History of Jersey 83-93 Banner sm photo History of Jersey 83-93 Banner sm.jpg

Friday, December 5, 2014

1911-12 Montreal Wanderers Riley Hern Jersey

Born on this date in 1880, Riley Hern played both goaltender and forward as a youth but settled on goaltending by the time he progressed to senior hockey with the Stratford Legionnaires of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1898 to 1901.

He turned professional in 1901 with the Pittsburgh Keystones of the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League, which he led in victories with 9 in his first season. After going five-for-five in wins the next season, he suffered a dismal 1-10 slog through the 1902-03 season.

Looking for greener pastures, he found one in Houghton, Michigan with the Portage Lake Hockey Club. Not a member of any established league at the time, Portage Lake played a schedule of exhibition games to great success, as Hern finished the season with an outstanding record of 15-1.

1903-04 Portage Lake Hockey Club
The 1903-04 Portage Lake Hockey Club

With the stellar lineup of talent Portage Lake had assembled, which included future Hall of Famers "Bad" Joe Hall, Bruce Stuart, his brother Hod Stuart and the legendary Cyclone Taylor, thanks in no small part due to the salaries the club was paying in what was still primarily an amateur sport, Portage Lake became members of the International Professional Hockey League for it's inaugural 1904-05 season. After a second place finish in year one, Portage Lake won the league title in 1905-06 as Hern posted a 15-5 record.

He moved east for the 1906-07 season to join the current Stanley Cup holders, the Montreal Wanderers, who were members of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association at the time. Before the season began the Wanderers faced a Stanley Cup challenge from the New Glasgow Cubs, who they turned back in a two-game, total-goal series with scores of 10-3 and 7-2 to retain the cup by a total of 17-5.

Hern and the Wanderers then lost control of the cup on January 21st when the Kenora Thistles wrested the cup away with 4-2 and 8-6 wins.

After their surprising defeat, the Wanderers marched unchallenged through the ECAHA schedule, finishing with a flawless 10-0 record on the back of 105 goals scored while giving up just 39, which calculates to an average of a 10-4 win every game. As champions, and also on a roll having posted goal totals of 16, 13, 18, 10 and 16 in their last five games, the Wanderers attempted to reclaim the cup by traveling west to challenge Kenora for the rights to the Stanley Cup.

With the first game delayed a day due to bad ice conditions which forced a change in venue from Kenora to Winnipeg, Hern and the Wanderers all but reclaimed the cup during Game 1 with a 7-2 win. Kenora hung tough and won the second game 6-5, but failed to overcome the five goal deficit they faced after Game 1. With the Wanderers taking the series 12 goals to 8, they returned to Montreal with the cup in hand, only to have it stolen and held for ransom!

1907 Montreal Wanderers
The 1907 Montreal Wanderers

Following a team photo, the cup was taken from photographer Jimmy Rice's homeand when no one would pay for it's return, the Stanley Cup was left on Rice's doorstep and his wife used it as a geranium planter until the fall when it was put back into service!

At some point during the time between winning the cup, having it stolen, it being used as a planter and the next cup challenge, the Wanderers had the audacity to not only engrave the name of their team into the cup, but the entire roster of the club, beginning a tradition which many feel makes the Stanley Cup the greatest trophy in sports.

1907 Wanderers engraving
The 1907 Wanderers celebratory engraving in the bottom of the bowl of the Stanley Cup

For the 1907-08 season, the Wanderers had to defend the cup against the Ottawa Victorias, whom they easily turned back 9-3 and 13-1. Following the regular season, where the Wanderers again emerged as league champions, they were challenged for the cup twice more, first by the Winnipeg Maple Leafs, who they beat 11-5 and 9-3, and then by the Toronto Professionals in a one game playoff the Wanderers won by a score of 6-4, which gave Hern a 13-2 record for the season.

1908 Montreal Wanderers Pictures, Images and Photos
The 1908 Montreal Wanderers

Once again, prior to the 1908-09 season, the Wanderers face yet another challenge for the Stanley Cup, this one from the Edmonton Hockey Club, a team stocked with ringers for the challenge. It was to no avail however, as the Wanderers won Game 1 handily, building a four goal advantage heading into the final game after a 7-3 win. Edmonton did take Game 2 7-6, but the cup remained firmly in the hands of the Wanderers.

With the 1909 schedule consisting of only 12 games, each contest was critical as the Wanderers and the Ottawa Senators engaged in a neck and neck struggle for the league championship which entitled the winner to the rights to the cup. The Wanderers gained the upper hand with a 7-6 overtime win during the opening game of the season for each club. The two clubs dominated their games against the Quebec Bullogs and Montreal Shamrocks for the remainder of January until their next meeting on January 30th when Ottawa prevailed 5-4. On February 6th, the clubs were involved in their third consecutive one goal game, won by Ottawa 9-8 and they sealed the Wanderers fate with a dominant 8-3 win in their final meeting to end the Wanderers two year hold of the cup, which included four successful defenses.

With that, the ECHA dissolved and the Wanderers formed a new league, the National Hockey Association, while the other three clubs entered the Canadian Hockey Association, which failed after less than two weeks, sending its clubs looking to join the NHA. Hern and the Wanderers tore through the now seven team league with an 11-1 record, outscoring their opposition 91-41, with Hern getting all the starts for Montreal. With Ottawa in the NHA, Montreal assumed control of the Stanley Cup once more by virtue of winning the league title. They faced one challenge for the cup from Berlin of the Ontario Professional Hockey League, whom they dispatched 7-3.

Montreal Wanderers 1909-10 Pictures, Images and Photos
The 1910 Montreal Wanderers

Hern would play one final season of 1910-11 and with the Wanderers finishing fourth with a 7-9 mark, the Wanderers would relinquish the cup as Hern's hockey career came to a close at the age of 30.

Hern would conclude his career with a 106-43 regular season record and a 10-4 won-loss record in Stanley Cup challenge games and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

Today's featured jersey is a 1911-12 Montreal Wanderers Riley Hern jersey. The Wanderers adopted the "redband" style jersey and no doubt influenced the Montreal Canadiens who later adopted their iconic red sweaters with a blue band across the chest in 1913. This Wanderers jersey remained unchanged and in use until January 2, 1918 when their home arena burned down, forcing the club, already in debt, to cease operations after 14 1/2 seasons of competition.

Riley Hearn Wanderers

1999-00 New Jersey Devils Brian Rafalski Jersey

Last night, Brian Rafalski was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota along with Karen Bye Dietz, Jeff Sauer and Lou Vairo.

Rafalski's career began like many other future NHLers when he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin for the 1991-92 season, after which he was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team. That same season he also earned a bronze medal at the World Junior Tournament, the first of seven international tournaments the Michigan native would play for the United States.

Rafalski Wisconsin
Rafalski during his days as a Badger

The 1992-93 season saw him continue at Wisconsin as well as making a return to the World Juniors. As he gained experience and confidence, his point totals began to increase, up from 13 to 23 for 1993-94 and nearly doubling to 45 for 1994-95, a season during which Rafalski was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and to the WCHA First All-Star Team and helped Wisconsin win the WCHA playoff title. Following the completion of his college career, Rafalski once more skated for the United States, this time at the 1995 World Championships, his first at the senior level.

Despite his noteworthy resume, Rafalski, at 5' 10", was considered too small and went undrafted by the NHL. Still eager to continue his hockey career, he joined Brynas IF in Sweden for the 1995-96 season.

After one season in Sweden, he moved to HPK in Finland. There, he had a solid offensive season for a defenseman with 35 points in 49 games and was given the Pekka Rautakallio Trophy as Best Defenseman in the SM-Liiga.

Establishing a knack for choosing the right situation throughout his career, Rafalski joined HIFK of Helsinki and promptly won the SM-Liiga championship in 1998. He was once again named Best Defenseman in the league in 1998-99, as he scored 53 points, an average of a point per game for HIFK. In a vote of the players, he was also awarded the Golden Helmet as the best player overall.

Rafalski HIFK photo RafalskiHIFK.jpg
Rafalski while with HIFK in Finland

Having proven himself as a capable player, including being named by The Sporting News as "the best hockey player in the world not playing in the NHL", Rafalski realized his dream to play in the NHL when he signed a free agent contract with the New Jersey Devils and finally began the delayed start to his NHL career as a now 26-year-old rookie for the 1999-00 season.

With the Devils, Rafalski was paired with team captain Scott Stevens, whose strong defensive skills allowed Rafalski the opportunity to take more risks offensively, resulting in 32 points by season's end.

Once more, his change in clubs paid immediate dividends, as the Devils captured the Stanley Cup at the end of Rafalski's first season in the NHL, which included being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was at least four and as many as seven years older than any of the other five members of the rookie team!

Rafalski 2000 Devils
A fine end to Rafalski's delayed rookie season

Rafalski would go on to play seven seasons with the Devils, which included another Stanley Cup championship in 2003 and an appearance in the NHL All-Star Game in in 2004 and a second one in 2007. His best offensive season with the Devils was his last, 2006-07, when he totaled 55 points.

During his time with New Jersey, the Devils annual playoff appearances left little opportunity for him to play in the World Championships, but he was chosen to participate for the United States at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, where he won a silver medal. Two years later, he was again chosen to play for the US, this time at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. His second Olympics came in 2006 in Torino, Italy.

Rafalski 2006 Olympics photo RafalskiUSA2006.jpg
Rafalski during the 2006 Olympics

For the 2007-08, Rafalski signed with his hometown Detroit Red Wings in another change to a club that would, for the third time in Rafalski's career, conclude with a championship in his very first season with a new team. With the high powered Red Wings, Rafalski set a career high with 59 points in 2008-09 after back to back 55 point seasons, which included an NHL career high 13 goals in 2007-08.

Rafalski Red Wings
Rafalski's third cup came with Detroit in 2008

His career would finish with two more seasons with the Red Wings. which would bring his final career totals to 833 NHL games played, 79 goals and 436 assists for 515 points. In all, Rafalski would play 11 NHL seasons despite the late start as a result of his going undrafted. He has more than proven the scouts wrong who thought him too small, as in addition to his three Stanley Cups and over 500 points, Rafalski qualified for the playoffs in each of his 11 seasons and registered an additional 100 points over the course of his career.

Rafalski was again named to Team USA for the 2010 Olympics, earning his second silver medal as well as being named Best Defenseman of the competition.

Rafalski USA
Rafalski was recognized for his outstanding play
in the 2010 Olympics as Best Defenseman

Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 New Jersey Devils Brian Rafalski jersey as worn when the Devils captured the Stanley Cup Rafalski's rookie season in the NHL.

Of note, this jersey has the NHL 2000 patch, which all the players wore that season, plus the addition of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals patch. Also worth noting is that this jersey is made by ProPlayer, who supplied jerseys to NHL clubs for only the 1999-00 season.

New Jersey Devils 1999-00 SCF jersey photo NewJerseyDevils1999-00FSCFjersey.jpg
New Jersey Devils 1999-00 SCF jersey photo NewJerseyDevils1999-00BSCFjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2002-03 New Jersey Devils Brian Rafalski jersey as worn when the Devils captured their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Sharp eyed readers will note that the Devils jersey hasn't changed much since 2000, and that's because it hasn't changed since being introduced in 1992, and if Devils president Lou Lamoriello  has it's way, it will still be the same in 2092, as New Jersey has resisted all pressure to add a third jersey or redesign their current home and road set, even during the transition to the new Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007, when vertical stripes were in and horizontal stripes were out.

New Jersey Devils 2002-03 SCF jersey photo NewJerseyDevils2002-03SCFjersey.jpg
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2008-09 Detroit Red Wings Brian Rafalski jersey as worn by the defending Stanley Cup champions Red Wings following the third NHL championship of Rafalski's career.

 photo DetroitRedWings2007-08Fjersey.jpg
Detroit Red Wings 2007-08 jersey photo DetroitRedWings2007-08Bjersey.jpg

Today's video segment begins with an interview with Rafalski while still a member of HIFK just prior to the 1999 SM-Liiga Finals while knowing he had already signed with New Jersey. There is also some very artistic footage of him eating a McDonald's hamburger.

Nest is a compilation of goals scored by Rafalski while playing in Finland.

Finally an interview with Rafalski as he talks about his career, starting with Wisconsin and how he ended up playing in Europe. It then continues with the time he has spent with soldiers and veterans of the armed forces.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2009-10 Montreal Canadiens 1909-10 Centennial Mike Cammalleri Jersey

It was on this date in 1909 that John Ambrose O'Brien founded "le Club de Hockey Canadien", the oldest team in the NHL.

O'Brien, in Montreal for business was asked by the owners of the Renfrew Creamery Kings to apply to join the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA). After being turned down by the CHA, he met Jimmy Gardner, the manager of the Montreal Wanderers hockey club.

The pair hatched the idea of starting their own league, christened the National Hockey Association (NHA), using O'Brien's teams in Cobalt and Haileybury, the Wanderers plus founding O'Brien's new club, the Canadiens, intended to appeal to he French-speaking fans in Montreal as a rival to the Wanderers.

1909-10 Montreal Canadiens future Hall of Famers Cattarinich, Laviolette &
Pitre shown wearing the Canadiens original sweaters

O'Brien only owned the team for one season because he was sued by George W. Kendall, the owner of the Club athéltique Canadien, who claimed he had the legal rights to the Canadiens name. As part of the settlement, Kendall bought the team from O'Brien for $7,500.

The Canadiens remain the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team and the only NHL club older than the league itself. During their history, they have held the Stanley Cup 24 times, including their first in 1916, a year before the founding of the National Hockey League.

1915-16 Montreal Canadiens team, 1915-16 Montreal Canadiens team
The 1915-16 Canadiens, the first Stanley Cup winners in franchise history

While the rivalry with the Wanderers fell by the wayside in 1918 when the Westmount Arena burned down and the Wanderers folded, the Canadiens new cross-town rivals arrived in 1924 with the founding of the Montreal Maroons. Two seasons later the Canadiens would move into their home of 70 years, the Montreal Forum, which they would share with the Maroons until their demise in 1938.

By 1949 the Canadiens had won but six Stanley Cups in their first forty years, hardly the dominant franchise the hockey world would soon come to know, as the Canadiens would make it to the finals in 1951, the first of ten consecutive appearances in the final series.

The arrival of Boom Boom Geoffrion in 1951 to compliment Maurice "Rocket" RichardDoug Harvey and Dickie Moore set the ball in motion, and soon the Canadiens embarrassment of riches would grow into a full-fledged dynasty with the additions of Jean Beliveau and Jacques Plante in 1953, Henri Richard in 1954 and Claude Pronovost in 1955. Ten seasons later, the Canadiens would double the number of Stanley Cups won, with six in ten years.

Richard Beliveau 1958 Stanley Cup, Richard Beliveau 1958 Stanley Cup
Richard and Beliveau with the Stanley Cup in 1958

The success would continue through out the 1960's despite the retirement of Rocket Richard after the 1960 championship. The club would capture an astounding ten titles in fifteen seasons from 1965 to 1979, including four straight to finish the run with star players such as Jacques LaperriereJ. C. TremblayGuy LafleurYvan CournoyerKen DrydenPeter MahovolichSteve ShuttBob Gainey, Serge SavardGuy LapointeJacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson.

The club continued it's streak of at least one championship in every decade from the 1910's by winning the title in 1986 behind the goaltending of rookie Patrick Roy and again in 1993.

Montreal 1993 Stanley Cup, Montreal 1993 Stanley Cup
The Canadiens most recent championship team from 1993

The team became the first in NHL history to reach 3,000 victories on December 29, 2008 with a win over the Florida Panthers, a team no one could have imagined in 1909.

To celebrate the club's centennial several uniform numbers were retired, including those of Moore & Cournoyer (both #12), Geoffrion (5), Savard (18), Dryden (29), Robinson (19), Gainey (23), Roy (33) and Elmer Lach (#16) and Emile Bouchard (#3) leaving them with 15 retired numbers, 12 of those under the #20, forcing current Montreal players to wear some of the highest numbers in the league, a visual oddity for one of the most traditional franchises in sports.

Lach and Bouchard were the last to have their
numbers retired by the Canadiens

In addition to other events, such as the issuing of commemorative coins and stamps, the construction of a "Centennial Plaza" outside the Bell Centre and a concert, the Canadiens hosted the 2009 NHL All-Star game as well as the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but our favorite tribute to the club's historic past was the wearing of a series of Centennial Jerseys, six in all.

Today's featured jersey is a 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens 1909-10 Centennial Mike Cammalleri jersey, as worn on November 21, 2009 against the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 shootout loss, with Cammalleri scoring both of Montreal's goals.

The jerseys had a lace-up collar and sported the Canadiens Centennial patch on the right shoulder, as did all the Centennial jerseys worn by the club.

They were scheduled to wear the jerseys a second time on February 13, 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but a change in plans saw them stick with their regular jerseys, leaving the 1909-10 blue jerseys worn just the one time.

Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey
Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey
Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey

Here is the shootout from the November 21st game when the Canadiens debuted their 1909-10 Centennial jerseys.

Finally, here is 100 years of hockey supremacy condensed into five and a half minutes. If this doesn't get your juices flowing and make you want to put on your skates on and pretend you're Richard, Beliveau or Lafleur, you have no pulse.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2004 Team Russia Igor Larionov Farewell Game Jersey

To celebrate Igor Larionov's retirement as a player after 27 years, as well as his 44th birthday, a star-studded lineup of players from both sides of the hockey world gathered at the Luzhniki Arena on this date in 2004.

During his long and illustrious career, Larionov won two World Junior Championship gold medals, a Canada Cup gold medal, four World Championship gold medals, three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals (one of only four players to win all five), eight Soviet championships, eight European Club championships (one of only two men to win all seven titles) and was one of the first Soviet players to leave to play in the NHL.

Many of Larionov's former Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils teammates played for "Team World" against a team made up of Russian players of note with NHL experience.

An idea which originated with former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman saw Larionov play the first two periods of the game for "Team Russia" before being "traded" to Team World for Steve Yzerman, who went on to score two goals in the third period to lead the Russians to a 6-5 win!

Larionov World
Larionov sporting the colors of Team World following being "traded"

Players for Team World were goaltender Chris Osgood, Manny Legace, Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Jeremy Roenick, Ray Whitney, Scott Gomez, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Matthieu Dandenault, Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, Sandis Ozolinsh, Tomas Holmstrom, Aaron Ward, Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Brodeur, Jiri Fischer, Steve Duschesne, Luc Robitaille, Jay Pandolfo, Martin Lapointe as well as captain Yzerman followed by Larionov with Team World coached by Bowman.

Those who skated for Team Russia were Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov, Oleg Tverdovsky, Sergei Brylin, Sergei Samsonov, Pavel Datsyuk, Valeri Kamensky, Slava Kozlov, Viktor Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, Evgeni Nabokov, Alexei Zhamnov, Danny Markov, Andrei Nikolishin, Boris Mironov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vladimir Malakov, Nikolai Khabibulin, Andrei Markov, Alexander Khavanov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Valeri Bure, Alexi Morozov, Sergei Nemchinov and, of course, Larionov plus Yzerman. Team Russia was coached by Russian legends Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov.

Larionov Russia 2
Larionov celebrates a goal with Zhamnov

During the game Nikolishin opened the scoring with a goal just 50 seconds into the first period. He then assisted on Samsonov's goal at 5:30 before McCarty cut the margin to 2-1 for Russia with a goal at 7:16. Team World evened the score at 1:30 of the second when Robitaille scored from Zetterberg only to have Russia regain a two goal lead with goals by the honored Larionov (from Malakov and Fedorov) at 5:19 and Kovalchuk (from Datsyuk and Samsonov) at 10:34.

Larionov scores
Larionov scores his goal during the second period while still a member of Team Russia

The "Russian" Yzerman pushed the lead to three when he scored at the 20 second mark of the third period from Fetisov.

Yzerman Russia
Yzerman wearing the blue of Team Russia in the third period

Fischer scored for Team World unassisted at 10:54 and Yzerman responded with an assist from Slava Kozlov at 16:27 before Lapointe's goal from the "traded" Larionov at 16:49 to get Team World back within two. Robitallie closed out the scoring at 17:01 to make the final margin 6-5.

Yzerman Larionov embrace
Yzerman and Larionov embrace following the contest

Larionov Farewell Game group photo
Both teams pose for a group picture after the game

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team Russia Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn during the first two periods of his farewell game in Moscow on this date in 2004. This clever jersey was based on the style worn when the Soviet Union first entered the international scene at the 1954 World Championships where they immediately won a gold medal in Stockholm, Sweden while wearing blue jerseys prior to adopting their iconic red sweaters. The main difference, other than the obvious sponsorship logos, is the substitution of "Russia" in Cyrillic in place of the original CCCP cresting.

Larionov Team Russia 2004 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Following the game the jerseys worn by the players were signed and auctioned off, raising $30,000 for the Larionov Youth Hockey Charitable Foundation to support amateur hockey players in both North America and Russia.

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2004 Team World Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn in the third period of his farewell game in Moscow. Scoring somewhat lower marks in the creativity department, the Team World jersey is a copy of the template used in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game held in January of that year.

Larionov Team World 2004 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

A DVD of the game was produced and today's video section is a preview of the DVD. Sadly, despite the banner on the video, IgorLarionov.com is no longer an active website.

In this next clip, Larionov scores in triple overtime in Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.

This next feature is on the occasion of Larionov being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

No mention of Larionov would be complete without a mention of his daughters Alyonka and Diana, seen here singing prior to an outdoor legends game in Moscow's Red Square.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

1925-26 New York Americans Billy Burch Jersey

For the 1925-26 NHL season, the Pittsburgh Pirates would join the league while the Hamilton Tigers were disbanded. In addition to Pittsburgh, a new franchise began play on this date in 1925 as tenants of the brand new (and third) Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The club was founded by Thomas Duggan, who had actually been granted three franchises back in 1923, but was required to wait until the completion of construction of Madison Square Garden before the team could take to the ice. The club, named the New York Americans, benefitted from the demise of the Tigers in Hamilton, when Duggan's financial backer, mobster "Big Bill" Dwyer, who made his fortune as a prohibition bootlegger, bought the rights to the Tigers players to stock the Americans roster.

Their first game, played on this date in 1925, was against fellow expansion brothers the Pirates in Pittsburgh in a contest won by the Americans 2-1 in overtime. Future Hockey Hall of Famer and team captain Billy Burch scored the first goal in team history at 6:12 of the second period, assisted by veteran Ken Randall. Pittsburgh evened the score at 9:45 on a goal by the great Lionel Conacher, who would play a role in Americans team history later on. The third period went by with no scoring, sending the game into an extra period where defenseman Charlie Langlois won the game for New York with an unassisted, short-handed goal at 3:10 to get the franchise off to a fine start.

After four road games to start the season, the Americans would finally play their first game in their new home, which was not originally designed with the ability to create a sheet of ice.

Madison Square Garden 1925, Madison Square Garden 1925
Madison Square Garden in 1925

Duggan arranged for Madison Square Garden owner Tex Rickard to come to Montreal with Dwyer, who would arrange to properly lubricate Tex with some of his underground liquor production before the Canadiens game he was about to witness. The sight of the sold out arena, combined with the dazzling display put on by Canadiens star Howie Morenz suitably impressed Rickard, who agreed to modify the plans for Madison Square Garden to include ice making capabilities on the condition that Morenz be present for opening game. Thus the first opponent hosted by the Americans was none other than Morenz and the Canadiens, who defeated the home team by a score of 3-1 in front of 17,422 curious New Yorkers who saw Morenz seal the victory for Montreal with their third goal at 4:15 of the third period.

1925 Americans program, 1925 Americans program
A program from the Americans first season

Despite stocking their roster with the players from the first place Tigers club, the team finished fifth out of seven with a 12-20-4 record, led by Burch in scoring with 22 goals, quite nearly one-third of the team's total of 68, and 25 points.

1925-26 New York Americans team, 1925-26 New York Americans team
The 1925-26 New York Americans

Still, despite the placing in the standings, the Americans season overall was deemed such a success at the gate that Rickard obtained his own NHL franchise for the 1926-27 season, which would be nicknamed Tex's Rangers. With the addition of not only a second team in Madison Square Garden, but also Chicago and Detroit joining the league, the NHL was split into two divisions, with the Americans being placed in... the Canadian Division! The extra travel over the border took it's toll on the club and they once more finished out of the playoffs with a 17-25-2 record. Burch again led he club in scoring with 19 goals and 27 points, ten more than Conacher, who was obtained from the cash strapped Pirates.

The Americans sank to last in the Canadian Division in 1927-28 with just 11 wins in the face of 27 losses and 6 ties. To make matters worse, the New York Rangers, owned by their landlord Rickard, won the Stanley Cup in only their second year of existence! From the beginning of the two clubs competing for the same fan base. The Rangers, who were coached by the elegant and respected Lester Patrick, became the team of choice for the upper class of Manhattan while the Americans, perhaps tainted by being associated the jailed bootlegger Dwyer, who was arrested 11 days before the Americans first game and spent the entire first season locked up, were the "working class" team, who somehow failed to capture the imagination of the fanbase in the same manner as the stylish and immediately successful Rangers.

Goaltender Roy Worters was obtained from Pittsburgh to solidify the Americans defense, and the club responded with their first winning record, finishing 19-13-12 for second place in their division and their first playoff berth - against their rival Rangers, who won the two-game, total-goals series 1-0 on a dramatic goal at 29:50 of overtime of the second game. Burch led the club in scoring for the third time in four seasons and Worters was named the Hart Trophy winner as league MVP.

1928-29 New York Americans team, 1928-29 New York Americans team
The 1928-29 New York Americans

The team plunged to fifth place in the 1929-30 season under new head coach Conacher and missed the postseason for what would be the first of six consecutive seasons. Norman Himes, who led the team in scoring in 1928, set a new club records with 28 goals and 50 points, breaking Burch's mark of 36.

Himes again led the club in scoring in 1931-32, although he came back down to Earth with just 24 points. While the Americans finished "fourth" in the Canadian Division, it was due to attrition, as the Ottawa Senators had not competed that season due to financial difficulties, which meant the Americans actually came in last and missed out on the playoffs for the third season in a row. Additionally, the Pirates had by now moved to Philadelphia for a single, dismal 4 win season and closed up shop for good, unable to survive the Great Depression.

The 1932-33 Americans were led in scoring by Himes for the fourth consecutive season as Worters continued to hold down the duties in goal while their won/loss record continued to slip, now down to 15-22-11, a mark essentially duplicated in 1933-34 at 15-23-10. Eddie Burke led the club offensively with 20 goals and 30 points in 46 games. In hockey sweater news, the Americans introduced a second, white sweater, making them only the second team to have two styles following Toronto in 1927. The struggling team attempted a merger at this point with the equally poor Ottawa Senators, which was turned down by the NHL Board of Governors.

The club had a difficult time in 1934-35 with just 12 wins and their sixth straight, and ninth out of ten seasons of their existence, with no playoffs. Meanwhile, the Rangers not only had yet to have a losing season, made the playoffs in every single one of their now nine seasons and had also delivered a second Stanley Cup by then, which had arrived in 1933.

Another issue for the "Amerks" was Dwyer's inability to recognize the benefits of stability. The club literally had a different head coach every season for their first six seasons, as Tommy Gorman, Newsy Lalonde, Shorty Green, Gorman again, Lionel Conacher and Eddie Gerard all took turns behind the bench until Gerard managed to hold onto the job for two seasons in a row, but only two seasons, as Bullet Joe Simpson then took the helm for three seasons, 1932-33 to 1934-35. Meanwhile, Patrick remained behind the bench for the Rangers' first 13 seasons, and won while doing it, winning 281 games while the Americans would only manged to win 255 during their entire 17 years.

The world turned upside down in 1935-36, as not only did Sweeney Schriner lead both the Americans and the NHL in scoring, but the Americans finally returned to the postseason guided by new head coach and general manager Red Dutton, while the Rangers missed out on the playoffs for the first time in their history! Oddly enough, the Rangers kept their streak of winning records intact at 19-17-12, while the Americans streak of losing records continued for the fifth straight season but it was enough for the Americans to finish third in the Canadian Division to advance to the postseason. They made the most of the opportunity, and defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 3-0 before staying close enough in a 5-4 loss in Game 2 to win their first ever playoff series 7-5 in total goals. Round 2 went to Toronto, who won the best-of-three 2 games to 1.

Sweeney Schriner, Sweeney Schriner
NHL scoring champion Sweeney Schriner

On the business side of the operation, owner Dwyer, now finding it difficult to pay the bills with the end of prohibition, saw the club taken over by the league. Dwyer was given a second chance, but could not pay off his debts and the league took full control for the 1937-38 season.

After 1936-37, which saw the Americans out of the playoffs once again following a 15-29-4 mark in Worters ninth and final season in goal for the Americans, the club posted only the third winning season in their history when they won 19, lost 18 and tied 11 thanks to Dutton acquiring veterans Ching Johnson and Hap Day.

Ching Johnson 37-38 Americans, Ching Johnson 37-38 Americans
Ching Johnson

Schriener again led the team in scoring with 21 goals and 8 points and the Americans finally got the best of the Rangers, knocking them out of the playoffs in a hard fought Round 1, winning 2-1 in overtime of Game 1, losing 4-3 in Game 2 before winning Game 3 by a score of 3-2 "on the road" at Madison Square Garden in an epic four overtimes in what was then the fourth longest game in league history and arguably the highlight of the Americans franchise history. Despite winning Game 1 of Round 2 versus Chicago, the Black Hawks rebounded with two straight wins to eliminate the Americans.

The Americans qualified for the postseason with a losing record once more at 17-21-10 thanks to the demise of the Montreal Maroons leaving the NHL as one seven team division, with the top six qualifying for the playoffs. Schriner led the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive season with 44 points but a quick exit from the playoffs followed, as they failed to score a goal in either game against the Maple Leafs.

Financial troubles led to Schriner departing for Toronto in exchange for four players. Also of note, the club acquired the great defenseman Eddie Shore late in the season from Boston. The now 37 year old Shore played the final ten games of his career, as well as three playoffs games, as the Americans scrapped their way to a sixth place finish, with their 15-29-4 record surpassing the Canadiens, who won only 10 times. The Americans drew the Detroit Red Wings, who defeated them 2 games to 1 to end Shore's career. Meanwhile, the Rangers captured their third Stanley Cup, while the Americans had yet to win three playoff series.

Eddie Shore Americans, Eddie Shore Americans
Eddie Shore during his brief time with the Americans

The Americans hit bottom in 1940-41 after being forced to sell of their best players in an attempt to stay solvent, coming in a distant last with a dismal 8-29-11 record, the only team to score less than 100 goals and the only to allow more than 147, with 186 against.

Desperate to improve their financial situation, the club changed it's name for the 1941-42 season to the Brooklyn Americans in hopes of connecting with the fans across the East River in Brooklyn despite retaining Madison Square Garden in Manhattan as their home arena due to the lack of a suitable arena in Brooklyn. The team improved record-wise to 16-29-3, but despite scoring 34 more goals while allowing 11 less and improving 8 points in the standings, the Americans finished last in the NHL and missed out on the playoffs once again.

With the arrival of World War II, the Americans were hit harder than most due to their already weak financial position. With many players off to serve in the war, combined with travel restrictions and Dutton's inability to actually relocate the team to Brooklyn, the team suspended operations with the intent of regrouping and coming back after the war. Despite an effort to build a new arena in Brooklyn as a home for the team in 1945, the NHL finally cancelled the franchise formally in 1946. The departure of the Americans from the NHL after the 1941-42 season formally began the "Original 6" era, as no new franchises would begin play until 1967 and metropolitan New York would not have a second team again until 1972 with the arrival of the New York Islanders.

In all, the Americans played 17 seasons, qualifying for the playoffs just five times despite only three winning records in their history.

Today's featured jersey is a 1925-26 New York Americans Billy Burch jersey as worn during the Americans inaugural season. When the Americans took to the ice, it was in their new, star-spangled sweaters, unlike any seen before in the NHL, and we dare say ever since, thanks to it's more than three dozen stars.

The Americans first wore their star spangled sweaters for all games during their first eight seasons, either home or road, before adding a white alternate jersey in 1933. They would wear both jerseys through the 1937-38 season, which was the last for the original stars and stripes jersey. For their final four seasons, only the white jerseys were worn for all games.

New York Americans 25-26 jersey, New York Americans 25-26 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's Bonus jersey is a  1935-36 New York Americans Harry Oliver jersey from the middle era of the Americans run in the NHL. Through 1932-33 New York had only worn variations of their original sweaters, but with the concept of separate home and road jerseys made necessary due to the expanding league seeing now multiple teams wearing red or blue, the Americans introduced a white sweater for the first time in 1933. That first white sweater, with it's shield crest, lasted two seasons until being replaced by today's bonus jersey for the 1935-36 season.

Oddly, the original look with it's multiple stripes was dropped for 1938-39, leaving this white style as their only sweater for two seasons until an evolution in their look brought a new design for 1940-41, ending today's bonus jerseys' run after six seasons, with the floundering club having just two years left to play prior to folding.

 photo NewYorkAmericans1935-36jersey.jpg
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video is a look at the history of the New York Americans.


Monday, December 1, 2014

More Cyber Monday Deals!

Our mailbox has been receiving emails throughout the day with even more Cyber Monday offers, enough so that we felt compelled to share them with you since some of these are really good deals as today's shopping mania continues!

FIrst up, Lids. No more than just caps, as they carry apparel and novelties too.

Use this link in the United States:

An this link is valid for Canada:

NHL.com has a great deal for 25% off orders over a measly $50!

Cyber Monday - Save 25% on Orders over $50 on 12/30

Reebok is now having 40% off site wide! Sweet!

40% off site-wide at Reebok.com with code HOLIDAY

Another one for Canadians, SportChek is also having Cyber Monday deals to check out.

Get up to 60% Off on Black Friday Week Deals from Sport Chek! Offers valid 11/25-12/1. Shop Now!

SportsMemorabilia.com Black Friday

You need goalie gear? Goalie Monkey has you covered!

Oh yea, you know we wait all year to save at IceJerseys.com!

Finally, Amazon. Enough said!

Again, please support Third String Goalie by supporting our advertisers and sponsors! We appreciate it.

Cyber Monday

Today is the annual Cyber Monday, where everyone apparently shops online when they should be doing other things while they are at work.

First and foremost, we encourage you to patronize our sponsor, Pro Russian Jerseys. They carry a huge selection of new and classic jerseys from Russia's KHL and the old CCCP jerseys from the days of the Soviet Union - in stock and ready to ship! Пророссийских Трикотажные изделия номер один ! Да !

 photo PRJ425x80.jpg

Next, wether buying for someone else or yourself, we recommend clicking on the banner below to be taken to Amazon.com for anything and everything under the sun.

Be sure to take a look at our right hand column for the many promotions our advertisers are running for Cyber Monday. There are some great deals to be had!

First up in IceJerseys.com, a place we have personally bought jerseys from and recommend to all.

Amazing Savings on Jerseys! Save $10 Off Orders of $100 or more + Free Shipping from IceJerseys. Use

For Canada only, a 2 for $30 deal on caps from Lids! Just try even buying one cap for that at an NHL rink!

For those of you in the lower 48, click below to see what Lids has to offer for NHL caps, apparel and novelties - not just caps!

NHL hats and gear at lids.com!  

We also would like to welcome a new advertiser to Third String Goalie, Steiner Sports, who are one of the leaders in sports memorabilia in the world.

20% Off Authentic Hockey Memorabilia Memorabilia at Steiner Sports, code SPORTS20

Shop authentic hockey memorabilia at Steiner Sports.

Another similar dealer is SportsMemorabilia.com, who carry a wide range of collectibles from all sports.

SportsMemorabilia Gift Center

Also new to Third String Goalie is Reebok, who are the official jersey suppliers to the NHL!


How about buying from the NHL directly? You know ShopNHL.com has everything you are looking for!

Black Friday Savings Extended! Save 20% on orders over $50 in the NHL Black Friday Sale through 11/29

Shop for 2014 Reebok Center Ice Collection Apparel at Shop.NHL.com

Shop for jerseys of the legends of NHL hockey at Shop.NHL.com

Looking for the ULTIMATE hockey gift this Christmas? Bubble hockey! For grownups or kids, nothing can beat the fun of having your won Super Chexx Hockey game!

Also for our Canadian readers, SportChek has joined the Third String Goalie family just in time for you to get in on their Cyber Monday deals!

CYBER MONDAY SALES! Get a Minimum 15% Off Plus FREE SHIPPING from Sport Chek! Offers valid 12/1. Shop Now!

If you don't have the room for Super Chexx hockey, also for the home are panoramic images from Blakeway, with their unique wide angle images of rinks from all over the NHL.

NHL Panoramas

We also personally recommend Kaskey Kids, whose line of sports action figures are sure to be popular with the young ones and hockey is part of their lineup of football, baseball and soccer figures. Our 11 year old has a set that he often plays with and enjoys a lot.

See Sports Action Figures Here!

Speaking of kids, check out the Learn to Play Package for the young ones in your life. it's got what they need to get started on their way to the NHL!

PureHockey.com - Learn to play Complete Package!!!

Additionally, we have added a selection of hockey related items we're sure the young ones will enjoy, which are viewable below.

In addition to our sponsors, we are also having a sale now through Christmas, as all items in our Third String Goalie online shop have been discounted! Third String Goalie branded goods proudly featuring the Patron Saint of Goaltenders Georges Vezina. Products available include sweats, hoodies and t-shirts for men, women and kids, coffee mugs and travel mugs as well as items for the home and office. We've got something for everyone!


Thanks for your continued support of Third String Goalie, and we encourage you to patronize our advertisers, who we have personally selected for inclusion on our website based on doing successful business with many of them ourselves.

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