Thursday, November 29, 2012

2011 Slovakia National Team Pavol Demitra Jersey

Today would have been the 38th birthday of Slovakian Pavol Demitra. Demitra began his professional career with two seasons in the Czechoslovak league before moving to North America following his having been drafted 227th overall by the Ottawa Senators. He would split three seasons between the NHL's senators and their top minor league affiliate, the Prince Edward Island Senators from 1993-94 to 1995-96.

Demitra played for the Las Vegas Thunder and Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL as well as eight games with the St. Louis Blues following a trade to the Blues organization in November of 1996. He found his greatest success with the Blues, scoring 35 goals or more three times, including a high of 37 in 1998-99, the year of his first NHL All-Star Game appearance.

Two more All-Star appearances would follow in 2000 and 2002 before Demitra would set a career high in points with 93 in 2002-03, placing 6th overall in the league scoring race. In all, Demitra would lead St. Louis in scoring four times, in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Demitra Blues

He would also be recognized with with the Lady Byng Trophy in 2000 after recording 28 goals and 75 points with just eight penalty minutes.

He returned to Slovakia during the NHL lockout of 2004-05 to once again play for Dukla Trencin. Once the NHL resumed play, the free agent Demitra signed to play for the Los Angeles Kings for one season prior to being traded to the Minnesota Wild to be teamed with fellow Slovak and close friend Marian Gaborik for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

Demitra and Gaborik

Demitra tied for the team lead in scoring during his first season in Minnesota despite Gaborik missing nearly half the season due to injury. While with the Wild, Demitra served as team captain during October of 2007.

Demitra captain

His final two NHL seasons were spent with the Vancouver Canucks, although the second was limited to 28 games following a lengthy recovery from off-season shoulder surgery.

Demitra Canucks, Demitra Canucks

His NHL career concluded with 847 games played, 304 goals and 464 points for 768 points. Additionally, in 94 career playoff games, Demitra scored 23 goals and 59 points.

For the 2010-11 season, Demitra signed with Lokomotiv of the KHL in Russia, where his renowned playmaking abilities made the veteran the club's leading scorer and placed him in a tied for third in league scoring.

Demitra Lokomotiv, Demitra Lokomotiv

Internationally, Demitra played in the 1992 European Junior Championships and the 1993 World Junior Championships, winning a bronze medal, for Czechoslovakia. Following the division of Czechoslovakia, Demitra skated for Slovakia in both the 1996 World Championships and 1996 World Cup, the 2002 Olympics and 2003 World Championships, where he earned a bronze medal.

He then went on to participate in both the 2004 World Championships and 2004 World Cup, the 2005 World Championships, 2006 Winter Olympics and 2007 World Championships.

Demitra then led all players at the 2010 Olympics in scoring with ten points in seven games on his way to being named a tournament all-star. He also scored a sublime shootout goal to give Slovakia a win over Russia in the preliminary round.

His final international appearance was as the 2011 World Championships, where he had the honor of captaining the Slovak team on home ice.

Demitra captain

Demitra and Rachunek
Here, Demitra and future Lokomotiv teammate Rachunek embrace following their preliminary round game at the 2011 World Championships.

Demitra perished on September 7, 2001 when the plane carrying Lokomotiv to their first regular season game of the 2011-12 KHL season crashed on takeoff, killing 44 people, including the entire Lokomotiv roster of players, coaches and staff.

Today's featured jersey is a 2011 Slovakia National Team Pavol Demitra jersey. Demitra was captain of the Slovakia National Team for the 2011 World Championships held in Slovakia. It was the second time he had captained the national team, the other being in the 2006 Olympics in Italy.

At the conclusion of the tournament, which he announced would be his final international competition, he was given a rousing ovation, which clearly touched Demitra, who was unable to hide his emotions.

Demitra Slovakia 2011 farewell, Demitra Slovakia 2011 farewell

Slovakia 2001 jersey, Slovakia 2001 jersey
Slovakia 2001 jersey, Slovakia 2001 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2010-11 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Pavol Demitra jersey as worn during Demitra's final season of play during which he scored 18 goals and 60 points in 54 games, which placed him fifth in league scoring. During the postseason, Demitra scored another 6 goals and 21 points for second in KHL playoff scoring.

The name Lokomotiv comes from the fact the club is owned by the Russian national railroad, Russian Railways. The club was founded back in 1959 and has won the Russian Open Championship three times (1997, 2002 and 2003), and were KHL runner's up twice (2008 and 2009) and were also runner's up in the 2003 IIHF Continental Cup.

Following the crash, the club fielded a team of young players in the VHL, the second level of Russian hockey, but will return to the KHL for the 2012-13 season, having signed NHL veterans Viktor Kozlov, Niklas Hagman, Staffan Kronwall, Curtis Sanford and Vitaly Vishnevsky to rebuild their roster in an attempt to return to their place among the top clubs in the KHL.

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Russia Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2010-11 jersey photo RussiaLokomotivYaroslavl2010-11B.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2006-07 Minnesota Wild Pavol Demitra jersey as worn on January 6, 2007 with the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation patch. Each player on every team would wear the Teammates for Kids patch on their jerseys for a game that January, after which the jerseys were then auctioned off for charity to raise money for the foundation.

To date, the foundation has distributed over $75 million through it's various programs in conjunction with professional athletes.

 photo MinnesotaWildG06-07F.jpg
Minnesota Wild G 06-07 jersey photo MinnesotaWildG06-07B.jpg
Minnesota Wild G 06-07 jersey patch photo MinnesotaWildG06-07P.jpg

Today's first video is Demitra displaying perfect timing to score a hat trick on Hat Night in Los Angeles. The results were swift and predictable!


Here is Demitra's game winning goal in the shootout against Russia in the 2010 Olympics, where he displayed his puck control by deftly lofting the puck over the Russian goaltender counter to the direction of his body following his patented "swing wide" approach to the net.



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On a personal note, we had the pleasure of seeing Demitra play in person for the two seasons he was with the Wild and the opportunity to meet him in person following a few practices. Our favorite memory of him began when we were at a pre-game warmup one night. A kid came down the steps of the arena toward the glass wearing a goaltenders catching glove while the players were warming up. As soon as the kind stopped and held up his glove, Demitra looked up after finishing a stick handling warmup drill and lofted the puck over the glass to the kid, who caught the puck in the glove and ran off.

We commented, "It was like he knew it was coming," to which the regulars replied, "He did, Pavol always looks for a kid to give a puck to."

Armed with that knowledge, the next time we attended a game with our youngster, we did all we could to put ourselves in position to get Demitra's attention. Wearing our vibrant yellow Dukla Trencin jersey, Demitra's previous Slovak club of which he was then a part-owner, to stand out against the dark green seats of the Xcel Energy Center, and with our youngster not only dressed in a Wild jersey, but holding a Dukla Trencin sign with Demitra and Gaborik's numbers 38 and 10 to further stand out, we positioned ourselves alone six rows up to make any attempt to loft a puck to us easier than if we were right behind the glass in the first couple of rows, not to mention away from the larger number of fans at the glass.

Demitra Sign

As Demitra finished his stickhandling drill, he looked up to scan the crowd for a kid, we gave him a quick "over here!" wave, as if we needed to wearing the bright yellow of Dukla, and he softly floated the puck over the glass right to us, which landed more gently in our hands than one could ever imagine.

We repeated this later in the season, and those two seemingly ordinary warmup pucks now hold an even more special place in our modest collection of memorabilia now that Demitra and his many Lokomotiv teammates have now left us.

1981-82 Chicago Black Hawks Tony Esposito Jersey

While not as numerous as the Sutters or Plagers, as flashy as the Bures, identical as the Sedins, offensively gifted as as a pair as the Richards, as highly paid as the Staals or as clandestine as the Stastnys, no other pair of brothers are as accomplished as the Esposito brothers.

Phil, the older by two years was a two time Stanley Cup champion, five time Art Ross Trophy, two time Hart Trophy, two time Lester Pearson Trophy and Lester Patrick Trophy winner, 10 time NHL All-Star who had his #7 retired by the Boston Bruins and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 who retired as the second leading scorer in NHL history and holder of the single season goal scoring record with 76.

Tony Esposito, was two years younger than Phil, played college hockey for Michigan Tech University where he was a three time All-American and backstopped the Huskies to the 1965 NCAA championship.

Esposito Michigan Tech, Esposito Michigan Tech
Esposito with the MacNaughton Cup

He made his NHL debut on this date in 1968 with the Montreal Canadiens when both Gump Worsely and Rogie Vachon were injured and saw action in 13 games, including giving up a pair of goals to his brother Phil during his very first game!

Esposito Canadiens, Esposito Canadiens

After being returned to the minors, he was called up during the playoffs when Worsley was again hurt and was part of the Canadiens Stanley Cup winning team.

Tony_EspositoCanadiens2

The Canadiens, deep in goaltending, left Esposito unprotected in the waiver draft, where he was claimed by the Chicago Black Hawks, where he immediately set a modern NHL record with 15 shutouts, still and NHL rookie record, and a career high 38 wins on the way to being named the winner of the Calder Trophy as well as his first Vezina Trophy.

During his second season, he would guide the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup Finals. The following season of 1971-72 saw Esposito earn his second Vezina Trophy on the basis of nine shutouts and a goals against average (GAA) of 1.77.

Prior to the start of the 1972-73 season, Esposito was named to Team Canada and was the first goalie to defeat the Soviet Union. He finished the Summit Series with a win in Game 2, a tie in Game 3, a loss in Game 5 and a victory in Game 7, as Team Canada, led offensively and emotionally by his brother Phil came back to defeat the Soviets 4-3-1 in the dramatic Game 8.

Esposito 1972 Canada, Esposito 1972 Canada
Esposito defending Canada's goal against Valeri Kharlamov

The Black Hawks, despite the departure of Bobby Hull to the WHA, returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1972 as Tony posted a 32-17-7 record, one of eight seasons with 30 wins or more.

1973-74 saw "Tony O" hit double digits in shutouts for the second time in his career with ten on his way to a 2.04 GAA and another Vezina Trophy, one of just eight goalies to win the Vezina catching right-handed.

Over the course of the next seven seasons, Esposito would continue his consistent play, appearing in between 66 and 69 games and winning between 24 and 31 times, as the Black Hawks won several division titles but failed to find playoff success.

In 1981, he became a naturalized American citizen and competed in goal for the United States in the 1981 Canada Cup.

Tony Esposito USA 1981 CC, Tony Esposito USA 1981 CC

The final three seasons of his career saw his number of games played decline from 52 to 39 to 18 in his final season of 1983-84, but he would record his sixth playoff shutout on his birthday in 1982 with a 2-0 win over rivals the St. Louis Blues.

Esposito, who originally wore #29 with Montreal, was the first NHL goalie to officially wear the #35, which was assigned to him in training camp due to the traditional goalie numbers 1 and 30 already being assigned. Following a shutout in his first ever exhibition game, he stuck with 35, making it an iconic number for goaltenders for decades to come.

Aside from becoming known for his #35, Esposito is also instantly recognized for his immediately recognizable goalie mask and stance. His mask would later have the addition of protective bars on the front, a precursor to today's hybrid mask worn by nearly all goaltenders at all levels.

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Esposito retired in 1985 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and saw his #35 retired by the Black Hawks later that same year.

Today's featured jersey is a 1981-82 Chicago Black Hawks Tony Esposito jersey as worn the year in which he recorded his final NHL playoff shutout. This jersey sports the now iconic #35, pioneered by Esposito and adopted by goaltenders all throughout the 1970's, 80's and 90's such as Tom Barasso, John Sebastian-Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin (who originally wore #53 when he joined the Blackhawks), Henrik Lundqvist, Andy Moog, Evgeni Nabokov, Mike Richter, Tommy Salo, Tim Thomas and Marty Turco among many others.

Tony Esposito Black Hawks jersey
Tony Esposito Black Hawks jersey

Today's video section begins with a tribute to Tony Esposito by the Chicago Black Hawks from "Tony Esposito Night" in Chicago on March 19, 2008 as the Blackhawks honored Tony and welcomed him back into the Black Hawks family.


Here is the ceremony, in two parts, to honor Esposito on "Tony Esposito Night".



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1980-81 New York Islanders Billy Smith Jersey

NHL history was made on this date in 1979, when Rob Ramage of the hapless Colorado Rockies, while on a delayed penalty call, would send the puck back to the point anticipating a Rockies teammate would be stationed there, only to find the point vacated and the puck making the long journey down the length of the ice and right into the Rockies goal and the record books.

Ramage Rockies, Ramage Rockies
Rob Ramage

Since Islanders goaltender Billy Smith was the last Islander to touch the puck, he was the official scorer of the goal, the first one credited to a goaltender in NHL history.

Billy Smith Islanders, Billy Smith Islanders
Billy Smith

Ron Hextall became the first goaltender to legitimately aim for the net and score a goal in the NHL eight years later on December 8, 1987 when he scored against the Boston Bruins, who had pulled goaltender Rejean Lemelin for a sixth attacker who was apparently not in any way a sixth defender.

Ron Hextall Goal, Ron Hextall Goal
Ron Hextall shoots for the far goal

Hextall scored a second goal during the playoffs on April 11, 1989 versus the Washington Capitals, entering the record books as the first goalie to score during the playoffs.

Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings added his name to the list of goaltenders who have scored on March 6, 1996 with a shot the length of the ice in Hartford versus the Whalers.

Osgood Red Wings, Osgood Red Wings
Chris Osgood

April 17, 1997 would see the first of Martin Brodeur's two goals, as he would fire one in against the Montreal Canadiens. Brodeur would be credited with his second goal, despite being about 125 feet from the puck when a mishandled puck by a Philadelphia Flyer at his own blueline found it's way into the unguarded Flyers net on February 15th of 2000.

Brodeur Devils, Brodeur Devils
Martin Brodeur

Jose Theodore, then of the Montreal Canadiens would score with style on January 2, 2001 with a backhand shot, as he launched the puck the length of the ice on Long Island against New York in the process of shutting out the Islanders, the only goalie to shoot the puck into the goal and record a shutout in the same game.

Jose Theodore Canadiens, Jose Theodore Canadiens
Jose Theodore

Evgeni Nabokov joined the scoring ranks on March 10, 2002 when he fired one in against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver for the sixth and most recent goalie to purposely shoot the puck into the opposing goal.

Nabokov Sharks, Nabokov Sharks
The Sharks Evgeni Nabokov

Damian Rhodes of the Ottawa Senators (1999), Mika Noronen of the Buffalo Sabres (2004), Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators (2006) and Cam Ward (2011) would all receive credit for goals of the Billy Smith variety, as the opponents would all misfire in some manner and send pucks down the ice and into their own nets.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980-81 New York Islanders Billy Smith jersey, the same style he was wearing when he "opened the floodgates" of goalies scoring in the NHL.

In addition to going into the history books as the first goalie to score a goal, Smith did manage to accumulate four Stanley Cups during the early 1980's while with the New York Islanders dynasty.

This particular style of jersey with the white and orange sleeve stripes was first introduced for the 1978-79 and used through the 1983-84 season before the Islanders changed the specification of the names on the back from two-color to single color white names. The appearance of the "Sandow SK" branding on the rear hem was one of the earliest instances of manufacturer logos appearing on NHL jerseys, which began only the season before and was the first season ever on an Islanders jersey.


photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1979-80 Colorado Rockies Rob Ramage jersey. Ramage's errant pass led to Smith being credited with the first goal ever scored by a goaltender.

The Rockies wore the same jerseys for their six years in Colorado before moving to New Jersey, with the only notable change being adding names to the backs of their blue road jerseys for their second season of 1977-78.

Colorado Rockies 80-81 jersey, Colorado Rockies 80-81 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is the play on which Billy Smith was credited with the first goal ever scored by an NHL goalie.


Here is a wonderful compilation of all the goals scored by goalkeepers in the NHL, several of which are direct shots by the goalies themselves, and not "own goals" on the part of the other team. Be warned, the volume varies quite a bit from clip to clip!


The last video today is a look at the career of Billy Smith from the "Greatest Hockey Legends" series.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1986-87 Vancouver Canucks Michel Petit Jersey

Pull up a chair, sit back and let us tell you about a journey which follows a long and winding path across a vast continent from west to east, from the north to the south and finally to distant lands across a mighty ocean and back. And then back again...

The professional hockey career of Michel Petit began in 1982-83 when he made his NHL debut with a pair of games for the Vancouver Canucks after having been the Canucks 1st pick in the 1982 Entry Draft. He spent the majority of the season with the St. Jean Castors of the QMJHL in Canadian Juniors, 2,302 miles to the east but made the Canucks squad after 19 games with the Canadian National Team in 1983-84 and saw action in 44 games, which included the defenseman's first goal.

Petit Canucks

Petit played 69 games with the Canucks in 1984-85 and split time between the Canucks and the Fredericton Express of the AHL (in eastern Canada 2,670 miles away in New Brunswick) in 1985-86. After one more season with the Canucks, ten games into the 1988-89 season he was dealt to the New York Rangers for two players, across the border 2,425 miles away. Once in New York, he wasted little time establishing a career high in penalty minutes, racking up 223 in 64 games with the Rangers in addition to the 35 he had already accumulated in Vancouver.

Petit Rangers

After a second season on Broadway, the Rangers dealt Petit back across the border to the Quebec Nordiques 442 miles to the north. Following the season Petit had the honor of skating for Canada at the 1990 World Championships in Switzerland.

After 19 games of the 1990-91 season, Petit began his journey back west when he was included in a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 451 miles to the southwest. He played in 54 games with the Maple Leafs and set a career high in goals and points that season, lighting the lamp 4 times in Quebec and 9 times in Toronto for a total of 13. His final point total reached 37, eclipsing his previous season's mark of 36.

Petit Maple Leafs

Petit once more was on the move 1,682 miles down the Trans Canada Highway when he was a part of the blockbuster ten player deal with the Calgary Flames which sent Doug Gilmour to Toronto. He played two and a half seasons with the Flames before completing his second trip across the continent, and third trip across the border, when he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings for the 1995-95 season, 1,194 miles south.

Petit Flames

Racking up the frequent flyer miles, the Kings sent Petit was sent 2,148 miles across the United States 9 games into the following season when they traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a season which included the most playoff action of his career with six postseason games.

Petit Lightning

It was back north across the Canadian border 2,363 miles up to Edmonton where he signed as a free agent to start the 1996-97 campaign. By January he had only seen action in 18 games and was claimed off of waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers across the border once more 2,009 miles to the east.

Petit Flyers

He began the 1997-98 season with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL (441 miles from Philadelphia) and was then signed by the Phoenix Coyotes in November, adding another 1,686 miles to his journey and making him the first player in NHL history to play for ten different teams when he made his Coyotes debut on this date in 1987.

Petit Coyotes

He began the 1998-99 season 256 miles north with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL but missed the majority of the season when he suffered a head injury which limited him to just six games.

Petit's journey through the world of hockey now expanded beyond North America when he signed to play with the Frankfurt Lions of the German DEL for 1999-00, adding 5,577 miles to his itinerary. Still with the Lions at the start of the 2000-01 season, he returned to North America when he joined the Chicago Wolves in the IHL, 4,341 miles on the return leg to the United States.

With no North American opportunities available for the 2001-02 season, Petit packed his gear bag for the final time when he closed out his playing career with 14 games with HC Bolzano of the Italian Serie A in the far northeast of Italy where the Italian Serie A hockey league is concentrated, 4,571 miles from the midwest.

By our calculations, Petit played professionally for 16 different clubs in four different countries which included crossing an international border to change clubs ten different times, traveling 34,558 miles from club to club, and he wore a total of 21 different NHL jerseys.

Michel Petit jersey history

While a remarkable number, it falls far short of the estimated 40 worn by Third String Goalie legend Mike Sillinger.

Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 Vancouver Canucks Michel Petit jersey. This jersey was worn during Petit's sixth season with the Canucks prior the beginning of his hockey odyssey that would send him back and forth across North America seven times.

This style of Canucks jersey was adopted in 1985 after seven seasons with the controversial "flying V" style worn in Petit's NHL debut season. In 1985-86 when this jersey debuted it was worn with both the Expo 86 patch as well as the City of Vancouver 100th Anniversary patch.

During the season our featured jersey was worn, the Canucks wore one of the most unique patches in NHL history, a patch supporting Rick Hansen's Man in Motion World Tour, where Hansen pushed his wheelchair nearly 25,000 miles to raise money for spinal cord injury research over two years through 34 countries and 4 continents, which raised $26 million. It is the only patch in league history to be placed on the lower left hem.

Two seasons later the Canucks wore a memorial patch to former NHL player and Canucks goodwill ambassador "Babe" Pratt, making for four different patches worn during the four year lifespan of this style Canucks jersey before it evolved to an even simpler style in 1989-90.

Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey, Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey
Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey
Vancouver Canucks 86-87 patch

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Frankfurt Lions Michel Petit jersey from his second season with Frankfurt in the German DEL. Petit was not alone that season, as the nine leading scorers for Frankfurt were fellow Canadians!

The Lions were founded in 1959 and won the DEL championship in 2004, but sadly ceased operations at the end of the 2009-10 season after 50 seasons of competition.

Frankfurt Lions 00-01 jersey
Frankfurt Lions 00-01 jersey

In today's video section, Dale Henry of the Islanders shreds Petit's jersey in the early part of a brawl and Petit responds by knocking Henry into the middle of next week.


Here, Petit stands in against Bob Probert, and while he may not have won the fight, he certainly earns our respect for getting back up off the ice twice and continuing to battle the feared Probert, even landing a few solid blows in the process.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals

Be sure to take a look at our right hand column for the many promotions our advertisers are running for Cyber Monday. There are some great deals to be had!




FREE Ground Shipping with $25 order at lids.com. Cannot combine w/ other discount or offer, not valid on clearance.


In addition to those sales, Roots is having a special 25% off sale which is enhanced by free shipping!


Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale at Roots! 25% Off* Everything + Free Shipping (Valid from November 22nd 11:00am EST - November 27th 10:00am EST) -250x250

We also personally recommend Kaskey Kids, whose line of sports action figures are sure to be popular with the young ones and hockey is part of their lineup of football, baseball and soccer figures. Our nine year old has a set that he often plays with and enjoys a lot.

See Sports Action Figures Here!

Speaking of kids, we have added a selection of hockey related items we're sure the young ones will enjoy, which are viewable below.


In addition to our sponsors, we are also having a sale ow through Christmas, as all items in our Third String Goalie online shop have been discounted! Third String Goalie branded goods proudly featuring the Patron Saint of Goaltenders Georges Vezina. Products available include sweats, hoodies and t-shirts for men, women and kids, coffee mugs and travel mugs as well as items for the home and office. We've got something for everyone!

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Thanks for your continued support of Third String Goalie, and we encourage you to patronize our advertisers, who we have personally selected for inclusion on our website based on doing successful business with many of them ourselves.

 

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