Monday, December 24, 2012

1987-88 New York Rangers Kelly Kisio Jersey

Despite scoring 53 goals and 101 points in 1976-77 for the Red Deer Rustlers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and following that up with a 74 goal, 142 point performance, Kelly Kisio then moved on to the Calgary Wranglers of the Western Hockey League where he put together back to back seasons of 60 and 65 goals, including being named the WHL Rookie of the Year in 1979, yet still remained undrafted by any club in the NHL.

Kisio Wranglers, Kisio Wranglers
WHL Rookie of the Year Kisio

Kisio turned pro for the 1980-81 season when he joined the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League. After starting the year with 24 points in 41 games, he moved on to the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL where he impressed with 27 goals and 43 points in only 31 games as well as 7 goals and 14 points in 6 playoff contests.

He then stormed the Central Hockey League as a member of the Dallas Black Hawks in 1981-82, leading the league in goals with 62 as part of a team leading 101 point campaign.

Shockingly, still without a home in the NHL, Kisio then made the trek overseas to Europe, where he signed with HC Davos of the Swiss National League A where his scoring prowess continued with 40 goals and 73 points in 40 games, punctuated by 9 goals and 11 points in a mere 3 games.

The call finally came from the NHL in the form on the Detroit Red Wings, who signed Kisio as a free agent early in March for the remainder of the 1982-83 season. He then scored his first NHL goal as part of 4 goals and 7 points over the course of 15 games.

Kisio Red Wings, Kisio Red Wings

He would become a full time member of the Red Wings in 1983-84, where over the course of three seasons in Detroit, he would post consistent totals of 23, 20 and 21 goals with a high of 69 points in 1985-86.

Kisio was then dealt to the New York Rangers in a deal which brought goaltender Glen Hanlon to Detroit. During his first season in New York, he did exactly what was expected of him with a 24 goal, 64 point season, just as he had done in Detroit.

Kisio Rangers, Kisio Rangers
Kisio in his early days with the Rangers.
Note the "New York" cresting worn by the Rangers from 1978- to 1987.

Back with the Rangers for the 1987-88 season, the one-time undrafted free agent reached a pinnacle that few saw coming when he boarded a plane for Switzerland when Santa brought him an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve when he was named captain of the Rangers on this date in 1987. He responded to the faith shown in him by setting a career high in points with 78 thanks to a career high 55 assists to go with his usual 23 goals.

Kisio Rangers, Kisio Rangers
The Rangers new captain Kisio

He would score a career high 26 goals in 1988-89 and extended his streak of 20 goals seasons to seven with 22 in 1989-90 as well as adding 10 points in 10 playoff games. His final season with the Rangers would see his streak of 20 goal seasons come to an end, as he was limited to 15 goals in just 51 games played, his first season of less than 68 games since joining the NHL full time in 1983.

The Minnesota North Stars then claimed the veteran Kisio in the Expansion Draft in May of 1991 only to see the North Stars trade him to the San Jose Sharks a month later.

Life with the expansion Sharks was much different, as Kisio only saw action in 48 games with the offensively challenged Sharks, which conspired to limit him to 11 goals. He rebounded with a fine season in 1992-93, with a career highs in games with 78 and tying career bests with 26 goals and 78 points.

Kisio Sharks, Kisio Sharks
Kisio had a career year in 1992-93

He signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames for the 1993-94 season and saw time in 51 games for Calgary. His final NHL was limited to just 12 games due to a shoulder injury before Kisio retired from the NHL.

Kisio Flames, Kisio Flames
Kisio finished his career with the Flames

His final career totals were 761 games played, 229 goals and 658 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 New York Rangers Kelly Kisio jersey. The Rangers white jersey was not worn by "the Blueshirts" until the 1951-52 season, making them the last of the Original 6 clubs to adopt a second jersey, as they were the final holdout following the Bruins introduction of a black sweater in 1948-49.

Changes for the Rangers white sweaters have been minimal, with names not arriving until 1970 and a change from a lace-up collar to a v-neck when the jerseys were brought back in 1978-70 following a two season diversion with a jersey set which used the Rangers shield as the main crest.

Note that this jersey jersey has the name on the back straight across as worn from 1970-76 and again from 1978 to 1990 before the now familiar arched lettering first appeared.

New York Rangers 87-88 jersey, New York Rangers 87-88 jersey
New York Rangers 87-88 jersey, New York Rangers 87-88 jersey

Today's featured video shows Kisio battling the Blackhawks Chris Chelios.

Next, tensions boil over between the Rangers and Devils yet again as Kisio engages Joe Cirella.

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