Thursday, March 19, 2015

1998-99 Ottawa Senators Janne Laukkanen Jersey

Born on this date in 1970, defenseman Janne Laukkanen began his career playing for his hometown team of Reipas Lahti, better known as the Pelicans, in the Finnish First Division, which was actually the second highest  level of hockey in Finland. He would debut with 33 games in 1988-89 and raise that total to 44 games in 1989-90 which included a fine offensive output with 8 goals and 30 points as the Pelicans earned a promotion to the top level of Finnish hockey, the SM-Liiga (Finnish Championship League).

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Laukkanen with his first club, Pelicans

During the 1989-90 season Laukkanen would make his international debut for Finland at the 1990 World Junior Championships, registering an assist in 7 games as Finland fell in the bronze medal game to finish 4th.

After playing with the Pelicans during the 1990-91 SM-Liiga season, and equalling his 8 goals from the season prior, Laukkanen would be drafted by the Quebec Nordiques of the National Hockey League. If that weren't an enough of an endorsement of his defensive skills, the 21-year-old Laukkanen would then be named to the Finnish roster for the prestigious 1991 Canada Cup tournament, during which he would score a goal and 2 assists in 6 games.

For the 1991-92 season, Laukkanen would move to the HPK club in Hämeenlinna. During that season Laukkanen would make his Olympic debut at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. A few months later, he would again suit up for Finland, this time at the 1992 World Championships, where Laukkanen would score 2 goals and 4 points in 8 games as the Finns would earn a silver medal, the first of Laukkanen's international career.

In 1992-93, HPK would finish as silver medalists in the SM-Liiga and Laukkanen would again return to the World Championships with Finland.

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Laukkanen moved to the Hockey Playing Knights in 1991

Laukkanen would play one final season in Finland, still with HPK, and then take full advantage of a change in the Olympic scheduling, as just two years after Albertville, the Winter Olympics were held once again held in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway to put the Winter Games off the same four year cycle as the Summer Olympics. There, Finland would defeat Russia 4-0 in the bronze medal game to earn his first Olympic and second international medal.

He would next make a brief appearance with 3 games with HC České Budêjovice in the Czech Extraliga playoffs. His third international medal would follow soon after, as Laukkanen was a member of the silver medal Finland squad at the 1994 World Championships.

For the 1994-95 season, Laukkanen would make the move to North America, playing 55 games with the Cornwall Aces of the American Hockey League where he would score 8 goals and 34 points, which earned him a call up with the Nordiques, where he made his NHL debut with 11 games and 6 additional playoff games.

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Laukkanen's NHL debut came with Quebec

Those 11 games would be his only ones for the Nordiques, as Laukkanen would play 35 games for Cornwall and just 3 with the relocated Colorado Avalanche before a trade in January sent him to the Ottawa Senators.

Prior to the start of the 1996-97 season, Laukkanen played in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey for Finland. He then played in 76 games for Ottawa in 1996-97, but was limited to 60 games of the 1997-98 season, but was healthy in time to participate in his third Olympics in Nagano, Japan, earning a second Olympic bronze medal. Three months later, Laukkanen was back in the blue and white of Finland were he won a third silver medal at the World Championships in his final international appearance.

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Laukkanen would play five seasons with the Senators

He played two additional seasons for the Senators when he and goaltender Ron Tugnutt were dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goaltender Tom Barasso late in the 1999-00 season.

Laukkanen was limited to 50 games of the 2000-01 season but added an additional 18 playoff games as the Penguins made it to the conference finals. While he was once again limited to 47 games in 2001-02, he set an NHL career best with 6 goals that season.

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Laukkanen next joined the Penguins

His final season saw him start with 17 games for Pittsburgh but suffer a hip injury in December. He was then traded to the New York Rangers, but assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, where he would only play 5 games prior to being claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning off of waivers, only to play just twice for Tampa Bay before calling it a career.

Laukkanen's final NHL totals were 407 games played, 22 goals and 121 points as well as three silver medals at the World Championships and two Olympic bronze medals.

Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Ottawa Senators Janne Laukkanen jersey. The Senators entered the NHL in time for the 1992-93 season with a pair of traditional home white and road black jerseys. Five years later they introduced a bold new red alternate jersey with a wild, distorted center stripe, which hinted at the classic look of the Montreal Canadiens red sweaters, only now with a bold, modern flair.

A polarizing jersey among fans, some liked the visual excitement while others disliked it's asymmetrical appearance and warped look.

After two seasons this jersey replaced their original black jersey as the team's primary road jersey through the 2006-07 season.

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Ottawa Senators 1998-99 jersey photo Ottawa Senators 1998-99 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1994-95 Cornwall Aces Janne Laukkanen jersey as worn by Laukkanen during his first days in North America while in the American Hockey League awaiting his opportunity to play in the NHL.

Having begun life as the Fredericton Express in 1981, the franchise moved to become the Halifax Citadels in 1988 prior to moving to Cornwall in 1993. They played there for just three seasons before the franchise went dormant for three seasons before being resurrected in 1999 as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where they continue to play today.

The Cornwall Aces took their name from the long time Quebec City Aces of the AHL, who operated from 1928 to 1971.

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Cornwall Aces 1994-95 jersey photo Cornwall Aces 1994-95 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1996 Finland National Team Janne Laukkanen jersey as worn during the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. The waving flag style jerseys were Nike's first efforts at supplying jerseys for the IIHF sanctioned tournaments, a partnership which continues to this day.

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Finland 1996 jersey photo Finland 1996 B jersey.jpg
photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

Our video section today begins with game action from the Pelicans 1990-91 season. Check out those crazy half white, half red jerseys.

Next up are highlights from Finland at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

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