Saturday, June 13, 2009

1976-77 Cleveland Barons Gilles Meloche Jersey

On this date in 1978, the Cleveland Barons ceased to exist. The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow the Barons to merge with the Minnesota North Stars.

Having started life as the California Seals in 1967, the Seals moved to Cleveland in time for the 1976-77 season. There they played in the Richfield Coliseum, giving them the largest seating capacity in the NHL at the time of 18,544 but they would never come close to filling it in the two years they played in Cleveland. Their 1976 home opener drew only 8,900 fans and they attracted 10,000 at only seven out of 40 home games.

After the first season in Cleveland, majority owner Melvin Swig sold his interest in the team to brothers George and Gordon Gund. They tried to put a more competitive team on the ice the second year, beating defending champions the Montreal Canadiens in November and the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres in consecutive games in January. They also set an attendance record of 13,110 vs. Philadelphia that year, but a 15 game losing streak eliminated them from playoff contention and a lower season point total than the year before.

After the season the Gunds tried to buy the Coliseum, but failed. On this date in 1978, the league granted approval for the Barons to merge with the Minnesota North Stars under the Gunds ownership. The team would retain the North Stars name, but take the Barons place in the Adams Division. The Barons remain the last franchise in the four major North American sports leagues to cease operations. I would take 22 years before the NHL would return to Ohio in the form of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Gilles Meloche Cleveland Barons jersey. Made by ProJoy, their jerseys are not our favorites, having been produced at a time when replicas were less than accurate. While this jersey has it's issues, like the sleeve stripes being straight instead of angled, the crest is surprisingly well made, with each piece being a separate piece of fabric sewn together. The Gothic "B" in the state of Ohio in the center of the main logo is five separate layers of fabric and both the curved "Cleveland" and "Barons" names are each intricate single pieces of twill sewn onto the "C"!

What sets the 76-77 jerseys apart from the 77-78 jerseys is the wonderful State of Ohio patches on the sleeves for the numbers. The other difference between the 76-77 jerseys and the 77-78's, was that the first year jerseys did not have the names on the back of the road jerseys.

But then, as is part of the fun of jersey collecting, a mystery presented itself in the form of this picture...

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A name on the back of a Barons road jersey with the State of Ohio sleeve patches? That didn't add up, so we posted the photo and questioned wether it was perhaps from a pre-season game before the 77-78 season on the forums at GameWorn.net.

The key to the mystery was that the Barons are shown playing the St. Louis Blues, whom they played twice that season. Once on February 28th, a Monday, and again on April 2nd, a Saturday, and a national TV hockey day. What the Barons had done was add names to the back of the jerseys, due to the fact their game was going to be shown on national TV, and then removed after the game, as the teams did back then. It still seems strange to me that they would go to the trouble of adding the names, only to then go to even more trouble to take them off again. It certainly would have been easier to leave the names on once they were there.

Armed with that unique story, we had our jersey customized as it was worn on April 2nd, 1977, complete with the State of Ohio patches and the name on the back, or as it's commonly abbreviated, "NOB". We just love being able to say that our jersey was worn on one specific date, generally through the addition of a unique patch, a trend that will no doubt become apparent on this blog over time.

1976-77 Cleveland Barons jersey
Cleveland Barons 76-77 B

Notice how the font for the sleeve numbers and the back numbers don't match? Well take a look at this photo of Dennis Maruk, particularly the "2" on the sleeve. His has the serif on the bottom right end of the 2 that Meloche's doesn't.

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Another fun inconsistency with the older jerseys you often find. Even teammates jerseys worn in the same year would have subtle, and not so subtle, differences.

An interesting fact about Meloche was that he played for the California Golden Seals from 1971-72, to 1975-76, the Cleveland Barons in both 1976-77 and 1977-78 and then the Minnesota North Stars from 1978-79 to the 1984-85 season, 14 seasons in all, without once having ever being traded or signing any sort of a free agent contract as the Seals relocated to Cleveland and the Barons merged with the North Stars. We doubt if any player ever had so much discontinuity in such a continuous career!


Dasherboard: We must admit we did not expect the Pittsburgh Penguins to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in Joe Louis Arena last night, and certainly didn't expect them to do it with Sidney Crosby out for more than half the game.

Maxim Talbot scored a pair of second period goals, the first off a Brad Stuart clearing attempt that deflected off Evgeni Malkin's skate right to Talbot just to the side of the net for a lightning quick goal for a 1-0 Penguins lead just 1:13 into the period.

After the Penguins lost Crosby for essentially the rest of the night, Talbot broke in on a 2 on 1 with Tyler Kennedy and snapped a shot over the glove of Chris Osgood for a 2 goal Penguins lead at 10:07.

In the third period, Jonathan Ericsson scored from the point after some sustained Detroit pressure to cut the lead to one with 6:07 remaining, setting up a tense finish. Pittsburgh maintained their composure and stayed out of the penalty box for the remainder of the game. The Red Wings managed to ding one off the crossbar late in the game on a shot by Niklas Kronwall with 2:14 remaing, but the bounces that were so much against Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1 went his way in Game 7 as the puck stayed out.

The final few seconds provided as much drama as you could hope for when Detroit won the final faceoff and got the puck back to the point. Fleury made the save but gave up a huge rebound that Niklas Lidstrom pounced on, but Fleury dove across his crease to intercept the shot as Lidstrom could not raise it over the diving Fleury as the clock ticked down the final seconds.

Evgeni Malkin was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy and had an assist in the game on Talbot's first goal.

The Penguins were the first team to win Game 7 on the road since the Montreal Canadiens in 1971.

Dan Bylsma became the second coach to win the Stanley Cup after taking over a team midseason. After being named coach he led them to a 18-3-4 record to make the playoffs and now the Stanley Cup.

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!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1993-94 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra Jersey

It was on this day in 1974 that the Washington Capitals were awarded their NHL franchise.

Unfortunately, 1974 was not the best of times to be starting a new team, as between the NHL and World Hockey Association, there were 30 professional teams all competing for players, compared to only 14 teams when the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL just four years earlier. The Capitals finished the 1974-75 season with a dismal 8 wins for the entire campaign, losing an astonishing 67 times, including 39 out of 40 times on the road. Additionally, the Capitals only managed but five ties when all other NHL teams averaged 14 ties, which gave those clubs an average of nine additional points in the standings. The Capitals head coach Jim Anderson was quoted as saying "I'd rather find out my wife was cheating on me than keep losing like this. At least I could tell my wife to cut it out."

It would take nine years for the Capitals to qualify for the playoffs with a roster that now included Rod Langway, Denis Maruk, Mike Gartner, Bobby Carpenter and Scott Stevens. Once having achieved a level of respectability, the Capitals would go on to qualify for the playoffs 14 years in a row. However, they would only advance past the first two rounds but once.

More star players would join the Capitals during this period, including Mike Ridley, Dave Christian, Dino Ciccarelli, Larry Murphy, Kevin Hatcher, Dale Hunter, Michal Pivonka, Joe Juneau, Sergei Gonchar, Sylvain Cote, Calle Johansson and Peter Bondra, who would go on to become the career franchise scoring leader with 825 points.

The highlight for the Capitals would come in 1997-98, as the they became the Eastern Conference Champions, earning their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Led by Bondra, Hunter, Juneau, Adam Oates, Olaf Kolzig, Johansson, Steve Konowalchuk, Phil Housley and Gonchar, the Capitals would defeat Boston, Ottawa and Buffalo before being swept 4-0 by the Detroit Red Wings in the finals, a team on a mission playing for their critically injured teammate Valdimir Konstantinov, who suffered brain damage in an automobile crash the year before.

Hunter, Oates and Housley would all record the 1000th point of their careers in 1997-98, the only time in NHL history three teammates have done so in the same season.

In addition to Yvon Labre (#7), Langway (#5), Gartner (#11) and Hunter (#32) would be honored by having their numbers retired by the Capitals, with both Langway and Gartner being elected to the Hall of Fame.

Today's jersey is a 1993-94 Washington Captials Peter Bondra jersey, complete with a fight strap. What really sets the authentic version of the Capitals jersey apart from the replica jerseys is that each letter of the Capitals logo on the front is a separate piece of material, rather than the entire crest being embroidered in a smaller size onto a patch, which would then be sewn onto the jersey.

Each of the 16 stars on the chest and sleeves are also separate pieces of material which are sewn on. If you can get an old authentic Capitals jersey, do so, as it is one of the largest differences in quality between the authentic and the replica of any jersey.

This jersey also features the Washington Capitals 20th Anniversary patch worn during Bondra's fourth season with the team, and it might very well hold the record for Most Compliments We Have Ever Received While Wearing a Jersey.

1993-94 NHL Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey
1993-94 NHL Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey
1993-94 NHL Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey

Bondra would go onto score his 500th career goal in 2006-07 while a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. We hope that the Capitals do the right thing and retire Bondra's number 12 at some point in the near future.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1995-96 Colorado Avalanche Joe Sakic Jersey

With the financial troubles of the Quebec Nordiques mounting, they found it difficult to compete with rising player salaries, made even more difficult by a weakening Canadian dollar. With by far the smallest market in the NHL, plus the language barrier facing potential free agents, unlike bi-lingual Montreal, Quebec City is virtually all French, the team owner asked for a bailout from the Quebec government, but was turned down. The team was subsequently sold to a group of investors from Denver, Colorado, where the team was moved and renamed the Colorado Avalanche.

The fans in Colorado were immediately handed a team stocked with captain Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Valeri Kamensky, Adam Deadmarsh, Mike Ricci and Adam Foote. The team later added Claude Lemieux just days before the start of the season and Sandis Ozolinsh later in October.

If that weren't enough, former Montreal Canadiens captain Mike Keane and no less than Patrick Roy arrived in early December after Roy had a public falling out with the Canadiens organization, a trade that never would have happened had the franchise remained in Quebec as the Nordiques, the Canadiens bitter province rivals.

With Roy now anchoring the team in goal, they finished with a 47-25-10 record, winning the Pacific Division by 25 points. They defeated the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and President's Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings, all by identical 4 games to 2 margins. The series against the Red Wings would kick off one of the greatest NHL rivalries, if not in all of sports, as the teams would meet in the playoff five times in seven years, with three of those being for the right to go to the finals, plus several memorable regular season brawls - which included the goaltenders! The rivalry has even been chronicled in book "Blood Feud", which can be purchased here.


The Avalanche would face the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup finals, with Florida giving way in four straight. The final game would go to three overtimes before Uwe Krupp won the cup with the only goal of the contest.

With the Stanley Cup win, Russians Alexi Gusarov and Kamensky and Swede Forsberg became the members of the exclusive Triple Gold Club for players who have won Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold and the Stanley Cup.

Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Joe Sakic Colorado Avalanche jersey with the 1996 Stanley Cup finals patch as worn by Joe when he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. When the Avalanche landed in Colorado, the adopted an entirely new identity, from the singular team name, unique to the NHL colors and ground breaking jerseys, which featured the unusual striping pattern reminiscent of a mountain range.

The Stanley Cup finals patch was the first of many that the Avalanche would wear with this style jersey, that would remain unchanged through the 2006-07 season.

Colorado Avalanche 95-96 jersey photo ColoradoAvalanche95-96F.jpg
Colorado Avalanche 95-96 jersey photo ColoradoAvalanche95-96B.jpg
Colorado Avalanche 95-96 jersey photo ColoradoAvalanche95-96P.jpg

Sakic was the leading scorer of the playoffs that season with 34 points and the Stanley Cup was the first major championship for a team located in Denver, no doubt leaving the fans left behind in Quebec City to look on in yearning. The Cup was the second for a team that originated in the World Hockey Association, with the first being the Edmonton Oilers.


One of the lasting memories of that year's playoffs were the Panthers fan's celebratory rats, which would rain down on the ice by the thousands for each Florida goal, causing opposing goalies to seek shelter inside their net until the hailstorm subsided.

The celebration stemmed from captain Scott Mellanby deftly killing a rat with a one-timer in the dressing room prior to the team's opening game of the season. When he followed it up by going out and scoring two goals that night, goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck dubbed the feat "a rat trick".




Dasherboard: Wow, what a game! Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals featuring two heavyweights punching and counter-punching. We can only hope everyone watched the hockey game before changing over to the basketball game. You only need to watch the last two minutes of that anyway.

Marc-Andre Fleury did his best Jim Craig impression, turning back the Big Red Machine time after time, with the occasional assist from Rob Scuderi who saved a pair of goals himself, by putting Game 5 behind him and coming up with 25 saves and being named the #1 Star of the Game.

You just knew it was going Fleury's way when late in the second period the puck got behind him after a save, and when he moved his left leg in to hopefully freeze the puck, he kicked it out to his right (where Scuderi made the first of his goal-saving plays to clear the puck away from Nicklas Lidstrom and a wide open net), instead of kicking the puck backwards into his own net in a similar manner to Game 6 last year when he tried to sit on the puck and it squirted out from under him and into the net for the game, and Stanley Cup, winning goal.

The Pittsburgh goals came from Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy, who took advantage of a horrible play by Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson, who went for a poke check and turned away from Kennedy, leaving him the time and space to score Pittsburgh's all-important second goal five and half minutes into the third period.

To hold the Red Wings off the board through the first five minutes of the third was big, but to increase their lead to two goals was a real boost, allowing them to respond correctly and with composure to Detroit's goal 2 1/2 minutes later. Had Detroit's goal been a tying goal, after the Penguins commanded the game for the first 52 minutes, outshooting Detroit 24-12 after two periods, it may have been a much different outcome.

So now it's onto Game 7 on Friday night, thankfully not up against the NBA finals, the NFL draft, baseball's All-Star Game, the BCS Championship game or the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The NHL could not have hoped for a better scenario for Friday, and should see their highest TV ratings in quite some time.

With the dominance of the home teams in this series, we only wish that the one game, winner-take-all Game 7 "Super Bowl of Hockey" could be held at a neutral site, with the team's alternating last change, to determine once and for all, which of these two teams is truly the best on equal terms - and without those bouncy boards at Joe Louis Arena.

What do you say? Let's hold the game equal distance from each city in Columbus, Ohio at the Blue Jackets Nationwide Arena.

It all comes down to Friday. We can't wait!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1992-93 Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy Jersey

The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup on this day in 1993 by defeating the Los Angeles Kings by a 4-1 score and the same margin in games won in the series, 4 games to 1. The Kings were making their first, and to this date only, appearance in the finals, and were led by Wayne Gretzky.

The Canadiens started the season well, going 16-5-3 to open the season. Later in the season they would have another hot streak, going 17-4-1, but a slump in their final 18 games would see them drop from first to third in the division behind both the Boston Bruins and province rivals the Quebec Nordiques.

Vincent Damphousse, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers during the summer, would lead the team with 97 points, while Brian Bellows, also in his first season in Montreal, would register the most goals with 40. The defense featured Eric Desjardins, Mathieu Schneider and Patrice Brisebois and Patrick Roy (31 wins) and Andre Racicot (17 wins) split the goaltending duties.

The Canadiens had to open the playoffs in the hostile environment of Colisée de Québec, the home of the Nordiques, where they proceeded to lose the first two games of the series. The Canadiens would rebound strongly to win the next four games in a row (two in overtime), ending the Nordiques season. They would sweep the Buffalo Sabres in four (three of those in overtime) and eliminate the New York Islanders 4-1 (another two in overtime) before moving on to face Los Angeles in the finals.

The Kings would silence the home crowd at Montreal's Forum by a resounding 4-1 score. Montreal would hang on to win the next game in overtime to tie the series at 1. Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles would also go into overtime, with the Canadiens winning both and setting an NHL record in the process with their 10th straight overtime victory - all in the same playoff season!

Game 5 would prove much easier as the Canadiens would take the series with an easy 4-1 win back at home to capture their 24th Stanley Cup and Roy would be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Today's jersey is a 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy jersey. Perhaps the most iconic jersey in all of hockey, it's red color with the bold blue stripe trimmed in white is recognized the world over, essentially unchanged since birth of the NHL in 1917. In fact, the red jersey with the blue stripe pre-dates the NHL, with a variation of the theme first being worn in 1912.

This jersey also features the rare French version of the Stanley Cup finals, the only such time the finals patch has been produced in French. (For the record, the Kings wore an English version on their jerseys.)

1992-93 was a very busy year for the seamstresses in Montreal, as the Canadiens would start the season wearing the 1993 NHL All-Star Game patch for the first half of the season. After the All-Star Game, which they hosted, they would join the rest of the league in wearing the Stanley Cup 100th Anniversary patch, also in an unusual French variation shared only with the Nordiques, and then don the French version of the Stanley Cup finals patch for their third different patch of the season, a feat I'm certain no other team has ever duplicated. Yes, several teams have worn three patches at the same time, but we're not aware of any team wearing three unique patches in the same season.

1992-93 NHL Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy jersey
1992-93 NHL Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy jersey
1992-93 NHL Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy jersey

Roy would go onto play two and a half more seasons in Montreal before a tumultuous falling out with the Canadiens and a subsequent trade to the Colorado Avalanche, which never, ever would have happened had the Avalanche remained in Quebec as the Nordiques.

Track the Canadiens path through the playoffs through this very well done highlights package, followed by the last minute of the final game and awards ceremony following.





Dasherboard: The Stanley Cup will be in the building tonight as the Red Wings looks to close out the Penguins in Pittsburgh where the Penguins are 8-2 in this year's playoffs. Malkin and Crosby will be looking to put Game 5 behind them, as they racked up the penalty minutes while recording a minimum number of shots, with one each.

Can the return of Pavel Datsyuk be enough to overcome the Penguins home crowd? While proven to not be essential in this round, the Penguins would do their cause a lot of good by scoring first to put the specter of Game 5 behind them and giving their fans an opportunity to raise the roof.

Speaking of raising the roof, did you know that The Igloo was designed with a retractable roof? Since the Penguins are 1-0 in recent outdoor games, perhaps they should consider finding a way to pry it open one last time.

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The game tonight is on NBC.

Monday, June 8, 2009

He's "Ricci" Ugly

Here's some motivational speeches to get you riled up for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals tomorrow night.




We can hope the real Sidney Crosby has more leadership than that or it's Detroit in six!


Dasherboard: The court case involving the Phoenix Coyotes took an interesting turn as the NFL, NBA and MLB all warned in a court document that a ruling against the NHL, in it's attempt to block the sale and move of the Coyotes, would set a dangerous precedent.

We weren't sure the NBA even knew the NHL existed since they have scheduled Game 3 of their finals opposite the NHL's Game 6 on Tuesday.

The City of Glendale, Arizona also filed an objection to the sale, arguing that the Coyotes should not be allowed to break it's 30 year lease, signed in 2001.

Having lived through the relocation of our hometown team, we fully support the efforts to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, as we don't want any other hockey fans to have to go through what we went through here in Minnesota. It's our feeling that teams belong to the communities and the owners are merely temporary custodians of the franchises, and everything should be done to keep teams where they are, otherwise, you could end up with a situation where franchises are frequently on the move, as rich men with no vested interest in the communities the teams play in, have their teams jump from location to location in search of the latest and greatest business opportunity for their personal gain, all at the expense of the fans.

It was Norm Green who moved the North Stars to Dallas, a team that had been in Minnesota for 26 seasons, only too see Green unload the team less than 2 1/2 years later. Why allow one man to move a franchise he has no intent on even keeping? For 2 //2 years of increased income, hundreds of thousands of fans are made to live with the after affects for decades, which hardly seems equitable.

It might be a very naive position on our part, but in professional sports, owners should be told up front that league rules prohibit the moving of any franchise for any reason. You buy the team with the understanding that location is the location you have to make your business work. Can't live with that? Then don't buy in.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning Brad Richards Jersey

In one of the more unexpected things to happen in hockey history, on this date in 2004 the Stanley Cup was won by a team based in Florida.

Led by captain Dave Andreychuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and the overlooked Cory Stillman (who actually outscored Lecavalier by 14 points during the regular season with the same number of games played), the Tampa Bay Lightning destroyed the competition in the Southeast Division, winning it by a 28 point margin.

The first round of the playoffs saw goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin register three shutouts against the overmatched New York Islanders. Montreal was swept in four, but Philadelphia posed a much larger hurdle, as the series went the full seven games before Tampa Bay advanced by winning a close one by a 2-1 score.

The Calgary Flames where their opponents in the finals, which also went to seven games, again won by a 2-1 score with Ruslan Fedotenko scoring both Lightning goals, in what proved to be the final game of hooking, clutching, grabbing and cross-checking, as the following season would be lost to the lockout.



Today's featured jersey is a 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning Brad Richards jersey with the 2004 Stanley Cup finals patch as worn by Richards, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner with 26 points in 23 games.

Tampa Bay has had a relatively brief history in the NHL, and their jersey didn't change from day one through the introduction of Reebok jerseys in 2007-08, but their lettering sure has taken some twists and turns. It's a unique path unlike any other jersey that we can think of. Never has one jersey worn so many different, and unique numbers.

Their first year they had a futuristic font in three colors for the names and numbers with a pronounced drop shadow. Their second year the names and numbers were now italicized, giving it even more of a Star Trek look.

Their third season saw yet another new set of graphics for the same basic jersey style as the "paintbrush" numbers were introduced. By far the craziest font in a league quite literally filled with traditional block numbers. The only other odd numbers that year were the St. Louis Blues numbers which were angled diagonally across the bottom to match the wild waist striping introduced that season, but even those were just distorted block numbers when you got down to the basics.

This doesn't even bring into account the fantastic "electric" numbers worn on their short-lived alternate jerseys.

The paintbrush font was used for seven years, only to be surprisingly replaced in 2001-02 by the frankly boring numbers you see here, which were already in use by the Pittsburgh Penguins, without italics, drop shadowing or any other feature to make them unique, as all other Lightning fonts had been throughout their entire history up until this point. It's a change we have never understood, especially considering their past history of unusual choices.

Tampa Bay Lightning 03-04 F
Tampa Bay Lightning 03-04 B
Tampa Bay Lightning 03-04 P

Dasherboard: The Red Wings, revitalized by playing at home and the return of Pavel Datsyuk, seemingly staked their claim to the Stanley Cup last night with a dominating 5-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the score still close at 1-0 after the first period, Detroit came out flying in the second, scoring less than two minutes into the period and then scoring three consecutive power play goals, driving goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the net, as Pittsburgh couldn't stay out of the box, taking five penalties to Detroit's none. Oddly, Detroit did not score with a two man advantage for 1:40 to end the second as Crosby and Talbot both took penalties for blatant slashes to Red Wings stars Zetterberg and Datsyuk.

There was no scoring in the third period, but once the game reached it's final five minutes, the frustration started to boil over for the Penguins, as they took 5 more penalties, three of which were 10 minute misconducts as the referee's tried to keep the game under control.

And what about Evgeni Malkin? He finished the night tied with Crosby with but one shot on goal and took three of the nine minors for Pittsburgh.

Chris Osgood had 22 saves for his 15th career playoff shutout, third all-time, and added an assist on Detroit's second goal with a long lead pass worthy of the point he earned.

Game 6 is Tuesday in Pittsburgh, where the Red Wings will be looking to close out the series and the Penguins will be hoping to put last night's disaster behind them and be re-energized by their home crowd The home team has now won every game in the series, a trend the Penguins will be looking to continue.



 

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