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Saturday, April 20, 2013

1983-84 Soviet Central Red Army Viacheslav Fetisov Jersey

Slava Fetisov, born on this date in 1958, made his debut for CSKA Moscow in the Soviet Championship League in 1978-79 and scored 29 points in 29 games as a defenseman. Three years later Fetisov would earn the honor of being named the 1982 Soviet Player of the Year. Four years later he would again be named the Soviet Player of the Year. In all, the would play 11 seasons with CSKA Moscow, more commonly known in North America as the Soviet Red Army Club.

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In each of his 11 seasons with Red Army, they would win the Soviet Championship League title.

Prior to joining the senior Red Army Club, Fetisov represented the Soviet Union at the European Junior Championships, earning Top Defenseman at the 1976 tournament, in which he won the first of his many international gold medals. He also won gold at the 1976 World Junior Championships the same year, a feat he repeated in 1977 with gold medals in both the European and World Juniors, where he was named Best Defenseman.

1978 saw his third consecutive World Junior gold and second Best Defenseman award. Later that year Fetisov won his first gold medal with the Soviet National Team at the World Championships. Fetisov was also a member of the Soviet squad that was upset at the 1980 Olympics in the "Miracle on Ice", which eventually earned a silver medal. Another gold at the World Championships arrived in 1981 followed by winning the Canada Cup later that year. Two more golds followed in the 1982 and 1983 World Championships before his first gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

1985 saw a bronze medal at the World Championships break the string of golds. Order was restored in 1986 with a gold.

Slava Fetisov 1986 World Championship

Fetisov next played for the Soviet Union in Rendez-vous '87, a two game series that took the place of the usual NHL All-Star Game in 1987. The conclusion of the series led to a memorable jersey moment, as Fetisov and Gretzky swapped jerseys, a common practice among European soccer players.

Gretzky Fetisov jersey swap RV87

A silver medal followed in the 1987 World Championships before Fetisov would take part in his second Canada Cup tournament later in the year. The 1988 Winter Olympics saw Fetisov win a second Olympic gold medal in Calgary. His sixth World Championship gold came in 1989.

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At this point in Fetisov's career, he had 11 Soviet Championships, a pair of Player of the Year awards, two European Junior golds, three World Junior golds, six golds, one silver and one bronze medal at World Championships, a Canada Cup championship and two Olympic gold medals and one silver, but there was one championship trophy he was not eligible to compete for - the Stanley Cup.

Around the time of the 1989 World Championships, Sergei Priakin, considered expendable by the Soviet National Team, was allowed by Soviet authorities to play for the Calgary Flames in the NHL. Looking to escape the rigid Soviet system and the iron hand of coach Viktor Tikhonov, whose 11 month a year training schedule had grown more than tiresome, the now 31 year old Fetisov also requested to be allowed a move to the NHL.

He met with great resistance at first, but with a new policy of openness now taking hold in the Soviet Union, as well as the Soviet officials desire for an influx of cash, Fetisov, along with seven other players, were allowed to leave for North America, with the stipulation that they continued to compete internationally for the Soviet Union.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1978, Fetisov's name was put back into the draft in 1983 when he was selected by the New Jersey Devils. The new Soviet players had an immediate impact on the NHL, even as they dealt with various instances of culture shock and a less than warm welcome by Canadians who felt their jobs were being taken.

"For the first 25 games or so, my partners didn't understand my style and I didn't understand the style of the NHL, but we all learned a lot and I thought I had a very good second half," said Fetisov. "It was tough to get out of the country, to fight against a Communist system. And it was tough when I got here (the NHL) for a couple years," Slava admitted. "Many times I would think, 'Why am I here; why did I do it?' I was a big player in Europe and people knew me. Here, all of a sudden, I had to struggle. But I keep telling myself I have to fight through this stuff."

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Fetisov scored a career high 42 points during his first North American season, while compatriot Sergei Makarov was named the recipient of the Calder Trophy.

The move to North America had great meaning to Fetisov, beyond just the opportunity to earn a larger paycheck. "It was a victory against a whole system," Fetisov said. "It was not easy. You always have to fight for everything and I fought for everything I have in hockey. I also won the biggest fight away from hockey. That was the fight against communism, the fight for freedom of choices."

In keeping with the agreement, following the Devils elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Fetisov won his seventh and final gold medal at the 1990 World Championships.

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The gold medal winning 1990 Soviet Union National Team, the seventh World Championship gold of Fetisov's career

Fetisov would play four additional seasons for New Jersey, as well as his final appearance for the Soviet Union in 1991 World Championships where he would the second bronze medal of his career, before a move to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1994-95 season.

Once in Detroit, the Red Wings advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose to Fetisov's former club, the Devils. In 69 games with Detroit the following season, Fetisov would equal his NHL career high with 42 points. Additionally, the Red Wings would again make a strong playoff push, eventually losing in the Conference Finals to the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche. Prior to the start of the following NHL season, Fetisov would conclude his international career by playing for Russia for the first and only time at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

It all came together for the Red Wings in 1997, as Fetisov, as part of the famed "Russian Five", won the 1997 Stanley Cup with a four game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Russian Five

The victory made him and long-time teammate Igor Larionov the only men to have ever won the Stanley Cup, the World Championship, an Olympic gold medal, the World Junior Championship and the Canada Cup. The Canada Cup evolved into the World Cup of Hockey, and Joe Sakic and Scott Niedermayer joined the two Russians as winners of the five most important championships in the world of hockey.

Following the Stanley Cup victory celebrations in 1997, Fetisov was involved in a limousine crash which ended the career of teammate Vladimir Konstantinov and quite nearly cost him his life. Fetisov escaped with relatively minor injuries and continued his playing career, which included an emotional repeat championship for the Red Wings in 1998, which cumulated in a memorable scene on the ice as a wheelchair bound Konstantinov was included in the Stanley Cup presentation following the Red Wings victory. It would be the final game of Fetisov's NHL career.

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Fetisov sharing the Red Wings Stanley Cup victory with Konstantinov following what would be the final game of his career

He would retire with 367 games played in the Soviet Union, scoring 339 points, and 546 games in the NHL, mainly due to the much longer NHL schedule despite playing two seasons more in the Soviet Union, in which Fetisov scored 228 points.

Fetisov has won numerous awards in his home country, including the Order of Lenin in 1988 and even had an asteroid named for him. In the world of hockey, Fetisov was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. "I just couldn't believe it when they called me," said Viacheslav. "It's a great honour. You play all your life to get the recognition and it feels great, especially being a Russian-born hockey player and spending most of the best years back in Europe. It's a great honour to be in same category as other legends. I have achieved everything I dreamed of in my childhood," said Fetisov.

In 2008, Fetisov was named to the IIHF's International Centennial All-Star Team, which named but five players to create the finest starting lineup of the century, with Fetisov receiving 54 of a possible 56 votes, with no other player earning more than 38.

Today's featured jersey is a 1983-84 Soviet Central Red Army Viacheslav Fetisov jersey as worn during the season in which he set a career high with 49 points, a feat made all the more impressive when taking into account the 44 game season played in the Soviet Union, compared to the 82 game season in the NHL.

This jersey is a striking example of a Soviet club team jersey, with the added flash of the stars running down the arms and the red, white and blue color scheme when compared to the spartan red and white jerseys worn by the Soviet Union national team.

The Central Sports Club of the Army (CSKA) was the dominant team in the Soviet League, exploiting every advantage the system offered them to acquire the best players in the land, which resulted in an absurd run of dominance that saw Red Army (as they were often referred to in North America) win 32 Soviet League championships (including 13 in a row from 1977 to 1989), 12 USSR Cups, 20 IIHF European Champions Cups and one Spengler Cup, with Fetisov participating in the majority of those successes.

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Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991-92 New Jersey Devils Viacheslav Fetisov jersey as worn following Fetisov's being granted permission by the Soviet authorities to become one of the earliest Soviet players to compete in the NHL. The Devils wore red and green jerseys for their first 11 seasons in New Jersey until changing to red and black jerseys beginning the following season, which would be Fetisov's  fourth with the Devils.

The 1991-92 Devils jerseys can be instantly recognized by the NHL 75th Anniversary patch worn on the all the players jerseys that season.

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Extra Bonus Jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1996 Russia National Team Viacheslav Fetisov jersey as worn by Fetisov during the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. With his migration to the NHL and the playoff success of first New Jersey and later Detroit, Fetisov was often occupied with the Stanley Cup playoffs, making him unavailable for the annual World Championships, making the 1996 World Cup the only time in his career he would skate for the Russian National Team following his years of stalwart service for the Soviet Union National Team through 1991.

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Today's video segment includes the goals from the thrilling final game of the 1987 Canada Cup, which features the Soviets wearing today's featured jersey.

Here is footage from the Slava Fetisov Farewell Hockey Game which took place in Russia. See if you can recognize any NHL stars in the footage.

In this brief highlight, Fetisov slices and dices Team Canada and scores easily after a coast to coast rush.

We conclude today with a tribute video to Fetisov, which includes some amazing footage of his time in the Soviet Union, much of which we have never seen before as well as some of the original red and green New Jersey Devils jerseys. Highly recommended, but perhaps with the sound off...

Friday, April 19, 2013

1996-97 Mighty Ducks of Anahem Frank Banham Jersey

On April 13, 1998, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim rookie Frank Banham scored his seventh goal of the season on a tap in at 13:44 of the third period against goalie Patrick Roy to tie their game with the Colorado Avalanche at 2-2. The game would end in a tie.

Frank Banham Mighty Ducks
Frank Banham

Two days later rookie Matt Cullen opened the scoring of the Mighty Ducks game against the Edmonton Oilers at 17:29 of the first period. Czech rookie Josef Marha scored his eight goal of the season at 11:11 of the second period to extend the Mighty Ducks lead to 2-0 before the Oilers would respond with four straight goals prior to rookie Banham pulling the Mighty Ducks within one at 8:36 of the third period when he scored his eighth goal of the season. The Oilers would seal the game with an empty net goal to win 5-3.

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Matt Cullen

On April 18th, the Mighty Ducks traveled to Los Angeles to face the Kings. Another Czech, rookie Pavel Trnka netted his third goal of the season on the power play at 17:28 of the first period. 83 seconds later rookie Mike Crowley scored his first NHL goal at 18:51 to widen the margin to two goals. A little over halfway through the second period Banham scored a goal in his third consecutive game to give the Mighty Ducks a 3-0 lead. The Kings scored on the power play in the third before rookie Marha's ninth goal of the season accounted for the final 4-1 score.

The final game of the regular season came on this date in 1998 with St. Louis visiting The Pond. Rookie Crowley, from the University of Minnesota, got the Mighty Ducks on the board with his second goal of the year with 2:40 remaining in the first period. It was the ninth consecutive goal scored by Mighty Ducks rookies over a span of four games!

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Mike Crowley

After a St. Louis goal in the second period, Travis Green finally got the Mighty Ducks veterans on the board to end the rookie scoring streak at 9:27 of the second period. Rookie Jeff Nielsen, also from Minnesota, scored the final Anaheim goal of the regular season with his fourth with 2:50 left in the game to make the score 4-3 for St. Louis.

Cullen has now played 15 NHL seasons and is currently with the Minnesota Wild, his sixth NHL club.

While Banham played in only 32 NHL games, 27 with Anaheim and five with the Phoenix Coyotes, scoring nine goals and 11 points, he has now played the vast majority of his career in Europe, spending time in Finland, Russia, Switzerland and primarily the Austrian league where he continues to play today in his 18th season as a professional with over 350 goals to his credit.

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Frank Baham with EC Red Bull Salzburg
during the long European portion of his career

Marha originally played for the Colorado Avalanche, the Mighty Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks over six seasons, totaling 159 games and 53 points prior to finding a home with Davos in Switzerland, where he just completed his 12th consecutive season.

Nielsen played two full seasons with Anaheim followed by 59 games with the Minnesota Wild to finish his career with 252 games played.

Trnka played six seasons with the Mighty Ducks before a trade to the Florida Panthers. He returned to his native Czech Republic in 2004-05 and played an additional eight seasons before retiring at the end of the 2011-12 season.

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Pavel Trnka

Crowley made it into 67 games with Anaheim over three seasons before his playing days concluded in the 2001-02 season with the Houston Aeros of the AHL.

Today's featured jersey is a 1996-97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Frank Banham jersey. The Mighty Ducks came onto the scene in 1993-94 with their cartoonish logo, absurd team name taken from a Disney movie and "only in California" color scheme of eggplant and jade.

In addition to the name and colors, the Mighty Ducks also broke the mold of NHL jerseys of the day by introducing a diagonal stripe across the body of the jersey, something not seen in the NHL since the Pittsburgh Pirates of 1929-30. It would not take nearly as long for the next team to follow suit, when the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames would tilt their striping diagonally two seasons later in 1994-95 before all hell broke loose in 1995-96 with the zig-zag waist striping of the Colorado Avalanche, the watery wave striping of the New York Islanders Fishsticks jerseys and the new checkmark look of the Washington Capitals screaming eagle design, not to mention the debut of a series of third jerseys with color gradients, sawtooth striping, asymmetrical designs, a curved sash and the Mighty Ducks own "Wild Wing" abomination of sublimation, which featured a cartoon superhero duck bursting through the ice, a jersey so reprehensible it was only worn six times and the players requested not to be pictured wearing in the following seasons's media guide!


Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1996-97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Joseph Marha jersey. The Mighty Ducks wore CCM jerseys for their first three seasons before changing to Nike jerseys for 1996-97. The following season they would introduce not one, but two alternate jerseys, one in white and the other jade, which would be used for two seasons until the jade one was dropped from the lineup when the Mighty Ducks changed to ProPlayer brand jerseys for 1999-00.

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As has happened before, today's video section illustrates how a player who fails to crack an NHL lineup, or is a journeyman at best, can move to Europe and have a long, successful career has a professional hockey player.

Case in point, Frank Banham, whose 32 games make him all but forgotten in NHL terms. Banham, with a total of nine NHL goals and 11 points, is considered to be "a sniper" while with with the Espoo Blues in Finland, where he scored 24 goals in 56 games in 2000-01.

Now playing with the Slovenian club Ljubljana Olimpija HK, which competes in the Austrian Erste Bank Hockey League, he electrifies the crowd with this game winning, spin-o-rama, backhanded goal, captured clearly on the replay.

2004-05 saw Banham play for SaiPa Lapeenranta in Finland, scoring 24 goals and 49 points in 56 games, captured here is this highlight reel.

While with Red Bull Salzberg he was a part of back to back Austrian championships in 2007 and 2008 and inspired a devoted following, as evidenced by this tribute video.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Easter Epic - 1986-87 New York Islanders Pat LaFontaine Jersey

On this date in 1987, the Washington Capitals hosted the New York Islanders in Game 7 of their opening round playoff series.

The game would not end until the early hours of the following day.

The series had opened in Washington with a split, with the Capitals taking Game 1 by a score of 4-3 and the Islanders evening the series by taking Game 2 by a 3-1 margin. Back on Long Island the Capitals took two, with a Game 3 shutout 2-0 and a 4-1 win in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 edge in games. The Islanders stayed alive with a 4-2 win back in Washington and forced a deciding Game 7 with a 5-4 win at home.

With viewers across North America tuned in on ESPN and the CBC, the puck dropped at 7:40 PM and the Capitals dominated early but it took nearly the entire period for Mike Gartner to eventually put Washington ahead 1-0 with 48 seconds left in the first.

Pat Flatley evened the score at 11:35 of the middle period before Grant Martin restored Washington's one goal lead at 18:45 by beating the Islanders goaltender Kelly Hrudey. The period ended at 2-1 for Washington, which held a 25-10 margin in shots.

There was no scoring in the third period until Bryan Trottier put a backhander between Captials goalie Bob Mason's legs at 14:37 to tie the game at 2-2. For the remainder of regulation both teams sought an advantage without success, and regulation came to a close without a winner.

In the first twenty minute overtime, the teams both recorded 11 shots on goal and the Capitals Greg Smith nearly won it with a slap shot that beat Hrudey but clanged off the right post with seconds remaining.

Washington did their best to end it in the second overtime by outshooting the Islanders 17-9, but could not solve Hrudey. Perhaps the best chance to end the game in the second OT was when Islander Randy Wood's shot that hit the pipe.

The game then advanced to a third overtime, the first in 16 years, and fatigue really began to take hold as Easter Sunday began. The Islanders got the better of the Capitals during the period, holding an 11-10 edge in shots on goal. Mason denied the Islanders better scoring chances and the second sixty minutes closed scoreless.

For the first time since 1951, a game would enter the fourth overtime and people really started to get punchy, ESPN's Bill Clement in particular, having taken off his shirt and converted his tie into a headband before doing some voice impressions prior to the start of the fourth overtime.

The game started to climb the list of the longest games in NHL history, entering the top five of all time after a 1:10 of play in the fourth overtime period. The Islanders moved ahead in shots four to one when Ken Leiter of the Islanders pinched in the keep the puck in the Washington end. He circled behind the goal and passed to Gord Dineen, whose shot was blocked in front of Mason. The puck deflected back to Pat LaFontaine, who fired a slapshot passed a screened Mason to finally end the game after 128:47 of play, winning not only the game, but eliminating the Capitals as the Islanders won the series 4 games to 3, despite the fact that the Capitals had not trailed in the series or the game until LaFontaine's goal.

LaFontaine's goal came at 1:58 AM, 6 hours and 18 minutes after the opening faceoff. Hrudey was credited with 73 saves, an NHL playoff record, while Mason's total was 54 in the game that would become known as the "Easter Epic".

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LaFontaine meets Mason in the handshake line following the Easter Epic

Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 New York Islanders Pat LaFontaine jersey. Throughout his career, LaFontaine's name was spelled with a variety of all capital letters of equal size and other times when the "A" was in a smaller size as shown here.

Later LaFontaine Islanders jerseys would have the more traditional all caps of the same size, so it is essential for you to do your research for the exact specification of lettering style used for the particular year of any LaFontaine Islanders jersey you may want to add to your collection.

The smaller "A" can be found on early Islanders, 1996 USA and black Sabres jerseys.


Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1986-87 Washington Capitals Bob Mason jersey . The Capitals wore this style starting with their inaugural season of 1974-75 and continued to use it through the 1995-95 season before a radical overhaul of their branding saw them drop their red, white and blue color set in favor of a lighter shade of blue and black with bronze accents.

The team reverted to their classic red, white and blue colors for the 2007-08 season and reintroduced today's bonus jersey style for the 2011 Winter Classic, which proved so popular they made this their alternate jersey starting with the 2011-12 season through the 2014-15 campaign before switching to the red road version of this jersey.

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Today's video section features highlights of the Easter Epic, which faced off on this date in 1987. First, from the CBC, featuring a more subdued Don Cherry than the much more voluminous one he has evolved into.

Next, Bill Clement loses his mind on national TV prior to the fourth overtime.

Finally, LaFontaine reflects on his memories of the game and the playoffs in general.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2001-02 New Jersey Devils Ken Daneyko Jersey

Nicknamed "Mr. Devil", Ken Daneyko, born on this date in 1964, was drafted in the first round 18th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft after a season and a half playing defense for the Spokane Flyers and a half a season with the Seattle Breakers, both of the Western Hockey League. After being drafted, Daneyko returned to the Breakers for one more season during which he scored 17 goals and 60 points in 69 games, a feat he would never come remotely close to equalling.

He made the Devils club out of training camp only to crack a bone in his leg early in the season, but not until after he registered his first NHL goal. After missing 40 games he played the remainder of his season with the Kamloops Junior Oilers back in the WHL.

His 1984-85 season was spent with the Maine Mariners of the American Hockey League, where he proved fully healed by playing in all 80 of the Mariners games as well as playing a single game with the Devils.

After dividing the 1985-86 season between Maine (21 games) and New Jersey (44 games), Daneyko would become a Devils stalwart for the next 17 seasons, never again playing another game in the minors.

It would not be easy going at first, as the Devils would finish dead last in the NHL in 1986-87 as Daneyko would play 79 of the Devils 80 games and rack up 183 penalty minutes thanks to his rugged and self-sacrificing style.

Danyeko Scars

The following season was one of improvement for New Jersey as they finished with 18 points higher in the standings to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since moving from Colorado six years previously. The Devils went on a run, making it to the third round, so after playing in all 80 regular season games, which included topping 200 penalty minutes for the first time, Daneyko totaled and even 100 games played for the season, which would prove to be good training for what lie ahead for the Devils.

Danyeko Red Green

Over the course of the next six seasons Daneyko would play in all but 12 of a possible 488 games which included scoring a career high 6 goals during the 1989-90 season. His solid defensive play and willingness to block shots, as evidenced by his old-school hockey smile lacking any front teeth, made him a favorite with the fans in New Jersey. From 1987 to 1993, Daneyko would top 215 penalty minutes five times in six seasons.

Danyeko No Teeth

At the conclusion of the 1993-94 season, the Devils made another deep playoff run, getting into round three again, which strengthened their resolve for the next season. The next season would have to wait however, as a labor dispute delayed the start of competition until January, cutting the season down to 48 games. After missing 23 of the 48 games, Daneyko was back in time for the playoffs however, as the Devils put it all together and captured the first Stanley Cup in team history by sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four straight.

Daneyko was back to his old self the next two seasons, totaling 80 and 77 games. After going goal-less in 1997-98 because of being limited to a half a season, he rebounded with a full season of 82 games and a pair of goals. It was at this point in his career that he had managed 34 goals in 16 seasons, but began a goal scoring drought in February of 1999 that would eventually stretch to record proportions.

Despite not scoring in 78 games of the 1999-00 season, Daneyko certainly had no regrets, as goal scoring was not his job and the joy of lifting his second Stanley Cup most certainly offset any disappointment of not scoring during the regular season. Daneyko also was named the recipient of the Masterton Trophy in 2000 in recognition of his perseverance in returning to hockey after overcoming his personal issues with alcohol.

Danyeko Masterton

After a second season without lighting the lamp, the Devils returned to the finals, only to fall in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche. The 2001-02 season also passed by with no goals, extending the drought to three seasons plus, which gave Daneyko the record with his 246th consecutive regular season game to surpass Rich Pilon as the record holder.

Entering the 2002-03 season, Daneyko's 20th, people wondered if he would ever score again before calling it a career. The streak finally ended on October 5, 2002 when Daneyko scored from the point with a slap shot against Martin Biron at 17:07 of the first period on a delayed penalty during a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, ending his drought at 255 games, which still stands as the record today.

"You know we're hurting for goals when we ask Daneyko to step up!" John Madden said in the dressing room following the game.

"I've been scoring al lot on Marty (Brodeur) of late in practice," Daneyko said. "I said, 'Jeez, I wish I could do that in a game.' Fortunately, tonight the blind squirrel found an acorn."

Daneyko found the net once again before the end of the season to bring his career goal total up to 36.

That season the Devils again qualified for the postseason, the 14th time in 16 seasons and Daneyko played in the Devils first dozen games, but was left out of the lineup going forward. But when coach Pat Burns needed a spark, Daneyko was back on the ice for the critical Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which the Devils won by a score of 3-0, ending his career on a high note that most players can only dream of, capped off by Burns putting him on the ice for the final shift of the game. He was only one of five players who were on the Devils for all three Stanley Cup championships.

Danyeko Cup

It must be noted however, while Daneyko's goal-less record officially stands at 255 regular season games, he did score during the 2000 playoffs after his first scoreless season, meaning his actual longest drought was more in the neighborhood of 150 actual games, but that's not what goes into the record books. Still, three Stanley Cup championships will make one forget about any number of dubious records.

Having spent his entire career with New Jersey, Daneyko was rewarded with the honor of being only the second player in team history to have his number retired which occurred on March 24, 2006.

Danyeko Number Retirement

He (and his new teeth!) remain with the Devils organization as part of their broadcast team.

Danyeko Teeth

Aside from his 36 NHL goals, his NHL totals are 1,283 games (the Devils all-time leader), 142 assists and 178 points and 2,519 penalty minutes, the vast majority accumulated in the first half of his career, as he never reached 100 minutes during his final seven seasons.

Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 New Jersey Devils Ken Daneyko jersey as worn when he ended his NHL record regular season goal scoring drought. The Devils first adopted this style red and black jersey for the 1992-93 season after wearing their original red and green jerseys for their first ten seasons.

Following the change to their current red and black sweaters, now 20 years ago, the Devils have captured three Stanley Cups, resisted all temptation to introduce a third jersey, have not altered their name and number font even once and insisted they maintain their look during the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys in what is becoming a true league classic along the lines of timeless sweaters worn by the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.

New Jersey Devils 02-03 jersey
New Jersey Devils 02-03 jersey

Today's video section begins with proof that Daneyko was capable of putting the puck in the net despite his record, as he scores during Gam3 1 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals.

This next video is Daneyko's first shift in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, the last game of his career.

We are really, really overdue for some Rick Jeanneret and it's time to rectify that with a good one between Daneyko and Rob Ray, who was very fortunate to have been wearing a helmet.

The softer side of Ken Daneyko, as he competes on the Canadian reality show "Battle of the Blades".

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1984-85 Los Angeles Kings Garry Galley Jersey

After completing his college career for the Bowling Green Falcons from 1981-82 to 1983-84, which included being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1983 and named an NCAA All-American in 1984 after winning the NCAA national championship, Garry Galley made the jump directly to the NHL with the Kings for the 1984-85 season, during which he played 78 games without playing a single game in the minors in-between.

Galley, born on this date in 1963, missed much of the 1985-86 season following a knee injury in early December. He returned to the Kings lineup in mid-February, but was sent down to the New Haven Kighthawks for a week to get back into playing shape, the only four games he would ever spend in the minors! Following his conditioning stint, Galley was recalled by the Kings to play the remainder of the season

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He would return to Los Angeles for the start of the 1986-87 season, but was traded to the Washington Capitals after 30 games with the Kings. After being limited to 48 games in 1986-87 and 58 the following season with Washington, Galley signed with the Boston Bruins as a free agent for the 1988-89 season.

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Proving he was more durable than the previous two seasons suggested, Galley would average 77 games a season for the next six seasons. During his second season with the Bruins of 1989-90, Galley would make his only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. After the 1990-91 season with Boston, during which he would play in his first NHL All-Star Game, Galley was traded halfway through the 1991-92 season to the Philadelphia Flyers.

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After finishing the 1991-92 season with the Flyers, he returned for a full season with Philadelphia where he thrived under the Flyers system, scoring a career high 13 goals and setting a new personal best with 62 points, far ahead of his previous high of 38, despite a career high of 115 penalty minutes, also far ahead of his previous high total of 84. He would also finish the season with a +18 rating, all of which caught the eye of Canadian hockey officials, who invited him to take part in his first international competition, the 1993 World Championships.

The following season Galley would eclipse his personal best with a career high of 70 points in 1993-94, which was recognized with his second NHL All-Star Game appearance. He would not finish his fourth season in Philadelphia in 1994-95 thanks to a trade which sent him to the Buffalo Sabres. While the trade to the Sabres affected his offensive numbers, Galley still managed a 54 point campaign in 1995-96. Following that season, he participated in his second World Championships for Canada, winning a silver medal in Austria.

Galley Sabres photo GalleySabres.jpg

After one more season with the Sabres, Galley returned to the Kings as a free agent for three seasons from 1997-98 to 1999-00, which included playing in his 1,000th game late in the 1998-99 season.

Galley Kings photo GalleyKings.jpg

Galley would cross the country once again for this final season in the NHL when he signed with the New York Islanders for the 2000-01 season. His final career totals were 1,149 games played, 125 goals and 475 assists for 600 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1984-85 Los Angeles King Garry Galley jersey as worn during his rookie season in the NHL. Galley bypassed the usual seasoning in the minors before turning professional with Los Angeles, and only a four game conditioning stint due to an injury during his sophomore season prevented him from never playing a game in the minors.

Galley wore an unusually high number of jerseys during his career, as he was with the Kings while they wore purple and gold, the Bruins when they wore their Turn Back the Clock jerseys in 1991-92, the Sabres during the final seasons of their original blue and gold and the change to the black and red era, back to the last of the Kings first black and sliver style and the transition to their new purple and black jerseys in 1998-99 in addition to the styles he worn in Washington, Philadelphia and New York - 20 in all despite playing for only six franchises.

The Kings were founded in the NHL expansion of 1967 and immediately stood out with their brightly colored gold home and purple road jerseys at a time when the most daring colors in the NHL were green and orange. The Kings would adopt this jersey in the template of the Philadelphia Flyers, which is identified by the full length sleeve stripes with wraparound wrist cuffs. The Kings would stick with the purple and gold for 21 seasons before changing their look for 1988 to black and sliver with the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Kings 84-85 jersey photo LosAngelesKings84-85Fjersey.jpg
Los Angeles Kings 84-85 jersey photo LosAngelesKings84-85Bjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Philadelphia Flyers Garry Galley jersey. While Galley wore #3 with the Kings, he was both #12 and #2 with the Capitals and #28 with the Bruins. He was able to return to #3 with the Flyers and Sabres, but finished his career wearing #28 again for the Islanders.

This particular jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch worn by all players during the 1992-93 season, a season in which Galley set a career high at the time with 60 points.

Philadlephia Flyers 92-93 jersey photo PhiladlephiaFlyers92-93Fjersey.jpg
Philadlephia Flyers 92-93 jersey photo PhiladlephiaFlyers92-93Bjersey.jpg

In today's video section, Galley flattens Vancouver's Trevor Linden.

Monday, April 15, 2013

2007-08 Toronto Maple Leafs Pavel Kubina Jersey

After beginning his career with HC Viktovice of the Czech Extraliga, during which time he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Pavel Kubina made the move to North America for the following season when he joined the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, where he impressed with 44 points in 61 games while adapting to a new culture.

The 1997-98 season saw defenseman Kubina spend the majority of his time with the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League, playing in 55 games, but also making his NHL debut with the Lightning, playing in a total of 10 games that season, which included scoring his first NHL goal.

Kubina Lightning photo KubinaLightingCCM.jpg

The following season Kubina saw his final games in the minors, playing in six contests for the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League, but the majority of the season was spent establishing himself as an NHL regular with 68 games and 21 points for Tampa Bay.

Kubina would spend the next six seasons with the Lighting patrolling the blueline, averaging 75 games played and 29 points a season, which was highlighted by being a member of Tampa Bay's Stanley Cup championship season of 2003-04. Kubina would contribute 4 points during the 22 playoff games in the Lightning's run to the cup.

Kubina Stanley Cup photo KubinaStanleyCup.jpg

During the NHL lockout of 2004-05, Kubina did what many European natives chose to do, and he returned to the club where he got his start, HC Viktovice. Unlike most NHLers though, Kubina did not return to the NHL once the season resumed in January of 2005.

He did return to the Lighting for the 2005-06 season, picking up where he left off with a then career high 38 points in 75 games.

After eight seasons with Tampa Bay, Kubina singed a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2006-07 season. Kubina had been wearing #13 while playing for the Lightning, but found that number occupied by no less than the Maple Leafs team captain Mats Sundin. Unable to wear his preferred #13, Kubina chose to go with #73, since the mainly vertical #7 was the most visibly similar to the #1.

Kubina Maple Leafs 73 photo KubinaMapleLeafs73.jpg
The rare sight of Kubina wearing #73

After a slow start to his Maple Leafs career, which included games lost due to injuries, Kubina decided that #73 wasn't really quite right for him and chose to change to #31 in December of 2006, which was #13 with the digits reversed.

Kubina Maple Leafs 31 photo KubinaMapleLeafs31.jpg
Kubina sporting his new #31

When Kubina began wearing #31, he became the first non-goaltender to wear #31 for Toronto in their then 81 year history. In a classy move on his part, Kubina offered to pay for anyone who had already purchased a Maple Leafs jersey with his #73 to have it converted to a #31 out of his own pocket!

After Kubina competed the remainder of the 2006-07 season and all of the 2007-08 season with #31, including setting a career high with 40 points in 2007-08, the Maple Leafs resigned their former goaltender Curtis Joseph to a free agent contract for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

Joseph had been the Maple Leafs #1 goalkeeper from 1998-99 through the 2001-02 season before leaving for the Detroit Red Wings. After five seasons away from Toronto, Joseph, now in the late phase of his career, signed with the Maple Leafs in a backup role to Vesa Toskala. Kubina, showing a great sense of history and class, relinquished the #31 to Joseph, who had worn it all through his now 19 year NHL career.

Kubina then elected to go with yet a new number, this time #77, likely due to the fact he was born on this date in 1977, similar to the number change undergone by teammate Nik Antropov, who himself swapped #11 for #80, the year of his birth 1980, during the 2002-03 season.

Kubina Maple Leafs 77 photo KubinaMapleLeafs77.jpg
Kubina took #77 in recognition of Curtis Joseph's long career

The change to #77  had no ill effects for Kubiina, who not only matched his career best 40 points from the season prior, but he also set a new career high in goals scored with 14.

Kubina's time in Toronto came to an end when he was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers for the 2009-10 season, where he one more produced his steady output of 38 points in 76 games while sticking with the #77  (Slava Kozlov already had #13 and Ondrej Pavelec was wearing #31).

Kubina Thrashers photo KubinaThrashers.jpg

After his only season in Atlanta, Kubina returned to Tampa Bay as a free agent where he was finally able to reclaim his #13 after four seasons away from the Lightning. Kubina would play all of the 2010-11 season and 52 games of the 2011-12 season with Tampa Bay before a late season trade sent him to the Philadelphia Flyers for the final 17 games of the season.

Kubina Lightning photo KubinaLightning13.jpg

With the NHL players again locked out at the start of the 2010-13 season, Kubina planned on returning to familiar ground and signed with HC Vikovice for his third stint with the Czech club, only he was still subject to a 15 game ban he incurred back in 2005 when last playing for Viktovice after they lost a playoff series in which they were leading 3 games to 1 and called the referee of the deciding game which went against them "a corrupt bastard" and accused him of taking a bribe! His comments not only earned him a ban, but also a 7,000 Euro fine and a lawsuit for slander, which set him back another 14,000 Euros.

Kubina Vitkovice photo KubinaVitkovice04-05.jpg

Kubina did manage to find some playing time in Europe this season, signing with Geneve Servette of the Swiss National League A in mid February, apparently declining several offers to return to the NHL.

Internationally, Kubina has been a regular on the Czech Republic national team, dating back to the 1996 World Junior Championships. He joined the senior team at the World Championships in 1999, coming away with a gold medal on his first try while scoring 8 points in 12 games. His second World Championship gold came in 2001 and a busy 2002 saw him make his Olympic debut in February, followed by his third World Championships later that spring.

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Kubina on his way to gold at the 2005 World Championships

He completed a hat trick of World Championship gold in 2005 and added another medal to his collection with a bronze at the 2006 Olympics. his most recent international competition to date was the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

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Kubina later in his career, wearing #77 at the 2010 Olympics

While he has said that he is still hoping to compete in the NHL, his career totals currently stand at 970 games played with 110 goals and 386 points, and with a Stanley Cup and three World Championship gold medals on his resume, Kubina will certainly be hoping for another chance to join the Triple Gold Club at the 2014 Olympics.

Today's featured jersey is a 2007-08 Toronto Maple Leafs Pavel Kubina jersey from Kubina's second season as #31 and the first for the new Reebok Edge jerseys. These jerseys lack the usual waist stripes of the Maple Leafs jerseys of the previous 13 seasons reportedly due to Reebok's original intent that their new generation of jerseys would be tucked into the player's pants, eliminating the need for any waist striping.

When the jerseys were eventually worn untucked as always, the waist striping returned in 2008-09 on the club's new alternate jersey and in 2010-11 when the home and road styles were tweaked.

Tornot Maple Leafs 07-08 jersey photo TornotMapleLeafs07-08Fjersey.png
Tornot Maple Leafs 07-08 jersey photo TornotMapleLeafs07-08Bjersey.png

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2008-09 Toronto Maple Leafs Pavel Kubina jersey as worn on January 31, 2009 when the Maple Leafs celebrated former team captain Doug Gilmour's #93 by raising it to the rafters where it joined the ranks of Maple Leafs honored numbers.

Toronto Maple Leafs 08-09 jersey photo TorontoMapleLeafs08-09Fjersey.jpg
Toronto Maple Leafs 08-09 B jersey photo TorontoMapleLeafs08-09Bjersey.jpg

Today's video section begins with a brief, but hard hitting tribute to Kubina highlighting his time with the Maple Leafs.

This next video focuses on Kubina's time with Tampa Bay.

Finally, the Fastest Announcer in the World narrates highlights of Kubina's first gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 199 World Championships. There is even an interview with Kubina in his native Czech, and he's apparently trying to talk as fast as the announcer!


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