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Saturday, February 19, 2011

1976-77 New York Rangers Rod Gilbert Jersey

Rod Gilbert's career almost never happened, as during the 1959-60 season in junior hockey, with one game left in the season, he slipped on some trash thrown on the ice and fell backwards into the boards, fracturing his back and was paralyzed for two months and underwent spinal fusion surgery. He also got an infection in his tibia, raising talk of an amputation, and a staph infection in his back. In total Gilbert required eight months of recovery time.

Fully recovered, he began his career with the Rangers in 1960-61, getting into one game following the conclusion of his junior hockey season. His first NHL goal came in the playoffs following the 1961-62 season when he scored 5 points in 4 games before cracking the Rangers lineup the following season and getting into 70 games in 1962-63, scoring 11 goals and 31 points.

Rod Gilbert Rangers

He really made strides in 1963-64, more than doubling his point total from the year prior, with 24 goals and 64 points and playing in the first of eight NHL All-Star Games, followed by another 25 goals and 61 points the next season and another All-Star Game appearance, all while playing with a back brace.

Another back surgery, and an incident while recovering in the hospital when he choked as a result of acute indigestion and was clinically dead for four minutes before being revived, caused him to miss more than half the season in 1965-66, but for the next 11 seasons Gilbert would play in a minimum of 64 games, with 9 of those seasons being 70 games or more.

Gilbert, teamed with center Jean Ratelle, whom Gilbert had played with as early as age 10, and team captain Vic Hadfield on left wing, would form the GAG Line, which stood for "Goal A Game" and would play together in the late 1960's and early 1970's, averaging over a goal a game.

The GAG Line waiting for another opportunity to score

In 1971-72 Ratelle, Hadfield and Gilbert would finish third, fourth and fifth in the NHL scoring race, which included Ratelle missing a month with a broken ankle! The trio was broken up in 1974 when Hadfield was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Gilbert's best seasons were 1971-72, with 43 goals, his career high, and 54 assists for 97 points and his only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, and 1974-75 with 36 goals and 61 assists for a matching 97 points.

The 1975 trade of lifelong friend and linemate Ratelle took away some of Gilbert's spirit and likely hastened the end of his career, as Gilbert only played two more seasons following the trade.

Gilbert Rangers 50th
Gilbert in 1975-76 with the Rangers 50th anniversary patch on his jersey

He would maintain his high level of play though, with 86 points in 70 games in 1975-76 and 75 points in 77 games in 1976-77 which included his 1,000th game on December 12, 1976 and his 1,000th point on this date in 1977 during a game in which he scored a goal and an assist against the New York Islanders in his 1,027th game.

Rod Gilbert Rangers
As was the case with many players who began playing in the early 60's, his hair grew noticeably longer throughout his career!

He retire after playing 19 games of the 1977-78 season after 19 seasons with 1065 games played, 406 goals and 615 assists for 1,021 points.

Gilbert had his #7 retired by the Rangers in 1979, astonishingly the first Ranger to ever have his number retired in the then 53 years of Rangers history! He was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

Rod Gilbert Rangers

Internationally, Gilbert played for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, scoring 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games, and again for Canada in the 1977 World Championships with 4 points in 9 games.

Gilbert Canada
Gilbert posing while wearing the 1972 Summit Series Canada jersey

Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 New York Rangers Rod Gilbert jersey from his final season in the NHL. This jersey style was first introduced by General Manager John Ferguson Sr. in the 1976-77 season and was the first departure in club history from the iconic diagonal "RANGERS" cresting.

New York Rangers 76-77 jersey

After proving unpopular with the tradition bound Rangers fans, this style was only used for two seasons, the first without names on the back of the road jerseys as featured today, and, thanks to a new NHL rule requiring them, with names on the back for the 1977-78 season. Names were always worn on the home white jerseys of this style.

After being let go by the Rangers in 1978, Ferguson became the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets and reprised the exact same jersey template for the Jets beginning with their inaugural NHL season in 1979, with the only differences being the font for the name and numbers and, naturally, the team logo. The Jets would use this style all throughout the 1980's.

Today's video shows the hight of Gilbert's fame and popularity, as he is featured in a commercial for Mercury cars in 1970.

Next, we are pleased to present the excellent "Legends of Hockey" profile of
Rod Gilbert.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1991-92 Boston Bruins Andy Moog Jersey

While playing for the Wichita Wind of the Central Hockey League, injuries to goaltenders Ron Low and Eddie Mio forced the Edmonton Oilers to call up Andy Moog, who was born on this date in 1960. Moog would play in seven games late in the season and then nine playoff games, which included an opening round sweep of the Montreal Canadiens.

Moog Oilers

With the emergence of Grant Fuhr, Moog spent the majority of the 1981-82 season back in Wichita, but did see action in eight NHL games with the Oilers. Moog established himself as a full time Oiler the following season, playing in 50 regular season games and was the Oilers goalie of choice during their first deep playoff run to the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. He posted a postseason record of 11-5, but the Oilers fell to the New York Islanders dynasty.

He continued to split time with Fuhr for the next four seasons, playing in 38, 39, 47 and 46 games during that time period as the Oilers won Stanley Cups in 1984, 1985 and 1987. While Fuhr played the majority of the games in the 1984 playoffs, he was injured in Game 3 of the Finals and Moog stepped in and won games 4 and 5 to bring Edmonton their first Stanley Cup championship.

After three more seasons of playing behind Fuhr in the playoffs in particular, Moog asked to be traded and left the Oilers to join the Canadian National Team in 1987-88. After playing 27 games of their pre-Olympic schedule, Moog competed in the 1988 Olympics hosted by Calgary. Although Moog went 4-0, Canada finished 5-2-1 and finished out of the medals in forth.

Moog Canada

Following the Olympics, Moog was sent to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline. Moog went 4-2 during the final games of the regular season and the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, but were defeated by Edmonton.

The Bruins reliance on Moog grew each season as his games played increased from 41 in 1988-89, to 46, 51 and then a carer high of 62 in 1991-92. The Bruins again made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1989-90 as Moog went 13-7 in 20 games. They also had deep playoff runs with appearances in the conference finals in both 1991 and 1992 with Moog handling the bulk of the work with 19 and then 15 postseason games.

Moog Bruins

Still the Bruins number one goalie, he played 55 games in 1992-93, winning a career high 37 games, but following a first round playoff exit after three straight overtime losses, Moog was dealt to the Dallas Stars in time for their first season in Texas.

Moog Stars

For four seasons Moog was the Stars number one netminder, with a high of 28 wins in 1996-97. His final NHL season was with the Montreal Canadiens, a team he had eliminated from the playoffs four times, after signing as a free agent. There he split time with Jocelyn Thibault and made 42 appearances before retiring.

Moog Canadiens

His final NHL totals are 713 games over 18 seasons, 372 wins, 209 losses and 88 ties. He registered 28 shutouts and a career 3.13 goals against average. In the playoffs he saw action in 132 games, a testament to the strong clubs he played for throughout his career, going 66-57 and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup three times.

He as also known for his goalie mask, which was once named the scariest in NHL history by The Hockey News in 2008.

Moog Bruins mask

Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 Boston Bruins Andy Moog jersey. The 1991-92 season was the NHL's 75th Anniversary season, and as part of the celebrations, the Original 6 clubs all wore Turn Back the Clock jerseys throughout the season, particularly when they played against other Original 6 teams.

The Bruins jersey was based on their 1934-35 jerseys, the first year the Bruins were black and gold after wearing brown and gold since 1924.

Boston Bruins 91-92 TBTC jersey
Boston Bruins 91-92 TBTC jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers Andy Moog jersey as worn when Moog was in goal for the clinching Game 5 of the Oilers first Stanley Cup victory to begin their dynasty.

This jersey has been altered for Moog, specifically having the waist and sleeves shortened, which hides the Nike logo at the bottom of the jersey.

This style of Oilers jersey dates back to their entry into the NHL in 1979-80. Two seasons later this particular style arrived with a slightly lighter shade of blue and a new customization package which included three color numbers. This style would become an icon following the success of the Oilers and Wayne Gretzky in particular as it would remain unchanged through 1995-96 until being replaced by a new, darker color scheme. The blue road version would return in 2008-09 as a throwback alternate and was subsequently promoted to the club's primary jersey once again, only this time as the home jersey with the change from wearing light to dark jerseys as home in 2003-04.

Edmonton OIlers 85-86

Today's video is a highlight package of Moog highlights set to "music". It's up to you to decide if this is clever or cheesy. Or Both.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1972-73 Montreal Canadiens Frank Mahovlich Jersey

Frank Mahovlich joined the Maple Leafs for three games in 1956-57 and during his first full season of 1957-58 would score 20 goals, beating out Bobby Hull for the Calder Trophy. Three seasons later Maple Leafs coach Punch Imlach would put him on a line with Red Kelly and Bob Nevin. The three of them would be the team's top three scorers that season, with Mahovlich's 48 goals setting a Maple Leafs record that would stand for 21 years.

Mahovlich, "The Big M", would lead the Maple Leafs in goal scoring during the next three seasons in which the Maple Leafs would win three consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

Mahovlich Toronto

He would lead the Maple Leafs in scoring in 1964-65 and again in 1965-66 before the Mahovlich and the Maple Leafs would win another Stanley Cup in 1967, the fourth of his career.

"It was truly amazing that we won again in 1967. When I look back at that team, I wonder how the hell we did it. A lot of the players were new to the team since our win in 196. About eight or nine guys were around 40 years old. You can't find eight players that old in the entire NHL today! It gives you an idea of their talent, and that was in the six-team era," said Mahovlich.

Twice during his career in Toronto, Mahovlich would be hospitalized for depression and stress, a reaction to the negative way he was treated by the Maple Leafs fans during his time in Toronto and his conflicts with the Maple Leafs coaches and management.

"In Toronto, we always had problems that we couldn't solve. There was always something going on. It's amazing that we won four Stanley Cups while I was there. As players, we had no control over these problems. Punch Imlach practiced us too hard. We left our game on the practice rink half the time. Despite having great teams, we placed first only once in the regular season. I think that the management orchestrated a lot of the criticism I faced from the fans. I was relieved to be traded from Toronto in 1968, but I always lived there and still do. I wear my Stanley Cup ring from the Maple Leafs every day," said Mahovlich.

More in need of a change of scenery that just about any player ever, Mahovlich would be traded to the Detroit Red Wings on March 3, 1968 in a blockbuster trade that would send four players to Detroit with four heading back to Toronto in return, including Paul Henderson.

"... Toronto never understood me or my game. I would have been better off being traded earlier. My career blossomed after I left Toronto. Detroit and Montreal didn't contain me with rules or restraints. They said, "You're talented, go do your thing."

During his first full season in Detroit Mahovlich would set a career high in goals with 49 while playing on a line with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio. He would also get to play some with his younger brother Peter Mahovlich, "The Little M".

Mahovlich Detroit

A season and a half later in 1970-71, Mahovlich was on the move once more as Detroit entered a rebuilding phase, this time being dealt to the Montreal Canadiens, where he was reunited with his younger brother Pete who had joined Montreal in the season before.

The move to Montreal was a good one for Mahovlich, as he would finish the season by adding another Stanley Cup to his resume after contributing a league leading 14 goals and 27 playoff points.

"The 1971 playoffs were the highlight of my career. The record I set for the most points in a playoffs for a Montreal Canadien, 27 points, still stands more than 25 years later," Mahovlich stated.

The following season of 1971-72 saw Mahovlich set a career high with 96 points from 43 goals and 53 assists.

Before the next NHL season began, Mahovlich was a member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union.

In 1972-73, he would come close to equalling his point total from the year before with 93, which included scoring his 1,000th point on this date in 1973 with an assist in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, becoming just the eighth player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Just over a month later he would score his 500th goal to join another exclusive club.
He would then add another 23 points in 17 playoff games as the Canadiens would capture another Stanley Cup.

Mahovlich 500 goals
Mahovlich celebrates his 500th goal

One more season in Montreal would see Mahovlich close out his NHL career by scoring 80 points to finish with 1181 games played, 533 goals and 570 assists for 1103 points and six Stanley Cups.

For 1974-75, Mahovlich would accept a lucrative offer to join the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association and participate in the 1974 Summit Series, which matched the stars of the WHA against the Soviet Union. Offensively, his two seasons with the Toros were successful, with 82 points in 1975 followed by 89 in 1976.

The Toros would relocate to Birmingham, Alabama of all the unlikely places, and be renamed the Bulls. The Bulls seemed more inclined to fight than score in order to attract fans. The aging Mahovlich was put on a line with tough guys Frank "Never" Beaton and Dave Hanson, one of the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slap Shot. Naturally, his point production plummeted, and when asked by a reporter what was wrong, Mahovlich brilliantly replied, "I don't know, but I seem to play better with Howe and Delvecchio."

He retired at age 40 in 1978 with WHA totals of 237 games, 89 goals and 143 assists for 232 points, giving him over 600 goals, 700 assists and 1300 points combined as a professional in his 22 seasons.

Mahovlich was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981 and would later be appointed to the Senate of Canada.

Today's featured jersey is a 1972-73 Montreal Canadiens Frank Mahovlich jersey. from the season Mahovlich recorded both his 1,000th point and 500th goal.

The Canadiens red sweaters with the blue band around the chest date back to before the formation of the NHL in 1917 and this exact variation with the lace up collar and white numbers inside the arms stripes dates back to 1966-67 and remained in use through 1974-75 when it was replaced by a new v-neck collar.

Montreal Canadiens 72-73 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's featured video is the "Legends of Hockey" profile on Mahovlich, featuring Frank himself.

Our next video is a recap of Frank's career, told at 1000 miles per hour by Paul Hendrick, who really should consider weekend work as an auctioneer. Follow along if you can.

Next, Mahovlich scores for Canada against the Soviet Union's Vladislav Tretiak in Game 2 of the 1972 Summit Series.

Finally, a real treat, footage of the first Toronto versus Detroit game following the blockbuster trade which send Mahovlich to the Red Wings, highlighted by a goal from The Big M.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2009-10 Ak Bars Kazan Alexei Morozov Jersey

Born on this date in 1977, Alexei Morozov began his illustrious career playing for the Soviet Wings (Krylya Sovetov Moscow) in the 1993-94 season with ten games divided between the regular season and playoffs, failing to score even a single point.

He changed that in 1994-95 with 15 goals and 12 assists in 48 games, earning Rookie of the Year honors which led to him being a first round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins . His production dipped a bit in 1995-96 with 22 points, but he was name an All-Star of that season's World Junior Championship when he scored 5 goals and 8 points in 7 games on his way to a bronze medal to start his long international career.

He rebounded from his previous league season in 1996-97, placing second in the Russian Superleague with 21 goals. He also made is his second World Juniors appearance and again scored 5 goals and 8 points, only this time in just 6 games, as he won a second bronze medal and was named Best Forward of the tournament. Later that spring, he made his first appearance in the World Championships, scoring 6 points in 9 games playing with the seniors.

He began the 1997-98 season with 6 games for the Wings but soon made his NHL debut in spectacular fashion, scoring on his first shot during his first NHL shift. In 76 games with Pittsburgh he scored 13 goals and 26 points. In February of 1998 the NHL suspended it's season to allow it's players to compete in the Olympics for the first time, and Morozov was named as a member of the Russian Olympic Team where he scored 2 goals and 4 points on his way to a silver medal. Following the Penguins elimination from the NHL playoffs, Morozov also skated for Russia at the World Championships that spring.

Limited to 67 games in 1998-99, Morozov's production dropped to 19 points. While he only played 68 games the following season, his point production rose to 31 points. 2000-01 was a low point for Morozov, with just 5 goals in 66 games. He was able to contribute 3 goals and 6 points in the Penguins run to the conference finals during the postseason.

Once again he rebounded the following season, this time with an NHL career high 20 goals. Additionally he scored 29 assists for 49 points.

Morozov Penguins
Morozov while scoring a career high 20 goals in 2001 for the Pittsburgh Penguins

His 2002-03 season was ruined by a broken wrist after 27 games while on pace for nearly a point per game with 9 goals and 16 assists at the time of his injury. He came back in 2003-04 with the best NHL season of his career, scoring 50 points, including 30 in his final 15 games.

With the 2004-05 season cancelled due to the NHL lockout, Morozov returned to Russia and signed to play with Ak Bars Kazan, whose team owner took full advantage of the availability of the NHL talent looking for playing time in an effort to bring a championship to Kazan on the occasion of the city's 100th anniversary. In addition to Morozov, the Ak Bars lineup included NHL stars Alexei Kovalev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Khabibulin, Vincent Lecavalier, Darius Kasparitis, Dany Heatley and Brad Richards as well as other NHLers Ruslan Salei, Denis Arkipov, Alexei Zhitnik, Slava Kozlov, and Nik Antropov. While the club failed to deliver the hoped for championship, it was a successful season for Morozov, who led the loaded roster in scoring with 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in 58 games, placing 4th in the league in all three scoring categories.


Without the conflict of the NHL playoffs to contend with, Morozov returned to international competition at the 2004 World Championships for Russia.

Uncertain of the future of the NHL, Morozov chose to sign a contract with Ak Bars for 2005-06. The decision proved to be a good one for him, as he led the league in goals with 23 and his 49 points were second in the Superleague. In the postseason, Morozov caught fire and scored 13 goals and 13 assists in 13 games to capture the Playoff MVP award on his way to delivering the sought after championship to Kazan.

Morozov built on the success of his previous season with a record setting 2006-07. He led not only Kazan in scoring, but the entire league, setting a new scoring record in the process, as he became the first player in Soviet and Russian league history to top 80 points in a season with 83 points coming from 34 goals and 49 assists in 51 games on his way to a Russian Superleague MVP Award.

During the 2006-07 season, Ak Bars competed with five other championship clubs for the IIHF European Champions Cup in January. They defeated Farjestads BK from Sweden 6-4 and shutout HC Lugano of Switzerland 3-0 to advance to face HPK of Finland, who they blitzed 6-0 to win the cup. Morozov led all players in scoring with 10 points in 3 games and was named the MVP of the tournament.

Morozov Champions Cup
Morozov with the Silver Stone Trophy as European Champions Cup winners

He then participated in the 2007 World Championships and brought his same inspired play, totaling 8 goals and 13 points in 7 games as Russia won the bronze medal and Morozov was named the Best Forward of the tournament.

The 2007-08 saw Morozov once again lead Ak Bars in scoring with 64 points, one shy of the league leader, which included a five goal game against Barys Astana. Following league play, Morozov was named team captain of the Russian squad for the World Championships, where they would go undefeated and win their first gold medal in 15 years following a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over Canada.

Morozov 2008 WC
Morozov receives the World Championship trophy in 2008

2009 was another banner season for Morozov, as he led Kazan in scoring during the regular season with 70 points in 49 games. He then led the team in playoff scoring with 19 points in 21 games as Ak Bars captured the Gugarin Cup as inaugural Kontinental Hockey League champions with a 1-0 win in the decisive Game 7 as Morozov scored the only goal of the game. He was then named as the Playoff MVP for his efforts.

Morozov celebrates his championship winning goal in Game 7 of the 2009 KHL Finals

He was once again named as team captain for the World Championships. Russia rolled to the final where they would once again face the Canadians. After winning another exciting final 2-1, the Russians repeated as champions and now stood at 21-0 at the World Championships with Morozov as team captain.

Morozov 2009 WC
Morozov hoists the World Championship trophy in 2009

Morozov 2009 WC
Morozov celebrates Russia's second consecutive World Championship with Ilya Kovalchuk

In 2009-10 Morozov led Kazan in scoring for the 6th consecutive season. Ak Bars once again marched through the playoffs to reach the finals and defended their championship in a seven game series against HC MVD. Morozov scored 12 times in 18 games. He was also named as a member of the Russian Olympic Team for the Vancouver 2010 games where he had the honor of carrying the Russian flag in the opening ceremonies.

Morozov as Russia's flag bearer at the 2010 Winter Olympics

This season he remains with Ak Bars for the 7th consecutive season and as of this writing, is in his familiar place atop Kazan in scoring with 54 points in 51 games, 6th in the league.

Through the 2009-10 season, Morozov had scored 84 goals and 219 points in the NHL and 216 goals and 453 points while playing in the various incarnations of the top Russian leagues his teams have been members of, four in all. Morozov has also reached the 500 point mark in Russian hockey, an impressive feat considering the shorter season and seven seasons played in North America.

Internationally, Morozov has won three bronze medals, a silver and two gold medals. He has participated in two Olympic games, was named a Rookie of the Year and won a number of various MVP awards.

Today's featured jersey is a 2009-10 Ak Bars Kazan Alexei Morozov jersey. After years of wearing standard block numbers, Kazan changed to a new number font as well as changing to vertically arched names on the back of their jerseys.

This style of jersey was worn when Kazan repeated as champions of the KHL, giving them both titles in the short history of the KHL, and their third championship in five seasons.

Kazan is located 450 miles east of Moscow and their hockey club was founded in 1956 as Mashstroy Kazan. The club name has evolved to SC Uritskogo Kazan in 1958. When the Soviet Union broke apart, the club changed it's name to Itil Kazan in 1990 before finally adopting the name Ak Bars Kazan in 1995 when the Russian Hockey League, later the Russian Superleague, was formed.

"Ak Bars" means "Snow Leopards" and is the main element of the offical symbol of Tartarstan in which Kazan resides. The won their first championship in 1998 and then not again until 2006. The European Champions Cup followed in 2007 prior to their back-to-back Gagarin Cups as KHL champions in 2009 and 2010.

Ak Bars Kazan 09-10 jersey
Ak Bars Kazan 09-10 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1997-98 Soviet Wings Alexei Morozov jersey from his final games in Russia before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. This jersey has Alexei's first initial on the back as his older brother Valentin had joined the Wings for 1997-98 after five seasons with CSKA Moscow.

The Wings were founded in 1947 and wore a patch commemorating their 50th anniversary in 1997-98.

"KC" logo on the front stands for "Krylya Sovetov" with Krylya meaning "Wings" and the "C" being Cyrillic for "S", which stood for "Soviet".

Soviet Wings 97-98 jersey

Second Bonus Jersey: Our second bonus jersey today is a 2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Alexei Morozov jersey as worn during his time in the NHL. The Penguins adopted this style of jersey, sometimes referred to as the "Robo Penguin" in 1992-93 following their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship.

This style remained in use through 2001-02 until the teams third jersey,which featured the skating penguin logo, was promoted to the primary and a new white jersey was created as a mate to the promoted black alternate jersey, which meant the end of this jersey after eight seasons.


Our first video selection today is a tribute to Alexei Morozov and features clips of him from Ak Bars Kazan and the Russian National Team followed by a second video from his time in the NHL with Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2004 France National Team Sebastien Bordeleau Jersey

Born on this date in 1975 in Vancouver while his French-Canadian father Paulin played for the Canucks, Sebastien Bordeleau played his junior hockey for the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The center scored 58 points as a rookie in 1991-92 and followed that with a 57 point season the following year which led to his being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft with the 73rd overall pick.

He equalled his rookie total of 26 goals in 1993-94, but upped his assist total to 57, the same number of total points he scored the previous season for a total of 83. He then raised his game in 1994-95 with 52 goals and 76 assists for 128 points, which led Hull in scoring and placed him second overall in the QMJHL. He then went on to lead the Olympiques to the Memorial Cup playoffs with 13 goals and 32 points in 18 playoff games.

He joined the Fredericton Canadiens of the AHL for the 1994-95 and scored 46 points in 43 games. He also made his NHL debut with 4 games with the Montreal Canadiens that season.

Bordeleau Canadiens
Bordeleau while with the Montreal Canadiens

In 1996-97 Bordeleau split time with Fredericton (33 games) and Montreal (28), scoring his first NHL points with 2 goals and 9 assists in 28 games.

He played exclusively with Montreal in 1997-98, seeing action in 53 games and contributing 14 points. Unable to crack the Canadiens lineup full time, Bordeleau was traded to the Nashville Predators for the 1998-99 season. Seeing plenty of ice time during the expansion Predators first season, Bordeleau set an NHL career high with 40 points in 72 games, also a career high.

His numbers declined to 60 games and 23 points in a more defensive role in 1999-00 before missing nearly the entire 2000-01 season with an abdominal injury. Late in the season he was claimed off of waivers by the St. Louis Blues, who assigned him to the Worcester IceCats for the last couple of regular season games and the playoffs.

Bordeleau was then selected by another expansion club, the Minnesota Wild, for their second season in the Waiver Draft. He lasted 14 games in Minnesota before being reassigned to Houston of the AHL prior to being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in January of 2002. He played six games for Phoenix, but spent the bulk of his time with 34 games playing for the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, his fourth club of the season.

Having played for six teams over the last two seasons, Bordeleau moved to SC Bern of the Swiss National League A for the 2002-03 season. In a complete reversal to the uncertainty of his position in North American professional hockey, Bordeleau found stability with Bern and also averaged more than a point per game with a high of 24 goals and 54 points in 44 games in 2005-06 to lead the club in scoring.

Bordeleau SC Bern
Bordeleau with SC Bern

During his second season with Bern, Bordeleau followed his 49 point regular season (accomplished in only 37 games) with a 10 goal, 14 point postseason as Bern won the Swiss league championship.

Following his run with SC Bern, Bordeleau moved to the rival EHC Biel club for the 2009-10 season where he continues to play today.

Bordeleau SC Biel
Here Bordeleau battles with fellow Canadian Randy Robitaille.

Note the flaming helmets and jerseys Bordeleau and Robitaille are both wearing in the above photo, which identify them as their respective team's leading scorers, a regular element of Swiss hockey. Sponsored by PostFinance, the financial services division of the Swiss post office, the leading scorer on each team is designated as the PostFinance Top Scorer and wears both a highly visible yellow flaming helmet and jersey, which are quite different from their teammates, something NHLer's such as Joe Thornton discovered to their great displeasure while playing in Switzerland during the 2004-05 season, a practice which flies directly in the face of the Canadian "team-first" mentality!

Internationally, Bordeleau made his debut playing not for his native Canada, but for France in the 2004 World Championships in Prague, following in his father's footsteps, as he also skated for France in the Olympics in 1988 in Calgary.

He once again suited up for France at the 2008 World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bordeleau France 2008
Bordeleau wears the French throwback jersey in the 2008 World Championships as he celebrates a French goal

Things went better for both Bordeleau and France in 2008, as he scored six points in five games as France avoided relegation this time out with a two game sweep of their best-of-three relegation series against Italy with Bordeleau scoring a goal in each of the two games.

Bordeleau France 2008
Bordeleau ensures France's survival in the Top Division with this game winning goal against Italy

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 France National Team Sebastien Bordeleau jersey. France adopted his style jersey with it's distinctive rooster logo for the 1998 and wore it again in the 2002 Olympics, as well as a number of World Championships during that time period through 2004. It may be hard to discern, but close inspection will reward the viewer with a subtle black on blue pattern running down the length of the arms.

France's first appearance in international hockey was in the 1920 Olympics. They have since appeared in 10 Olympic Games, most recently in 2002 with a best placing of 5th in 1920 and 1924 and an 8th place in 1992 being their best of the modern era.

In the World Championships, they debuted in 1930 and have participated every year since 1973. They began life in the "C" Pool and moved up to the "B" Pool in 1991. The were in the Top Division from 1992 through 2000, iwth a best of 8th in 1995. They found themselves back in Division I in 2001 and remained there until earning a promotion in 2003, only to get sent straight back down in 2004. It would take France three years to again return to the Top Division by winning Division I, Group A in 2007. They have avoided relegation over the last three tournaments to continue to compete in the Top Division.

France 2004 jersey photo France2004F.jpg
France 2004 jersey photo France2004B.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Nashville Predators Sebastien Bordeleau jersey. The original Predators jerseys had a special shoulder patch with "98" contained in it to commemorate the Predators debut season. The following season all NHL jerseys sported the NHL 2000 patch in advance of the Millennium, allowing this jersey to be dated to Bordeleau's third season in Nashville of 2000-01 when the club wore no additional patches.

Nashville Predators 00-01 jersey
Nashville Predators 00-01 jersey

Today's video section begins with a profile of Bordeleau from his playing time in Switzerland, which includes some game footage.

Check out this unintentionally humorous video, as we get some exciting hard rockin' tunes while Bordeleau hobbles slowly around his home, doing not much of anything at all, highlighted by a look into his fridge and the world's most boring photo shoot. Not even the choice of music can create any excitement for this video, no matter how hard they tried!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day, and here at Third String Goalie our hearts go out to minor league players everywhere who are forced to abandon their dignity on this day in pursuit of their NHL dreams by being forced to wear the many soul-sapping special Valentine's Day jerseys by their oh-so-clever owners seeking to draw attention to their franchises under the guise of raising money for charity by auctioning off these abominations following the games, if not outright selling them for pure profit.

Making matters worse is the visiting team being allowed to wear their normal road jerseys while the home team turns the same shade of pink as their jerseys in embarrassment. For those players who will be forced to endure this ritual hazing of minor leaguers everywhere, keep your heads up, knowing you are not alone and we wish you at least the good fortune of getting to wear a red jersey rather than pink.

Valentine's Day Jersey

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fan Apparel - Then and Now

While looking through our new copy of Sports Illustrated The Hockey Book,we were struck by the well known photo of Bobby Orr flying through the air in celebration of his overtime Stanley Cup winning goal in the 1970 finals.

The text of the book encourages us to "look closely at the photograph" to study the joy on Orr's face. We however, noticed not Orr, but the sea of spectators in the background also leaping for joy vertically, rather than horizontally like Orr. This difference in trajectory brings to light one unescapable fact.

There is not a Bruins logo of any kind visible in the crowd. Not one cap, one t-shirt, sweatshirt and certainly not a single jersey.

Orr 1970
Bobby Orr thrills the fans in Boston, 1970

Fast forward to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice". Again, look closely at the photograph. This, mind you, was taken at the Olympics during the single most patriotic game of hockey ever held on the planet. Yet each and every person in the background of this shot bears not a single cap or sweatshirt emblazoned with even a simple "USA", much less a jersey in support of the Boys of Winter. The fans look as if they dressed for dinner and a movie, not the meeting of "us" against "them" with our nation's pride and Olympic gold on the line. In amongst the winter sweaters and plaid flannel shirts, we're hard pressed to even find anyone who seems to have purposely dressed in either blue or red in support of the Americans, although we wouldn't recommend red for a game against the Soviet Union.

USA 1980
Aside from the flag, you wouldn't know this game was even held in the United States by looking at the fans

Things started to change following the 1980 Olympics when jackets, t-shirts and sweatshirts began to be more heavily marketed, with much of the initial credit going to the sportswear brand Starter. Companies such as CCM and ProJoy had already began to make replica jerseys specifically for fans to wear to the games. We purchased our first jersey, a Minnesota North Stars jersey, in 1982 or 1983, a nice weight mesh jersey with quality sewn on logos. The problem was, our local sporting goods store used the wrong font for the number on the back, a battle we've been fighting for 30 years now!

The CCM replicas of the late 1980's and early 1990's were light weight, see through efforts that benefitted from having nothing else to compare to. Our 1991-92 Turn Back the Clock jerseys were prime examples of these undersized, semi-transparent replicas - that at the time we were thrilled to own.

It was the later arrival of the CCM 550 line of jerseys brought the quality of those formerly tissue paper thin jerseys up to an entirely new level. Soon, sales really began to take off with the rise in quality and acceptance of team jerseys being worn to games by fans to show their support for their favorite club - and things would never look the same in an NHL arena.

Now let's take a look at the fans of today. Fans in Calgary, Alberta and known around the league for "The "C" of Red". We believe that no other fans wear a greater percentage of jerseys to games than the fans of the Flames, with red obviously being the color of choice.

Flames fans
The Flames fan's "C" of Red

Hockey is alive and well in Washington, D. C. as the Captials fans "rock the red" for each home game. While the percentage of jerseys are less than those in Calgary, the amount of t-shirts and sweatshirts combined with the jerseys paint the arena with an equal amount of color.

Capitals fans
Capitals fans "Rock the Red". See if you can spot the Penguins fans in attendance.

Capitals fans
Alexander Ovechkin leads the chorus of those wearing red

No other fans in the NHL travel as well as those of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they often arrive en masse in rival buildings sporting their traditional blue and white.

Maple Leafs fans
This photo is actually from a game in Boston

Even fans of teams that no longer exist wear the logos and colors of their beloved former teams, such as the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota North Stars, Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques. While we don't have the numbers to back up our suspicions, we would not be surprised to learn that the Quebec Nordiques have sold more merchandise since moving to Denver, Colorado than they did in the 23 seasons they were located in Quebec.

Nordiques fans
Nordiques fans invade the New York Islanders' Nassau County Colosseum in December, 2010

During the playoffs, tradition in some cities dictates that all fans dress alike, a tradition began in 1985, first Calgary with the "C" of Red (also known as the "Sea of Red") and later in Winnipeg with the "White Out". The tradition has now also found it's way to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, where the Flyers fans opt for orange as their color of choice.

Coyotes whiteout
A "White out" in Phoenix

Penguins whiteout
The Penguins version of the "White out"

Flyers orange
The Flyer faithful opt for orange - even if the team doesn't!

Finally, it must be noted that while many, many fans in cities all across the NHL buy and wear t-shirt, sweatshirts, hoodies and jerseys of all kinds, not everyone choses to participate,

Sabres fans shirtless
Buffalo Sabres fans at the 2008 Winter Classic

even though those sitting around them sometimes wish they would...

Lightning fans shirtless
Tampa Bay Lightning fans who "gotta support the team" opt for body paint instead

Oilers fans who are no doubt lubricated also opt for the "body paint jersey" approach

In the days before modern marketing, merchandising, product placement, movie tie-ins and endorsements, Bobby Orr scores the game winning goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, and there's not a single ad on the dasher boards or souvenir shirt, cap or jersey to be found.

Next is the final minute of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" between the United States and Soviet Union, which if held today would generate $1,000,000 in retail sales at the arena!

Here is footage of Calgary's Sea of Red.

White outs in Winnipeg, later Phoenix and more recently Pittsburgh.

Finally, this kid's got it all covered, the jersey and the shirtless/body paint angle.


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