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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 World Juniors and 2012 Spengler Cup Monday Update

First up on today's busy schedule of games was the Group A match in the 2013 World Junior Championships between Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Entering the contest, the Czechs were had 6 points to Switzerland's 5. The first period ended up even at 1-1 with the Czechs scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the second period for a 3-1 lead, but the Swiss countered with a pair of power play goals in the third period to even the score at 3-3 after 60 minutes.

With both teams now earning a point in the standings, it was time to decide who would move on to the medal round as overtime began. The game was decided after 1:39 when Tomas Hertl of the Czech Republic scored to win the game and advance the Czechs into the Playoff Round, while the Swiss would have to wait until the conclusion of Finland's game later in the day to learn their fate.

The next contest looked to be a a good one on paper, as the United States was facing off against Slovakia, who had taken Russia to overtime, while the US had fallen to the tournament hosts in regulation, albeit by a 2-1 score.

After the teams traded goals 14 seconds apart early in the first period, the Americans put their heads down and streaked out to a 5-1 lead within the next ten minutes. Slovakia got a goal back before the period ended only to see the US add three more to their lead to 8-2 at the end of the second period.

The game finished 9-3 for the United States, securing their place in the Playoff Round and sending Slovakia into the Relegation Round with Germany, but with a nice head start as they carry over their 2 points from their game with Germany.

The third game of the day saw Sweden taking on Finland, with the Finns now down by a point in the standings to Switzerland, and needing at least a point to advance. Those hopes were dealt a severe blow when Sweden streaked out to a 3-0 lead within 14 minutes only to have Finland come roaring back to tie the game 3-3 with three goals in eight minutes.

Sweden retook the lead with a goal at the 16 minute mark of the second and added another before the second period ended. While Finland took one back 40 seconds into the third, it was as close as they would get, as Sweden pulled away for a final score of 7-4 to send Finland to the Relegation Round along with Latvia.

In the final game of the day, a packed Ufa Arena saw Canada take the honors in Group B with a 4-1 win over Russia on the strength of two first period power play goals and the goaltending of Malcom Subban. The win puts Canada into the semifinals, along with Group A winner Sweden.

Wednesday's Quarterfinals pit the Czech Republic against the United States in the first game at 4 AM eastern, followed by Russia taking on Switzerland at 8 AM.

In the Relegation Round, Finland's win over Latvia and Slovakia's overtime win over Germany carry over to the standings, putting Finland with 3 points, Slovakia with 2, Germany with 1 and Latvia with none. Expect Finland and Slovakia to be safe with their head start in the standings, with the key game being Germany vs. Latvia on Friday, with Germany holding the advantage of having a point in the standings going in, requiring Latvia to win to stay in the Top Division for next year.

Meanwhile, Canada's good day continued at the 2012 Spengler Cup when Patrice Bergeron scored just 46 seconds into the championship final. Less than halfway into the first period Ryan Smyth extended the lead to 3-0 before Davos, playing it's fifth game in five days, scored before the period was over.

Smyth and John Tavares built the lead to 5-1 in the second period and Jason Spezza and Tavares scored in the third period to make the final score 7-2 after Davos added a second goal with 2:31 to play.

Ryan Smyth Spengler Cup

It was Canada's 12th Spengler Cup since 1984 and first since 2007.

Canada Spengler Cup

The Spengler Cup

In addition to the ongoing World Junior Championship, this is also the time of year for the annual Spengler Cup tournament. Founded in 1923 by Dr. Carl Spengler to promote teams from German-speaking portions of Europe who may have been ostracized in the aftermath of World War I, the Spengler Cup is hosted by HC Davos of Switzerland.

The Spengler Cup, The Spengler Cup

The tournament is an invitational tournament and the oldest such tournament in the world.

The games are held between Boxing Day and New Year's Day with all games being held at the 7,080 seat Vaillant Arena in Davos.

Vaillant Arena, Vaillant Arena
The Vaillant Arena in Davos, home of the Spengler Cup

The invitees over the history of the tournament are a who's who of of powerful European clubs as well as an eclectic mix of unusual and unexpected teams.

The original winners of the Spengler Cup in 1923 was the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club of England, which was made up of Canadian students. Berlin SC of Germany won the second edition in 1924 before Oxford University reclaimed the cup in 1925 and Berlin SC again in 1926.

1923 Spengler Cup Canadians, 1923 Spengler Cup Canadians
The Oxford University Club, comprised of Canadian students

Hosts HC Davos took their first championship in 1927 and LTC Prague were the first Czechoslovakian winner in 1929 and again in 1930. Diavoli Rossoneri of Milan added Italy to the list of winners in 1934 and repeated in 1935.

HC Davos 1920's, HC Davos 1920's
HC Davos in the 1920's

An era of Swiss dominance arrived in 1938 when HC Davos took their 4th title. World War II kept the tournament from being played in 1939 and 1940, but Davos picked up where they left off by winning in 1941, 1942 and 1943. Zürcher SC continued the winning Swiss ways in 1944 and 1945, giving Switzerland six titles in a row and seven out of the previous eight.

HC Davos 1940, HC Davos 1940
HC Davos in 1940 during the Swiss run of dominance

LTC Prague reeled off three titles in a row from 1946 to 1948 and the tournament was not played in 1949. HC Milano Inter took back to back wins in 1953 and 1954, the last of five titles for Italian clubs. Rudá Hvēzda Brno of Czechoslovakia won in 1955 before the tournament was not held in 1956, the last time the Spengler Cup was not held and one of only four times since 1923 the cup has not been awarded in it's history.

After HC Davos added two more titles in 1957 and 1958, ACBB (Athletic Club Boulogne-Billancourt) Paris won three consecutive cups to add France to the list of winners.

Sparta Prague won in 1962 and 1963 followed by EV Füssen of Germany became the last western team to take home the cup for the next 20 years, as the Czechoslovakian and Soviet teams would dominate the competition going forward.

Dukla Jihlava would win in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1978 and 1982 and HC Slovan Bratislava would win a trio of titles in 1972, 1973 and 1974 for Czechoslovakia along with the Czechoslovak Olympic Team in 1975.

1975 Spengler Cup, 1975 Spengler Cup
1975 Spengler Cup action

Lokomotiv Moscow would become the first Soviet winner in 1967 and again in 1969 followed by SKA Leningrad in 1970, 1971 and 1977. The USSR B team won in 1976, Krylya Soveov Moscow (Soviet Wings) in 1979 followed by Spartak Moscow in both 1980 and 1981, with Dynamo Moscow's first title coming in 1983.

1966-67 Dukla Jihlava team, 1966-67 Dukla Jihlava team
Dukla Jihlava, winners of the Spengler Cup in 1966

1984 saw the debut of Team Canada at the Spengler Cup, which resulted in their first of 11 titles to date. The team representing Canada at the Spengler Cup was originally comprised of the Canadian National Team, a club which remained together for an entire season under the "Programme of Excellence", which began in 1983 to represent Canada at such tournaments as the World Championships, the Spengler Cup and prepare for the Olympics, rather than the current format of All-Star teams who only come together days before such competitions.

The Canadian "Programme of Excellence" lasted until 1998, when the NHL began shutting down to allow it's players into the Olympics every four years, at which point Team Canada at the Spengler Cup began to be comprised of Canadians playing professionally for club teams in Europe and occasionally North American minor leaugers, who were brought together as a squad to stand for Canada.

Spartak Moscow downed Canada in 1985 and the Canadians defeated Soviet clubs in 1986 and 1987 to claim three titles in four years. The United States broke through for their only victory with a "USA Selects" squad in 1988.

Spartak Moscow won the final two times for the Soviet Union in 1989 and 1990 before the political upheaval led to the breakup of the Soviet Union, which saw CSKA Moscow win under the flag of Russia in 1991.

Although Swedish clubs had long participated in Davos, Färjestad BK's wins in 1993 and 1994 were Sweden's first titles following seven runner up finishes dating back to 1950.

The Canadians reeled off four wins in a row from 1995 to 1998, which included the participation of the Rochester Americans of the AHL in 1996, the first North American professional club to take part in th competition. Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) then became the first German team to win since 1964 when they took home the title in 1999.

Klner Haie 1999, Klner Haie 1999
The Cologne Sharks show off their 1999 Spengler Cup

Hosts HC Davos delighted the home fans by winning the tournament for the first time since 1958, a span of 42 years, when they won in 2000 and repeated the feat in 2001.

The Canadians returned to the top in 2002 and 2003 before Davos won again in 2004 before Metallurg Magnitogorsk became the first Russian club to win the tournament in 14 years with their championship in 2005.

Canada Spengler Cup 2007, Canada Spengler Cup 2007
Curtis Joseph celebrates Canada's 2007 championship

Since then, Davos in 2006, Team Canada in 2007, Dynamo Moscow in 2008 preceded Dinamo Minsk becoming the first team from Belarus to capture the Spengler Cup in 2009, the 12th country represented  with a championship.

Dinamo Minsk Spengler Cup 2009, Dinamo Minsk Spengler Cup 2009
Dinamo Minsk becomes the first club from Belarus to win the Spengler Cup

SKA Saint Petersburg won in 2010, the fourth for the team, as they won three times in the 1970's while known as SKA Leningrad.

SKA Spengler Cup 2010, SKA Spengler Cup 2010
SKA Saint Petersburg celebrate in 2010

HC Davos defeated Dinamo Riga in last year's finals to win their fifth since 2000 after their long drought dating back to 1958.

Davos Spengler Cup 2011, Davos Spengler Cup 2011
HC Davos gathers after winning their 15th Spengler Cup last year

Participants this year include, as always, the hosts HC Davos and HC Fribourg-Gottéon of Switzerland, Adler Manheim of Germany, HC Viktovice Steel from the Czech Republic, Russia's Salavat Yulaev Ufa and a particularly loaded Team Canada, who have a stacked lineup thanks to the availability of many players who would normally be occupied in the NHL if it were not for the ongoing lockout.

Spengler Cup logo, Spengler Cup logo

Among those notable names on the Team Canada roster this year are: goaltender Jonathan Bernier, and forwards Matt Duchene, Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Jason Williams, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and veteran Ryan Smyth.

Tavares vs Kane, Tavares vs Kane
John Tavares battles with Patrick Kane during the 2012 Spengler Cup

Still, the other clubs will benefit from locked out NHL players, as Davos has Joe Thornton, Patrick Kane and Loui Eriksson while Fribourg has goaltender Corey Schneider, Patric Hornqvist, Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais on their roster.

Joe Thornton Davos, Joe Thornton Davos
Joe Thornton, wearing the flaming helmet to identify him as the leading scorer

The six clubs were then divided into two groups of three, who play two games each to determine the seeding for the Knockout Stage.

In two very competitive groups, as no team went undefeated in their two games, HC Vitkovice placed first in Group Torriani while Team Canada came out on top of Group Cattani to advance to the Semifinals, held yesterday.

Team Canada met Fribourg-Gottéon, who defeated Adler Manheim in the first quarterfinal 5-2. Canada advanced to the finals with a 5-1 win on Sunday thanks to a pair of goals by Matt Duchene. Jason Spezza, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Carlo Colaiacovo also added goals for Canada.

Canada's opponents will be HC Davos, who downed Viktovice Steel 5-4 to reach the final after having previously eliminated Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the second quarterfinal on Saturday by a score of 7-5.

If you are up early enough, the final game is being televised in Canada on TSN2 at 5:55 AM Eastern Time.

Today's featured jersey is a 2009 Dinamo Minsk Ville Peltonen jersey as worn when Dinamo became the first team from Belarus to win the Spengler Cup when they defeated HC Davos 3-1.

After the previous club in Minsk folded due to financial issues in 2001, the current Dinamo Minsk was born in 2003 and joined the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2008-09 season after winning the Belarus Extraliga championship in 2007 and the Belarus Cup in 2005 and 2006. Their popularity has made them the best attended club in the KHL.

Teams often wear special jerseys just for the Spengler Cup tournament, resplendent with numerous advertisements not normally found on their domestic league jerseys, such as Minsk forgoing their usual Belarusian/Russian sponsorships in favor of Würth, a German maker of power tools, automotive hardware and fasteners among other items.

Dinamo Minsk 2009 jersey, Dinamo Minsk 2009 jersey
Dinamo Minsk 2009 jersey, Dinamo Minsk 2009 jersey

Today's video segment begins with highlights of HC Davos winning the Spengler Cup in 2000, ending their 38 year drought. Notice the previous version of the championship trophy with the glass globe on top.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 World Juniors - 12/30

Dasherboard: On Saturday in the 2013 World Junior Tournament Sweden defeated Latvia 5-1 and Russia blanked Germany 7-0 as expected.

Today's action saw Finland edge feisty Switzerland 5-4 in a shootout, which left the two teams tied at 5 points apiece in Group A.

Canada played a strong defensive game and made 2 first period goals hold up for a 2-1 win in regulation to remain atop Group B with a perfect 3-0 record.

The Americans second loss in a row without a point leaves them tied with Slovakia at 3 points each as Slovakia outlasted Germany in overtime 2-1 to take two of the three available points.

Also in Group A, the Czech Republic won over Latvia to keep pace in their quest to advance to the Playoff Round.

In the Group A standings, Sweden leads with 8 points while the Czechs are second with 6 points, followed by Finland and Switzerland tied at 5 each in the ultra tight group. Sweden takes on rivals Finland today while the Czech Republic faces off against Switzerland. There's any number of scenarios which could take place tomorrow, with one of those four clubs being left without a chair when the music stops.

Group B is more settled, with Canada and Russia playing to win the group and earn the valuable bye that goes with it, as both will move on to the Playoff Round. The US and the Slovaks will settle the fight for the third playoff spot in their winner-take-all game and the loser drops into the Relegation Round with Germany and Latvia.

The USA vs. Slovakia game will be on the NHL Network in the United States live at 5:00 AM eastern and repeated again at 8 PM.

Canada's game vs. Russia will follow at 9:00 AM with a repeat at 5:30 PM.

TSN in Canada will also have the USA/Slovakia game live at 5:00 AM and Canada/Russia live beginning at 8:30 AM with repeats at 12 noon, 7:30 PM and 11 PM.

Reader Submission - 2003-04 Columbus Blue Jackets Tyler Wright Jersey

Our latest reader submission comes from Charles Cordle, and it's a valuable lesson in doing your research into game worn jerseys, a search in this case with some surprising and detailed results!

Here is Charles' fascinating story about his jersey and and the unique series of events that he was able to discover about his special jersey.
In mid December of 2011 I won a game worn Tyler Wright 3rd jersey off of eBay.  The jersey did come with a COA from the Blue Jackets but had no information on it as to what game(s) it had been worn in.  The jersey also did not have a set tag.  The only thing I could be sure of was that it had been worn sometime during the 2003-2004 season since it was a Koho branded jersey and this was the only season that these jerseys were branded as such.

After having no luck photo matching the jersey I decided to ask the seller if he had any additional information on history of the jersey.  He was only able to tell them that he got the jersey from a member of gameworn.net whose name he did not remember and that he had gotten the jersey directly from the team.  With this information I decided to do a search of gameworn.net to see if the original owner had ever made a post about this jersey.

I was able to find to find a post dated 10/13/03 (same date as the debut game for the 3rd jerseys).  The post read as follows.

The team actually gave away 8 of the new 3rds. Local radio station 610 sponsored a special ticket deal with the team, and had a contest where a player called in each day the week before the game, and asked a trivia question. The person who answered the question correctly got 2 seats in Executive Suite #1 for the game, and the jersey off the back of the player they answered the question for.  
The winners watched the game from the fully catered suite, and then were taken down to a room just off the locker room where the sweaters they had won were presented to them by Geoff Sanderson. The Game-worns given away through the contest were: Marc Denis, Geoff Sanderson, Daryl SydorTyler Wright and Jody Shelley  
You might ask how I know all that. That's because I'm wearing the Tyler Wright jersey I won as I type this. It's officially game worn, but as he was injured 1:48 into the game, there isn't a lot of wear. I'll provide pics later this week, and www.610wtvn.com will have pics once they get them developed. Like I said, the jersey isn't hammered, but the fact that it was worn for the inaugural 3rd jersey game makes it cool to me.  
Additionally, there seems to be no indicator of any kind inside the jersey itself that it was customized, and carries no game worn tag. None of the jerseys worn for that night did, however the team is providing COA's for them upon request.”  
Reading that a Tyler Wright jersey was given away that night and that the jerseys did not have any type of set tag or markings I decided to dig some more.  I now ran a search of all of the posts from the author of the quote above and was able to find a for sale posting for the Wright jersey he had along with a post from the buyer of the jersey. The buyer turned out to be the same person that I had gotten the jersey from on eBay. 
Being able to track down the history of this jersey made me very happy.  Also to find out that it had been worn on the ice during the first period of the game that the jersey debuted made it ever more special to me since I had attended that game and remember how much excitement there was for the Blue Jackets to finally have a 3rd jersey. 
To view more of my Blue Jackets Jersey collection and to see a complete history of the Blue Jackets Jerseys please visit my site at: www.sites.google.com/site/columbusbluejacketsjerseyguide/

Thanks to Charles for taking the time to photograph his jersey and share the story of the unique origins of his jersey which originated as a prize in a radio contest. We really appreciate the efforts involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys.

Be sure to take the time to look through Charles' jersey collection on his website. It's really extensive and well done. You can really tell he's passionate about his team and knows his stuff. Plus, he has an eye for unique jerseys with extra patches, something we always appreciate.

If you have a jersey in your collection that you'd like to share with us and your fellow readers, please submit your pictures and a story to go with it, no matter how brief or detailed, to spyboy1@gmail.com and we look forward to seeing your favorites!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 World Juniors Update - 12/28

Dasherboard: There were four games in the 2013 World Junior Championships yesterday, which began with an upset victory by the Czech Republic over Finland as the Czechs got two goals 2 1/2 minutes apart in the first period and made them hold up as Finland got one back early in the second, but could not find the equalizer, despite several power play opportunities for Finland.

Canada got an early scare from Slovakia, as the Slovaks led 2-0 after one period and 3-1 just over half way through the game, but Canada bore down and by the end of the middle period had the lead back at 4-3 and stretched their advantage to 6-3 within the first seven minutes of the third period to remain undefeated.

Switzerland broke out on top and gained a point in the standings by taking Sweden to a overtime, but a lone goal by Sweden in the shootout gave them a 3-2 win to claim the top spot in Group A.

In a cracking game, Russia and the United States battled furiously with a power play goal by Russia holding up for over a half hour until the Americans tied the game at the 13:18 mark of the second period. Russia went back on top with a goal four minutes into the third period, which they made stand up despite a late penalty for a hard-fought 2-1 win to take all three points in the Group B standings.

Sweden is now alone in first place in Group A with 5 points, ahead of plucky Switzerland at 4. The Czechs and Finns are tied at 3 each and can ill afford another loss if they plan on advancing to the Playoff Round. Latvia trails the pack with zero points after two games played and a trip to the Relegation Round in their future.

Group B is led by Canada, the only team with a perfect 6 points after two games. Russia's win gives them 5 and puts them on track to advance to the next round. The United States have 3 points and Slovakia 1, but an easier schedule in their remaining two games. Germany is winless and will want to try to take as many points out of their game with Slovakia in an effort to avoid relegation if the Slovaks are the ones to join them in the Relegation Round.

Today sees two games on the docket, neither of which look to be very competitive. Latvia takes on Sweden, which should go the way of the Swedes, and Germany faces Russia, who will be on a high following their win over the United States.

Additionally, with goal differential being one of the tie-breakers in the standings, and the Canadians having defeated the Germans by 6 and the Americans winning by 8, Russia will be motivated to pour it on in an effort to surpass their rivals, which could make for a long day for Germany, an unfortunate feature of the IIHF rule book.

Friday, December 28, 2012

1988-89 Edmonton Oilers Grant Fuhr Jersey

On this date in 1918, Georges Vezina of the Montreal Canadiens became the first goalie in NHL history to be awarded an assist when Newsy Lalonde gathered up the puck after a save by Vezina, skated the length of the ice and scored a goal during a 6-3 Canadiens win over the Toronto Arenas.

Georges Vezina
Georges Vezina

It would take 61 years before a goaltender would be credited with scoring a goal, and he never actually shot the puck. That occurred on November 28, 1979 when Rob Ramage of the hapless Colorado Rockies gathered up the puck after a save by the New York Islanders Billy Smith during a delayed penalty call and passed the puck back out of the corner, which unfortunately for the Rockies sailed by his intended teammates and had enough force to continue all the way down the length of the ice and into the Rockies unmanned goal.

It would take eight more years for an NHL goalie to genuinely shoot the puck into the opposing net when Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers score against the Boston Bruins on December 8, 1987. Hextall later scored again during the playoffs against the Washington Capitals on April 11, 1989.

Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils is the only other goalie to date to have scored twice with a playoff goal in 1997 and a regular season goal in 2000.

Jeff Reese holds the record for most points by a goaltender in a game with three, which he scored on February 10, 1983 while playing for the Calgary Flames.

It should come as little surprise to find out that an Edmonton Oiler holds the record for most points by a goaltender in a season, as well as the career record for most points by a goalie. Those honors belong to Grant Fuhr of the high powered Oilers. His record of 14 points in 1983-84 set the standard which still remains the one to beat more than 25 years later.

Fuhr Oilers, Fuhr Oilers
Grant Fuhr

While Fuhr certainly earned a number of assists by simply going behind the net and teeing up a dump-in for Paul Coffey to carry up the ice and set up a Wayne Gretzky goal, Fuhr also earned a number of assists by firing the puck up the ice to an open teammate to initiate a rush.

Fuhr's total of 60 points (which includes regular season and playoffs combined) leads all goalies in career scoring, followed by Patrick Roy's 56, who just barely tops the 55 scored by Tom Barrasso and Brodeur's 54 points, two of which were goals. Mike Vernon's 41 leads both Hextall and John Vanbiesbrouck at 38, with two of Hextall's points coming from his goals.

The rest of the top ten consist of Ed Belfour at 35, Curtis Joseph's 33 and the tenth spot is occupied by both Sean Burke and Dan Bouchard, who are tied at 30. Honorable mention goes to Kirk McLean (29), Andy Moog (28), Bill Ranford (26) and the duo of Mike Palmateer and Tony Esposito with 25 each. Of the 16 goalies listed, only Broduer remains active and it must be noted that Barrasso's 48 assists are the most by a player counting only the regular season, two more than Fuhr's 46.

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Edmonton Oilers Grant Fuhr jersey. Fuhr remains the all-time point scoring leader among NHL goalies with 60, four more than the next closest pursuer, and holder of the most points in a season by a goaltender for over 25 years.

Fuhr played 19 NHL seasons and won 403 games with the Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames as well as being the Oilers starting goaltender for Stanley Cup championships with the Oilers in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He also won the Canada Cup in both 1984 and 1987. He also won the Vezina Trophy in 1988 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. Just to be clear, the Vezina Trophy is awarded for puck stopping ability, not goalie scoring exploits!

Oilers 88-89 jersey Pictures, Images and Photos
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is footage of Broduer's first goal, which came in the 1997 playoffs.

Our final video today is a tribute to Grant Fuhr and a collection of some of his flashiest saves.

Dasherboard: The World Junior Championships had a light schedule yesterday. In Group A, Switzerland thrashed Latvia 7-2 to keep pace with Finland and Sweden, while the United States rebounded from their last tune-up game by hammering Germany 8-0 to get their tournament off to a strong start, now even with Canada at 3 points and one ahead of Russia at 2 in Group B.

Today's schedule is a full four games, with Finland taking on the Czech Republic in the day's first game, followed by Canada looking to defeat Slovakia, who gave Russia all they could handle in their first game.

The second game in Group A at the Sports Palace following Finland and the Czech Republic will be Sweden facing off against Switzerland, who are surely in for a much tougher game than provided by Latvia.

The day concludes with a  prime matchup, as host Russia takes on the United States, with neither team hoping to have to share the three points at stake. Surely the loser of this game will lose out on getting the bye into the semifinals, so there is plenty to play for in one of the best match ups of the Preliminary Round.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1989-90 Khimik Voskresenek Dimitry Kvartalnov Jersey

The hockey club Khimik Voskresensk was formed in Voskresensk 55 miles southeast of Moscow in the Soviet Union and played their first game on this date in 1953, with "Khimik" meaning "Chemists" in deference to the local chemical plant which sponsored the club.

It took the club just three years to rise to the top level of Soviet ice hockey. They won bronze medals in the Soviet League playoffs in 1965 and 1970. Starting in the mid-1980's the club entered the period of it's greatest success with a third bronze medal in 1984 prior to achieving their best ever result of a silver in 1989, which they immediately followed with another bronze in 1990.

Also in 1990, Khimik Voskresensk was chosen as one of four clubs to compete in the Super Series, a schedule of exhibition games against NHL teams played in North America, a fine reward for their recent run of good play. Khimik fared fairly well, beating Los Angeles 6-3, lost to Edmonton and Calgary 6-2 and 6-3, rebounded to down Detroit 4-2 but then lost to Washington 5-2. They concluded their trip with a 6-3 win over St. Louis to finish with a 3-3 record.

Khimik Voskresensk
Khimik Voskresensk

They returned in 1991 with very similar results, losing to Los Angeles 5-1 and St. Louis 4-2 before a tie with the New York Islanders 2-2. They then strung together three consecutive wins over Montreal 6-3, Buffalo 5-4 and Boston 5-2 before a loss to Minnesota 6-4 once more left them with a .500 record at 3-3-1.

Changes in the way the club was run on the business side began to occur in the late 1990's due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to the club losing it's sponsorship when the chemical plant found a new owner, as well as the departure of it's better players to not only the NHL, but the leagues in Germany, Finland and Sweden. Eventually the club first altered it's name from Khimik Voskresensk to Khimik Moscow Oblast, with "Oblast" being the equivalent to a province, in an effort to represent the entire region around Moscow, which was quite an ambitious claim seeing how the Moscow Oblast was already home to Central Red Army, Dynamo, Spartak, Wings and Lokomotiv at the time.

In 2005 the club relocated to Mytishchi, 60 miles northwest of Voskresensk and changed their name to Atlant Moscow Oblast in 2008 in time for the formation of the Kontinental Hockey League, bringing to an end the club's use of the Khimik name for good after 46 seasons of play.

Following the team's relocation away from Voskresensk, a new expansion team called HC Khimik Voskresensk was formed, but has no connection to the original club and it's history.

During their history, Khimik produced many recognizable names, particularly in more recent times as they players came over to North America to compete in the NHL. Dimitri Kvartalnov won the Soviet League scoring title while playing for Khimik in 1990 prior to playing for the Boston Bruins.

Kvartalnov Khimik
Dimitri Kvartalnov, incorrectly identified as his brother Andrei

Germain Titov played 624 NHL games primarily with the Calgary Flames, Slava Kozlov played 1,182 games in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, Sergei Berezin logged more than 500 games, first with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Andrei Lomakin was one of the early Soviet players to make the move to North America, while Valeri Zelepukin and Sergei Brylin both won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995.

Zelepukin Khimik
Valeri Zelepukin

Current Montreal Canadien Andrei Markov began his professional career with Khimik, as did Stanley Cup winner Valeri Kamensky, but the best known player to have come out of the Khimik must be Igor Larionovwho led Khimik in scoring in 1981 and eventually went on to win two gold medals in the Olympics, four in the World Championships, one in the Canada Cup and three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings.

Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Khimik Voskresenek Dimitry Kvartalnov jersey as worn by Kvartalnov when he was the leading scorer in the Soviet League. It's typical of the Soviet jerseys of the era in that it is a relatively light weight mesh and all the graphic elements are either dye sublimated or screened on. Of note are the wild numbers on the back. This jersey also has Dimitri's first initial "D" on the back in cyrillic, as his brother Andrei was also a member of the team.

Russia Khimik 90-91 jersey, Russia Khimik 90-91 jersey
Russia Khimik 90-91 jersey, Russia Khimik 90-91 jersey

Dasherboard: In the 2013 World Juniors, Finland defeated Latvia 5-1 and Sweden kept pace with an easy 4-1 win over the Czech Republic to kick off action in Group A.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins garnered the headlines with his five point game as Canada rolled over Germany 9-3. Slovakia nearly spoiled the party with a late power play goal to force overtime against the host Russia, but Albert Yarullin fired a rocket from the blue line to win the game in overtime for the Russians. Still, Slovakia earned a valuable point in the standings by getting to overtime, which cost Russia one in their hopes to win Group B and earn a bye into the semifinals.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 IIHF World Junior Championships Preview

With the absence of an NHL season to date, some of the best hockey that will be played all season kicks off today at the 2013 World Junior Tournament in Ufa, Russia, a two hour flight from Moscow. The teams participating in this year's edition are defending champions Sweden, their nordic neighbors Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and hard trying Latvia all comprising Group A, which will be held at the 3,500 seat Sports Palace.

2013 WJC logo, 2013 WJC logo

Group B is comprised of hosts Russia, perennial contenders Canada, Slovakia, the United States and recently promoted Germany, who will be looking to remain in the Top Division for next year. Group B will be held at the Ufa Arena, the 7,950 seat home to Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Each group will play a round-robin schedule from today through New Year's Eve. After taking New Year's Day off, the top three teams in each group will begin the playoff round, which will commence with the Quarterfinals on January 2nd, which will see the second place team in each group facing off against the third place team from the opposite group.

The two group winners will await the Quarterfinal winners in January 3rd's Semifinals, with the losers playing for the bronze medal and the winners advancing to the Championship Final, with both games taking place on Saturday, January 5th, with all playoff round games taking place at the Ufa Arena, conveniently located less than 4.5 kilometers from the Sports Palace.

2013 WJC mascot, 2013 WJC mascot
2013 tournament mascot Teamka

Meanwhile, the fourth and fifth placed teams in the Preliminary Round will be grouped in the Relegation Round, with games taking place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, with the last placed team being relegated to Division I Group A for 2014.

In what should be the finest lineup of players since the last time the NHL missed a season in 2005, players who would normally be active in the NHL include Canadian Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov of Russia. In all, 32 first round draft picks from the 2011 and 2012 drafts are participating in this year's edition.

RNH Canada, RNH Canada
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

In Group A, Sweden and Finland will be aiming for the top spot and the bye into the Semifinals. Sweden is returning six players from last year's gold medal winning club, including team captain Filip Forsberg, 11th overall pick of the Washington Capitals in 2011.

Finland returns eight players from last year, and also has one of the most talked about prospects for the upcoming 2013 draft, Alexsander Barkov (yes, he's Finnish), one of the top prospects in Europe.

Alexsander Barkov Finland, Alexsander Barkov Finland
Alexsander Barkov

The Czech Republic may not have the horses to win Group A, but they will be planning on qualifying for the Playoff Round ahead of Switzerland and Latvia, who both will see avoiding the Relegation Round as a triumph in it's own right.

In Group B, clearly the Group of Death, Canada will be looking to regain the gold medal for the first time since 2009, having then won five consecutive championships, but none in the previous three years. Secondary to their quest to return to the top, Canada will  be looking to continue their streak of winning a medal now 14 years in a row, dating back to 1999. Nathan MacKinnon will be the center of attention for the scouts in attendance as he will likely be one of the first two picks in the 2013 draft, while defenseman Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins) provides Canada with leadership along with Nugent-Hopkins.

Hamilton Canada, Hamilton Canada
Dougie Hamilton

The Russians do not have quite the same domination of the medal podium as Canada, but they won silver last year (a 1-0 loss in overtime) and gold in 2011, with medals in nine of the last 11 years, including golds in 2002 and 2003. With Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, the Russians will be looking to rise to the top in front of their home fans to become the first host to win the championship since 2009.

The United States is looking to capitalize on their dominance at the Under-18 championships, having won the last four titles and six of the previous eight, but have yet to translate that success at the Under-20 World Juniors, with just two bronze and a gold during that same time period. Seth Jones will also be the focus of the scouts as he is the other vying to be the top choice in the 2013 draft. It will be unexpected if the Americans can win Group B, but they should be a safe bet to advance to the playoffs despite being throttled by the Finns in their final tune-up game.

Seth Jones USA, Seth Jones USA
Seth Jones

Slovakia lacks the depth of the United States and must focus on trying to not give away any points in the standings unnecessarily while taking as many out of their games against Canada, Russia and the US as possible.

Germany, with just one NHL draft pick, a fourth rounder, on their entire roster,  are destined for the Relegation Round, where they must focus on staying in the Top Division for next season. Their game against Slovakia, and their expected matchup against Latvia, will be the key games for Germany.

In the United States, all the USA games, as well as six additional preliminary non-US games, and the entire medal round will be broadcast on the NHL Network.

Canadians can expect the same coverage of their squad from TSN. who will also add six non-Canadian games in the Preliminary Round to their schedule as well as all the medal round games.

Unfortunately for those in North America, Ufa is exactly 12 hours different for those in the Central Time Zone, putting the games in Ufa on at 1:30 AM, 3:30 AM, 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. For those unable to stay awake overnight or with job and school requirements in the morning, both networks will air repeats later in the day if one is able to avoid the gottaknowitnow world of the internet and Bob McKenzie on Twitter in particular!

Wether you watch the games live a zero in the morning or on DVR later in the day, be sure to check out what may very well be the best hockey played on the planet this season.

Today's featured jersey is a 2012 Russia National Team Yevgeni Kuznetsov jersey. Kuznetsov was the tournament's leading scorer last year in Canada with 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points in 7 games and was named the tournament's Best Forward and Most Valuable Player.

 Since the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Nike has been the official supplier of jerseys to the top tournaments sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation. In addition to the World Cup, this includes the Olympics and various levels of the World Championships.

This particular style has been used by this year's hosts Russia since the 2010 World Juniors.

2012 Russia jersey, 2012 Russia jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video selection is Mika Zibanejad scoring the gold medal winning goal in overtime of last year's championship final.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Hockey Christmas! Joyeux Noël de hockey!

Merry Hockey Christmas! Joyeux Noël de hockey!

We hope Santa was good to you this year and brought you the jersey you've been wanting.

We also hope you enjoy our special collection of Santa playing hockey today.

Don't forget - as our countdown clock in the right hand column shows - the 2013 World Junior tournament begins tomorrow, the annual festival hockey featuring "Tomorrow's Stars Today"!

Hockey Santa, Hockey Santa

Soviet Hockey Santa, Soviet Hockey Santa

Santa Hockey, Santa Hockey

Las Vegas Wranglers 2010 Christmas jerseys, Las Vegas Wranglers 2010 Christmas jerseys

Hockey Santa, Hockey Santa

Soviet Hockey Santa, Soviet Hockey Santa

Hockey Santa, Hockey Santa

Santa Hockey, Santa Hockey

Santa Hockey, Santa Hockey

Soviet Hockey Santa, Soviet Hockey Santa

Monday, December 24, 2012

1987-88 New York Rangers Kelly Kisio Jersey

Despite scoring 53 goals and 101 points in 1976-77 for the Red Deer Rustlers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and following that up with a 74 goal, 142 point performance, Kelly Kisio then moved on to the Calgary Wranglers of the Western Hockey League where he put together back to back seasons of 60 and 65 goals, including being named the WHL Rookie of the Year in 1979, yet still remained undrafted by any club in the NHL.

Kisio Wranglers, Kisio Wranglers
WHL Rookie of the Year Kisio

Kisio turned pro for the 1980-81 season when he joined the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League. After starting the year with 24 points in 41 games, he moved on to the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL where he impressed with 27 goals and 43 points in only 31 games as well as 7 goals and 14 points in 6 playoff contests.

He then stormed the Central Hockey League as a member of the Dallas Black Hawks in 1981-82, leading the league in goals with 62 as part of a team leading 101 point campaign.

Shockingly, still without a home in the NHL, Kisio then made the trek overseas to Europe, where he signed with HC Davos of the Swiss National League A where his scoring prowess continued with 40 goals and 73 points in 40 games, punctuated by 9 goals and 11 points in a mere 3 games.

The call finally came from the NHL in the form on the Detroit Red Wings, who signed Kisio as a free agent early in March for the remainder of the 1982-83 season. He then scored his first NHL goal as part of 4 goals and 7 points over the course of 15 games.

Kisio Red Wings, Kisio Red Wings

He would become a full time member of the Red Wings in 1983-84, where over the course of three seasons in Detroit, he would post consistent totals of 23, 20 and 21 goals with a high of 69 points in 1985-86.

Kisio was then dealt to the New York Rangers in a deal which brought goaltender Glen Hanlon to Detroit. During his first season in New York, he did exactly what was expected of him with a 24 goal, 64 point season, just as he had done in Detroit.

Kisio Rangers, Kisio Rangers
Kisio in his early days with the Rangers.
Note the "New York" cresting worn by the Rangers from 1978- to 1987.

Back with the Rangers for the 1987-88 season, the one-time undrafted free agent reached a pinnacle that few saw coming when he boarded a plane for Switzerland when Santa brought him an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve when he was named captain of the Rangers on this date in 1987. He responded to the faith shown in him by setting a career high in points with 78 thanks to a career high 55 assists to go with his usual 23 goals.

Kisio Rangers, Kisio Rangers
The Rangers new captain Kisio

He would score a career high 26 goals in 1988-89 and extended his streak of 20 goals seasons to seven with 22 in 1989-90 as well as adding 10 points in 10 playoff games. His final season with the Rangers would see his streak of 20 goal seasons come to an end, as he was limited to 15 goals in just 51 games played, his first season of less than 68 games since joining the NHL full time in 1983.

The Minnesota North Stars then claimed the veteran Kisio in the Expansion Draft in May of 1991 only to see the North Stars trade him to the San Jose Sharks a month later.

Life with the expansion Sharks was much different, as Kisio only saw action in 48 games with the offensively challenged Sharks, which conspired to limit him to 11 goals. He rebounded with a fine season in 1992-93, with a career highs in games with 78 and tying career bests with 26 goals and 78 points.

Kisio Sharks, Kisio Sharks
Kisio had a career year in 1992-93

He signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames for the 1993-94 season and saw time in 51 games for Calgary. His final NHL was limited to just 12 games due to a shoulder injury before Kisio retired from the NHL.

Kisio Flames, Kisio Flames
Kisio finished his career with the Flames

His final career totals were 761 games played, 229 goals and 658 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 New York Rangers Kelly Kisio jersey. The Rangers white jersey was not worn by "the Blueshirts" until the 1951-52 season, making them the last of the Original 6 clubs to adopt a second jersey, as they were the final holdout following the Bruins introduction of a black sweater in 1948-49.

Changes for the Rangers white sweaters have been minimal, with names not arriving until 1970 and a change from a lace-up collar to a v-neck when the jerseys were brought back in 1978-70 following a two season diversion with a jersey set which used the Rangers shield as the main crest.

Note that this jersey jersey has the name on the back straight across as worn from 1970-76 and again from 1978 to 1990 before the now familiar arched lettering first appeared.

New York Rangers 87-88 jersey, New York Rangers 87-88 jersey
New York Rangers 87-88 jersey, New York Rangers 87-88 jersey

Today's featured video shows Kisio battling the Blackhawks Chris Chelios.

Next, tensions boil over between the Rangers and Devils yet again as Kisio engages Joe Cirella.


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