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Saturday, March 3, 2012

2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes Teppo Numminen Jersey

On this date in 2002, Teppo Numminen of the Phoenix Coyotes became the first Finnish player to appear in 1,000 NHL games in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also became the first player to play in 1,000 games in Coyotes franchise history.

Numminen, a defenseman, was drafted 29th overall by the Winnipeg Jets while playing for Tappara in Tampere, Finland in the SM-liiga.

He came to North America to play with the Jets in 1988-89, appearing in 69 games and registering 15 points. Over the course of the next three seasons, Numminen would appear in 239 out of a possible 240 games, establishing his reputation as a reliable and durable player.

He would play four more seasons in Winnipeg, which included a career high with 54 points in 1995-96 from 11 goals and 43 assists, never playing less than 57 games aside from the strike shortened season of 1994-95 before the Jets would relocate to Phoenix.

The desert air seemed to be good for Numminen's health, as he would go on a consecutive games streak, which dated back to December 15, 1995 in Winnipeg, that would eventually see him hold the longest active streak for games played in the NHL. After playing 74 games in the Jets final season in Winnipeg, he would play every game of the Coyotes first three seasons in Phoenix., which included the second 50 point season of his career with 51 in 1997-98.

While the consecutive games streak would come to an end in 1999-2000, the next four seasons would see him play between 72 and 79 games per season, which included his 1,000th game for the franchise on this date in 2002. He was named captain of the Coyotes before the 2001-02 season, a position he would hold for two seasons.

After fifteen seasons with the Jets/Coyotes franchise, Numminen was dealt to the Dallas Stars for the 2003-04 season. He sat out the lockout year of 2004-05 and resumed his NHL career by signing with the Buffalo Sabres for two more 70+ game seasons. During the 2006-07 season, Numminen would play in his 1252nd game, setting a record for the most games by a European-trained player, passing Jari Kurri.

His first two years in Buffalo afforded Numminen the first two extensive playoff experiences of his career, as the Sabres would make it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and 2007. His 28 playoff games those two years stand out when compared to the fact the Jets or Coyotes never made it past the first round in nine previous tries of Numminen's career.

Numminen required heart surgery before the start of the 2007-08 season and returned to play in the Sabres final game of the season. His last season in the NHL, 2008-09, saw Numminen play 57 games for the Sabres. He would finish with 117 goals and 520 assists for 637 points in 1372 games played, a record for a European trained player at the time and still the most by a Finn. His 1,098 games were a franchise record for the Coyotes.

His #27 was retired by the Coyotes in 2010 and joined Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk and Thomas Steen as members of the Coyotes Ring of Honor.

Prior to coming to North America, Numminen competed for Finland in the World Championships and the Canada Cup in 1987 prior to competing in the World Junior Championships!

In all, Numminen would compete for Finland in the World Championships six times, earning a silver medal in 1994, the Canada Cup once, the World Cup of Hockey twice and in four Olympics, winning bronze in 1998 and silver in 1988 and 2006.

Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes Teppo Numminen jersey as worn during his 1,000th NHL game on this date in 2002, becoming the first Finnish player to reach 1,000 NHL games.

The Coyotes wore this style jersey from their first season in Phoenix in 1996-97 through the 2002-03 season before undergoing a radical identity re-branding that coincided with their move into their new arena. This style jersey was always considered quite unusual and had a very polarizing effect, with the fans either loving the uniqueness or hating it for how busy and odd they considered it to be.

In today's video section, Teppo Numminen's jersey #27 is retired by the Coyotes in 2010 and he is inducted into the club's ring of honor.

Next, an interview with Numminen just prior to his jersey retirement.

Finally, a tribute to Numminen, which also includes footage of him from his playing days in Finland.

Friday, March 2, 2012

1989-90 New York Rangers Darren Turcotte Jersey

Despite being born in Boston, Massachusetts, Darren Turcotte, born on this date in 1968, took the route of Canadian junior hockey to begin his path to the NHL. He played four very consistent seasons with the North Bay Centennials of the Ontario Hockey League from 1984-85 to 1987-88, scoring between 30 and 35 goals and 63 and 78 points each season. Following his second season with the Centennials, Turcotte was selected in the sixth round by the New York Rangers in the 986 NHL Entry Draft.

He played 8 games with the Colorado Rangers if the IHL after the conclusion of his final season of junior hockey and returned to the club, now rechristened the Denver Rangers for the majority of the 1988-89 season, averaging more than point per game, scoring 21 goals and 49 points in 40 games, a performance which earned him a chance to make his NHL debut with the New York Rangers. Turcotte, a center, appeared in 20 games during which he scored 7 goals and 10 points.

That would be the last he would see of the minor leagues, as he made the Rangers roster right from the start of the 1989-90 season and would seize the opportunity to set a career best in his first full season with 32 goals. Turcotte would follow that with a career high 67 points in 1990-91, a season in which he appeared in the NHL All-Star Game.

Turcotte All-Star, Turcotte All-Star

1991-92 saw the second 30 goal season of his career on his way to a 53 point season, which he matched in 1992-93, his fourth consecutive season over 50 points.

Turcotte Rangers, Turcotte Rangers

His fourth season with the Rangers saw him appear in only 13 games, scoring just twice prior to a trade to the Hartford Whalers in November, for whom he would play in just 19 games in what amounted to a lost season.

He regained some of his scoring touch in the abbreviated 1994-95 season, scoring 17 times in 47 games for the Whalers.

Turcotte Whalers, Turcotte Whalers

Turcotte packed his bags once more when he was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets just prior to the 1995-96 season. His time in Winnipeg was brief however, as the Jets sent him even further west in March of the same season. In all, Turcotte would score 22 goals in 68 games on his way to 43 points.

Turcotte Jets, Turcotte Jets

Turcotte would play the entire 1996-97 season with the Sharks before yet another deal saw him join the St. Louis Blues for the 1997-98 campaign, a season which would conclude with Turcotte finally returning to the NHL playoffs for the first time in six seasons since leaving the Rangers.

Turcotte Sharks, Turcotte Sharks

His final two seasons were as a member of the expansion Nashville Predators. where the veteran was made an assistant captain. After being limited to 40 games in their inaugural season, a knee injury would curtail his 1999-00 season after just 9 games. Turcotte would formally retire in March of 2000 with 635 games, 195 goals and 216 assists for 411 points during his NHL career.

Turcotte Predators, Turcotte Predators

Internationally, Turcotte would play for the United States at the 1987 and 1988 World Junior Tournament, with 1987's 6 goals and 10 points in 7 games standing out.

He would make one additional appearance for the USA as a member of their World Championship roster in 1993, scoring twice in 6 games.

Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 New York Rangers Darren Turcotte jersey from the season he scored a career best 32 goals.

After the Rangers returned to their diagonally crested jerseys after a brief experience with jerseys crested with their shield logo, the had, for the first time ever, put "New York" on the front of their road blue jerseys. They would return to the traditional "Rangers" cresting in 1987-88, a season before Turcotte's arrival in Manhattan.

These sweaters had the names on the back straight across for Turcotte's first two seasons before a change to the now familiar vertically arched lettering used ever since.

New York Rangers 89-90 jersey, New York Rangers 89-90 jersey
New York Rangers 89-90 jersey, New York Rangers 89-90 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Nashville Predators Darren Turcotte jersey from the predators inaugural season. This jersey has two unique features, one being the special shoulder patches which has the year 98 noted in them and the other being the fact the jersey was produced by Bauer, while every other jersey in the league having been made by either CCM, Nike or Starter. It would be the only season the Predators jerseys were made by Bauer, as they would switch to CCM the following season.

Nashville Predators 98-99 jersey, Nashville Predators 98-99 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

In today's video section, Turcotte scores near the end of this clip on a shorthanded breakaway against the Boston Bruins. Do not adjust your screen, the picture is that snowy.

Next, Turcotte scores on a nifty play against the Winnipeg Jets Nikolai Khabibulin.

1976-77 Houston Aeros Gordie Howe Jersey

Gordie Howe
made his NHL debut in 1946 wearing #17 and then changed to his iconic #9 at the start of the following season for the purpose of having a more preferable sleeping berth on the train while the team was traveling, as the accommodations were more spacious in the lower berths and were allocated based the players sweater numbers.

One of the most dominate players in NHL history, Howe would finish in the top five in league scoring for twenty straight seasons.

Teamed with linemates Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay, "The Production Line" would dominate the NHL and lead Detroit to first place in the regular season standings for each of the four seasons they played together from 1948-49 to 1951-52, a span that would include a pair Stanley Cup Championships in 1950 and 1952. So dominant was the line that they finished first, second and third in league scoring in 1949-50, led by Lindsay's 78 points in 69 games.

Howe would not be around to lift the Stanley Cup in 1950, having suffered a fractured skull earlier in the playoffs, which required emergency surgery to relieve the pressure.

Howe would return to form the following season of 1950-51, scoring 86 points to win the scoring title by 20 points over his nearest competition, the first of seven times he would win the Art Ross Trophy.

Howe would continue throughout the 1950's to accumulate championships and awards, winning the Stanley Cup in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955, the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion from 1951-1954 and 1957, and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league MVP in 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958 and 1960.

In 1960 Howe registered an assist in a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to score his 1,000th NHL point, the first player in the 44 year history of the league to reach that milestone and he did it in his 938th game. It would be another eight years before Jean Beliveau would become the second and another 20 years before Howe would score his final point! Remember, Howe already had 14 years in the league behind him at this point.

1963 would see Howe capture both the Art Ross and Hart Trophies once more and in 1965 he would score his 600th NHL goal in a game versus the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first player in NHL history to record 600 goals. It would be until 1972 until Bobby Hull would become the second to 600.

In 1968-69, aided by the recent NHL expansion to 12 teams, which created a longer schedule of games and some admittedly weaker opponents, Howe achieved his one and only 100 point NHL season with 44 goals and 58 assists for 103 points. Included in his 44 goals would be his 700th NHL goal on December 9th, 1968 against the Pittsburgh Penguins Les Binkley. At the time no other player had even reached 550.

After two final seasons with Detroit, Howe retired following the 1970-71 season thanks to a problematic wrist as the league's all-time leading scorer with 786 career goals.

While Howe was away from the game for two seasons, the world of hockey was turned upside down with the arrival of the World Hockey Association, which saw underage players being drafted and salaries escalating beyond any foreseen amounts as the upstart league sought to stock it's roster with established and potential star players.

Two of those potential stars were Mark and Marty Howe, who were just 18 and 19 years old at the time. With those contracts in hand, the Aeros lured he now 45-year-old Gordie out of retirement, after he had already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Mark, Gordie and Marty Howe, Mark, Gordie and Marty Howe

With his wrist having been operated on, Gordie was back on the ice, unable to pass on the opportunity to play with his sons. His 1,687 games of experience were greater than the rest of the entire Aeros roster combined!

His game in Houston was a model of consistency, as he picked right up where he left off with 31 goals, including the 800th of his professional career. Additionally, his 100 points in 1973-74 were good for third overall in WHA scoring as Houston captured the Avco World Trophy as WHA champions.

The following season Howe topped that with 34 goals on the Aeros way to a second consecutive championship. After another 32 goals in 1975-76, Howe once more reached a milestone never before achieved by a professional hockey player when he scored his 900th career regular season goal on this date in 1977 against the Phoenix Roadrunners in a 8-3 Aeros triumph. Fittingly, his son Marty earned an assist on the landmark goal.

Gordie Mark Marty Howe, Gordie Mark Marty Howe

Howe was quoted as saying the puck was "aimed well, shot bad, and went in good." Howe was actually more concerned with getting his 903rd goal, as it would give him 20 for the season, continuing a streak which dated back to the 1949-50 season, 28 years and 26 seasons in all. He would reach that mark, finishing the year with 24 goals in all.

The streak would extend to 27 seasons, as Howe would score 34 to lead the New England Whalers, who the Howe trio had now joined, in goals, as well as points in 1977-78. He would just miss out by the slimmest of margins in 1978-79, at the age of 50, when he scored 19 while being limited to 58 games, his first season of less than 60 games since 1949.

Gordie Mark Marty Howe Whalers, Gordie Mark Marty Howe Whalers

Howe would play one final season with the Whalers, now renamed he Hartford Whalers as one of the conditions of their entry into the NHL. His 15 goals that season would push his final NHL career total past 800 with 801 and make his final professional total 975, thanks to his 174 WHA scores.

Gordie Howe Whalers NHL, Gordie Howe Whalers NHL

While Wayne Gretzky would garner the headlines for breaking Howe's NHL record with his 802nd goal on March 23, 1994, his combined professional total stands at 940, 35 short of the legendary Howe.

Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Houston Aeros Gordie Howe jersey. We have seen a number of different variations for Gordie Howe Aeros jerseys, including his full name on the back with serifed letters as seen on today's featured jersey, "G. HOWE", also using the same serifed letters, and finally his full name on the back with standard, sans-serif block letters.

Research indicates that the sans-serif lettering was not actually worn on the ice at any time by the Aeros during Howe's days with the club and that the "G. Howe" variation was from the pre-season of Howe's first year with Houston, meaning all genuine Howe Aeros game worn jerseys should have his full name on the back in the serifed font.

Houston Aeros 76-77 jersey, Houston Aeros 76-77 jersey
Houston Aeros 76-77 jersey, Houston Aeros 76-77 jersey

Today's video is the "Legends of Hockey" profile of Gordie Howe.

Here is an unusual find, Gordie Howe on the TV game show, "What's My Line?" being questioned by Hogan's Heroes' Colonel Klink, actor Werner Klemperer and comedian Soupy Sales. Howe's legendary toughness is apparent, as he is unfazed at being interrogated by a Nazi prison camp commandant!

Gordie tells Keith Olberman how hockey used to be and to respect your elders.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2000-01 Carolina Hurricanes Ron Francis Jersey

After a junior hockey career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Ron Francis, born on this date in 1963, joined the Hartford Whalers, who drafted him fourth overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.

His offensive production was immediate, as in 59 games of the 1981-82 season he tallied 25 goals and 68 points as a rookie. The following season Francis led the Whalers in scoring after raising his goals to 31 and his points to 90 while being named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 1983. After scoring 83 points in 1983-84, Francis again led Hartford in scoring with 81 points and being named to his second all-star game. After 77 points in 1985-86 as well as being named team captain at the age of just 22, Francis led the Whalers in scoring for the third time in six seasons with a new career high of 93 points while hitting 30 goals for the second time.

Francis Whalers, Francis Whalers
Francis while wearing long pants while with the Whalers

A drop back to 75 points in 1987-88 was still enough to lead the Whalers in scoring once again, followed by 77 points the following season. His finest season in Hartford came during the 1989-90 campaign with a career high 32 goals as well as 69 assists for 101 points which earned him a third all-star appearance. His 69 assists were 7th in the league that season.

Francis Whalers, Francis Whalers
Francis now as the Whalers captain

After 67 games of the 1990-91 season, Francis stood at 76 points but was then involved in a blockbuster trade, which sent him, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jeff Parker, Zarley Zalapski and John Cullen. Centering the Penguins second line, Francis added another 11 regular season points plus 17 playoff points in 24 games as the Penguins captured the Stanley Cup over the Minnesota North Stars.

Francis Stanley Cup, Francis Stanley Cup
Francis celebrates the Penguins Stanley Cup championship

Missing ten games of the 1991-92 season was partly responsible for a decline in his scoring, as the finished the season with a career low 54 points, but kept intact his streak of scoring at least 50 points for the 11th consecutive season. Francis stepped upon the postseason though, scoring 27 points in 21 games, ably leading the team while team captain Mario Lemieux missed six games due to injury as the Penguins swept their final two series to capture their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Francis reached the 100 point mark for the second time in 1992-93 with 24 goals and 76 assists which included his 1,000th career point. He followed that up with another 93 points the following season.

Francis 1000 points, Francis 1000 points
Francis with the puck from his 1,000th NHL point

His streak of consecutive 50 point seasons was put in jeopardy by the abbreviated 48 game 1994-95 season, of which Francis only skated in 44 games. Still, he netted 11 goals and 48 assists to comfortably keep his streak intact with 59 points as well as being named team captain during Lemieux's absence due to injury. In addition to his offensive streak, Francis valuable two-way play was rewarded with his being named the winner of the Selke Trophy as the as the league's best defensive forward and his style of play earned him a second award that season, the first of three Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly play.

Francis Byng, Francis Byng
Francis with the Lady Byng Trophy

The return of Lemieux from missing the previous season shifted the Penguins offense into a higher gear in 1995-96, with Francis racking up 92 assists to tie Lemieux for the league lead and a career high 119 points for fourth overall in the NHL scoring race despite coming in third on his own team! His efforts were recognized with his fourth NHL All-Star appearance.

His final two seasons with Pittsburgh saw Francis once again named team captain following the retirement of Lemieux as he would score 90 and then 87 points as he wrapped up 8 seasons with the Penguins by registering his 1,000th career assist as well as his second Lady Byng Trophy.

For the 1998-99 season, Francis signed as a free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes, who were the original Hartford Whalers franchise, now relocated to North Carolina. Naturally, his offensive production took a hit moving away from the prolific Penguins, and his 52 points were a career low up to that point, but his 50 point streak remained in effect, now at 18 seasons and counting. Francis was also installed as captain of the Hurricanes immediately upon his arrival.

Francis Hurricanes, Francis Hurricanes

Anyone who thought Francis career was in decline was sorely mistaken, as he rebounded with 73 points to lead the club in scoring. During the 2000-01 season, Francis scored a goal on this date, his 38th birthday, to become just the second player in NHL history to score 50 points for an amazing twenty straight seasons, the other being the legendary Gordie Howe. Francis would finish the season with a total of 65 points.

Francis Hurricanes, Francis Hurricanes
Francis wearing the Hockey Fights Cancer patch worn by only each club's captain

The 2001-02 season saw Francis score 77 points thanks to his third consecutive season with exactly 50 assists. He also joined the exclusive ranks of 500 goal scorers, just the 29th player to reach that plateau. The Hurricanes would go on the best playoff run of the franchise's time in the NHL, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time thanks in part to Francis' team leading 16 playoff points in 23 games.

Francis Wales, Francis Wales
Francis with the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference champions

He equalled Howe's streak of 50 point seasons in 2002-03 with 57 points, his 22nd consecutive season with 50 points or more.

His final NHL season saw him play 68 games with Carolina before a late season trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he played 12 regular season games and an additional 12 playoff games as Toronto was eliminated in the second round. That final season, between the two clubs combined, Francis scored 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points, bringing to an end his 50 point streak, as well as his career, as he retired following the season, but not before winning his third Lady Byng Trophy as well as the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in recognition of his leadership on and off the ice.

Francis Maple Leafs, Francis Maple Leafs
Francis during his brief time in Toronto

His final career totals are 1,731 games played (third in NHL history), 549 goals scored (26th all-time) and 1,249 assists (2nd only behind Wayne Gretzky) for 1,798 points (4th all-time behind only Gretzky, Mark Messier and Howe).

Francis was honored by having his #10 raised to the rafters at the Hartford Civic Center, being named to the Penguins Ring of Honor and having his #10 formally retired by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007.

Francis Hurricanes Banner, Francis Hurricanes Banner

Today's featured jersey is a 2000-01 Carolina Hurricanes Ron Francis jersey as worn the season Francis extended his 50 point streak to 20 seasons, only the second player to accomplish that level of productive longevity.

The Hurricanes adopted this jersey style for their very first season in North Carolina of 1997-98, the best feature of which is the clever hurricane warning flags repeated as the waist stripe. They added a black outline to their one color names after three seasons, but other than that minor tweak to the customizing, the jerseys remained unchanged until the introduction of the new Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007-08. The design remained as true to the original as possible, with really only white piping around the shoulders worth noting.

Carolina Hurricanes 00-01 jersey, Carolina Hurricanes 00-01 jersey
Carolina Hurricanes 00-01 jersey, Carolina Hurricanes 00-01 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1989-90 Hartford Whalers Ron Francis jersey. Francis best season in Hartford was the 1989-90 season during which he had the first 100 point season of his career.

The Whalers adopted their new jerseys on the occasion of entering the NHL in 1979-80 following the demise of the WHA, their original home. At the time of the Whalers entering the NHL, they changed their color scheme from green and gold to green and blue, as well as changing their name from the New England Whalers to the Hartford Whalers on the insistence of the Boston Bruins.

The W-tail logo was a clever piece of graphic design creating the "H" out of the negative space between the "W" and the tail. This jersey was worn with the controversial long pants during only the 1982-83 season, and one of only two teams to ever sport the long pants look in the NHL.

There were some minor changes to this style over it's lifespan through 1991-92, including the bottom hem below the stripes changing from green to white and the stripes on the arms changing from angled to straight and back again, only to become straight once more. The most unfortunate change in style though, was the elimination of the Pucky the Whale shoulder patches in 1985-86.

Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey, Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey
Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey, Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey

Francis Today's featured video is a tribute to Francis and his long and productive career.

Here is an interview with Francis during which he looks back on his career.

Finally, here is Francis speech on the occasion of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1972-73 Montreal Canadiens Henri Richard jersey

Born on this date, Leap Day, in 1936, Henri Richard knew at a young age what he wanted to do in life, but it's easy to be influenced by your older brother when he plays for the Montreal Canadiens.

"I was positive that I, too, was going to play for the team, although I never imagined playing with Maurice. Our age difference was 15 years. I hardly knew him; he married when I was a boy, and then he was so busy with hockey. He was more like and uncle than a brother. It's funny, but Maurice never talked to me about hockey, even when were were teammates. We did our talking on the ice," Henri recalls.

He began his path to the NHL with the Montreal Nationale in 1951-52 and 1952-53, scoring 50 goals and 118 points in 95 games over the course of two seasons. For the 1953-54 season, he joined the Montreal Jr. Canadiens where he averaged more than a goal per game with 56 goals in 54 games on his way to 109 total points, a two point per game average. The following season Richard was limited to 44 games, but scored 33 goals and 66 points for a still impressive 1 1/2 points per game.

Richard arrived on the scene in 1955-56 with the Montreal Canadiens at the ideal time, as the club was loaded with talent and in the midst of the longest run of consecutive appearances in the finals in league history (10 from 1951-1960) and on the verge of the longest championship dynasty the NHL has ever seen, as Richard kicked off his career with five consecutive Stanley Cup Championships from 1956 to 1960. He was an immediate producer, scoring 40 points as a rookie in 1955-56 and just two seasons later set his career high with 80 points from 28 goals and 52 assists in 1957-58.

Henri Richard young, Henri Richard young

"We had quite the team and won the Stanley Cup in my first five years. We almost got bored winning. It was better to win after a loss, much more enjoyable."

After taking a backseat to the Toronto Maple Leafs run of cups in the early 1960's, the Canadiens were back on top again in with back-to-back championships in 1965 and 1966, and again in 1968 and 1969, the latter of which gave him nine for his career, breaking his brother Maurice's record of eight.

Richard was a model of consistency and durability during his 20 year career. From 1957 to 1970 he scored between 50 and 80 points in 13 out of the 14 years, playing no less than 53 games every season. His highest goal total was 30 in 1960 and his career-best 52 assists in 1958 and 50 in 1963 lead the NHL both times.

Richard was named captain of the Canadiens in 1971 after the retirement of Jean Beliveau. "The oldest player usually got the "C," and at the time, it seemed a normal transition to be voted captain. I never said much to the players, but I had always tried to lead by example. Now that my playing days are over, I see the tradition, the honor, more clearly."

Henri Richard #16, Henri Richard #16

Richard would win the Stanley Cup again in 1971, one he considers the sweetest. "I had had a few arguments with coach Al McNeil but went on to score the tying and winning goals in the seventh game," said Richard. This after being benched in Game 6 of the finals by McNeil.

He would win the cup one final time in 1973, giving him a total of 11, more than any other player in NHL history. "I won 11 Cups in total, a record that may never be broken. The structure of the league, with the draft and free agency, prevents the creation of dynasties like the one we had in Montreal," Richard speculated.

Richard laments, "In all my years with the Canadiens, I never played a shift on the power play. With the great teams we had, I couldn't get on that line." He continues, "I might have had that chance on another team, and though I was tempted by a large contract offer from Houston of the WHA, I'm thankful to have finished as a Montreal Canadien."

Richard retired in 1975 after 1256 games, 358 goals and 688 assists for 1046 points. He participated in the playoffs an astounding 20 times in 22 seasons, totalling 180 games, 49 goals and 80 assists for 129 career playoff points along with his 11 Stanley Cups. That's championships in half of the seasons he played in! Richard was also named the winner of the Masterton Trophy in 1974.

"I saw the younger guys coming on and retired when I knew I wouldn't play regularly anymore. After my retirement, the team went on to win four more cups in a row. I had declined a contract offer from Montreal for those years. I opened a tavern, and the guys would come for a beer and tease me with, "We really missed you out there, Henri." But I've no regrets."

The Canadiens retired Richard's #16 in 1975 and he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame shortly afterwards in 1979.

Today's featured jersey is a 1972-73 Montreal Canadiens Henri Richard jersey as worn during the final of his record-setting 11 career Stanley Cup championships, the most of any player in NHL history.

The classic Canadiens bleu, blanc et rouge jersey pre dates even the National Hockey League, as it can be traced back to the 1912-13 National Hockey Association season when the Canadiens needed an alternate sweater due to their red, white and blue barberpole style being too similar to the red, black and white barberpoles worn by the Ottawa Senators.

The original red sweater with a blue band across the chest was decorated with a white "C", which became a "C" with a letter "A" (for "atheltique") contained inside from 1913-14 through 1915-16. The logo was then changed in 1916-17 for the final NHA season to the now familiar "C" with the letter "H" inside, with the "H" standing for "hockey" (coming from the team's official name "le Club de hockey Canadien" and not the often assumed "habitants", which comes from the club's unofficial nickname of "The Habs".

Aside from some tweaks and eventual modernization of the logo, the Canadiens jerseys have now remained essentially unchanged for nearly 100 years.

This particular variation of the Canadiens sweater dates back to 1966-67 when the sleeve numbers moved into the white bands on the arms and remained in use through the 1974-75 season, the last for the lace-up collar, which was then replaced by a more modern v-neck style.

Montreal Canadiens 72-73 jersey, Montreal Canadiens 72-73 jersey

Today's first video selection is the "Legends of Hockey" profile of Henri Richard with commentary by both Henri and Maurice Richard, along with Jean Beliveau, a real treat to see.

Next up are highlights of the 1971 Stanley Cup Finals Game 7, where Richard scores both the tying and winning goals as the Canadiens come from behind to win the championship.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1928-29 Chicago Black Hawks Vic Ripley Jersey

To say that the 1928-29 edition of the Chicago Black Hawks were not a high scoring team is a severe understatement. The franchise was originally stocked for it's inaugural 1926-27 season with players from the defunct Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.

That first season the club faired well enough, finishing third in the five team American Division with a record of 19-22-3 in a 44 game schedule while scoring a league best 115 goals when the league average was 88 and their nearest pursuer had less than 100 at 99. However, Chicago also allowed a league high 116 goals against, 8 more than anyone else. Still, they qualified for the playoffs but were defeated in a two-game, total-goals series 10-5 by the Boston Bruins. Babe Dye led the club with 25 (good for second in the league), followed by Dick Irvin's 18, with Gord Fraser, George Hay and Mickey MacKay all with 14.

Their second season saw their goal output plummet to just 68, eighth out of 10, while their goals against rose to 134, easily the worst in the league as the NHL average that season was 84. That combination led to the club finishing last in the American Division with a 7-34-3 record for 17 points in the standings. MacKay led the team with 17 goals followed by Duke Keats' 14, while no other player had more than 6.

For the 1928-29 season Vic Ripley was brought in from the Kitchener Millionaires of the Canadian Professional Hockey League, as was Johnny Gottselig from the Winnipeg Maroons of the American Hockey Association.

1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks team, 1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks team
The 1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks

The season began on an ominous note, as the Black Hawks were shutout on opening night 2-0 by the Toronto Maple Leafs. A 4-2 loss to the Montreal Maroons followed before another 2-0 shutout at the hands of the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, who would only win 9 games all season.

Three more losses would follow before a 3-2 win over the Pirates would bring Chicago it's first points in the standings for the season and first time in seven games scoring as many as 3 goals in a game. This was followed by another 2-0 shutout loss, this coming in Ottawa at the hands of the Senators.

Three games later, Chicago suffered back to back shutouts at home to the New York Americans and the Montreal Canadiens. They rebounded with a pair of wins on the road over the Boston Bruins and Americans to improve their record to 4-9-1. This was followed by a 15 game winless streak, as the Black Hawks lost five consecutive games, scoring 3 and being shutout twice more.

A pair of 1-1 ties against the Montreal Maroons and Pirates ending the losing streak, but any sign of momentum was squashed with three consecutive shutout losses. Another 1-1 tie with the Senators followed prior to four more losses, which included another pair of shutouts. On February 2, 1929, Chicago's winless streak reached 15 games with a 3-2 home loss to the Rangers, the first time Chicago had scored two goals in a game since December 27th, their last victory prior to their winless streak.

Finally on February 5th, the Black Hawks won a game to end their winless streak, thanks to an offensive outburst of...

a single goal in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Cougars, which made their record 5-21-4.

It was during their next game that the club began a run of futility the likes of which has never been seen since. The Black Hawks were shutout in consecutive games by the Americans 1-0, the second game coming at home.

Their home stand continued, as did their scoreless streak with a third straight 1-0 loss, this to the Canadiens. Boston and Ottawa took turns beating Chicago 3-0 in the Windy City. Back to back games with the Cougars came next, with the first resulting in a 0-0 draw, Chicago's sixth straight game without a goal and fifth in a row at home without lighting the lamp in front of the home fans.

The return match in Detroit went the way of the Cougars 3-0 followed by another 0-0 draw at home to the Rangers on this date in 1929 to extend the Black Hawks scoreless streak to an NHL record eight games without even a single goal. It was also the 20th time in 38 games the Black Hawks had failed to score.

Their eight game goalless, winless streak ended with a 2-1 win over the Maroons and the season wound down with a 1-2-2 record in their final five games, a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh and four consecutive games scoring a goal in each.

The final record for Chicago that season was 7-29-8, which was actually 5 points better in the standings than the previous season. Although Chicago had the same number of wins with 7, they registered 8 ties versus 3 the season before thanks in part to reducing their goals against from 134 to 85, an improvement of 49 from the year before.

Unfortunately, the Black Hawks goals for was an abysmal 33 goals scored in 44 games, an average of .75 per game, or just 3 goals scored for every 4 games played. Their 33 goals were 13 less than the Pirates.

Ripley did lead the team in goals for the season with 11, the only player on the club with double digits, as Irvin came second with 6 and Gottselig's mere 5 was enough to place third on the offensively challenged team. Chuck Gardiner played all 44 games in goal for Chicago and his 1.85 goals against average speaks to how hard he worked to keep Chicago in nearly every game, which included posting five shutouts of his own, knowing his goal support was going to be minimal, as the Black Hawks scored a season high of just 3 goals but once and 2 goals seven times, with Gardiner getting wins in five of those eight times. He even managed ties during two of the games during which his team failed to score.

Gardiner Blackhawks, Gardiner Blackhawks
Charlie Gardiner

As a result of the league-wide dearth of goals that season, Ace Bailey led the league in 1928-29 with 22 and the Canadiens George Hainsworth posted a league record 22 shutouts, which still stands today despite a schedule now twice as long, drastic rule changes were implemented to open up the game, mainly now allowing forward passing in the offensive zone. This resulted in a dramatic increase in goal scoring, ranging from Pittsburgh's 102 up to Boston's 170. The previous season, the Bruins led the NHL with 89.

Chicago rose from 33 to 117 goals scored, including 14 games with 4 or more goals with a high of 6 after just one single game with even 3 goals the year before. They were held scoreless just 3 times, down from their record of 20.

Today's featured jersey is a 1928-29 Chicago Black Hawks Vic Ripley jersey. This was the first black sweater in NHL history, created when the Black Hawks reversed the colors of their original white sweaters worn during their inaugural season in 1926-27. This style was worn for seven seasons, which concluded with the Black Hawks first Stanley Cup championship in 1934.

Ripley played five seasons for Chicago before being traded to the Bruins, who later sent him to the Rangers. He was next sold to the St. Louis Eagles for his seventh and final NHL season, but continued to play in the minor leagues seven additional seasons. His final NHL totals were 283 games played, 51 goals and 47 assists for 98 points.

Chicago Blackhawks 28-29 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 28-29 jersey

Monday, February 27, 2012

1999-00 Detroit Red Wings Pat Verbeek Jersey

Following a prolific junior hockey career with the Sudbury Wolves, during which he scored 40 goals and 107 points while accumulating 184 penalty minutes in 61 games after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils at the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, Pat Verbeek made his debut with the Devils for the final six games of the season, where he made an impression with 3 goals and 5 points.

He returned to New Jersey the following season and made the club out of training camp. He immediately set the tone for the rest of his career by playing in 79 games, the first of 11 consecutive seasons of 73 games or more, despite his hard nosed, all-in style of play which saw him lead the Devils in penalty minutes as a rookie and register 10 seasons with 150 minutes or more, with four of those being well over 200.

During his six seasons with the Devils, Verbeek broke out of the gate as a rookie with 20 goals and 47 points. After a step back as a sophomore, his goal totals rose from 25 to 35 and eventually a career high an club record of 46 in 1987-88, along with 31 assists for 77 points while surpassing 200 penalty minutes for the first time with 227 as well as a +29 rating, a true star among fantasy hockey players!

Verbeek Devils, Verbeek Devils

That season, the Devils qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved from Colorado, where they were known as the Rockies. Not content just to be in the postseason, Verbeek and the Devils went on a run to the conference finals, ousting the New York Islanders in 6 and beating the Washington Capitals on the road in Game 7 before taking the Boston Bruins the full distance before succumbing. Verbeek set a career best with 12 playoff points in 20 games.

Verbeek's reputation for toughness was only added to just after the 1984-85 season ended when he had one of his thumbs was severed by an auger in a farming accident. His brother drove Pat 20 miles to the hospital, only without the missing portion of his thumb. After phoning home, his father Gerry was able to locate the severed portion and deliver it to the hospital, where, after six and a half hours of surgery, the top half of his digit was reattached and his other cut fingers treated. Pat was able to recuperate over the summer and returned in time for training camp without missing a single regular season game.

Following a down season in 1988-89, during which he scored 30 points less than the previous season, Verbeek was dealt to the Hartford Whalers during the off season, but not until he had made his World Championships debut for Canada in 1989. He immediately rebounded offensively with back to back 40 goal seasons with 44 goals and setting a career high with 89 points in 1989-90 followed by 43 goals and 82 points in 1990-91, when he was named team captain, to lead the team in scoring, all while agitating his way to seasons of 228 and 246 penalty minutes. During both of those seasons, he was the only player to lead his team in both goals and penalty minutes.

Verbeek Whalers, Verbeek Whalers

He would play three more seasons in Hartford, including making his first NHL All-Star Game in 1991 and another 80 point season in 1992-93, when he lit the lamp 39 times and just missed 200 penalty minutes with 197 as he totaled 82 points. He also led the club in scoring a second time in 1993-94 with 75 points.

Verbeek Whalers, Verbeek Whalers

During the strike-shortened 1994-95 season, Verbeek was traded to the New York Rangers after 29 games with Hartford. In his 19 games in Manhattan, Verbeek was given the nickname "The Little Ball of Hate" by teammate Glenn Healey. The following season he recorded his fourth and final 40 goal season with 41 on his way to his fourth and final 80 point season with 82 while being named to his second all-star game in 1996.

Verbeek Rangers, Verbeek Rangers

For the 1996-97 season, Verbeek signed with the Dallas Stars as a free agent, which had an immediate affect on his offensive numbers, as Dallas was not a wide open offensive club, combined with the game changing to a more defensive style in the latter half of the 1990's. While his point total did decrease to 53 his first season with the Stars, it was enough for him to place second on the team in scoring. He also surpassed the 1,000 games played mark that season.

Verbeek Stars, Verbeek Stars

Verbeek would finish third in team scoring despite his increase in points to 57, 12 off the team lead of 69. Dallas would make their presence known in the postseason, making it to the conference finals in 1998 before falling to the eventual champions.

That playoff experienced served the Stars well, as they again made a long postseason run in 1999, sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in four, eliminating the St. Louis Blues in six and defeating the Colorado Avalanche in a seven game struggle to advance to the finals against the Buffalo Sabres, where the Stars won the first Stanley Cup of Verbeek's career.

Verbeek Stars Stanley Cup, Verbeek Stars Stanley Cup

For the 1999-00 season, Verbeek left Dallas when he signed a free agent contact with the Detroit Red Wings, During that season he scored 22 goals and 26 assists, which included an assists on this date in 2000 on a goal by Steve Yzerman just 40 seconds into the game to give him 1,000 career points, making him only the second player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points and 2,500 career penalty minutes, along with Dale Hunter. Less than a month later, he would reach another significant milestone with his 500th career goal, making him the first player in NHL history with 500 goals and 2,500 penalty minutes.

Verbeek Red Wings, Verbeek Red Wings

He would play one more season for the Red Wings before returning to Dallas as a free agent for his final NHL season in 2001-02.

He would finish his career with 1,424 games played, 522 goals and 541 assists for 1,063 points and 2,905 penalty minutes during a career in which he never played a single game in the minor leagues. He would also score 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points in 117 playoff games while being whistled for 225 penalty minutes in the playoffs.

Internationally, Verbeek competed for Canada at the 1983 World Junior Tournament, scoring 4 points in 7 games, the 1989 and 1994 World Championships as well as the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Verbeek Canada, Verbeek Canada

Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 Detroit Red Wings Pat Verbeek jersey from the season during which he scored his 1,000th NHL point.

While the Red Wings jersey has remained essentially unchanged since the dawn of time, the jersey has been adorned with many patches over it's history, beginning with the "V" for victory and Buy War Bonds patches during World War II.

The club wore a patch for the 250th Anniversary of the City of Detroit in 1951 and a patch for the 50th anniversary of the club in 1975-76. That was followed in 1981-82 by a patch for the Norris' family's 50 years of ownership of the club and the 60th anniversary of the team in 1985-86.

The 1991-92 season saw the introduction of the first full-season patch to be worn by all teams on the occasion of the NHL's 75th anniversary, followed immediately by a patch celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Stanley Cup in 1992-93. The only other league wide, full season patch was the NHL 2000 patch in 1999-00, as seen on today's featured jersey.

Stanley Cup Finals patches were worn by the Red Wings in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 and 2009.

The "Believe" patch was worn during their successful defense of their Stanley Cup championship in 1997-98 in support of Valdimir Konstantinov and team masseuse Sergei Mnatsakanov, who were severely injured in an auto accident during the celebration of the Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup.

There was a brief appearance of a Red Wings 75th Anniversary patch in 2000-01, but it had not received league approval and was quickly removed after just a few games.

There have been several instances of patches worn for one game, with the jerseys then being auctioned off to raise money for charity, such as the #37 Dan Snyder memorial patch for a game against Snyder's former team the Atlanta Thrashers, the NHL Cares/Katrina Relief Fund patch for the first period of the first home game of 2005-06 and the Teammates for Kids patch worn in January of 2007.

Other single game patches have appeared for the retirement of Yzerman's #19, the 2009 NHL Winter Classic and the 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Toronto.

Finally, they wore the NHL Premiere - Stockholm patch for their two season opening games in Sweden in 2009 and this season the club is wearing a patch with the initials of former players Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei and Red Wings draft pick Stefan Liv, who were all killed in the air disaster which killed the Russian club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the fall of 2011.

For photos of all of the above, we highly recommend NHLPatches.info.

Detroit Red Wings 99-00 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 99-00 jersey
Detroit Red Wings 99-00 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 99-00 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1989-90 Hartford Whalers Pat Verbeek jersey from one of Verbeek's seasons of being the only player in the NHL to lead his team in goals and penalty minutes. This jersey can be identified as a 1989-90 jersey by the straight stripes on the arms, worn this way only two seasons, one of which was with the NHL 75th Anniversary patch. For all other years of this style, the sleeve stripes were angled across the arms.

Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey, Hartford Whalers 89-90 jersey

Extra Bonus Jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Dallas Stars Pat Verbeek jersey from the Stars Stanley Cup winning season, this style's final season of use. This jersey was worn from the 1995-96 season, when the sleeve and waist stripes were made much larger than previously, through the 1999-00 season.

Following their Stanley Cup championship, the white jersey seen here was replaced by a white version of the club's green and black third jersey, which now became the primary road jersey beginning in 1999-00.

Dallas Stars 98-99 jersey, Dallas Stars 98-99 jersey
Dallas Stars 98-99 jersey, Dallas Stars 98-99 jersey

Today's first video shows Verbeek getting nailed but bouncing right back up again.

Next, Vebeek discusses the Hartford Whalers being "in" with the fans at the 2011 Whale Bowl outdoor game in Hartford which featured an alumni game between the Whalers and Bruins alumni teams. Note the original Whalers jerseys and the terrific Bruins throwbacks created just for this game.

Finally, Verbeek promoting his anti-odor product, Beek's Reek Out at the Let's Play Hockey Expo in St. Paul, Minnesota.


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