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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Miss Third String Goalie - Gabriela Kratochvílová

We here at Third String Goalie are please to announce the coronation of Miss Third String Goalie, Gabriela Kratochvilová. Miss Kratochvilová hails from Chotěboř in the Czech Republic and currently resides in Prague, where she is a fan of HC Lev Prague of the KHL.

Despite being only 24, she already has a bachelor's degree in Hotel Management. She has also studied in England at the University College in Birmingham, England and is currently attending the University of Finance and Administration in Prague where she is in the Master's English branch of Marketing Communications.

She is fluent in Czech and English and can also speak both French and German. She has been active in sports from a young age, participating in tennis, horse jumping, snowboarding and figure skating. She was even introduced during the Miss Universe pageant as "a big supporter of her country's hockey team and is such a fan, she even paints her face for major international matches"!

In 2013, she was crowned Miss Universe Czech Republic and competed for the title of Miss Universe in Moscow. As part of the festivities, she and eight other contestants from accomplished hockey nations attended the KHL match between Atlant Mystichi and Lev Prague on November 1, 2013.

Gabriela was one of two contestants, along with Miss Canada Riza Santos, chosen to conduct the ceremonial faceoff, no doubt due to their comfort in a pair of skates, which allowed Gabriela to steal the show that night.

Gabriela Kratochv photo GabrielaKratochviacutelovaacuteFaceoff.jpg

When they tried to hand Gabriela the puck following the face off, she exclaimed, "Look how much my hands are shaking. God, I'm so excited! What an atmosphere! The anthems, the stands, it's fantastic! For me, nothing can top this!"

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Gabriela Kratochv photo GabrielaKratochviacutelovaacutemascot.jpg
Gabriela poses with Alabai, the Atlant mascot

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Gabriela showing her support for Lev Prague

Brains, beauty, at home on a pair of skates and a face-painting hockey fan.

There is no doubt we have found the perfect Miss Third String GoalieGabriela Kratochvilová!

Gabriela Kratochvilova Miss TSG photo GabrielaKratochvilovaMissTSG.jpg
Miss Third String Goalie, Gabriela Kratochvilová

Here are a pair of videos about the Miss Universe contestants attending the game.

Here is Gabriela deomonstrating her sense of fun and excellent command of English.

Finally, a look at Gabriela during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Friday, April 4, 2014

1975-76 California Golden Seals Gilles Meloche Jersey

On this date in 1976, the California Golden Seals defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 in their final game ever. The ever name changing California Seals were founded as part of the great NHL expansion of 1967-68. The San Francisco area was not considered a particularly lucrative market for hockey, but the terms of a new television agreement with CBS called for two of the six new expansion teams to be located in California, with the other club being the Kings in Los Angeles.

The Seals were supposed to have been located in San Francisco, but the planned arena was never built and instead, the team was based across the bay in Oakland. The club was originally called the "California Seals" to appeal to fans in San Francisco and address complaints from other NHL teams, who complained that Oakland was not a major league city, as it's only other professional sports team at the time was the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League. On November 6, 1967, after the franchise was just a mere dozen games old, owner Barry Van Gerbig announced that the team's name was being changed to the "Oakland Seals"!

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Team captain Bobby Baun wearing their first "C" logo jersey
from the club's original name of "California Seals"

Poor attendance led to threats by Van Gerbig to move the club and a poor record on the ice led to only seven of the original 20 players remaining on the team for it's second season. While the Seals finished with records below .500, they would qualify for the playoffs in each of the next two seasons, 1968-69 and 1969-70, the only times the club see postseason action in their nine seasons. In 1969 the Seals took the Kings to a full seven games before losing and in 1970 they were swept in four straight by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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The 1968-69 Oakland Seals now wearing "O" logo sweaters

Van Gerbig sold the team to a group called Trans National Communications in time for the 1969-70 season, but when the group filed for bankruptcy, ownership reverted to Van Gerbig, who put the club up for sale again.

The Oakland Seals were then purchased by Charlie O. Finley, owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball club, who had moved to the bay area in 1968. Never one to sit still, Finley renamed the team the "California Golden Seals" and altered the team's green and blue colors to green and gold, matching those worn by his baseball club, as well as having the team wear flashy white skates!


Unfortunately the the Golden Seals finished dead last in the NHL during their first season under Finley's ownership with just 45 points from 78 games. Even worse, their first overall pick in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft had already been traded to the Montreal Canadiens for their first round pick in 1970, used by he Golden Seals to take Chris Oddleifson, Ernie Hicke and the always needed cash. The Canadiens then used the draft choice obtained from the Golden Seals to select none other than future Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur.

The team improved by 15 points the following season, but suffered from the emergence of the World Hockey Association, as the frugal Finley refused to match the WHA's contract offers to his players resulting in five of the team's top ten scorers leaving for the rival league and the Golden Seals once again sank to the bottom of the standings with 48 points in 1972-73 and followed that up with just 36 points in 1973-74.

Matters were made worse, if that's even possible, by a divisional restructuring which somehow found the Golden Seals placed in the newly created Adams Division with the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs, in an apparent effort by the league to kill off the franchise, as each of the other clubs were a minimum of 2,300 miles to the east!

Having grown tired of owning the hockey team, especially in direct comparison to his three-time world champion Athletics baseball team, Finley tried unsuccessfully to sell the Golden Seals, which was eventually eventually taken over by the NHL.

Melvin Swig then purchased the team in 1975 with plans to have the team play in a new arena in San Francisco. Those plans never came to pass following the election of a new mayor who was opposed to the plan, so after nine money-losing seasons, low attendance and few victories, minority owners George and Gordon Gund convinced Swig to relocate the team to their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, making the club the first NHL team to relocate since 1934 and bringing to and end the Golden Seals ordeal in California, where the team had more names than playoff appearances.

Politically, Swig and the Gunds were relying on Swig's political connections with San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto to get a new hockey arena built downtown. "Alioto was very helpful, " Gund remembered. "He had hoped to put the team where the Moscone Center is now. It was very close to public transportation."

Regrettably for the Seals, Swig's timing was off. Alioto was leaving office and Swig supported the wrong man in the 1975 election. When George Moscone took office, the new arena died. "The new mayor put the building on hold." Len Shapiro said. "He ran an investigation into the report and then said the survey had to be resurveyed , so basically, it went nowhere. Then there were plans to remodel the Cow Palace but that never happened either." Once those two plans fell through, the Seals were finished in the Bay Area.

"After the new arena in San Francisco fell through, the league gave us the go-ahead to move the team." Gund remembered. "We looked at a lot of other places. We looked at Denver and Seattle-Tacoma. We ended up picking Cleveland because hockey was very popular there."

Rumors that the Seals would leave the Bay Area were almost as old as the team itself. The owners were quietly but aggressively looking over other locations. The NHL had planned expansion franchises for both Seattle and Denver, which were supposed to begin play in 1976-77. The new entires, though, were experiencing problems so moving the Seals to those cities was still a possibility.

Shapiro recalled when he first got an inkling the team might be leaving. "On February 1, 1976, I realized something might be up. I was in the office with Loretta Marcus [the team's secretary] and nobody else was there. I had no idea where anybody was. I looked at Munson Campbell's schedule and it said he was booked at the Cleveland Hilton. Then I knew something must be up."

George and Gordon Gund owned the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio, where the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers played. It was halfway between Akron and Cleveland, a location that would cause the franchise more problems in the future. In typical Seals fashion, even it's exit was not smooth. The club participated in the July 1976 entry draft as the Seals and even started selling tickets for the upcoming season in Oakland.

At the 1976 entry draft, the Seals made history by becoming the first NHL team to use its frist-round draft pick on a European player by drafting Swedish defenseman Bjorn Johansson. The team didn't make it's intention to move officially known until August 26, 1976. It was announced that the team would move to Cleveland and take the name of the AHL franchise that played there for so many years, the Barons. Because of the late move, the Barons had a mere six weeks to sell tickets in their new home. Once again, the franchise started its new life behind the proverbial eight ball.

Under the Gunds ownership, the Barons played in Ohio for two seasons, merged with the Minnesota North Stars, who were then sold to another group while the Gunds received an NHL expansion franchise, the San Jose Sharks, at the south end of San Francisco Bay, 40 miles from where it all started.

Today's featured jersey is a 1975-76 California Golden Seals Gilles Meloche jersey. After the departure of owner Charlie O. Finley, the Golden Seals colors were changed from his signature green and gold to the even less intimidating pastel shades of "Pacific Blue" (teal) and "California Gold" (yellow), quite probably the worst colors for an NHL team ever which were about as intimidating as Easter eggs. The change also gave the team more total color schemes than playoff appearances as well.

Not even the addition of goaltender Gary Simmons' black goalie mask with it's frightening green cobra was enough to offset the "only in California" colors of the Golden Seals final jersey set.


Aside from the unusual color scheme of the last incarnation of Golden Seals jerseys, another odd characteristic of this set was the decidedly "football jersey" style vertical stripes where the arms meet the body of the jersey, something that had never appeared on an NHL jersey before or since.

California Golden Seals Jersey

Here are some fantastic old videos of the Seals in action. Check out those rinkside seats for $5.50 and playoff tickets for $12. Sign us up!

We don't care how hard you punch, there's just no dignity in wearing those teal jerseys.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1929-30 Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz Jersey

The 1929-30 NHL season was played out over a 44 game schedule among it's 10 member clubs. In order to combat the low scoring which had plagued the league the previous season, highlighted by the Montreal Canadiens George Hainsworth's 22 shutouts in 44 games played and the top five goaltenders all having a goals against average of under 1.50 per game, new rules were put into effect which now allowed forward passing in all three zones of the ice, where it had been previously allowed in only the defensive and neutral zones.

The impact on the game was immediate and dramatic, as the Boston Bruins Cooney Weiland set a new league record in scoring with 43 goals and 73 points, whereas the previous season's top scorer was the Toronto Maple Leafs Ace Bailey with 22 goals and 32 total points.

Bailey's 32 points would not have even had gotten him anywhere near the top 10 in scoring in 1929-30, as eight players all had 50 or more points under the new, open style of play which resulted in the number goals scored nearly tripling. The abuse of the new rules was so rampant that a mid-season adjustment to the rules introduced the offside rule to prevent players from camping out next to the opponent's goal.

The Bruins, led by future Hockey Hall of Famers Weiland and Dit Clapper (41 goals and 61 points), both who finished above the previous scoring record of 53 points by the Canadiens Howie Morenz.

The defending champion Boston Bruins in particular thrived in the new NHL, winning their first four games, three of which were on the road. They were soundly defeated by the Montreal Maroons 6-1 but bounced back with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish November 5-1.

1929-30 Boston Bruins team, 1929-30 Boston Bruins team
The record setting 1929-30 Boston Bruins

December began with a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks before they tore through the remainder of 1929 undefeated. 1930 began with four more wins to push their winning streak to 14 games before a 3-2 loss at the New York Americans on January 12th. Again a loss was followed with a win over the Ottawa Senators in the Bruins next game, giving them their 20th win out of 23 games played.

Chicago defeated the Bruins for the second time on January 16th by a narrow 2-1 margin, but Boston was again on the march, winning their next five in a row before their only tie of the season, a 3-3 affair in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

11 more wins would see them finish February undefeated and extend their unbeaten streak to 17 games, as their record climbed to 36-4-1.

The Black Hawks put a halt to the Bruins steamroller with a 3-2 overtime win on March 13, but Boston again responded with a pair of wins to finish the regular season at 38-5-1, setting records for Highest Winning Percentage (.875) Most Wins in a Season (38), Fewest Losses (5), Fewest Ties (1), Longest Winning Streak (14), Longest Home Winning Streak (20), Most Goals (179), Most Goals by a Line (102 by Weiland, Clapper and Chuck Gainor) and Most Points by Player (73 by Weiland). Of those records, their Highest Winning Percentage, Fewest Losses and Fewest Ties still stand as the record, while their 14 game winning streak is still the third longest in NHL history and their 20 game home winning streak still ranks second.

Clapper, Weiland & Gainor Bruins, Clapper, Weiland & Gainor Bruins
The Dynamite Line of Clapper, Weiland and Gainor

In addition to their explosive scoring exploits, Tiny Thompson's 98 goals allowed in 44 games of the new look NHL won him the Vezina Trophy for the fewest goals allowed, as Boston was the only club to allow less than 100 over the course of the season, 13 better than Chicago's 111. The Bruins defense was anchored by the legendary Eddie Shore, who would be joined in the Hockey Hall of Fame by Thompson and center Marty Barry, giving the Bruins five eventual hall of famers.

Thompson Bruins, Thompson Bruins
Vezina Trophy winning Tiny Thompson of the Bruins

While the Bruins were cruising to the American Division title, the Montreal Maroons won the Canadian Division thanks to their 23 wins, which were two more than the Canadiens 21 wins, as the two inhabitants of the Montreal Forum were tied on 51 points.

Some of the early postseason formats are real head scratchers for today's fans, and the format in 1929-30 was certainly one of those. The playoffs began with the quarterfinals, which pitted the second place teams from the Canadian and American Divisions against each other in a two-game, total goals series, with the winner taking on the victor between the two third place teams in the semifinals.

The end result was that the Canadiens (51 points) defeated the Black Hawks (47 points) in Game 1 by a score of 1-0 prior to a 2-2 tie in Game 2 to give the Canadiens the series 3 goals to 2. They then advanced to the semifinals to take on the Rangers (44 points), who defeated Ottawa (50 points) following scores of 1-1 and 5-2.

The next round was a change in format, as the clubs would now play a best-of-three format. The Canadiens took Game 1 by a score of 2-1 after a lengthy overtime struggle that went into a fourth overtime, more than doubling the length of a normal game. At the time, it was the longest game on record and still ranks 8th on the all-time list. The Canadiens then earned a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-0 whitewash of the Rangers in New York.

Meanwhile, the unusual playoff format decreed a first round bye for both division winners, Boston and the Maroons, who were forced to meet in a semifinal series, with the winner advancing to the finals to take on the survivor of he four teams who placed second and third in the two divisions who were required to play an additional round of competition.

In their semifinal series, the Bruins won Game 1 in overtime 2-1 in the third overtime in Montreal, followed by a 4-2 win to sweep the two games at the Forum. The Maroons staved off elimination by a 1-0 double overtime win back in Boston, but the Bruins made their superiority clear with a 5-1 win to clinch the series and advance to the finals against the Canadiens.

The finals was also a best-of-three affair, which favored the dominant Bruins, who had taken all four of their previous meetings with the Canadiens during the regular season. However... the Canadiens shocked the Bruins in Boston by capturing Game 1 with a 3-0 shutout thanks to the goaltending of Hainsworth.

Then the unthinkable happened. Bert McCaffrey and Nick Wasnie scored in the first period for Montreal, as did Shore for the Bruins. Montreal then pulled out to a 4-1 margin after two as Sylvio Mantha and Morenz added to the Canadiens lead.

The proud Bruins then fought back with a pair of goals early in the third period, but Hainsworth held them at bay for the remainder of the game to give Montreal a 4-3 win as the Bruins lost consecutive games for the first time all season as the Canadiens pulled off the stunning upset to capture the Stanley Cup on this day in 1930, the third in franchise history.

1929-30 Montreal Canadiens team, 1929-30 Montreal Canadiens team
The 1930 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens playoff scoring was spread out evenly between Wasnie and Pit Lepine (2 goals and 2 assist) and Albert Leduc (1 goal and 3 assist), all with 4 points and Morenz, who led the team in goals with 3, tied in points with Mantha (2 goals and 1 assist) with 3.

Morenz led the victorious Canadiens in regular season scoring with 40 goals and 50 points with Lepine's 33 and Aurel Joliat's 31 following far behind.

Today's featured jersey is a 1929-30 Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz jersey. The Canadiens had adopted the red sweaters with the blue band across the chest first in 1912-13 as an alternate to avoid a clash between their current barberpole style sweaters and the similarly multi-stiped ones of the Senators. A refined version became their full time sweater for the 1913-14 season, only with an "A" for "Athletique" contained inside the "C".

The "A" was replaced by an "H" for "Hockey" in 1916-17 prior to the formation of the NHL the following season. There were minor detail changes along the way, but for the 1924-25 season a celebratory globe commemorated their World Championship as the main crest, with the now familiar "CH" logo being moved to the sleeve stripes.

When the "CH" crest return to the chest for the 1925-26 season, the logo also remained on the left sleeve only, and when the blue, white and red collar, make that "bleu, blanc et rouge", changed to white in 1927-28 the sweaters worn in the Canadiens upset of the Bruins had arrived.

Montreal Canadiens 29-30 jersey, Montreal Canadiens 29-30 jersey

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1988-89 Calgary Flames Joe Mullen Jersey

Joe Mullen, one of the best kept secrets in hockey history, attended Boston College for four years and, after finishing his college career, immediately played for the United States in the 1979 World Championships where he scored seven goals in eight games.

Mullen Boston College
Boston College Eagles captain Joe Mullen

Rather than playing for the United States at the 1980 Olympics, Mullen turned professional when he signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues due to his father's illness and subsequent financial needs of the family, causing him to miss being a part of the "Miracle on Ice".

St. Louis assigned Mullen to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the CHL, where he was named the league's Rookie of the Year. The following season with the Golden Eagles, he would win the league scoring title.

In 1981-82 Mullen would see 45 games in the NHL and score 59 points. After another partial season in 1982-83, Mullen would stick full time with the Blues and rewarded them with his first 40 goal season, scoring 41 goals and 85 points. The next season would see another 40 goals and hit 92 points.

Mullen Blues

Inexplicably, St. Louis would trade Mullen halfway through the 1985-86 season, along with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson to the Calgary Flames for Ed Beers, Charles Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini.

Mullen Flames

Not breaking stride, Mullen would total a career high 44 goals that season split between the two clubs. He would top that with 47 goals the next season as he led the Flames in scoring with 87 points, along with winning the Lady Byng Trophy, and 40 more goals the year after. The Flames would put it all together in 1988-89, as Mullen would score a career high 51 goals, along with 59 assists for a career best 110 points and his second Lady Byng Trophy.

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Following a remarkable game in Flames history on March 21, 1989, Mullen celebrates his 50th goal of the season, as does Joe Nieuwendyk, while Lanny McDonald smiles after reaching both 500 goals and 1,000 points, all during the same game

During the final game of the season, played on this date in 1989, Mullen scored a goal and picked up a pair of assists in a 4-2 Flames win over the Edmonton Oilers. The three points Mullen scored that night set a new NHL record for most points in a season by an American born player, breaking the mark of 107 set by Jimmy Carson of the Los Angeles King the previous season.

Mullen and the Flames would finish the season by capturing the Stanley Cup after narrowly defeating the Vancouver Canucks in overtime of Game 7 in round 1 prior to sweeping the Kings in four and eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in five before defeating the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the last Stanley Cup Final played between two Canadians teams, becoming the only team to ever win the cup against the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum in it's 71 year history.

After another 36 goal season in 1989-90, Mullen would be traded again, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the 1990-91 season for a second round draft pick. The timing couldn't have been better for Mullen. Although he would only play in 47 regular season games due to injuries, his 17 points in 22 playoff games would help the Penguins capture their first Stanley Cup.

Mullen Penguins

He would return to form with 42 goals in 1991-92 and Pittsburgh would again capture the Stanley Cup, the third of Mullen's career.

Two more 70 point seasons would follow before he was limited to 45 games in 1994-95 but did score the 1000th point of his career on February 7th in Pittsburgh, the 42nd player to reach 1000 points and the first American to do so.

Mullen Penguins

He would sign as a free agent with the Boston Bruins for the 1995-96 season and play in 37 games, scoring 8 goals. After the season, Mullen would be named the 1995 winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy.

Mullen would return to Pittsburgh for his final NHL season. With just ten games remaining in the season, Mullen would score the 500th goal of his career, only the 25th player and first American to ever reach that hallowed milestone.

Internationally, despite missing out on the 1980 Olympics, Mullen would suit up for the United States during the 1984, 1987 and 1992 Canada Cup tournaments. After having retired from hockey in 1997, He would return one more time at age 42 to play for the United States in a qualifying tournament for the 1999 World Championships.

Mullen woud be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Calgary Flames Joe Mullen jersey as he wore in when he became the highest scoring American-born player in NHL history at home against the Edmonton Oilers.

Calgary would continue to wear this style jersey through the 1993-94 season until it was replaced after 22 seasons of use, which included a change in logo after the franchise's relocation from Atlanta to Calgary.

Calgary Flames 88-89 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is an interview with Mullen from May of 1991 showing off his eastern accent and talking about is unusual neck collar he wore on the ice, as seen in the photo above of him holding the Stanley Cup.

Next is Mullen from 20 years later looking back at his early days of playing roller hockey in New York City.

Here are videos of Mullen winning the Stanley Cup, first with the Calgary Flames in 1989 followed by the Penguins winning Game 6 to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, which includes Mullen scoring a pair of the many Penguins goals and assisting on the one by Ron Francis.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1994-95 Jokerit Helsinki Teemu Selanne Jersey

It only seems appropriate to feature a club on April Fool's Day named the "Jokers". 

Founded in 1967 in Helsinki, Finland when Aimo Mäkinen saw the opportunity to establish a semi-professional sports club following the demise of the Töölön Vesa sports club hockey team, Mäkinen paid half of Vesa's hockey related debts and received all the previous club's assets, including their junior players and a spot in the second highest Finnish league, the Suomi-sarja, for his new club which he named "Jokerit", which is Finnish for "Jokers" and whose name and logo were inspired by the joker from a deck of playing cards.

Jokerit Helsinki logo

Two years after it's founding, Jokerit would earn promotion to the top level of Finnish hockey, the SM-sarja. Once accomplished, Mäkinen began aggressively adding star players to his roster. With rules changing allowing bodychecking in 1969, hockey in Finland underwent a change to a more physical style, which then coach Matti Lampainen felt was unsuitable for the roster he had at the time. He guided his club toward a more clever and tactical style which paid off with a championship in 1973.

The club would pass through several ownerships during the 1980's and an infusion of young talent at the end of the decade, such as defenseman Waltteri Immonen, who would captain the team from 1991-1999, Mika Strömberg, the club's all-time highest scoring defenseman, Ari Sulander, their main goaltender from 1993-1998 and Teemu Selänne, who would go on to set NHL rookie scoring records and eventually score 600 NHL goals, would return the club quickly to the top level, now called the SM-liiga, after having been relegated in 1987.

With their ownership now settled by 1991, the club became the wealthiest in Finland, which led to a dynasty that captured the Finnish championship in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997.

Jokerit 1997 photo Jokerit1997.jpg
Petri Varis, Otakar Janecký and Juha Lind celebrate
Jokerit's league championship in 1997

In addition to their Finnish titles, the club has also captured the European Cup in 1995 and 1996 and moved into their new home, the Hartwall Areena in 1997.

Kurri and Selänne hoist Immomen in celebration of the 1995 European Cup

The club's sixth championship would come in 2002 behind the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen.

When the Jokerit celebrated their 40th anniversary season in 2007-08 they retired the jersey of former star Jari Kurri, who originally played for the team from 1977-80 and again during the NHL lockout of 1994.

In addition to their six Finnish championships, Jokerit have finished second in 1971, 1983, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2007 and won the Continental Cup in 2003.

Jokerit has also left it's mark on the NHL, with the only two Finns in NHL history to have scored 1,000 points, Kurri and Selänne, having started with Jokerit.

Other Jokerit players to have gone onto NHL careers include, Ossi Väänänen, Lehtonen, Sean Bergenheim, Valtteri Filppula, Erik Karlsson, Ville Leino, Tuomo Ruutu, and Esa Tikkanen.

Valtteri Filppula Jokerit photo ValtteriFilppulaJokerit.jpg
Valtteri Filppula

With Russian investors now owning a 49% share of Jokerit, as well as now owning Hartwall Areena, it has been announced that Jokerit will become the first club from Scandinavia to join the primarily Russian KHL for the 2014-15 season, beginning not only a new era for the club, but the KHL itself.

Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 Jokerit Helsinki Teemu Selänne jersey. Selänne returned to Jokerit during the NHL lockout, along with Jari Kurri, and was a part of the 1995 European Cup winning team.

This jersey has the Tackla diamond shapes on the shoulders and the usual European sponsorship logos along with the oh-so-1990's magenta and teal color scheme, not to mention the yellow numbers, which makes for a very distinctive and gaudy look - more fitting for a jester than a professional athlete. Still, the club enjoyed a terrific run of  success during the time of this color scheme, even if it did become dated very quickly.

The original jerseys were all dye-sublimated, but this replica example was expertly customized with the same and numbers in twill as well as the impressive rendition of the Karjala sponsorship on the back with heat-sealed material to match the font used on the front sublimated logo. The Carrols patch on the front was one of our custom made patches that was then also sewn on to complete the look of this most distinctive jersey.

On a personal note, we wore this jersey to a Anaheim Ducks game in the spring of 2013 and stood out enough in it's loud colors that we were given a puck by Selänne during warmups!

Finland Jokerit Helsinki 1991-92 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki1991-92F.jpg
Finland Jokerit Helsinki 1991-92 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki1991-92B.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2005-06 Jokerit Helsinki Tero Konttinen jersey. While the 1990's Jokerit jerseys may have been memorable for their garish coloring, the club did themselves a great favor at the turn of the century when they adopted navy blue, red and yellow as their color palette. After using the same striping pattern as the Russian National Team, in 2003-04 the club copied the NHL's Florida Panthers 1998-2003 alternate jerseys, sans waist striping to good effect. This jersey style remained in use, albeit with an ever evolving set of sponsorship logos, through the 2007-08 season.

Finland Jokerit Helsinki 2005-06 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki2005-06F.jpg
Finland Jokerit Helsinki 2005-06 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki2005-06B.jpg

Our first video of today is footage of Jokerit during the 1992 SM-liiga Finals.

Our second video features rabid Jokerit supporters in footage from 2006.

Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 KHL Gagarin Cup Playoff Update

The second round of the Kontinental Hockey League Gagarin Cup playoffs concluded Saturday and the Conference Finals are now set.

KHL logo photo KHLlogo.png

In the Eastern Conference, #1 seed Metallurg Magnitogorsk, coached by Canadian Mike Keenan, managed to sweep #6 Sibir Novosibirsk, but the series was much closer than a sweep would indicate, as Game 1 required overtime, Game 2 was an identical 3-2 score, Game 3 also went to overtime with a final score of 2-1 before Metallurg won yet another 3-2 game as every contest was decided by a single goal, making for a genuinely close fought series and hardly sounding like a sweep with the total goals being just 11-7 for Magnitogorsk.

Meanwhile, the other Eastern series resulted in an upset. as #4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa defeated #2 Barys Astana from Kazakhstan 4 games to 2. Ufa took Game 1 3-2 in overtime, staying fresh after their full 7 game opening round, while Astana waited 9 days following their first round sweep.

Barys rebounded with a 5-2 win in Game 2 but were then put on the brink when Salavat Yulaev won the next two 5-2 and 3-2 in overtime at home. Barys stayed alive with a 2-1 win at home, but Ufa closed out the series with a 3-2 win back at home to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against Metallurg in a series that will begin on Thursday with the winner advancing to the Gagarin Cup Finals.

Here are the highlights of the final game between Salavat and Barys.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, #3 Lev Prague out of the Czech Republic faced #4 Donbass Donetsk of Ukraine. Lev won Game 1 at home 5-2 only to have Donbass take Game 2 4-3 in overtime after trailing entering the third period.

Lev returned the favor, taking Game 3 in overtime 3-2 but Donbass evened the series at 2-2 with a 3-1 win in Game 4, but Prague won the next two games by scores of 3-1 and 1-0 as Finnish goaltender Atte Engren made the lone goal by defenseman Ondrej Nemec stand up as the winner to close out the series and advance Lev to the Western Conference Finals.

Despite all that, the story in the KHL continues to be Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, as the #8 and lowest seed continues to surprise, having already eliminated the defending champions and #1 seed Dynamo Moscow in the opening round. Their reward for that victory was a series against the #2 seed SKA Saint Petersburg, led by star Ilya Kovalchuk.

A well rested Saint Petersburg club took Game 1 by a score of 1-0 but Lokomotiv turned the tables on the road in Game 2, coming back from a 4-2 deficit after two periods to take a 5-4 overtime win on a goal by Vladislav Kartayev.

Back on home ice Yaroslavl took a 4-1 decision only to have SKA hammer them in Game 4 6-1 to even the series at 2-2. Lokomotiv, coached by another Canadian, this one with previous KHL experience, Dave King, continued their season with a 3-2 win on the road and closed out the series back home with a 2-0 shutout in Game 6 with goals by Yury Petrov and 8 year NHL veteran Vitaly Vishnevsky and 26 saves by Canadian and former NHL goaltender Curtis Sanford.

Here are the highlights from the final game between Lokotmotiv and SKA, followed by the deciding game for Lev and Donbass, including an insane save by the Finn Engren for Lev which is not to be missed!

Now having knocked off #1 Dynamo Moscow and #2 SKA Saint Petersburg, Lokomotiv now draws #3 Lev Prague in the Western Conference Finals, which are set to begin in on Wednesday in Prague where Lokomotiv may not be the favorite of the bookmakers based on the two team's final placings in the standings, but they will certainly be the emotional favorites of the world of hockey as this is only their second season for the resurrected club following the air disaster that killed the entire 2011-12 roster on their way to their opening game of the season.

While Lokomotiv and Lev finished the season with 23 wins each, #3 Lev racked up 15 more points from overtimes and shootouts, as Lev lost just 13 games versus #8 Lokomotiv's 21 losses. Notably, Prauge won a KHL leading 9 shootouts with only two other of the 28 teams even managing 7. Fortunately for Lokomotiv, shootouts are not a part of the postseason and Lev's advantage is therefore removed.

#1 Metallurg must be favored in the East, as they stand alone as the only 100 point team remaining with 108 from 30 wins, taking on #4 Ufa, who finished with 94 points from 25 wins.

If you would like to purchase a Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, or any other KHL jersey of your very own, please click the logo below to get in touch with our sponsors ProRussianJerseys.com!

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Do Not Disrespect the Jersey

Recently Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens got irate when a fan threw an Oilers jersey onto the ice in protest of the team's poor play. Scrivens returns the sweater and later has a message for that fan.

Scrivens actions in defense of his team and hometown's sweater and later message to the fans earn him the coveted Third String Goalie Medal of Honor. Congratulations and well done Ben.

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