"You go to the Verizon Center with the Capitals, it's unbelievable, and it just made me feel like celebrating," he explained. "What's going on in those games, in that building, is infectious. It carries out onto the street; people are happy. Even when they lose, there's such optimism. I mean, you can't discount Ovechkin's influence on the team, but when you look at all the players, there's just so much electricity and teamwork going on on that ice, [not to mention] the way it's presented, the way it feels. Hey, it made me crazy. I'm going to games as an astronaut."Are there downsides? Well, it turns out the costume is hotter than expected. And he's found it tricky to drink any fermentables while in character. Other than that, though, it's been clean air."It's a little strange sometime in the line in the bathroom, but people are very receptive. [Although] the occasional person kind of looks at you like you're from outer space."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
In honor of the birthdate of Frank Zamboni, a tribute to the ice resurfacing machine he invented that bears his name, the Zamboni, perhaps the most fun word to say in the entire world.
The next time you happen to be looking for a gift-giving idea for us at Third String Goalie, you couldn't possibly go wrong with this piece of brilliance.
Dasherboard: While watching the Captials game last night against the Maple Leafs, two people hit the stratosphere. Alexander Ovechkin had a nice five point night for my Fulton Fantasy Hockey League's Red Army club and I became aware of my new favorite hockey fan, The Capstronaut. The announcers were quite amused by his presence, as was I.
They Capstronaut has even earned himself an invitation to join Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in the owner's box, who promises to serve Tang with dinner.
Friday, January 15, 2010
With play starting in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver one month from tomorrow, the actual process to determine which countries would compete in the competition started quite a long time ago.
While the top nine teams were automatically seeded into the 2010 Olympics nearly two years ago based on the 2008 IIHF World Rankings, the remaining three spots needed to be earned via a qualification process similar to the one used for the soccer World Cup, with various teams seeded into groups also based on the IIHF World Rankings.
The top nine countries seeded into the 2010 Olympic tournament were Belarus, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
The first games of the Olympic Pre-Qualification actually took place on September 4th to the 7th back in 2008 when Bulgaria, Spain, Mexico and Turkey all met to decide which which one of the four would move onto the 2010 Olympic Qualifications Preliminary Round, with Spain advancing.
Once in the Preliminary Round, three groups of four would meet from November 6th to the 9th in 2008 to decide which three countries would advance to the Final Olympic Qualifying Round in February of 2009.
In the Preliminary Round, Kazakstan, Estonia, The Netherlands and Group A winner Spain met in Group B, with Kazakhstan emerging as the clear winner.
Group C included Hungary, Lithuania, Croatia and Serbia with undefeated Hungary advancing, while in Group D, Japan, also undefeated, emerged from their hard-fought group which also included Poland, Great Britain and Romania.
Next up was the Final Olympic Qualifying, which took place on February 5th to the 8th of 2009.
Group E consisted of host Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Japan with Germany winning three of three to advance to Vancouver, including two close battles, 2-1 over Austria and 2-1 over Slovenia.
In Group F host Latvia, Italy, Ukraine and Hungary met with Latvia taking an important 4-2 win over Ukraine on it's way to an undefeated record.
Meanwhile, in Group G host Norway, Denmark, France and Kazakhstan squared off with Norway toughing it out in a very balanced group by beating Kazakhstan 2-1, France 3-2 and Denmark 5-3 to earn their trip to Vancouver.
With Germany, Latvia and Norway advancing, the final groups for next month's Olympic tournament now look like this;
- United States
- Czech Republic
Today's featured jersey is a Tackla 2008 Poland National Team Jaroslaw Rzeszutko game worn jersey, as used in the 2010 Olympic Preliminary Round Group D in Sanok, Poland.
While Poland did not advance to the Final Qualifying, they did defeat Great Britain 3-2 in a shootout and dominate Romania 9-1 before falling in the final and deciding game of the group, 3-1 to Japan.
This jersey was also previously worn during the IIHF 2008 Division I Group A World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria by a different player, where Poland finished 3rd out of 6 with two wins, one overtime win, one overtime loss and one defeat.
This jersey is all dye-sublimated, except for the embroidered Comarch sponsorship patches sewn onto each arm and the IIHF 100th Anniversary patch sewn onto the lower back of the jersey.
Rzeszutko plays for Energa Stoczniowiec in Gdansk in the Polish League.
Here's some game action between Poland and Lithuania, with Poland wearing jerseys just like ours.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
On this date in 1998, Kirk Muller of the Florida Panthers played in the 1000th game of his 19 year NHL career.
Muller was originally drafted 2nd overall by the New Jersey Devils and played for Team Canada in the 1984 World Junior Tournament and then the Canadian National Team in preparation for his participation in the 1984 Olympics before making his NHL debut with the Devils for the 1984-85 season.
Muller, a durable and great two-way player, would play in all but four games for New Jersey in his seven seasons with the Devils. His best offensive season in New Jersey was 1987-88, when he led the club in scoring with 37 goals and 57 assists for 94 points and was a +19 after being named team captain. The Devils would make their first playoff run in franchise history, knocking off the New York Islanders in six games and Washington Capitals in seven before falling to the Boston Bruins in the conference finals in seven, while "Captain Kirk" would contribute 12 points in 20 games.
The Devils seldom made the playoffs in those days, allowing Muller to participate in the World Championships for Canada in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989, as well as skating with the NHL All-Stars versus the Soviet Union in the Rendez-vous '87 series.
Just prior to the 1991-92 season, Muller, along with goaltender Roland Melanson was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske. In four and a half seasons with the Canadiens, Muller would score 77 points his first season to lead the team and follow that up with his best season in Montreal with 37 goals and 57 assists for 94 points, with all three totals matching his career highs from 1988 in New Jersey. The post season saw Muller add 17 points in 20 games as the Canadiens would capture the Stanley Cup for the only time in his career.
One and a half seasons later Muller, now captain of the Canadiens, would unfortunately be involved in the controversial trade with the New York Islanders that sent Pierre Turgeon to Montreal. Muller wanted little to do with the dysfunctional and downtrodden Islanders, who were mired deep in the standings and wanted Muller to lead their young team. In the end, the unhappy Muller would only play 27 games for the Islanders before being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in January of the following season.
His time in Toronto was also short-lived, finishing the second half of 1995-96 and most of 1996-97 before being sent to the Florida Panthers, whose run to the Stanley Cup in 1996 was behind them now. In two plus seasons with the Panthers, Muller would register just 13 goals and 34 assists, but would play in his 1000th game on this date during the 1997-98 season.
He would sign with the defending champion Dallas Stars as a free agent for the 1999-00 season and play the final four seasons of his career with Dallas. By this time he was a defensive forward and helped the Stars reach the Stanley Cup finals in 2000. After retiring in 2003, Muller finished with 357 goals and 602 assists for 959 points. His 69 playoff points put him at over 1000 combined for his career, which included playing in six NHL All-Star Games.
Today's featured jersey is a Starter 1997-98 Florida Panthers Kirk Muller jersey as worn during the season Muller played in his 1000th game.
This jersey is the final season for this particular specification of single color names on the back of the Panther's jerseys, as they would change to the always classy vertically arched three-color letters, a welcome and unexpected upgrade in the look, as many teams tend to simplify their look over time, rather than making them more complex.
Today's video shows Muller in the Devils original red and green jerseys wacking one out of the air and into the net.
Here, the Montreal Canadiens are awarded the 1993 Stanley Cup, with Muller being one of he assistant team captains is part of the presenting of the cup and is later shown lifting it as the team skates around the ice in celebration. Later, Muller is interviewed at the 4:39 mark. The Canadiens, by the way, were wearing a French version of the Stanley Cup Finals patch, the only team to ever wear a French variation of the finals patch.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
On this date in 1990, Joe Mullen of the Calgary Flames score two goals to give him 686 career points, making him the NHL's all-time leading scorer among U. S. born players.
Mullen, one of the best kept secrets in hockey history, attended Boston College and, after finishing college, played for the United States in the 1979 World Championships, scoring seven goals in eight games. Rather than play for the United States in the 1980 Olympics, Mullen turned professional by signing a contract with the St. Louis Blues due to his father's illness and subsequent financial need of the family, causing him to miss out on being a part of the "Miracle on Ice".
St. Louis assigned Mullen to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the CHL, where he was named Rookie of the Year. The following season with the Golden Eagles, he would win the league scoring title.
In 1981-82 Mullen would see 45 games in the NHL and score 59 points. After another partial season in 1982-83, Mullen would stick full time with the Blues and reward them with his first 40 goal season, scoring 41 goals and 85 points. The next season would see another 40 goals and hit 92 points. Inexplicably, St. Louis would trade Mullen halfway through the 1985-86 season, along with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson for Ed Beers, Charles Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini.
Not breaking stride, Mullen would total a career high 44 goals that season split between the two clubs. He would top that with 47 goals the next season, along with winning the Lady Byng Trophy, and 40 more goals the year after. The Flames would put it all together in 1988-89, as Mullen would score a career high 51 goals, along with 59 assists for a career best 110 points and his second Lady Byng Trophy. Even better, Mullen and the Flames would finish the season by capturing the Stanley Cup.
After another 36 goal season in 1989-90, Mullen would be traded again, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second round draft pick, but not before scoring two goals against Toronto on this date in 1990 to become the NHL's all-time leading scorer among U. S. born players with 686 points, passing the previous record holder Reed Larson. The timing couldn't have been better for Mullen. Although he would only play in 47 regular season games, his 17 points in 22 games would help the Penguins capture their first Stanley Cup in 1991.
He would return to form with 42 goals in 1991-92 and Pittsburgh would again capture the Stanley Cup.
Two more 70 point seasons would follow before he was limited to 45 games in 1994-95 but did score the 1000th point of his career on February 7th in Pittsburgh, the 42nd player to reach 1000 points and the first American to do so.
He would sign as a free agent with the Boston Bruins for the 1995-96 season and play in 37 games, scoring 8 goals. After the season, Mullen would be named the 1995 winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy.
Mullen would return to Pittsburgh for his final NHL season. With just ten games remaining in the season, Mullen would score the 500th goal of his career, only the 25th player and first American to ever reach that hallowed milestone.
Internationally, despite missing out on the 1980 Olympics, Mullen would suit up for the United States during the 1984, 1987 and 1992 Canada Cup tournaments. After having retired from hockey in 1997, Mullen would return one more time at age 42 to play for the United States in a qualifying tournament for the 1999 World Championships.
Mullen woud be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Calgary Flames Joe Mullen jersey.the same style he wore in 1987-88 when he became the highest scoring American-born player in NHL history.
This jersey features the Calgary 1988 patch worn by the Flames that season in honor of Calgary hosting the Winter Olympics during that hockey season.
With absolutely no highlights dedicated to Joe Mullen on youtube, the best we can offer is the Mullen and the Penguins winning Game 6 to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, which includes Mullen scoring a pair of the many Penguins goals and assisting on the one by Ron Francis.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
For some countries the goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics. For others any sort of medal is the goal. For some surviving the group stage to reach the knockout round is an achievement in itself, while for another large group of hopefuls, just making it past the Qualifying Tournaments into the actual Olympics is the dream. This is the story of those teams and their route to the last Olympics.
Following three Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments of four teams each to decide that Norway, Poland and France would advance to the actual Final Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, play began to see which of three countries would advance to compete in the 2006 Olympic Tournament in Torino, Italy with the nine other countries automatically entered in the tournament based on their IIHF rankings.
Group A, played in Kloten, Switzerland, consisted of Denmark, Japan, Norway and Switzerland. The Swiss won their first game over Japan 5-1, while Norway defeated Denmark 4-0. This set up a critical game between Switzerland and Norway, which the Swiss won 3-1 to take command of the group and finalized their place in Torino by defeating Denmark 4-2 in front of the home crowd.
Group C was hard-fought, with France knocking off Ukraine 4-3 in a back and forth contest to open the group. Austria pasted Kazakhstan 4-0 to put themselves in a position to advance as well. The following day Kazakhstan put Ukraine in a deep hole with a 2-1 win to even their record at 1-1 while France and Austria skated to a 1-1 tie to leave them tied with 3 points in the group ahead of Kazakhstan with 2. Ukraine finished off host Austria's hopes with a 4-3 win, setting up a must-win game for Kazakhstan against France. Andrey Samokhvalov beat current NHLer Cristobal Huet at 17:57 of the first period to give the Kazakhs a 1-0 victory, earning them their place in Torino.
Group B held in Riga, Latvia saw Belarus gain two points in the standings by defeating Poland, while Latvia knocked off Slovenia 2-1. Belarus took care of Slovenia the next day 7-2 while Latvia kept pace by beating Poland 3-1, setting up the final winner-take-all game against Belarus on this date in 2005.
Belarus opened the scoring of the deciding game at 5:16 of the first and stretched their lead to two at 12:06 before Latvia answered at 18:33. The second period was played even, with each team scoring one with Belarus going back up by two at 1:49 before former Boston Bruin Grigori Panteleev scored 18 seconds later to return the margin to one in favor of Belarus.
Belarus put themselves in a good position with a goal at 9:11 of the third to make the score 4-2 for Belarus.
Now in desperation mode, Latvia pulled goalie Edgars Masalskis during a Latvian powerplay at the with just six minutes remaining in the game and down by two. The gamble paid off as Latvia scored at the 15:11 mark to reduce the margin again to one.
1:47 later the Latvians thrilled the home crowd by getting the equalizer at even strength, leaving just three minutes to decide who would claim the final remaining spot in the Olympics. Alexsandrs Semjonovs sent the home fans into rapture by finishing the comeback and punching Latvia's ticket to Italy just 33 seconds later to complete the three goal outburst in two minutes and twenty seconds in what would become known as "The Miracle in Riga", considered by some the greatest achievement in Latvian sports since they regained their independence in 1991.
Today's featured jersey is a Nike 1999 Latvia National Team Arturs Irbe jersey as worn in the World Championships. This older style has a v-neck collar, as opposed to the yoke-style collar introduced at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Irbe was chosen to be the flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and is a hero in his native Latvia. His performance in Latvia's opening game against the United States in Torino in 2006 was perhaps the last great moment of his career, coming after his final NHL game and his subsequent demotion all the way down to the ECHL in 2004.
In another one of those completely unexpected youtube finds, here is the comeback that would become known as "The Miracle in Riga".
At the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Latvia was placed in Group B with Slovakia, Russia, Sweden, the United States and fellow qualifier Kaszakhstan. Irbe played brilliantly and held the United States to a 3-3 tie in their opening game, but they were then defeated four straight times to finish last in their group. They finished the tournament classified 12th out of 12 teams, but nothing could erase the excitement of "The Miracle in Riga" and no one, and we mean no one, has a better time at the games than the fans from Latvia.
Once more Latvia survived the Final Olympic Qualification to earn a spot in Vancouver by defeating Ukraine, Italy and Hungary, so if you are looking for an underdog to support in the upcoming Olympics, get on the Latvian bandwagon. Win or lose, it's always a fun ride.
Monday, January 11, 2010
On this date in 2004, Phoenix Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher established the modern day NHL record for the longest shutout streak at 332 minutes and 1 second. The modern era began in 1943-44 with the addition of the center red line to the ice.
At one point earlier in the 2003-04 season Boucher had slipped to third on the Coyotes depth chart and was left unprotected in the waiver draft by Phoenix and could have been claimed by any team. He was no longer even practicing with the team, but then a groin injury to backup goalie Zac Bierk moved Boucher up to the #2 spot on the Coyotes depth chart behind Sean Burke.
The previous modern day record was set by the Montreal Canadiens Bill Durnan in 1949 at 309:21 and included four consecutive shutouts. (There are two longer shutout streaks in the record books from back in the 1920's, when the forward pass was not allowed in the attacking zone in the NHL, making for an entirely different kind of game)
The streak for Boucher began on December 22, 2003 when Boucher gave up a goal at 19:15 of the second period to the Nashville Predator's Scott Walker. He held Nashville scoreless through both the third period and the following five-minute overtime of the 3-3 tie for 25:45 of scoreless hockey on 10 saves.
Sean Burke started games for the Coyotes on December 23rd, opened their new arena in Glendale, Arizona on December 27th and started again on December 29th before Boucher's next start and the first shutout of the streak on New Year's Eve in 2003, as Boucher made 21 saves to defeat the Los Angeles Kings. It was Boucher's first shutout in more than two years.
"It feels good," Boucher said. "I mean, it's equivalent to scoring a hat trick for a forward, so it's nice to get the win, but it feels good to pitch a shutout."
The next 60 minutes of the streak came in Dallas on January 2, 2004 against the Stars on Boucher's 27th birthday in a 6-0 win. 35 saves later he was quoted as saying "It's nice to contribute any way you can. It's a nice feeling. So when I get in, I certainly want to do my part. I got an opportunity and I'm trying to play." Dallas, wearing their Mooterus jerseys, deserved to be humiliated in public.
January 4 saw a 3-0 victory for Boucher and the Coyotes on the road in Carolina. Boucher's 26 saves to extend the streak to 205:45.
"Right now the puck looks like a beach ball to him," Phoenix coach Bob Francis said. "He's following it, squaring up, getting sound positionally and his concentration level is outstanding."
"Things are just going well and hopefully we can ride it for as long as possible," Boucher said.
People really began to take notice nationally as the Washington Capitals were the next to fall at home in a 3-0 loss as Boucher became the first goalie in 55 years to record four consecutive shutouts after his 27 save performance. His streak now stood at 265:45.
"I've had some help along the way, but you need luck on your side too," Boucher said. "They hit some posts and guys have been blocking a lot of shots."
The Coyotes road trip continued in Minnesota on January 9 with a 2-0 win over the Wild. Boucher set two separate records that night. First, early in the third period he passed Durnan's scoreless mark of 309:21 and then completed his fifth consecutive shutout after a 21 save performance, which drew an appreciative cheer from the Minnesota fans when the game concluded.
"It's just been unbelievable. It's just a great ride we're on right now. I still haven't really stopped to think about it too much. I mean, I can't explain what's going on," said Boucher following the game.
During the game Richard Park shot a one-timer midway through the second period that ricocheted off Boucher's right leg after a perfect set-up pass by Sergei Zholtok. Replays showed Park turning around, wide-eyed in disbelief that his shot was denied.
"That's a goal 9.9 out of 10 times," Park said. "I got the shot off I wanted, but it's remarkable the swagger he's got in the net, the confidence."
"[The streak will] end at some point," Boucher said. "I'm not going into games thinking about shutouts. Winning is the most important thing."
The end came predictably on a fluky deflection 6:16 into the first period of the Coyotes next game against the Atlanta Thashers on this day in 2004 back at home in Glendale. Randy Robitaille's slap shot glanced off the chest of disappointed teammate David Tanabe.
"I don't think it would have hit the net if it didn't hit me," Tanabe said. "If it wasn't for that bounce, he could have had another shutout."
"A fluky goal," Boucher said. "That's how easily a goal can go in. The fact that it didn't happen for five-plus games is pretty amazing."
"I'm happy that it's over," Boucher said after the 1-1 tie. "It was a nice run, something that I'll never forget. But we're talking about one goal. I think it's good for the team that we don't have to answer questions about it anymore."
After the goal, the sold-out crowd gave Boucher a long standing ovation and the Phoenix bench emptied to congratulate him while the big screen showed highlights of the streak.
Boucher made 146 saves during the streak which stretched to 332:01 and included the record setting five consecutive shutouts.
Today's featured jersey is a Koho 2003-04 Phoenix Coyotes Brian Boucher jersey as worn during his record setting streak. This was the first season for the Coyotes new jerseys to coincide with their move into their new arena. They replaced their original jerseys worn since 1996 after relocating from Winnipeg.
These jerseys featured a bolder main logo with about half as many colors as the one it replaced. Unusually, the Coyotes went with single-color numbers, a modern rarity seldom seen in the NHL outside of the Detroit Red Wings and throwback jerseys such as the Maple Leafs retro alternate of the time.
The last team to use single color numbers on their home and away jerseys other than the tradtion-bound Red Wings were the Maple Leafs of 1996-97 and the Winnipeg Jets of 1995-96. The last time a team actually went from multiple color numbers down to single color numbers were the Jets when they introduced their last jersey set in 1990-91.
Today's video selection is a look at the Brian Boucher's scoreless streak.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Born on this date in 1938, Frank Mahovlich would go on to have a 22 year professional career in both the NHL and WHA.
Mahovlich joined the Maple Leafs for three games in 1956-57 and during his first full season of 1957-58 would score 20 goals, beating out Bobby Hull for the Calder Trophy. Three seasons later Maple Leafs coach Punch Imlach would put him on a line with Red Kelly and Bob Nevin. The three of them would be the team's top three scorers that season, with Mahovlich's 48 goals setting a Maple Leafs record that would stand for 21 years.
Mahovlich, "The Big M", would lead the Maple Leafs in goal scoring during the next three seasons in which the Maple Leafs would win three consecutive Stanley Cup championships.
He would lead the Maple Leafs in scoring in 1964-65 and again in 1965-66 before the Mahovlich and the Maple Leafs would win another Stanley Cup in 1967, the fourth of his career.
"It was truly amazing that we won again in 1967. When I look back at that team, I wonder how the hell we did it. A lot of the players were new to the team since our win in 196. About eight or nine guys were around 40 years old. You can't find eight players that old in the entire NHL today! It gives you an idea of their talent, and that was in the six-team era," said Mahovlich.
Twice during his career in Toronto, Mahovlich would be hospitalized for depression and stress, a reaction to the negative way he was treated by the Maple Leafs fans during his time in Toronto and his conflicts with the Maple Leafs coaches and management.
"In Toronto, we always had problems that we couldn't solve. There was always something going on. It's amazing that we won four Stanley Cups while I was there. As players, we had no control over these problems. Punch Imlach practiced us too hard. We left our game on the practice rink half the time. Despite having great teams, we placed first only once in the regular season. I think that the management orchestrated a lot of the criticism I faced from the fans. I was relieved to be traded from Toronto in 1968, but I always lived there and still do. I wear my Stanley Cup ring from the Maple Leafs every day," said Mahovlich.
More in need of a change of scenery that just about any player ever, Mahovlich would be traded to the Detroit Red Wings on March 3, 1968 in a blockbuster trade that would send four players to Detroit with four heading back to Toronto in return, including Paul Henderson.
"... Toronto never understood me or my game. I would have been better off being traded earlier. My career blossomed after I left Toronto. Detroit and Montreal didn't contain me with rules or restraints. They said, "You're talented, go do your thing."
During his first full season in Detroit Mahovlich would set a career high in goals with 49 while playing on a line with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio. He would also get to play some with his younger brother Peter Mahovlich, "The Little M".
A season and a half later in 1970-71, Mahovlich was on the move once more as Detroit entered a rebuilding phase, this time being dealt to the Montreal Canadiens, where he was reunited with his younger brother Pete who had joined Montreal in the season before.
The move to Montreal was a good one for Mahovlich, as he would finish the season by adding another Stanley Cup to his resume after contributing a league leading 14 goals and 27 playoff points.
"The 1971 playoffs were the highlight of my career. The record I set for the most points in a playoffs for a Montreal Canadien, 27 points, still stands more than 25 years later," Mahovlich stated.
The following season of 1971-72 saw Mahovlich set a career high with 96 points from 43 goals and 53 assists.
Before the next NHL season began, Mahovlich was a member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union.
In 1972-73, he would come close to equalling his point total from the year before with 93 and would then add another 23 points in 17 playoff games as the Canadiens would capture another Stanley Cup.
One more season in Montreal would see Mahovlich close out his NHL career by scoring 80 points to finish with 1181 games played, 533 goals and 570 assists for 1103 points and six Stanley Cups.
For 1974-75, Mahovlich would accept a lucrative offer to join the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association and participate in the 1974 Summit Series, which matched the stars of the WHA against the Soviet Union. Offensively, his two seasons with the Toros were successful, with 82 points in 1975 followed by 89 in 1976.
The Toros would relocate to Birmingham, Alabama of all the unlikely places, and be renamed the Bulls. The Bulls seemed more inclined to fight than score in order to attract fans. The aging Mahovlich was put on a line with tough guys Frank "Never" Beaton and Dave Hanson, one of the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slap Shot. Naturally, his point production plummeted, and when asked by a reporter what was wrong, Mahovlich brilliantly replied, "I don't know, but I seem to play better with Howe and Delvecchio."
He retired at age 40 in 1978 with WHA totals of 237 games, 89 goals and 143 assists for 232 points, giving him over 600 goals, 700 assists and 1300 points combined as a professional in his 22 seasons.
Mahovlich was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981 and would later be appointed to the Senate of Canada.
Today's featured jersey is a 1962-63 Toronto Maple Leafs Frank Mahovlich jersey. It's possible to date this jersey to the 1963-63 season by looking at the details of this classic wool sweater. While this same basic sweater with this striping pattern and crest had been in use by the Maple Leafs since 1938, the Maple Leafs added the tie-neck collar in 1958 and the sleeve numbers arrived in time for the 1962-63 season. The following year saw another modification, with the maple leaf logo receiving a white outline, making the 1962-63 season the only one with the exact combination of the tie-neck collar, sleeve numbers and crest with no outline.
This is a perfect example of the kind of research and detective work that we find so enjoyable about jersey collecting and hockey history.
Today's featured video is the "Legends of Hockey" profile on Frank Mahovlich, featuring Frank himself.
Our next video is a recap of Frank's career, told at 1000 miles per hour by Paul Hendrick, who really should consider weekend work as an auctioneer. Follow along if you can.
Finally, a real treat, footage of Frank as a Birmingham Bull!