Thursday, September 17, 2015
Next up in "The Lockout Collection" is yet another jersey from the Russian Superleague.
With the players locked out by the owners in 2004-05, Jaromir Jagr first signed up to play with HC Kladno in the Czech Republic, which was his first professional team when he was only 16 years of age. After 17 games with Kladno, he left for Avangard Omsk of the Russian Superleague.
Jagr, with Alexander Perezhogin, attack the Lada Togliatti net
While in Omsk, which is located 1700 miles east of Moscow in Siberia, Jagr would score 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points in 32 games. Avangard, which translates to "Vanguard", would finish in 6th place in the RSL standings and draw third place Metallurg Magnitogorsk, one of the few teams actually located even further east of Omsk.
Magnitogorsk would draw first blood with a 5-2 win and then put Omsk on the brink of elimination in their best-of-five series by taking the critical second game by a 2-1 score. Avangard would stay alive with a 4-1 win in Game 3 and even the series with a 4-2 win in Game 4, to force a deciding Game 5. Omsk would win 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Jagr to stun favored Metallurg by winning three straight after being down 2 games to none.
Their reward for knocking of Metallurg would be to face regular season champions Dynamo Moscow, whose 2004-05 roster included Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Ovechkin. Omsk would continue their winning streak with a 3-2 win, but would be destroyed 11-0 in Game 2. They would drop a heartbreaker 1-0 in Game 3 and would be eliminated by the eventual champions 3-1 in Game 4.
Unlike in North American leagues, Omsk did face off against Lokomotiv Yarosalvl, the fifth seed, in a best-of-three series to determine the bronze medal winners. Lokomotiv would sweep Omsk in two straight by scores of 6-3 and 5-4. Jagr would finish with 14 points in their 11 playoff games.
Avangard Omsk had won the RSL title the previous season, and as a result, were entered in the IIHF European Champions Cup for 2004-05. Omsk was grouped with Dukla Trencin of Slovakia and HV71 from Sweden. Omsk would dominate with an opening 6-1 pounding of Dukla Trencin and destroy HV71 by a resounding 9-0 score to advance to the finals versus the Group B winner Oulun Karpat from Finland. Karpat had advanced with a 4-1 over HC Zlin from the Czech Republic and a 6-3 defeat of the Frankfurt Lions of Germany.
Tied at 1 after regulation, Avangard Omsk would prevail when Jagr would beat future Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom at 14:38 of overtime with assists going to Maxim Shushinsky and Nikita Nikitin to give Omsk the inaugural European Champions Cup title.
Avangard Omsk celebrating their 2005 European Champions Cup victory
Jagr would return to play three more seasons in the NHL for the New York Rangers, but would return to Omsk in 2008, signing a two year contract for a reported $10 million a season.
Today's featured jersey is a 2004-05 Avangard Omsk Jaromir Jagr jersey. It features Jagr's familiar #68 and his name on the back in Cyrillic, which is surprisingly even shorter than in English, coming in at a mere three characters.
Lutch jerseys, such as today's featured jersey, are easily obtained from ProRussianJerseys.com in a variety of teams and players. Quality-wise, they are very nice jerseys, equal to the Tackla jerseys worn by international teams in the early 90's. The printing quality is first rate and the jerseys are quite durable and make a fine, and unique, addition to any jersey collection sure to elicit comments whenever you wear one.
Today's video section begins with Jagr scoring in spectacular fashion in overtime in Game 5 to eliminate Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the 2005 playoffs.
Next up is a very well done highlight reel of Jagr playing for Avangard Omsk in the 2004-05 season. I only wish I could find videos of this quality every day.
Here is a feature on Jagr wearing his "Hawk Wings" jersey during the 2008-09 season from the outstanding Russia Today channel.