Friday, October 21, 2011
On this date in 1987, brothers Sylvain and Pierre Turgeon faced each other for the first time.
Sylvain had a four year head start on his younger brother Pierre, making his NHL debut in 1983-84 after being drafted 2nd overall. Sylvain stepped straight into the Hartford Whalers lineup and playing 76 games as a rookie, scoring 40 goals and 76 points right out of the chute. He continued his prolific output with 31 goals and then 45 in 1985-86. His total dropped to 23 the following season, but it was enough to give the left winger a 139 goal head start on his brother Pierre, who would join the league the following season.
When they did meet for the first time, Buffalo Sabres rookie Pierre scored his first two NHL goals during the game, but Sylvain's Whalers got the better of the Sabres and the two points in the standings with a 5-3 win.
Despite the two goals in only the Sabres fourth game, Pierre was unable to duplicate Sylvain's rookie season, finishing with 14 goals in 76 games. He found his game over the next couple of seasons though, scoring 34 in 1989-90 and matching Sylvain's 40 with 40 of his own in 1989-90. Another 30 goal season followed with 32 and then another 40 in the 1991-92 season, 38 of which came after being dealt to the New York Islanders.
Pierre then claimed top honors in the family with his career year of 58 goals and 74 assists for 132 points in 1992-93 which placed him fifth overall in league scoring.
Meanwhile, Sylvain's offensive numbers were greatly diminished by a series of injuries. In 1988-89 he played in only 42 games, his last season in Hartford. His last noteworthy NHL season came the following year with the New Jersey Devils with the fourth 30 goal season of his career.
Two seasons in Montreal followed, but Sylvain was limited to 75 games and 14 goals combined over the two years.
While Pierre was tearing up the league in 1992-93, Sylvain was experiencing the growing pains of playing with the expansion Ottawa Senators, as the inept club struggled through a 10-70-4 season, although Sylvain did lead the club with 25 goals.
Two more seasons in Ottawa, again limited in games to 42 and then just 33, cut his goal totals to just 11 each season, the last of his NHL career.
While Pierre continued to be a highly productive player with the Islanders (94 points in 1993-94), Montreal (96 in 1995-96) and five solid seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Sylvain spent one season with Houston of the AHL before continuing his career in Europe for the next six seasons, primarily in the German DEL, as well as Switzerland and even Italy.
Sylvain's career NHL totals are 669 games played, 269 goals and 226 assists for 495 points.
Following Pierre's time with the Blues, his career continued with five more seasons, three with the Dallas Stars and a final two with the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he would pass the 500 goal plateau and finish his career with 1,327 points in 1,294 games played.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Hartford Whalers Sylvain Turgeon jersey. The Whalers redesigned their sweaters when they changed their name from the New England Whalers to the Hartford Whalers as one of the conditions to their being accepted into the NHL after their seven seasons in the WHA. With the change to the name "Hartford" a new, instantly recognizable new logo was designed with the clever use of negative space creating a subtle "H" in the logo.
While their jerseys may have appeared to stay the same to the casual observer, the Whalers jerseys actually underwent a series of alterations. The green trim across the bottom was done away with and the arm stripes changed from angled to straight and back again before becoming straight once more!
The same season they dropped the green stripe across the bottom, someone had the horrible idea of dropping the beloved "Pucky the Whale" secondary logo from the shoulders, and the Whalers jerseys were never quite the same ever again.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1987-88 Buffalo Sabres Pierre Turgeon jersey, as worn by Pierre during his rookie season when he faced Sylvain for the first time in his career.
Today's video segment features Pierre Turgeon's 1000th NHL point.
Here are highlights from the first Ottawa Senators game in the modern era, where Sylvain Turgeon scored the game winning goal versus the Montreal Canadiens.