Thursday, May 28, 2009
It was on this date in 2003 that Patrick Roy announced his retirement from the NHL after 19 seasons, four Stanley Cups and three Conn Smythe Trophies, the only player to have ever won more than two. In addition, he was named winner of the Vezina Trophy three times, in 1989, 1990 and 1992, and played in eleven NHL All-Star Games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006 and his #33 has been retired by both the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche.
Roy retired as the all-time leader in wins with 551, since surpassed by Martin Brodeur, and currently holds the record for most games played by a goaltender, most playoff games by a goaltender, most playoff wins and playoff shutouts. Before joining the Canadiens, he also led his team to the Calder Cup as champions of the American Hockey League in 1985. He was ranked as #35 on The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
After winning two Stanley Cups in Montreal, he later did not get along with coach Mario Tremblay and was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, leading the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in the Av's first season in Colorado, a trade we believe never would have happened if the team had remained in Quebec as the Nordiques, the Canadiens greatest rival at the time.
Today's featured jersey is a 1998 Team Canada Patrick Roy jersey as worn in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, an unusual jersey for Roy. Never having played in the World Juniors and rarely, if ever, eligible for the World Championships in the spring due to his annual appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Roy made the only Team Canada appearance of his entire career in 1998 with the first inclusion of NHL professionals in the Olympics.
This jersey's most unique feature has to be the font "Copperplate Gothic" chosen for the numbers, a font only used by Team Canada at the 1998 Olympics, despite many countries using the same striping template for their Nike jerseys in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics.
During the Olympics Roy went 4-2, with the two losses coming in a semi-final shootout loss to eventual Gold Medal winners The Czech Republic and the Bronze Medal Game to Finland.
When Roy announced that he would not be part of Canada's Olympic Team at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, it left his time in Nagano as his only Team Canada appearance of his long and storied career.
Dasherboard: You certainly can't fault Cristobal Huet for the end of the Blackhawks season last night as he put in a gutty performance after his previous sieve-fest. Chicago can hold their heads high after taking the Red Wings to overtime three times in five games this series. Look for them to take this year's playoff run as a great learning experience and accelerate their maturation, as they are still quite a young team that will be heard from in the later rounds of the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
The series winning goal for Detroit was yet another example of the lively, quirky boards at Joe Louis Arena. Believe me, We've seen them in person and they are the most unpredictable of any arena in the league in my opinion. It was in 1987 at the NCAA Championships when a puck ringed around behind the net, only to hit the edge of the Zamboni door and carom out into the slot for a Michigan State goal into an unguarded net while the Minnesota goaltender was standing at the back boards waiting for the puck to continue it's journey behind the net, ruining the Gophers season and our trip to Detroit.
Last night's game was a fun one to watch, played at a high tempo with lots of chances at both ends. Chris Osgood, the Trent Dilfer of NHL Goalies, has once more made it to the Stanley Cup Finals with a chance to add to his trophy case. He certainly is the least-regarded, most successful goaltender in the league, as he has three Stanley Cups, two as the starter in 1998 and 2008.
Detroit now moves on to the finals where a rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins awaits. Look for a better prepared, more mature and highly confident Penguins team, who are playing at their peak to give the Red Wings all they can handle.
The schedule for the finals has the series opening in Detroit on Saturday, May 30th at 7 PM CST, followed by Game 2 the very next day, Sunday, May 31st, with both games on NBC. Sunday's game time is listed as "TBD - night". Game 3 & 4 are Tuesday, June 2nd & Thursday, June 4th in Pittsburgh.
The remainder of the series, if needed, is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 (DET), a break until Tuesday, June 9th (PIT) and if a Game 7 is needed, it will be on Friday, June 12th in Detroit, with all games scheduled for 7 PM CST.
We wonder why the two days between Games 5 & 6 and 6 & 7? Are they trying to avoid going head to head with the NBA?