Sunday, July 12, 2009
July by the Numbers makes it an even dozen with jersey #12 from the Nation's Capital.
Peter Bondra was originally born in Ukraine in the Soviet Union where his father had moved to find work years earlier. He was still a Soviet citizen when he arrived in the United States but later obtained a Slovak passport and citizenship in 1993.
He was drafted by the Captials in the 1990-91 season in the eighth round, 156th overall. Prior to playing for Washington, Bondra played four years in the Czech league, winning the championship with Kosice in only his second season.
Bondra would lead the NHL in goal scoring during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season with 34 goals in 47 games. In his sixth season in Washington, the 1995-96 season, he topped the 50 goal mark for the first of two times in his career, with 52 goals in just 67 games played due to a contract dispute. His low assist total of 28 would mean that he would not beat his highest one year point total of 85, set in 1992-93 when he had a more balanced 37 goals and 48 assists.
He would reach the 50 goal plateau once more in 1997-98 when he again hit 52 and this time lead the NHL in goals scored for the season. He would add seven more goals in the playoffs of that season as the Capitals would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals for the only time in Bondra's career before being swept in four by the Detroit Red Wings.
On two other occasions Bondra would reach 40 goals, with 46 in 1996-97 and 45 as recently as 2000-01, coming close with 39 the following season.
After 14 seasons in Washington, he would be dealt to the Ottawa Senators later in the 2003-04 season. He would leave the Capitals holding team records in goals (472), points (825), power-play goals (137), game winning goals (73), short-handed goals (32) and hat tricks (19). He also represented the Capitals in five All-Star Games in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, while winning the Fastest Skater competition at the Skills Competition in 1997 & 1999.
In 2004, he would place second in a fan vote to determine the Top 30 Players in Washington Captials History by just 20 votes to Olaf Kolzig, less than a 1% margin after each received over 2000 votes each.
He would conclude his career with stops in Atlanta, where he reached 1000 games played in his career, and Chicago, where he would score his 500th NHL goal on December 22, 2006, just the 37th player to achieve that milestone.
Bondra has played for Slovakia seven times in his career, including the 1994 Olympic qualifying tournament, the 1998 & 2006 Olympics, the 1996 World Cup of hockey (one of the jerseys on my wantlist) and the 2002 & 2003 World Championships. He would lead the 2002 World Championships with seven goals and score the game winning goal in the gold medal game to defeat Russia 4-3.
The jersey I am featuring today is a CCM 1991-92 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra road jersey featuring the NHL 75th anniversary patch, my favorite.
This replica jersey is a very nice jersey, but one notable time when the authentic jersey is head and shoulders above the replica. As I have featured earlier, the authentic jersey has each individual letter in the "Capitals" crest sewn on separately in a larger size with each letter being a separate piece of twill, while the replica has the crest embroidered onto a patch, which is then attached to the jersey.
At the conclusion of his playing days, Bondra has been named General Manager of the Slovak National Team.