Saturday, January 29, 2011
Among his dozens of NHL scoring records, Wayne Gretzky holds five NHL All-Star Game scoring records, the Most Points in One Period, the Most Goals in One Period, the Most Goals in One Game, the Most Goals in All-Star Game History and the Most Points in All-Star Game History.
His first All-Star appearance was in the World Hockey Association in 1979 when he got to play with his childhood idol Gordie Howe and his son Mark. The event was not a single game dividing stars of the WHA into two teams pitted against each other in the usual All-Star Game format, but a three game series between the WHA All-Stars and Dynamo Moscow of the Soviet Union. During the three games the line scored seven points in the 4-2 win for the WHA. Gretzky scored a goal in the WHA's second consecutive 4-2 win before being held scoreless in the final game in which the WHA completed a three game sweep 4-3.
Gretzky's first NHL All-Star appearance came in the following season in Detroit in 1980. His first All-Star point arrived in 1981 with an assist in the third period when Doug Wilson scored at 10:18 of the third period on assists from Mike Bossy and Gretzky.
Wayne Gretzky wore this style of jersey in both 1980 and 1981
The first of his record 13 All-Star Game goals came in 1982 in Landover, Maryland just 26 seconds into the second period from Paul Coffey and Dino Ciccarelli.
Gretzky's star-spangled 1982 All-Star jersey
His first multi-point and multi-goal game came in 1983 at the Nassau Coliseum when he set All-Star Game records for Most Points, Most Goals in One Period and Most Goals in a Single Game when he erupted for four goals in the third period against Pelle Lindbergh.
His first goal was the game winning goal for the Campbell Conference at 6:20 from Jari Kurri and Coffey. His second came from Mark Messier and Kurri at 10:31. He completed a hat trick at 15:32 from Wilson and Messier. The Campbell Conference continued to pour it on and Gretzky completed his record setting scoring binge with the Campbell's sixth goal of the period and Gretzky's fourth from Messier at 19:18. Four other players have since tied the record for most goals in a game, but Gretzky was the first in league history to accomplish the feat, and only needed one period to do so! Two other players equalled Gretzky's four points in one period, but he still stands alone for the most goals in one period 28 years later. Not surprisingly, Gretzky earned the first of his All-Star Game MVP awards following the game.
In 1984, he added a goal to his career total in New Jersey. Another goal followed in 1985 in Calgary and again in 1986 in Hartford, with all three also coming in the third period of their respective games.
This highly attractive style was worn by Gretzky in both 1984 and 1986
1988 saw his goal scoring streak reach five consecutive games, but for a change of pace it arrived earlier in the game during first period.
Gretkzy made his first All-Star appearance in Edmonton in 1989, only now as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. He put on a show for the Oilers faithful who were again able to cheer for Gretzky as a member of the "home" Campbell Conference squad.
The scoring began with an assist on Kurri's goal 1:07 into the contest. His goal scoring streak continued at 4:33 from Steve Duchesne. Another assist arrived at 12:18 of the third period en route to the Campbell Conference's 9-5 win. Following the game, Gretzky was named the recipient of his second All-Star Game MVP award.
This sharp looking style debuted in 1989 and lasted through 1993
The unimaginable happened in 1990 in Pittsburgh when Gretzky was held scoreless, ending a nine game All-Star Game scoring streak. He returned to the scoring column in 1991 in Chicago with his 11th career goal in the second period in the Campbell Conference's 11-5 win to surpass Howe's career NHL All-Star Game goal scoring record of 10.
Gretzky wore the road black version in 1990 and went back to the home white in 1991
The NHL celebrated it's 75th Anniversary season by wearing throwback jerseys to the original All-Star game in 1947 in Philadelphia. Gretzky Scored a goal in the first period and collected a pair of assists in the second for a three point game.
This striking 1947 throwback was worn in Philadelphia in 1992
Gretzky was again held off the board in Montreal in 1993 and again bounced back in New York's Madison Square Garden in 1994 with two assists.
The final time out for this style was adorned with the Stanley Cup Centennial patch in 1993
There was no All-Star Game in 1995 due to the labor issues which delayed the start of the season until after the new year. Gretzky did not register a point in a relatively low scoring game in Boston in 1996 and a single assist in San Jose in 1997 moved Gretzky into sole possession of the All-Star Game career scoring record with 20 points, once again passing a record held by Howe. The switch to the Eastern Conference in 1996-97 gave Gretzky an opportunity to play with several new teammates not previously possible, especially a reunion with former Canada Cup teammate Mario Lemieux, whose goal he assisted on during what would be their only All-Star game on the same team.
This creative new template debuted in 1994, but hasn't aged well over time due to the trendy color choices of purple and teal
A change in format to North America vs. The World in 1998 scrambled his teammates once more, yet Gretzky found the chemistry to generate another pair of assists with American John LeClair and long time Oilers teammate Mark Messier on the North American's game winning goal.
Another strong design arrived in 1998 for the World vs. North America format
Gretzky's final All-Star Game in Tampa, Florida was an unqualified success and a great way to cap off a record setting All-Star career for The Great One when he had an assist in the first period, pushed the career goal scoring record to 13 in the second period and later added a final assist to push his career point scoring record to 25, which still stands today. The final cherry on top was Gretzky being named the game's MVP, the third such occasion of his career, which allowed him to tie Lemieux for the most in All-Star Game history.
Today's featured jersey is a 1999 NHL All-Star Game Wayne Gretzky jersey. This sharp jersey template was worn by Gretzky for his final two All-Star Games and was loaded with patches. All of the jerseys used in the game had the 1999 All-Star Game logo on the right shoulder, the logo of the player's club team on the left shoulder and the flag from his country of origin on the upper right chest. Additionally, Gretzky's jersey was adorned with the captain's "C" on the upper left chest to complete the look.
Today's video segment begins with Gretzky's interview after his record setting four goals in one period in 1983.
Here is Gretzky's assist on Lemieux's goal in the 1997 edition of the NHL All-Star Game, the only time the two of them would play together in an All-Star Game.
Finally, highlights of Gretzky's MVP performance in his final All-Star Game in 1999 broadcast in some Eastern European language, which we feel speaks to Gretzky's worldwide appeal.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Throughout the history of the NHL, one man holds single game All-Star scoring record for most points in one game.
19 year old Mario Lemieux made his NHL All-Star debut as an NHL rookie in 1985 in spectacular fashion, scoring a pair of goals, including the game winner, and an assist in the Wales Conference's 6-4 win in Calgary. He was named as the game's MVP, the only rookie to ever do so.
After being named to the starting lineup, Lemieux was held scoreless in the 1986 NHL All-Star Game in Hartford, Connecticut.
1986 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
Lemieux was once more named to the starting lineup for the Wales Conference for the 1988 game in St. Louis, Missouri.
With the Wales Conference trailing by one, Lemieux picked up his first assist of the contest at 14:45 after setting up Tomas Sandstrom. With the Wales Conference trailing 2-1 after one period, they stormed back in the first half of the second period as Mike Gartner scored on an assist from Lemieux at 4:28. At 10:08 on the power play, Lemieux again figured in the scoring with the first assist on Peter Stastny's goal. He then equalled the record for most points in a game with his fourth when he registered his first goal of the game from Mats Naslund at 11:34. The Campbell Conference trimmed the lead to one with they got their third of the game at 15:09 as the second period ended 4-3 in favor of the Wales Conference.
The Campbell Conference tied the game at 5:19 of the third only to have Lemieux score at 8:07 from Naslund again and Kevin Dineen to establish a new single game scoring record with his fifth point of the contest. The Campbell Conference tied the game once more at 16:28 and the game then headed to overtime tied at 4-4 after 60 minutes of play.
Lemieux then increased his record to six points when he scored the game winning goal at 1:08 into the overtime to complete his hat trick, with assists again from Naslund and Dineen, with Naslund having the first assist on all three goals by Lemieux.
His record setting performance earned him his second NHL All-Star Game MVP award in just his third game.
After competing in the 1989 game hosted by Edmonton, Lemieux would play in front of his home fans in Pittsburgh in 1990, where he did not disappoint, tying the record for the Most Goals in a Single All-Star Game with four in the Wales Conference's 12-7 win.
1989 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
1990 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
Lemieux opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the game and scored his second at the 13 minute mark to make it 4-1 for the Wales Conference. Before the period was over, Lemieux completed another All-Star Game hat trick at 17:37 to make the score now 6-2.
Lemieux's record tying fourth goal would have to wait until the third period when he scored at 1:07 on an assist from Cam Neely to stretch the Wales advantage to 10-6 at the time.
He was naturally named the game's MVP for the third time in his career, establishing a new record.
He currently holds or shares four All-Star records with the Most Points in a Single Game with six in 1988, the Most Goals in a Single Game with four in 1990, the Most Career Goals with 13 and the Most MVP Awards with three.
The remainder of his All-Star career included participating in the 1992 contest in Philadelphia during the NHL's 75th Anniversary season which was commemorated by wearing throwback jerseys like those worn in the original NHL All-Star Game in 1947.
1992 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
He scored a pair of assists in Boston in 1996 and followed that up with two goals and an assist in San Jose in 1997.
1996 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
Playing for North America in 2001, Lemieux scored another goal as well as an assist in the North American's 14-12 win over the World team.
2001 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
His final All-Star Game goal came in 2002 in Los Angeles to give him a share of the career record with his 13th goal in All-Star competition.
2002 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey
Today's featured jersey is a 1988 NHL All-Star Game Mario Lemieux jersey from his record setting six point game which still stands today, 23 years later.
This style jersey was worn only in 1988. It used the same template of the jerseys worn from 1984 to 1986, only with the addition of the NHL shield as the crest rather than the Wales and Campbell designations as before. It also was customized with basic one color numbers rather than the two-color drop shadowed numbers as previously.
Today's video segment begins with Lemieux winning the MVP award in his first All-Star Game.
Next, Lemieux scores four goals in front of his home fans in Pittsburgh in 1990.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
While the NHL All-Star Game has been almost exclusively a competition between players of the NHL, there have been two occasions when the usual format was bypassed in favor of an international competition against the Soviet Union.
The first such occasion occurred in 1979 with an event called the 1979 Challenge Cup. Up to this point, the Soviets had played against North American professionals three times, the first being the ground breaking 1972 Summit Series against a team of Canadians from the NHL. The 1974 Summit Series revisited the concept, only this time against a team of the best players from the WHA. The first Canada Cup tournament took place in 1976, which had not only Team Canada and the Soviet National Team, but also teams from Sweden, Czechoslovakia, the United States and Finland.
The Challenge Cup was held in New York's Madison Square Garden and took the place of that season's traditional All-Star Game and consisted of a three game series held on February 8, 10 and 11, 1979.
1979 Challenge Cup program cover
The NHL All-Star team was made up of NHL players, regardless of the country they were born in. In all, the NHL All-Stars comprised 23 Canadians and three Swedes.
Guy Lafleur opened the scoring in Game 1 just 16 seconds into the game, but by now the North Americans had learned not to dismiss the Soviets, a lesson learned in Game 1 of the 1972 Summit Series. Each team scored a power play goal before the first period ended with the NHLers up by one.
The NHL extended it's lead in the second period with goals from Clark Gillies and Bob Gainey. Vladimir Golikov pulled one back for the Soviet Union 3:02 into the third, but the All-Stars circled the wagons and held off the Soviets the rest of the way to win 4-2 with Ken Dryden getting the win in goal for the NHL.
Game 2 had the Soviet Union scoring first at 8:10 only to have the NHL score three consecutive goals , a power play from Mike Bossy and an even-strength goal from Bryan Trottier in the first followed by a Gilbert Perrault tally just 27 seconds into the second.
The Soviets fought back with a goal at 2:05 before Larry Robinson restored the All-Stars lead to two again at 5:06. That lead quickly disappeared when the Soviet Union scored at 17:02 on the power play and again 45 second later to even the game heading into the third.
Golikov got one past Dryden at 1:31 for the game winner, as the rest of the period was scoreless as Vladislav Tretiak held the All-Stars at bay to even the series at one game apiece.
Game 3 was simply all the Soviet Union as they put on a dazzling display of complete hockey. There was no score after the first period before the Soviets scored at 5:47 and again at 7:44 on a power play. The third period was all Soviet Union as they solved goalie Gerry Cheevers again and again, scoring four times during a six minute span beginning at 8:44 to win the series 2 games to 1 with Vladimir Myshkin getting the shutout in his surprise debut for the Soviets.
While many people my not remember the Challenge Cup games, the cup itself is a spectacular trophy perhaps best remembered when the Soviet team returned to Madison Square Garden exactly one year later on February 9, 1980 and paraded the Challenge Cup around the ice prior to their 10-3 demolition of the United States Olympic Hockey Team in a tune-up match for the impending 1980 Olympics.
This game occurred just 13 days before the Soviets shocking defeat in the "Miracle on Ice", when essentially the same Soviet team that easily dominated the best of the NHL 6-0 in Game 3 of the Challenge Cup lost to a team of American college players during the Olympics.
Similar to the Canada Cup trophy, the Soviets were allowed to win the trophy, but were not allowed to actually keep the trophy, which now resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The jerseys worn by the NHL All-Star Team for the 1979 Challenge Cup were without a doubt the simplest, most plain ones ever worn by an NHL All-Star Team, and actually managed to make the Soviet jerseys almost look flashy by comparison!
Without so much as a single star on them, the closest thing these jerseys can be compared to are the NHL referee's sweaters worn in the 1940's only with the addition of a pair of stripes and bolder numbers.
The Soviet Union jerseys were their usual utilitarian selves, simply adorned with CCCP in a simple font with legible numbers and some basic striping as adornment, but with the addition of the repeating diamond pattern around the waist for a touch of flair not seen on the jerseys of the NHL All-Stars.
These Soviet jerseys would be the now familiar style as worn in the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
The next instance where the normal All-Star Game was put aside for a year came eight years later with Rendez-vous '87, which was similar in format to the 1979 Challenge Cup, where the Soviet National Team faced off against a team of NHL All-Stars, except in a two game format, rather than three as in 1979.
Rendez-vous '87 program cover
Why the teams did not compete for the rights to the impressive Challenge Cup once again, we do not quite understand, but the hockey competition was just a part of the annual Quebec Winter Carnival which was a multi-cultural event that year featuring entertainers and food from Canada, Russia and the United States.
The games were held in Quebec City, Quebec at Le Colisee, home of the Quebec Nordiques.
The Soviet lineup was a strong one, and featured over a dozen players who would eventually compete in the NHL within the next six years. The changing face of the NHL was reflected by the increasing international presence on it's roster, now sporting players from not only Canada and Sweden as before, but with the addition of players from the United States and Finland as well.
Game 1 took place on February 11, 1987 and Jari Kurri got the NHL All-Stars off to a 1-0 lead 5:23 in to the game. The Soviets fell behind 2-0 when Glenn Anderson scored with three minutes remaining in the second period but managed to get on the board before the period ended when Alexei Kasatonov got one by Grant Fuhr with 1:18 remaining.
The third period was an exciting affair, as the Soviets tied the game 2:03 into the period. Canada retook the lead five minutes later with Kevin Dineen's goal only to have the Soviets tie the game once more one minute later thanks to Anatoli Semenov.
The game continued scoreless as time began to wind down before Dave Poulin got the game winning goal for the All-Stars with just a minute and fifteen seconds left when he beat goaltender Evgeny Belosheikin, who had the audacity to wear Tretiak's legendary #20!
After a day of rest, the teams returned to the ice on February 13, 1987 following much the same script, as the NHL again scored 3:32 into the game to lead 1-0 after the first period.
The Soviet Union got two goals early in period two when Valeri Kamensky and Vladimir Krutov scored a minute and a half apart for their first lead of the competition. Doug Wilson evened the scoring at 2-2 with his goal on the power play at 7:33 only to have Kamensky and Krutov each score their second goals of the game to put the Soviets ahead by two. Kamensky's second goal came with 19 seconds left in the second period, while Krutov's game winner came 9:19 into the third period.
Krutov's two goals were key to the Soviet in in Game 2
Andrei Khomutov increased the Soviet lead to 5-2 at 12:59, which proved to be an important goal in not only the game, but in the larger picture of the series as a whole, for when Ray Bourque scored at 19:23 of the third period, it was too little too late as the Soviets not only won the game 5-3, but earned bragging rights for the series by outscoring the NHL All-Stars by a combined 8-7 over the two games thank's to Khomutov's goal.
Following the game, team captains Wayne Gretzky and Viacheslav Fetisov traded jerseys in keeping with the tradition of European soccer players, leading to the most unusual sight of Wayne Gretzky wearing a Soviet National Team jersey emblazoned with CCCP across the front as well as a Cyrillic captain's "K".
"Comrade" Gretzky in his Soviet National Team jersey
Despite the loss in the series, the two games together allowed the Canadian members of the NHL All-Star Team a chance to compete together in advance of that fall's thrilling 1987 Canada Cup.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987 NHL All-Star Team Wayne Gretzky jersey as worn in the two game Rendez-vouz '87. This jersey's unusual customization had sleeve numbers only on the left arm, as the Rendez-Vouz '87 patch was placed on the right sleeve in the location usually occupied by the numbers due to the stars on the chest occupying the usual location for such a patch on the upper right chest.
This style of jersey was worn only for the two games of the series in Quebec City and there was no dark "road" version ever produced, as was the norm with NHL All-Star jerseys since the introduction of the East vs. West format in 1969.
Examples of this style jersey for collectors are rather scarce, as retail jersey sales were still in their infancy in 1987.
Bonus Jersey: Today's Bonus jersey is a 1987 Soviet National Team Sergei Priakin jersey as worn during Rendez-vous '87. These jerseys were some of the less successful of the Soviet Union's, as the dark red stripes on the red body of the jersey were too close in color to create any worthwhile contrast.
Gone were the striking diamond pattern on the waist of the 1979 Challenge Cup jerseys, as well as the more pleasing font for the numbers. Things would improve in the years following, as the jerseys worn in international hockey would soon be made by the Finnish brand Tackla, giving the final jerseys of the Soviet era some much needed graphic design.
Priakin would become the answer to a trivia question in 1988 when he became the first Soviet player to be allowed to compete in the NHL, which he did with the Calgary Flames. He would also suffer the common plight of the Soviet players during this early era of playing in North America, as the spelling of their names on the backs of their jerseys often varied from appearance to appearance. As seen here, "PRYAKHIN" would latter play for the Flames wearing "PRIAKIN".
Today's video highlights begin with all the goals scored in the 1979 Challenge Cup.
Game 1, won by the NHL All-Stars.
Game 2, the Soviets come from behind to win the game and turn the tide of the series.
The Soviet Union's dominant performance in Game 3.
Next, Poulin tips in the game winning goal in Game 1 of Rendez-vous '87.
In Game 2 of Rendez-vous '87, Kamensky is a one man highlight reel, scoring two and assisting on Khomutov's goal for good measure.