Saturday, July 4, 2009
July by the Numbers celebrates the 4th of July with jersey #4 from Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils.
Stevens, drafted 5th overall by the Washington Capitals in 1982, never played a game in the minor leagues and scored on his first ever shot in his first game. After eight seasons with the Capitals, he signed as a restricted free agent with the St. Louis Blues, costing them five first-round draft picks!
St. Louis named Stevens captain and made the Campbell Conference All-Star team in 1991. However, after the 1990-91 season St. Louis would again sign another restricted free agent, Brendan Shanahan of the New Jersey Devils. The Devils were now entitled to compensation and the case eventually went to arbitration, with Stevens being awarded to New Jersey.
In his second season with the Devils, Stevens would again be named team captain and would remain the Devils captain until his retirement 12 seasons later. He would lead the Devils in scoring in 1993-94 with 78 points and was also a league high +53 for the year.
In 1995, the Devils made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they swept the Detroit Red Wings in four straight to claim the first of three Stanley Cups. The Devils second Stanley Cup victory in 2000 would see Stevens be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
After topping 1,500 games in the 2001-02 season, Stevens and the Devils would once again rise to the top and take their third Stanley Cup by defeating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.
Stevens would end his career with 1,635 games played, 196 goals and 712 assists for 908 points, finishing his career at a +393 with 13 NHL All-Star Game appearances. His #4 would be retired by the Devils on February 3, 2006.
Internationally, Stevens would appear in the World Championships for Canada four times, the 1991 Canada Cup where he would help Canada win the tournament, the 1996 World Cup and the 1998 Olympics.
The featured jersey today is a CCM 2002-03 New Jersey Devils Scott Stevens jersey with the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals patch as worn when the Devils defeated the Mighty Ducks in seven games.
While I have made mention of Stevens Stanley Cup victories and point totals above, Stevens is probably best remembered for his hard hitting reputation, having made numerous memorable thundering checks throughout his 22 NHL seasons.
Friday, July 3, 2009
July by the Numbers continues with a #3 game worn University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs road jersey from the 1980's. This jersey style was used during the heights of the program when future NHL star Brett Hull skated for the Bulldogs and they were WCHA regular season and conference tournament champions and reached the NCAA Frozen Four in both 1984 and 1985, losing in the championship final in an agonizing four overtimes in 1984 and again three overtimes in the semi-finals the following year.
Both Tom Kurvers and Bill Watson wore this style jersey when they were winners of the Hobey Baker Award in 1984 and 1985
Later versions of this jersey had the word "Duluth" straight across the bottom, rather than the radially arch style you see on mine. In some of the earliest years this style was worn it did not have the skating bulldog shoulder patches.
I suspect my particular jersey may have been used for more than one season, and possibly by more than one player, due to the amount of wear on the jersey and the fact that the Bulldogs did not use names on the back at that time.
At the time of purchase, I was told the "UMD Bulldogs Russia 1984" patch was worn on the jersey when the Bulldogs visited Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1984 and I had it reattached. Recently, subsequent research has indicated the likelihood that the patch was worn on the left shoulder with the style of jersey that did not yet have the bulldog shoulder patches, as (barely) shown in this photo.
If anyone reading this has any further information about this style Duluth jersey, especially the precise years this style with the bulldog shoulder patches and arched "Duluth" lettering was worn, especially numerical rosters, please don't hesitate to contact me at the email address in my "wantlist" section to the right or by leaving a comment below.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
July by the Numbers continues on July 2nd with jersey #2.
Brian Leetch, picked 9th overall by the New York Rangers, won the Calder Trophy as a rookie in 1988 after first playing in the Olympic Games in Calgary. He played for Team USA in the 1991 Canada Cup, quickly followed by his best personal NHL season in 1991-92 when he totaled 102 points, including a Rangers record 80 assists and captured the Norris Trophy.
1993-94 would see Leetch hoist the Stanley Cup as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy, the first and only American-born player to do so. 1996-97 would go onto see him win his second Norris Trophy.
After captaining the United States to victory in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Leetch would be named captain of the Rangers in 1997 and play in his second Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, followed by his third, earning a silver medal in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Leetch would play in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and then score his 1000th career point in the 2005-06 season while playing for the Boston Bruins. He would finish his NHL career with 247 goals, 781 assists and 1028 points.
He was one of 12 players voted to the All-Time USA Hockey Team in 1997 and then have his number 2 retried by the Rangers on January 24, 2008 and was been inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in October of the same year. Just ten days ago it was announced that Leetch will be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in November of this year.
The featured jersey today is the very attractive Starter 2001-02 New York Rangers Alternate Brian Leetch jersey with the 9/11 Memorial Ribbon patch.
This jersey is perhaps the most successful third jersey in the history of the NHL in my book. The darker shade of blue gives it a richer, more elegant look compared to the blue of the Rangers road jerseys of the time. The updating of the Rangers shield crest for the shoulders is a more modern and exciting version than the original, but the real triumph is the Liberty Head main logo crest, also created especially for this jersey. It's bold, unyielding stare announces the presence of the Rangers as force than cannot be ignored, nor easily overcome.
I'm torn about the lack of any waist stripes, but have to give the Rangers credit for breaking out of the mold of every jersey having waist stripes, as was the norm in 1996-97 when this alternate style first appeared. There were two previous alternates without waist stripes, but both of those had bold striping across the center of the jersey, in the case of the Penguins 95-96 Alt with it's wild, color-changing aysemetrical central stripe, and the Canucks alt from the same season with it's top red half and bottom black half, but the Rangers stands alone as the first solid color body free of any stripes, creating a look that certainly made the players appear larger and more intimidating.
Unfortunately, Starter wasn't the best at customizing their own jerseys, as the red sections of the numbers are much too thin compared to the authentic jerseys.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
With the lack of significant historical events in hockey history in July, especially those that relate directly to jerseys in the Third String Goalie collection, we have decided to take a little different approach to the heart of summer.
Every day in July we am going to feature a jersey whose number on the back matches the current date.
It's a chance for us to showcase some jerseys that frankly aren't related to a Stanley Cup victory, milestone goal or even a national holiday. We're going to call it "July by the Numbers".
So, for July 1st, we begin at the beginning and kick things off with a jersey that carries the #1, and you just knew it was going to be a goaltender, didn't you?
Arturs Irbe, a Latvian, was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the 10th round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, perhaps based on his performance against the North Stars during a North American tour by his Latvian club team, Dynamo Riga.
Remember these 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Dynamo Riga cards?
Check out those tell-tale green, gold and white seats in the background from the North Stars former home, Met Center. Irbe's performance in that exhibition game in Bloomington, MN might very well have led to his being drafted by the North Stars.
As part of a complicated deal, the North Stars owners, the Gund brothers, were awarded an expansion franchise that would become the San Jose Sharks and begin play in the 1991-92 season. As part of the agreement, the Sharks were awarded some North Stars players and draft picks, one of which was Irbe.
Having come over to the United States for the 1991-92 season, Irbe found himself playing in the International Hockey League for the Sharks minor league team, the Kansas City Blades. In 32 games for the Blades, he had 24 wins, 7 losses and a tie and a goals against average of 2.46.
After spending some time at the NHL level playing for the Sharks (13 games with a 2-6-2 record), Irbe would return to Kansas City in time for the IHL playoffs where he would post a 12-3 record and lead Kansas City to the Turner Cup championship, including a sweep of Muskegon in the finals. He would also earn a share the James Norris Memorial Trophy with Wade Flaherty as the team whose goaltenders allowed the fewest goals in the regular season.
Today's featured jersey is a Bauer 1991-92 Kansas City Blades Arturs Irbe home jersey. It features the correct font used by the Blades for their player names in their championship season, photographic evidence which proved very difficult to find.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It was on this date in 1982 that the New Jersey franchise was officially named "Devils" in fan balloting. The unimaginative "Blades", retro "Americans" and the incredibly horrid "Meadowlanders" were runners-up in the contest.
The Jersey Devil - an ominous crytptozoological (and just how many blogs will be using that word today?) creature with a horse-like head, hooves, bat-like wings, a forked tail and oversized claws - was said to terrorize locals in the New Jersey town of Pine Barrens in the 18th century. Legend varies to wether the child, the 13th one born into the Leeds family in 1735, was considered cursed and turned into the Jersey Devil or was born that way after the mother predicted after her 12th child that if she had another, it would be the Devil.
Still, on occasion there are complaints about the name Devils from those who think it refers to the Satanic Devil, rather than the mythical Jersey Devil.
The club was originally founded as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974. A little known fact is that the Scouts were originally going to be called "Mohawks", but the Chicago Blackhawks objected to the name. The Scouts then moved to Denver, Colorado and became the Rockies in 1976 and then relocated to New Jersey in 1982, this time adopting brand new colors and yet another new name. The team made the playoffs once in it's first 13 seasons,
The low point came in 1983-84 season when, at 2-17-0, the travelled to face the powerhouse Edmonton Oliers and were blown out by a score of 13-4. Wayne Gretzky, upset that former teammate Ron Low played for such an inferior team was quoted as saying "Well, it's time they got their act together, folks. They're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on ice." The Devils fans reacted and when the Oilers visited two months later, the building was full of signs and fans wearing mouse ears.
Four seasons later the Devils made the playoffs, beginning a run of qualifying for the postseason in 19 of the last 21 years, including each of the last 12 in a row, having won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
Today's featured jersey is a CCM 1991-92 New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur jersey as worn when Brodeur made his NHL debut, wearing the unfamiliar #29, after an emergency call up, not from the minors but from Canadian Junior Hockey(!), when both Chris Terreri and Craig Billington were injured. He appeared in four regular season games, winning in his debut 4-2 vs. Boston, and one playoff game.
This jersey is in the original Devils colors of red and green, naturally earning the comparison to Christmas, which were worn through the 1991-92 season, thus making these five games the only time Brodeur would sport this style Devils jersey, as he would spend the next season in the minors playing for the Utica Devils and by the time he returned to New Jersey for the 1993-94 season, the Devils had introduced their now customary red and black jersey set.
This jersey has a pair of patches to point out, the first being the obvious NHL 75th Anniversary logo on the upper right chest and then a small, conservative Devils 10th Anniversary patch tucked away on the back side down by the CCM logo on the hem, certainly one of the more subtle patch placements in NHL history. This is another of my custom made patches we printed ourselves, as they had not yet been reproduced at the time we had this jersey customized.
Today's video section begins with a look at The Jersey Devil followed by the 1996-97 home opener which features highlights from earlier seasons, including today's featured jersey worn by Martin Brodeur during his first NHL action.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I'm surprised it took this long, but regular readers of Third String Goalie will quickly learn that I am located in the hockey hotbed that is Minnesota, and as such, with the passing of time you will undoubtedly be subjected to a disproportionately large number of University of Minnesota Golden Gophers jerseys. I can promise you that they will possess quite a wide ranging variety of styles and eras, but if you do happen to be a die-hard University of North Dakota or University of Wisconsin fan, I won't apologize, but I will ask for your patience.
Minnesota's 1998 "Mr. Hockey", John Pohl was born on this date in 1979 and until recently held the Minnesota State High School career scoring record, with 378 points. In the world of career 1000 point scorers in the NHL, 378 points doesn't exactly sound like a big deal, but when you factor in a high school career is only four years long and just a mere 28 games season, suddenly averaging 95 points per year makes you sit up and take notice. Pohl's best season was his junior year when he racked up 111 points in 28 games for an average of 3.96 points per game. For comparison, fully admitting it really is apples and oranges, Wayne Gretzky averaged 1.92 points per game during his NHL career.
Pohl went onto play four years at the University of Minnesota, cumulating in a national championship for the Golden Gophers in 2001-02, a season when he was one of the team leaders and an assistant captain. He had his best collegiate season with 27 goals and 52 assists for 79 points and was named a First Team All-American in 2001-02, earning himself a spot on one of the murals at the Gopher's home rink, Mariucci Arena.
Pohl was drafted in 1998 by the St. Louis Blues, but only made one appearance for St. Louis in the NHL before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would play 114 games over three seasons for Toronto, scoring 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points. For the 2008-09 season, Pohl would continue his professional career first in Swizterland for HC Lugano, and most recently Frölunda HC of the Swedish Elite League.
The jersey I am featuring today is a Gemini 1998-99 University of Minnesota Alternate John Pohl jersey. This controversial jersey was worn for a limited number of games, as the players complained that the jersey was too hot to play comfortably in.
At the time this jersey was worn, the head coach of the Gophers, Doug Woog in his final season, had a policy of only recruiting players from the state of Minnesota. Each players jersey was decorated with a diamond shaped patch on the back of the jersey with a silhouette of Minnesota and the players home town embroidered in it. My jersey is from a batch not used by the team with a generic "Gophers" in place of "Red Wing" that would have been worn on Pohl's game worn example.
The unconventional, decidedly "Star Trek" font chosen for the numbers and vertically arched name with continuous black outline was a dramatic departure for the Gophers, as well as the woven pinstripe effect dazzle cloth material. Gemini has an "interesting" aesthetic approach to jerseys at times, favoring the dazzle cloth in particular like no others. Not surprisingly, this jersey was only used for one season.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
It was on this day in 1994 that the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a first round draft pick to the Quebec Nordiques for Mats Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and a first round draft pick.
Sundin would go onto become the Leafs captain after Doug Gilmour left the Maple Leafs during the 1996-97 season. Sundin thus became the first European to be named captain of the Maple Leafs. He would also lead the Maple Leafs in scoring for eight consecutive seasons and for 12 out of his 13 seasons with the Leafs, finishing second to Alexander Mogilny in the remaining one.
In 2002-03, he became the first Swedish born player to reach 1,000 points in the NHL and currently leads all Swedish players in goals (564), assists (785) and points (1,349), as well as the Maple Leafs in all-time goals (420) and points (987).
Today's featured jersey is a 2006-07 Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin jersey. If you compare this jersey to the Maple Leafs Sundin jersey featured earlier here at Third String Goalie, you can see the evolution over the lifetime of this basic jersey style.
While they both have the twin white stripes around the arms and waist and matching Maple Leafs crest, the current one has replaced the retro maple leaf secondary logo on the shoulders with the modern "TML" logo on the shoulders and the numbers have evolved from the classic one color white to the again more modern three color numbers, white trimmed in blue and outlined in silver, the first time the Maple Leafs have ever used any other color except blue and white for their basic jersey set.
This jersey also features the Teammates for Kids patch, worn by Mats Sundin and the Maple Leafs on January 6th, 2007. As part of the program, each player on every team would play one game with the patch on their jerseys, which would then be auctioned off for chairity to raise money for the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. This would result in over 600 game worn jerseys entering the market in a single go.
Here is Sundin showing off some of the skills that would make him so popular in Toronto.