Friday, October 25, 2013
Doug Bodger played his junior hockey with the Kamloops Junior Oilers in the Western Hockey League. There, the defenseman caught the eye of the Pittsburgh Penguins after scoring 21 goals and 98 points from the blueline in 1983-84, prompting the Penguins to draft him 9th overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
He joined the Penguins later that year and played for Pittsburgh four seasons in which he averaged 40 points per season including a career high 14 goals in 1987-88. Early in the 1988-89 season, Bodger was traded to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a deal which brought goaltender Tom Barasso to the Penguins.
While with Pittsburgh, Bodger was chosen to play for Canada at the 1987 World Championships, the first time he would play for his country.
While the Penguins were in a down period while Bodger was with Pittsburgh, never qualifying for the playoffs, the season he joined the Sabres they made the playoffs for the first of seven consecutive seasons, including the 1992-93 season in which he set a career high with 54 points. Bodger proved to be a very reliable player while in Buffalo, regularly playing 70 games or more.
Bodger was then traded to the San Jose Sharks early in the 1995-96 campaign for two players and a pair of draft picks. While in San Jose, he added a veteran presence to the young Sharks blueline.
Following the season, Bodger completed for Canada at the World Championships once more, this time earning a silver medal.
He would again rack up the games the following season with the Sharks, appearing in 81 contests. After 28 games of the 1997-98 season, Bodger was dealt across the continent to the New Jersey Devils for the last 49 games of the schedule, followed by his first playoff appearance since 1995 with Buffalo.
The Devils then traded Bodger, sending him all the way back to California, this time with the Los Angeles Kings for the 1998-99 season, which would include his 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1998, a 3-2 win for the Kings over the Carolina Hurricanes. He would complete his season by making his third appearance for Canada at the World Championships in 1999.
For the 1999-00 season, Bodger signed with the Vancouver Canucks as a free agent, but would play just 13 games for the Canucks prior to retiring on December 14th of that season.
His final NHL stats are 1,071 games played, 106 goals and 422 assists for 528 points. He would also play in 47 playoff games, scoring 6 goals and 24 points.
In 2006, he was inducted into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame after being the highest scoring defenseman from British Columbia.
Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Doug Bodger jersey. This was the first year for this style Kings jersey and the only season it was made by Starter. This style replaced the black and silver "Gretzky era" jerseys.
One issue we had with this style jersey was the small details of the main coat of arms crest being too fine when viewed at any sort of a distance. Someone apparently agreed with us, as the Kings flipped the coat of arms crest on their home and road jersey with the bolder crown logo used on their purple alternate jersey for the 2002-03 season.
For collectors, this relatively unique situation means you must pay attention to details, as all three colors of Kings jerseys, the black, white and purple, have all been made in both the coat of arms and crown logo versions at different times.
Here's an easy way to get an assist, pass the puck to Mario Lemieux and let him do the rest.
Hallelujah, Hollywood, Bodger scores for the Penguins in 1986, with an assist to the flashy Ron Duguay.
Here is Bodger's second goal of the same game as above.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Mike Bossy had a prolific junior hockey career for the Laval National, with whom he played for five seasons, beginning with 4 appearances in 1972-73. Playing a full season in 1973-74, he reeled off a 70 goal, 118 point season in 68 games.
He kept his foot on the gas the following year, topping that with an impressive 84 goals and 149 points in 67 games, 2.22 points per games. In the post season, his torrid pace continued with 38 more points in 16 games. Over the next two seasons he would add 79 goals and 136 points followed by another 75 goals and 126 points to set the all-time QMJHL record with 309 career goals, a mark which still stands today and ranks 28 goals higher that the next closest pursuer.
Bossy with Laval
Thought of as being too timid by NHL scouts, Bossy was not chosen until 15th overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, which included being passed over by the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs not once, but twice.
Playing on a line with Bryan Trottier and Clark Gilles, Bossy would set the hockey world on fire when he scored 53 goals in his rookie season of 1977-78, the first rookie to ever reach 50, while winning the Calder Trophy in the process.
Gilles, Trottier and Bossy
The following season he would better that by becoming only the second player after Maurice Richard, and first in 36 years, to score 50 goals in 50 games. Bossy did it in dramatic style with two goals in the last five minutes of game number 50. He would finish the season with 69 goals to lead the league and 57 assists for 126 points, good for fourth overall.
Bossy poses with Maurice Richard to commemorate their 50 goals in 50 games
1979-80 would see Bossy once more top the 50 mark with 51 goals in 75 games and the Islanders would capture their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships as Bossy contributed 23 points in just 16 games.
While topping 50 goals the previous season, he did fail to reach 100 points during the regular season. Over the course of the next six seasons, he would blow past the 100 point level, never scoring less than 117, with a high of 147 in 1981-82.
During the 1980-81 season he would set a career high in goals with 68, which included becoming the fastest player to ever reach 250 goals on this date in 1981. His 68 goals once again lead the NHL and he added a remarkable 17 goals and 35 points in 18 playoff games as the Islanders would capture their second straight Stanley Cup.
Their third Stanley Cup Championship would see Bossy be recognized with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP following 17 goals and 27 points in 19 games. This came on the heels of his 147 point regular season and his second consecutive 60 goal season when he tallied 64.
The Islanders dynasty was now in full force and Bossy once more reached 60 goals, this time on the nose with an even 60. His 118 point regular season continued his 100 point season streak and the playoffs would again see him get his now customary 17 goals (for the third year in a row and the only player to ever do so) and 26 points in 19 games. He would also be recognized for his style of play with the first of three Lady Byng Trophies following the season.
Bossy with the Lady Byng Trophy
1983-84 was another 118 point season with 51 goals scored. The Islanders would make it once more to the finals, but the dynasty would end as they were defeated by the up and coming Edmonton Oilers 4 games to 1. The Islanders 21 playoff games would see Bossy contribute 18 points. He was the recipient of his second Lady Byng Trophy after being whistled for just 8 penalty minutes for the entire season, the second lowest total of his career following just 6 during his rookie campaign.
His remarkable goal scoring consistency continued unabated, as 58 more would be added to his career total during a 117 point campaign in 1984-85. 10 more playoff games allowed Bossy to add another 11 points for the Islanders.
Showing no signs of slowing down, he would reach 61 goals, paired with 62 assists, giving him his highest point total in four seasons with 123, which included becoming just the 20th player in league history to score 1,000th career points, which he did in grand style, registering a goal and four assists in a 7-5 win over the Washington Capitals. He would also capture this third Lady Byng Trophy in the space of four seasons as well.
Now slowed by back injuries, his final season of 1986-87, Bossy appeared in 63 games and scored 38 goals and 75 points, still over a point per game, before retiring at the age of just 30.
His final career totals of 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games would give him a final career average of 1.50 points per game over his ten NHL seasons and his 160 career playoff points in 129 games were a 1.24 points per game clip. At the time of his retirement, he held the record for most goals by a rookie and most assists and points by a right wing in a single season. He still ranks third all time in hat tricks with 39. He also reached 100 goals faster than any player in history, doing so in just 129 games. He was also the quickest at one point to 300 and 500 career goals scored.
His goals per game average of .762 in the regular season is the highest in NHL history and his playoff goals per game average of .659 is second only to Mario Lemieux.
He also still holds the NHL record for the most consecutive 50 goal seasons with nine, and shares the record with Wayne Gretzky for the most 60 goal seasons with five, despite playing 10 years less than Gretzky.
Internationally, he was a member of Team Canada in the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup tournaments, earning a gold medal in in 1984. Due to the Islanders consistent playoff history, he was never available for World Championships duty.
Bossy celebrates with Islanders teammate John Tonelli during the Canada Cup in 1984
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and his jersey #22 was retired by the Islanders in 1992.
Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 New York Islanders Mike Bossy jersey as worn during the season he scored his 1,000th point.
When Bossy joined the Islanders in 1977, they had just changed from a lace-up collar to a v-neck while wearing two color names and a bolder font for the numbers. In 1978 the stripes on the blue jerseys would be unified, now with a white stripe directly above a thicker orange stripe. This would be the jersey worn for their four stanley Cup championships, lasting through 1983-84.
In 1984-85, the names would change to one color and the font for the numbers would become narrower. This style would remain unchanged through 1995 when a change in ownership would result in the debacle that was the Islanders Fishsticks jerseys being born.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1981 Team Canada Mike Bossy jersey. The minimalist style used by Canada for the Canada Cup tournaments is remarkable in it's stark simplicity, with it's single color crest and customization.
It features a bold half maple leaf on the front, which was based on the Canada Cup trophy awarded to the tournament champions. Canada would not use this style for any other international tournament, such as the World Championships, as those jerseys were subject to supplier contracts with jersey manufacturers like as Adidas, Tackla, Reebok and Nike, who supplied all the teams participating in IIHF tournaments beginning in the mid-1980's.
Here is a career retrospective of Mike Bossy, which includes his dramatic 50th goal in his 50th game in 1980.
Up next is a nice interview with Bossy as he looks back on his career and a variety of topics.
A recap of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals is next up, showing the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics patch on the Islanders jerseys. The passion and excitement of the Islander and their fans is infectious and recommended viewing. A reminder of what it's all about.
We don't know about you, but all this writing has left us hungry. Ça, c'est du bon poulet!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
One of the most dynamic and prolific scorers in NHL history, Bobby Hull scored his first NHL goal on this date in 1957 in a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.
Hull played his junior hockey for the St. Catharines Teepees in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1954-55 to 1956-57, a season in which he scored 33 goals in 52 games, giving a glimpse into the future as to what was to follow.
He made his NHL debut with Chicago at the age of 18 and finished second in the rookie of the year voting following his 13 goal, 47 point season, which included the first of over 600 NHL goals (and over 900 professional when his days in the WHA are taken into account) scored on this date.
His second season was a repeat of the first, with his goals and points edging upwards to 18 and 50. His game really took flight in 1959-60 when he more than doubled his previous goal total to 39 along with 42 assists to lead the league in both categories and capture the first Art Ross Trophy of his career with 81 points.
Hull and the Black Hawks would achieve even greater heights in 1960-61. Although Hull would relinquish the scoring title, he would still top 30 goals with 31, but his 14 points in 12 playoff games would help the Black Hawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 23 years.
Hull with the 1961 Stanley Cup
Individual honors would return to Hull's trophy case in 1961-62 when he again led the NHL in both goals and points when he became just the third player in NHL history to reach 50 goals in a single season on his way to 84 points. Hull again added 14 points in the playoffs as Chicago again reached the finals, but fell short in six games.
Hull celebrates goal #50 (wearing #7)
After a 31 goal season in 1962-63, Hull once more led the league in goals in 1963-64 with 43 and came in second to teammate Stan Mikita in the points chase 89-87.
The 1964-65 awards ceremony had more in store for Hull, as he took home the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player as well as the only Lady Byng Trophy of his career. In the postseason, Hull led Chicago in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 17 points in 14 games as the Black Hawks took the Montreal Canadiens to the full seven games before succumbing.
He really turned on the jets beginning in 1965-66 when he led the league in goal scoring for the first of four consecutive seasons with his second 50 goal season when he netted an NHL record 54 goals as part of his league leading 97 points, which garnered Hull his third Art Ross Trophy and second Hart Trophy.
The next two seasons he again led the league in goals with 52 and then 44 before breaking his own NHL single season record with a career high 58 goals and his first 100 point season when he amassed 107 in 1968-69 as the NHL entered a new era in scoring, at which Hull was at the forefront. At the time, Hull owned four of the six 50 goal seasons in NHL history.
Limited to 61 games the following season, Hull still scored 38 goals and passed the 500 career goals mark, on the third player after Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe to reach that milestone. His final season with the Black Hawks in 1971-72 saw him surpass the 600 goal mark during yet another 50 goal season, his fifth, while only Phil Esposito had more than one to his credit with two.
It was then that the upstart World Hockey Association came calling with an offer too good to refuse, and Hull joined the Winnipeg Jets, becoming the centerpiece of the WHA and giving the league an instant shot of credibility.
Today's featured jersey is a 1961-62 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull jersey. During Hull's first two seasons, the Black Hawks white jerseys had the crossed tomahawks secondary logo located over the sleeve stripes. In 1959 the logo was moved to the now customary position on the shoulders above the sleeve numbers.
This jersey would remain unchanged until 1963 when a third sleeve stripe was added to match the waist striping.
Hull originally broke into the NHL wearing the #16. He would later change to #7 before adopting his more familiar #9. Eventually, back in the NHL following the WHA's merger with the NHL, during the final season of his career he would join Gordie Howe on the roster of the Hartford Whalers and once more wear the #16 in deference to Howe.
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Today's first video is a trip down memory lane, with a look at Munro's Bobby Hull table hockey game from the early days of "sports marketing". Love the automatic puck dropping scoreboard with the flags. Rod hockey at it's finest. Check out the teams too, Chicago vs. Minnesota. Perfect, and a nice break from Montreal vs. Toronto.
Forgive the quality of the video taping of the TV screen on this video, but the historical nature of Hull scoring goal #600 makes it worth it.
In this next video, Hull wins the only Stanley Cup of his career in 1961.
Finally, a recent interview with Hull on the occasion of becoming a part of the Blackhawks organization once more after far too long of an absence.