Saturday, April 16, 2011
Chris Chelios began his NHL career during President Ronald Regan's first term in office back in 1984 with the Montreal Canadiens, who drafted him 40th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, with 12 regular season and 15 playoff games following his participation in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
In his first full season in the NHL, he scored 64 points in 74 games and came in second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Mario Lemieux and participated in his first NHL All-Star Game. The next season, Chelios contributed 19 points in 21 games as the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
After two more solid seasons, which included point totals of 44 and 61, plus another 28 playoff games combined, Chelios would capture the Norris Trophy for the 1988-89 season in which he would set a career high with 73 points as Montreal returned to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The following season saw Chelios limited to 53 games and Montreal ousted in the first round of the playoffs. During the offseason, Chelios was traded, along with a second round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future Hall of Famer Denis Savard. ending his time in Montreal after seven seasons.
The return to his native Chicago agreed with Chelios, as he earned a place in his third NHL All-Star Game and began a long streak of durability that would last eight seasons. Aside from the strike shortened season of 1994-95 in which he played all 48 games, Chelios would play no less than 72 games a season, topping 80 four times.
The 1991-92 season saw the Blackhawks return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1973, as Chelios scored 21 points and earn a +19 rating in 18 games. The following season Chelios equalled his career high of 73 points while playing in all 84 games.
1995-96 saw Chelios named captain of the Blackhawks and play in his sixth consecutive NHL All-Star Game as well as topping 70 points for the third time in his NHL career. Following that season Chelios' offensive production would decline, as he would never score as many as 50 points in a season again, but he would continue his rugged, minutes eating playing style.
The 1997-98 season saw Chelios play in his 1,000th NHL game on this date, now during the second term of Bill Clinton's Presidency, having already played through Reagan's second term, George H. W. Bush's time in office and Clinton's first term.
Chelios would spend one more season in Chicago before, at age 37, he would be traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and a pair of first round draft picks, ending a nine year run in Chicago.
Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens Chris Chelios jersey, as worn by Chelios during the first season in which he would play 80 games in a season on his way to 1,651 games, currently 5th all time.
Montreal would go on to play in the Stanley Cup Finals that season, the second finals appearance of Chelios' career.
Our first video today is not the usual hockey highlights, but a look instead at Cheli's Chili Bar, Chelios' restaurant in Detroit, Michigan.
Here, Chelios accepts his 1993 Norris Trophy, the second of three in his career, with unexpected results and candor.
Of course, any mention of Chelios, allows us the opportunity to once more share our favorite hockey video ever - the Inglewood Jack.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Born on this date in 1969, Jimmy Waite played his junior hockey with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 1986-87 and 1987-88. He played 50 games his first season and posted a record of 23-17-3.
During this time he also competed for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships, which included winning a gold medal in 1988 over the Soviet Union in Moscow. At the conclusion of the 1986-87 season he was drafted in the first round, eighth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.
With the goaltending situation in Chicago being a crowded one, Alain Chevrier, Ed Belfour and Darren Pang all played 23 games or more, Waite was limited to just 11 games in 1988-89 with the Blackhawks after breaking his collarbone, and played five with Saginaw of the IHL after healing.
Waite needed more playing time, which he received in 1989-90 with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, where, after going 34-14-5 during the regular season, Waite led the Ice to the Turner Cup championship with a 9-1 mark during the playoffs. Waite also suited up for four games with Chicago during the season, who still had an abundance of goalies with Jacques Cloutier, Greg Millen and Chevrier dividing up the bulk of the work.
1990-91 saw Belfour return from his season with the Canadian National Team to dominate the NHL, relegating Waite to the IHL for a second season, where he retained his #1 status, going 26-18-4 in 49 games. Waite managed a single game with Chicago that season, winning in his only start.
As if being behind Belfour on the depth chart was not enough, Domink Hasek had arrived on the scene in Chicago. Still, Waite was called upon to play 17 games with the Blackhawks and divided the rest of his season with Indianapolis and the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
Waite spent the entire 1992-93 season in the NHL as Belfour's backup, seeing time in 20 games prior to being traded to the San Jose Sharks during the off-season. Once more, Waite was the understudy, this time to workhorse Arturs Irbe.
When the 1994-95 season delayed until January due to labor issues, Waite had yet to see any playing time with the Sharks before being dealt back to Chicago in February. It ended up essentially being a lost season for Waite, who played two games with Chicago and four back with Indianapolis.
The same pattern continued for two more seasons with Waite playing the vast majority of his season with the Ice and a few token games with Chicago until being claimed in the waiver draft by the Phoenix Coyotes after eight seasons with Chicago, never playing more than 20 games.
While in Phoenix, Waite was again the number two, and played 17 games in 1997-98 and 16 in 1998-99, a season which also saw him compete for both the Utah Grizzlies and Springfield Falcons in the AHL.
Prior to the 1999-00 season Waite was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but spent the next two seasons with their AHL affiliate in St. John's, where he was the number one, seeing action in 105 games over the next two seasons.
With the NHL portion of his career now at an end, Waite moved to Germany for the 2001-02 season to play for the Essen Mosquitos. After spending the 2002-03 season with the Iserlohn Roosters, Waite found a home with the Ingolstadt Panthers, where he would play for the next six seasons and become a fan favorite, earning the nickname "The Wall".
While with Ingolstadt, Waite would be named to the DEL All-Star Game in 2004 and 2007. Additionally, he would earn the DEL Outstanding Goalkeeper Award for three consecutive seasons, from 2003-04 to 2005-06.
His career concluded with a single appearance for the Nuermberg Ice Tigers in the 2009-10 season with a victory.
Today's featured jersey is a 2004-05 Ingolstadt Panthers Jimmy Waite jersey. This jersey is typical of European league jerseys in that it is dye-sublimated and covered with multiple sponsorship ads which relegate the club identity to a mere afterthought.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1994-95 Indianapolis Ice Jimmy Waite jersey. Waite spent six seasons with the Ice which included an IHL championship in 1990.
Today's video selection is a brief but telling one, showing the fans love of Waite in Ingolstadt.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A charter member of the World Hockey Association in the 1972-73 season, the New England Whalers actually started out life in Boston, Massachusetts in the backyard of the mighty Boston Bruins, who were fresh off a Stanley Cup winning season.
The Whalers gave it their best shot and not only finished with the best record in the new WHA with a 46-30-2 record that year, but also captured the inagural Avco World Trophy by winning three rounds of the playoffs by identical 4 games to 1 totals.
The Whalers lasted 2 1/2 seasons in Boston, but sagging attendance led the owners to relocate the team to Hartford - in mid season! The Whalers were successful in Hartford, still playing as the "New England" Whalers, never missing the playoffs in it's seven years in the WHA.
Easily the most recognizable names to play for the New England Whalers in their WHA days were hockey legend Gordie Howe and his sons Mark Howe and Marty Howe.
With the "merger" of the WHA and NHL, the Whalers were one of the four teams to survive the end of the WHA, but because of lobbying by the Boston Bruins, one of the conditions of the Whalers being allowed into the NHL was the dropping of "New England" from the team's name.
The move to the NHL was a rough one for the Whalers and they only had three winning seasons for their eighteen years in the NHL. While they did manage to qualify for the playoffs eight times, including seven in a row from 1986 to 1992, they only won a single playoff series in their NHL history, knocking out fellow WHA refugee the Quebec Nordiques in an opening round best-of-five three games to none in 1986.
One reason for the Whalers failure to improve was a history of horrible trades, including Mike Rogers (5th in NHL scoring in 1980 and 7th in 1981), Mark Howe, Gordie Roberts, Chris Pronger, Brendan Shanahan, Paul Coffey and worst of all, fan favorite Ron Francis.
Following their run of playoff appearances, they sunk back down in the standings and missed the playoffs for their final five seasons in Hartford.
The demise of the Whalers in Hartford began in 1994 when the club was purchased by Peter Karmanos, who quickly grew frustrated by the corporate support in Hartford and mediocre attendance. Karmanos began to make demands, including the sale of 11,000 season tickets and the desire for a new arena.
The negotiations for a new arena disintegrated when Karmanos demanded that the state of Connecticut reimburse the Whalers for up to $45 million in losses during the three years the new arena would be under construction. When the team gave up on getting a new arena, they announced on March 26, 1997 that they would be moving but had yet to pick a destination!
The Whalers final game was played on this date in 1997, a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Kevin Dineen scoring the final goal in Whalers history.
Many factors worked against the team in Hartford, including Hartford being the smallest market in the NHL, it's arena having the smallest capacity in the league and few private suites, and being located in between long time hockey cities of Boston (102 miles) and New York (122 miles).
The Whalers statistical leaders for their time in the NHL include Francis, who holds the record for Most Games (714), Goals (264), Assists (557) and Points (821) and goaltenders Sean Burke, who has the most Games Played (256), and Mike Liut, who holds the marks for Most Wins (115) and Shutouts (13).
Today's featured jersey is a 1979-80 Hartford Whalers Gordie Howe jersey. This is the first style of jersey worn by the Whalers franchise when they entered the NHL. Their original green road and white home 1972-73 WHA jerseys featured a "W" with a harpoon in a circle, which was simplified to just a larger "W" and harpoon, with the addition of gold trim to their green and white colors, for 1973-74. Those jerseys survived relatively unchanged for the remainder of their days in the WHA.
Upon entering the NHL, and undergoing their name change from "New England" to "Hartford" they club modernized their jerseys, debuting a clever new logo of a "W" topped off by a whale tail, with the negative space creating a subtle "H" for those clever fans who studied it long enough. The addition of blue trim made for an attractive set of jerseys, still topped off by the "Pucky the Whale" shoulder patches, worn since day one in the WHA.
That set of jerseys underwent some minor changes in striping, plus an experiment with the controversial Cooperalls in 1982-83, and the elimination of "Pucky the Whale" in 1983-84, but remained essentially the same basic jersey until the 1992-93 season, when a radical redesign saw the road jerseys no longer green for the first time in club history, as blue was the new main color.
Today's video section begins with the final goal in Whalers history, scored in this date in 1997 by Whalers captain Kevin Dineen.
Here is a report showing the end of that final Whalers game, although it is in French, the images capture the moment and there is also some good historical footage and photos of the Whalers.
No post about the Hartford Whalers would be complete without a mention of the Whalers theme song, "Brass Bonanza", also known as the "Whalers Victory March". Adopted by the Whalers as their theme song during their days in the WHA, it remained so through their years in the NHL. Gordie Howe was once quoted as saying that he loved to hear it as a visiting player for the Houston Aeros, but hearing it every night with the Whalers "began to drive me nuts."
Monday, April 11, 2011
We at Third String Goalie were in attendance at this weekend's 2011 NCAA Frozen Four Men's Ice Hockey Championships at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. While there we attempted to document each and every Division 1 team we could possibly find, eventually numbering 45 different schools with dozens of varieties within those 45 colleges and universities.
It was a fun and fantastic project as we got to meet dozens of people from all over the country, everyone united in their love of hockey and spirit of fun. A big thanks to all of you who took the time to pose and chat!
To see a gallery of the jerseys, please visit this link.
Special mention must be given to the fan wearing the St. Norbert College jersey, this year's Division III Men's Ice Hockey Champions.
Another fan was ahead of the curve by sporting a Penn State jersey before their impending move to Division 1 and the subsequent creation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference.
One thing always remains the same though. Fans of Wisconsin will wear anything and everything as long as it's red and white and has any sort of Badger logo on it of any kind without the slightest regard if the men's or women's team did or did not actually wear it. Game worn, authentic, replica, expensive and well made, cheap and shoddily constructed, fashion jersey or whatever, Wisconsin fans have no minimum standards. It might be a positive attribute or a knock against them, but either way, if it has even the most remote connection to Bucky Badger, you will see it at a Wisconsin game.
Aside from the numerous college team jerseys we documented, there were also a number of NHL, international, junior, high school jerseys seen, but you can always, always count on the Charlestown Chiefs making an appearance.
While some teams have their usual legions of fans, other teams have support from higher places, North Dakota in particular...
Still others simply appear to be there to make a fashion statement, no matter which teams are playing. Or perhaps they were just there for the beer!
Despite lacking the support of such luminaries as Santa Claus and Elvis, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs came out on top, giving their fans an alternative to the jersey, something fans of all the vanquished teams wish they could purchase, the humble t-shirt.
Regardless of which team you support or what you choose to wear, be certain that your interpid reporter from Third String Goalie was hard at work bringing you the stories you need to know, regardless of the personal sacrifices we had to make and hardships we had endure on your behalf.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Yesterday the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and the Michigan Wolverines faced off for the 2011 NCAA National Championship Game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Michigan was seeking to extend it's record with a tenth national title, while the Bulldogs were trying to win their first, but with the aid of a partisan Minnesota crowd, with the Bulldogs just 150 miles from their home rink plus the addition of all the Twin Cities locals adopting the in-state Bulldogs of the WCHA as their team for the weekend.
After a ceremonial puck drop by Minnesota native and NCAA champion Neal Broten, the game was underway.
Michigan thought they had scored first 4:20 into the game, but a review confirmed that the whistle had blown before the puck was jammed into the net after being covered by Bulldogs goaltender Kenny Reiter.
Three penalties were called in the first period, including Ben Winnett for Michigan being called for interference at 5:46.
Jack Connolly nearly scored for Duluth on the ensuing power play when he loudly rang one off the pipe behind Shawn Hunwick in goal for the Wolverines.
Both goalies were playing well at either end, with Duluth holding the edge in shots.
Finally, Michigan broke though on a shot just after a faceoff at 14:42 when Winnett scored his fifth of the season using a Bulldog as a screen to get one by Reiter.
Hunwick was solid through the rest of the period to keep Duluth off the scoreboard despite holding a 12-8 edge in shots on goal.
There was some rough play and hard hits in the first period, particularly by the Bulldogs.
Michigan lead 1-0 after 1 and had only lost once all season when scoring first, however UMD had come from behind after to win four times this season when trailing after one.
The Bulldogs came out strong in the second period, scoring early after a shot from the point was deflected and popped up into the air, hit a Michigan defender and Travis Olensuk put the puck past Hunwick to tie it at just 1:39.
Perhaps the save of the game occurred at 8:23 of the period when Matt Rust of Michigan had a wide open shot at Reiter from the left faceoff circle. Reiter got a healthy piece of the puck, but it had enough force to bounce up into the air and over his shoulder. Trent Palm of the Bulldogs saw the puck heading for danger and deftly batted the puck out of harm's way, saving a sure goal for Michigan, an amazing play which ESPN failed to adequately recognize.
Despite that criticism of ESPN, they did do an excellent job of capturing the spirit in the event, often showing the bands and rabid fans on both sides to give the viewers a taste of the atmosphere in the arena, something NBC failed miserably to do at the 2010 Olympic hockey games in Vancouver.
The parade to the penalty box continued, as eight penalties were called in the second period, including a hooking call on Mac Bennett at 9:09.
Max Tardy converted for Duluth to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game when he got the rebound off of his own shot for his first goal of the season from Mike Seidel.
The Bulldogs continued to look for a chance to extend their lead, but Hunwick was strong in goal for the Wolverines as they killed off a pair of UMD power plays.
Michigan had their chances too, with nine shots on goal of their own.
Despite the edge in play for Duluth, Michigan surprised the crowd with a goal at 17:46 from Jeff Rohrkemper past Reiter, who was again screened on the play similar to the first Wolverines goal.
The goal energized Michigan who looked to be on the verge of another goal prior to the end of the period, but Duluth avoided giving up another one before the break, despite several good chances for the Wolverines.
Duluth carried the play for the first 7 minutes of the third as they tried to regain the advantage.
After the teams traded penalties and were playing four on four, Mike Connolly found a seam and walked in for a clear shot on goal, which Hunwick snared to keep the game tied at 2 at the 10:25 mark.
Kevin Lynch was called for boarding at 11:32, the 9th power play of the game.
During the power play, Duluth's Mike Connolly shot a backhander which got through Hunwick and slowly slithered toward the line. Just as it was about to give UMD the lead, defenseman Greg Pateryn, acting on instincts alone, cleared it off the line to preserve the tie for Michigan at 12:25, nearly equalling Palm's amazing save for UMD.
Reiter then had to make a stellar save on a shorthanded chance for the Wolverines later during the same powerplay, and once again the puck bounced high into the air, but fortunately for Duluth, bounced away from the goal rather than towards it this time.
The pace continued a a high rate with both teams getting their chances. With the number of TV timeouts, even the refs needed to take a breather late in the third period.
Both goaltenders continued their strong play as the game continued.
The officials began to put their whistles away, as there were no more penalties called for the remainder of the game as regulation came to an end with the score tied 2-2 and Duluth holding a 36-23 lead in shots on goal.
Within the first minute of overtime, Justin Faulk tried to win it with a shot at the short side after weaving through practically the entire Wolverines team.
At 2:30, Mike Connolly intercepted a horrible Michigan clearing attempt right into the center of the Wolverines zone only to have the defense collapse on him, preventing a shot on goal.
The repeated icing calls against Michigan meant their players had to remain out on the ice for an extended period, while the UMD were able to get some fresh legs out on the ice. Finally as Duluth cycled the puck, Oleksuk circled behind the Michigan net and sent a backhander through the crease to Kyle Schmidt, who buried it for the championship winning goal for the Bulldogs at 3:22 of overtime.
Schmidt then broke into one of the most glorious goal celebrations you will ever see, racing down the ice with his arms in the air, deftly avoiding all his teammates, until he reached the far blueline, where he laid down on his back and began making snowangels as he slid the rest of the way to the far end of the ice with the remainder of his team in hot pursuit!
Once they caught up with Schmidt, the celebration was on, while he lay on the ice for an extended period of time letting the moment sink in.
After some interviews with ESPN, the chaotic trophy presentation was held and team captain Mike Montgomery began the tradition of passing the trophy from teammate to teammate, which included goaltender Reiter.
Following the game, the celebration spilled out onto West 7th Street.
Today's video highlight is Schmidt's game winning goal in overtime and his exuberant goal celebration.
Next are highlights from the ESPN broadcast of the championship final.