Saturday, December 25, 2010
We hope Santa was good to you this year and brought you the jersey you've been wanting!
We also hope you enjoy our special video collection today.
Don't forget - as our countdown clock in the right hand column shows - tomorrow the World Junior tournament begins, the annual festival hockey featuring "Tomorrow's Stars Today"!
On to the videos!
Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and for those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, Happy Festivus!
Often minor league teams will create special one-off jerseys to be worn on special occasions and holidays, such as Valentine's Day, Halloween, New Year's Eve and, of course, Christmas.
This year was no exception and the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL have produced one of the most creative, well executed and effective specialty jerseys of all time.
Creative, in the way they incorporated the players head and hands into the design. Well executed, since they look great and effective, in that they made the players appear fat and slow, fooling their opponents on December 18th and 19th, the Idaho Steelheads, into thinking they were going to have an easy time of it, which produced a 4-1 win the first night followed by a 6-3 win on the second night for the Wranglers.
Here are a couple of pictures of today's featured jerseys, the Las Vegas Wranglers 2010-11 Christmas jerseys, in action, followed by some amazing video footage of Kael Mouillierat getting his ass kicked by Santa Claus. One can only hope the children in attendance were not traumatized by the scene of Santa Claus going Chuck Norris or were at least scared straight by the spectacle.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Born on this date in 1971, Dave "Moose" Morissette was a bruising left winger who amassed penalty minutes by the hundreds.
He played his junior hockey with the Shawnigan Cataractes and his toughness instantly earned earned him the role as one of the team's enforcers, as Morisette finished second on the team in penalty minutes as a rookie with 298, which was good for fifth in the QMJHL in 1989.
The following season he led the team in penalty minutes as he slugged his way to 269 PIMs, placing sixth overall. After seasons of 15 and 11 points, Morissette found his offensive game for the only time of his career when he netted 20 goals and 26 assists in addition to the expected 224 penalty minutes to again lead the team.
Following his final season of junior hockey, Morissette was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He played the 1991-92 season with the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League, who went 42-20-0-2 and went on to win the Riley Cup as champions of the ECHL. Morissette of course led the Admirals with 293 penalty minutes, eighth in the league.
He returned to Hampton Roads the following season as the Admirals defended their title to capture their second consecutive ECHL championship. He improved upon is 16 points the previous season with 9 goals and 22 points, which would prove to be career highs as a professional. He would also surpass the 200 penalty minute mark once again with 226.
Morissette played for the ECHL's Roanoke Express in 1993-94, with his team leading 278 PIM's placing him in the top ten in the notoriously rugged ECHL.
For the 1994-95 season, "Moose" moved up to the International Hockey League, appropriately enough with the expansion Minnesota Moose and became an instant fan favorite thanks to his outgoing personality and rough and tumble style. After two seasons and 83 games with the Moose, he moved down south to join the Houston Aeros for two seasons, the second of which, 1997-98, had Morissette once again leading his team in penalty minutes with 254, the third highest of his professional career.
After seven minor league seasons, Morissette was rewarded with his first NHL action after signing as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens for the 1998-99 season. He would play ten games for Montreal that season and manage to participate in six fights. While in the AHL that season, he saw action in 39 games with the Fredericton Canadiens as well as 12 playoff games.
While in the NHL, Morisette fought several renowned heavyweights, including Bob Probert
The Fredericton franchise was relocated and renamed for 1999-00, becoming the Quebec Citadelles, with whom Morissette played 47 games, amassing 231 penalty minutes to lead the Citadelles. He played in a single game for Montreal in the NHL, earning a major penalty for a fight.
His career wound down in 2000-01 with five games with the Lake Charles Ice Pirates of the Western Professional Hockey League and 13 games in England with the London Knights of the British Ice Hockey Super League. In just 13 games with the Knights, Morissette made his presence known with 117 penalty minutes but had his season cut short and his career ended by a concussion which knocked him out for 30 minutes.
Morissette while with the London Knights
His final combined totals were 673 games played, 69 goals and 104 assists for 173 points and 2,943 minutes in penalties, the equivalent of 49 complete games in the box!
Following his career, Morissette wrote a book in 2005 before the NHL even had a drug testing policy, Mémoires d'Un Dur à Cuire (Memories of an Enforcer). The book, written in French, detailed his steroid use throughout his career as a warning to others about the dangers of steroids and how he feels they shortened his career.
Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 Quebec Citadelles Dave Morissette jersey as worn during his only season with the Citadelles with the typical North American sponsorship logo on the upper right chest.
This attractive jersey features the unusual choice of a goat head for the team's logo, which was the mascot of the Royal 22nd Regiment, which was stationed in the Citadel of Quebec. The team played in Quebec for just three seasons before relocating to Hamilton where they were renamed the Bulldogs.
A well travelled franchise, it began in 1969 in Montreal as the Voyageurs before moving to Nova Scotia, then Sherbrooke, Quebec and then Frederiction before relocating for the fourth time to Quebec.
Bonus Jerseys: We have two bonus jerseys today. First is a 1998-99 Montreal Canadiens Dave Morissette jersey as worn during the season Morissette got is first taste of NHL action.
Our second bonus jersey is a 1997-98 Houston Aeros Dave Morissette jersey. This jersey is one of the most popular minor league jerseys of all time, and when the club changed to a new modern fighter jet logo, the outcry was so great that that the team restored the classic bomber logo to their jerseys the following season. Like the Citadelles jersey, it also has a sponsorship patch on the right chest.
The Moose is loose! Morissette takes on NHL veteran Al Secord, then with the Chicago Wolves and beats him into the ice in 1994-95. Then, Jason Simon of the Denver Grizzlies gets pounded by Morissette to give you a perfect example of his straight ahead style of taking a punch to give a punch which made him a fan favorite at each stop in his career.
Here, Morissette holds his own with Probert in his third NHL fight in October of 1998 as he tries to establish himself in the NHL.
In this slugfest, Ken Baugartner of the Bruins and Morissette really go at it for quite some time in Morissette's next fight nine days later.
In some AHL action, Morissette of the Fredericton Canadiens trades blows with Rocky Thompson of the Saint John Flames in the 1998-99 season. Note the theme from "Rocky" playing in the background, a nice touch by the in arena crew in Saint John.
In our final video today, while this interview mainly focuses on guest Scott Gomez, it's conducted by the bi-lingual Morissette and gives you some insight into his infectious personality which made him so popular.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
On this date in 1979, the Boston Bruins had just completed a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York and were in the process of heading off to the locker room to celebrate and begin a brief Christmas break in the schedule on a winning note. Some of the players had actually made their way off the ice while a scrum formed in the left corner of the rink between some of the Bruins and Rangers players after the Ranges goaltender John Davidson skated the length of the ice to confront the Bruins' Al Secord and John Wensink. Davidson was in a foul mood, having given up three third period goals and was unhappy with Secord for the sucker punch he hit Swede Ulf Nilsson with after the game ended among other things.
The rest of the Rangers players entered the area seeing Davidson confronting Secord and the Rangers Frank "Never" Beaton eventually began to confront Secord which moved the scrum over towards the stands. Once by the glass, the Bruins Stan Jonathan got hit in the face - not by a Ranger player, but by a Ranger fan who had reached over the then much lower glass used back then and clouted Jonathan with a rolled up program, drawing blood from under Jonathan's eye.
Jonathan was later quoted as saying he raised his stick to protect himself, only to have the fan rip the stick put of Jonathan's hands!
"He just reached over the glass and whacked me with it," Jonathan said. "I put my stick up to protect myself, and he just took it, and I can't be hitting no fan with a stick, really, eh, so I just let him take it."
Perhaps the "gentlemanly" Jonathan wasn't actually trying to whack the belligerent fan with his stick as some reported, but either way, it was now in possession of the fan which caused the Bruins Terry O'Reilly to become possessed.
With the fuse now lit, O'Reilly set off the explosion when he immediately scaled the boards and launched himself into the stands and began to wrestle with the attacking fan.
O'Reilly hurtles over the glass, setting off chaos in the stands
"I went into the stands because somebody, who had no right to, punched Stanley," said O'Reilly. "It's none of the fans' business. We don't interfere with them if they leave us alone. When I got in there it was pretty bad. I regret it, but I don't think I had a choice. There was no way he was going to strike one of my teammates and steal his stick, wield it like a weapon and then disappear into the crowd and go to a local bar with a souvenir and a great story. A soon as I got him into a bearhug, I felt like I was being pummeled by multiple people. All I could do was cover up."
Seeing O'Reilly enter the stands, where he was going to obviously be heavily outnumbered, several other Bruins didn't hesitate when the brother of the fan O'Reilly had gone after started hitting O'Reilly and the Bruins poured over the glass into the seats.
Brad McCrimmon, Bob Miller, Wensink and Secord all scaled the glass while Peter McNab, who was not known as a thug in any way, having totaled just four penalty minutes the previous season, went after the brother of the fan who had clearly been hitting O'Reilly and threw him down onto the seats.
"Peter was usually the guy who'd pick up our gloves for us after a fight," Jonathan said.
While Craig McTavish held back another fan from joining in McNab's confrontation, most of the Bruins actually showed a level of restraint by not throwing punches. The ugliest part of the incident, separate from O'Reilly entering the stands in the first place, was when Mike Milbury ripped a shoe off of the fan McNab had pinned, who Milbury claimed had kicked him while flailing under McNab, and hit him with it before it was pulled out of his hand before he could get in a second shot.
Milbury in the eye of the storm
Milbury was already off the ice when the fight in the stands broke out. "I went from happy and content, and ready to go home for Christmas, to full combat mode in about 20 seconds," he recalled.
The entire confrontation lasted roughly 40 seconds from the time O'Reilly started to scale the glass and Milbury was calmed down. He later added to the fan's indignity by throwing his shoe onto the ice.
"Things could have been a lot worse. I give the security people a lot of credit," said Milbury. "Everyone was very fortunate that there weren't any serious injuries."
During the entire affair the Rangers' players stood on the ice and watched the episode unfolding in the seats. Four fans were charged with disorderly conduct with the charges eventually being dropped. O'Reilly was suspended for eight games, while McNab and Milbury each had to sit out six games. All 18 of the Bruins who entered the stands were fined the princely sum of $500 each.
Here is a link to an an interview with Milbury 29 years after he entered the stands in Madison Square Garden to join the melee. Brawl at MSG: 29 years later
Today's featured jersey is a 1979-80 Boston Bruins Terry O'Reilly jersey as worn during the infamous brawl when O'Reilly entered the stands at Madison Square Garden in New York to confront a fan who hit Bruins teammate Stan Jonathan.
O'Reilly would spend his entire 14 year NHL career with the Boston and was the Bruins captain for the final two seasons of his career. Although widely regarded as a tough guy who had over 200 penalty minutes in five consecutive seasons, unlike today's fighting specialists, O'Reilly was a more complete player who scored over 20 goals four times with a high of 29 in 1977-78 when he totaled 90 points to go with his 211 penalty minutes that season. His number 24 was retired by the Bruins in 2002.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1979-80 Boston Bruins Mike Milbury jersey, as worn while he was caught on video beating a Rangers fan with his own shoe during his part in the Bruins invasion of the stands in New York.
Milbury was a 12 year member of the Bruins defensive corps and racked up 149 minutes or more in penalty minutes seven times, including over 200 twice. He followed his playing career by becoming head coach for the Bruins for two years and later the New York Islanders as well as their general manager. He is now known of his television and radio commentary work.
Here is the live broadcast of the end of the game, followed by Davidson confronting the Bruins and the subsequent escalation as O'Reilly enters the stands.
This interview is with the Rangers' Phil Esposito in the aftermath, discussing his desire for higher glass to prevent any repeats of the incident.
In this interview, Milbury recounts his involvement in the fracas. It's very similar to the one linked to above, but we felt worth posting.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
It was on this date in 1919 that the Toronto St. Patricks joined the National Hockey League.
Two years earlier, as a result of a dispute with team owner Eddie Livingstone, with whom they did not get along, the other owners of teams from the National Hockey Association (NHA), minus Livingstone, announced they had formed a brand new league, the National Hockey League (NHL), which consisted of the Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators and the Quebec Bulldogs. The new league also claimed to have retained the contracts of all of Livingstone's Toronto Blueshirts players after they had suspended Livingstone's franchise from the NHA!
With the Quebec Bulldogs suspending operations due to financial difficulties before the new NHL could even begin the 1917-18 season, the Arena Gardens were awarded a temporary NHL franchise, managed by Charlie Querrie, to make the fledgling NHL a four team league once again and assigned the Blueshirts players on a lease basis to the temporary Toronto franchise. To further complicate matters, many of the players signed contracts with both Livingstone and the Arena.
The Toronto club had no official nickname, but the "Arenas" were successful on the ice, winning the second half of the season schedule and earned the right to play Montreal for the championship, whom they defeated in a two games, total goals series 10-7, capturing the O'Brien Cup. Toronto then faced off against the Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA and won the Stanley Cup by 3 games to 2, causing Livingstone to head to court to file suit for the revenue earned by "his" championship squad of players.
As a result of this lawsuit, the Arena Gardens formed a new company, the Toronto Arena Hockey Club Company, to own and run a hockey team, separate from the Arena Gardens business to protect the Arena business from Livingstone's lawsuits. The NHL then awarded a "new" franchise to the Hockey Club Company. This club was officially named the Toronto Arenas and, not surprisingly, was stocked with the same players from the 1918 championship club. When his players were once again not returned to him for the 1918-19 season, Livingstone sued the Arena Gardens.
Once again, the players were uncertain who would prevail in the courts, and covered their bases by signing contracts with both the Toronto Arena Hockey Club Company and Livingstone.
Livingstone did prevail in the courts sometimes, but not always. Two rulings in his favor of $20,000 and later $100,000 sent the Arena Gardens into bankruptcy. Despite the company's legal wranglings at the time, the arena would continue to operate for 77 years until closing in 1989.
When the Toronto Arenas did take to the ice in the 1918-19 season as Stanley Cup Champions, they did not play like it. Forced to sell most of their star players due to mounting legal bills, the Arenas record for the season was 5 wins and 13 losses, attendance was low and several players left the team. Finally, the team wrote to the league requesting that the season be ended when each of the three clubs had reached 18 games played and then officially withdrew from the league.
The Toronto Arenas franchise was then sold to the St. Patricks Hockey Club of Toronto, who ran the successful senior amateur St. Patricks team in the Ontario Hockey League.
The new owners renamed the club the Toronto St. Patricks and the $5,000 sale price was supposed to go to Livingstone to settle the purchase of his NHA club, for which he had once demanded $20,000 for after they had won the 1918 Stanley Cup. However, Livingstone never received the money, which many believe was kept by NHL president Frank Calder.
The club was incorporated on this date in 1919 and was forced to essentially start over as if they were a brand new club, as the Quebec franchise was being resumed after taking a two season break from operations, which necessitated the return to Quebec of many of the St. Patricks players who were on loan from the Bulldogs.
Still, they managed to finish 3rd in the first half of the schedule and 2nd in the second half. The following season they finished the first half in 2nd place, but improved to 1st place in the second half, which qualified them for the playoffs, where they were defeated by the Ottawa Senators.
The St. Patricks enjoyed their greatest triumph in 1921-22, placing second in the NHL, which gave them the opportunity to exact their revenge on Ottawa with a 5-4 two-game total-goal series to become champions of the NHL and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA, who they defeated three games to two in Toronto to capture their only Stanley Cup title while known as the St. Pats.
1921-22 Stanley Cup champion Toronto St. Pats
The St. Patricks slid down the standings to third the next two seasons, which caused them to miss out on the playoffs and cost them the chance to defend their championship.
They did climb back up to second in the 1924-25 season, but were defeated in the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens 5 goals to 2.
Things took a down turn in 1925-26 when they dropped to 6th place with a 12-21-3 record. They began play as the St. Patricks for the 1926-27 season, when Querrie, having been sued by none other than Livingstone, was forced to sell the St. Patricks. He reached an agreement to sell the club to Conn Smythe, who renamed the club the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 17 of that season and constructed Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931.
Today's featured jersey is a 1919-20 Toronto St. Patricks Reg Noble jersey as worn during the St. Patricks first season in the National Hockey League. The St. Patricks would change to green sweaters with a white waist stripe, cuffs and collar for their second NHL season in 1920-21, but would return to this jersey for their Stanley Cup winning 1921-22 season.
Noble played 17 seasons, including eight with the Toronto franchise, five of those while they were named the St. Patricks. He was a member of three Stanley Cup winning teams and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Although not as well known as his older brother "Tiny" Thompson, who played goaltender for the Boston Bruins, Paul Thompson was the one who made history on this day in 1937 by becoming the first player in NHL history to score a goal against his own brother at 19:31 of the third period of the Black Hawks game against the Bruins in Boston. Tiny got the last laugh however, as the Bruins won the contest 2-1.
The Boston Bruins Tiny Thompson, brother of Paul Thompson
Paul first played junior hockey for the Calgary Canadians back in 1924 and was a member of the Canadians Memorial Cup championship team in 1926 when he contributed 12 goals in nine playoff games.
He joined the New York Rangers the following season as a role player. The left winger averaged 14 points a season during his five years with the Rangers, which included a Stanley Cup championship in 1928.
The 1927-28 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers
The following season they faced off against each other in the Stanley Cup Finals, with Tiny's Bruins winning bragging rights over Paul at the family dinner table 2 games to none over the Rangers.
He was traded to Chicago for the 1931-32 season and showed more of his offensive game, immediately setting a career best with 22 points, which continued to climb each of the next four seasons, from 33 in 1933 to his first 20 goal season in 1933-34 when he scored 36 points as well as seven more in eight playoff games as the Black Hawks captured their first Stanely Cup, the second of Thompson's career.
Thompson wearing the second style of Black Hawks jersey he wore from 1931 to 1934
After his 39 point season in 1935, he had his first 40 point campaign in 1935-36. He rebounded nicely from his first drop in production, to 35 points the following season, by setting career highs in 1937-38 with 22 goals, including the one he scored against his brother on this day in 1937, and and equal number of assists for 44 total points. Four goals and seven points followed in the playoffs as the Black Hawks again captured the Stanley Cup, their second in four years.
Thompson would play 33 games of the following season's schedule before retiring mid-season to become head coach of the Black Hawks, a job he would retain until 1944.
His final NHL totals were 582 games played, 153 goals and 179 assists for 332 points and three Stanley Cup championships.
While there have been other sets of brothers in the NHL, such as the Bentleys (the first brothers to play on a line together), Sutters, Staals, Drydens (the first brothers to face each other in goal), Mahovlichs, Richards, Sedins, the Redmonds, Hunters and Primeaus (who have all fought each other!) the Hulls, Stastnys, Plagers and several generations of Patricks, it's not too often one becomes a goaltender while the others are skaters, but it has happened a few times.
Brian Smith of the Los Angeles Kings, who was later memorialized on the Ottawa Senators jerseys with the "Smitty" patch, scored twice on his brother Gary Smith of the Oakland Seals shortly after the NHL expanded on December 19, 1967. Phil Esposito rudely welcomed his brother Tony Esposito to the NHL by scoring on him twice during Tony's NHL debut on November 3, 1968 and Mathieu Biron of the Florida Panthers scored a game winner on sibling Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres on November 24, 2003, the first time in 23 years a brother scored against his brother following Phil Esposito's final goal against Tony on November 5, 1980.
Today's featured jersey is a 1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks Paul Thompson jersey. This was the first season for the Black Hawks new "barberpole" style of red and black jerseys, which would later be revived by Chicago for the 1991-92 season when the Original 6 teams all wore a throwback jersey from their past.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Born on this date in 1960, Bill Clement played his junior hockey with the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. A center, Clement played three seasons for the 67's, including being named team captain for the last two seasons. He scored a high of 19 goals and 36 assists for 55 points in 1969-70, which led to him being drafted 18th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft.
His apprenticeship continued with the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League in 1970-71 where he again posted very similar numbers with 19 goals and 58 points. He began the 1971-72 season with the Richmond Robins of the AHL, where he played in 26 games prior to making his NHL debut with the Flyers. Once called up to the NHL, Clement scored 9 goals and 23 points that season for his first NHL points.
After one more full season with the Flyers, Clement played an abbreviated season with Philadelphia, playing in just 39 games and four of the Flyers 17 playoff games on their way to their first Stanley Cup championship, the first ever won by a 1967 expansion club.
Clement while with the Flyers. He apparently went to the same barber as Bobby Clarke.
Clement came back strong in 1974-75, setting personal highs with 21 goals and 37 points. He also played a bigger role in the Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup championship by not only playing in 12 of the Flyers 17 playoff games, but scoring the cup winning goal in Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres.
That summer Clement was traded to the second year Washington Capitals, immediately going from the penthouse to the outhouse, as he moved from the two-time Stanley Cup champions to the Capitals, who had just concluded the previous season with the fewest number of points in NHL history, 21, from a horrendous 8-67-5 record.
Clement during his half a season with the Capitals while serving as team captain
Clement was named the Capitals team captain for the 1975-76 season and appeared in 46 games prior to being traded to the Atlanta Flames halfway through the season. Just as the second year Capitals relied on Clement, so did the fourth year Flames. Despite the mid-season upheaval of being traded, Clement was able to score a combined 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points to set career highs in all three offensive categories. He also made his first of two NHL All-Star Game appearances in 1976.
Clement as a member of the Flames while they were still in Atlanta
He had his second 50 point season in 1977-78, and appeared in his second All-Star Game, prior to playing two more seasons in Atlanta before following the franchise to it's new home in Calgary, where they retained the Flames name and colors. Clement was the Flames eighth leading scorer during their time in Atlanta, an impressive showing for a two-way forward.
Clement at the 1978 NHL All-Star Game
Clement played two seasons in Calgary to close out his career, finishing with 719 games played, 148 goals and 208 assists for 356 regular season points. He also played in 50 playoff games, which included five goals, one of which was the cup clincher in 1975.
Following his playing career, Clement entered the world of broadcasting, where his charisma and ever-present smile has made him one of the most popular color commentators in the game.
Color commentator Clement gets silly as the Islanders and Capitals enter the third overtime in their legendary playoff game
Today's featured jersey is a 1975-76 Atlanta Flames Bill Clement jersey as worn during the most productive offensive season of his career, when he scored a combined 54 points with both the Capitals and Flames.
The Flames kept essentially the same jerseys from their inception in 1972 through their move to Calgary in 1980, with only a tweak in striping following their first season and the addition of league mandated names on the back in 1977 worth noting. In fact, the Flames retained the same jersey template following their move to Calgary through 1992, with only the obvious change in crest from a flaming "A" to a flaming "C". To this day, Calgary pays tribute to their Atlanta origins by retaining the flaming "A" to designate their alternate captains.
In today's video segment, Clement gets into a scrap with Bobby Orr of the Bruins.
Here, Clement gets silly as the Capitals and Islanders enter the third overtime of their 1987 playoff game, known as "The Easter Epic", which eventually went into a fourth overtime.
Clement, Clement. Hands of cement.