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Saturday, January 31, 2015

1925-26 New York Americans Billy Burch jersey

Billy Burch was born in Yonkers, New York in 1900, but while he was young his family moved to Toronto, Ontario where he grew up playing lacrosse, football and hockey. He would win the Memorial Cup in 1920 as a member of the Toronto Canoe Club Paddlers with a roster who included future Hockey Hall of Famers Lionel Conacher and goaltender Roy Worters. Burch led all players in playoff scoring with 42 goals and 54 points in just 12 games!

He would play for the Toronto Aura Lee club in 1920-21 and 1921-22 before joining the New Haven Westminsters of the United States Amateur Hockey Association for the 1922-23 season.

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Billy Burch

He would not finish the season in New Haven however, as he was signed in late January by the Hamilton Tigers and made his debut on this date in 1923, becoming the first American-born player in the NHL. He would immediately make his presence known that night by scoring his first goal against none other than Georges Vezina of the Montreal Canadiens. Burch would eventually finish the season with 6 goals and 9 points in 10 games for Hamilton.

While Hamilton would finish last again, Burch would lead the club in scoring with 16 goals and 18 points to finish sixth in league scoring.

For the 1924-25 season the NHL would expand from just four teams to six with the addition of the Montreal Maroons and it's first American club, the Boston Bruins. Burch would lead the Tigers in scoring again with 20 goals and 24 points to finish seventh in NHL points. Following the season, Burch would be named the winner of the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player.

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A Billy Burch hockey card from 1924

After finishing last the previous year, the Tigers improved enough to finish as the regular season champions, but controversy arose due to the fact the league schedule expanded from 24 games to 30 to accommodate the two new clubs. The Tigers players demanded that their owner Percy Thompson play them an additional $200 each for the extra six games, but Thompson held fast to the fact their contracts were based on playing from December 1924 through March 1925 no matter how many games they played. The players stated they would rather retire than be taken advantage of and were subsequently all suspended and fined $200, which eliminated the Tigers from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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A newpaper headline from 1925 about the Hamilton players' strike

The entire debacle brought an end to the Tigers franchise and for the 1925-26 season, the players contracts were sold to the expansion New York Americans.

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A first year Americans program

Burch was named the captain of the Americans and then set a career high with 22 goals during his first season in New York, where he immediately proved popular with the fans owing to his birth in nearby Yonkers.

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The 1925-26 New York Americans

For 1926-27, Burch was joined in New York by junior hockey teammate Conacher and set a career high with 27 points for fourth overall in the NHL. At the conclusion of the season Burch was named by the league as the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for "effectiveness and a true sporting spirit". He remains one of only seven players in league history to have won both the Hart and Lady Byng trophies during their career.

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Burch in an early New York Americans sweater

He missed time during the 1927-28 season, but still maintained his run of scoring double-digit goals with 10. After finishing last. the club revamped their roster for 1928-29, bring in goaltender Worters to reunite with Burch and Conacher. The changes paid off, as the team qualified for the playoffs for the first time after finishing second in the Canadian Division with Burch leading the team in scoring for the third time.

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The revamped 1928-29 Americans

Burch would play three more seasons with the Americans, highlighted by 14 goals in 1930-31 and 22 points in both 1931 and 1932.

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Hart Trophy and Lady Byng winner Billy Burch

Prior to the start of the 1932-33 season, Burch was sold by the Americans to the Boston Bruins. After seeing limited playing time and only scoring 3 goals in 23 games, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for the second half of the season. He would score the final 2 goals of his career before a broken leg would end his season and his career.

His final NHL totals were 390 games played, 137 goals and 198 points. Burch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.

Today's featured jersey is a 1925-26 New York Americans Billy Burch jersey as worn during the Americans inaugural season, the only one in which they would wear turtle neck sweaters.

The Americans would wear their star-spangled jerseys for the majority of their existence, but with many variations along the way, which included red shoulders from 1926-1930, an early experiment with names on the player's backs in 1926-27, featuring both the name "New York" until 1929-30 and "Americans" from 1930-31 to 1937-38 when the team changed to a much simpler white jersey for their final four seasons.

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Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

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


Friday, January 30, 2015

1908-09 Toronto Marlboros Bruce Ridpath Jersey

After playing junior hockey in 1904, Bruce Ridpath joined the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1905 as an amateur. He turned professional in 1906, playing in eight games and scoring 17 times for the Marlboros.

1905 toronto marlboros, 1905 toronto marlboros
The 1905 OHA champion Toronto Marlboros

He helped lead the club to the league championship in 1908, which gave the Marlboros the opportunity to face the Montreal Wanderers in a one game challenge for the Stanley Cup. While Toronto would lose the game 6-4, Ridpath was able to score a goal during the contest.

On this date in 1909, Ridpath had the best game of his career when he scored seven times in a 15-10 Toronto win over Brantford. Later that same season, Ridpath played with the Cobalt Silver Kings, who would be one of the founding members of the National Hockey Association the following season.

Ridpath did not return to Cobalt for the 1909-10 season, as he had signed with the Ottawa Senators, who were also members in the new NHA along with the Haileybury Comets, Renfrew Creamery Kings, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Wanderers and a brand new club, the Montreal Canadiens.

As the Senators were the holders of the Stanley Cup at the time Ridpath joined the club, they had to endure a pair of challenges for the cup while in the middle of their NHA regular season schedule. The first challenge was from Edmonton of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association, who they turned back in Game 1 by a score of 8-4 with Ridpath contributing a goal. The second match two days later saw Ottawa rack up 13 goals to Edmonton's 7, with Ridpath netting three goals in the Senators successful defense.

Ridpath Senators 1910-11 jersey, Ridpath Senators 1910-11 jersey
Ridpath in the unusual vertically striped Senators jersey of 1909-10

The Senators lost control of the cup when they had to relinquish it to the NHA league champion Wanderers, but Ridpath finished second in league in scoring with 15 goals in 12 games behind only Senators teammate Marty Walsh.

Ottawa rebounded in 1910-11 by taking the NHA championship, thanks to a 13-3 record and scoring a league best 122 goals, which was 31 more than the next closest team - quite a margin in a 16 game season! Ridpath came in third in scoring for the Senators and fourth in the league with 22 goals in those 16 games.

Ridpath Senators, Ridpath Senators
Ottawa would return to their customary horizontal stripes in 1910-11

Once more in control of the Stanley Cup as league champions, Ottawa fended off two challenges for the cup, first a 7-4 owner Galt, with Ridpath scoring twice, and a 13-4 drubbing of Port Arthur, during which Ridpath again contributed two goals in defense of the cup.

1910-11 Ottawa Senators team, 1910-11 Ottawa Senators team
Ridpath, front row second from the left, and the
1910-11 Ottawa Senators with the diminutive Stanley Cup

Ridpath missed the entire 1911-12 season after suffering a fractured skull when hit by a car in downtown Toronto in November of 1911. He survived his life-threatening injuries and the Toronto Blueshirts wanted Ridpath to suit up for them, but his vision never sufficiently recovered enough for him to return to the ice. Benefit games were held in his honor to help him pay his medical bills in both Ottawa and Toronto due to his popularity.

While he played right wing, Ridpath designed a popular style of early shin pads for goalkeepers that were widely worn in the early days of professional hockey.

Lesueur shin pads, Lesueur shin pads
Senators teammate Percey Lesueur wearing an early style of
goalkeeper shin pads designed by Ridpath

Beyond his hockey career, Ridpath was also a member of the Toronto Canoe Club and was known as a canoe racer and stunt paddler, who performed shows around the globe!

Ridpath suffered a stroke in 1925 and died young at the age of 40.

Today's featured jersey is a 1908-09 Toronto Marlboros Bruce Ridpath jersey as worn the day he scored 7 goals in a single game.

The Toronto Marlborough Athletic Club was founded in 1903 and operated several clubs - minor, junior and senior teams. The junior club won seven Memorial Cups and sent over 180 played to the NHL as an affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, including six Hall of Famers. The senior team competed for the Stanley Cup in 1904 and won the Allan Cup in 1950 as the senior champions of Canada.

Toronto Marlboros 1908-09, Toronto Marlboros 1908-09

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Blizzard of '77 - 1976-77 Buffalo Sabres Gerry Desjardins Jersey

The snow started to fall early in the morning of Friday, January 28th and the winds began to blow at 29 miles and hour with gusts up to 49 mph as the Buffalo Sabres practiced before a scheduled flight to Montreal later that afternoon.

As the cold front reached Buffalo at 11:35 AM, the temperature fell 26 degrees, reaching zero within four hours and the winds now averaged 46 mph with gusts up to 69 mph, creating wind chills of -60º to -70º.

Thousands were stranded in offices, schools and factories as roads became impassable when as much as eight inches of snow fell or was blown off the frozen Lake Erie, on top of the 33 inches that had already choked Buffalo that winter. An estimated 13,000 people were stranded in downtown Buffalo alone, along with an estimated 8,000 cars clogging the roads of the city, many of which ended up completely buried. Some Sabres employees were forced to sleep overnight in the Sabres home rink "The Aud", among the 300 people who took shelter there.

Abandoned cars, Abandoned cars

Six homes were completely destroyed on one block as fire trucks were unable to get through the drifts to reach the fire. A state of emergency was declared in Erie County were Buffalo is located, as well as Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties as drifts reached 15 feet high by nightfall as the high winds combined with the unusual weather conditions earlier that winter left Lake Erie covered with ice and a layer of snow that was easily picked up by the winds and deposited on shore in Buffalo. In a typical winter, the snow on the lake went through a thaw and freeze cycle that would leave it with a hard crust on top, preventing the wind from carrying the snow into the city in such massive amounts.

Driving home from practice, Sabres winger Jim Lorentz had to abandon his car and walk the last mile as the snow was now "bumper-high". He did not find his car until three days later.

Gary McAdam had five separate accidents in his new Thunderbird in his attempt to return home. At the scene of the fifth accident, while examining his battered car, another vehicle came sliding toward his, causing McAdam to jump onto the trunk of his car as the sliding vehicle came to a halt against his bumper.

It took Lee Fogolin and Brian Spencer an incredible four hours to make the five-minute drive to their condominium. They were not seen again for three days.

Sabres coach Floyd Smith postponed the team's planned departure from Friday to Saturday, but the blizzard conditions remained as the wind continued to howl, clocked at speeds up to 51 mph, blowing even more snow into Buffalo from Lake Erie.

Buried School Bus, Buried School Bus

Saturday, for the first time in 143 years the Buffalo Courier Express could not publish it's morning newspaper.

Coach Smith was able to make it to the airport by following snow plows, but it stretched his usual 20 minute drive to two hours. Defenseman Jerry Korab couldn't even open the door of his house, so he called winger Rene Robert and told him, "If you want me to protect you tonight, come dig me out." Robert arrived with his four-wheel-drive truck, dug Korab out and headed off for the airport with three additional teammates along for the ride.

By 3 PM, only 10 players had arrived. As Smith as about to phone Montreal to cancel the game, Jocelyn Guevremont, who had gotten to his four-wheel-drive vehicle by jumping out of a window and shoveling his way to his garage, arrived with four other players, giving Buffalo enough bodies to make the trip.

"On the plane, the stewardesses were hollering at the pilots that we couldn't take off," recalled Don Luce. "I think they tried to turn it around, but all the plane did was blow sideways. Somehow they got it in the air."

Sabres Hall of Fame announcer Ted Darling was unable to make the flight to Montreal and was forced to call the game over the phone from his apartment while watching the game on television.

Once the game got underway, not surprisingly, the Canadiens broke out on top with a goal from Serge Savard at 17:23 to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. It would take Montreal just 35 seconds to extend their lead to 2-0 thanks to a goal by Steve Shutt.

Buffalo would dig in and convert a power play opportunity for their first goal, which came at 6:47 from  Andre Savard from team captain Gilbert Perreault and Robert.

Montreal reasserted their expected dominance over the undermanned Sabres with Yvon Lambert's goal at 14:47. Still, Buffalo fought back and Luce kept the Sabres in touch with his 14th goal of the season at 15:55 from McAdam and Craig Ramsay. The period would finish that way, with Montreal leading 3-2 despite being outshot by Buffalo 20-14.

For the remainder of the contest, the Sabres and goaltender Gerry Desjardins would keep Montreal's high powered offense at bay. Eventually, defenseman Jim Schoenfeld would solve Michel Larocque at 8:25 to even the score at 3-3.

Gerry Desjardins, Gerry Desjardins
Gerry Desjardins

Schoenfeld's goal would hold up, as the Sabres rallied to limit the Canadiens to just five shots for the third period, to earn the plucky and shorthanded Sabres an unexpected, if not unbelievable, 3-3 tie on this date in 1977 against the defending (and eventual) Stanley Cup champions, outshooting them by a final margin of 27-19.

The blizzard forced the Sabres to cancel the following night's game in Buffalo against the Los Angeles Kings, a day when the winds continued to howl with gusts up to 52 mph.

White Buffalo, White Buffalo
Snow covered Buffalo, with it's highways abandoned and covered in white

Monday, the Sabres boarded a bus for what turned out to be a 10-hour trip across New York State for a game against the Islanders to start a three game road trip as the storm raged in Buffalo until Tuesday. While only 12 inches of new snow fell, the wind created drifts that finally topped out at 30 feet. Some areas even banned snowmobiles, as one rider was injured in a collision with a chimney on top of a house and the high drifts caused low clearance issues with power lines! Some towns even resorted to using metal detectors to locate buried cars before plowing the roads.

The Sabres next scheduled home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was also postponed while the city was still recovering from the paralyzing drifts, meaning the Sabres went two weeks without a home game. Additionally, the Buffalo Braves of the NBA postponed four of their scheduled home games.

In all, there were 29 storm related deaths in Western New York, 11 of those in the City of Buffalo. Nine of those unfortunate people were found buried in their cars.

Several books have been written about the Blizzard of '77, which are available here.


There was even a Blizzard of '77 board game created in the aftermath, in which, once the blizzard hits, you flip the board over and now all the spaces become hazards of one sort or another, making any movement difficult at best!

Blizzard Game, Blizzard Game

Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Buffalo Sabres Buffalo Sabres Gerry Desjardins jersey, the style worn in Montreal the night 15 intrepid Buffalo Sabres managed to escape storm ravaged Buffalo to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens and hold them to a 3-3 tie.

At the time the Sabres were only in their sixth season and this was still their original jersey style with the tie-neck collar, no logos on the shoulders and without names on the back, which were added the following season. The Sabres jerseys retained their lace up collars until 1978-79 when they were replaced by v-neck sweaters.

Desjardins began his NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1968-69 and was later involved in a trade which sent him to the Chicago Black Hawks in 1969-70. Chicago actually traded him to the California Seals on September 9th, 1971, only to be sent back to Chicago in another trade five weeks later before ever playing a game for California!

The New York Islanders claimed him in the 1972 expansion draft from Chicago. He suffered through two losing seasons as the Islanders found their feet in the NHL. Desjardins sought greener pastures in the WHA, but signed for the 1974-75 season with the unstable Michigan Stags franchise, which became the Baltimore Blades mid-season, a move which triggered an escape clause in his contract, allowing him to sign with the Buffalo Sabres in time to appear in nine regular season games as well as the teams playoff run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

With Buffalo, he found not only stability, but success as well, easily setting career highs with 29 and then 31 wins as the Sabres number one goaltender before being forced to retire after being struck in the eye by a puck after playing just three games of the 1977-78 season.

Buffalo Sabres 76-77 jersey
Buffalo Sabres 76-77 jersey

Today's first video is an amazing look at the Blizzard of 1977 and its effects on Buffalo.

Here is a pair of videos showing how a wall of snow coming off of Lake Erie can turn an ordinary day into a white out in a matter of minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1943-44 United States Coast Guard Cutters Ken Lundberg Jersey

While it can be traced back to 1790 as a part of the United States Treasury, the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the United States Life-Saving Service on this date in 1915, which formally established the United States Coast Guard.

US Coast Guard 43-44 crest, US Coast Guard 43-44 crest

Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the United States Coast Guard Cutters hockey team was formed by Personnel Officer C. R. MacLean, a former player and hockey fan. The team was based in Curtis Bay, Maryland and played out of the Carlin's Iceland rink in Baltimore.

Cutters Program, Cutters Program

MacLean encouraged enlisting hockey players to choose the Coast Guard, and the team was became comprised of both amateur and professional players, including a one-time captain of the NHL's New York Rangers.

The Cutters played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League, considered one of the most competitive leagues of it's time, during the 1942-43 season. They dominated the league with a 32-13-1 record, winning the league regular season title by 15 points and led the league in goals with 223, 26 more than the New York Rovers.

Joe Kucler led the league in not only goals, with 40, but also assists with 41 to easily win the scoring title with 81 points in only 44 games played.

1942-43 Coast Guard Cutters team, 1942-43 Coast Guard Cutters team
The 1942-43 Coast Guard Cutters

In their star-spangled sweaters, the Cutters were a unique draw, as wherever they played, they were accompanied by a 30-piece marching band, which created a buzz in the arena every time.

"Whenever we scored," said Mike Nardell0, "they'd strike up Semper Paratus ("Always Ready"), the Coast Guard marching song.  I loved that team so much I never wanted to take off my equipment.  Years later, when I played pro for the Clinton (N.Y.) Comets, I'd always wear my Coast Guard jersey under my Comets uniform."

The most notable player on the Cutters was eventual Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek, who had recently backstopped the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup championships in 1939 and 1941.

Brimsek Coast Guard Pictures, Images and Photos
Frank Brimsek

Other notable members of the Cutters were Art Coulter, an 11 year NHL veteran and former captain of the New York Rangers,  former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Alex Motter and the notoriously rugged John Mariucci from the Chicago Black Hawks.

Mariucci Cutters, Mariucci Cutters
John Mariucci

The Cutters were so strong that they were able to win the National Senior Open Championship of the Amateur Hockey Association in their first season of 1942-43 behind the coaching of former NHL referee Mel Harwood.

"Harwood was an excellent coach," said team member Manny Cotlow. "He certainly had the respect of the players. He was good to us and the players paid him back. Harwood got the most out of us."

Exhibition games were also a part of the Cutters schedule, particularly during their second season after they withdrew from the EHL in late November. Some of their most memorable game came against similar teams from the Canadian armed services, which included a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Commandos, which featured three ex-NHLers of their own.

Another memorable game took place on January 6, 1944 when the Cutters hosted the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings at Carlin's Iceland. The Cutters trailed just 4-3 in the third period before Detroit pulled away for an 8-3 win.

Cutters program, Cutters program

The Coast Guard club was quite popular in Boston and New York, where they regularly drew crowds of over 12,000 fans before questions about why they were still playing hockey while others were begin sent overseas to fight led to enough pressure to force the team to disband, but not before winning their second consecutive National Senior Open Championship in 1944.

1943-44 Coast Guard Cutters team, 1943-44 Coast Guard Cutters team
The 1943-44 Coast Guard Cutters

Today's featured jersey is a 1943-44 United States Coast Guard Cutters Ken Lundberg jersey.

This highly attractive star-spangled jersey features a large, detailed chenille crest and numerous stars, all individually sewn on, making for one very striking sweater which had an all-too-short life span.

US Coast Guard 43-44 jersey, US Coast Guard 43-44 jersey
US Coast Guard 43-44 jersey, US Coast Guard 43-44 jersey

Lundberg Cutters, Lundberg Cutters
Ken Lundberg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1943-44 United States Coast Guard Cutters Mike Nardello jersey. Nardello, a winger, played for the Cutters for both of their seasons before attending St. Lawrence University for three seasons followed by five years with the Clinton Comets in the New York - Ontario Hockey League.

1943-44 Coast Guard Cutters Mike Nardello jersey photo 1943-44CoastGuardCuttersMikeNardellojersey.jpg
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section is Semper Paratus, the Coast Guard marching song played by the band which accompanied the Cutters hockey team to their games. Think of it like the Hartford Whalers "Brass Bonanza", only decades ahead of its time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1996-97 Toronto Maple Leafs Larry Murphy Jersey

After a successful junior hockey career, which included winning a Memorial Cup with the Peterborough Petes and being drafted fourth overall in 1980, Larry Murphy began his career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1980-81 scoring 16 goals and set NHL records with 60 assists and 76 points for a rookie defenseman.

Murphy Kings

After posting 66 and 62 point seasons in Los Angeles, Murphy would be traded early in the 1983-84 season to the Washington Capitals where he would continue to put up strong numbers, the best of which was in 1986-87 when he set a career high with 23 goals plus 58 assists for 81 points.

Murphy Capitals

Murphy was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars along with Mike Gartner in a blockbuster deal for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse in March of 1989 after six seasons with the Capitals. After finishing up the 1988-89 season with Minnesota, he would play one full season with the North Stars, scoring 68 points, and then a half a season in 1990-91 before once more being traded, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Murphy North Stars

The move to Pittsburgh would allow Murphy to experience a deep run into the playoffs for the first time in his career, never having made it past the second round during his ten previous seasons. As the Penguins progressed through the 1991 playoffs, they first defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games, the Capitals in five and Boston Bruins in six, giving Murphy the chance to skate for the Stanley Cup against his former club, the North Stars. The Penguins dispatched Minnesota in six games, earning him the first Stanley Cup of his career as he contributed a point per game over the Penguins 23 playoff games.

Murphy Penguins

In his first full season in Pittsburgh, Murphy scored 77 points in 77 games, thanks in part to the fourth 20 goal season of his career. He would add another 16 points in 21 playoff games as the Penguins would capture their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

The following season Murphy had his career best offensive season with 85 points and another 20 goal season with 22. After two more seasons with the Penguins, Murphy was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 1995-96 season. His stay was not a long one however, as he was shipped to the Detroit Red Wings at the trading deadline during his second season with Toronto, but not before scoring his 250th career goal on this date in 1997, becoming only the 6th defenseman in league history to score 250 goals.

Murphy Maple Leafs, Murphy Maple Leafs

Murphy ended up playing more playoff games with Detroit than regular season games as the Red Wings charged through the playoffs that season and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers for the 1997 Stanley Cup, the third of Murphy's career.

Motivated by the injuries suffered by Vladimir Konstantinov while still celebrating their Stanley Cup victory in 1997, the Red Wings followed up that success with another championship in 1998, giving Murphy four Stanley Cup championships, and making Murphy the only player to win four Stanley Cups in the decade of the 1990's.

Murphy Red Wings

He would close out his career with three additional seasons with the Red Wings which included playing 57 games in his final season of 2000-01, one of which was the 1,600th game of his 21-year career, only the second player to reach that mark after Gordie Howe. His final total of 1,615 games was an NHL record for defensemen at the time and still currently ranks 8th in career games played despite having retired over 10 years ago.

Murphy would complete his career with 287 goals and 929 assists for 1,216 points, third all time for defensemen at the time of his retirement, behind only Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey and still in the top five after being passed by only Al MacInnis and Phil Housley. His 287 career goals rank sixth all-time for defensemen after Bourque, Coffeym MacInnis, Housley and Denis Potvin.

Internationally, Murphy played for Canada in the 1980 World Junior Tournament and the 1985, 1987 and 2000 World Championships, earning a silver medal in 1985.

Murphy scored a goal and two assists in the final game of the 1987 Canada Cup as Canada won the championship. He later won a second Canada Cup, this time in 1991.

Today's featured jersey is a 1996-97 Toronto Maple Leafs Larry Murphy jersey. The basis for this jersey dates back to 1934, when the Maple Leafs introduced a new sweater featuring twin stripes around the arms and waist, a much simpler style than it replaced. That style evolved, but remained in use through 1967, but was revived in 1991-92 when the Maple Leafs chose their 1940 sweaters as their Turn Back the Clock style for the NHL's 75th anniversary season.

It proved so popular that a modified version of it became the home and away jerseys the very next season, only using their modern maple leaf logo as the main crest, but using the retro style leaf as a secondary shoulder patch.

This style would remain unchanged through the 1996-97 season, but would be adorned with the Stanley Cup Centennial patch in 1992-93 and the Maple Leaf Gardens 65th Anniversary patch in 1996-97.

The jersey would remain the same for 1997-98, but it would be paired with a dreadful modern name and number font for three regrettable seasons.

Toronto Maple Leafs 1996-97 jersey photo TorontoMapleLeafs96-97Fjersey_3.png
Toronto Maple Leafs 1996-97 jersey photo TorontoMapleLeafs96-97Bjersey_3.png
 photo TorontoMapleLeafs96-97Pjersey.png

Today's video is Murphy teaching you how to properly kill a penalty in a session of "Lessons with Larry".

Monday, January 26, 2015

1927-28 Ottawa Senators Frank Nighbor Jersey

Born on this date in 1893, Frank Nighbor began his career with the Pembroke Debating Club Hockey  Team for the 1907-08 season with 5 goals and 4 assists in 6 games.

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A young Frank Nighbor as a member of the
Pembroke Debating Club Hockey Team

When teammate Harry Cameron was invited to join the Port Arthur Bearcats at the senior level for the following season, he refused to join the club unless they also included Nighbor. While the Bearcats agreed, to have Nighbor join the club, they did not agree to allow the teenager to play, and he rode the bench until a rash of injuries forced them to insert him into the lineup. He sized the opportunity, and showed the club the error of their ways by scoring 6 goals in his debut.

Nighbor was then signed by the Toronto Blueshirts of the National Hockey Association for their debut season, the club that would eventually evolved into today's Toronto Maple Leafs. Nighbor would lead the club in scoring with 25 goals in 19 games, good for fourth place in the NHA, which brought the attention of Lester and Frank Patrick, who were the owners of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.

The PCHL was in their second season and were directly competing with the NHA for the most talented players, and Nighbor was lured westward to join Frank's Vancouver Millionaires, where he joined the likes of future Hall of Famers Cyclone Taylor and Didier Pitre. After scoring 10 goals in 11 games in 1913-14, Nighbor would increase that total to 23 in the 17 games played in 1914-15, equal with Taylor for second on the club in goals.

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Nighbor was lured west to Vancouver in 1913

After winning the PCHL championship with a 13-4 record, the Millionaires would face the Ottawa Senators of the NHA in a best of five series. Vancouver swept Ottawa by winning three straight games, with Nighbor leading the way with 4 goals and 10 points to lead the Millionaires in scoring as they claimed the Stanley Cup.

1915 Vancouver Millionaires photo 1915VancouverMillionaires.jpg
The Stanley Cup winning 1914-15 Vancouver Millionaires

Following his success in Vancouver, the Ontario native returned home to join the very same Senators he had defeated for the 1915 Stanley Cup for the 1915-16 NHA season and immediately lead the club in scoring with 19 goals and 24 points in 23 games.

While Nighbor was known as an excellent defensive forward and a master of the poke check, he really found his offensive game in 1916-17 when he cut loose with 41 goals and 51 points in just 19 games to lead the NHA in scoring.

While behind the scenes maneuvering would bring an end to the NHA and give rise to today's National Hockey League for the 1917-18 season, it would remain business as usual on the ice for Nighbor and the Senators, aside from an injury which would limit him to just 10 games. He would maintain his scoring prowess, totaling 11 goals and 19 points in those 10 games.

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Nighbor became a stalwart for the Ottawa Senators

He would rebound with 19 goals and 28 points in 18 games in 1918-19 before a 26 goal, 41 point season in 1919-20, good for third overall in the NHL. With Ottawa winning both halves of the split season, they advanced directly to the Stanley Cup Finals versus the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans. Nighbor would score 2 of the Senators 3 goals in their Game 1 victory. He scored the final goal in a 3-0 Ottawa win in Game 2 before Seattle responded with a win in Game 3. The series was then shifted to Toronto due to the soft ice conditions in Ottawa.

Despite 2 goals by Nighbor in Game 4, the Metropolitans evened the series at two games each. The deciding Game 5 went to Ottawa 6-1, with Nighbor scoring the final goal on his way to leading the series in goals with 6 as the Senators would win their first Stanley Cup as members of the NHL and first since 1911.

Ottawa Senators 1920 photo OttawaSenators1920.jpg
The 1919-20 Ottawa Senators

After 29 points in 24 games for Nighbor in 1920-21, the Senators would repeat as Stanley Cup champions after defeating Nighbor's old club, the Vancouver Millionaires 3 games to 2 in a best of five series.

1920-21 Ottawa Senators team photo 1920-21OttawaSenatorsteam.jpg
The well dressed 1920-21 Ottawa Senators

Nighbor's game would shift to a more defensive role after the 1920-21 season and his contributions would help the Senators return to the Stanley Cup Finals once again in 1923, this time defeating the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Canada Hockey League to win the cup for the third time in four seasons.

Ottawa Senators 1922-23 photo OttawaSenators1922-23.jpg
The Senators pose with their Stanley Cup in 1923

Nighbor would contribute 11 goals in 1923-24 and 12 more in 1925-26, his final two seasons with 10 goals or more.

Despite his reduced offensive contributions, Nighbor's value as an all-around player was recognized following the 1923-24 season when he was named the first winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.

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The inaugural winner of the Hart Trophy, Frank Nighbor

He again was recognized for his style of play and respect among his fans and peers in 1925 when he was invited to Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada by Lady Byng, the wife of Viscount Byng of Vimy , who showed Nighbor the trophy she intended to donate to the NHL to be give to it's most gentlemanly player and asked him if he thought the league would accept it. When he replied that he thought the league would accept it, she surprised him by awarding him the trophy on the spot.

Following the 1925-26 season, Nighbor was named the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for the second consecutive year.

He was still not done with collecting silverware though, as the Senators would reclaim the Stanley Cup in 1927, the fourth of Nighbor's with the Senators and fifth of his career when Ottawa defeated the Boston Bruins 2 games to none with a pair of ties in the first Stanley Cup Final contested solely among teams from the NHL.

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The Stanley Cup champion 1926-27 Ottawa Senators

Nighbor would play two and a half more seasons for the Senators until the now financially struggling club traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second half of the 1929-30 season, the same franchise he signed with for their inaugural season back in 1912. He would retire following the season with 438 games played between the PCHA, NHA and NHL, with a combined 257 goals and 125 assists for 382 points and four Stanley Cup titles.

Nighbor was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.

Today's featured jersey is a 1927-28 Ottawa Senators Frank Nighbor jersey. Back in the early days of professional hockey, the Senators made it a habit of celebrating their status as World's Champions by wearing a commemorative patch on their jerseys the following season, as was the case in 1921-22, 1923-24 and 1927-28.

The Senators would adopt their classic barberpole look in 1903 and wore it all the way through their final season of 1933-34, with but a few variations along the way, most notably spending a season in vertical stripes in 1910-11 and adding an "O" crest in 1929-30.

ottawa senators jersey photo: Ottawa Senators Jersey OttawaSenators27-28jersey.png


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