Wednesday, September 16, 2015
The next entry in "The Lockout Collection" features another jersey from the Russian Superleague.
Alexander Ovechkin, born on this date in 1985, would have most certainly been in the NHL during the 2004-05 season, having been drafted first overall by the Washington Capitals earlier in the year, but with the NHL season cancelled, Ovechkin would return home to Russia to play one final season for Dynamo Moscow.
Ovechkin began playing for Dynamo at the age of just 16 in the 2001-02 season and in 21 games, he scored just 2 goals and 2 assists. The next season would see him play in 40 games, with 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points, while in 2003-04, Ovechkin would finish third in scoring for Dynamo, with 23 points in 53 games.
He would make his North American debut in the 2003 World Juniors in Canada, as Russia would defeat Canada on their home soil. He would return for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and then again to compete in the 2005 World Junior Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but would suffer a shoulder injury in the gold medal game that would force him to miss nearly two months of the Russian Superleague season. Despite the missed time, he would finish 5th in team scoring with 27 points from 37 games and would return in time for the playoffs, despite the shorter 60 game RSL schedule.
Dynamo had their share of NHL talent that season due to the lockout, and would finish first overall during the regular season with 126 points from 60 games, eight clear of second place Lada Togliatti. Notable NHL players for Dynamo that season included Pavel Datsyuk, Maxim Afinogenov, Andrei Markov, Alexander Frolov and ten games from Martin Havlat at one point in the regular season.
With eight of 16 teams qualifying for the playoffs, first seeded Dynamo would draw Nizhnekamsk Neftkhimik, who would fall in three quick games by scores of 2-0, 4-2 and 2-1.
Next up for Dynamo was Avangard Omsk, who upset 3rd ranked Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the opening round, and were led by RSL leading scorer Maxim Shushinsky and Jaromir Jagr. Dynamo would drop the first game by a 3-2 score, but would heed the wake up call and punish Omsk 11-0 in Game 2. Game 3 would be a tight 1-0 victory for Dynamo and they would advance to the finals with a 3-1 win in Game 4.
Waiting for Dynamo was second seeded Lada Togliatti. Dynamo would take Game 1 by a 3-1 score, go up 2 games to none with a 2-0 shutout and capture the title with a 2-1 win in Game 3 for a sweep of the best-of-five series.
Today's featured jersey is a Lutch 2004-05 Dynamo Moscow Alexander Ovechkin jersey as worn in his final season in Russia before coming over to play in the NHL. The front features the logo of team sponsor Rosgosstrakh, the Russian National Insurance Company with Ochakovo Lager in red below, with the iconic Dynamo "D" logo on the upper left chest.
The back features Ovechkin's name in Cyrillic and the #32 he wore for Dynamo over a simplified Rosgosstrakh wordmark in red. The jersey is all dye-sublimated, as evidenced by the fading of the blue areas of the sleeves and the subtle radial fading of the numbers, as they are lighter in the center and get darker toward the outer edges.
Lutch jerseys such as today's featured jerseys 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.
Here is a profile of Ovechkin, made before he was even drafted by the NHL.
Excuse the "Tom Waits of Russia" soundtrack on this collection of Ovechkin highlights from 2003 while playing for Dynamo.