Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr Jersey

Today we take a look back at the opening games of the 2000-01 season when the Nashville Predators played a two game series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Tokyo, Japan.

This would be the third and final time that the NHL would open it's season in Japan. 1997 saw the Vancouver Canucks split a pair of games against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the first ever regular season games played outside of North America to count in the standings, while 1998 saw the Calgary Flames take on the San Jose Sharks.

After taking a break in 1999, the season opening games in Japan returned for the 2000-01 season. The first game took place on October 7th when the Penguins and the Predators took to the ice in front of 13,849 fans at the Saitama Super Arena with Pittsburgh wearing white as the designated "home" team.

Penguins Predators Tokyo photo penguins-predatorsTOKYO2000.jpg
The fans were ready for some NHL action

Jan Hrdina got Pittsburgh's lone goal while Cliff Ronning, Vitali Yachmenev and Scott Walker scored for Nashville with Yachmenev getting the second goal and credit for the game winner.

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Jaromir Jagr on the attack for Pittsburgh

Predators goaltender Mike Dunham got the win for Nashville by stopping 25 of the 26 Penguins shots. Jean-Sebastian Aubin took the loss in the nets for Pittsburgh even though he made 30 saves on 32 shots, with the third Nashville goal into an empty net.

The next game, played on this date in 2000. would be the final NHL game to date played in Japan. The Penguins turned the tables and won by the same 3-1 score with Hrdina, Robert Lang and Martin Straka all scoring for the heavily European Penguins (with just five of 20 players being North Americans), while David Legwand countered for Nashville, who now wore white as the "home" team.

Penguins Predators 10/8/00 photo JagrPenguinsTokyo2000.jpg
Wearing black, the Penguins were the "road" team for the second game

The NHL would continue to play some exhibition games in Europe following the final game in Japan in 2000. The Colorado Avalanche played a game in Sweden against Brynas in 2001 and the Toronto Maple Leafs went to both Sweden and Finland in 2003 for games against Djurgardens IF, Farjestads BK and Jokerit of Helsinki. Those games would not count in the standings until the more recent NHL Premiere series began when the Anaheim Ducks played against the Los Angeles Kings in London, England's 02 Arena with a pair of games to kick off the 2007-08 season.

In 2008-09 with the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins played in Stockholm, Sweden while the New York Rangers squared off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prauge, Czech Republic.

The NHL Premiere series returned to Europe in 2009-10 as the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers faced off in Helsinki and the Detroit Red Wings took on the St. Louis Blues in Stockholm.

Of note, both the Penguins in 2009 and the Blackhawks in 2010 would go on to win that season's Stanley Cup after starting their seasons in Europe.

The schedule of games expanded in 2011, with six clubs making the trip over, beginning with the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes in Helsinki. The Columbus Blue Jackets met the San Jose Sharks in Stockholm while the Phoenix Coyotes faced off against the Boston Bruins in Prague in the Czech Republic.

The Premiere games were held in Europe one final time in 2011, the fifth consecutive season the NHL schedule began overseas. The schedule was a bit more complex, as the four teams swapped opponents in games played in three different cities. The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Buffalo Sabres in Helsinki while the Kings beat the New York Rangers in overtime in Stockholm. The next day the Ducks traveled to Sweden to meet the Rangers, who they defeated in a shootout. Meanwhile, both the Sabres and the Kings relocated to Berlin, Germany in a game won by Buffalo. To date, these are the final games played by NHL teams outside North America, including exhibition games.

Aside from the 2007 games played in London, all the remaining regular season games played overseas have featured a special patch worn on the participating teams jerseys.

NHL Premiere logos
The NHL Premiere patches from 2008, 2009 (top row) and 2010

All four teams wore the same truncated patch lacking the flag of the host nation in 2011, an unsatisfying compromise owing to three of the clubs playing in two different countries on consecutive days.

NHL Premiere 2011 patch photo nhl_premiere2011.jpg
The 2011 NHL Premiere patch

Today's featured jersey is a 2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr jersey as worn in Tokyo for the second Game ONe Japan series on this date in 2000, the final NHL game ever played in Japan.

This unusual asymmetric jersey arrived in 1995-96 among the first wave of alternate NHL jerseys. While some were complete failures and lasted just one season, such as those worn by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings, the Penguins jersey was promoted to the team's full time road jersey two seasons later and remained in use through the 2001-02 season.

Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 jersey photo PittsburghPenguins2000-01F.jpg
Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 jersey photo PittsburghPenguins2000-01B.jpg
Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 jersey photo PittsburghPenguins2000-01P.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Nashville Predators Tomas Vokoun jersey as worn in Tokyo for the second Game ONe Japan series on this date in 2000, the final NHL game ever played in Japan.

The Predators took to the ice wearing this style jersey for their inaugural 1998-99 season and it remained unchanged until the 2005-06 season when the shoulder patches were changed to a saber-toothed tiger skull logo. It would continue to be used with the new secondary logos through the 2006-07 season after which the team got new jerseys upon the arrival of Reebok as the new league supplier.

Nashville Predators 2000-01 jersey photo NashvillePredators2000-01F.jpg
Nashville Predators 2000-01 jersey photo NashvillePredators2000-01B.jpg
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Our video section today features two clips of the Mighty Ducks and Kings beginning the current NHL Premiere series of games in Europe to start the 2007-08 season.

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