Saturday, September 5, 2009

2004-05 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Alternate Ryan Potulny Jersey

Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota on this date in 1984, Ryan Potulny played two seasons for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in 2001-02 and 2002-03 before being drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

He would spend the next three seasons with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). He would play 15 games his first season, recording 6 goals and 8 assists in 15 games. His next season would see him play in 44 games, raising his point totals to 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points. In his third and final season with Minnesota, he would lead not only the Gophers in scoring, but the nation as well, with 38 goals and 63 points in 41 games.

Potulny was named the Gophers MVP, First Team All WCHA, a Hobey Baker Award Finalist and an All-American, earning himself a prestigious place on one of the murals at the Gophers home rink, Mariucci Arena.

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Potulny made his NHL debut on April 7th, 2006 and scored a point during his first game. The following season of 2006-07 would see him skate in 35 games for the Flyers, totaling 12 points from 7 goals and 5 assists. 2007-08 would see him play seven NHL games with one assist.

He was traded by the Flyers to the Edmonton Oliers and spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with Springfield of the American Hockey League (AHL), where he would score 62 points in 70 games and participate in the AHL All-Star Game in Worcester, MA. He would also make eight appearances for the Oliers, raising his career NHL totals to 52 games, 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points.

Today's featured jersey is a Mission 2004-05 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Alternate Ryan Potulny jersey. This jersey has a definite throwback feeling to it, with the lace up collar, vintage Goldy Gopher logo on the front and diagonal "GOPHERS" lettering, reminiscent of the styles worn by the Gophers from 1954 to 1969.

I can't help but think that the University must have been influenced by the die-hard Gopher fans who produced their own throwback jerseys of the 1950's and 60's for a few years prior to the introduction of this alternate style.

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Poltulny has become known for scoring the winning goal at 2:58 of the fifth overtime in Game 5 of the East Division Semi-Finals after 142:58 of game time, an American Hockey League record for the longest game.



Friday, September 4, 2009

1997-98 Florida Panthers John Vanbiesbrouck Jersey

When the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim participated in the 1993 Expansion Draft, the 24 other clubs were allowed to protect one goaltender, five defensemen and nine forwards. With the first choice, the Florida Panthers selected John Vanbiesbrouckborn on this date in 1963, who had spent the previous ten seasons with the New York Rangers.

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Vanbiesbrouck while still with the Rangers

The Rangers, knowing that they would lose either Vanbiesbrouck or Mike Richter in the expansion draft, traded Vanbiesbrouck to the Vancouver Canucks for future considerations. The Canucks then left him exposed in the expansion draft when they protected Kirk McLean.

After a solid first season in which the Panthers posted a 33-34-17 record, missing the playoffs by just a single point, the second Panthers season was essentially a shortened duplicate, finishing with a 20-22-6 record again good for ninth place, again one point out of a playoff spot in the lockout reduced season.

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Vanbiesbrouck adapted well to life in Florida

1995-96 however, would see the team reach unexpected heights in a memorable run through the playoffs. "The Year of the Rat" started on the night of the Panthers home opener, as a rat scurried across the Florida locker room, Scott Melanby "one-timed" the rat against the wall with his stick, killing it. Later that night Mellanby scored two goals, which Vanbiesbrouck called "a rat trick" with the addition of the earlier incident in the locker room.

During the next game, one clever fan threw a rubber rat on the ice in celebration of a goal and a phenomenon was born. By the Panthers third home game, 16 rats reached the ice in celebration. Eventually over 100 were tossed for a goal. Once the Panthers reached the heights of the playoffs, at one point over 3,000 rats rained down after every goal, stopping the games for an extended period of time as the ice, blackened with piles of rubber rats, was cleaned up.

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Vanbiesbrouck navigating the many celebratory rats

The Panthers finished the 1995-96 regular season fourth in the Eastern Conference and faced off against the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the playoffs, defeating them 4 games to 1. The Philadelphia Flyers were dispatched in six games before the Pittsburgh Penguins took them to a full seven games. Florida would win Game 7 on the road by a 3-1 score to move onto the Stanley Cup Finals versus the Colorado Avalanche, where they would fall in four games after a dramatic, scoreless Game 4 that would extend into a third overtime before being decided in favor of the Avalanche, giving Colorado the Stanley Cup.

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Roy and Vanbiesbrouck meet following their epic duel in Game 4

Prior to the next season, the NHL passed a rule aimed squarely at the Panthers, due to the lengthy delays in cleaning up the rats, which would result in a delay of game penalty against the home team for excessive celebration of a goal by throwing objects on the ice.

After the Panthers trip to the finals, Vanbiesbrouck would play two more seasons in Florida, which included recording his 300th career victory.

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Vanbiesbrouck's distinctive Panthers mask

He would then sign with the Flyers, where he would play for two seasons before heading back to New York, only this time with the Islanders. The Islanders would subsequently trade him to the New Jersey Devils late in the 2000-01 season, where he would spend the majority of his time as a backup to Martin Brodeur. He would retire at the end of the season, only to return late in the following season to once more back up Brodeur before retiring for good.

Vanbiesbrouck's final NHL totals would show 882 games played, 374 wins and 40 shutouts with a goal against average of 2.97. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1986 while with the Rangers and his 374 wins and 40 shutouts are records for the most victories and shutouts by an American-born goaltender.

Vanbiesbrouck would also carve out a varied international hockey career, which included participation in the World Championships for the United States in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989. He would see action in both the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups but was unable to compete in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey due to a shoulder injury after being named to the team. He would make the 1998 United States Olympic Team for the tournament held in Nagano, Japan. Following his career, he was named to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Today's featured jersey is a Starter 1997-98 Florida Panthers John Vanbiesbrouck jersey, which features the Florida Panthers 5th Anniversary patch.

The lettering specification for the jerseys from 1993-94 to 1997-98 was one color straight lettering for the names, which was later changed to three color, vertically arched lettering from 1998-99 through 2005-06 after the departure of Vanbiesbrouck and his extended surname apparently allowed the Panthers design department more freedom with the lettering style of the jerseys!

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Today's video highlights include round one of the 1996 playoffs versus the Boston Bruins.


The playoff highlights continue with the peak of the rat throwing, the Panthers first goal at home during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.


Next, a look at Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, featuring the goaltending duel between Vanbiesbrouck and Patrick Roy which stretched into a third overtime.



Here is an extended interview with Vanbiesbrouck on NHL Live, which covers a wide range of topics,  beginning with his memories of playing the first modern NHL outdoor game, an exhibition in Las Vegas.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber Jersey

Born on this date in 1974, Martin Gerber played three seasons for SC Langnau Tigers of the Swiss League from 1998-99 to 2000-01. During this time he also made his debut for Switzerland at the 2000 World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Following the 2000-01 season, Gerber was drafted in the eighth round by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and subsequently played for Färjestads BK in the Swedish Elitserien, where he would lead them to the regular season and playoff championships. 2002 would also see him play for Switzerland at both the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and again at the World Championships in Sweden.

The following season he would migrate to North America and being his NHL career, first with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.

Switzerland would call on him again for the 2004 World Championships in the Czech Republic before a busy 2004-05 campaign would see him return to Europe where he split his time between previous clubs SC Langnau Tigers in Switzerland and then Färjestads BK in Sweden followed by a successful Olympic Qualifying tournament and the 2005 World Championships for Switzerland held in Austria.

With the resumption of play in the NHL in 2005-06 Gerber would now tend goal for the Carolina Hurricanes who obtained him in a trade with the Mighty Ducks. Gerber would post a 38-14-6 record with the Hurricanes, but would be replaced by his regular season backup Cam Ward in the first round of the playoffs, who would lead the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup, making Gerber only the second Swiss player to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup after David Aebischer in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.

Gerber and Aebischer would also share the goaltending duties for Switzerland at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, where Switzerland would post memorable wins against the Czech Republic by a 3-2 score, followed by a stunning 2-0 win over Canada two days later with Gerber making 49 saves for the shutout for perhaps the greatest 48 hours in Swiss hockey history.

Gerber would sign as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators, where he would play the next two seasons, 2006-07 and 2007-08, going 45-27-7 and making another appearance for Switzerland at the 2008 World Championships in Canada. He would start the 2008-09 season with Ottawa and then move to the Toronto Maple Leafs after being claimed on waivers followed by his seventh trip to the 2009 World Championships, this time hosted by Switzerland.

For the upcoming 2009-10 season, Gerber has signed with Atlant Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber jersey as worn in the 2004 World Championships held in the Czech Republic. This jersey features custom made Tissot sponsorship patches on the shoulders, as well as the International Ice Hockey Federation patch on the lower back.

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Our first video highlight is a player profile on Martin Gerber from his time with the Carolina Hurricanes.


Here is Gerber making an astounding, if not controversial, save against Rick Nash of Canada during his shutout of the Canadians during the 2006 Olympics.


This next highlight is Switzerland's second goal of the game against Canada by Paul DiPietro.


And finally, the last minute of the game as the Swiss players celebrate their upset victory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2004 Team USA Throwback Chris Chelios Jersey

On this date in 2004, the United States faced off against Russia in St. Paul, Minnesota as part of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, with the US wearing throwback jerseys in honor of the silver medal winning 1932 United States Olympic Team.

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The 1932 United States Olympic Team

The 1932 US Olympic Team would open the double-round robin tournament on February 4th, 1932 in Lake Placid, New York with a 2-1 overtime loss to Canada and then defeated Poland 4-1 the next day before going on a roll that would see them post consecutive shutouts against Germany (7-0) on the 7th, Poland (5-0) on the 8th and Germany again (8-0) on the 10th before skating to a tie with Canada 2-2 to close out the tournament on February 13th.

Here is a photo of an actual game worn United States sweater from the 1932 Olympics.

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Russia would win the 2004 matchup against the United States by a 3-1 score on goals by Dainius Zubrus, Alexei Kovalev and Viktor Kozlov, while Keith Tkachuk would score the lone goal for the US.

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This would be the one and only game that Team USA would wear the 1932 throwbacks, although the US World Junior team would also wear these throwback jerseys during the 2005 World Juniors three months later in Grand Forks, North Dakota, only this time with the individual player names on the back.

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team USA 1932 Throwback Chris Chelios jersey as worn during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey on September 2, 2004 in St. Paul, Minnesota versus Russia.

This jersey features the 2004 World Cup of Hockey patch on the upper left chest, along with Chelios' captain's "C". The jerseys were customized with a distinctive, oversized number font with a pronounced white outline and were worn without names on the back.

Also absent was the IIHF logo patch, normally worn on the back bottom right hem of all the jerseys during the 2004 World Cup, with the only other exception being the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons throwback jerseys worn by Team Canada during the tournament. 

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Here is some video footage of the 1932 USA throwback jerseys in action during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Don't miss one of the all time great goals by the sublime Alexei Kovalev.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1987-88 Minnesota North Stars Brian Bellows Jersey

Born on this date in 1964, Brian Bellows was drafted second overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1982 after the North Stars made a trade to move up with selecting Bellows in mind. He would play ten seasons in Minnesota, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals once in 1991 and appear in three All-Star Games, 1984, 1988 and 1992. His best offensive season was in 1989-90, when he scored a career high 55 goals and 44 assists for 99 points.

In 1992 he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, where he would play three seasons and capture his only Stanley Cup in 1993. The later years of his career would see him move from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and both the Berlin Capitals in the German DEL, and the Washington Capitals of the NHL, with whom he would return to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998.

During his second season in Washington, he would score his 1000th point, becoming the 54th player to reach that milestone.

The jersey I am featuring today is a 1987-88 Minnesota North Star Brian Bellows road jersey. This jersey is from the last season before black was finally added to the road jerseys, seven years after being added to the home jerseys.

This jersey features the "JM" patch worn in honor of John Mariucci, "The Godfather of American Hockey". He played for the University of Minnesota, played five seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks when American players in the NHL was a rarity, and then spent four more seasons playing in the various minor leagues of the day before retiring and entering the world of coaching.

Mariucci coached the University of Minnesota for 12 seasons with another spent as the coach of the US Olympic team, earning a silver medal in 1956. He would also coach Team USA at the 1976 and 1977 World Championships. The home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mariucci Arena, is named for John and he is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Here's a very well spoken rookie Brian Bellows taking between periods of a game, apparently just after getting into a scrap with none other than ESPN's Barry Melrose.


And this may very well be that scrap.


I usually go out of my way to avoid posting "slide shows" from YouTube to provide you with the best quality material possible, but sometimes exceptions have to be made, as in this case to honor John Mariucci and the two arenas the Gophers have played in named for him.

Don't miss the shots of the interior of the original Mariucci arena, especially the overhanging sloped ceiling over the south end of the arena, where high shots and deflected pucks would rebound violently downward rather than sailing over the glass as they would at any normal rink. Old Mariucci was truly in the Fenway Park/Wrigley Field category of beloved/quirky hockey arenas.


This second video from old Mariucci features Minnesota hosting Michigan State in a 1988 NCAA Quarter Final matchup, a "two games - total goals" format no one was sad to see discontinued. See how many future NHL players you can pick out, one of which is new Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards. It still gives me goose bumps hearing a fired up crowd in "The Barn". By the way, the #7 Broten you see is not Neal, but his younger brother Paul.


This final video is a tour of the new Mariucci by former Gopher football players Darrell Reid of the Indianapolis Colts.

Monday, August 31, 2009

2004 Team Canada Alternate Mario Lemieux Jersey

The Winnipeg Falcons were the world's first Olympic Hockey Champions, having won gold at the 1920 Winter Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

Founded in 1911 with a roster of players of Icelandic decent because they were not welcomed on other teams due to racial prejudice, The Falcons played until 1917. The team was reorganized in 1919 after a number of their players returned from service in World War I.

The Falcons were chosen to represent all of Canada at the Olympic Games by virtue of having won the Allan Cup as the 1920 Canadian National Senior Amateur Champions.

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During the Olympics the Falcons defeated Czechoslovakia 15-0, the United States 2-0 and Sweden 12-1 to capture the gold medal.


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On their return to Canada, they were honored with a parade, given gold pocket watches and feted at several banquets.

On April 29th, 2006 the Winnipeg Falcons were inducted into Canada's Olympic Hall of Fame and there is now an exhibit in honor of the Falcons at the MTS Center in Winnipeg.

For further reading, there are now several books available about the Falcons, When Falcons Fly, Long Shot and Falcons Gold. I also recommend WinnipegFalcons.com, which proved invaluable in researching this entry.

When the North American pool of the World Cup of Hockey kicked off on this date in 2004, the United States travelled to Montreal to take on Team Canada, who wore 1920 Winnipeg Falcons throwback jerseys. Team Canada won the contest by a 2-1 score on goals by Martin St. Louis and Joe Sakic. It would be the only time Team Canada's senior team would wear the Falcons jerseys.

The jerseys were worn one once more, in an exhibition game between Canada's World Junior Team and Team Finland on December 20th, 2004 at the MTS Center in Winnipeg, which ended in a 6-0 win for Canada before they would go on to dominate the 2005 World Junior Tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota with a team that included Sidney Crosby. The full roster of players from the exhibition game can be found here.

Today's featured jersey is a Nike 2004 Team Canada Alternate Mario Lemieux "Winnipeg Falcons" Throwback jersey as worn on August 31st, 2004. One unique aspect of the Falcons throwbacks is that all the jerseys had "CANADA" on the back instead of each individual player's name, similar to the 1972 Canada Cup jerseys.

The jersey also features the 2004 World Cup of Hockey logo patch on the upper left chest, along with Mario Lemieux's captain's "C".

While the Falcons normally wore blue and green "barberpole" striped jerseys, it's uncertain why the Falcons' Olympic jerseys were old gold and black, a choice of colors that proved unpopular with fans in 2004 and earned them a spot in Third String Goalie's "Curious, Weird and Ugly" Collection.


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Here is Team Canada in action wearing their Falcons jerseys in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey versus the United States.


Don't forget to scroll down to read yesterday's bonus post regarding the official public debut of the Minnesota Wild's new third jersey posted after yesterday's regular entry.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009-10 Minnesota Wild Alternate Jersey Pictures and Video

Third String Goalie has just returned from the Minnesota State Fair, several pounds heavier and many dollars lighter in the wallet, with photos and video from the Minnesota Wild's new Alternate jerseys official public release this afternoon.

First, the video in three parts for your convenience.

Part one is Wild's television announcers Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay introduction and showing the previous Wild jerseys.

The second part is Wild Vice President of Brand Marketing, John Maher explaining a little about the design process, when they will debut on the ice and how to get one for yourself.

If you just want to see Derek Boogaard modeling the jersey, I recommend just skipping to Part 3.




Here are the first photos taken of the jersey, showing the overall look, detail of the new crest, the customizing specs for the back and Boogaard wondering why that little red triangle thingy is the only red on the entire jersey.

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2009-10 Minnesota Wild Alternate Jersey & Hockey Birthday

Since today's events in hockey history are about as uninspiring as they get and don't remotely relate to anything in my collection,

Former NHL left winger Guy Delparte born in Prince Albert, Sask.
Delparte played in the NHL 1976-77 with the Colorado Rockies.

I'm taking the day off to go to the Minnesota State Fair and see the Minnesota Wild's new alternate jerseys official debut.

By now you've probably already seen the leaked photo of them, which takes some of the shine off the affair, but that's life in the gottahaveitnow world of the internet I suppose.

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Not bad at all, but personally really liked this concept by jlentz823 on the Chris Creamer's Sports Logo Community's message board best, which had more red in the sweater and paired it with the red breezers along with a better font choice for the numbers.

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Hockey Birthday: Another reason to give myself the day off is that it just happens to be my birthday today, so I'm going to go gorge myself on various food-on-a-stick items and enjoy some time out in the sun and away from the computer.





 

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