Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1990-91 Dynamo Moscow Darius Kasparaitis Jersey

Born in Lithuania on this date in 1972, Darius Kasparaitis first played for Dynamo Moscow at the age of 16 during the 1988-89 season, the first Lithuanian to play in the Soviet Hockey League, and won the Soviet League Championship with Dynamo in 1992.

Kasparitis Dynamo, Kasparitis Dynamo
Kasparitis while with Dynamo Moscow

After his fourth season with Dyanmo, he was drafted by the New York Islanders with the 5th overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He jumped straight into the NHL later that year, playing in 79 games with the Islanders and immediately announced his presence as a tough, physical player as he led the Islanders in hits while scoring a career high 21 points on four goals and 17 assists.

Kasparitis Islanders, Kasparitis Islanders
Kasparitis with the Islanders in 1992-93

After four seasons with the Islanders, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1998-97 season. He would play six seasons with Pittsburgh, during which he would score one of the most notable goals in his career, a Game 7 overtime versus the Buffalo Sabres in the 2001 playoffs.

Kasparitis Penguins, Kasparitis Penguins

A late season trade in 2002 would see him play 11 games for the Colorado Avalanche before signing the following season with the New York Rangers with whom he would play parts of four seasons.

kasparitis Rangers, kasparitis Rangers
The blood on Kasparitis' face reveals the hard-nosed style of his play

During the lockout year of 2004-05 he would join many other NHL players on Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League.

2006-07 would see him return to Europe to play for SKA St. Petersburg on loan from the Rangers. Kasparitis would play one additional season for Saint Petersburg before retiring at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Kasparitis SKA, Kasparitis SKA
Kasparitis finished his career in the KHL with SKA Saint Petersburg

In international play, Kasparaitis played for the Soviet Union in the 1990 European Junior Championships and the 1991 World Juniors, earning silver both times. 1992 would see him earn gold medals for the Confederation of Independent States (CIS) at the World Juniors, where he was named best defenseman, the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France under the banner of the Unified Team ad again for he CIS at the World Championships later that spring.

kasparitis Soviet Union, kasparitis Soviet Union
Kasparitis wearing the CCCP of the Soviet Union during the 1991 World Juniors

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kasparaitis would play for Russia for the remainder of his career, which included the 1996 World Championships, the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympics, where he earned a bronze in 2002 and a silver in 1998.

kasparitis Russia, kasparitis Russia

Today's featured jersey is a 1990-91 Dynamo Moscow Darius Kasparaitis jersey. It's very typical of Soviet jerseys of the time period in that it is a light weight mesh with all the graphics silk screened onto the jersey with the name on the back being a classic example of Cyrillic lettering. The jersey shows good game use with several black stick marks on the arms and body.

Moscow Dynamo 91-92 F jersey, Moscow Dynamo 91-92 F jersey
Moscow Dynamo 91-92 B jersey, Moscow Dynamo 91-92 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995-96 New York Islanders Darius Kasparitis jersey. This notorious jersey was chosen by the Islanders new ownership group in an effort to appeal to a new, younger generation of fans, only to have the logo mocked by rival Rangers fans and the entire jersey become a symbol for the once mighty franchise's woeful play on the ice at the time.

The fisherman logo began to be phased out during only it's second season of use, as the club came up with an alternate sweater that replaced the fisherman with the club's original circular logo during 1996-97 and used that version exclusively during 1997-98 before the Islanders adopted a modern version of their original sweaters in 1998-99.

When told by reporters that the Islanders were going to revert back to their original logo, Kasparitis was quick to reply, "Good. We looked like idiots."

New York Islanders 95-96 jersey, New York Islanders 95-96 jersey

Elvis has left the building as Kasparaitis scores his Game 7 overtime versus the Buffalo Sabres in the 2001 playoffs.

Here is an interview with Kasparaitis and his hair before the 2006 Olympic Games.

Finally a compliation of hits by Kasparaitis from the 1993-94 season.

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