Saturday, November 7, 2009
For seven seasons - day in, day out - Glenn Hall tended goal every single game, every single minute from the start of the 1955-56 season for the Detroit Red Wings and then for the Chicago Black Hawks starting with the 1957-58 season up through this date in 1962.
502 complete games in goal, 551 if you count the 49 playoff games, without ever once being pulled or given a rest - all without a wearing a mask!
In that first season of the streak, Hall was the Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year. In 1961 he led the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup Championship, their first in 22 seasons and to date, their last. Hall was also a first or second team All-Star six times in the seven year run, no easy feat in a then six-team league against competition from Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower,Jacques Plante, Roger Crozier and Gump Worsley.
Perhaps the closest he came to ending the streak was a puck to the face from the Toronto Maple Leaf's Jim Pappin that knocked out the only tooth he ever lost playing hockey and earned him 30 of the 250 stitches he would accumulate during his career.
Despite the end of his consecutive games streak due to a bad back, it would not deter Hall, who would go on to win the Vezina Trophy that season for the first of three times in his career and play in over 400 more games before retiring.
Hall is also known for throwing up before games, which he "credits" to being excited to play, not nerves for fear, and pioneering the butterfly style of goaltending, where a goaltender drops to his knees and spreads his legs out in a "V" shape, rather than doing the splits or laying sideways and stacking the pads on top of each other, the common styles used at the time. Keeping himself vertical also helped keep his face farther off the ice and away from the puck.
Playing with Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull was great for games, but very hard on Hall during practices. Mikita and Hull were the original developers of the curved stick and known for their blazing slap shots. Back in those days practices were not filled with the drills of today's modern practice, plus there were no rules at the time limiting the curvature on stick blades, and the players would blast shot after shot at the goaltenders, which would dip as much as two feet on their way to the net.
Hull in particular had no qualms about firing pucks at people, including trying to fire the puck at the glass in front of the goal judge at Chicago Stadium during pregame warmups to startle him into spilling his traditional coke. The problem for Hall was his location in the net in between Hull and the goal judge, requiring the puck to rip past Hall's head just over his shoulder on it's way to the glass!
Hall was set to retire at age 35, but was taken by the St. Louis Blues in the 1967 Expansion Draft, despite having just won the Vezina trophy! A 35% raise from $35,000 to $47,500 convinced Hall to extend his career. He led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals three years in a row and also finally began to wear a mask.
He would capture the Conn Smythe Trophy in the 1968 playoffs, despite being on the losing end of a 4 games to none sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Each game was a one-goal victory for Montreal, with Games 1 and 3 going to overtime. Hall would also share the Vezina trophy with Jacques Plante in 1968-69.
He retired with 84 shutouts and a lifetime goals against average of 2.51. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
Today's featured jersey is a 1957-68 Chicago Black Hawks Glenn Hall jersey from his first season in Chicago. The crossed tomahawks and C logo was still worn over the sleeve stripes at the time before relocating up to the shoulder area for the 1960 season. The jersey also has the classic tie-neck collar used through the 1964-65 season. No names were worn on the back of the jerseys in those days, just Hall's traditional goaltender's #1.
First up is the Legends of Hockey profile on Glenn Hall
This brief video focuses on Hall's consecutive games streak.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Dominik Hasek became the youngest player in in professional hockey history when, at age 16 he suited up for HC Pardubice in the Czechoslovak Extraliga in 1980. He would play for Pardubice for nine seasons, including winning the championship twice in both 1987 and 1989 and be named the top player of the Czechoslovak Extraliga in 1987, 1989 and 1990 as well as the Goaltender of the Year for five consecutive seasons from 1986 through 1990.
He would play one season for Dukla Jihlava in 1989-90 before moving to North America as the restrictions on players from communist countries were now lifted after what would have been a highly successful, complete ten year career for many, but due to his record setting early start as a teenager, Hasek was still only 26 years of age.
Drafted 199th overall in the 10th round back in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, when players from communist countries had little chance of ever playing in the NHL, Hasek would not even find out he had been drafted until several months later! He would begin his time in North American hockey in the same place Wayne Gretzky started his professional career, Indianapolis, Indiana, playing for the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL in 1990-91.
He would make his NHL debut on this date in 1990 in a 1-1 tie vs. the Hartford Whalers. He would see action in five games for the Blackhawks - eight years after being originally drafted. His first win would come on March 8, 1991, a 5-3 win over his future club - the Buffalo Sabres.
The following season, backing up Chicago's then number one goaltender Ed Belfour, Hasek would split his time between Chicago and Indianapolis, playing in 20 games for each club. He would post a 10-4-1 record with a 2.60 goals against average that season for Chicago and would earn his first of 81 career shutouts with a 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 9th, 1992. The Blackhawks would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals that year before losing to the Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh Penguins. Unable to win the starting job from Belfour, Hasek would be traded during the offseason to the Buffalo Sabres where he would begin the next phase of his career.
Today's featured jersey is a CCM 1991-92 Chicago Blackhawks Turn Back the Clock Dominik Hasek jersey worn by Chicago during the NHL's 75th anniversary season when Hasek wore #31, after initially wearing #34 during his first season with the Blackhawks.
As part of the celebrations of the NHL's 75th anniversary in the 1991-92 season, the Original Six teams, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Montreal and Toronto, all wore a Turn Back the Clock jersey from their past at various times throughout the season. The Blackhawks "barberpole" jersey was originally worn in the 1937 season and did not feature any sleeve numbers.
This jersey does feature the NHL 75th anniversary patch, as worn by all players during the 1991-92 season.
Here is a collection of many great saves made by Hasek in the 1992 Cup Finals versus Pittsburgh while playing for the Blackhawks.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
On this date in 2005, the Toronto Maple Leafs faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game, held annually at the Air Canada Centre in conjunction with the induction ceremonies at the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto.
Beginning in 1999, a Maple Leafs home game is scheduled to coincide with the Hall of Fame weekend with both teams wearing a special patch on their jerseys for the occasion, but the game is only a small part of the celebrations.
In 2005, the festivities kicked off Friday, November 4th with all guests at the Hall of Fame getting a chance to win prizes and a limited edition poster of the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning plus a Tampa Bay Lightning autograph signing to coincide with the poster giveaway.
Saturday, November 5th included appearances by Michel Goulet, Lanny McDonald, Peter Stastny and Borje Salming and a chance to be photographed with them along side the Stanley Cup followed by the Hockey Hall of Fame Game that evening between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sunday would see each guest receive a limited edition 2005 inductee print, with the first 500 being signed, an Inductee Fan Forum with a inductees Cam Neely, former president of Hockey Canada Murray Costello and Slava Fetisov, a former teammate of inductee the late Valeri Kharlamov, 11 time Russian Champion, 8 time World Champion and 2 time Olympic Gold Medal winner who died prematurely in a car accident in 1981 at age 33. Kharlamov was voted one of only six players on the IIHF Team of the Century in 2008.
The Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic Game was then played at Air Canada Centre, featuring Cam Neely, Alexander Kharlamov, son of Valeri, Dale Hawerchuk, Paul Henderson, Valeri Kamensky, Lanny McDonald, Larry Murphy, Steve Shutt, Billy Smith, Bryan Trottier, Alexander Yakushev plus others.
The 2005 Induction Celebration wrapped up the festivities on Monday, November 7th and featured a live broadcast on TSN.
As for the Hockey Hall of Fame Game on Saturday, it featured the return of Mats Sundin to the Maple Leafs lineup after missing a month with after being hit in the face during the Maple Leafs season opener back on October 5th and suffering a fractured orbital bone which caused him to miss 12 games.
Jeff O'Neill opened the scoring on an assist from Sundin, his first point of the season, at 10:40 of the first period on the power play, followed by Darcy Tucker adding another power play goal for Toronto from Eric Lindros less than half a minute before the end of the period.
Evgeny Artyukhin pulled Tampa Bay back to within one at 3:52 of the second before Sundin scored from O'Neill at 13:17.
Alexander Steen followed with an unassisted goal for the Maple Leafs three minutes later to give Toronto a 4-1 lead after two periods.
The Lighting would stage a comeback in the third, with Dan Boyle, from Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier, scoring on a power play at 54 seconds. Lecavalier would add another power play goal for Tampa Bay from Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards at 9:01 to pull within one at 4-3. Toronto would then benefit from three late penalties to the Lightning and Chad Kilger would ice the game for Toronto with an empty net goal with three seconds remaining to give goaltender Ed Belfour the win by a final score of 5-3.
Today's featured jersey is a CCM 2005-06 Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin jersey which features the Hockey Hall of Fame Game patch as worn on the Maple Leafs alternate jerseys during the game on November 5th, 2005 in which Sundin had a goal and an assist after returning from an injury suffered in the first game of the season a month earlier.
Here is a news report on the five city Canada Russia Hall of Fame Legends Classic Game.
Next up is Cam Neely's indcution speech, followed by Murray Costello's speech.
Finally today, a look at the other 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee, Valeri Kharlamov.
Dasherboard: This year's Hockey Hall of Fame Game will take place this Saturday, November 7, and will see the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings at 7 PM.
There is an autograph signing with the Red Wings on Friday, November 6th.
Saturday features friend of Third String Goalie Phil Pritchard, "The Keeper of the Cup" presenting "Tales of the Cup", a behind-the-scenes look at stories and pictures of the Stanley Cup and guest appearances from Bobby Hull and Ted Lindsay plus an opportunity for autographs afterwards in the afternoon prior to the Hall of Fame Game.
Sunday sees visitors to the Hall of Fame receiving the 2009 Inductee Poster, with the first 500 being autographed, the 2009 Inductee Fan Forum and the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game which pits Canada Legends against World Legends, which features 17 Hall of Fame members taking part among the participants.
Monday sees the 2009 Induction Ceremony. Due to the circumstances surrounding the 2004-05 NHL Lockout, an extraordinary group of players all became eligible at the same time and this year's Inductees may be the single greatest group ever, with Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitallie and Steve Yzerman in the Player Category and Lou Lamoriello in the Builder Category being honored.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Mark Messier left the New York Rangers to sign a free agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks for the 1997-98 season. Three years without qualifying for the playoffs and injury troubles made for a less than satisfying stay in Vancouver and Messier returned to the Rangers in time for the 2000-01 season.
Putting the injury bug behind him, Messier played in all 82 games for the Rangers at age 40 and scored 24 goals and 67 points, his highest totals since 1996-97, his final year in New York before leaving for the Canucks. The Rangers however, would also fail to qualify for the playoffs, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference.
The 2001-02 season would see the injury bug return, with an arm injury limiting Messier to 41 games and 23 points and the Rangers once again outside the playoffs looking in.
Back to full health in time for the 2002-03 season, Messier played in 78 games for New York, scoring 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points.
Messier began his final NHL season with 1844 career points, six back of Gordie Howe and his career total of 1850 points, good for second place on the all-time scoring list.
He opened the season with an assist in Minnesota and then added his first goal of the season three games later to give the Rangers a tie against the Carolina Hurricanes.
An empty net goal would follow two games later icing a 3-1 win versus Detroit followed by his third goal of the season two more games later, again versus Carolina to give the Rangers their final goal in a 4-1 victory.
His trend of scoring in every other game continued, this time to give the Rangers a two goal lead against the Colorado Avalanche, only to see the Avalanche come back and win 3-2 in overtime. Messier now stood at 1849 points - one behind Howe.
The next Rangers game was a home game versus the Dallas Stars on this date in 2004. The first period passed scoreless, but at 1:37 of the second period, Messier scored on Dallas netminder Marty Turco as he deflected hard drive by Alexi Kovalev to pull into a tie with Howe and give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Matthew Barnaby would add a second Ranger goal at 15:01 of the second.
The third period passed scoreless despite the Stars out-shooting the Rangers 17-3 and the Stars Turco was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:11 to play. As he skated down the right side, Kovalev fed Messier who put the puck in the back of the vacated net from the other side of the red line and threw his hands up into the air as the Rangers bench emptied to celebrate with their captain as his family hugged each other in the stands as Messier moved into sole possession of second place in the all-time NHL scoring list.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gordie," Messier said. "My dad was affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings back in the 1950's and early 1960's. He attended some training camps, he played with Gordie in some exhibition games. So he had a first-hand account of Gordie as a hockey player as well as a person. Growing up with that and then passing him at that moment, there is a little trepidation because it seems like Wayne (Gretzky) and Gordie are synonymous with each other."
Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 New York Rangers Mark Messier jersey. This jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch worn on all players jerseys during that season, but only the Rangers wore the patch on their right shoulders due to the diagonal RANGERS cresting on the front of the jersey interfering with the standard location on the right chest.
This career retrospective video on Messier includes a clip of him scoring his empty net goal to pass Gordie Howe for second place on the all-time scoring list. Also take note of the throwback jersey he dons while being introduced as a New York Ranger for the first time.
This video countdown ranks his goal to pass Gordie Howe as #2 on the list of Messier's Top 10 Career Moments.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It was on this day in 2004 that Sergei Zholtok, playing for Riga 2000 from his native Latvia during the NHL lockout, died from heart failure during a game in Belarus at the age of 31.
A ten year veteran of the NHL, Zholtok was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins 55th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the majority of his first season in North America of 1992-93 playing with the Providence Bruins of the AHL, appearing in one game with Boston, registering an assist for his first NHL point.
1993-94 was split between Providence (54 games) and Boston(24 games), and saw him score his first NHL goal against fellow Latvian Arturs Irbe.
The Providence Bruins would be his home for the entire 1994-95 season and he would score 23 goals and 35 assists for 58 points in 78 games.
Zholtok would have his breakout season the following year with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL scoring 51 goals and 50 assists for 101 points in 82 games, all career highs.
He would split the next season between Las Vegas (19 games) and the Ottawa Senators in his return to the NHL, where he would see action in 57 games and collect 28 points. He would again play in Ottawa in 1997-98 for a full campaign, scoring 23 points for the season.
1998-99 saw Zholtok move to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent, where he would collect 22 points in 70 games. 38 points would follow in 1999-00 and 2000-01 saw him play 32 games in Montreal, scoring 11 points before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for the second half of the season. It was not a good year for Zholtok, as between the two clubs combined, he would score only five goals in 69 games.
With his value at a low point, he was acquired by the Minnesota Wild for just a 7th round draft choice. The move to the fledgling second year Wild offered Zholtok the chance for a new start and increased playing time, including playing the point on the Wild's first power play unit even though he was a forward.
He seized the opportunity and set a new personal NHL best with 39 points on 19 goals and 20 assists. 2002-03 would see him improve upon that mark with 42 points on 16 goals and 26 assists, as well as being a key part of the Wild's unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals, which included dramatic comebacks from being down 3 games to 1 to both the Colorado Avalanche in round 1, including assisting on the series clinching goal in overtime of Game 7 by Andrew Brunette, and again to the Vancouver Canucks in round 2. Zholtok would total 13 points in 18 games during the Wild's playoff run.
2003-04 saw Zholtok play in 59 games for the Wild, one of only four Latvian players in the NHL that season, scoring 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 59 games before being dealt to the Nashville Predators along with Brad Bombardir for a pair of third and fourth round draft picks at the trade dealine. He would play in 11 games for the Predators, followed by 6 playoff games in his final NHL action.
With the players locked out by the NHL owners for the 2004-05 season, Zholtok, a national hero in Latvia and a regular member of the Lativan National Team, would do what many NHL players did and return to his home country to play, bringing former Wild teammate Darby Hendrickson with him.
Zholtok would compete in just six games for HK Riga 2000.
What followed was hinted at in January of 2003, when Zholtok, then captain of the Wild and the first Latvian ever to captain an NHL team, was forced to leave a game due to an occurrence of dizziness and fatigue and was taken to the hospital. Two nights later he skated in the pre-game warmups, but did not feel well enough to play.
The problems returned early in the 2003-04 season when he suffered a fainting spell during the second period of a game. He spent the night in the hospital and was diagnosed with hyperventilation. Additional testing ten days later at the Mayo Clinic revealed an irregular heartbeat. He missed seven games before being cleared by his cardiologist to resume play - exactly one year to the day prior to what happened next.
On the night of November 3rd, 2004, Riga 2000 travelled to Belarus for their game against Dynamo Minsk that night. Zholtok told Hendrickson before the game. "You better have the energy on our line tonight because I don't have it." Late in the game, Zholtok left the bench area to return to the locker room and collapsed. Hendrickson, still in his hockey gear ran to the team bus to retrieve his cell phone and called Minnesota Wild team medical director Sheldon Burns, telling him that Zholtok was having the "same episode as last year." For 20 agonizing minutes Burns communicated instructions through Hendrickson to the paramedics, one of whom spoke English and Russian. At one point Zholtok told Hendrickson "Don't leave." according to Hendrickson's agent Neil Sheehy. They attempted to shock his heart but all their attempts to save him failed and Zholtok died in Hendrickson's arms.
Renowned for being a dedicated family man, Zholtok left behind his wife Anna and his sons Edgar, 14 at the time, and Nikita, then just 4 years old.
Tributes to Zholtok came from all corners of the hockey world and mourners held a candlelight vigil outside the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation in Riga. There is now an annual Sergei Zholtok Memorial U20 tournament held in Riga every year and a permanent display honoring Zholtok at the Minnesota WIld's Xcel Energy Center.
Zholtok, along with fellow Latvian NHLer Irbe, was a board member of the Kids First Fund for abused and abandoned children in Latvia and Moldova. After reading the linked article, if you would like to donate to this cause that Zholtok so strongly believed in, you can do so by clicking here.
On a personal note, while Zholtok was with the Minnesota Wild, we had the opportunity to meet him in person several times, at both Wild practices and various personal appearances. One of our favorite memories is wearing our Dynamo Riga jersey to practice one day, the first professional club Zholtok played for in his hometown of Riga. Shocked to see a jersey from home, 4500 miles away, he excitedly grabbed a teammate and pulled him over to the glass exclaiming "That's from my home town!"
We would make a point of attending his personal appearances of the "question and answer" format, often asking him questions about playing for his country, which he would always answer thoughtfully and with pride. Those were one of the few questions that were not answered with "spending time with my family" or "going fishing".
Another time after practice, we asked him, while he was dressed in his ever present NHLPA gear, to translate a program from a game between the mighty Soviet Red Army Club and Dynamo Riga, which was written in both Russian and Latvian, which he was happy to do for us, although he was quite surprised to see such a document, again, so far from home. "Where did you get this?" he asked. When the reply came "ebay", he could only roll his eyes at the ever shrinking world the internet had created.
Our other favorite shared moment with Zholtok was during the time of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The lower ranked nations of Slovakia, Austria, Latvia and Germany were placed in one group, while France, Switzerland, Ukraine and Belarus were placed in another group called the Preliminary Round. Only the two winners of each group in the Preliminary Round would advance to the main part of the competition, the Qualifying Round, against the likes of Canada, Russia and the United States, etc. to be eligible for the Playoff Round which would determine the medal winners.
Unfortunately for the lower ranked nations, the NHL did not stop their season for the Preliminary Round, forcing countries like Latvia and Slovakia to compete minus their best players, who were still obligated to their NHL clubs at the time. On February 10, 2002, Latvia faced a crucial game versus Slovakia, needing a win to keep pace with Germany for the group lead. We attended the Wild game that evening, wearing our Latvian National Team jersey in support of Zholtok, knowing that he would have his national team on his mind that evening. Standing behind the goal during warmups, Zholtok spotted us as he skated toward the goal, nodded to us and tapped his heart with his fist twice in acknowledgment of our show of understanding and support.
Without Zholtok, Sandis Ozolinsh and Arturs Irbe, who asked to be released by the Carolina Hurricanes for the Latvians crucial final game against Germany and was turned down even though Tom Barrasso was their number one goaltender at the time, Latvia had to stage a comeback to salvage a tie against Slovakia 6-6, leaving them a point behind first place and forcing a must win game against Germany, which Latvia lost 4-1 to end their Olympic participation before their NHL reinforcements could arrive, the same fate that befell the shorthanded Slovaks, who were without such players a Ziggy Palffy, Miroslav Satan, Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa and Peter Bondra. The Olympic hockey tournament format was amended in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics to prevent such circumstances from happening again.
Todays jersey is a Lutch 2004-05 Riga 2000 Sergei Zholtok jersey, the final jersey of Zholtok's career.
Today's first video was produced by the Minnesota Wild and is from Sergei Zholtok Night at the Xcel Energy Center.
This next video features more highlights from his games with the Latvian National Team.
Here is Zholtok scoring his three goals in the 2004 World Championships against Germany, Kazakhstan and finally Austria, his final World Championships of the six he would compete in for Latvia.
Next is an extensive biography of Zholtok done by the LNT, Latvian Independant Television. It's in Latvian, but still well worth watching.
Finally, the final interview he conducted upon his return to Latvia in late 2004. Again, it's in Latvian, but it has a lot of game footage in all four parts that make it worth watching to see Zholtok in action.
For more pictures and information on Sergei Zholtok, we recommend visiting SergeiZholtok.com.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Bonus post: On Saturday night the Montreal Canadiens wore their 1912-13 Barberpole throwbacks for the only time season in a 5-4 shootout win over the Maple Leafs. It was the second and final time the barberpole jerseys will ever be worn .
The jerseys were ridiculed last season when they were worn on February 1, 2009, being compared to prison uniforms by Bruin's announcer Jack Edwards. Then Canadiens coach Bob Gainey even opted out of wearing them for their second scheduled appearance on March 31, 2009, calling them a distraction, and choosing the more sedate 1915-16 throwbacks instead.
We here at Third String Goalie approve of these throwbacks for the nod to the Canadiens heritage and the attention they bring to the early days of hockey. While we did feature them in our "Curious, Weird and Ugly Collection" article for the Hockey News Greatest Jerseys of All-Time issue, we classified them as curious, and would never, ever call them ugly, although one must wonder if they did give the shooter an advantage in the shootout...
We think she enjoyed the game and the jerseys. Can't tell. Don't care. Doesn't really matter, does it? We could just listen to her all day long.
The remainder of the Canadiens Centennial jersey schedule is;
Tuesday, November 10th - 1910-11 red Maple Leaf jerseys
Saturday, Novenber 21st - 1909-10 blue "C" jerseys
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 - 1910-11 red Maple Leaf jerseys
Saturday, February 13th, 2010 - 1909-10 blue "C" jerseys