Thursday, November 5, 2015

1995-96 Ottawa Senators Alexei Yashin Jersey

Born on this date in 1973, Alexei Yashin began his hockey career with his hometown club Dynamo Energia Ekaterinburg in the Soviet Championship League in the 1990-91 season. He also made his international debut for the Soviet Union at the European U18 Junior Championships where he earned a silver medal.

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Yashin played for the Soviet Union early in his career

For the 1991-92 season, Yashin moved to Dynamo Moscow, also of the Soviet Championship League. With the unsettled political situation of the times leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union, the next time Yashin took the ice in international play, he was a member of the Confederation of Independent States at the World Junior Championships that brought home the gold.

At the conclusion of the season, Yashin was drafted second overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators.

The 19-year-old Yashin stayed with Dynamo Moscow for the 1992-93 season where he scored 10 goals and 22 points in 27 games in what was now the Russian SuperLeague. He also played in two international tournaments, the first being the 1993 World Juniors where he would skate for Russia for the first time. Later that spring, he again suited up for Russia when he made his first appearance at the IIHF World Championships, where he would win a gold medal.

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Yashin spent two seasons with Dynamo Moscow

For the 1993-94 season, Yashin would come to North America to begin play for the Ottawa Senators. His flashy offensive skills made an immediate impact as he led the Senators in scoring during his rookie season with 30 goals and 49 assists for 79 points. With the lowly Senators out of the playoffs, Yashin was free that spring to play in his second World Championships for Russia.

With the start of the 1994-95 season delayed by a labor dispute, Yashin headed west and began the season with 24 games for the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL where he excelled with 15 goals and 35 points. Once the NHL season resumed, Yashin returned to Ottawa and again led the Senators in scoring with 21 goals and 44 points in 47 games.

The first of several contract disputes with Ottawa arose heading into the 1995-96 season, and, to put pressure on the Senators, Yashin returned to Russia and even played 4 games with CSKA Moscow. Eventually, the dispute was resolved (for now) and he returned to play 46 games for Ottawa where he finished second in team scoring despite playing just half a season.

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Yashin's time with Ottawa was marred with frequent contract disputes,
such as 1995-96 when he was limited to 46 games

At the conclusion of the NHL season, Yashin was back with the Russian National Team for the 1996 World Championships in the spring, scoring 4 goals and 9 points in 8 games, and then just  before the start of the 1996-97 season, he again suited up for Russia at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Yashin then got down to business for the next three seasons, playing on all 82 of the Senators games. In 1996-97 he scored 35 goals and 75 points followed by 33 goals and 72 points in 1997-98. For the 1998-99 season, Yashin was named team captain and responded with the best season of his career, scoring 44 goals and 94 points.

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Yashin served two seasons as the Senators captain

During that same time period he would appear at the 1997 World Championships, the 1998 Olympics, where he won a silver medal, and again at the 1999 World Championships.

 With a year remaining on his contract signed after his holdout back in 1995-96, Yashin demanded a raise and refused to report to the Senators. When Ottawa stood firm, Yashin demanded a trade and in the end, he lost his captaincy and was suspended for the entire 1999-00 season by not only the Senators, but also by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which prevented him from playing with any European teams while under contract with Ottawa. Finally, an NHL arbitrator ruled that if Yashin ever returned to the NHL he owed the Senators another season of play after refusing to grant him free agent status.

With the NHL season over, Yashin was free to play for Russia to the 2000 World Championships, the only 5 games he would play all year.

Backed into a corner, Yashin returned to Ottawa for the 2000-01 season to play out the final year of his contract. He was jeered everywhere, but focused on his game and produced another 40 goal season on his way to 88 points to lead the Senators in scoring yet again. The playoffs saw second seeded Ottawa swept in four straight by the seventh seeded Toronto Maple Leafs as Yashin had only one assist in the sweep, brining his time in Ottawa to a disappointing end. He then competed for Russia in the World Championships to close out the year.

At the 2001 NHL draft, Yashin was traded to the New York Islanders for Zdeno Chara and Bill Muckalt as well as the second overall pick, which the Senators used to select Jason Spezza. The Islanders controversial General Manager Mike Milbury then signed Yashin to a mind-boggling ten year $87.5 million dollar contract.

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Yashin was dealt to the Islanders in 2001

He would lead the Islanders in scoring in 2001-02 and 2002-03, but would never approach his 40 goals and 88 points of his final year in Ottawa, with his best being 2001-02 when he had 32 goals and 75 points. The Islanders would make the playoffs in four of Yashin's five years on Long Island, but never advance past the first round.

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Yashin's time with the Islanders was pressure filled

During his time with the Islanders, Yashin was named team captain for the 2005-06 season and played 10 regular season and 9 playoff games for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Superleague while the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled due to a labor dispute, the second NHL season Yashin missed in a span of six years.

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Yashin returned to Russia with Lokomotiv during the NHL lockout

From 2001-02 through 2006-07, Yashin would play for Russia at the 2002 Olympics, earning a bronze medal, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the 2004 and 2005 World Championships, winning another bronze in 2005, and the 2006 Olympics.

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Yashin was a regular on the Russian National Team
throughout his long career

With his final season in New York hampered by a knee injury which limited him to 58 games and scoring no points in the playoffs, the Islanders bought out the remaining years of his contract, brining and end to his time in the NHL.

For the 2007-08 season, Yashin returned to Yaroslavl in the Russia Superleague. He scored 43 points in 56 games and was named as the league MVP. The team then joined the new Kontinental Hockey League for the 2008-09 season and Yashin led the club on scoring both seasons and finished as the playoff runnerup both years as well.

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Yashin enjoyed two successful seasons with Lokomotiv after leaving the NHL

For 2009-10 Yashin signed with SKA Saint Petersburg and had a fine season with 64 points in 56 games. After one more season with Saint Petersburg, he would play one final season for CSKA Moscow before retiring.

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Yashin with SKA Saint Petersburg

Yashin's final NHL totals were 337 goals and 444 assists for 781 points in 850 games played. Internationally, his career included six medals including a World Championship gold, a World Junior gold and silver and bronze Olympic medals. He is still active in hockey and was the General Manager for the Russian National Team at the 2014 Olympics.

Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Ottawa Senator Alexei Yashin jersey. The Senators began with a similar style of jersey for their inaugural 1992-93 season, but with black armbands and red numbers outlined in white. For the next two seasons the numbers reversed colors to white outlined in red.

For 1995-96, the jersey evolved once more, with the center of the arm stripes changing to white and the addition of a white waist stripe to go along with the formerly single red waist stripe, which considerably brightened the overall look of the previous black and red version. Additionally, the sleeve numbers were now three color white numbers for one season before changing again to black numbers for the 1997-98 season. After one additional season of use in 1998-99, the Senators original black jersey was discontinued when it was replaced by the team's red alternate jersey.

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Ottawa Senators 1995-96 jersey photo Ottawa Senators 1995-96 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2006-07 New York Islanders Alexei Yashin jersey. Aside from the Islanders restoring their traditional crest to the poorly received "Fishsticks" jerseys during the 1996-97 season, this bright orange creation was the Islanders first true alternate jersey in team history.

It's been referred to as the "traffic cone" jersey and the "construction worker vest". While not a popular jersey, it was worn by the team for four seasons and there would have been a fifth had the 2004-05 season been played. It's run came to an end with the elimination of third jerseys with the introduction of the Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007-08.

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New York Islanders 2006-07 Alt B jersey photo New York Islanders 2006-07 Alt B jersey_1.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1993 Russia National Team Alexei Yashin jersey as worn at the World Championships held in Germany where Russia defeated Sweden 3-1 to win the only World Championship gold medal of Yashin's career.

This Tackla jersey filled a narrow gap between the Tackla jerseys of the Soviet Union and the change to Reebok branding for all teams in 1994.

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Russia 1993 WC jersey photo Russia 1993 WC B jersey.jpg

Today's video section begins with a look at Yashin's scoring abilities. Say what you will about his contract disputes, public relations missteps and how he may have failed to live up to the enormous contract the Islanders foolishly gave him, at his peak, Yashin was an undeniable offensive talent who lead his team in scoring far more often than not during his career.

Say what you will about his contract disputes, public relations missteps and how he may have failed to live up to the enormous contract the Islanders foolishly gave him, Yashin did just fine for himself with by being in a relationship with supermodel Carol Alt.

Finally, an interview with Yashin regarding the pressures that come with his large contract and his desire to win the Stanley Cup from his days with the Islanders.

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