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Thursday, October 18, 2012

1969-70 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Mike Antonovich Jersey

Born on this date in 1951, Mike Antonovich is a legend in Minnesota High School Hockey, being named to the All-Tournament team three years in a row, from 1967 to 1969, as well as the tournament's leading scorer in both 1968 and 1969 for Greenway of Coleraine as he led Greenway to a pair of state championship titles. He once scored over 50 goals in a 20 game season. He was also recently named to the All-Time All-Tournament First Team along with the likes of Neal BrotenJohn MayasichHenry Boucha and Phil Housley.

Antonovich Greenway, Antonovich Greenway
Greeway of Coleraine's Mike Antonovich

Antonovich spent three seasons at the University of Minnesota, starting in 1969-70 when he burst onto the scene with 23 goals and 20 assists for 43 points in just 32 games, leading the Gophers in scoring by ten points and a to a league title. The following season he would score 32 points in 32 games, but compete in only 13 games in 1971-72, but manage 10 points to maintain his more than point a game average for his college career.

Antonovich Gophers, Antonovich Gophers
Antonovich during his Gopher days

He was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars 113th overall, but would elect to play for his former college coach Glen Sonmor with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association beginning in the 1972-73 season.

Antonovich Fighting Saints, Antonovich Fighting Saints
Antonovich early in the Fighting Saints first season
wearing their first "S" logo jersey

During this time he was even featured in an article about the rise of US hockey players in Sports Illustrated. He would play four seasons for the Fighting Saints before they folded, scoring at least twenty goals in every season. Following the demise of the Fighting Saints, Antonovich would finish the season with the Minnesota North Stars and then competing for the United States at the 1976 World Championships.

Antonovich Fighting Saints, Antonovich Fighting Saints
Antonovich certainly embraced the longer hair styles of the early 1970's!
(Note the "Little Saint" logo which replaced the "S" logo)

The following season would see Antonovich shuffle between the reborn Fighting Saints, the Edmonton Oilers and finally the New England Whalers of the WHA, totaling 40 goals along the way and then finishing the season by playing in the 1977 World Championships. The following two years with New England would see his 20 goal streak stretch to seven seasons.

Antonovich Whalers action, Antonovich Whalers action
Antonovich while with the Whalers in the WHA
as evidenced by the "harpoon W" logo

From that point he would play for the Whalers in their first NHL season for five games before spending the next three seasons in the minors, plus another appearance for the USA at the World Championships in 1982 before getting in 68 games with the New Jersey Devils in 1982-83 and 1983-84.

His final NHL totals show 10 goals, 15 assists and 25 points in 87 games to go along with his WHA career totals of 182 goals and 188 assists for 370 points in 486 games.

Today's featured jersey is a 1969-70 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Mike Anotonovich jersey. This is a very rare jersey, as it was purchased as part of a custom group order for members of the Golden Gophers online forum and was never available through any online or retail stores until being made available by Vintage Minnesota Hockey.com. This style was used from 1969-70 to 1971-72.

Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey
Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey

Here is Antonovich scoring a goal for the New England Whalers in 1979.

This next video is a look at the upcoming second season of the Fighting Saints, which features a few appearances by Anotonovich. Be certain to notice the clear boards they used to have at the St. Paul Civic Center, a unique and distinctive feature of the Civic Center before age and dasherboard advertising made them obsolete.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1990-91 Dynamo Moscow Darius Kasparaitis Jersey

Born in Lithuania on this date in 1972, Darius Kasparaitis first played for Dynamo Moscow at the age of 16 during the 1988-89 season, the first Lithuanian to play in the Soviet Hockey League, and won the Soviet League Championship with Dynamo in 1992.

Kasparitis Dynamo, Kasparitis Dynamo
Kasparitis while with Dynamo Moscow

After his fourth season with Dyanmo, he was drafted by the New York Islanders with the 5th overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He jumped straight into the NHL later that year, playing in 79 games with the Islanders and immediately announced his presence as a tough, physical player as he led the Islanders in hits while scoring a career high 21 points on four goals and 17 assists.

Kasparitis Islanders, Kasparitis Islanders
Kasparitis with the Islanders in 1992-93

After four seasons with the Islanders, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1998-97 season. He would play six seasons with Pittsburgh, during which he would score one of the most notable goals in his career, a Game 7 overtime versus the Buffalo Sabres in the 2001 playoffs.

Kasparitis Penguins, Kasparitis Penguins

A late season trade in 2002 would see him play 11 games for the Colorado Avalanche before signing the following season with the New York Rangers with whom he would play parts of four seasons.

kasparitis Rangers, kasparitis Rangers
The blood on Kasparitis' face reveals the hard-nosed style of his play

During the lockout year of 2004-05 he would join many other NHL players on Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League.

2006-07 would see him return to Europe to play for SKA St. Petersburg on loan from the Rangers. Kasparitis would play one additional season for Saint Petersburg before retiring at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Kasparitis SKA, Kasparitis SKA
Kasparitis finished his career in the KHL with SKA Saint Petersburg

In international play, Kasparaitis played for the Soviet Union in the 1990 European Junior Championships and the 1991 World Juniors, earning silver both times. 1992 would see him earn gold medals for the Confederation of Independent States (CIS) at the World Juniors, where he was named best defenseman, the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France under the banner of the Unified Team ad again for he CIS at the World Championships later that spring.

kasparitis Soviet Union, kasparitis Soviet Union
Kasparitis wearing the CCCP of the Soviet Union during the 1991 World Juniors

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kasparaitis would play for Russia for the remainder of his career, which included the 1996 World Championships, the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympics, where he earned a bronze in 2002 and a silver in 1998.

kasparitis Russia, kasparitis Russia

Today's featured jersey is a 1990-91 Dynamo Moscow Darius Kasparaitis jersey. It's very typical of Soviet jerseys of the time period in that it is a light weight mesh with all the graphics silk screened onto the jersey with the name on the back being a classic example of Cyrillic lettering. The jersey shows good game use with several black stick marks on the arms and body.

Moscow Dynamo 91-92 F jersey, Moscow Dynamo 91-92 F jersey
Moscow Dynamo 91-92 B jersey, Moscow Dynamo 91-92 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995-96 New York Islanders Darius Kasparitis jersey. This notorious jersey was chosen by the Islanders new ownership group in an effort to appeal to a new, younger generation of fans, only to have the logo mocked by rival Rangers fans and the entire jersey become a symbol for the once mighty franchise's woeful play on the ice at the time.

The fisherman logo began to be phased out during only it's second season of use, as the club came up with an alternate sweater that replaced the fisherman with the club's original circular logo during 1996-97 and used that version exclusively during 1997-98 before the Islanders adopted a modern version of their original sweaters in 1998-99.

When told by reporters that the Islanders were going to revert back to their original logo, Kasparitis was quick to reply, "Good. We looked like idiots."

New York Islanders 95-96 jersey, New York Islanders 95-96 jersey

Elvis has left the building as Kasparaitis scores his Game 7 overtime versus the Buffalo Sabres in the 2001 playoffs.

Here is an interview with Kasparaitis and his hair before the 2006 Olympic Games.

Finally a compliation of hits by Kasparaitis from the 1993-94 season.


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