Saturday, December 4, 2010
Drafted in the first round, 14th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft, Rick Middleton had just completed a standout season with the Oshawa Generals where scored 67 goals and 137 points in 62 games to lead the Ontario Hockey League in scoring.
After playing the 1973-74 season with the Providence Reds, which included leading the Reds in scoring and a run to the AHL Calder Cup Finals, Middleton made the Rangers roster but was limited to 47 games by injuries, but still scored 22 goals in his rookie season. After one more season with the Rangers, he was traded to the Boston Bruins for twelve year veteran Ken Hodge. The trade would work out great for the Bruins, as Hodge would play less than 100 games for the Rangers before his NHL career would end, while Middleton's career was just beginning.
Middleton while with the Rangers. Note the Rangers 50th Anniversary patch.
His arrival in Boston was a memorable one, with a hat trick in his very first game on his way to a third consecutive 20 goal season prior to the Bruins reaching the finals that season. Over the next four consecutive seasons Middleton raised his personal best point total from 60 to 86, then 92 and finally 103 in 1980-81.
The next season Middleton set a career high in goal scoring with 51 in 1981-82 and was named the winner of the 1982 Lady Byng Trophy.
He backed up his 51 goals with 49 the next season, which included 33 points in 17 games to lead the Bruins in playoff scoring. 1983-84 saw Middleton register his fifth consecutive 40 goal season with 47, and added 58 assists for a career high 105 points, his second season with over 100.
In 1985 Middleton was named one of the Bruins co-captains, along with Ray Bourque, in a system where Middleton would wear the "C" for home games, while Bourque captained the team on the road.
Middleton wearing the captain's "C" at home
The shared captaincy system remained in place for the final three seasons of Middleton's career, which concluded at the end of the 1987-88 season, during which Middleton would play in his 1,000th NHL game and make another return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Middleton's final NHL totals are 1,005 games played, 448 goals and 540 assists for 988 points. In addition, he played in three All-Star Games and scored 100 points in 114 playoff games.
Internationally, Middleton competed for Canada in both the 1981 Canada Cup and the 1984 edition, where he played on a line with Wayne Gretzky and scored four goals and eight points in seven games to help Canada capture the championship.
Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Boston Bruins Rick Middleton jersey as worn during Middleton's time while sharing the Bruins captaincy. Since Middleton was the designated home captain, he would wear the "A" for games on the road while wearing the Bruins black road jerseys.
This jersey style was adopted in 1974 and went through some minor changes, such as the addition of shoulder logos in 1976 and names on the back in 1977. It would remain in use through 1995.
Today's first video contains highlights from Middleton's career. While the soundtrack has been disabled by YouTube, the footage is still well worth your time and shows the dynamic Middleton at his finest.
In a good dose of old time hockey, Middleton slugs it out with Darryl Sittler of the Maple Leafs as the haymakers fly.
Finally, Middleton scores on a penalty shot during the Bruins Legends Classic at the 2010 Winter Classic outdoor game at Fenway Park.
Friday, December 3, 2010
To celebrate Igor Larionov's retirement as a player after 27 years, as well as his 44th birthday, a star-studded lineup of players from both sides of the hockey world gathered at the Luzhniki Arena on this date in 2004.
During his long and illustrious career, Larionov won two World Junior Championship gold medals, a Canada Cup gold medal, four World Championship gold medals, three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals (one of only four players to win all five), eight Soviet championships, eight European Club championships (one of only two men to win all seven titles) and was one of the first Soviet players to leave to play in the NHL.
Many of Larionov's former Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils teammates played for "Team World" against a team made up of Russian players of note with NHL experience.
An idea which originated with former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman saw Larionov play the first two periods of the game for "Team Russia" before being "traded" to Team World for Steve Yzerman, who went on to score two goals in the third period to lead the Russians to a 6-5 win!
Larionov sporting the colors of Team World following being "traded"
Players for Team World were goaltender Chris Osgood, Manny Legace, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Jeremy Roenick, Ray Whitney, Scott Gomez, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Matthieu Dandenault, Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, Sandis Ozolinsh, Tomas Holmstrom, Aaron Ward, Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Brodeur, Jiri Fischer, Steve Duschesne, Luc Robitaille, Jay Pandolfo, Martin Lapointe as well as captain Yzerman followed by Larionov with Team World coached by Bowman.
Those who skated for Team Russia were Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov, Oleg Tverdovsky, Sergei Brylin, Sergei Samsonov, Pavel Datsyuk, Valeri Kamensky, Slava Kozlov, Viktor Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, Evgeni Nabokov, Alexei Zhamnov, Danny Markov, Andrei Nikolishin, Boris Mironov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vladimir Malakov, Nikolai Khabibulin, Andrei Markov, Alexander Khavanov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Valeri Bure, Alexi Morozov, Sergei Nemchinov and, of course, Larionov plus Yzerman. Team Russia was coached by Russian legends Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov.
Larionov celebrates a goal with Zhamnov
During the game Nikolishin opened the scoring with a goal just 50 seconds into the first period. He then assisted on Samsonov's goal at 5:30 before McCarty cut the margin to 2-1 for Russia with a goal at 7:16. Team World evened the score at 1:30 of the second when Robitaille scored from Zetterberg only to have Russia regain a two goal lead with goals by the honored Larionov (from Malakov and Fedorov) at 5:19 and Kovalchuk (from Datsyuk and Samsonov) at 10:34.
Larionov scores his goal during the second period while still a member of Team Russia
The "Russian" Yzerman pushed the lead to three when he scored at the 20 second mark of the third period from Fetisov.
Yzerman wearing the blue of Team Russia in the third period
Fischer scored for Team World unassisted at 10:54 and Yzerman responded with an assist from Slava Kozlov at 16:27 before Lapointe's goal from the "traded" Larionov at 16:49 to get Team World back within two. Robitallie closed out the scoring at 17:01 to make the final margin 6-5.
Yzerman and Larionov embrace following the contest
Both teams pose for a group picture after the game
Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team Russia Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn during the first two periods of his farewell game in Moscow on this date in 2004. This clever jersey was based on the style worn when the Soviet Union first entered the international scene at the 1954 World Championships where they immediately won a gold medal in Stockholm, Sweden while wearing blue jerseys prior to adopting their iconic red sweaters. The main difference, other than the obvious sponsorship logos, is the substitution of "Russia" in Cyrillic in place of the original CCCP cresting.
Following the game the jerseys worn by the players were signed and auctioned off, raising $30,000 for the Larionov Youth Hockey Charitable Foundation to support amateur hockey players in both North America and Russia.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2004 Team World Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn in the third period of his farewell game in Moscow. Scoring somewhat lower marks in the creativity department, the Team World jersey is a copy of the template used in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game held in January of that year.
A DVD of the game was produced and today's video section is a preview of the DVD. Sadly, despite the banner on the video, IgorLarionov.com is no longer an active website.
In this next clip, Larionov scores in triple overtime in Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.
This next feature is on the occasion of Larionov being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
No mention of Larionov would be complete without a mention of his daughters Alyonka and Diana, seen here singing prior to an outdoor legends game in Moscow's Red Square.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
While researching a recent post we came across an unexpected surprise, a talented young Canadian girl who makes dresses out of hockey jerseys!
After a bit of web surfing we were able to contact Lise and she graciously agreed to an interview with us about her various creations.
TSG: What was your inspiration to turn a jersey into a dress?
Lise: I love hockey (TML forever) and I love clothes design. I don’t feel like there are enough clothes for female fans in team colours so it seemed like a logical project for me.
Bruins and Rangers jerseys?
Lise: I had all sorts of extra jerseys accumulated that were never going to get worn by me (Bruins, Rangers and a Sharks jersey) so I used them to try out some design ideas before I was ready to alter one of my beloved Leaf jerseys. Good practise.
TSG: How many have you made?
Lise: I’ve only made one Leafs jersey dress for myself, but I’ve made about 10 total, some as practise and some for other people.
TSG: How often have you worn them?
Lise: I wear my Leafs jersey dress to games and other hockey/leaf events/real sports etc., probably on about 10-15 occasions now!
TSG: What has the reaction to them been when you wear them?
Lise: Mostly good reactions, I get lots of girls interested in having me make them one, I’ve had people ask to get their pictures taken with me at games and usually some positive reviews from male Leaf fans. I have had one person who thought it was a bit sacrilegious to cut up a jersey. Notably I kind of felt weird the first time I cut into a Leafs jersey, but I’ve never ruined one, so I think it’s OK, still supporting the team!
TSG: How long does it take to make one, and how many jerseys are needed to make each one?
Lise: It takes a couple hours, it’s getting shorter as I get better at it. Only one jersey is needed, size large or bigger. For the odd design I might have to incorporate an extra piece of fabric but I try to use styles that mean the jersey-dress is 100% made from one jersey, I try to incorporate details like brand logos (CCM/Reebok/Nike) and keep or replace the tags. I think it gives it a more authentic feel.
TSG: Have you made them out of the older style Airknit fabric as well as the newer Nike Swift and Reebok Edge jerseys? Is there a difference in working with the different fabrics?
Lise: No real difference in the material, as long as it’s the right size I can pretty much work with anything.
TSG: We think making a dress out of a hockey jersey should be a challenge on "Project Runway" with you as a guest judge.
Lise: I think that is brilliant! I’d love to see what other people could do with the idea. I think it’s pretty creative and different from a lot of the clothes modifications that other people do and that there are a lot of other things that I haven’t tried that could be done with these modifications. It would be a fun project for other sport attire as well, baseball, basketball, football or soccer jerseys.
TSG: What other hockey related things have you created aside from dresses?
Lise: I have made an entire Toronto Maple Leafs clothing line for myself which is where the idea to make a dress out of the jersey initially came from. My personal collection includes 2 jackets, 2 skirts, a purse, a tank top, a ball gown and even a corset.
TSG: We've seen the photo of you at a hockey game wearing a Maple Leafs dress with a beer in each hand. We're sure our readers would be lining up for a chance to go to a game with a cute, creative hockey fan who brings the beer. Are you Canada's Most Eligible Bachelorette?
Lise - Miss Third String Goalie 2011
Lise: I *usually* am only drinking one beer (although with the turn the season has taken I sometimes require two at once), so in that photo the other beer was for my long term Leafs fan boyfriend, who attends most games with me. A lucky man ; )
TSG: Do you make jersey dresses for others? If so, how much would one cost?
Lise: I do sell them. If you already have a jersey you want modified I charge $50-60 depending on the style, size, and how it is bought. If it’s a jersey that I bought and modified it will cost more depending on how much I paid for the jersey. I only use official licensed materials. I sell most of them at JerseyMods on ETSY, an awesome website for handmade one-of-a-kind items, but some people also contact me through my facebook fanpage, The Little Black Jersey Co.
If you are interested in ordering a jersey dress, please remember that Lise is a
way as we really love your creativity and your projects, plus any girl who accumulates "all sorts of extra jerseys" is our kind of people!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
On this date in 1996 Wayne Gretzky became the first player in NHL history to reach the 3,000 point mark, including the regular season and playoffs combined.
Wayne Gretzky started out in the WHA with the Indianapolis Racers, scoring six points in eight games before being dealt to the Edmonton Oilers for the remainder of the season in which he scored another 104 points in 72 games with Edmonton. That year he added another 20 points in 13 playoff games for a grand total of 130 points.
Following that season the Oilers, along with three other surviving WHA teams joined the NHL, where Gretzky would play the remainder of his record shattering career.
He announced his 1979-80 arrival in the NHL by tying Marcel Dionne for the league lead in points with 137, losing out on the Art Ross Trophy on the first tiebreaker - goals scored, as Dionne had 53 goals to Gretzky's 51. The playoffs would see an additional 3 points in 3 games.
Making certain there was not going to be any tiebreakers the following season, Gretzky would win the title with 164 points, 29 more than Dionne, and set the all-time single season mark, eclipsing Phil Esposito's 152 set in 1971, for the first of his seven consecutive scoring titles. 21 playoff points would follow.
Gretzky would lay waste to the opposition in 1981-82 by leading the league in both goals and assists, with an all-time NHL record total of 92 goals, scoring 65 points more than Mike Bossy, for a total of 212, the first player to ever top 200 points in a single season and beating his own year old single season record by 48 points. He would add 12 points in the playoffs in 5 games.
1982-83 would see a reprise of the previous season, with Gretzky topping the charts in both goals and assists, finishing the season with 196 regular season points, beating Peter Stastny by an incredible 72 points. 16 playoff games would see an amazing 38 more points.
A return to the 200 point stratosphere followed in 1983-84 with 205 points and the most goals and assists once more as he outdistanced teammate and defenseman Paul Coffey by an astounding 79 points. 35 more points would follow in the playoffs as Gretzky and the Oilers would capture their first of four Stanley Cups.
Business as usual in 1984-85 saw another 208 point run to Gretzky's fifth consecutive Art Ross Trophy, leading the NHL once more in both goals and assists, this time 73 points up on another Oiler teammate, this time Jari Kurri. He would set the single season record for most points in the playoffs with 47 points in just 18 games on the way to another Stanley Cup.
Gretzky would raise the single season scoring mark in 1985-86 by topping his own mark with 215 on the strength of 163 assists, setting an all-time record in that category. Gretzky would finally relinquish the goal scoring title that season, coming in sixth with 52, 16 behind Kurri, who obviously benefitted from Gretzky's record number of assists. Even teammate Glenn Anderson had more goals than Gretzky with 54. An early exit from the playoffs would see an additional 19 points in 10 games.
Despite a "dip" in production, 1986-87 would conclude with his seventh scoring championship, as Gretzky would lead the league in both goals and assists once again. His 183 points were 75 more than Kurri, but would break his run of 200 point seasons at three. A return to the Stanley Cup title saw another 34 points.
Only playing in 64 games would force Gretzky to finally relinquish his scoring crown, as his 149 points left him 19 back of Mario Lemieux despite leading the league in assists for the ninth consecutive season. The final Stanley Cup of Gretzky's career saw him in peak form with 43 points in 19 games.
1988-89 saw a return to the 50 goal level and his 114 assists would tie him for the league lead with Lemieux as he racked up another 168 points, placing second to Lemieux overall during Gretzky's first season in Los Angeles. 11 playoff games saw the opportunity to add 22 more points.
He would reclaim the Art Ross Trophy in 1989-90 with 142 points and yet another league leading assist total, this time with a mere 13 points over former Oiler teammate Mark Messier. 7 playoff games for the Kings had Gretzky add 10 points.
His 163 points in 1990-91 gave him 32 more than Brett Hull to once more win the scoring title, despite finishing outside the top ten in goals, and his 122 assists topped Adam Oates by 32 as well. 15 playoff points followed.
Lemieux's return to form would cost Gretzky the scoring title in 1991-92, but another 121 points were added to his career totals with Gretzky coming in third overall behind both Lemieux and his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Kevin Stevens. His league leading 90 assists would give him his 13th consecutive league leading assist total. The playoffs saw the Kings eliminated early and Gretzky was unable to add more than 7 points, his lowest total since the Oilers first season in the NHL when they went three and out.
The following season would see Gretzky limited to 65 points in just 45 games before a return to the top in 1993-94 saw him capture his record setting 10th Art Ross Trophy with 130 points and a league topping 92 assists. Taking the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals gave Gretzky an additional 24 playoff games to put op another 40 points.
With his season split between Los Angeles and St. Louis, 1995-96 saw Gretzky put up a combined 102 points, the final 100 point season of his career. 13 playoff games with the Blues added 16 more points.
The final three seasons of his career were spent with the New York Rangers, finishing 4th overall in 1996-97, the season he reached the 3,000 point mark during his NHL career, with 97 points, leading the league once more in assists with 72. In the final playoffs of his career, Gretzky added another 20 points in 15 games before the Rangers were ousted. The final NHL playoff totals of Gretzky's career stand at 122 goals, 260 assists for 382 points, all NHL records, in 208 games.
The 1997-98 season saw Gretzky put up another 90 points for third in the league. His 67 assists lead the league, clearing showing the change in the style of play in the NHL when just a few seasons earlier 67 assists would have placed a player outside of the top ten.
Gretzky's final season saw him log 70 games and 62 points.
He holds the career records for goals with 894, assists with 1963, points with 2857 in just 1478 games, a 1.93 point per game average.
His NHL totals show 1016 goals and 2223 assists for 3,239 points, and when combined with his season in the WHA, the grand total climbs to 3,369 points, a mark that may live forever.
Today's featured jersey is a Starter 1996-97 New York Rangers Wayne Gretzky home jersey. This jersey features the unique "double tagging" on the back.
Traditionally jerseys of the day carried the manufacturer's logo on only the lower right side, but due to Gretzky's preference to tuck his jersey into his breezers on the right-hand side, which dates back to his youth when playing with older boys his oversized jerseys would interfere with his stick. Not wanting to miss out on having their brand associated with Gretzky and his amazing accomplishments, and the resulting publicity, jersey manufacturers started adding their logo to the left side of Gretzky's jerseys to ensure their proper visibility.
Sure, we could post a hundred videos of Gretzky scoring a bunch of goals or lifting Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup, but why bother? We've all been there and done that. Let's go off the board today and see what the YouTube wheel of fortune brings us...
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
After a year at Boston University, where the Terriers lost a thrilling 8-7 national championship final in three overtimes, as well as beginning his international career by playing for the United States in the 1991 World Junior Tournament, Keith Tkachuk spent the majority of the 1991-92 season playing for the US National Team.
He played a number of games with the national team through December before playing in his second World Junior tournament. Following the World Juniors, Tkachuk then resumed his duties with the US National Team in preparation for the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France.
Following the Olympics, Tkachuk began his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets, who had drafted him with the 19th pick of the first round of the 1990 NHL Amateur Draft. He got his feet wet with 17 regular season games and seven playoff games prior to embarking on a full NHL season in 1992-93 and joined a Winnipeg team on the rise, which featured an international flavor with Tkachuk joining players from Finland, Russia, Sweden, the United States and of course, Canada. While Tkachuk's 51 points were overshadowed by Teemu Selanne's record shattering 76 goal season, the rugged forward made his presence known in other ways however, as he totaled over 200 penalty minutes, second most on the club.
Tkachuk led the Jets in points the following season with his first 40 goal season (41) and 81 points in 84 games and was named the team captain, a post he would hold for two seasons. Two years later he would raise his game to the next level when he reached the 50 goal mark and again led the Jets in points, this time with 98 in what would be the Jets final season in Winnipeg.
When the Jets relocated to Phoenix and were renamed the Coyotes, Tkachuk made the move with the club and was once again named team captain, the first in Coyotes history. He led the club in scoring once more with 86 points as well as playing in his first NHL All-Star Game. He raised his personal best goal total to 52, which led the NHL and made him the first ever American-born player to do so. He was also only the fourth player in league history to record 50 goals and 200 penalty minutes, making him the definition of the modern power forward.
He repeated as team scoring leader again in 1997-98 and had his fourth season with 40 or more goals with an even 40.
At the trade deadline three seasons later, Tkachuk was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for three players and a first round draft pick following a couple of injury plagued seasons. His impact was immediate as the Blues made it to the conference finals where Tkachuk was second in playoff scoring by a single point with seven goals and ten points in ten games.
Three 30 plus goal seasons followed with Tkachuk leading the Blues in scoring in 2003-04 with 71 points. The Blues traded Tkachuk to the Atlanta Thrashers at the 2007 trade deadline for a player and a first, second and third round draft picks only to see Atlanta eliminated in four straight in the first round of the playoffs.
Tkachuk then immediately returned to St. Louis as a free agent in time for the 2007-08 season which included him scoring his 500th career goal on the final day of the season into an empty net. Back for another season with the Blues, Tkachuk scored his 1,000th career point on this date in 2008 as part of a 4-2 Blues win over Atlanta, just the sixth American to reach the 1,000 point plateau.
Tkachuk would play one final season with the Blues in 2009-10, finishing his career with 1,021 games played, 538 goals and 527 assists for 1,065 points and 2,219 penalty minutes.
After his initial international experience prior to joining the Jets in 1992, Tkachuk was once more was a member of Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where he earned a gold medal. He returned to the Olympics in 1998, 2002, earning a silver medal on home soil, and one final time in 2006. He also made a noteworthy return to the World Cup in 2004, which included a memorable four goal performance against Russia in the quarterfinals.
Today's featured jersey is a 2003-04 St. Louis Blues Keith Tkachuk jersey from the season Tkachuk led the Blues in scoring. The white version of this jersey was introduced as an alternate for the 1997-98 season, and was essentially a modern take on the Blues jerseys worn from 1973 to 1984. Blues fans raved about the new sweaters and they were quickly promoted to replace the controversial multi-diagonally striped previous set which featured a large amount of red, especially on the road jerseys.
With the white alternate now promoted to the new home jersey, a blue version was created as the road jersey, which remained in use for nine years until being retired due to the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys. We predict if not forced to retire this jersey to make way for the Edge jerseys, the Blues would have continued to use this very clean and striking jersey to this day.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992 United States National Team Keith Tkachuk jersey as worn in the 1992 World Junior Tournament held in Germany where Tkachuk scored seven points in seven games as the United States came home with the bronze medal.
Our first video today is Tkachuk scoring his 50th goal of the season into an empty net during the final Winnipeg Jets regular season game in 1996.
Next up is Tkachuk's 500th NHL goal on the last day of the 2007-08 season, also into an empty net.
Here are highlights from Tkachuk's four goal game in the quarterfinals of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey against Russia with his fourth one into an...
Finally, a look back at the career of Keith Tkachuk, perhaps the greatest empty net scorer in hockey history!