Saturday, April 14, 2012

2005 China National Team Sun Rui Jersey

Today is the Gold Medal Final of the 2012 World Women's Championships, which will pit the host United States against their rival Canada for the 13th consecutive time since the tournament's inception in 1990.

While the Canadians won the first eight gold medals, the United States have turned the tables, having won four out of the last five, including three in a row heading into today's game in Burlington, Vermont at 7 PM eastern. Based on their 9-2 win in their previous meeting in the Preliminary Round, the United States enters the game as the favorite.

USA 2011 gold, USA 2011 gold
The 2011 World Champion United States

Women's hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with the number of participants increasing 350% in the last 10 years, with Canada's 86,000 registered players and the United States 66,000 leading the way.

Following the dominance of Canada (9 gold medals) and the United States (4), Finland with 10 bronze medals ranks as the third strongest nation in women's hockey and they will face off against Switzerland at 3 PM eastern for the bronze medal.

The two other nations to have won medals in women's hockey are Sweden, with two bronze medals and Russia with one, with those three medals all coming at the expense of Finland.

China has finished fourth in the World Championships twice, in 1994 and 1997, but a recent run of bad form has seen them relegated twice in a row, now finding themselves down in Division I Group B.

Currently the IIHF World Women's Rankings have the United States on top, followed by Canada, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Slovakia and China, with Germany rounding out the Top 10. There are actually 37 nations listed in the complete World Rankings, which include many European nations, but also Japan (#11), Australia (#24), New Zealand (#27), South Korea (#28), Iceland (#29) South Africa (#31) and North Korea (#32).

Women's hockey has also been played at the Olympics since 1998 in Nagano, Japan, and featured six teams, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Sweden and the United States. The United States won the first women's gold medal, which was an upset of form, considering Canada had defeated the Americans during each of the four World Championships up to that point.

2002 saw Canada turn the tables and take home the gold, while 2006 saw the Canadians repeat after defeating Sweden, who stunned the United States in a semifinal upset, which drew comparisons to the 1980 Miracle on Ice.

Canada won their third Olympic gold medal in 2010 on home ice, defeating the United States 2-0.

Canada 2010 gold, Canada 2010 gold
Canada celebrates their gold medal in 2010

Women's hockey has drawn criticism for it's lack of competitiveness in the face of not only the dominance of the gold and silver medals by the United States and Canada, but also the large gap to even the rest of the top eight teams, as scores in games with either the US or Canada
often involving large margins of victory, such as the US winning games by scores of 9-0, 11-0 and 10-0 in this year's tournament.

Other instances of large margins of victory, such as Slovakia's notorious 82-0 win over Bulgaria in a European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in 2008 don't do the perception of the women's game any favors, but the IIHF continues to support the women's game and encourage member nations to work to improve the level of their play.

Thanks to the rise in the women's international game, women's college hockey in the United States has grown at a rapid pace. Starting in 1997-98 with the American Women's College Hockey Alliance, first won by New Hampshire, followed by Harvard and Minnesota, the championship became a full-fledged NCAA National Championship in 2000-01. Minnesota-Duluth has since won 5 titles, Wisconsin 4 and Minnesota 3. There are now 34 schools in four Division I conferences in the NCAA with more on the way, while in Canada there is the Canadian Women's Hockey League, which consists of six teams and has been active since 2007.

Today's featured jersey is a 2005 China National Team Sun Rui jersey. The Chinese women's team has until recently been in the Top Division of the World Women's Championships, faring much better than the Chinese men's team.

The Chinese women joined the World Championships in 1992 and posted a pair of fourth place finishes as their best results in both 1994 and 1997. They have also finished 5th twice and 6th four times, but a 9th place finish in 2009 saw them relegated for the first time to Division I in 2011, where a last place finish saw them relegated once again, this time down to Division I Group B for 2012, a tournament which also concludes this weekend in Hull, Great Britain.

As of this writing with two games left to play, Denmark and China are tied at 3-0 and will meet today in a game that will have great bearing on which team will be promoted up to Division I Group A.

In the Olympics, China finished 4th in 1998. losing the bronze medal game to Finland 4-1. Since then have finished 7th in both 2002 and 2010 while failing to qualify for the 2006 games in Italy.

China Qualifies, China Qualifies
The Chinese players celebrate qualifying for the 2010 Olympics

Closer to home, they have won gold at the Asian Games in 1996 and 1999 and won the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia in 2010.

The most notable player for China has been goaltender Guo Hong, their retired goaltender who had the brilliant nickname of "The Great Wall of China" after frequently facing over 50 shots a game while posting a 89% save percentage at the 2002 Olympics. In over ten years of competition, her finest game came in a 38 save performance in a 1-0 loss to Canada in 1996.

Hong Guo China, Hong Guo China
Hong Guo at the 1998 Olympics

Other notable players for China are Sun Rui and Wang Linuo, who are tied for the most appearances with 46, and Liu Hongmei, who is their all-time leader with 27 goals and 44 points.

Sun Rui China, Sun Rui China
Sun Rui

Nearly all of China's players hail from the northeastern city of Harbin, known in China as the "Ice City" for it's northern location and long winters.

China 2005 F
China 2005 B

Today's video section are the highlights from the first meeting between the United States and Canada at the 2012 World Women's Championships, which will conclude today with a rematch between the same two teams.


Friday, April 13, 2012

The 2012 KHL Gagarin Cup Finals

The KHL championship final for the Gagarin Cup begins today when HK Avangard Omsk takes on OHK Dynamo Moscow.

KHL logo, KHL logo

This will be the fourth time the cup has been awarded with the previous winners being Ak Bars Kazan in 2009 and 2010 followed by Salavat Yulaev Ufa last year.

Ufa Gagarin Cup 2011, Ufa Gagarin Cup 2011
Salavat Ufa celebrating their 2011Gagarin Cup championship

This will be the first finals appearance for both clubs. Omsk won the Chernyshev Division and entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference standings, advancing to the finals by defeating #7 Amur Khabarovsk from far western Russia, 3,800 miles from Omsk, who themselves are one of the most western clubs in the league being based in Siberia, in a four game sweep.

Omsk then showed their mettle by dispatching #3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4-1 and top seeded Trakor Chelyabinsk 4-1 to advance to the finals.

Dynamo was the #3 team in the west, having finished second in the Bobrov Division. Their first opponent was #6 Dinamo Minsk, who were swept in 4. Dynamo also did not have an easy road after the first round, drawing #2 Torpedo Nizhny Novogorod, who they eliminated 4-2 for the right to face #1 SKA Saint Petersburg, who were surprisingly swept in four straight, scoring only 3 goals in the final 3 games.

Marek Kvapil led Dynamo in scoring with a modest 29 points while fellow Czech Roman Cervenka was the top scorer for Omsk with 23 goals and 39 points, which placed him at 21st overall, 24 back of scoring champion Alexander Radulov of Ufa, now playing for Nashville in the NHL playoffs, who led the league with 63, as both clubs relied more on defense to get them where they are now as Alexander Yeryomenko of Dynamo went 18-9 with a 92% save percentage and a 1.91 goals against average, second best in the KHL, followed immediately by Finn Karri Ramo of Omsk at #3 with a 19-17 record, a 92.5% save percentage and a 1.96 goals against average.

Alexander Yeryomenko Dynamo, Alexander Yeryomenko Dynamo
Goaltender Alexander Yeryomenko of UHC Dynamo Moscow

Their appearance in the finals for Dynamo Moscow is a welcome reward following some difficult times for the club, as the original HC Dynamo was formed back in 1946 and was the Soviet Union's second most successful team, winning five Soviet Championships followed by
four Russian championships as well as a European Champions Cup as recently as 2006 while sending numerous players on to the NHL until financial strains saw them merged with HC MVD to form the new iteration UHC Dynamo in 2010.

Avanagard Omsk was one of the clubs who benefitted from the demise of the Soviet Union which resulted in the decline in power of the long dominant Central Red Army club. Omsk won the Russian Superleague title in 2004 and went on to secure their own European Champions Cup in 2005.

If you would like to purchase 2011-12 jerseys from either Avangard Omsk or Dynamo Moscow, or any other of the KHL clubs in either replica or pro styles, please contact our sponsors at ProRussianJerseys.com!

Pro Russian Jerseys, Pro Russian Jerseys

UPDATE: The opening game of the Gagarin Cup Finals is now complete and was won by Avangard Omsk by a final score of 2-1, giving them a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 will be held on Sunday at 2PM Moscow Time, which is 6 AM Eastern Time in the United States and Canada.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

1985-86 Hartford Whalers Kevin Dineen Jersey

From the time the WHA's New England Whalers entered the NHL, only now known as the Hartford Whalers they had only qualified for the postseason one time, that in their first season of NHL play in 1979-80. Their reward for making the playoffs was a matchup with the powerful Montreal Canadiens, who finished 34 points ahead of them in the standing and then delivered a sound thrashing to the NHL newcomers in Montreal by scores of 6-1 and 8-4 before eliminating the Whalers on their home ice 4-3 at 29 seconds of overtime.

The Whalers point totals dropped from 73 in 1979-80 down to 60 for two seasons before dropping down to 45, which tied them for the fewest points and earned them the second overall pick in the 1983 NHL Draft, where the Whalers selected Sylvain Turgeon ahead of future Hall of Famers Pat Lafontaine, Steve Yzerman and Cam Neely. and 1984 Calder Cup and Vezina Trophy winner goaltender Tom Barrasso.

The Whalers did rise in points from 66 and then to 69, but continued their streak of missing the playoffs, which now extended to five consecutive seasons.

In 1985-86, the Whalers were showing signs of continued competitiveness thanks to additions of additions to the roster such as Ray Ferraro and Kevin Dineen to compliment Turgeon and now veteran Ron Francis, who all finished in the top four in team scoring at season's end, with Turgeon leading the way with 45 goals and 70 points, followed by Ferraro and Francis at 77 each and the hard-nosed Dineen's 68.

Francis Whalers, Francis Whalers
Ron Francis

The goaltending was anchored by Mike Liut while the defense boasted Ulf Samuelsson, Joel Quenneville, rookie Dana Murzyn and midseason additions Dave Babych, his brother and winger Wayne Babych and veteran center Doug Jarvis.

Liut Whalers, Liut Whalers
Mike Liut

The Whalers played respectable hockey through the last three months of 1985, avoiding any long losing streaks, but unable to string together an extended winning streak either. As the calendar changed to 1986 the Whalers won five consecutive games, kicked off by an 11-6 defeat of the Quebec Nordiques, only to give it all back and more with seven losses in a row during a ten game winless streak.

They finished strong however, going 8-1-2 over their final 11 games to finish the season with their first winning record as a member of the NHL at 40-36-4 for 84 points, 4 better than the Buffalo Sabres and good for fourth place in the Adams Division and their first spot in the playoffs since 1980.

1985-86 Hartford Whalers team, 1985-86 Hartford Whalers team
The 1985-86 Hartford Whalers

The format of the day called for the first four teams in each division to qualify for the postseason, with the first two rounds of the playoffs coming within their own division. By virtue of their fourth place finish, the Whalers drew the division winners, the Quebec Nordiques, whose 43-31-6 mark earned them 92 points, ahead of Montreal's 87 and the Bruins' 86 in a tight race.

The Nordiques were not the doormats they would become in the early 1990's, having made it to the semifinals the year before and had now posted three consecutive 90 point seasons thanks to a roster which featured the high scoring Peter Stastny (122 points, good for 6th in the league), Michel Goulet, Anton Stastny and the tough Dale Hunter.

The opening round was a Best of Five format and opened in Quebec City on April 9th. Anton Stastny of the Nordiques drew first blood with a power play goal at 2:44, but the Whalers evened the score within the final minute of the first period. The teams traded goals in the third period before Turgeon won it for Hartford 2:36 into overtime, sending 14,500 Nordiques fans home disappointed.

Game 2 was the next night and Hartford scored first at 3:53 and added a second goal at 8:51 of the first. Their lead was extended to three at 8:22 of the second before the Nordiques, who were badly outshot in the first two periods 26-14, showed some signs of life with a goal at 1:39 of the third, only to have the Whalers squash any hope of a comeback with a fourth goal at 16:32 to take a 2-0 lead in games heading back home to Hartford.

That third game at the Hartford Civic Center took place on this date in 1986 and was a wild affair on several levels, as 21 penalties and six goals occurred in just the first period alone!

Dineen got his first goal of the series at 2:29 on a power play and Dave Tippett's shorthanded goal at 5:22 made it 2-0 for the Whalers. Quebec responded at 8:40 on a power play before the teams traded goals in the 16th minute just 46 seconds apart, first by Francis of the Whalers at 15:06 which was followed by a shorthanded goal for Quebec at 15:52. Ferraro extended the Hartford lead to 4-2 with another power play goal, this one coming late at 19:20.

Dineen Whalers, Dineen Whalers
Kevin Dineen

The second period was more of the same, with nine more penalties and four more goals, the first by Samuelsson at 2:07 followed by a string of power play goals, the first by Hunter of the Nordiques at 11:06. Ferraro and John Anderson of Hartford then extended the Whalers lead with goals at 13:08 and 13:34, both with the man advantage to make the score 7-3 in favor of the home team after two periods of play.

That lead was added to when Anderson got his second at exactly 7:00. Although Quebec scored at 13:08, it was too little too late, a point driven home by Dineen with his second of the game at 18:23 to make the final score 9-4 in favor of Hartford and giving them a three game upset sweep of the Nordiques, which would turn out to be not only the first playoff series victory in the history of the Hartford Whalers, but their only series win in their history, as they were defeated in the next round by the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 at 5:55 of overtime.

The following season the Whalers would win the Adams Division title with a franchise best 93 point season, only to have the Nordiques return the favor and upset the Whalers 4 games to 2.

Over the course of the next five seasons the Whalers would qualify for the playoffs each time, thanks in part to the now dreadful Nordiques, who assured the Whalers would qualify for the playoffs each season, only to see Hartford eliminated immediately in the first round every time.

The Nordiques finally improved thanks to their annual first overall draft picks and it was now the Whalers on the outside looking in, as they failed to qualify for the playoffs in 1993, the final year of the Adams Division. The realignment of the NHL, which placed Hartford in the new Northeast Division with not only old rivals Montreal, Boston, Buffalo and Quebec, but the addition of 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins, did the Whalers postseason chances no favors, and they failed to make the playoffs for their final four seasons in Hartford before relocating to North Carolina, leaving their victory over the Nordiques on this date in 1986 as their one and only playoff series victory.

Whalers Banners, Whalers Banners
The Hartford Whalers banners

Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Hartford Whalers Kevin Dineen jersey. Upon entering the NHL, the Whalers debuted their new "Whale Tail" logo, which obviously featured a "W" for Whalers, but also contained an "H" hidden in the negative space of the logo to represent their change in name to Hartford.

This new style would be worn from 1979-80 until 1991-92, with only minor changes to the sleeve striping angles, the removal of the Pucky the Whale shoulder patches in 1985-86 and the removal of the green waist stripe. The team would then switch from green to blue jerseys in 1992-93, a jersey set which would never see action in the playoffs.

Hartford Whalers 85-86 jersey, Hartford Whalers 85-86 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section kicks off with the Whalers goal song, Brass Bonanza, also known as the "Whalers Victory March" which was adopted by the Whalers as their theme song during their days in the WHA, and 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."


Finally, the last goal in Whalers history, scored by then team captain Dineen.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure Jersey

Born in 1971 in Moscow in the Soviet Union, Pavel Bure was once selected to practice with Wayne Gretzky and Vladislav Tretiak for a television program at the age of 11. By the age of 14, Bure was named to the famed Central Red Army's junior team.

In 1986, five years before playing in Vancouver as a professional, Bure toured Canada with a Soviet youth team and played a game at the Pacific Coliseum, his future home rink.

Bure made his debut with the Central Red Army senior club in 1987-88 at the age of 16 as a fill-in player when the Red Army Club was without several regulars who were participating in the 1987 Canada Cup. In all, he managed to get into five games, which included scoring his first goal.

While with CSKA Moscow, Bure was teamed with Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, a dangerously potent line combination that was set to dominate not only Soviet hockey, but international hockey for years to come, until politics interfered and changed everything.

Bure set a Soviet League record for goals by a rookie in 1988-89 when he totaled 17 goals in 32 games, a mark that would stand for 18 years. He was recognized for his for his efforts by being named the rookie of the year. He also participated in the 1989 World Junior Tournament, with his eight goals tying for the tournament lead. Additionally, his 14 points led the tournament in scoring, earned him Best Forward honors and led the Soviet Union to the gold medal.

Mogilny would later defect after that spring's World Championships in Sweden, breaking up the line the Soviets expected would lead them into the future.

Later on June 17, 1989, thanks to some detective work by their head scout, the Vancouver Canucks were able to draft Bure one year earlier than many thought he would be eligible due to a rule that stated he needed at least two seasons of play, with a minimum of 11 games each season, for his top-level European club.

Although Bure only played in five league games, it was discovered he had also competed in enough exhibition and international games to make him eligible to be chosen 113th overall in the 6th round. The Detroit Red Wings had even been told by an NHL vice-president that Bure was not eligible prior to their fifth round pick. Verbal complaints and written protests followed, which resulted in a formal investigation, which ended in league president John Ziegler declaring the pick illegal on May 17, 1990.

Bure would compete in the 1990 World Junior Championships, this time scoring seven goals in seven games, but come up short with a silver medal. Later that spring he made is debut with the Soviet National Team as a 19-year-old at the World Championships in Switzerland in which he scored six points in ten games on the way to a gold medal.

Pavel Bure
Pavel Bure at the 1990 World Junior Championships

Another international tournament was on the calendar for 1990, this time in Seattle, Washington for the Goodwill Games. While the Soviet Union won the gold medal, and Bure contributed four goals and an assist in five games, the tournament is best remembered for the defection of Bure's other linemate, Fedorov, who tried to persuade Bure to defect with him. Bure declined out of concerns about the repercussions for his brother Valeri, who was then an up and coming 15-year-old in the Soviet Union.

After the Canucks selection of Bure was negated by the league's ruling, Vancouver appealed to the league and provided game sheets proving his participation in the required number of games. On June 15, 1990, the day before that year's Entry Draft in which Bure would have been fair game for any team who wished to select him, Vancouver's selection of Bure was permanently reinstated.

In Bure's third season with Central Red Army in 1990-91, he tied for the team lead in scoring with 46 points in 44 games. His 35 goals were one behind the league leader in that category. During the season he also participated in his third World Junior Championships. Bure finished as the tournament's leading scorer once more following his 12 goal, 15 point effort, but had to once more settle for a silver medal. He concluded his junior career with a tournament record 27 goals.

Later that spring he participated in the 1991 World Championships where he tied for the team lead with 11 points in 11 games on his way to a bronze medal finish.

Bure left Moscow on September 6, 1991 and the Canucks began to negotiate a contract with Bure, but before it could be finalized, the Canucks also had to deal with the Central Red Army club, who had an existing contract with Bure. The two sides met in late October of 1991 in Detroit and in the end, Bure was free to join the Canucks following a $250,000 payment to Central Red Army. Once that deal was settled, Bure signed a four year contract with Vancouver, making him the second highest paid player on the team behind only team captain Trevor Linden.

Due to the court proceedings, Bure missed the first month of the season and eventually made his NHL debut on November 5, 1991 against the Winnipeg Jets which ignited "Pavel-mania". His speed on the ice was eye-catching and led to his eventual nickname of "The Russian Rocket".

Pavel Bure
Prior to his NHL debut, Bure poses for one of
Upper Deck's unconventional "lifestyle" cards

After a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 7th, Bure got his first NHL point on November 10th with an assist on a goal by Cliff Ronning in a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders. As he adjusted to life in North America and the NHL style of game, he was able to score 12 goals in 42 games. It was at that point that Bure caught fire and surged to the end of the season with a stellar 22 goals in his final 23 games, which sent Vancouver into a frenzy and gave him 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games, which tied a team record for points by a rookie.

Pavel Bure
Bure as a rookie in 1991-92

Once in the playoffs, Bure registered his first hat trick during Game 6 of the Canucks opening round series against Winnipeg. The Canucks would participate in two rounds of the playoffs that season, with the confident rookie scoring 6 goals and 10 points in 13 games.

At the conclusion of the season, Bure was named the winner of the 1992 Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, the first Canuck's player to win an individual award in the team's 21 seasons.

Pavel Bure
Bure poses with the Calder Trophy

Now with a full year of experience and confidence under his belt, Bure got off to a flying start, scoring a career high four goals in only the third game of the season. He also set Canucks team records for goals and points in a period when he scored three goals and added an assist during the second period of the Canucks game against the Winnipeg Jets. Additionally, his four goals set a team record for goals in a game and shorthanded goals in a game, as two of Bure's goals came with the Canucks a man down.

That season he participated in his first NHL All-Star Game, scoring twice for the Campbell Conference. Not long after the all-star game, Bure set the Canucks team record for goals in a season with his 46th goal, passing Tony Tanti's mark of 45. He continued to light the lamp at a furious pace, hitting the 50 goal mark on March 1st in a neutral site game in Hamilton, Ontario against the Buffalo Sabres.

March 9th saw Bure pass Patrik Sundstrom's franchise record of 91 points with a pair of assists in a 7-2 win over the New Jersey Devils before reaching the rarified air of the 60 goal plateau, which he accomplished on this date in 1993 in a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Bure would finish his sophomore season with exactly 60 goals and 50 assists for 110 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure jersey as worn during his second season in the NHL during which he scored 60 goals on this date in 1991.

This jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch on the right chest as worn by all players in the NHL that season. This style of jersey was adopted in 1989 and worn through the 1996-97 season, with the only notable change being the addition of the "Canuck Place" patch in 1992.

Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey, Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991 Soviet Union Pavel Bure jersey. Following Adidas in the mid to late 1980's, the Finnish brand Tackla became the supplier for the World Championships and Olympics through 1993. Their jerseys featured mesh fabric and classic styling (for the most part), with contrasting colored shoulders which contained repeating diamond shapes, which is the Tackla company logo.

Their jerseys are also instantly recognizable by their block font numbers with the "3-D" drop shadow effect. These jerseys are all sublimated, and therefore age very well, retaining their bright colors over time.

Jerseys worn in 1994 and 1995 were branded as Reebok jerseys, but have all the hallmarks of being produced by Tackla, the dye-sublimated mesh fabric and 3-d block numbers, especially the logo on the lower left hem on the back which reads "manufactured by Tackla"!

Soviet Union 1992 jersey
Soviet Union 1992 jersey

In today's video segment, a look at what could have been, with Bure, Mogilny and Fedorov playing together at the 1989 World Junior Tournament.


Next, a look at "Pavel-mania" during Bure's rookie season, including footage of his first NHL game and his first two NHL goals.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1992-93 Ottawa Senators Laurie Boschman Jersey

When the NHL expanded for the 1992-93 season, franchises were awarded to Tampa Bay, Florida and Ottawa, Ontario.

Senators logo, Senators logo
The logo used by the group seeking a new franchise

It marked a return of the NHL to Ottawa for the first time since the city's original franchise relocated to St. Louis for the 1934-35 season.

The new NHL franchise chose to revive the name of the original franchise, the Ottawa Senators, as well as retaining the original Senators colors of red, black and white.

The club was placed in the Adams Division along with NHL powers the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, a rapidly improving Quebec Nordiques as well as the Buffalo Sabres and Hartford Whalers.

Assembling a roster was no easy task, as the other existing NHL clubs were allowed to protect 2 goaltenders and 14 skaters in the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft. The Senators General Manager Mel Bridgeman, picking first, selected goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz from Hartford, defensemen Brad Shaw of New Jersey, Darren Rumble of Philadelphia, Dominic Lavoie from St. Louis, Brad Miller from Buffalo, Vancouver's Ken Hammond, Winnipeg's Kent Paynter and wingers Sylvain Turgeon from the Canadiens, Mike D. Peluso of Chicago, Jim Thomson away from Los Angeles, Lonnie Loach from Detroit, Jeff Lazaro from Boston, Buffalo's Darcy Lowen and Blair Atcheynum from Hartford plus centers Rob Murphy, also from Vancouver, Mark Lamb from the Oilers, eventual team captain Laurie Boschman of the Devils and Mark Freer away from the Flyers.

The Senators also added Norm MacIver in the 1992 NHL Waiver Draft, plucking the defenseman off the Oilers roster, signed Jamie Baker as a free agent fresh out of college at St. Lawrence University, acquired Jody Hull in a trade with the Rangers and added free agents goaltender Daniel Berthiaume and winger Doug Smail.

1992-93 Ottawa Senators team, 1992-93 Ottawa Senators team
Apparently the Senators management felt they were the most important part of the franchise based on their inaugural team photo

Picking second in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft provided prospects for the future, but nothing to help out their first season of play, as their first ever draft pick Russian Alexei Yashin spent the 1992-93 season with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian SuperLeague.

With that collection of talent, the Senators embarked upon their first NHL season with low expectations but shocked the hockey world and thrilled their fans with an opening night upset over that season's eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-3, with Neil Brady, scoring the first ever Senators goal, Smail, Ken Hammond and Turgeon giving the Senators a 4-3 lead with Smail's empty net goal with 15 seconds remaining sealing the win for Ottawa in front of a sold out crowd of 10,449 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

Senators first game, Senators first game
The Senators begin play by shocking the eventual champion Canadiens

Reality struck back hard as the Senators lost their next game at Quebec 9-2 followed by a 6-3 loss at Boston, a defeat at the hands of the lowly Whalers 4-1 in Hartford and finished off their road trip with losses at Washington (5-1) and Toronto (5-3).

After three games at home, all losses, they returned to the road with a trip to Buffalo, a 12-3 pasting at the hands of he Sabres. They rebounded with a tie at home against the same Sabres prior to a western swing through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver which all resulted in defeats by three goals or more.

Murphy Senators, Murphy Senators
Rob Murphy

A pair of losses at home preceded a 1-0 defeat at the hands of their expansion brothers the Tampa Bay Lightning and a 7-2 pounding by the Flyers in Philadelphia, which ran their road losing streak to 11. Two more defeats at home were followed by a 3-1 loss at Montreal prior to returning home to lose to Boston before defeating New Jersey 3-1, which gave them only their second win and ended their winless streak at 21 (0-20-1).

A loss at Buffalo preceded a five game home stand, which saw the Senators go 1-3-1.

Still, the road losing streak continues with losses at Hartford (6-2) and Boston (4-2). After a tie with Calgary at home, a new losing streak began with a loss at home to Detroit, another pasting on the road, a 9-2 shellacking by the Islanders and a 6-1 loss at Toronto. Eight more losses followed, including defeats at Quebec, Detroit, the Rangers and Devils, extending the losing streak to 11 in a row.

Their losing streak was ended with a 3-2 win at home over the equally poor second year San Jose Sharks. Eight more losses came next, including on the road to Pittsburgh (6-1), Minnesota (7-2), Washington (6-4) and St. Louis (5-1), extending the road losing streak to 25 games.

Marsh Senators, Marsh Senators
Marsh attempts to contain Sergei Fedorov

A 5-2 win over Hartford at home was good for the spirt and, after a 5-3 loss at Montreal, the Senators finest run of form all season saw them tie the Winnipeg Jets at home 4-4 before wins over the Oilers 3-2 a Buffalo 4-2, their only back-to-back wins of the season, gave them a three game unbeaten run.

It came to an end as soon as the Senators returned to the road however, as six more losses arrived, including on the road to Philadelphia (8-1), Quebec (6-4), Montreal (5-4) and Winnipeg (6-3), their 30th loss in a row away from home.

Although they beat Pittsburgh and Quebec at home, sandwiched in between was another road loss, this one at New Jersey 5-2. The win over Quebec would be the final one for some time, as 14 straight defeats awaited the Senators as the Canadian Death March continued, which included yet more road losses coming at San Jose (3-2), Los Angeles (8-6), Chicago (4-2), Boston (6-3), Montreal (4-3), Buffalo (3-1), Pittsburgh (6-4) and Hartford (7-3), a game which broke the NHL record of 37 consecutive road losses by the 1974-75 Washington Capitals.

Back at home the losing streak was extended with a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Vancouver and a 6-1 humiliation by the Whalers.

The weary Senators then once again packed their gear, this time for the trip to the Nassau County Coliseum to face the Islanders, who held a 2-0 season advantage after a 9-3 win on Long Island and a 7-2 win in Ottawa.

As anticipated, the Islanders broke out in front with a power play goal less than two minutes into the game before Turgeon evened the score with a goal at 16:52. After the teams swapped goals in the first half of period number 2, the Islanders went ahead 3-2 on a goal by Pat Flatley with just 32 seconds remaining.

Then the unexpected happened.

Bob Kudelski tied the game half way through the third period at 9:57 and Sidorkiewicz held the Islanders at bay until Boschman put the Senators in the lead with just 56 seconds remaining when he beat the Islanders Glenn Healy. Boschman also added an empty net goal with just one second left on the clock to end the Senators record setting 38 game road losing streak on this date in 1992.

Boschman Senators, Boschman Senators
Team captain Boschman

Alas, losses at Boston (4-2) and Quebec (6-2) left the Senators at 1-40-0 for the season on the road before closing out their inaugural season with a loss at home to Boston (4-2).

The Senators, with a payroll of just $9 million, also set records for the longest home losing streak at 11 from October 27 to December 8th as well as their single road victory setting the mark for the fewest road wins in a season. Still, the team met ownership's stated goal for the season, not setting the record for the fewest points, as the Senators final record of 10-70-4 earned them 24 points, three better than the 1974-75 Captials.

"Now we know what the survivors of the Titanic felt like" said defenseman Hammond at the end of the season.

When the smoke cleared, defenseman MacIver lead the club in scoring with 17 goals and 63 points,, easily beating center Baker's 48 points. sidorkiewicz got 8 of the Senators 10 wins while losing 46, tying 3 and finishing with a 4.43 goals against average.

Sidorkiewicz Senators, Sidorkiewicz Senators
Peter Sidorkiewicz

And the Senators reward for their season of futility? Using the #1 overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Ottawa selected Alexandre Daigle, regarded as one of the biggest disappointments in draft history, while passing on such players as Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Jason Arnott, and Saku Koivu, who were all taken later in Round One that year.

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Ottawa Senators Laurie Boschman jersey as worn during the Senators inaugural season. It would be Boschman's only season with Ottawa, as he was then at the end of his 14 year NHL career, appearing in just 7 games in Great Britian two seasons later to close out his playing days.

Ottawa Senators 92-93 jersey, Ottawa Senators 92-93 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video segment begins with highlights from the first game in Senators history, their unexpected upset win over the Canadiens.


Next is the Senators first ever goal from that game, when Brady beat Patrick Roy in the second period.



Monday, April 9, 2012

1938-39 Kansas City Greyhounds Eddie Bush Jersey

Hailing from Collingwood, Ontario, defenseman Eddie Bush played his junior hockey for the Guelph Indians on the Ontario Hockey Association for two seasons beginning in 1936-37. After competing for the Indians for a second season, Bush had a busy 1938-39 season, playing 25 games for the Kansas City Greyhounds of the American Hockey Association, scoring 17 points from the blueline in 25 games, 16 games for the Pittsburgh Hornets of the International American Hockey League as well as making his NHL debut in his first season out of juniors when he was summoned by the Detroit Red Wings, playing in eight games while with the parent club.

Bush Red WIngs, Bush Red WIngs

He spent the entire 1939-40 season with the Indianapolis Capitols of the IAHL and returned to Indianapolis again in the 1940-41 season for 19 games prior to moving to the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League, with whom he played in 37 games.

He was back with the Reds once again in 1941-42, where he had a fine season offensively, scoring 12 goals and 36 points in 36 games, which attracted the attention of the Red Wings, who called Bush up for his second stint with Detroit. Back in the NHL, his game benefitted from the experience he had gained playing in the minors the previous two seasons. In 18 games with Detroit, Bush scored his first NHL points with 4 goals and 10 points.

During the playoffs, Bush contributed two assists prior to the Red Wings game on this date in 1942, when he cut loose to set and NHL record for points by a defenseman in a Stanley Cup Finals game with a goal and four assists for five points in a 5-2 Red Wings win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals to take a 3 games to none lead.

Bush Red WIngs, Bush Red WIngs

Amazingly, after setting his scoring record, Bush would never score another point in the NHL again as he would be held scoreless for the remainder of the seven game series as the Maple Leafs would shock the hockey world by winning the next four to take the championship 4 games to 3.

World War II would disrupt Bush's career and his hockey playing over the course of the next three years of his four years of military service would be limited to 11 games with the Royal Canadian Air Force team in Toronto and seven games with the Darmouth RCAF over the course of the next two seasons before taking off the 1945-46 season entirely to concentrate on his military obligations.

Bush RCAF, Bush RCAF
Bush while with the Toronto RCAF squad

He returned to the ice in 1946-47 with the St. Louis Flyers of the AHL before returning to Providence for the second half of the season before joining the Philadelphia Rockets, also of the AHL for 1947-48. There, Bush had the season of his career, with an offensive outburst that would make one wonder if he had been moved up to forward, as the defenseman pumped in 24 goals while generating 48 assists for a total of 72 points, good for fourth on the team and just short of double his points from the previous season and 35 more than he would ever score in a single season throughout his entire career. Additionally, he found the time to spend 163 minutes in the penalty box, 52 more than any other season of his career.

Normality returned in 1948-49 when he totaled 26 points divided between the Rockets (68 games) and the Cleveland Barons (21).

His final games in the AHL were spent with the Cincinnati Mohawks for eight games in the 1949-50 season before moving to the Louisville Blades of the US Hockey League for another eight games to close out the professional stage of his career.

He then joined the Sherbrooke Saints of the Quebec Senior Hockey League for the remainder of the season to close out his playing days.

In all, Bush played 26 NHL games, all with Detroit, scoring 4 goals and 10 assists, as well as 11 playoff games, scoring one goal and six assists, but somehow managing to group nearly all of them in a single game to set one of the most unlikely scoring records in NHL history!

Bush then went into coaching, first with the Guelph Biltmores of the OHA and later the Hamilton Red Wings, Memphis Wings of the CHL, the same Pittsburgh Hornets he played for, as well as the Quebec Aces and Richmond Robins of the AHL. the Kitchener Rangers back in the OHA before eventually rising to become head coach of the Kansas City Scouts of the NHL during the 1975-76 season, but unfortunately he inherited a dismal club in midseason, which saw the club go 1-23-8 during his time at the helm.

Today's featured jersey is a 1938-39 Kansas City Greyhounds Eddie Bush jersey. The Greyhounds were previously known as the Pla-Mors from 1927 until 1933 before changing their name to the Greyhounds in 1933-34, which they celebrated by winning the AHA championship that same season.

They would remain known as the Greyhounds until 1940, when they were sold and renamed the Kansas City Americans.

Kansas City Greyhounds 38-39 jersey, Kansas City Greyhounds 38-39 jersey

Today's video segment is a photographic tour of the Greyhounds league, the American Hockey Association from 1926 to 1942.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Four Word Team Names

Earlier this year we wrote about defenseman Bill Speer, who played for both the WHL's Salt Lake Golden Eagles and the WHA's New York Golden Blades, who we pointed out were among the unusual "Four Word Team Names", a group of clubs often from locations such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York, who were christened with descriptive names, such as Fighting Saints, Golden Eagles or River Hawks.

Of note, we came across several teams which would have been four word teams in days gone by, but current naming trends have frequently combined two words into one, such as the St. John's IceCaps and the Winston-Salem IceHawks for example.

Additionally, when it came to college teams, we eliminated the words "University", "Institute" and "College", shortening the "University of Minnesota Golden Gophers" to the "Minnesota Golden Gophers" for the purposes of this list.

Leagues considered were North American professional and minor league teams active since 1970, Canadian Junior and American College leagues.

One final parameter, the word "of" was disregarded, particularly if used to create a team name that was a sentence, such as the "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim" or the "Beast of New Haven", which normally would have been the Anaheim Mighty Ducks or New Haven Beast if it weren't for some overly clever attempt at branding, which we are having no part of.

Now, onto the list of Four Word Team Names we were able to compile, but certainly invite you to submit any we may have missed.

WHA

New York Golden Blades


Sheehan Golden Blades, Sheehan Golden Blades

Bobby Sheehan of the short-lived Golden Blades


AHL

Prince Edward Island Senators
St. John's Maple Leafs
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins


Fleury WBS Penguins, Fleury WBS Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury while with the WBS Penguins


IHL

Des Moines Oak Leafs

Salt Lake Golden Eagles

Long Beach Ice Dogs


Khabibulin Ice Dogs, Khabibulin Ice Dogs

Nikolai Khabibulin looking particularly thrilled to be

a member of the Long Beach Ice Dogs


OHL

St. Catharines Black Hawks

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Detroit Jr. Red Wings
Toronto St. Michael’s Majors


Gretzky Greyhounds, Gretzky Greyhounds

The Greyhounds most famous alumnus, Wayne Gretzky


QMJHL

Montreal Bleu Blanc Rouge

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

St. John’s Fog Devils

Saint John Sea Dogs

ECHL

Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies


UHL

Thunder Bay Thunder Cats

Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks

Port Huron Border Cats


ATLANTIC HOCKEY

American International Yellow Jackets

CCHA

Bowling Green State Falcons

Lake Superior State Lakers

Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Rolston Lakers, Rolston Lakers

Lake Superior State's Brian Rolston


HOCKEY EAST

Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks


WCHA

North Dakota Fighting Sioux

St. Cloud State Huskies


Belfour Fighting Sioux, Belfour Fighting Sioux

Goaltender Ed Belfour of the endangered Fighting Sioux


Seven of our 26 are thanks to the word "Saint" in the location of the club and five are due to a three word "location" combined with a singular team name. Only one club had a three word team name, the Bleu Blanc Rouge.

Finally, we came across one five word team, the Central Hockey League's overly long named Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees! We're not 100% certain, but we think their name contains an adjective, a conjunction, an interjection, a pronoun and even a gerund.

David Marshall Killer Bees, David Marshall Killer Bees
David Marshall of the Killer Bees

This is certainly not meant to be an all-encompassing list, and we certainly invite you to submit any foreign, lower level or overlooked names we have not included in the comments section below and we look forward to seeing your submissions!

The Third String Goalie Hockey League

The first season of the Third String Goalie Hockey League is now over and congratulations go out to Scotty Hockey and his club, the Frankenstein Stitches for their surprising championship performance in the playoffs.

The Frankenstein Stitches entered the playoffs as the #5 seed and advanced past the first round by edging Buffalo MillerTime 4-3.

The semifinals saw the regular season winners and #1 seed Galloway Banthas fall in a surprising upset 5-2 to giant-killing #7 seeded The Pierre McGuires, who had previously knocked out the #2 seeded Litter Box Panthers! in the first round.

In the other matchup, the Frankenstein Stitches advanced to the finals with a narrow 5-4 win over the #3 seeded Injured Reserve. thanks to coming out on top in an amazing battle of goaltenders, with Cory Schneider, Mike Smith and Craig Anderson all picking up two wins each, with Schneider and Smith combining for three shutouts in the span of a week. In six starts, the trio only allowed seven total goals, which was essential since Injured Reserve ran out every healthy goaltender imaginable, Ward, Quick, Harding, Emery, Neuvirth and Price, who combined for 5 wins, a 1.93 GAA, a .932 save percentage with 2 shutouts, which would be enough to win on any other week, especially when they had won four of five offensive categories.

The final was all Frankenstein Stitches, as they waltzed to a 8-1 win over The Pierre McGuires, dominating in goals, +/-, power play points, goals against and save percentage, while taking close decisions in assists, wins and shutouts to claim the championship.

Again, congratulations to Scotty Hockey, one of our earliest readers and frequent contributors to Third String Goalie and who's blog Scotty Hockey covers all things New York Rangers, and with the blueshirts the #1 seed in the east, we suggest you start reading his blog as the Rangers enter the playoffs.

Scotty Hockey Banner, Scotty Hockey Banner

 

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