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Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 KHL Gagarin Cup Playoff Update

The semifinals round of the Kontinental Hockey League Gagarin Cup playoffs concluded Friday and the Gagarin Cup Finals are now set.

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In the Eastern Conference, #1 seed Metallurg Magnitogorsk, coached by Canadian Mike Keenan, defeated #4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 games to 1. The series began with Metallurg winning a pair of 3-2 games at home, with the second requiring overtime. Game 3 in Ufa saw Salavat forcefully announce their intention to win the series with a dominating 4-0 shutout, but all that accomplished was to sound the alarm and Magnitogorsk did not allow another goal for the rest of the series, winning Game 4 1-0 on a goal by Viktor Antipin and take the series back at home with another 1-0 win with the final goal coming 1:14 into overtime from Yaroslav Khabarov as goaltender Vasily Koshechkin shut out Ufa for over the final 120 minutes of the series.

Here are the highlights of Metallurg and Koshechkin shutting out Salavat despite the valiant effort of Ufa goaltender (#88!) Andrei Vasilevsky, who makes a spectacular glove save on the goal line in an effort to keep his club's hopes alive.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, #3 Lev Prague out of the Czech Republic faced the #8 seed and sentimental favorites Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, who had already defeated the #1 seed and defending champions Dynamo Moscow and #2 SKA Saint Petersburg.

Lev took the first two games in Prague 3-0 and 2-1. Back in front of their home fans in Yaroslavl, Lokomotiv won 3-0 to get back in the series thanks to a shutout by former NHLer Curtis Sanford, but then dropped Game 4 by a score of 3-2 in overtime with the winning goal coming with just 19 seconds left in the extra session.

The series then moved back to the Czech Republic where Lev closed out the series, becoming the first team based outside of Russia to make the Gagarin Cup Finals and put an end to the dream story of Lokomotiv winning the championship just two seasons removed from the disaster that claimed the lives of the entire 2011-12 team, forcing the club to start over from scratch.

Here are the highlights of the final game between Lev and Lokomotiv, which includes the wild goal scored by Lokomotiv's Geoff Platt, his second of the game.

The Gagarin Cup Finals begin on Friday, April 18th.

Meanwhile, unlike the NHL, the 12 teams that fail to qualify for the championship playoffs enter a tournament of their own for "the best of the rest", known as Nadezhda Cup (the Cup of Hope), a concept which began last season.

The First Round is a quick two game series, and if each team wins one, a 5 minute overtime followed by a shootout decides the series, something you won't see in the NHL! #11 Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia was ousted by #14 Dinamo Minsk of Belarus 2-0 and #13 Vityaz Chekov advanced when #12 Spartak Moscow was excluded from the playoffs due to their financial situation.

In the East, #11 Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk defeated #14 Amur Khabarovsk from far eastern Russia after a 4-2 win in Game 1 followed by a 1-1 tie in Game 2, another thing North American's aren't used to seeing, a playoff series ending with a tie game!

In the battle of the longest names, #12 Neftkhimik Nizhnekamsk swept a pair of games from #13 Metallurg Novokuznetsk.

For the Quarterfinals, teams ranked 9th and 10th joined the competition to face the winners of the First Round. There, the series are four games with a 20 minute overtime and shootout if the teams are tied 2-2 after the four games. #14 Dinamo Minsk upset #9 Atlant Moscow Oblast in three straight and Minsk advanced to face #10 Severstal Cherepovets, who eliminated #13 Vityaz Chekov 3-1. In the East, #10 Avangard Omsk were 3-1 victors over #11 Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. The series between #9 Traktor Chelyabinsk and #12 Neftkhimik Nizhnekamsk went to the deciding shootout after a long night of hockey, as Traktor first had to win Game 4 1-0 after 18 minutes of overtime. Then, the two teams played a scoreless 20 minute "series" overtime before Traktor advanced in the series deciding shootout after nearly five full periods of hockey.

The Western Semifinal saw #14 Dinamo Minsk stay hot with a 3-1 series win over #10 Severstal Cherepovets, giving Minsk 8 wins in 9 games. #10 Avangard Omsk advanced with a 3-1 defeat of #9 Traktor Cheylabinsk. In the finals, Avangard put an end to Dinamo's hot streak, shutting them out 2-0 and 4-0 before taking the Nadezhda Cup with a 3-2 win in Game 3.

Highlights of the final game of the Cup of Hope begin at the 1:22 mark.

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

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Friday, April 11, 2014

1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure Jersey

Born in 1971 in Moscow in the Soviet Union, Pavel Bure was once selected to practice with Wayne Gretzky and Vladislav Tretiak for a television program at the age of 11. By the age of 14, Bure was named to the famed Central Red Army's junior team.

In 1986, five years before playing in Vancouver as a professional, Bure toured Canada with a Soviet youth team and played a game at the Pacific Coliseum, his future home rink.

Bure made his debut with the Central Red Army senior club in 1987-88 at the age of 16 as a fill-in player when the Red Army Club was without several regulars who were participating in the 1987 Canada Cup. In all, he managed to get into five games, which included scoring his first goal.

While with CSKA Moscow, Bure was teamed with Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, a dangerously potent line combination that was set to dominate not only Soviet hockey, but international hockey for years to come, until politics interfered and changed everything.

Bure set a Soviet League record for goals by a rookie in 1988-89 when he totaled 17 goals in 32 games, a mark that would stand for 18 years. He was recognized for his for his efforts by being named the rookie of the year. He also participated in the 1989 World Junior Tournament, with his eight goals tying for the tournament lead. Additionally, his 14 points led the tournament in scoring, earned him Best Forward honors and led the Soviet Union to the gold medal.

Mogilny would later defect after that spring's World Championships in Sweden, breaking up the line the Soviets expected would lead them into the future.

Later on June 17, 1989, thanks to some detective work by their head scout, the Vancouver Canucks were able to draft Bure one year earlier than many thought he would be eligible due to a rule that stated he needed at least two seasons of play, with a minimum of 11 games each season, for his top-level European club.

Although Bure only played in five league games, it was discovered he had also competed in enough exhibition and international games to make him eligible to be chosen 113th overall in the 6th round. The Detroit Red Wings had even been told by an NHL vice-president that Bure was not eligible prior to their fifth round pick. Verbal complaints and written protests followed, which resulted in a formal investigation, which ended in league president John Ziegler declaring the pick illegal on May 17, 1990.

Bure would compete in the 1990 World Junior Championships, this time scoring seven goals in seven games, but come up short with a silver medal. Later that spring he made is debut with the Soviet National Team as a 19-year-old at the World Championships in Switzerland in which he scored six points in ten games on the way to a gold medal.

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Pavel Bure at the 1990 World Junior Championships

Another international tournament was on the calendar for 1990, this time in Seattle, Washington for the Goodwill Games. While the Soviet Union won the gold medal, and Bure contributed four goals and an assist in five games, the tournament is best remembered for the defection of Bure's other linemate, Fedorov, who tried to persuade Bure to defect with him. Bure declined out of concerns about the repercussions for his brother Valeri Bure, who was then an up and coming 15-year-old in the Soviet Union.

After the Canucks selection of Bure was negated by the league's ruling, Vancouver appealed to the league and provided game sheets proving his participation in the required number of games. On June 15, 1990, the day before that year's Entry Draft in which Bure would have been fair game for any team who wished to select him, Vancouver's selection of Bure was permanently reinstated.

In Bure's third season with Central Red Army in 1990-91, he tied for the team lead in scoring with 46 points in 44 games. His 35 goals were one behind the league leader in that category. During the season he also participated in his third World Junior Championships. Bure finished as the tournament's leading scorer once more following his 12 goal, 15 point effort, but had to once more settle for a silver medal. He concluded his junior career with a tournament record 27 goals.

Later that spring he participated in the 1991 World Championships where he tied for the team lead with 11 points in 11 games on his way to a bronze medal finish.

Bure left Moscow on September 6, 1991 and the Canucks began to negotiate a contract with Bure, but before it could be finalized, the Canucks also had to deal with the Central Red Army club, who had an existing contract with Bure. The two sides met in late October of 1991 in Detroit and in the end, Bure was free to join the Canucks following a $250,000 payment to Central Red Army. Once that deal was settled, Bure signed a four year contract with Vancouver, making him the second highest paid player on the team behind only team captain Trevor Linden.

Due to the court proceedings, Bure missed the first month of the season and eventually made his NHL debut on November 5, 1991 against the Winnipeg Jets which ignited "Pavel-mania". His speed on the ice was eye-catching and led to his eventual nickname of "The Russian Rocket".

Pavel Bure
Prior to his NHL debut, Bure poses for one of
Upper Deck's unconventional "lifestyle" cards

After a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 7th, Bure got his first NHL point on November 10th with an assist on a goal by Cliff Ronning in a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders. As he adjusted to life in North America and the NHL style of game, he was able to score 12 goals in 42 games. It was at that point that Bure caught fire and surged to the end of the season with a stellar 22 goals in his final 23 games, which sent Vancouver into a frenzy and gave him 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games, which tied a team record for points by a rookie.

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Bure as a rookie in 1991-92

Once in the playoffs, Bure registered his first hat trick during Game 6 of the Canucks opening round series against Winnipeg. The Canucks would participate in two rounds of the playoffs that season, with the confident rookie scoring 6 goals and 10 points in 13 games.

At the conclusion of the season, Bure was named the winner of the 1992 Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, the first Canuck's player to win an individual award in the team's 21 seasons.

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Bure poses with the Calder Trophy

Now with a full year of experience and confidence under his belt, Bure got off to a flying start, scoring a career high four goals in only the third game of the season. He also set Canucks team records for goals and points in a period when he scored three goals and added an assist during the second period of the Canucks game against the Winnipeg Jets. Additionally, his four goals set a team record for goals in a game and shorthanded goals in a game, as two of Bure's goals came with the Canucks a man down.

That season he participated in his first NHL All-Star Game, scoring twice for the Campbell Conference. Not long after the all-star game, Bure set the Canucks team record for goals in a season with his 46th goal, passing Tony Tanti's mark of 45. He continued to light the lamp at a furious pace, hitting the 50 goal mark on March 1st in a neutral site game in Hamilton, Ontario against the Buffalo Sabres.

March 9th saw Bure pass Patrik Sundstrom's franchise record of 91 points with a pair of assists in a 7-2 win over the New Jersey Devils before reaching the rarified air of the 60 goal plateau, which he accomplished on this date in 1993 in a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Bure would finish his sophomore season with exactly 60 goals and 50 assists for 110 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure jersey as worn during his second season in the NHL during which he reached the 60 goal mark on this date in 1991. This jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch on the right chest as worn by all players in the NHL that season.

This style of jersey was adopted in 1989 and worn through the 1996-97 season, with the only notable change being the addition of the "Canuck Place" patch in 1992.

Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey, Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991 Soviet Union Pavel Bure jersey. Following Adidas in the mid to late 1980's, the Finnish brand Tackla became the supplier for the World Championships and Olympics through 1993. Their jerseys featured mesh fabric and classic styling (for the most part), with contrasting colored shoulders which contained repeating diamond shapes, which is the Tackla company logo.

Their jerseys are also instantly recognizable by their block font numbers with the "3-D" drop shadow effect. These jerseys are all sublimated, and therefore age very well, retaining their bright colors over time.

Jerseys worn in 1994 and 1995 were branded as Reebok jerseys, but have all the hallmarks of being produced by Tackla, the dye-sublimated mesh fabric and 3-d block numbers, especially the logo on the lower left hem on the back which reads "manufactured by Tackla"!

Soviet Union 1992 jersey
Soviet Union 1992 jersey

In today's video segment, a look at what could have been, with Bure, Mogilny and Fedorov playing together at the 1989 World Junior Tournament.

Next, a look at "Pavel-mania" during Bure's rookie season, including footage of his first NHL game and his first two NHL goals.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 NCAA Frozen Four

The semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four will take place at the home of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center.

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The tournament kicks off with a game at 5:00 PM Eastern, pitting the #2 ranked Boston College Eagles of Hockey East facing off against the #3 Union Dutchmen of the ECAC our of Schenectady, New York.

The second game scheduled for 8:30 PM will feature the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers representing the first year Big Ten Conference against their long-time rivals, #14 ranked North Dakota of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is also a first year conference following the massive shakeup of the western college hockey landscape.

The Boston College hockey program dates back to the 1917-18 season when they played a whopping total of just three games, but even then one of those was against their fierce rivals Boston University.

In their early days, the Eagles played against various amateur athletic clubs and a growing number of other college teams, winning their first NCAA championship in 1949 with a record of 21-1.

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Boston College's first championship squad from 1949

They would not win another national championship for over 50 years until winning the title again in 2001. They then entered the era of their greatest success, winning the NCAA championship in 2008, 2010 and 2012, an every other year pace which puts them on track to win the title again this year!

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The 2000-01 Eagles team ended their long championship drought

Boston College played as an independent through the 1960-61 season before joining new Eastern College Athletic Conference in 1961-62 as a charter member. They remained in the ECAC until concerns that the Ivy League members of the ECAC were going to leave the league led to the formation of Hockey East in 1984-85. Before leaving for Hockey East, the Eagles won the conference tournament in 1965 and again in 1978 with a regular season title in 1980.

They proved to be an immediate power in Hockey East, winning the league's first three regular season titles in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and then three consecutive again in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Ten years later a seventh regular season championship came in 2001 followed by another hat trick of championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005, their 10th. The Eagles then made it an even dozen with back-to-back first place finishes in 2011 and 2012.

In addition, Boston College has won Hockey East conference playoff titles in 1987, 1990, 1998 and 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 and a three-peat in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Stability has been a feature of the program, with first head coach John "Snooks" Kelley being behind the bench for 36 years from 1932-33 through 1971-72, save for a gap of four years during World War II when he was a member of the United States Navy before returning to BC in 1946 and winning the national title in 1949. Kelley was the first coach in NCAA history to win 500 games, was named College Hockey Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1972, was named the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States in 1972 and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.

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Snooks Kelley

Len Ceglarski, a member of the 1949 championship squad and former BC captain, took over for Kelley as head coach in 1972-73 and held the position through the 1991-92 season, amassing 419 wins during his time at Boston College and 689 for his career, which was the most in NCAA history at the time of his retirement. He was also the first one to ever coach 1,000 collegiate games, was named College Hockey Coach of the Year in 1973 and 1985 and won the Lester Patrick Award in 1990.

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Len Ceglarski

Current Eagles head coach Jerry York took over two seasons after Ceglarski's retirement and is now in his 20th year. York is currently the winningest coach in the NCAA with 983 and has been at the helm for the four national championships since 2001. York also has a national title from 1984 while with Bowling Green and won his Lester Patrick Award in 2010.

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Like Ceglarski, York also played for BC under coach Kelley

Notable Boston College alumni include Hobey Baker winners David Emma in 1991 and Mike Mottau in 2000 and future NHL stars Brian Leetch, Brian Gionta, Joe Mullen, Brooks Orpik and Bill Guerin, Emma holds the school record with 239 career points from 147 games played, while Gionta leads the Eagles in career goals scored with 123, ahead of Emma's 112. Scott Harlow and Mullen are the only two others to have topped 200 career points, while Scott Clemmensen leads all goaltenders with 99 career wins.

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Brian Leetch

Boston College has also won the famous Beanpot Tournament 19 times in the 62 year history of the event, including the last five in a row.

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Brian Gionta celebrates a Beanpot victory

Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Boston College Eagles Tim Ceglarski jersey as worn when Tim played for his legendary father and coach Len.

This jersey has the classic look of the colored shoulder yoke paired with three stripes on the arms and waist which is then adorned with an eagle in full flight, making for a striking look in contrast to many of BC's recent efforts, notable for their unfortunate choices of "Star Trek" number fonts and unattractive pale gold alternate jerseys.

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Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1999-00 Boston College Eagles Brian Gionta jersey. This is a more traditional Eagles jersey with "Boston College" across the front from one of BC's more successful recent NHL graduates.

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photos courtesy of JohnsonJerseys.net

Today's video segment begins with the Eagles fifth consecutive Beanpot championship from earlier this year.

Up next is Boston College's most recent NCAA national championship from 2012.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2002-03 Montreal Canadiens Saku Koivu Jersey

Monday, September 3rd, 2001 Saku Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens boarded a flight from his native Finland headed for Montreal in anticipation of the start of training camp for the upcoming season.

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It was during the flight that Koivu began to feel some stomach discomfort. It did not diminish, and in fact, persisted that night.

The next day he contacted the Canadiens team physician Dr. David Mulder with the news that his condition had worsened to the point that he was severely vomiting. Medication failed to curtail the symptoms so the next day Koivu entered the hospital for testing, which revealed the tumor in Koivu's stomach. Even worse, the tumor was cancerous.

The final diagnosis was non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Facing chemotherapy treatments, Koivu remained optimistic and upbeat and began to read Lance Armstrong's book "It's not About the Bike" for inspiration.

Koivu's treatment lasted until January of 2002 and it was announced that he was expected to make a full recovery. The assumption was that Koivu would begin getting back into shape and aim for a return to the Canadiens in time for training camp in September. Koivu had other ideas however, and began a rigorous training program with the goal of returning in time for that season's playoffs.

The Canadiens were in a battle with four other clubs for the remaining three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference heading into the final week of the season when Koivu caught everyone off guard by announcing on April 8th that he had completed his rehab and was ready to play in an effort to get the Canadiens into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

So, it was on this day in 2002 that Koivu made his return from cancer to again play in the NHL. When Koivu came onto the ice that night the standing ovation continued on and on, lasting for eight minutes in one of the most memorable moments in NHL history.

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Koivu acknowledging the fans ovation

Montreal would go on to win the game 4-3 and accomplish what Koivu set out to do by locking up a playoff spot that night. Koivu would later score ten points in 12 playoff games as the Canadiens advanced to the second round of the playoffs after upsetting the rival Bruins in six games.

Following the season, Koivu was named the recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Koivu proved the disease was behind him when he participated in all 82 of the Canadiens games the next season, setting a then career high with 71 points.

In 2007, Koivu was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his humanitarian work with his Saku Koivu Foundation, which supports cancer and trauma care at the Montreal General Hospital primarily thanks to his efforts to raise funds to purchase a scanner to detect cancer in Montreal, as he had to travel two hours for the nearest one at the time of his diagnosis since no hospital in Montreal had one at the time. Koivu's foundation eventually donated $2.5 million for the so others in Montreal could receive the same level of care he got without having to drive two hours.

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Koivu poses with the new scanner

Today's featured jersey is a 2002-03 Montreal Canadiens Saku Koivu jersey. This jersey features the Hockey Fights Cancer patch, worn for one game in January by each team's captain. The jerseys were then auctioned off at that seasons subsequent All-Star weekend to raise money for Hockey Fights Cancer, which has now raised more than $11 million through various fundraising efforts.

The Hockey Fights Cancer jersey patches were worn from 2001 to 2004 and again in 2008. The original black and orange patches did not have the year, which was added for the following three seasons. The 2008 version was done in a new black and sliver color scheme to mark the 10th anniversary of the program.

Due to the significance of Koivu's story, this jersey is one of our favorites in the Third String Goalie collection.

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Today's video section features the story of Koivu's return to the ice and highlights of the Canadiens game that night followed by his postgame press conference.

Here is the full extended ovation Koivu received on his return to the ice in Montreal on this day in 2002.

Finally, a more recent feature on Koivu's return, including Dr. Mulder and how Koivu helped financed a new scanner for the Montreal hospital so others could receive the same level of care he got without having to travel to the nearest machine, which was two hours away at the time, as no Montreal had that kind of scanner at the time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1992-93 Washington Capitals Sylvain Cote Jersey

The old cliche goes that "The Best Offense is a Good Defense" and no team took that to heart like the 1992-93 Washington Capitals, whose rearguard consisted of Todd Krygier, who reached double digits with 11 goals and chipped in 12 assists for 23 points, and Calle Johansson, who contributed just 7 goals but added 38 assists for 45 points.

Also a key contributor to the Capitals attack was the legendary heavy shot of Al Iafrate, whose blast of 105.2 mph in the NHL Skill Competition stood for 16 years. Iafrate already had two 20 goal seasons on his resume while he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but in 1992-93 he set a career high with 25 goals for the Capitals. He nearly equalled his career mark of 42 assists with 41 that season for a total of career best of 66 points.

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Al Iafrate

Also setting a series of career highs was Kevin Hatcher, who led the Capitals blueline with 34 goals and 45 assists for 79 points, which placed him third in team scoring behind only center Mike Ridley's 82 points and team leader and right wing Peter Bondra's 85. In fact, Hatcher's 34 goals were second on the club behind only Bondra's 37, and were more than forwards Dmitri Khristich (31), Ridley (26), Pat Elynuik (22), Michal Pivonka (21), Dale Hunter (20), Kelly Miller (18), Keith Jones (12) and one-time 50 goal scorer Bobby Carpenter (11).

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Kevin Hatcher

Finally, Sylvain Cote scored his 20th goal of the season on this date in 1993 to make the Capitals the first team in the 76 year history of the NHL to have three defensemen score 20 goals in a single season when he connected at 19:45 of the second period against Swede Tommy Soderstrom of the Philadelphia Flyers with assists from Carpenter and Miller.

Cote would add one final goal during Washington's last four games for a total of 21 for the year. It would be the only 20 goal season of Cote's 19 year career and he would finish third among Capitals defensemen and ninth in team scoring with a then career high of 50 points, which he would eclipse the following season with 51.

Cote would begin his career with seven seasons with the Hartford Whalers before seven in Washington. He would leave the Capitals for the Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars before returning to Washington to finish his career with two full seasons in 2000-01 and 2001-02 before playing a single game in 2002-03 before his retirement.

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Sylvain Cote

The Capitals would finish second in the Patrick Division to the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins with a 43-34-7 record and actually place mid-pack in team scoring, 10th out of 24 teams, despite the record setting contribution from their potent defense corps. In the postseason, the Capitals would be upset by the New York Islanders, who finished 6 points back of them in the standings, but won Games 2, 3 and 4 of their playoff series all in overtime before eventually ending the Capitals season in six games.

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Washington Capitals Sylvain Cote jersey. All players wore the Stanley Cup Centennial patch during the 1992-93 season in recognition of Lord Stanley of Preston's donation of the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup as the symbol of the top-ranking amateur hockey club in Canada 100 years earlier.

The Capitals wore their star-spangled jerseys from the time of their NHL debut in 1974 through the 1994-95 season when they stopped wearing their classic red, white and blue jerseys and changed to a new blue and black color scheme. Names would not arrive on the back of the Capitals red jerseys until 1977-78.

What really sets the authentic version of the Capitals jersey apart from the replica jerseys is that each letter of the Capitals logo on the front is a separate piece of material, rather than the entire crest being embroidered in a smaller size onto a patch, which would then be sewn onto the jersey. Each of the 16 stars on the chest and sleeves are also separate pieces of material which are sewn on. If you can get an old game worn or authentic Capitals jersey, do so, as it is one of the largest differences in quality between the authentic and the replica of any jersey.

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Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Washington Capitals Al Iafrate jersey from the season the Capitals became the first team to have three defensemen in NHL history score 20 goals or more. Additionally, it was the season Iafrate set career highs in goals and points as well as setting the record for the hardest shot in the NHL Skills Competition with his 105.2 mph blast.

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Today's video segment is a compilation of goals scored by Iafrate with his powerful snapshot, as well as setting his long standing record in the hardest shot competition through the power of his mullet.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1998-99 Cleveland Lumberjacks Jim Paek Jersey

Born on this date in 1967, Chisun Paek emigrated to Canada as an infant where his parents gave him the name "Jim" to make to make the transition to Canadian life easier for their son. As he grew up, he developed a love for hockey which eventually led to him to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League beginning in the 1984-85 season where he played defense. His play got him noticed, as he was drafted that summer by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.

Paek played two more seasons with the Generals, including a run to the Memorial Cup Finals where he contributed 15 points in 26 games.

Following his junior career, Paek turned pro with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League (IHL), where he raised his offensive game to new levels, with three consecutive 50 point seasons while averaging 117 penalty minutes. During his second season in Muskegon, the Lumberjacks won the 1989 Turner Cup championship.

Paek next wore the sweater of the Canadian National Team during in the 1990-91 season for 48 games and then made history as the first Korean-born player to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins with three regular season games late in the same 1990-91 season followed by eight playoff games, which included Paek scoring a goal. The Penguins advanced to the finals for the first time in team history where they defeated the Minnesota North Stars in six games, giving Paek the distinction of also being the first Korean to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, which earned his Penguins jersey a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Jim Paek Stanley Cup

Paek played 49 games in 1991-92 as well as 19 more playoff games as the Penguins went back to back as Stanley Cup champions, this time with a four game sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks with Paek contributing 4 assists.

After a full season of 77 games in in 1992-93, Paek scored an NHL career high 18 points. After 41 games the following season Paek was traded, along with Marty McSorley, to the Los Angeles Kings, where he would finish out the 1993-94 season.

The Kings then dealt Paek to the Ottawa Senators at the 1995 draft. Paek only skated for the Ottawa in 29 games to close out his NHL career with 217 games played, five goals and 29 assists for 34 points and a pair of Stanley Cups.

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Even though his NHL career was over, Paek was far from done with hockey. Now with the Minnesota Moose of the IHL, Paek was named team captain but later dealt to the Houston Aeros. He began the following season season with the relocated Moose, now in Manitoba, but moved to the Cleveland Lumberjacks early enough in the campaign to play in 74 games and score 28 points. After another full season with the Lumberjacks, Paek played 65 games in the 1998-99 season before being loaned to Houston in March of 1999 where he would win his second Turner Cup championship.

Paek was back in Cleveland again in 1999-00 for the full season and then continued his world tour with a move to the Nottingham Panthers of the British Ice Hockey Super League of England in 2000-01. His trek around the globe was completed with a move to the Anchorage Aces of the West Coast Hockey League before a return to Nottingham at the end of the season. He played one more season with Nottingham to close out his playing days before moving into coaching.

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Paek with the Nottingham Panthers

Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Bauer Cleveland Lumberjacks Jim Paek jersey, worn by Paek while with the Lumberjacks. Notice the velcro affixed to the upper left chest under the Bauer logo which indicates that Paek was either the captain or assistant captain of the Lumberjacks at some point during the season.

This style jersey is notable for it's distinctive "saw blade" striping on the arms and waist. One wonders why they chose to go with such a basic number font instead of a more playful one like the Manitoba Moose or Utah Grizzlies.

Cleveland Lumberjacks jersey
Cleveland Lumberjacks jersey

In today's video segment, Jim Paek takes on noted tough guy Rob Ray, who had the audacity to lay a hand on Mario Lemieux.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ebay Jersey of the Week - 2009 Russia National Team Jersey

From time to time we find a jersey that really catches our attention because we know just how long it took us to get one like it for our collection and can't believe that someone hasn't jumped on the "Buy it Now" option or bid it up to a higher price yet.

This week's Third String Goalie Ebay Jersey of the Week is a 2009 Nike Russia National Team jersey. This style was worn during the 2009 IIHF World Championships. where the Russians won the gold medal. Additionally, this was the only year this short-lived style was worn, as they wore a new style for the 2010 Winter Olympics the following February, making this a rare but important style in the history of Russian hockey and one that is very hard to locate due to it's short life span.

This particular one looks to be in great shape and is listed as being "new without tags" and is blank so you can have it customized with any member of the 2009 World Championship team. Players on the Russian roster that year include NHL veterans goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, defensemen Vitaly Vishnevsky, Oleg Teverdovsky, Anton Volchenkov, Dmitri Kalinin, and Denis Grebeshkov and forwards Nikolai Zherdev, Alexander Radulov, who scored he game winning goal in the final, Oleg Saprykin, team captain Alexi Morozov and assistant captain Ilya Kovalchuk, who was named the tournament MVP.

Morozov & Kovalchuk Russia 2009 photo AlexiMorozovandIlyaKovalchukRussia2009.jpg
Alexi Morozov and Ilya Kovalchuk celebrating the 2009 World Championship

This particular Nike style was also worn by the Russians in the 2009 World U20 Junior Championships, whose roster included future NHLers Dimitri Kulikov and Slava Voynov.

Additionally, this style in a sublimated version made by Tackla with slightly different fonts for the name and numbers was worn by Russia in the 2009 World U18 Junior Championship team with a roster including Evgeni Kuznetsov, Vladimir Tarasenko and Dmitri Orlov. Here are highlights from Russia defeating Finland in the Semifinals.

This particular one is a desirable size XL, which should fit most fans nicely and, trust us, these do not come up very often, as we have seen during our time collecting jerseys. This one has also gone through two auctions with no bids and the seller has now lowered the price, making it potentially an even better value.

Here are photos of the actual jersey listed for sale, and clicking on them will take to the auction listing on ebay.

2009 Russia jersey photo Russia2009EJOTWF.jpg
2009 Russia jersey photo Russia2009EJOTWB.jpg

Here are the jerseys in action as Russia won the 2009 World Championships against Canada followed by their earlier 4-1 win over the United States.

In summary, if we didn't have a red 2009 World Championships Russia National Team jersey in our collection already, we'd be thrilled to acquire this rare jersey. We like the fact it is a one year only style, Russia won the World Championship wearing it, it's a desirable size and that it is not customized, giving you the option of adding the player of your choice to it with plenty of good options available as we have noted. It also appears to be in great condition as well. Additionally, this seller has a 100% positive rating, making us feel very comfortable pointing you in his direction, but, as always, we cannot warranty their future performance.

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