Thursday, March 31, 2011

1972-73 Los Angeles Kings Butch Goring Jersey

Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft, Butch Goring split his first two seasons between the Kings and their minor league affiliate, the Springfield Kings of the AHL. During his first season with Los Angeles Goring scored 13 goals and 36 points in 59 games and a whopping 8 penalty minutes, setting the tone for the remainder of his career.

In 1971-72, Goring became a full-time NHLer, playing 74 games exclusively with Los Angeles. He registered exactly 50 points that season and a mere 2 penalty minutes.

Goring Kings

He bettered his point totals in 1972-73 when he set new personal bests with 28 goals and 31 assists for 59 points and, on this date in 1973 in the Kings final game of the season, Goring scored a goal and an assist, but more notably, he was whistled for his only penalty of the entire season midway through the game!

1973-74 saw Goring better his point total by 2 with 61 and again received but one penalty the whole season, his third consecutive season with but a single penalty.

Over the course of the next five seasons Goring would remain a model of consistency, playing in 398 out of a possible 400 games while setting new personal highs in points three times, finally topping out at 87 in 1978-79, a season in which Goring would "goon it up" with a career high 16 penalty minutes, one of only three times in 17 seasons he would reach double digits in minutes served in the penalty box.

Prior to setting his career point and penalty minute highs in 1979, Goring established a career best mark with 37 goals scored in 1977-78, a season in which he would also win the Masterton Trophy as well as a long overdue Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play after being bypassed his previous six full seasons by players who had as many as 18 minutes in a season. Goring equalled a then career low with just 2 penalty minutes, the fourth time to date he would be whistled for just a single penalty during a season in which he played a minimum of 67 games.

Goring would play 69 games of the 1979-80 season with the Kings before being traded to the New York Islanders in March. He competed in the final 12 regular season games for New York and was regarded as a key element which put the Islanders over the top, as the club had made it as far as the playoff semifinals four times in the previous five seasons without having ever made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

With Goring on board, the Islanders not only qualified for the finals for the first time ever, they successfully defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4 games to 2 to capture the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups of the Islanders dynasty. The 21 playoff games Goring played during the 1980 playoffs compared to the 30 Goring had appeared in during his previous 10 seasons in Los Angeles and his 19 points during that playoff season eclipsed the 18 he had in all his years in Los Angeles combined.

Goring Stanley Cup

The Islanders success following the acquisition of Goring is perhaps the one trade which began the current tradition of contending clubs looking to add key pieces to their roster in preparation for the playoffs that created the frenzy which the NHL trade deadline has now become.

During the final 12 regular season contests for New York, Goring received one penalty, which brought his career total in xx seasons up to 68, one more than the NHL single game record of 67 set by former Kings' teammate Randy Holt one year earlier.

In 1980-81, Goring played 78 games for the Islanders, scoring 60 points and competing the season without a single penalty for the only time in his career. Shockingly, Goring was passed over for the Lady Byng Trophy once more.

During the postseason, Goring scored 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 18 games. While he came in fourth in playoff scoring for the Islanders, 15 points behind team leader Mike Bossy, Goring's tireless efforts and stellar two-way play were recognized with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Islanders repeated as Stanley Cup champions, perhaps making up for the injustice of not receiving his much deserved Lady Byng Trophy.

Goring Islanders

Goring's role would switch more towards the defensive side over the remainder of his time in the NHL, as his point totals would drop from the 60-80 point range to the 30-45 range, but he remained an integral part of the Islanders, as they still had two more Stanley Cups to capture in 1982 and 1983.

He would play one more full season with the Islanders in 1983-84, which included a fifth consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to see their dynasty come to and end with the rise of Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of their own.

Goring's final NHL season began with 29 games with New York before he was released by the Islanders and picked up by the Boston Bruins, with whom he was a very effective player, scoring 34 points in 39 games, an average he had not achieved since his first season on Long Island.

The following season Goring was named the Bruins head coach, a position he held for all of the 1985-86 season and 13 games of 1986-87 before being relieved of his duties. Unusually, after losing his position as the Bruins coach, Goring returned to the ice as a player with the Nova Scotia Oilers of the AHL!

His stint with the Oilers lasted ten games and brought an end to his playing days. His final NHL totals were 1,107 games played, 375 goals and 513 assists for 888 points and 102 total penalty minutes over 16 seasons, a number which compares to the single season record of 472 by Dave Schultz and Tiger Williams career record of 3,996.

Despite his notable lack of penalty minutes, Goring is best remembered for wearing the same sPAPs brand helmet since he was 12 years old, famous for it's small size and lack of gloss while with the New York Islanders.

Goring Islanders helmet

Goring actually had a pair of the helmets, one for at home and one for the road. They went through several color alterations as Goring moved from the Kings to the Islanders and later the Bruins and eventually the Nova Scotia to close out his career.

When Goring was traded from the Kings to New York, the Islanders equipment man didn't have the right color blue paint available and had to improvise while on the road to get Goring in line with the rest of the team, as his road helmet was currently painted Kings' purple while the other was painted gold. The solution was to cover one of the helmets with blue tape, giving the headgear it's distinctive flat appearance, as if it had been flocked.
"It looked pretty good, you couldn't tell the difference." Goring said. "The tape was light enough so it was no big deal, it did the job."

"I didn't wear it for the protection. It was almost why do you wear gloves, why do you wear pads? For me, it was like I didn't know any other way to play hockey other than with my helmet. I grew up in an era where helmets were mandatory as a kid and it just didn't make any sense to take it off because it wasn't anything cumbersome that I needed to get rid of."
"Hockey players are like any other athletes, they get attached to certain things and they had good success and the helmet for me and I actually had a couple of items I kept for a long period of time but I think it is just a comfort zone more than anything else," Goring recalled.

Today's featured jersey is a 1972-73 Los Angeles Kings Butch Goring jersey as worn the season Goring received his only penalty of the year halfway through the final game of the season.

The Kings began play in 1967 with gold jerseys with single color purple numbers, which became two color numbers in 1969-70 with the addition of white outlines, which was also added to the front crest at the same time. Names on the back of the gold jerseys would arrive in 1970-71. The following season the purple stripe on the gold jerseys would move down to the very bottom of the jersey, which would eliminate the gold stripe which previously existed beneath it. The Kings jerseys would exist in this configuration until being replaced after the 1979-80 season.

Los Angeles Kings 72-73 jersey
Los Angeles Kings 72-73 jersey
Today's video selection is the Islander celebrating their 1981 championship, which includes the presentation of the Conn Smythe Trophy to Butch Goring.

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