Friday, April 29, 2016

2000-01 Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph Jersey

Goaltender Curtis Joseph, born on this date in 1967, first gained recognition when he led the Notre Dame Hounds to the Junior A Centennial Cup championship in 1988 following a season in which we posted a record of 25-4-7 in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The following season he crossed the border into the United States to play for the University of Wisconsin Badgers for the 1988-89 season as their number one goalie. Joseph finished with a 21-11-5 record with a 2.49 goals against average to lead the Badgers into the NCAA national playoffs.

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Joseph played college hockey at Wisconsin

Undrafted, Joseph was signed by the St. Louis Blues for the 1989-90 season, where he split his time between the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL, playing in 23 games with a 10-8-2 record, and the Blues of the NHL, where he impressed with a 9-5-1 record in 15 games played following the Blues trade of goalie Greg Millen.

The following season "CuJo", known for his snarling dog mask inspired by the 1983 film Cujo about a rabid St. Bernard, played in 30 games with a 16-10-2 mark playing behind Vincent Riendeau. The Blues recognized Joseph's talent, which made Riendeau expendable, as he was shipped to the Detroit Red Wings, clearing the way for Joseph to take over as the Blues top netminder for the next four seasons. He finished the 1991-92 season with 60 games played ahead of teammates Guy Hebert (13 games played) and Pat Jablonski (10 games).

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Joseph's trademark snarling dog mask

In 1992-93, Joseph played in 68 games, winning 29. He impressed during the playoffs, particularly when he stopped 119 out of 122 shots in back to back double overtime games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The next season of 1993-94, he was again a workhorse, playing in 71 of the Blues 84 games as he finished with a 36-23-11 record, his first 30 win season.

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Joseph began his NHL career with the Blues

He would play 36 games of the strike shortened 1994-95 season, his last with St. Louis. Prior to the start of the 1995-96 season, Joseph was traded to the Edmonton Oilers by then head coach and general manager Mike Keenan among the many deals he made to remake the Blues roster to his liking.

Joseph played for the Oilers in 34 games that season as well as appearing for the IHL's Las Vegas Thunder for 15 games, winning 12 while losing just 2 and tying once.

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Joseph played three seasons in Edmonton

Following the 1995-96 NHL season, Joseph was a member of the Canadian National Team for the 1996 World Championships, where he won a silver medal, and then later that fall he was a member of the Canadian team for the inaugural World Cup of Hockey.

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Joseph during the 1996 World Cup playing for Canada

He next set a career high in appearances when he played 72 games for the Oilers in 1996-97, winning 32. He duplicated that effort in 1997-98 with 71 appearances, winning 29. During the 1997-98 season he was also on the roster for Canada during the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the first to feature current NHL players.

With his contract with Edmonton having expired, he signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 1998-99 season, which began a run of success, as he would play 67, 63 and 68 games over the next three seasons, winning 35, 36 and 33 games respectively. He was a runner up for the Vezina Trophy in both 1999 and 2000, while also being a finalist for the Pearson Award in 1999.

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Joseph saw three straight 30 win seasons with Toronto

During the 2001-02 season, Joseph was limited to 51 games, but was back to full health by the playoffs, as he helped the Maple Leafs reach the Conference Finals for the second time following their earlier run in 1999. He also appeared in his second Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City, playing in Canada's opening game as they went on to win the gold medal.

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Joseph in goal for the opening game of the 2002 Olympics

With the Oilers management now willing to sign CuJo for four years, he left Edmonton and signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings for the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings. Some also speculate to a rift between Maple Leafs GM Pat Quinn after Quinn replaced Joseph after his opening game loss in the Olympics earlier that year.

His time in Detroit started off well enough, as he played in 64 games, winning 34. The Red Wings, however, were swept in the first round of the playoffs and it was of little consolation that all four games were one goal losses with two coming in overtime.

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Joseph's time in Detroit was unsettled

The following season was an up and down one for Joseph, as former Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek came out of retirement and returned to the Detroit roster. With Manny Legace there as a capable backup, the Red Wings attempted to trade Joseph, but his $8 million contract made that impossible. At one point Joseph was sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, but a groin injury to Hasek got Joseph recalled, and with Hasek now out for the rest of the season, Joseph eventually played in 31 games.

The following NHL season was lost to the lockout. Unlike many players, Joseph did not find a team in the minors or Europe and did not play that season. When play resumed for the 2005-06 season, Joseph was now a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, who signed him as a free agent. That year, CuJo played in 60 games, his tenth season of 60 or more games. Additionally, he would win 32 games to become the first goaltender in NHL history to win 30 games or more for five different teams.

He played in 55 games in his second and final season with Phoenix.

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Joseph reached 400 career wins with Phoenix

Without a NHL contract, Joseph joined the traditional Team Canada squad for the 2007 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland where he backed the Canadians to the championship.

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Joseph celebrates with the Spengler Cup

He remained unsigned for the 2007-08 until January when he joined the Calgary Flames as a backup to the established Mikka Kiprusoff. He eventually saw action in nine games for Calgary before returning to the Maple Leafs for his final NHL season of 2008-09. He shared time with number one Vesa Toskala and Martin Gerber, eventually playing in 21 games.

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He spent the second half of 2007-08 with the Flames

His final career statistics are 943 games played (5th all time), with 454 wins (4th all time), the most of any goaltender to never play in the Stanley Cup Finals. His 24,279 saves are third all time. CuJo also played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1994 and 2000.

Today's featured jersey is a 2000-01 Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph jersey. This jersey was worn by the Maple Leafs for their final season in Maple Leaf Gardens in 1998-99. It was brought back as a third jersey in 2000-01 and was worn through the 2006-07 season after which all third jerseys were dropped during the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys.

This style was so popular that it was brought back in an Edge version as quickly as possible for the 2008-09 season and lasted another three seasons until being replaced by a different throwback alternate jersey.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph jersey. After the Maple Leafs wore the same jerseys from 1970 to 1992, the popularity of the Turn Back the Clock jersey was the inspriation for their new jerseys for the 1992-93 season, a return to the simple dual blue stripes from their 1937-38 jerseys. The retro leaf from the TBTC jerseys was used as the secondary shoulder logos as the 1970's primary logo was retained as the main crest.

In 1997-98 the basic block font for the name and numbers was changed to a more modern, rounded font as seen here. This look remained through the 1999-00 season when the number font returned to a more traditional style and the secondary logos were replaced by a new TML monogram for the 2000-01 season.

Today's bonus jersey also features the "Memories and Dreams" patch worn for the final season of play in Maple Leaf Gardens, the season today's featured jersey was first introduced, also with the "Memories and Dreams" patch.

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 photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1991-92 St. Louis Blues Curtis Joseph jersey. This classic Blues jersey was first introduced in 1984-85, but with the word "Blues" arched over the Bluenote crest. The wordmark was gone by 1987-88 and the jerseys remained the same through the 1991-92 season, the year all the players wore the NHL 75th Anniversary patch on the upper right chest. Additionally, the Blues also wore their own 25th Anniversary patch on the upper left sleeve.

The following season the names on the back changed from one color to three to match the numbers for the final two seasons of this style.
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St Louis Blues 1991-92 jersey photo St Louis Blues 1991-92 B jersey.jpg

For more Joseph jerseys, we recommend

Today's video section begins with a compliation of CuJo highlights.

Next, Joseph takes on the Red Wings Tim Cheveldae in a real goalie fight as there were a number of two on one battles on the ice, which prompted Cheveldae to come to the rescue of a teammate, which brought Joseph out of his crease with fists flying.

Finally, a desperate, diving save by Joseph in overtime of Game 7 in the 1997 playoffs for the Oilers.

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