Saturday, November 28, 2015

1980-81 New York Islanders Billy Smith Jersey

NHL history was made on this date in 1979, when Rob Ramage of the hapless Colorado Rockies, while on a delayed penalty call, would send the puck back to the point anticipating a Rockies teammate would be stationed there, only to find the point vacated and the puck making the long journey down the length of the ice and right into the Rockies goal and the record books.

Ramage Rockies, Ramage Rockies
Rob Ramage

Since Islanders goaltender Billy Smith was the last Islander to touch the puck, he was the official scorer of the goal, the first one credited to a goaltender in NHL history.

Billy Smith Islanders, Billy Smith Islanders
Billy Smith

Ron Hextall became the first goaltender to legitimately aim for the net and score a goal in the NHL eight years later on December 8, 1987 when he scored against the Boston Bruins, who had pulled goaltender Rejean Lemelin for a sixth attacker who was apparently not in any way a sixth defender.

Ron Hextall Goal, Ron Hextall Goal
Ron Hextall shoots for the far goal

Hextall scored a second goal during the playoffs on April 11, 1989 versus the Washington Capitals, entering the record books as the first goalie to score during the playoffs.

Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings added his name to the list of goaltenders who have scored on March 6, 1996 with a shot the length of the ice in Hartford versus the Whalers.

Osgood Red Wings, Osgood Red Wings
Chris Osgood

April 17, 1997 would see the first of Martin Brodeur's three goals, as he would fire one in against the Montreal Canadiens. Brodeur would be credited with his second goal, despite being about 125 feet from the puck when a mishandled puck by the Philadelphia Flyers found it's way into an unguarded Flyers net on February 15th of 2000. Brodeur's third credited goal would arrive on March 21, 2013 when the Carolina Hurricanes would errantly put the puck into their own net as their goalie Dan Ellis was skating to the bench for an extra attacker. Ellis attempted to intercept the puck, but when he was unable, not only was Brodeur credited with the goal, but it counted against Ellis since he was still technically on the ice at the time, regardless of how far from his crease he was.

Brodeur Devils, Brodeur Devils
Martin Brodeur

Jose Theodore, then of the Montreal Canadiens would score with style on January 2, 2001 with a backhand shot, as he launched the puck the length of the ice on Long Island against New York in the process of shutting out the Islanders, the only goalie to shoot the puck into the goal and record a shutout in the same game.

Jose Theodore Canadiens, Jose Theodore Canadiens
Jose Theodore

Evgeni Nabokov joined the scoring ranks on March 10, 2002 when he fired one in against the Canucks in Vancouver for the sixth goalie to score with a direct shot on goal.

Nabokov Sharks, Nabokov Sharks
The Sharks Evgeni Nabokov

Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes became the seventh and most recent goalie to purposely shoot the puck into the opposing goal when he scored with one tenth of a second remaining against the Detroit Red Wings on October 19, 2013, the first goal by a direct shot in over 11 years.

Mike Smith Coyotes goal photo Mike Smith Coyotes Goal.jpg
Mike Smith celebrates his goal in 2013

Damian Rhodes of the Ottawa Senators (1999), Mika Noronen of the Buffalo Sabres (2004), Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators (2006) and Cam Ward (2011) would all receive credit for goals of the Billy Smith variety, as the opponents would all misfire in some manner and send pucks down the ice and into their own nets.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980-81 New York Islanders Billy Smith jersey, the same style he was wearing when he "opened the floodgates" of goalies scoring in the NHL.

In addition to going into the history books as the first goalie to score a goal, Billy Smith did manage to accumulate four Stanley Cups during the early 1980's while with the New York Islanders dynasty.

This particular style of jersey with the white and orange sleeve stripes was first introduced for the 1978-79 and used through the 1983-84 season before the Islanders changed the specification of the names on the back from two-color to single color white names. The appearance of the "Sandow SK" branding on the rear hem was one of the earliest instances of manufacturer logos appearing on NHL jerseys, which began only the season before and was the first season ever on an Islanders jersey.


photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1979-80 Colorado Rockies Rob Ramage jersey. Ramage's errant pass led to Billy Smith being credited with the first goal ever scored by a goaltender.

The Rockies wore the same jerseys for their six years in Colorado before moving to New Jersey, with the only notable change being adding names to the backs of their blue road jerseys for their second season of 1977-78.

Colorado Rockies 80-81 jersey, Colorado Rockies 80-81 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is the play on which Billy Smith was credited with the first goal ever scored by an NHL goalie.


Here is a wonderful compilation of all the goals scored by goalkeepers in the NHL (up to the time the video was created), several of which are direct shots by the goalies themselves, and not "own goals" on the part of the other team. Be warned, the volume varies quite a bit from clip to clip!


The last video today is a look at the career of Billy Smith from the "Greatest Hockey Legends" series.

Friday, November 27, 2015

1986-87 Vancouver Canucks Michel Petit Jersey

Pull up a chair, sit back and let us tell you about a journey which follows a long and winding path across a vast continent from west to east, from the north to the south and finally to distant lands across a mighty ocean and back. And then back again...

The professional hockey career of Michel Petit began in 1982-83 when he made his NHL debut with a pair of games for the Vancouver Canucks after having been the Canucks 1st pick in the 1982 Entry Draft. He spent the majority of the season with the St. Jean Castors of the QMJHL in Canadian Juniors, 2,302 miles to the east but made the Canucks squad after 19 games with the Canadian National Team in 1983-84 and saw action in 44 games, which included the defenseman's first goal.

Petit Canucks

Petit played 69 games with the Canucks in 1984-85 and split time between the Canucks and the Fredericton Express of the AHL (in eastern Canada 2,670 miles away in New Brunswick) in 1985-86. After one more season with the Canucks, ten games into the 1988-89 season he was dealt to the New York Rangers for two players, across the border 2,425 miles away. Once in New York, he wasted little time establishing a career high in penalty minutes, racking up 223 in 64 games with the Rangers in addition to the 35 he had already accumulated in Vancouver.

Petit Rangers

After a second season on Broadway, the Rangers dealt Petit back across the border to the Quebec Nordiques 442 miles to the north. Following the season Petit had the honor of skating for Canada at the 1990 World Championships in Switzerland.

After 19 games of the 1990-91 season, Petit began his journey back west when he was included in a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 451 miles to the southwest. He played in 54 games with the Maple Leafs and set a career high in goals and points that season, lighting the lamp 4 times in Quebec and 9 times in Toronto for a total of 13. His final point total reached 37, eclipsing his previous season's mark of 36.

Petit Maple Leafs

Petit once more was on the move 1,682 miles down the Trans Canada Highway when he was a part of the blockbuster ten player deal with the Calgary Flames which sent Doug Gilmour to Toronto. He played two and a half seasons with the Flames before completing his second trip across the continent, and third trip across the border, when he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings for the 1995-95 season, 1,194 miles south.

Petit Flames

Racking up the frequent flyer miles, the Kings sent Petit was sent 2,148 miles across the United States 9 games into the following season when they traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a season which included the most playoff action of his career with six postseason games.

Petit Lightning

It was back north across the Canadian border 2,363 miles up to Edmonton where he signed as a free agent to start the 1996-97 campaign. By January he had only seen action in 18 games and was claimed off of waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers across the border once more 2,009 miles to the east.

Petit Flyers

He began the 1997-98 season with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL (441 miles from Philadelphia) and was then signed by the Phoenix Coyotes in November, adding another 1,686 miles to his journey and making him the first player in NHL history to play for ten different teams when he made his Coyotes debut on this date in 1987.

Petit Coyotes

He began the 1998-99 season 256 miles north with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL but missed the majority of the season when he suffered a head injury which limited him to just six games.

Petit's journey through the world of hockey now expanded beyond North America when he signed to play with the Frankfurt Lions of the German DEL for 1999-00, adding 5,577 miles to his itinerary. Still with the Lions at the start of the 2000-01 season, he returned to North America when he joined the Chicago Wolves in the IHL, 4,341 miles on the return leg to the United States.

With no North American opportunities available for the 2001-02 season, Petit packed his gear bag for the final time when he closed out his playing career with 14 games with HC Bolzano of the Italian Serie A in the far northeast of Italy where the Italian Serie A hockey league is concentrated, 4,571 miles from the midwest.

By our calculations, Petit played professionally for 16 different clubs in four different countries which included crossing an international border to change clubs ten different times, traveling 34,558 miles from club to club, and he wore a total of 21 different NHL jerseys.

Michel Petit jersey history
Images from NHLUniforms.com

While a remarkable number, it falls far short of the estimated 40 worn by Third String Goalie legend Mike Sillinger.

Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 Vancouver Canucks Michel Petit jersey. This jersey was worn during Petit's sixth season with the Canucks prior the beginning of his hockey odyssey that would send him back and forth across North America seven times.

This style of Canucks jersey was adopted in 1985 after seven seasons with the controversial "flying V" style worn in Petit's NHL debut season. In 1985-86 when this jersey debuted it was worn with both the Expo 86 patch as well as the City of Vancouver 100th Anniversary patch.

During the season our featured jersey was worn, the Canucks wore one of the most unique patches in NHL history, a patch supporting Rick Hansen's Man in Motion World Tour, where Hansen pushed his wheelchair nearly 25,000 miles to raise money for spinal cord injury research over two years through 34 countries and 4 continents, which raised $26 million. It is the only patch in league history to be placed on the lower left hem.

Two seasons later the Canucks wore a memorial patch to former NHL player and Canucks goodwill ambassador "Babe" Pratt, making for four different patches worn during the four year lifespan of this style Canucks jersey before it evolved to an even simpler style in 1989-90.

Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey, Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey
Vancouver Canucks 86-87 jersey
Vancouver Canucks 86-87 patch

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Frankfurt Lions Michel Petit jersey from his second season with Frankfurt in the German DEL. Petit was not alone that season, as the nine leading scorers for Frankfurt were fellow Canadians!

The Lions were founded in 1959 and won the DEL championship in 2004, but sadly ceased operations at the end of the 2009-10 season after 50 seasons of competition.

Frankfurt Lions 00-01 jersey
Frankfurt Lions 00-01 jersey

In today's video section, Dale Henry of the Islanders shreds Petit's jersey in the early part of a brawl and Petit responds by knocking Henry into the middle of next week.


Here, Petit stands in against Bob Probert, and while he may not have won the fight, he certainly earns our respect for getting back up off the ice twice and continuing to battle the feared Probert, even landing a few solid blows in the process.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

1995-96 Detroit Red Wings Chris Osgood Jersey

Born on this date in 1972, goaltender Chris Osgood played for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League beginning with the 1989-90 season. After another full season with the Tigers, which included scoring a goal on January 3, 1991, he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings that spring.

Osgood Tigres photo Osgood Tigres.jpg
Osgood's road to the NHL began in Medicine Hat

In 1991-92, Osgood played 15 games for Medicine Hat, 16 with the Brandon Wheat Kings and finally 21 more with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who he backstopped to the Memorial Cup tournament to conclude his junior hockey career.

For the 1992-93 season, Osgood was assigned to the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL, where he played in 45 games. He would play 4 games for Adirondack to begin the 1993-94 season until becoming the fourth goaltender that season for the Detroit Red Wings. There, he took the reins and played in 41 games for Detroit, posting a stellar 23-8-5 record, but the heavily favored Red Wings lost in the first round of the playoffs, with a gaffe by Osgood late in the third period of Game 7 leading to the defeat.

Detroit management felt the young Osgood was not ready for number one status and traded for Stanley Cup winner Mike Vernon during the offseason. The 1994-95 season was delayed by labor issues and limited Osgood to 19 games in support of Vernon's 30 appearances. The club made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but were eventually swept in four straight.

For the 1995-96 season, Osgood played in 50 games, winning a league high 39 as well as finishing with an NHL leading 2.17 goals against average, which allowed him and Vernon to share the William Jennings Trophy for the tandem allowing the fewest goals in the league.

Vernon Osgood photo Vernon Osgood Jennings.jpg
Vernon and Osgood with the Jennings Trophy

His outstanding season also saw him make his first NHL All-Star Game. If that weren't enough, Osgood also became a member of an exclusive club, as he scored a goal, becoming only the second goaltender after Ron Hextall to actually score on a direct shot.

 photo Osgood 1996 All-Star.jpg
Osgood played in his first All-Star Game in 1996

Osgood and Vernon again split the playing time in 1996-97, with Osgood finishing with a 23-13-9 record from 47 appearances. Vernon started the bulk of the playoff games, as Osgood was limited to 2 games during Detroit's march to their first Stanley Cup championship in 42 years.

Following the injuries to teammate Vladimir Konstantinov in the days following their 1997 championship, the 1997-98 Red Wings were a team on a mission. Vernon was traded, which made Osgood the undisputed number one goaltender. He responded with a 33-20-11 record and 6 shutouts during the regular season before going 16-6 during the playoffs as Detroit won their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Osgood Red Wings 1998 photo Osgood 1998.jpg
Osgood hoists the Stanley Cup in 1998

Osgood also had a memorable career moment that season when he fought Patrick Roy of the rival Colorado Avalanche, who had fought Vernon during the previous season.


Osgood would play three additional seasons as the Red Wings top netminder, but his games played and win totals would slide a bit each season and the team failed to return to the cup finals. Finally, Detroit was able to acquire six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek. After unsuccessfully trying to trade Osgood, the Red Wings place him on waivers and he was acquired by the New York Islanders prior to the 2001-02 season.

Osgood Islanders photo Osgood Islanders.jpg
Osgood while a member of the Islanders

He would play a season and a half with the Islanders, which included helping them return to the playoffs after a 32 win season in 2001-02 before being traded to the St. Louis Blues during the 2002-03 season.

Osgood Blues photo Osgood Blues.jpg
Osgood during him time with St. Louis

Osgood played 9 games at the end of 2002-03 and played in 67 as the Blues number one goaltender, winning 31 in 2003-04, but playoff success eluded the Blues and Osgood's contract expired at the end of the season. It was also the last NHL hockey played until 2005-06 due to the lockout which cancelled the 2004-05 season. Unlike many players, Osgood did not seek out a team in Europe to keep active and sat out the entire season.

He was re-signed by the Red Wings for 2005-06, but a groin injury delayed the start of his season, which began with a three game conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Once back with Detroit, Osgood went 20-6-5 but an injury cut short his playoffs and the Red Wings postseason.

Osgood Griffins photo Osgood Griffins.jpg
Osgood during his conditioning stint in Grand Rapids

For the 2006-07 season, Hasek returned to Detroit while Osgood suffered a fractured hand, which led to Hasek assuming the number one role for the season which limited Osgood to 21 appearances. The following season Osgood played 43 games with a 27-9-4 record, 4 shutouts and a 2.09 goals against average as he and Hasek split playing time during the regular season, with the duo winning the Jennings Trophy for the second time in Osgood's career. Osgood's performance that season also earned him another NHL All-Star Game appearance.

Osgood Hasek photo Osgood Hasek.jpg
The dominating duo of Osgood and Hasek
teamed up to win the Jennings Trophy in 2008

After Hasek started the playoffs, Osgood took over in Game 4 of the first round. He then started Game 5 and the Red Wings went on a 9 game winning streak to eliminate Nashville and Colorado as well as putting Dallas on the brink.

Eventually the Stars were eliminated and Osgood started the Stanley Cup Finals by shutting out the high powered Pittsburgh Penguins in Games 1 and 2. The Red Wings would go on to win the series in six games to capture the Stanley Cup for the third time in Osgood's career. During the playoffs, Osgood was 14-4 with a 1.55 goals against.

Osgood Red Wings 2008 photo Chris Osgood Stanley Cup 2008.jpg
Osgood celebrates winning his third Stanley Cup in 2008

The 2008-09 regular season was a difficult one for Osgood, but Detroit was still strong enough as defending champions to qualify for the playoffs, where he was able to turn his game around to carry the Red Wings to Game 7 of the finals, where they lost a rematch to Pittsburgh.

Osgood Red Wings photo Osgood vs Penguins.jpg

His playing time diminished over the next to seasons down to 23 games in 2009-10 and finally 11 games in 2010-11, but he was still able to win 5 games that year which included Osgood winning his 400th career game, just the 10th goaltender in NHL history to reach that milestone.

Osgood Red Wings photo Osgood Red Wings.jpg
Osgood with his trademark birdcage mask,
the last goalie in the NHL to wear the two piece design

Following the season, he announced his retirement from the game with a record of 401-216-95 with 50 shutouts, 3 Stanley Cups, 2 Jennings Trophies, 3 NHL All-Star Games and Top Ten positions all-time in Career Wins, Win Percentage, Playoff Wins and Playoff Shutouts.

Osgood Red Wings photo Osgood Red Wings 2.jpg
Chris Osgood

Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings Chris Osgood jersey as worn during the season Osgood had a 2.17 goals against average and set a career high with 39 wins to lead the league in both categories.

This classic Red Wings jersey dates back to the 1932-33 season when the franchise changed their name from the Detorit Falcons to the Red Wings under the ownership of James Norris. There have been a few minor tweaks along the way, but the jersey has essentially reamined unchanged since it's introduction.

Detroit Red Wings 1995-96 B jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1995-96 F jersey.jpg
Detroit Red Wings 1995-96 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1995-96 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a Detroit Red Wings Chris Osgood 2009-10 jersey as worn during the opening games of the NHL season which took place against the St. Louis Blues in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the NHL Premiere games. This jersey was worn during Osgood's final season when he won his 400th game, putting him in exclusive company among NHL goaltenders.

This jersey is a Reebok Edge jersey which was introduced into the NHL for the 2007-08 season. While many teams were given complete jersey makeovers, teams like Detroit with jersey traditions which dated back decades, insisted on maintaining their classic look.

Detroit Red Wings 2009-10 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 2009-10 F jersey.jpg
Detroit Red Wings 2009-10 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 2009-10 B jersey.jpg

In today's video section, Osgood wins his 400th NHL game and is mobbed by his teammates.


Here, Osgood scores a goal against the Hartford Whalers on March 6, 1996.


Next, extended highlights from Osgood in the 1990's.


You never know when those goaltending skills will come in handy.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

1929-30 New York Americans Moe Roberts Jersey

After playing junior hockey for the Boston Unicorns of the United States Amateur Hockey Association in 1924-25, goaltender Moe Roberts made his NHL debut on December 8, 1925 substituting for the injured Doc Stewart in a 3-2 Bruins win against the Montreal Maroons while he was the Bruins practice goalie and stick boy! Roberts was a mere 19 years old at the time, making him the youngest goaltender to ever play in the NHL, a record which would stand for nearly twenty years until the 17 year old Harry Lumley made his debut for the New York Rangers in 1943-44.

Roberts would play one additional game for the Bruins on December 11th, a 5-3 loss to the short-lived Pittsburgh Pirates before Stewart was fit to return.

 photo Roberts Boston Bruins.jpg
Moe Roberts set an NHL record for being the league's
youngest player which stood for 18 years

Roberts then spent the seven seasons in the Canadian-American Hockey League, beginning with the New Haven Eagles in 1926-27 with a 18-14-0 record and a 2.00 goals against average. After one more season with New Haven, Roberts joined the Philadelphia Arrows beginning with the 1928-29 season. Oddly, he had a losing 12-21-7 record that season despite a 1.76 goals against.

For the 1929-30 season, his goals against average rose more than a goal per game to 2.94, but his record improved to 20-18-2 as the Arrows found their offensive game, doubling their season total from 60 to 120.

Roberts would spend one more season with the Arrows in 1930-31 before returning to New Haven for the 1931-32 season. He also returned to the NHL for one game with the New York Americans on March 10, 1932 to replace an injured Roy Worters, a 5-1 win over the rival New York Rangers.

After playing the 1932-33 season for New Haven, Roberts joined the Cleveland Indians of the IHL for the 1933-34 season. He was limited to 35 games as he was recalled by the Americans of the NHL for another 6 games.

Moe Roberts Indians photo MoeRobertsIndians.jpg
This photo is signed with Roberts' given name "Maurice", but we question, based on the hairline and shape of the players face, if this really is Roberts during his time with the Cleveland Indians in 1933-34

He would play the entire 1934-35 season with the newly renamed Cleveland Falcons before an unsettled 1935-36 season where Roberts played 13 games for the Falcons, 1 game for the Syracuse Stars and 15 for the Rochester Cardinals, all of the IHL.


Roberts Rochester photo Roberts Barons 2.png
Roberts during his brief spell with Rochester

The Falcons were renamed the Cleveland Barons for the 1937-38 season and Roberts would play for the Barons for the next six seasons, where Roberts enjoyed a run of success with four winning and one .500 record during the six, which included Calder Cup championships in both 1939 and 1941.

Roberts played the majority of the 1941-42 season with the Barons as well as 3 games with the Pittsburgh Hornets after 16 seasons before his military obligations with the United States Navy due to World War II took him away from the game.

Roberts Barons photo Roberts Barons.png
Roberts won two Calder Cups with the Barons

Five years after his last game, Roberts suited up for 24 games for the Washington Lions of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League before retiring from active play.

He returned to the game as the arena manager of the Milwaukee Gulls of the USHL in 1950-51 and then became the assistant team trainer for the Chicago Black Hawks the following season, which included putting on the pads during practice.

It was while on the Black Hawks staff on this date in 1951 that their goaltender Lumley, the same player who broke Roberts record as the youngest goaltender in NHL history, was injured in a game against the Detroit Red Wings. Roberts was pressed into service on an emergency basis 18 years after his last NHL appearance, setting a record as the oldest player in NHL history, which stood until Gordie Howe surpassed him in 1979. Roberts remains the oldest goaltender in league history.

Roberts final NHL totals were 10 games played with a 3-5 record and records at one time for being both the youngest and oldest players in the NHL. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

Today's featured jersey is a 1929-30 New York Americans Moe Roberts jersey. We will admit, this photo gives us some trouble. Roberts only played for the Americans in 1931-32 and 1933-34, but during those seasons, according to our favorite source NHLUniforms.com, the Americans wore jerseys with "AMERICANS" across the front with less sleeve stripes beginning in 1930-32.

Roberts is pictured here with a jersey featuring "NEW YORK" as the main cresting, which was used by the franchise from 1925-26 through 1929-30, all of which had more sleeve stripes, including several thin ones as pictured below.

Based on the pattern of striping on the body below the "NEW YORK", one stripe of one color with all the stripes below being a different color, we believe this was the style worn by the Americans from 1927-28 to 1929-30 and photographed with a blue filter, which would render the red areas darker and the blue areas lighter. We then colorized the photo to reflect this belief.

Now, why would Roberts be wearing a two year old 1929-30 jersey in 1931-32? Were teams not quite so fussy back then? Would a one game call up be given whatever spare jersey was around? Would a one game call up even be photographed in the first place? Perhaps this picture is from 1933-34 when Roberts was with the team for six games, making this 1929-30 jersey even more of an anomaly. We have our favorite opinion, but no way of knowing the real story behind this discrepancy.

Roberts New York Americans photo Roberts  Americans 2.jpg

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Turd Burger - 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres Tyler Ennis Jersey

On this date in 2013, the Buffalo Sabres debuted their newest alternate jersey, a yellow on the front blue on the back affair. The jersey was originally revealed on Twitter by team captain Steve Ott on September 4th to a harsh reaction. It was immediately trashed by hockey fans everywhere as one of the worst jerseys in NHL history.

Turd Burger photo Ott Tweet.png
Steve Ott's Twitter Reveal

Following it's on ice debut, sample comments on Twitter were:
  • "The Sabres third jersey should come with the 'May cause seizures' warning"
  • "Someone thought this was a good idea. More than one person. I can't get over that."
  • "It's really unfair to try and single out a 'worst part' with the Sabres new jersey."
  • "They're relevant because they look like practice jerseys and they play like a practice squad"
The team released facts about the jersey
  • The Sabres creative team worked in collaboration with Reebok. Team ownership "challenged" the design team, which studied jerseys from across professional sports for "inspiration," to use gold as a primary color.
  • The design concept - gold as the primary front color and navy on the back - is believed to be a first for the NHL
  • The Sabres designed a new word mark for the pant leg, just below the neckline and right above the crest on the front.
  • Reebok designed a "unique font" for the jersey numbers and names inspired by "tips of actual sabers"
  • Captain and alternate captain insignia use crossed swords as design elements. The patches have been moved from the chest to the shoulder.
Of note, there have been a few gold jerseys in the NHL prior to Buffalo's entry, dating back to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1925 to 1928, the Boston Bruins from 1940-44 and again from 1955 to 1967 as well as their third jersey worn from 1995 to 2006. The Penguins had a gold jersey from 1981 to 1984 and Nashville wore a dark mustard alternate from 2001 to 2007 and a bright gold home jersey in 2011, but none of those had a different color on the back like the Sabres new alternate.

Turd Burger front and back photo Buffalo-Sabres-Alternate-FampB.jpg
Is it gold, or is it blue?

The best feature of the jersey, the Sabre-specific Captain and Alternate Captains' patches, also proved to be one of the worst, as the sharp looking designs were placed on the player's right shoulders rather than their chest, making them all but impossible to see.

Turd Burger photo Sabres C A.jpg
The Sabres unique Captain and Alternate patches

Turd Burger photo Buffalo-Sabres-Alternate-Kevin Porter C2.jpg
The unique placement of the Sabres captain's designations

That first season Buffalo wore the new alternates ten times for Sunday home games, unfortunately for the Sabres, half of those games were versus Original Six clubs Detroit, Montreal and New York while three more were against New Jersey and Philadelphia, whose timeless, classic jerseys only served to illustrate the absurdity of the Sabres jerseys in comparison.

Turd Burger photo Zemgus-Girgensons-Debut.jpg
The Sabres new alternates suffered in comparison
to Detroit's classic jerseys on their debut

Sabres president Ted Black initially declined comment when first asked about the reaction. It got so big and spread so far that Black finally did address it on his weekly appearance on WGR Radio the morning after the season opener. And he did it with remarkable candor:
“It’s received a ton of criticism and a lot of attention. I think it had over 4 million mentions on Twitter. I’ve seen it. It’s something that doesn’t offend me. I think people have had a lot of fun with the criticisms of it. Judge for yourself whenever you see it. If you come into the store and you look at it and say I don’t want to buy it or you do buy it, in terms of moving the needles on revenues, it won’t do anything.
“If it doesn’t sell, it won’t really mean anything to our bottom line. It’s a third jersey. If it’s a turd burger I’ll have to put it on a bun and eat it. It’s the way it is.
“We kept the logo the same. We wanted to do something that was a little bit more non-traditional, so it’s two-toned; it’s gold in the front and blue in the back; it has different colors for numbering; it has the Buffalo font in the front. Like I said, no one’s gonna twist your arm, put a gun to your head if you don’t wanna buy it you don’t have to.”
For those of you who would like to hear the entire 25 minute interview with Black when he first used the phrase "Turd Burger", click the link below. The discussion of the new jersey begins at the 17:12 mark and runs for four minutes.


And with that, the jersey had it's nickname, which historically have been reserved for the worst of the worst jerseys, such as the "Wild Wing", the "Burger King", the "Mooterus" and the "Fishsticks" jerseys.

The team even skipped one of their scheduled games to wear the Turd Burger. After going 1-4-1 in the jersey's first six games, the team wore their regular blue home jerseys against Pittsburgh on February 5, 2014, causing some to speculate that maybe the jersey was on the way out after just one season. The team did wear the jersey for its final three scheduled appearances, finishing the season with a 2-6-1 record while wearing the controversial alternate.

Turd Burger photo Cody Hodgson Patrick Kaleta Turd Burger.jpg
A rare happy moment as the Sabres went 2-6-1 in their new alternate

The jersey was worn ten times throughout the 2014-15 season with somewhat improved results on the ice, going 4-4-2, but apparently without improved results in the sales or aesthetics departments, as the Sabres announced on March 13, 2015 that the Turd Burger Jerseys would not return for the 2015-16 season. From the Buffalo News:
Ted Black admitted the team did a poor job running the design past focus groups and also said, "We didn't anticipate the amount of 'third-jersey fatigue' " in the market in the wake of the team's 40th anniversary throwbacks.
One would think that with the importance of retail sales ability to improve a modern sports team's bottom line that the Sabres would have been much more careful about the introduction of any new jersey coming not long after the debacle that was the "Buffaslug", the long hoped for return to the Sabres traditional blue and gold colors in 2006-07 after spending the previous nine seasons wearing black and red, which was completely undone by the legless slug-like logo, which was dropped after four seasons of derision.

To make matters worse for the Buffaslug, the team at the same time brought back the classic Gilbert Perreault-era Sabres jersey as an alternate, making the 'slug look even worse by comparison. That throwback alternate design lasted just one season, falling victim to the introduction of the Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007-08, which dictated teams could not have a third jersey that season.

They created a modern update to the classic Sabres jersey as an alternate in 2008-09 in a darker shade of blue and with additional trim on the stripes. Two seasons later that third jersey was promoted to the primary home jersey and a white version introduced for wear on the road.

That same season, the Sabres' 40th Anniversary season, yet another third jersey debuted, this one in the Sabres original blue and gold colors, which featured a retro "Buffalo" cresting in the style of the old Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League.

Sabres 40th Anniv Alternate photo Sabres 40th Anniv Alternate_1.jpg
The 2010-11 Buffalo Sabres 40th Anniversary alternate jersey

It was these three alternate styles in the space of six seasons, none lasting more than two, which caused Black to theorize about the "third-jersey fatigue" factor.

Not to be overlooked as part of the problem greeting the Turd Burger was the Sabres performance on the ice. Terry Pegula purchased the Sabres in February of 2011, bring a feeling of great optimism to the Sabres fanbase, as the team was coming off a 100 point season and their first playoff appearance in tree seasons in 2009-10 and duplicated that effort in 2010-11 with 96 points and another playoff appearance.

The team slipped slightly in 2011-12 to 89 points but missed out on the postseason. In 2012-13 they parted with long time head coach Lindy Ruff and missed the playoffs again. The Turd Burger arrived for the 2013-14 season as the team plummeted to the bottom of the NHL with a 21-51-5-5 record for 52 points, last in the NHL. They then lost out on the first overall pick in the 2014 draft when the Florida Panthers won the draft lottery.

For the 2014-15 season, a 23-51-3-5 record and 54 points excited the fans with another last place finish and hopes of drafting the much-touted Connor McDavid, only to have the Edmonton Oilers swoop in and steal the first pick from the last place Sabres for a second year in a row. Both Ruff's replacement, the popular Ted Nolan, and team president Black were dismissed in the aftermath of the two last place finishes.

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Sabres President Ted Black, author of the name "Turd Burger"

Perhaps similar to the New York Islanders "Fishsticks" jerseys of 1995-97, a jersey can become a symbol for a losing team, and the Sabres dismal performance over the two seasons the yellow and blue alternate was worn did nothing to endear the fans to the decidedly unconventional jersey.

Today's featured jersey is a 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres Tyler Ennis jersey, a very poorly received Sabres alternate, which was unintentionally nicknamed the Turd Burger by the Sabres President Ted Black in an interview discussing the less than supportive response to the new third jersey.

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Buffalo Sabres 2012-13 jersey photo Buffalo Sabres 2012-13 B jersey C.jpg

Today's video section is the Sabres alternate jersey's debut against the Detroit Red Wings on this date in 2013.

 

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