorial on how to make your own printed patches. (The tutorial later appeared in this entry)
It's rather rare to see a Brodeur jersey from the World Championships since the Worlds unfortunately coincide with the NHL playoffs where Brodeur is annually busy tending goal for the New Jersey Devils. Due to the consistent level of play from the Devils, Brodeur has only participated in the World Championships twice, in 1996 and again in in 2005.
Brodeur played 3 games in the 1996 World Championships, finishing with a record of 0-1-1, but behind the goaltending of Curtis Joseph, Canada did earn a silver medal in 1996.
Brodeur also wore this same jersey in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey later that fall, only wearing the unusual for him jersey #1 due to #30 Bill Ranford also being on the team and having seniority when it came time to assign numbers.
Dasherboard: It's been nice to see the fans of some of the downtrodden teams of the last 10 years have some success in the playoffs this year. St. Louis made a return to the playoffs for the first time in a while, while Columbus made the show for the first time ever at the expense of regular playoff squads like Colorado and Dallas.
Good times have returned to Pittsburgh in a big way after a long period of losing. The team is now obviously stacked with Crosby and Malkin, plus the construction of a new arena for the fans is also a just reward for sticking with the team. But my favorite story is the return to relevance of the Chicago Blackhawks. As a Chicago native, I've got a soft spot for the 'Hawks and their future looks bright, as they are not only "just happy to be here", as perhaps Columbus was, they are back and going on a deep run into the playoffs, having pushed Vancouver to the brink of elimination last night with the next game back on home ice.
And just how relevant has Chicago become? In breaking news, the Chicago Blackhawks have been chosen to represent the NHL in the second annual Victoria Cup next September 29th in Zurich, Switzerland vs. 2009 Champions League winners ZSC Lions.
From the article on the IIHF website, here's an interesting fact:
Pretty good for a franchise that averaged 12,727 in 2006-07, a mere 62.1% capacity.
Relevant hockey certainly has returned to the city of Chicago and the Blackhawks.