Wednesday, July 29, 2009
July by the Numbers returns to the AHL for jersey #29.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins franchise history can be traced back to 1981 when the Fredericton Express came into being in New Brunswick, Canada as a minor league affiliate to the Quebec Nordiques. The club relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia and was known as the Citadels from 1988 to 1993 when they once more were moved, this time to Cornwall, Ontario where they played until 1996.
At that point the franchise was left dormant for three years while property of the Colorado Avalanche, who sold the club to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who placed the club in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania as their primary affiliate, and because of that relationship, they are affectionately knows as "The Baby Pens".
Consistently competitive, they have made the playoffs in eight out of ten seasons, advancing to the Calder Cup Finals three times as Eastern Conference Champions, but have yet to capture the title.
Notable players who have suited up for The Baby Pens are Colby Armstrong, Ty Conklin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tyler Kennedy, Kris Letang, Ryan Malone, Michel Ouellet, Toby Petersen, Maxime Talbot, Ryan Whitney and Tom Kostopoulos.
Kostopoulos, a one time WBS Penguins captain, holds career franchise records for goals with 97, assists at 149 and, not surprisingly, points, totaling 246 as well as games played with 318 and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 204th overall in the seventh round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
After playing for the WBS Pens for four seasons he played 60 games for Pittsburgh in 2003-04, scoring 22 points. He would sign a free agent contract with Los Angeles the following season, which he once again spent in the AHL, this time playing for the Manchester Monarchs. In 2005-06 Kostopoulos would finally spend an entire season in the NHL with the Kings where he would equal his 22 point career high. The next year in Los Angeles would see him again register 22 points.
2007 would see him move to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent and in 2008-09 he would equal his highest point total yet again, scoring the now familiar 22 points for the fourth time in five NHL seasons. Next year will see him suit up for the Carolina Hurricanes where they can most likely count on... 22 points!
Today's featured jersey is an SP brand 2001-02 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Tom Kostopoulos jersey.
This jersey features a custom made Blue Cross sponsorship patch on the right shoulder as well as another custom made stylized American flag patch, which was worn on the right chest following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
This highly attractive jersey features my personal favorite combination of italicized and drop shadowed numbers, with the base color done in the textured Glacier Twill, a herringbone pattern woven into the fabric.
The WBS Pens were fond of tweaking their number styles each season with this style jersey, as they used a variety of red drop shadows, yellow drop shadows, back to red drop shadows followed by a simple red outline in their first four seasons.
This is without a doubt one of my favorite jerseys in my collection, as I really like the color combination used, the bold, angular striping with equal width bands of color, the pointed shoulder areas and the italicized and drop-shadowed numbers. Add the unique, and lengthy, choice for the name on the back and addition of the custom made patches it makes for a really a striking jersey I felt came together very nicely, especially when I was able to contact the WBS Pens directly and to learn which company did the lettering for the club during the time period when they wore this style jersey and was able to have mine customized by the very same outfit to the exact specifications used by the team in the season I wanted to replicate.
Here's Tom joining the ranks of notable hockey player/actors with an appearance on MADtv along with Steve Avery and Scott Thornton.
Here is a video released by the WBS Penguins for their annual St. Patrick's Day game in 2004 documenting all the previous jerseys worn for the occasion. For some reason the song lasts much longer than the video highlights do, so enjoy the first 1:50 of the video and then tap your toes to the music for the next couple of minutes. Such are the wonders of YouTube I suppose...