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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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