Monday, November 3, 2014

1992-93 Buffalo Sabres Pat LaFontaine Jersey

Drafted by third overall by the New York Islanders, Pat LaFontaine delayed his entry into the NHL by first playing for the United States National Team in preparation for the 1984 Olympics.

Lafontaine USA 1984, Lafontaine USA 1984

At the conclusion of the Olympics, LaFontaine then joined the Islanders for the remainder of the 1983-84 season, scoring 13 goals in 15 games. He would play seven seasons on Long Island, unfortunately arriving at the conclusion of the Islanders dynasty which occurred with the loss in the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals to the Edmonton Oilers. It would be the last time LaFontaine would play in the finals, as his teams would never advance past the second round of the playoffs for the remainder of his career.

He proved to be a prolific goal scorer with the Islanders, scoring 38 goals in this third full season and then posting four consecutive seasons of 40 goals or more, highlighted by his career high of 54 in 1989-90 and his 105 points that year was his best as an Islander.

Lafontaine Islanders, Lafontaine Islanders

The highlight of LaFontaine's time with the Islanders was scoring the series winning goal in the fourth overtime of Game 7 between the Islanders and the Washington Capitals during the 1987 playoffs. "It was the most memorable moment in my hockey life. Even today, wherever I go, people come up to me and start telling me where they were during the Easter Epic," LaFontaine said.

LaFontaine would suffer a concussion during the playoffs in 1990, the first of several that would affect his career.

With the situation in New York looking dismal for the foreseeable future, LaFontaine turned down a contract offer from the Islanders and sat out the first three weeks of the season before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres were a good fit for LaFontaine and he immediately scored 93 points in 57 games that season, although he was limited by a broken jaw which led to some interesting headgear upon his return.

He followed up his first season in Buffalo with the best offensive season of his career in 1992-93, after being named team captain, with 53 goals and 95 assists, helping set up many of Alexander Mogilny's 76 goals in the process, for a career best 148 points and second place in the NHL scoring race.

Laftontaine Mogilny 92-93, Laftontaine Mogilny 92-93
LaFontaine and Mogilny were rewarded with spots in the
1993 NHL All-Star Game

The next two seasons were a struggle for LaFontaine, as he only managed to play in 38 total games due to knee surgery for a torn ligament. Still, he was awarded the Masterton Trophy in 1995.

Proving he still could compete, he had his seventh 40 goal season in 1995-96, finishing with 91 points. Early in the next season, he would suffer another concussion, costing him several months of playing time which would limit him to just 13 games. Sabres management and team doctors refused to clear him to play, but LaFontaine demanded a trade, believing he could still play.

The Sabres subsequently traded him to the New York Rangers for the final season of his career of 1998-99. He managed to play in 67 games that season, which included reaching the 1,000 career points milestone, as well as representing the United States at the Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Lafontaine USA 1998, Lafontaine USA 1998
LaFontaine at the 1998 Olympics

After suffering another serious concussion in a collision with a teammate in mid March, LaFontaine would miss the remainder of the year and retire at the end of the season, having totaled 468 goals, 545 assists and 1013 points in his abbreviated 15 year career.

In addition to the 1984 and 1998 Olympics which bookended his international career, LaFontaine would also compete for the United States in the 1987 Canada Cup, the 1989 World Championships, the 1991 Canada Cup and the gold medal winning 1996 World Cup of Hockey team, where LaFontaine had four points in five games.

Lafontaine USA 1996, Lafontaine USA 1996
LaFontaine hoists the 1996 World Cup

Following his career, LaFontaine was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on this date in 2003 as well as the United States Hockey Hall of Fame later that same year. "I am truly thrilled to receive this tremendous honor. Growing up in St. Louis, I always played for the love of the game and never dreamed this could ever lead to my being a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame." he stated when told of his selection to the hall.

On March 3. 2006 the Buffalo Sabres would retire LaFontaine's #16.

An interesting note of trivia, LaFontaine is one of only three players to play for all three teams from the state of New York, and the only one to have played his entire career in New York state. LaFontaine once joked, "I got to play for three great organizations in my career and never once had to buy new license plates."

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Buffalo Sabres Pat LaFontaine jersey. LaFontaine would join the Sabres for the 1991-92 season while they were still wearing their original blue and gold jerseys. At the time LaFontaine became a Sabre, the club had changed from a lace up collar as first worn in 1970-71 upon the club's debut, added names on the back in 1977-78, added shoulder logos in 1978-79, and thickened the arm and sleeve stripes in 1983-84.

During the first five of LaFontaine's six years with Buffalo, the jersey would remain the same, but the NHL 75th Anniversary patch in 1991-92, the Stanley Cup Centennial patch in 1992-93, the Sabres 25th Anniversary patch in 1994-95 and the Roger Crozier Memorial #1 patch in 1995-96 were all worn.

Buffalo Sabres 1992-93 jersey photo BuffaloSabres1992-93Fjersey.jpg
 photo BuffaloSabres1992-93Bjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1996-97 Buffalo Sabres Pat LaFontaine jersey. For LaFontaine's final season in Buffalo, the Sabres moved out of their old arena, The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, and moved into the new Marine Midland Arena. To kick off the new era in Sabres history, the team completely revamped their entire identity package, which included not only new jerseys and a new buffalo head logo, but a change to the all new color scheme of black, red and sliver.

For the only season LaFontaine would wear the "goat head" jerseys, the Seymour H. Knox III memorial patch was worn as a tribute to one of the Sabres original owners.

The black and red jerseys would be worn for nine seasons through the 2005-06 season, but never really were accepted by the Sabres faithful who longed for a return to the blue and gold. In a perfect example of "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it", the blue and gold returned in 2006-07, only now in the form of the universally ridiculed "Buffaslug" logo!

Buffalo Sabres 1996-97 jersey photo BuffaloSabres1996-97Fjersey.jpg
Buffalo Sabres 1996-97 jersey photo BuffaloSabres1996-97Bjersey.jpg

During LaFontaine's career, there was inconsistency in the way his name was displayed on the back of his jerseys. The Islanders had it as both "LAFONTAINE" in all captial letters of the same size and also "LAFONTAINE" with the "A" capitalized, but in a smaller subscript size during his early days with the club. The Sabres used all capitals the same size while the Rangers used the small "A" style. His 1987 USA Canada Cup and jerseys used the smaller "A", while we have seen his 1996 USA World Cup jerseys both ways!

That makes it essential for you to do your research for the exact specification of lettering style for not only the name on the back, but use of the "A" or the "C" used for the particular year of any LaFontaine jersey you may want to add to your collection. We strongly recommend searching for photos and videos of the style of jersey you wish to replicate and supply your findings to your customizers in order to get the most accurate jersey possible.

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2003-04 Buffalo Sabres Chris Drury jersey as worn when the Sabres retired LaFontaine's #16.

The red alternate jersey was first used by the Sabres in 2000-01 and lasted through the rest of the black and red era, which ended at the end of the 2005-06 season.

 photo BuffaloSabres05-06F.jpg
 photo BuffaloSabres05-06B.jpg
 photo BuffaloSabres05-06P.jpg

We begin today's video selections with the Top 10 goals by Pat LaFontaine.

Next, a tribute to LaFontaine on the occasion of his jersey retirement by the Sabres.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome and encourage genuine comments and corrections from our readers. Please no spam. It will not be approved and never seen.


hit counter for blogger