Friday, June 12, 2009

День России

Today is Russia Day, the national holiday of the Russian Federation, as it was on this day in 1990 that the Russian Parliament declared it's sovereignty from the Soviet Union. It has been celebrated since 1994 and renamed "Russia Day" in 2002.

The net effect of the declaration was the end of the Politburo, the central policy making and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the creation of the office of the President of the Russian Federation and a new constitution along with a new national flag, anthem and emblem of the Russian Federation.

Today's featured jersey is a 1995 Russian National Team Andrei Tarasenko jersey, the earliest example of the jerseys worn by the new Russian Federation in the Third String Goalie collection. This jersey also, in the most capitalist of ways, sports the commercial sponsorship patches from the German beer brand Warsteiner, a frequent sponsor of various national teams during that era.

The jersey is all dye-sublimated and manufactured by Tackla, but featuring the prominent Reebok branding on both shoulders. The jersey also has the pronounced use of the color blue, reflecting the new Russian Federation flag, a colorful contrast to the old Soviet jerseys which were famous for their stark red and white colors. The name is also sublimated on to a nameplate, which was then sewn on.

1995 Game Worn World Championships Team Russia jersey
1995 Game Worn World Championships Team Russia jersey
1995 Game Worn World Championships Team Russia jersey

Tarasenko, a right winger, made two appearances for the Russian National Team, in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway and the 1995 World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition, his playing career lasted from 1984-85 to 2005-06, including the personal highlight of being the Russian Hockey League's leading scorer in the 1997-98 season while playing for Lada Togliatti, when he had 60 points in 46 games.

Here is some rare footage of this style jersey in action from the 1994 Olympics Bronze Medal game versus Finland.

Dasherboard: Tonight's the night. Winner-take-all Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This is only the eighth Game 7 since the expansion of the NHL for 1967-68 season.

There are so many story lines to follow in this game. Did Marian Hossa pick the right team? Will Chris Osgood win his fourth Stanley Cup, silencing his many critics and forcing his way into the Hall of Fame? Will Marc-Andre Fleury play well on the road, or will he find yet another bizarre way to let a puck into his goal under the greatest of spotlights? Is this the passing of the torch from the older Red Wings (average age of 33.4 years) to the younger Penguins (29.0 years)? Will Detroit once more use their ability to put their preferred matchups on the ice to neutralize Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? Can Detroit be the first team in 11 years to defend their championship by winning two in a row? Will the Penguins maintain their composure and stay out of the penalty box?

Osgood replaced Dominik Hasek midway through Game 4 of the opening round last year and has been the Red Wings playoff goaltender ever since. Between then and now, he's posted a record of 26-8, a goals-against average of 1.79, a .927 save percentage and four shutouts. His 71 playoff victories rank him 8th on the all time list, tied with Jacques Plante.

The Red Wings have won eight consecutive home games and are 11-1 at Joe Louis Arena in the 2009 Playoffs. Their only loss was in triple overtime vs. the Anaheim Ducks. A win tonight will tie the record for Most Home Wins in One Year held by the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

The Red Wings are 5-1 vs. the Penguins at home in the playoffs, outscoring them 21-6 with three shutouts, over the last two years.

Miroslav Satan, Sergei Gonchar, Hall Gill, Phillippe Boucher (all of Pittsburgh) and Hossa (Detroit) have all played at least 750 NHL games but have yet to win the Stanley Cup.

One of the more interesting statistics is that Pittsburgh has a winning record (6-4) when their opponest scores first in the 2009 playoffs. That is one thing that we have mentioned over the course of the finals. When Pittsburgh gets down, they suck it up and battle back.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have never lost a Game 7 on the road. The franchise is 4-0.

Road teams have won 10 of the last 12 overtime games in the Stanley Cup finals. The Stanley Cup has been won in overtime 15 times, but only twice in a Game 7. The last time was 1954.

And finally...

Ty Conklin, Detroit's backup goaltender, is a man you want on your team. He's the only player to dress for all three Winter Classics and is making his third trip to the Stanley Cup finals in four years, with his third different team. Any team looking for excitement next year should consider signing Conklin.

Enjoy the game tonight!

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