Wednesday, June 17, 2015

1994-95 Quebec Nordiques Stephane Fiset Jersey

After playing his first season of junior hockey for the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, goaltender Stephane Fiset was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques 24th overall with the 3rd pick in the second round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Victoriaville.jpg
Fiset in junior hockey with Victoriaville

He was back with the Tigres for the 1988-89 season where he won 25 games and posted the lowest goals against average in the league. His play was recognized with a spot on the Canadian team at the 1989 World Junior Tournament.

Fiset, born on this date in 1970, was back with Victoriaville for one final season of junior hockey in 1989-90 as well as a return trip to the World Juniors, where he went 5-1-1 in seven games to lead Canada to a gold medal as well as being named the Best Goaltender of the tournament. He also made his NHL debut that season, playing in 6 games for the Nordiques.

Still needing more seasoning, Fiset spent the vast majority of the 1990-91 season with the Halifax Citadels in the American Hockey League, going 10-15-8. He also was called up for three games with the Nordiques, who, aside from Ron Tugnutt, had a very unsettled backup goaltending situation.

Fiset split the 1991-92 season between Halifax (29 games) and the Nordiques, playing in 23 games, which included finally getting his first NHL win on his way to a 7-10-2 record, respectable numbers for the lowly 20-48-12 Nordiques, who finished 21st out of the 22 teams. In fact, Fiset's 7 wins led the team, as Jacques Cloutier (26 games) and Tugnutt (30) could only manage 6 wins apiece despite more games played.

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Fiset was known for his distinctive masks

Backing up newly arrived goaltender Ron Hextall, who arrived as part of the ransom of holdout Eric Lindros, Fiset played in 37 games in 1992-93, posting an 18-9-4 record for the improving Nordiques. Fiset also made three starts for the Citadels in the AHL that season.

With Hextall having been traded during the offseason, Fiset took over the reins as the team's #1 goaltender for the first time, playing in 50 games compared to backup Jocelyn Thibault's 29.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Nordiques.jpg
Fiset broke into the NHL with the Nordiques and
eventually became their number one goaltender

At the conclusion of the season, Fiset was called upon by Team Canada for the 1994 World Championships, winning both of his starts as Canada defeated Finland to win the gold medal.

Fiset again got the majority of the starts in the strike shortened 1994-95 season, 32 vs the 18 of Thibault as the steadily improving Nordiques now had a roster with the likes of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Owen Nolan. Unfortunately, the team's financial situation was dire, and the club was sold to new owners who relocated the club to Denver, Colorado for the 1995-96 season.

Fiset moved with the franchise, now renamed the Colorado Avalanche. Fiset was still getting the majority of the starts for the team until a blockbuster trade in early December which saw the arrival of star and future Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, who had had a major falling out with the Montreal Canadiens. With Thibault departed in the Roy trade, Fiset remained as the backup. By the end of the regular season, Fiset had seen action in 37 games and tallied a stellar 22-6-7 record, while Roy led the club with 39 appearances and a 22-15-1 mark.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Avalanche.jpg
Fiset played one season in Colorado, which concluded with a Stanley Cup

The club was clicking on all cylinders, with Sakic leading the team with 120 points, closely followed by Forsberg's 116, as the playoffs arrived. Colorado then marched through the playoffs, defeating the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, each in six games, before sweeping the Florida Panthers in four straight to win the Stanley Cup in their first year in Colorado.

With Roy now at the helm, Fiset was dealt during the off season to the Los Angeles Kings to replace the departed Kelly Hrudy and team with Byron Dafoe. Fiset played a team high 44 games while Dafoe was in goal for 40 in 1996-97.

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Fiset's "King Tut" mask worn while he was a King

For 1997-98, Dafoe was gone and Fiset played in a workhorse 60 games, more than double the combined 29 by Jamie Storr and Frederic Chabot. Fiset and the Kings improved 20 points in the standings, which allowed Fiset to post a winning record of 25-25-8, an distinct improvement over the previous season when the King's struggled.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Kings 1.jpg
Fiset set career highs with the Kings in 1997-98

Fiset led the Kings in games over the next two seasons, although Storr's games played continued to rise as he first took control of the backup job and then split time nearly evenly (47-42) in 1999-00.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Kings 2.jpg
Fiset during the latter part of his Kings career

The 2000-01 season was a disaster for Fiset, as a knee injury cost him 25 games, which was followed by a second one that knocked him out of the lineup for 31 games. In the end, he played only seven games for the Kings and three for the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL as he was working his way back into playing form.

Unable to regain his form after his knee injuries, Fiset played 23 games for the Kings top AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs before a late season trade to his hometown Canadiens, for whom he would play just two regular season and one playoff game before retiring.

Stephane Fiset photo Fiset Canadiens.jpg
A rare shot of Fiset while with Montreal

His final NHL totals were 390 games played, 164 wins against 153 losses, 44 ties and 16 shutouts and a career 3,07 goals against average and a 90% save percentage. He also won a Stanley Cup with Colorado and a World Championship with Canada.

Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques Stephane Fiset jersey as worn during the Nordiques final season in Quebec.

This style Nordiques jersey dates back to the 1975-76 World Hockey Association season and would remain essentially unchanged through their final season in Quebec of 1994-95, with the only change worth noting being changing from one color blue numbers to two colors with the addition of red trim in 1991-92.

 photo Quebec Nordiques 1994-95 F jersey.jpg
Quebec Nordiques 1994-95 jersey photo Quebec Nordiques 1994-95 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jerseys: Today's bonus jerseys are 1997-98 Los Angeles Kings Sephane Fiset jerseys. These jerseys were worn during Fiset's second season with Los Angeles when he set career highs in games played with 60 and wins with 26.

This was the final season for the Kings "Chevy" logo black, white and silver jerseys which arrived on the scene with the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1988-89. While the jerseys remained unchanged for ten seasons, the customization evolved over time from two color names and numbers to three color names and numbers for the 1991-92 season, to finally easier to read one color names while sticking with the three color numbers from 1992-93 onward, with the numbers on the white jerseys (finally) changing to a more legible black rather than their original lower contrast silver.

Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 jersey photo Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 home F jersey.jpg
 photo Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 home B jersey.jpg

Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 jersey photo Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 F jersey.jpg
Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 jersey photo Los Angeles Kings 1997-98 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is 1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Sephane Fiset jersey. After an absence of a decade, purple returns to the Kings jerseys in this complete overhaul of the Kings look. Not a particularly good look, these dark and moody jerseys also featured an overly detailed coast of arms main crest and cartoonish number font and "Los Angeles" plastered across the waist of both the home and road jerseys.

One year later a purple alternate was introduced which featured the secondary crown logo as the main crest. After three seasons, the team would come to the realization that the crown made for a bolder main crest and in 2002-03, swapped the crests on all three of their jerseys, ending the use of this specific black jersey with the coat of arms crest after four seasons. The new combination of the black jersey with the crown logo would remain in use for 11 years through the 2012-13 season.

 photo Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 F jersey.jpg
Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 jersey photo Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 B jersey.jpg

Today's video section begins with Fiset himself, speaking in French for a minute.

Next up, the Top 10 Canadian World Junior Performances. Fiset is ranked as #7 and it begins at 4:55 and lasts for 1:45. Note the extremely rare jerseys Canada are wearing, a first generation Tackla jersey without the colored shoulders but with the diamond logos on the shoulders, ones we have never seen available for purchase, retail or game worn.

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