Saturday, May 21, 2011

1978-79 Atlanta Flames Dan Bouchard Jersey


It was announced on this date in 1980 that the Atlanta Flames had been sold to a group of Canadian business men who announced that the franchise would relocate to Calgary, Alberta.

The Flames began play in 1972 as the NHL reacted quickly to occupy the new Nassau Coliseum on Long Island with the New York Islanders in order to prevent the upstart World Hockey Association from moving into the arena. Needing a second team to balance the schedule, Atlanta was also awarded a franchise to occupy The Omni, another brand new arena located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The team was named the "Flames", which originated from the famous burning of Atlanta during the American Civil War.

The Omni seated 15,278 for hockey and was a innovative architectural design with an unusual roof, which looked like an egg crate from the air. It's exterior panels which were designed to rust over to seal themselves shut(!), making a solid structure which would last for decades. The only problem was that the panels never stopped rusting, which eventually created holes in the outer wall so large people were able to sneak into the building for free!


The Omni
The Omni


The club began with a reasonable start for an expansion team, which included being over .500 as late as mid-January, but a late season swoon saw them finish out of the playoffs at 25-38-15.

Being the only club in the American southeast, the Flames were faced with a difficult travel schedule, as the NHL's divisional alignment at the time defied any geographic logic, as it was still based on the principal of having the Original 6 teams in the East, while the 1967 expansion clubs grouped in the "West".

The additions of Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres in 1970 and the Islanders and Flames in 1972 further muddied the picture, as Atlanta was grouped with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis (closest at 556 miles away), Los Angeles and Oakland, while the "East" division was home to... Vancouver!

The Flames qualified for the playoffs in their second season after a nine point improvement in the standings, although with a sub .500 record of 30-34-14. Highlights that season included the additions of Tom Lysiak who led the club in scoring as a rookie.

Tom Lysiak Flames

While the club improved to a 34-31-15 mark, their 83 points were not enough to make the playoffs. Bright spots were the addition of Eric Vail, who set a club record with 39 goals on his way to the Calder Trophy, and conference realignment, which saw Atlanta now in the Patrick Division (with Philadelphia, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders) of the Campbell Conference (which also included St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Kansas City and Vancouver).

Eric Vail
Eric Vail


While the club qualified for the playoffs in 1975-76 and posted their first winning record of 35-33-12, they remained winless in the playoffs, losing 2 games to none in an abbreviated best-of-three series after being swept in four straight by Philadelphia in 1974. The first signs of trouble on the financial front began to surface when their average attendance dropped from a high of 14,162 in 1973-74 to 13,444 then down to 11,963.

The following season of 1976-77 saw the Flames finally win their first playoff game, but were still eliminated in Round 1 by the Kings 2 games to 1. At one point the team was in danger of missing it's payroll in December, and in an emergency campaign, leading city businesses made $750,000 in advance ticket purchases to help the club avoid bankruptcy.

The now familiar pattern began to repeat, as the 1977-78 Flames once more saw a drop in attendance down to 10,501 as they again won 34 games and were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs in two straight games, this time at the hands of the Red Wings.

A franchise record 90 points in 1978-79 saw a bump in average tickets sold, up to 11,441, but the Maple Leafs took their turn bouncing the Flames from the postseason in the now customary two straight games. While Lysiak was traded to Chicago, Guy Chouinard provided the thrills with the only 50 goal season in Atlanta history.

The 1979-80 season proved to be the Flames last in Atlanta, and yet again it was a predictable season for the club, as they won 35 games, the fifth time in 8 seasons with 34 or 35 wins. They then ended their eight year run in Atlanta with their fifth consecutive (and sixth overall) first round playoff loss, this time 3 games to 1 in the new best-of-five format to the New York Rangers, giving the Flames a combined playoff record of 2-15 in six tries.

With falling ticket sales combined with a rapid rise in player costs, due to the competition for players between the NHL and WHA, the Flames also suffered from the lack of a major television deal.

When an offer to purchase the club came from Nelson Skalbania, former owner of both the Edmonton Oilers and Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, the Atlanta ownership group accepted the deal and Skalbania immediately moved the club to Calgary, Alberta and chose to keep the name "Flames", feeling it reminiscent of the iconic "gas flares" of the oil production industry in Alberta.

The new ownership also retained the Flames jerseys as well, only the flaming "A" logo changing to a flaming "C" for their new home in Calgary.

Flames jerseys

History now seems on the verge of repeating itself, as the news broke yesterday that the troubled Atlanta Thrashers franchise has been sold to a group who intends to move the club over the border to Winnipeg, Manitoba as the long desired replacement for the beloved Jets, who relocated to Phoenix in 1996.

The latest news as of the time of this writing quotes the mayor of Winnipeg stating the move was just "a matter of time" while fans of the Thrashers have planned a rally today to show their support for their threatened franchise, only the organizer of the event was quoted as saying she expected "several hundred fans to show up", a far cry from the 35,000 who rallied in downtown Winnipeg, donating a reported $13 million to keep the Jets from eventually moving to Phoenix.

While for months it looked as if the Coyotes would be moving back to Winnipeg, the Glendale, Arizona city council's decision on May 10th to subsidize the club with $25 million to keep them in Arizona for the 2011-12 season, set in motion a rapid turn of events which saw the Thrashers become the focus of the potential Winnipeg ownership group.

The Thrashers ownership reports losses of $130 million since 2005 and no longer wish to own the club, located in what is widely regarded as a very poor sports city. With no local ownership proposals having come forward, the team which has been dismal on the ice, qualifying for the playoffs once in 11 seasons (failing to win a single game in the tradition of the Atlanta Flames) and ranked 28th out of 30 in attendance this season seems ripe for the picking.

Will the sale actually happen or is this just another case of someone throwing mud at the wall in an effort to be the first to break the news with little to no repercussions for being wrong? Stay tuned, as those involved are all denying anything and everything, while a majority of the stories allude to a formal announcement of the Thrashers move to Winnipeg on Tuesday the 24th.

Meanwhile the speculation on every other aspect of this story continues to make for good reading, from what will the team be called, how will the NHL's divisional alignment be affected and what will be the fate of the AHL's Manitoba Moose?

Today's featured jersey is a 1978-79 Atlanta Flames Dan Bouchard jersey as worn during Bouchard's finest season of his career when he won 35 games to set a Flames record for most wins in a season. Bouchard split time with Phil Myre for the first five Flames seasons before Myre was dealt to St. Louis, making Bouchard the clear number one goaltender for the Flames final three seasons in Atlanta.

Bouchard never played in less than 34 games, and with the departure of Myre, his totals rose to 58, 64 and 53 before he moved to Calgary when the club was sold and relocated on this date in 1980.


The Flames used the same jersey for each of their eight seasons in Atlanta and it remained intact after the relocation to Calgary, allowing for the obvious change in crest from the flaming A to the flaming C, all the way through the 1994-95 season, a 15 year run for this classic hockey template.

The Calgary Flames pay tribute to their past by using the original Atlanta Flames logo as the A worn to designate their alternate captains.

This jersey was worn without names on the back until 1977-78 when they became mandatory for all NHL jerseys.


Atanta Flames 78-79 jersey

Today's video hunt finds us with nothing but brawls to pick from, as the Flames apparently never actually scored any goals if we are to believe youtube.

Note the Philadelphia Flyers reverse nameplates. They had one set made up for TV games and wore them on both the white and orange jerseys, a look they have recently revived.


This next collection of mayhem features the Flames and the Maple Leafs from 1979.





Friday, May 20, 2011

2009-10 Windsor Spitfires Taylor Hall Jersey

Today begins the 2011 Memorial Cup, a ten day tournament held annually to determine supremacy of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), the organization which represents the three junior hockey leagues for players between the ages of 16 to 20 years old.

Memorial Cup

The format of the Memorial Cup is unique in that the playoff champions of the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) all compete, with the addition of the host team, in a round robin schedule of games against all three of the other clubs. Once each team has played three games, the fourth place team is eliminated from further competition. The second and third place teams then meet in a single Semifinal game with the winner advancing to face the top team from the round robin standings in a one game final two days later.

This year's competitors are the WHL champion Kootenay Ice, the OHL champion Owen Sound Attack and the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs, who will all be hosted by the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors of the OHL, who finished as the runners up in the OHL playoffs to Owen Sound after losing in overtime of Game 7, so their credentials are as strong as anyone.

Play begins tonight when Saint John faces Mississauga and Owen Sound and Kootenay begin play tomorrow night. There is a single game for each of the following four days to wrap up the round robin portion of the competition with May 26th set aside in the event a tie-breaker game is needed. This year's semifinal game will take place on Friday, May 27th with the championship final on Sunday, May 29th. All games are scheduled for 7:00 Eastern Time and will be televised on live Rogers Sportsnet and RDS in Canada. The NHL Network in the United States will show all the games, with three of them being shown live, including the championship final on May 29th.

NHL Memorial Cup TV

Since the current four team format was adopted in 1983, WHL teams have won the championship 15 times, the OHL 9 times and the QMJHL 4, while the host team has come through 8 of 28 times, 4 of those as their league champions.

With the majority of NHL players coming out of Canada, combined with the NHL Draft on the horizon, the Memorial Cup is a great opportunity to see not only tomorrow's stars today, but a chance to scout the upcoming draft on your own as, aside from the 24 players already drafted by NHL teams, their are 17 players eligible to be drafted this season led by number 3 ranked skater Jonathan Huberdeau and number 5 ranked Nathan Beaulieu, both of Saint John, and the number 3 ranked goaltending prospect Jordan Binnington of Owen Sound.

Today's featured jersey is a 2009-10 Windsor Spitfires Taylor Hall jersey. The Spitfires are the two-time defending Memorial Cup champions and Hall was named the winner of the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as MVP of last year's Memorial Cup as well as the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as Top Scorer, a performance which also earned him an berth on the All-Star Team. Following his high profile success at the Memorial Cup, Hall was selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2010 NHL Draft a month later.

Taylor Hall Spitfires

It's rare for a team to repeat as champions due to the amount of roster turnover in junior hockey. The first club to do so after the formation of the Memorial Cup in 1919 was the Oshawa Generals in 1939 and 1940. It would take the Toronto Marlboros another 15 years to accomplish the feat in 1955 and 1956. The Montreal Junior Canadiens would add their name to the list in 1969 and 1970 with a roster that included many future NHLers such as John Garrett, Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault.

The New Westminster Bruins (1977 and 1978) and the Cornwall Royals (1980 and 1981), who boasted having Doug Gilmour and Dale Hawerchuk in their lineup, won back-to-back during the three team era from 1972 to 1982.

Once the tournament expanded to it's current four team format in 1983, the Medicine Hat Tigers, coached by Barry Melrose and featuring Trevor Linden, won in both 1987 and 1988. Jarome Iginla and Darcy Tucker won in 1994 for the Kamloops Blazers and repeated in 1995 with the addition of Shane Doan. The Blazers were the last team to repeat until the Windsor prevailed in both 2009 and 2010 with Hall and Cam Fowler.

Windsor Spitfires 2010 champions

The Spitfires jersey is a copy of the Washington Capitals template and colors, plus name and number fonts, with the addition of the Spitfires logos on the chest and shoulders. While it is an attractive enough jersey, it does show a lack of imagination, especially compared to some of the more unique and creative jerseys in Canadian junior hockey.

Windsor Spitfires 09-10 jersey

Today's video section begins with a preview of this year's Memorial Cup.


In a moment that will live in infamy, the Spokane Chiefs had the Memorial Cup break in half during the celebration shortly after the trophy presentation, much to the embarrassment of the Chiefs and disapproval of those in attendance. You know they were either looking for a hole in the ice to crawl into or wishing they could hide in their playoff beards.


Finally, a tribute to the Windsor Spitfires, two time defending Memorial Cup champions.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

2003-04 Calgary Flames Martin Gelinas Jersey

After being named CHL Rookie of the year following his 63 goal, 131 point season for the Hull Olympiques in 1987-88, Martin Gelinas was drafted 7th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

He would never play for the Kings though, as he was part of the package of players, draft choices and cash sent to the Edmonton Oilers as part of the Wayne Gretzky trade. Gelinas would begin the 1988-89 season with the Oilers, but after six games was sent back to Hull for more seasoning. He made the Oilers roster the following season in time to be a part of the Oilers last Stanley Cup championship of their 1980's dynasty. He would eventually play four seasons in Edmonton with a high of 40 points from 20 goals and 20 assists.

Not having lived up to the expectations he established in junior hockey, Gelinas was traded to the Quebec Nordiques, who after just 31 games, placed him on waivers where he was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks for the second half of the season, which included a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Gelinas Canucks

Gelinas would play four more seasons for the Canucks, including setting a career highs of 35 goals and 68 points in 1996-97 which included a four goal game and being voted the club's MVP.

Gelinas Canucks 2

A slow start to the 1997-98 season and the arrival of Mike Keenan saw Gelinas and longtime Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean sent to the Carolina Hurricanes just after the New Year's. With Carolina, Gelinas would play five seasons, including two 20 goal seasons and another appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002.

Gelinas Hurricanes

For the 2002-03 season, Gelinas signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames. His first season was a good one, as he reached the 20 goal mark for the fifth time in his career on his way to a 50 point or more season for the fourth time in his career.

The Flames finished 6th in the Western Conference the following season and met his old club the Canucks in the first round. The series went the full seven games, and after Vancouver scored with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime, Gelinas won the series for Calgary with a goal 1:25 into the extra period.

Calgary's reward was the top seeded Detroit Red Wings. After the teams traded wins in the first four games, Calgary's defense, led by goaltender Miikka Kprusoff, clamped down and did not allow another goal for the remainder of the series. Calgary won Game 5 by a score of 1-0 and Game 6 saw regulation end with both teams scoreless. With the first overtime winding down, Gelians again won the series with a goal with just 47 seconds remaining, making Gelinas the first player in NHL history to end three playoff series with overtime goals.

The Flames were then paired with the second seeded San Jose Sharks in the conference finals. Calgary got off to a great start, winning two in San Jose, only to lose the next two at home. Kiprusoff then blanked the Sharks in San Jose as the series moved back to Calgary for Game 6.

Jarome Iginla got Calgary on the board first and Gelinas registered the second Flames goal at 13:02 of the second before the Sharks solved Kiprusoff at 16:14. When the Sharks failed to score another goal, Gelinas was once more credited with scoring the game winning goal in a series clinching game for the third consecutive series on this date in 2004, something only Ken Linseman of the Oliers in 1984 had ever done before and no one has equalled since.

With the NHL season cancelled due to the lockout the following season, Gelinas played in Switzerland for HC Forward Morges of the Swiss second division in 2004-05.

He returned to the NHL for two seasons with the Florida Panthers and a final one with the Nashville Predators to close out his NHL career with 1,273 games played, 309 goals and 351 assists for 660 points.

Gelinas Predators

Today's featured jersey is a 2003-04 Calgary Flames Martin Gelinas jersey as worn during his clutch playoff performance in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where 3 of his 8 goals were series clinching goals.

When the Flames black alternate jersey was promoted to be the Flames road jersey in 2000 when the previous set of jerseys was retired, a home white companion was needed for the black alternate, and the designers simply made a white version of the black jersey's basic striping tempate and adorned it with the Flames traditional flaming C logo on the front while keeping the same name and number font from the alternate jersey. This new white jersey was used by the Flames for six seasons until being replaced by the new league-wide redesign mandated by the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007-08.

Calgary Flames 03-04 jersey
Calgary Flames 03-04 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Edmonton Oilers Martin Gelinas jersey as worn during his final season in Edmonton when all players wore the Stanley Cup Centennial patch on their jerseys.

By our count, Gelinas wore a number jerseys during his NHL career, 2 with Edmonton, 2 with Quebec, 5 with Vancouver, 2 with Carolina, 3 with Calgary, 3 with Florida and 2 with Nashville for a total of 19, an impressive number, but far short of the 40 we documented for Mike Sillinger.

Edmontoilers 92-93 jersey

Today's first video highlight is Gelinas' Game 7 winner in overtime against the Sharks.


Our next video is his Game 6 winner in overtime versus Detroit.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1991 Finland National Team Jari Kurri Jersey

Born on this date in 1960 in Helsinki, Finland, Jari Kurri began his professional career in 1977-78 at the age of 17 with Jokerit of the Finnish SM-liiga. Later that same season saw the beginning of his long and illustrious international career by being named the Best Forward at the 1978 European Junior Hockey Championships after scoring 6 goals and 8 points in 4 games.

His next international appearance was at the 1979 World Junior Championships where he scored 5 points in 6 games.

1980 was a busy one for Kurri on the Finland National Team, as he first competed in a second World Juniors, where he tied for the tournament scoring lead with 11 points in 5 games as Finland captured the silver medal on home ice in Helsinki.

Kurri then played 8 games with the national team in preparation for the Olympics, which commenced just five weeks after the World Juniors. Finland's loss to the United States on the final day, after leading going into the third period, cost them a medal as they placed fourth, a single point behind Sweden.

After completing the 1979-80 season with Jokerit, Kurri then joined the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL, a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup dynasty. The next time Kurri suited up for Finland was at the 1981 Canada Cup prior to the upcoming NHL season. The 1981-82 season would be the final one prior to the freight train that was the 1980's Oilers getting up to full speed, and Edmonton's first round exit of the 1982 playoffs gave him one final opportunity for the time being to participate in the World Championships where he scored 7 points in 7 games.

With the Oilers going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the next five seasons, Kurri's appearances in the World Championships were now on hiatus. It would be five six years before he would wear Finland's blue and white again, this time for the 1987 edition of the Canada Cup.

After a fourth Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1988, an early playoff exit in 1989 allowed Kurri to once again skate in the spring's annual World Championships, where he impressed with 9 points in 7 games.

The Oilers rebounded in 1990 to win the 5th Stanley Cup of Kurri's carer prior to his taking a year away from the NHL to play hockey in Italy for a season, where he had a clause in his contract which made certain he was available for the 1991 World Championships hosted by Finland. Playing in front of his fellow countrymen, Kurri was in top form, scoring 6 goals and 6 assists in 10 games.

His NHL rights were traded from Edmonton to Philadelphia and later the same day to Los Angeles in May of 1991, but before joining the Kings and being reunited with Oilers teammate Wayne Gretzky, Kurri captained Finland at the 1991 Canada Cup tournament.

Up to this point, Finland had been admittedly a mid-pack team, never having won a medal at the World Championships and only one at the Olympics, that coming in 1988 with a silver. Things began to change in 1992 when Finland earned their first World Championship medal, a silver, although Kurri was not present.

He was present however, when Finland returned to the medal podium in 1994, aided by Kurri's 10 points in 8 games, as they came up just short of the gold by losing in the final 2-1 after a shootout in his final World Championship appearance.

His next opportunity to skate for Finland came in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, the successor to the Canada Cup.

Kurri Finland 1996

Finally, in 1998 when the NHL put it's season on hold to allow it's players to compete, Kurri made only his second Olympics, 18 years after his first, which concluded with a 3-2 win over Canada to earn the Finns a bronze medal, the third medal of his long international career.


His playing days came to an end following the conclusion of the 1997-98 NHL season with Kurri the highest scoring European-born player in NHL history with over 600 goals to his credit. His number 17 was retired by both the Oilers and the Finland National Team. He was also inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2000 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, the first Finn ever inducted.

Kurri is currently the general manager of the Finland National Team, who just won their second World Championship in their history this past Sunday.

Today's featured jersey is a 1991 Finland National Team Jari Kurri jersey as worn in the 1991 World Cup. This jersey was produced by Tackla out of Finland and features a short-lived cartoonish lion's head logo which was quickly replaced by a new shield-style logo which remains in use today.

Finland 1991 Kurri jersey
Finland 1991 Kurri jersey

Today's video selection is highlights of Finland at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, which includes Kurri scoring a goal on Canada's Patrick Roy.


Monday, May 16, 2011

2008 Finland National Team Mikko Koivu Jersey

For the first time in 16 years, and only the second time in their history, Finland have won the World Championship following their 6-1 thrashing of arch-rivals Sweden.

Koivu Finland Trophy
Finland's captain Mikko Koivu is thrilled to hoist
the World Championship trophy

After a scoreless first period Sweden scored the first goal when Magnus Pääjärvi gave Sweden and their fans a false sense of hope with a laser beam of a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Peteri Vehanen on his glove side and into the upper corner of the net.

Sweden nearly went ahead by two when they hit a post while on a power play, but when Finland got a late power play, they were able to convert with just seven second remaining in the period when the tournament's leading scorer Jarkko Immonen, after skating in from the left point, blasted a shot past Sweden's Viktor Fasth to give the Finns a huge boost heading into the final intermission.

It would not take Finland long to seize the lead. Just 2:35 into the third Pettri Nokelainen converted a pass from Antti Pihlström after sneaking in behind the Swedish defense and one timing the puck into the net and sending Fasth's water bottle flying. Less than one minute later Niko Kapanen banged in a loose puck after a Swedish turnover deep in their own zone for a 3-1 margin and the Finns were on their way, this after NHL shootout specialist Mikko Koivu failed to convert a breakaway chance moments earlier.

The period continued for the next 13 minutes with Sweden failing to beat Vehanen to close the gap before the wheels came off for Sweden. First Janne Pesonen extended the lead to three with a goal at 16:41 when he sped around the Swedish defense, picked up a dump in off the end boards, skated across the front of the net and deposited a backhander into the net behind Fasth.

Mika Pyörälä then got the party started early when he put another one past Fasth just 35 seconds later and the rout was on. Pihlström capped off the scoring and really kicked the party into high gear with Finland's fifth goal of the period with just 55 seconds remaining in the game to make the final score an unbelievable 6-1, no doubt sending the citizens of Helsinki into the night in full song.

Finland trophy celebration

Since winning their first World Championship, in Sweden, in 1995, Finland had made the gold medal final four times, coming up short on each occasion, so to not only win, but win big and over their main rivals Sweden, made this victory that much sweeter.

In the earlier game, the Czech Republic captured the bronze by outlasting Russia 7-4 in the tournament's highest scoring game.

Finland's destruction of Sweden sets up an interesting scenario, as the two countries will co-host the next two World Championships, with the games being divided between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland, with the finals in 2012 being held in Helsinki and the 2013 finals located in Stockholm.

Today's featured jersey is a 2008 Finland National Team Mikko Koivu jersey, as worn in the 2008 World Championships. This jersey features the IIHF 100th Anniversary patch on the rear hem as worn by all the teams in that year's edition of the World Championships. It also sports the Finnair sponsorship patches on the arms, giving the jersey it's distinctive World Championship look.

While Koivu was only an assistant captain in 2008, he carried on the family tradition established by his older brother Saku Koivu, the long-time captain of the Finland National Team.

Finland 2008 jersey
Finland 2008 jersey

Today's video section is extended highlights of the gold medal final of the 2001 IIHF World Championships from Slovakia.


Here's more of the Finns taking to the streets of Helsinki following their championship, clothing optional.


Our Third String Goalie Finnish hockey name is Antti Jokinen.

To get your own Finnish hockey name, try the Third String Goalie
Hockey Name Generator!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2009-10 Minnesota Wild Derek Boogaard Jersey

Derek Boogaard passed away unexpectedly on Friday, found dead in his Minneapolis apartment by his brothers Ryan and Aaron, who is also a professional hockey player.

Derek began his path to the NHL with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League before moving to the Prince George Cougars in the 1999-00. At 6' 7", 265 lbs. he was never fleet of foot and his role as an enforcer became apparent early when his finished his first season of junior hockey with a combined 38 games played, no points and 166 penalty minutes.

In 2000-01 he returned to Prince George and played in 61 games, scoring one goal and eight assists and 245 penalty minutes. Following that season he realized the dream of so many young Canadian boys when he was taken in the NHL Draft, 202nd overall in the 7th round by the Minnesota Wild ahead of names such as Christobal Huet (214th), Johnny Oduya (221st), Marek Svatos (227th) and Martin Gerber (232nd).

After starting the 2001-02 season with the Cougars, he moved to the Medicine Hat Tigers where, in 46 games, he duplicated his one goal and eight assists exactly while accumulating 178 penalty minutes.

After 27 games with Medicine Hat in 2002-03, Boogaard turned professional with the Louisiana Ice Gators of the ECHL, quite a distance from St. Paul and the NHL. In 33 games with the IceGators, Boogaard amassed 240 penalty minutes, and average of 7.27 minutes per game.

The Wild then assigned Boogaard to their top minor league affiliate, the Houston Aeros of the AHL. There, "The Boogeyman" led the Aeros in penalty minutes for two seasons, with 207 in 53 games 2003-04 and 259 in 56 games during the lockout season of 2004-05, protecting the likes of Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu.

With the NHL back in action for 2005-06, Boogaard made his NHL debut on October 5, 2005 in a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames in Minnesota. His first point game on October 14th with an assist on a Wes Walz goal at 3:06 of the second period of a game against the Vancouver Canucks.

His first NHL fight came during the very next Wild game two nights later when he fought Kip Brennan of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at 10:44 of the first period in Minnesota, the first time Boogaard would cause the Wild faithful to rise to their feet when he caught Brennan square in the face and dropped him. Note in the video, the Wild's own announcers have yet to settle on the eventual pronunciation of Boogaard's last name he was so new to the NHL.


The next time Boogaard caused the fans to roar their approval was just 8:23 later when he would meet Todd Fedoruk for the first time, gamely taking on the veteran Fedoruk, whom he would fight again later in his career, with disastrous results for Fedoruk.


The Wild's next game was against the San Jose Sharks on October 19th, and Boogaard once more got the fans out of their seats, only this time it was with the first goal of his career at 2:10 of the third period against goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to give the Wild a 2-1 lead on their way to a 6-1 win, earning Boogaard credit for the game winning goal. Less than eight minutes later it was back to business as usual when he fought Rob Davidson of the Sharks.

Boogaard's second goal of the season came on January 7, 2006 at 9:08 of the first period in a 4-1 Wild win over the Mighty Ducks. He finished the season with 6 points and 158 penalty minutes in 65 games and rapidly became a fan favorite for his willingness to drop the gloves and devastating punching ability.

Boogaard Wild

HockeyFights.com shows 16 fights for Boogaard that season with voters favoring Boogaard 9 times with 2 draws.

That punching ability was never demonstrated more than with his fight with Fedoruk on October 27, 2006 when he broke Fedoruk's cheekbone with one very solid punch, necessitating reconstructive surgery for Fedoruk.


Boogaard played in 48 games that season, finishing with 120 penalty minutes but no goals. His fight card has him involved in 10 brawls, with voters favoring him eight times.

Boogaard, with his brother Aaron, ruffled some feathers in the summer of 2007 when they put on their inaugural "Derek & Aaron Boogaard Fighting Camp" for kids aged 12 to 18 with the goal of "showing kids how to look after themselves when they're on the ice" with the intent of teaching the kids how to avoid getting hurt during fights. Many critics though, did not see it that way and criticized the camp, claiming the brothers Boogaard were setting a bad example. The Boogaards did not help themselves at all with their gory camp logo t-shirts, a true classic in the mold of the movie Slap Shot.

Photobucket

Derek was limited to just 34 games in 2007-08, but equalled his fight total of the season before with 10, earning the win in 7 of those and one draw.

2008-09 saw The Boogeyman compete in 51 games for Minnesota as his popularity grew with the fans of the Wild, as the numerous #24 jerseys in attendance at the Xcel Energy Center would testify to. Along with the growth of his popularity, his goalless streak was also growing, as he failed to score for the third consecutive season, sending his name higher up the list of longest streaks without a goal. His fight card for the season shows 9 fights, winning 6 with a draw.

The quite limited ice time he received under coach Jacques Lemaire, along with a combination of injuries and being a healthy scratch at times, depending on the tactical matchup with certain opponents on a given night, limited his offensive chances. Still, whenever he was in the offensive zone, fans hoped to see the streak come to an end, oohing and aahing with each close call.

The 2009-10 season saw an increase of playing time for Boogaard following a coaching change in Minnesota as he worked hard to be a more complete player. He saw action in 57 games and found enough opponents willing to fight him to amass 105 penalty mintues, his highest total since 2006-07, but still the goalless streak continued. His 9 fights show another dominant season, with 7 wins and a draw.

Boogaard Fighter

For the 2010-11 season, Boogaard was signed by the New York Rangers to a $6.5 million four year contract. Finally on November 9, 2010, to the delight of many, especially his fans back in Minnesota, Boogaard's goalless streak came to an end after 234 games, 21 short of Ken Daneyko's NHL record, when he scored in the most unexpected way, when Tyler Sloan of the Washington Capitals missed a chance to hold the puck in the Washington zone, freeing Boogaard for a run up the ice with no one back. Skating as fast as he was capable of, he reached the top of the faceoff circle, reared back and put all his hulking frame into a powerful slapshot that blew past goalie Michael Neuvirth for his first goal in nearly five calendar years, and now sadly his third and final goal of his NHL career.


The final game of Boogaard's NHL career came on December 9, 2010 when a punch to the head by the Ottawa Senators Matt Carkner resulted in a severe concussion which ended Boogaard's season after 22 games and seven fights, of which Boogaard won 4 with one draw, bringing his career totals to 61 fights of which 41 were wins, 14 losses and 6 draws. Offensively, he played in 277 NHL games, scoring 3 goals and 13 assists for 16 points and 589 penalty minutes, 305 of which came from fighting majors.

Boogaard Big

Beyond the mere numbers of fights and all the talk of goals and lack thereof, Boogaard was a player who did his job well and the right way. He seldom took a bad penalty, and a number of the penalties he was given were a result of his massive frame inflicting damage on smaller opponents with clean hits that were whistled often due to the sound they made or effect they had.

No team seemed to be rattled more by his mere presence in the lineup than the Edmonton Oilers, who would sometimes call up tough guys from the minors when facing Minnesota and often take themselves out of position to take runs at Boogaard, contributing to Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom's 14-0 home record versus the Oilers.

On a personal note, we had a few opportunities to meet Derek Boogaard in person and always found him friendly, accommodating, generous and a really nice guy who always had a moment for fans and autograph seekers as evidenced by the game used stick he gave us.

Boogaard Stick

Boogaard Stick Detail

When off the ice and wearing his glasses, he had a studious look and demeanor that suggested a teacher more than one of the most feared men in the NHL.

Boogaard Glasses

On the ice he was as popular a player that the Wild have ever had and a shame to lose anyone at such a young age, as he was just 28 years old.

Boogaard Rangers

Today's featured jersey is a 2009-10 Minnesota Wild Derek Boogaard jersey. Such was Boogaard's popularity with the Wild fans that he was chosen to model the team's new alternate jerseys during their unveiling at the Minnesota State Fair on August 30, 2009.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Our first video today is Boogaard modeling the new Wild alternate jersey during it's official unveiling in August of 2009.


Our next video is a tribute to Boogaard doing what made him famous and feared.


Showing off his lighter side, here is Boogaard starring in a commercial for a local supplier of hockey gear.


Here is some more of Boogaard's lighter side, as he is interviewed by teammate Brent Burns.


One final moment to leave you all with, from the Wild's Prospect Camp while still a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers, Boogard breaks the glass like no one else has ever done.


 

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