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Saturday, March 14, 2015

1928-29 Montreal Canadiens George Hainsworth Jersey

George Hainsworth originally played for the Saskatoon Sheiks of the Western Canada Hockey League for three seasons, beginning in 1923-24 when he recorded four shutouts in 30 games. After two shutouts the following season, he added another four in 1925-26, giving little indication of what was to follow.

Following the death of legendary Montreal Canadiens goaltender Georges Vezina, Hainsworth was sold to Montreal for the 1926-27 season and impressed right from the start, going 28-14-2, with half of those wins being shutouts to lead the NHL with 14. His goals against average (GAA) of 1.47 was third in the league behind only the Montreal Maroons Clint Benedict's 1.42 and the New York Rangers Lorne Chabot at 1.46. Hainsworth was named the first recipient of the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the goaltender of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season, unlike today's voting process, which was first introduced in 1981.

It was more of the same the following year when Hainsworth went 26-11-7 with 13 shutouts, good for second in the league, which was led by the Boston Bruins Hal Winkler and Alec Connell of the Ottawa Senators who tied at 15. Hainsworth again won the Vezina Trophy, as the Canadiens allowed the fewest goals against over the course of the season.

Despite the shutouts Hainsworth had recorded during his first two NHL seasons, no one could predict what he had in store for the league in 1928-29. The Canadiens season began with a 3-1 win at home over their rivals, the Montreal Maroons, and a 4-2 loss on the road to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hainsworth's first shutout of the season came in game three on November 20th, a 1-0 win over Boston, and was quickly followed by another shutout two days later in a scoreless tie versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After a loss and a tie, shutout number three came on December 1st over Ottawa. Hainsworth recorded back to back shutouts on the 15th in another scoreless tie against the Maroons and a 5-0 drubbing of the Chicago Black Hawks. Following a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Cougars another pair of clean sheets were posted against Ottawa on the 22nd and Detroit on the 27th. At the end of the calendar year, Hainsworth and the Canadiens were 7-5-3 with seven shutouts and counting.

1928 began with a trio of ties on New Year's Day, the 3rd and a scoreless one on the 5th. After a loss on January 10th, the Canadiens would go the rest of the schedule with a remarkable just one further loss, a span of 65 days and 25 games.

A 1-0 win over Chicago on January 15th added to the shutout total which now stood at nine. Following a 1-1 tie on the 17th, Hainsworth racked up three consecutive shutouts, a 0-0 tie on the 19th, a 1-0 win the next day and another scoreless draw on the 22nd. A 1-1 tie with Toronto and a 2-1 win over Ottawa preceded a pair of 1-0 blankings of the New York Americans and the Ottawa Senators pushed the shutout total to 14. Since the loss to Boston on January 10th, Hainsworth had only allowed four goals in ten games with a record of 6-0-4.

Two ties were followed by back to back shutouts on February 12th over the Pirates and again on the 14th over the Black Hawks to set a new NHL record with 16. After a 1-1 tie, shutout number 17 came in a 1-0 defeat of the Maroons on February 21st, pushing the Canadiens undefeated streak to 16 games.

The unbeaten streak would end on February 23rd with a 2-1 loss at Toronto, which only served to strengthen the Canadiens resolve, as they did not allow another goal until five games later, when the Pirates (4-0), Americans (0-0 tie), Bruins (3-0) and Senators (3-0) all failed to solve Hainsworth and the Canadiens defense.

Detroit broke the scoreless streak with a 1-1 tie before the Canadiens finished the season with three straight wins, including Hainsworth's record 22nd shutout of the season, recorded on this date in 1929, in a 1-0 win over the Maroons.

His 22 shutouts came despite rule changes such as permitting forward passing from the neutral zone across the blue line into the attacking zone and new overtime rules allowing for an extra ten minutes of playing time - a non-sudden death format which meant all ten minutes were played in their entirety, regardless if a goal was scored.

Hainsworth would finish the season with a record goals against average of 0.92, easily capturing his third consecutive Vezina Trophy. Such was Hainsworth's dominance that he outdistanced the New York Americans Roy Worters by nine shutouts and buried the old record by seven. Additionally, no other goaltender had ever had a goals against average under 1.0 before or since.

Because of a league-wide goals against average of 1.45, 15 scoreless games and 94 ties over the course of the 1928-29 season, the rules were changed for the next season to allow for forward passing in the offensive zone as well as the previously permitted defensive and neutral zones. This led to abuses by some players, who stood in front of the opposing net waiting for a pass. By December of that season the offside rule was created which meant players were no longer allowed to enter the offensive zone prior to the puck.

The effect of the rule changes were immediate, as Chabot led the NHL in shutouts that season with a mere six, while Hainsworth was second with four, which included the 50th of his NHL career. Tiny Thompson captured the Vezina with a goals against average of 2.23.

While Hainsworth would lose his grip on the Vezina Trophy, he was able to finally grasp the Stanley Cup that season, with a 2 games to none defeat of Boston.

The Canadiens backed that up by defeating the Chicago Black Hawks in 1930-31 for their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

1931-32 saw Hainsworth record his sixth consecutive 20 win season in an era which the season schedule was just 44 games long. After the 1932-33 season, in which Montreal sank in the standings and Hainsworth posted the first losing record of his career, he was dealt to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Chabot.

The move to Toronto suited Hainsworth, as he once more posted a dominant record of 26-13-9 the first time out and then topped that with his only 30 win season in 1934-35 with a 30-14-4 mark in a 48 game season to lead the league in wins both times. Another 20 win season followed with 23 in 1935-36.

His final NHL season saw him play three games for Toronto and then return to close out his career with the Canadiens with four final games. Hainsworth's final NHL totals stood at 465 games with a record of 246-145-74, 94 shutouts and a goals against average of 1.93.

Hainsworth's 22 shutouts in a single season came in just a 44 game schedule and still stands as the NHL record, as does his 0.92 goals against average. His career goals against average of 1.93, in 465 games, remains second all-time behind on Connell's 1.91 and his 94 shutouts, a mark that would stand as the record for 27 years, still ranks third behind Martin Brodeur's 108 and Terry Sawchuk's 103.

Hainsworth was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Today's featured jersey is a 1928-29 Montreal Canadiens George Hainsworth jersey. The Canadiens were founded in 1909 but did not wear their now iconic red sweaters with the blue chest stripe until the 1912-13 season when it was introduced as an alternate jersey due to their red, white and blue striped "barberpole" jerseys drawing complaints that they were too similar to the Ottawa Senators similarly striped red, white and black jerseys.

White trim was added to the blue central stripe the following season, essentially creating the same basic jersey that remains in use today.

Friday, March 13, 2015

1937-38 Detroit Red Wings Carl Liscombe Jersey

On this date in 1938, Detroit Red Wings rookie Carl Liscombe set a record for the fastest hat trick in NHL history at the time when he netted a trio of goals in one minute and fifty-two seconds, a record would stand for 14 years.

Liscombe's pro career would begin with the Detroit Olympics in the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1935 and he would move to the Pittsburgh Hornets of the International-American Hockey League (IAHL) in 1936-37.

He made his NHL debut with the Red Wings in 1937-38, scoring 14 goals that season, which included setting the record for the fastest hat trick in NHL history against the Chicago Black Hawks at the Red Wings famed Olympia Stadium as part of a 5-1 win for Detroit.

The following season of 1938-39 was spent entirely in the NHL, but Liscome would split the next two seasons between the Red Wings and the Indianapolis Capitals of the American Hockey League (AHL).

He would finally establish himself as a full-time NHL regular in 1941-42 during which he set another NHL record at the time with 7 points in one game, which came from his second career hat trick plus four assists on November 5th in a 12-5 romp over the New York Rangers.

Liscombe would then contribute 13 points in 12 playoff games, including 4 goals in one game versus the Boston Bruins to send Detroit to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Red Wings, while leading the Maple Leafs in the third period of Game 4 while up three games to none, would famously let the Stanley Cup slip through their fingers as they would not only lose Game 4, but the next three in a row as Toronto became the first team ever to come back from a 3-0 deficit to steal the cup away from Detroit.

Toughened by that crushing and unprecedented defeat, the Red Wings would finish first overall in the regular season standings and return to the finals in 1943 where they would sweep the Bruins in four straight behind Liscombe's 14 points in 10 games.

1942-43 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings

Up to this point in his career, Liscombe had scored no more than 42 points in a season, but the 1943-44 season saw him shatter that mark with 36 goals and 37 assists for 73 points in 50 games to finish fourth in league scoring.

Liscombe would play two more seasons with Detroit, including a return to the finals in 1945. His final NHL career totals were 373 games played, 137 goals and 140 assists for 277 points.

Even though his NHL career had come to a close, there was still more to come from Liscombe, as he would return to the AHL, first with the St. Louis Flyers before finding a home with the Providence Reds in 1946-47.

Liscome would again enter the record books the following season when he became the first professional player to score 100 points in a season when he tallied 50 goals and 68 assists for 118 points in 1947-48 to lead the league in scoring a capture the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL MVP.

He would follow up his 118 point season with another 100 point season with 102 in 1948-49 as the Reds would capture the Calder Cup as AHL champions and Liscombe would win his second consecutive Cunningham Award.

His career would wind down with another season in Providence, two seasons in the IHL and another one playing senior hockey in Canada before calling it a career.

Today's featured jersey is a 1937-38 Detroit Red Wings Carl Liscombe jersey as worn by Liscombe during his rookie season when he set the then current record for the fastest hat trick in NHL history in 1:52.

The Red Wings would later add a white stripe to the side of their pants in 1940. This sweater was first introduced in 1932 following the name change to Red Wings and remains essentially unchanged to this day.

Today's video selection is a look at the history of the Detroit Red Wings, which includes some footage of some of the Red Wings early Stanley Cup celebrations.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

1999-00 Vancouver Canucks Artem Chubarov Jersey

After beginning his career in 1994-95 with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the Russian second division Vysshaya Liga, Artem Chubarov joined Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for the 1997-98 season where he scored a lone goal and five total points. It was during this time that Chubarov gained valuable exposure, winning a silver medal at the 1998 World Junior Tournament.

He remained with Dynamo for the 1998-99 season, raising his point totals to 8 goals and 10 points as Dynamo would make it all the way to the Superleague finals. During this season he also won a gold medal at the 1999 World Juniors with Chubarov scoring the gold medal clinching goal in overtime against Roberto Luongo of Canada.

Having been drafted by the Vancouver Canucks with the fourth pick of the second round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Chubarov made the move to North America for the 1999-00 season. He would play 14 games with the Canucks AHL afiliate, the Syracuse Crunch as well as making his NHL debut with Vancouver on October 2, 1999.

Chubarov Canucks photo Chubarov Cancuks 2.jpg

Chubarov, a center, was never known for his goal scoring or even his playmaking, but was a faceoff and defensive specialist, so when he scored his first NHL goal in only his second NHL game on October 6th against the Chicago Blackhawks Jocelyn Thibault, it flattered to deceive, as not only would Cubarov not score another goal in 49 total games, when Steve McCarthy scored for Chicago to make the final score 5-4 in favor of the Canucks, it made Chubarov's goal the game winner.

His sophomore season was a lost one, as Chubarov played on one game for Vancouver in 2000-01 before suffering a season ending shoulder injury while playing in the IHL for the Kansas City Blades, where he was off to a fine start, having scored 7 goals and 11 points in 10 games, far ahead of his usual pace.

Back to full health for the 2001-02 season, Chubarov began the season with the Manitoba Moose, now of the American Hockey League following the demise of the IHL. He was recalled by the Canucks after a few weeks and played three games in late October. He was back with the Moose for all of November, but by December 6th was back in the NHL.

He finally tallied his first point of the season with an assist on January 12th, and followed that with his first goal of the season in his 19th game on January 15th when he scored at 15:12 of the first period to stake the Canucks to a 3-0 lead. After Milan Kraft and Mario Lemieux scored for the Pittsburgh Penguins to make it 3-2, the Canucks responded with two goals for a final score of 5-2, making Chubarov's first goal of the season the game winner.

Chubarov Canucks photo Chubarov Cancuks 3.jpg

Just four days and two games later, Chubarov lit the lamp once again, this time scoring the Canucks second goal of the game at 16:12 of the second period. Vancouver eventually extended their lead to 4-0 before Chris Simon of the Washington Capitals spoiled the shutout bid by Dan Cloutier at 13:44 of the third period, making Chubarov's goal yet again the game winner in an eventual 5-1 win.

Chubarov then "cooled off", going 16 games without a goal until the Canucks travelled to the American southeast to face the Nashville Predators on this date in 2002. After a scoreless first period, Chubarov scored at 2:25 of the second period against the Predators Mike Dunham to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. The Canucks would extend their lead to 5-0 while Cloutier held the Predators off the board for an eventual 23 save shutout, allowing Chubarov's fourth career goal to stand as the fourth game winning goal of his career, making him the first player in NHL history whose first four career goals were all game winners! While his first four goals were all game winners, it did take 88 games, 2 years, 3 months and 10 days to enter the league record book.

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His unlikely streak would end two games later when his goal at 1:28 of the third period gave the Canucks a 4-2 lead, and when the Thrashers failed to score during the remaining 3:32, Daniel Sedin's goal took the honors as the game winner.

Chubarov would finish with 5 goals and 10 points that season in 51 games plus an additional 7 goals and 19 points in 19 games with Manitoba.

Chubarov would play two additional seasons with the Canucks, with an NHL career highs of 20 points in 2002-03 and 12 goals in 2003-04. That success led to a roster spot on the Russian National Team for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, but before the the following season could be played, the NHL owners locked out the players, which eventually led to the cancellation of the entire NHL season.

Like many other NHL players, Chubarov returned to his home country where he rejoined Dynamo Moscow for an abbreviated 27 games.

While the NHL resumed play for the 2005-06 season, it was without Chubarov, who chose to stay in Russia, signing with Avangard Omsk. The move to Omsk and back to the Russian Superleague saw an increase in his offensive numbers as he immediately set a new career best with 25 points followed by a career best 36 points in 2006-07.

Chubarov Omsk photo Chubarov Omsk.jpg

After one more season of 33 points in Omsk, Chubarov returned to his first club of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod for the inaugural season of the Kontinental Hockey League. After one season back in Novgorod, Chubarov's career concluded with a third stop with Dynamo, which proved to be brief, lasting just two games of the 2009-10 season.

In all, Chubarov would play five NHL seasons, scoring a total of just 25 goals, but stands alone as the only player in NHL history whose first four goals were all game winners.

Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 Vancouver Canucks Artem Chubarov jersey as worn during his NHL rookie season when he began his unlikely journey into the NHL record books.

The Canucks first adopted today's featured style in 1997-98 in recognition of their new owners, Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment. This drew the ire of their fans, who did not like the idea of the Canucks logo representing their corporate ownership rather than the team itself. Still, the uniforms remained and enjoyed a long run, lasting a decade until the club reverted to their original blue and green colors following the success of their throwback alternate jersey of 2006-07. Despite the return of their original colors, the orca logo remains to this day.

Vancouver Canucks 1999-00 jersey photo Vancouver Canucks 1999-00 jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section is a look at Chubarov's unusual goal scoring record.

Next, Chubarov scores in overtime to give Russia the gold medal at the 1999 World Juniors.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1977-78 Cleveland Barons Dennis O'Brien Jersey

Dennis O'Brien played his junior hockey with the St. Catharines Black Hawks in the Ontario Hockey League in 1968-69. The defenseman was then selected by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft in the second round, 14th overall.

He spent the entire 1969-70 season honing his craft with the Iowa Stars of the Central Hockey League, the only season that edition of the Stars would exist. While with Iowa, he was credited with 20 points from 2 goals and 18 assists in 72 games while amassing a league leading 331 penalty minutes, 73 more than the notorious Andre "Moose" Dupont.

During the following season of 1970-71, O'Brien split time between the minor league Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League and made his NHL debut with the North Stars of the NHL. He played exactly 27 games with each team and scored his first NHL goal on his way to a total of three for the season. When the North Stars qualified for the playoffs, O'Brien got his first taste of postseason play with nine games for the North Stars.

O'Brien North Stars
O'Brien during his early days with the North Stars

Now established as a genuine NHLer, O'Brien would play six full seasons on the Minnesota blueline. His stay at home, hard hitting defensive style would not earn him many points, but it would make him a steady, reliable member of the North Stars defensive corps. In five of his six seasons in Minnesota, O'Brien would play at least 70 games five times with a high of six goals and 24 points in 1976-77.

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O'Brien during the 1976-77 season,
wearing the next generation of North Stars jersey

O'Brien would begin his eighth season with the North Stars in 1977-78 but after 13 games he was claimed on waivers by the Colorado Rockies on December 2, 1977. He would see action in 16 games for the Rockies before being traded to the Cleveland Barons on January 12, 1978. He would log 23 games in Cleveland prior to again being placed on waivers. Then on this date in 1978, O'Brien became the first player in NHL history to be with four different NHL teams in one season when he was claimed by the Boston Bruins!

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O"Brien during his brief time in Cleveland

Once with Boston his situation was again settled, as there was still enough time to play in the Bruins final 16 games of the regular season and contribute to the Bruins playoff effort, as Boston made it all the way to the 1978 Stanley Cup Finals.

After all the movement from team to team to team to team the previous season, O'Brien must have been relieved to play the entire 1978-79 season with the Bruins, save for a pair of games with the Rochester Americans in the AHL.

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O'Brien found a measure of stability in Boston

O'Brien briefly laced up his skates for one final season in 1979-80 with three games with the Bruins and six games with the Binghamton Dusters in the AHL before retiring.

His final stats were 592 games played, scoring 13 goals and 91 assists for 122 points and 1,017 penalty minutes, with his highest being 187 in 1975-76.

Today's featured jersey is a 1977-78 Cleveland Barons Dennis O'Brien jersey as worn during his record setting season during which he became the first player to play for four different NHL teams in a single season. To date, only one other player has equalled that amount, Dave McLlwain in 1992, who coincidentally joined his fourth team on the same date of March 10th.

The Barons only existed for two seasons, yet there are detail differences between the jerseys used both years. This particular jersey does not have the state of Ohio shaped sleeve patches, which contained the arm numbers during the Barons first season. Additionally, the sleeve numbers were relocated to the red shoulder areas for their second and final season. Also, the sans-serif font for the player names was changed to a serifed font as seen on today's featured jersey.

Cleveland Barons 77-78 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1970-71 Minnesota North Stars Dennis O'Brien jersey as worn during his rookie season in the NHL. The North Stars wore this particular style from the start of their second season of 1968-69 through 1971-72 and always without names on the back.

North Stars 78-79 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video clip is a pretty intense fight between the Cleveland Barons and the Boston Bruins, two of the clubs O'Brien played for in 1977-78.

Monday, March 9, 2015

1973-74 Minnesota Fighting Saints Mike Walton Jersey

Mike "Shakey" Walton first played junior hockey with the St. Michael's Majors in 1961-62 with a team that eventually won the Memorial Cup.

Walton Majors, Walton Majors
Walton with the St. Michael's Majors

The St. Michael's program was discontinued following their successful season and the players transferred to the Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School, where Walton scored 22 goals in 38 games as the Maroons won the Metro Junior A League championship.

For the 1963-64 season Walton joined the Toronto Marlboros, where he finished second in team scoring with 41 goals and 92 points in 53 games which he followed up with 26 points in 12 playoff games as the Marlboros brought home the second Memorial Cup of Walton's young career.

He spent a year with the Tulsa Oilers for seasoning in 1964-65 and continued his impressive offensive output with 40 goals and 84 points in 68 games.

He spent the majority of the 1965-66 season with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (35 goals and 86 points in 68 games) as well as making his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs, seeing time in 6 games including scoring his first NHL goal.

He divided his time between the Americans (36 games) and Maple Leafs (31) the following season before sticking with the Maple Leafs in time to participate in the postseason, where he scored 4 goals and 7 points in 12 playoff games as Toronto would win the Stanley Cup, giving Walton the third major championship of his five year career.

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Walton poses with the 1967 Stanley Cup

He would skate for the Maple Leafs full time in 1967-68 and register the only 30 goal season of this NHL career on his way to a 59 point season.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Walton

Walton would play two and a half more seasons with Toronto, but butted heads with first Punch Imlach and later Johnny McLellan, which led to his eventually being traded to Philadelphia who immediately traded him the same day to the Boston Bruins halfway through the 1970-71 season.

Although he started quite slowly, he regained his confidence and scoring touch in 1971-72 with 28 goals and 56 points as well as another 12 points in 15 playoff games as the Bruins swept to the Stanley Cup championship, Walton's second in five years.

Walton Bruins, Walton Bruins

His time with the Bruins would also allow him to develop a friendship with teammate Bobby Orr. The two would eventually become roommates while on the road with and even form a business partnership in the form of the Orr-Walton Sports Camp for kids each summer.

Orr Walton Sports Camp ad, Orr Walton Sports Camp ad

Walton would play one more season with the Bruins, which unfortunately would be best remembered by a frightening accident at the team hotel in St. Louis, when, during some horseplay, Walton was attempting to avoid being soaked by a teammate wielding a bucket of water, he tripped and crashed through a plate glass door, suffering severe cuts which required 200 stitches and resulted in the loss of five pints of blood, which put his life in jeopardy for a time. He would recover in time to finish the season, during which he played in 56 games, scoring 25 goals and 47 points.

Lured by the money offered by the upstart WHA, as well as the role of the top gun of the second year Minnesota Fighting Saints, Walton left the Bruins and arrived in Minnesota. There, he instantly excelled as the team's offensive leader, taking like a duck to water with the wide open style of play in the WHA.

Freed of such things as defensive responsibilities, Walton began scoring at a prolific pace, highlighted by a hat trick on March 3rd in a 5-3 win against the Los Angeles Sharks, four goals in a 8-6 win against the New England Whalers three days later on March 6th for his second consecutive hat trick, which was followed by another four goals on this date in 1974 for his third consecutive hat trick in a 9-5 victory over the Quebec Nordiques, which extended Walton's scoring streak to 16 straight games.

Walton Fighting Saints, Walton Fighting Saints
Walton left his opponents in his wake in 1973-74.
As always with any Fighting Saints photos, be sure to note the clear
dasher boards in St. Paul, which were unique to rinks in all of North America

His "hat trick of hat tricks" all came at home and included 11 goals in 3 games as well as setting team records for most goals in a period (3 on March 9th) and most goals in a game (4 on March 6th, which he equalled the very next game on March 9th).

By the end of the 1973-74 season Walton had scored a team record 6 hat tricks on his way to a league leading 57 goals. In addition, he earned 60 assists for 117 total points, which not only led the Fighting Saints, but the entire WHA to earn Walton the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league's scoring leader.

Walton Fighting Saints, Walton Fighting Saints
Paul Shmyr demonstrates some of the tactics used against Walton
in the WHA, this being a textbook example of hooking

Walton would also set team records for the most shorthanded goals with 9, the most game winning goals with 7 and the most multiple goal games at 14. He would also set records for most points in a period with 4, most points in a game with 6, set on this day as he completed his third consecutive hat trick. Additionally, his 60 assists were also a team record. He then racked up 10 goals and 18 points in 11 playoff games.

During the playoffs, the Fighting Saints defeated the Edmonton Oilers in five games before engaging in an all out slugfest war with the Houston Aeros, a series which saw Houston win in six games, closing out the Fighting Saints in St. Paul, which Walton did not take very well, for after the game was over, Walton, skates and all, marched straight to his car, with his blades making sparks on the concrete as he went, hopped in and drove to a nearby watering hole to drown his sorrows in full gear!

His second season with Minnesota was nearly as successful, with Walton scoring 48 goals and 93 points plus an additional 10 goals and 17 points in 12 playoff games. His final season with the Fighting Saints had Walton at 31 goals and 71 points through 58 games (a pace of 43 goals and 98 points) when the Fighting Saints folded mid-season due to their financial difficulties.

Now a free agent, Walton returned to the NHL, finding a place with the Vancouver Canucks, putting up 8 goals and 16 points in just 10 games with his new club. He was limited to just 40 games in 1976-77, scoring 31 points while healthy.

He established a new personal best in while in the NHL with 66 points in 1977-78, thanks in part to 29 goals, one short of his best season back in 1968 with Toronto.

Walton Canucks, Walton Canucks

Walton played for the St. Louis Blues (22 games), Rochester Americans (1 game), Boston Bruins (14 games), the New Brunswick Hawks (7 games) and the Chicago Black Hawks (26 games) - all during the 1978-79 season!

He would play one final season as a professional, traveling to Europe for 20 games with Cologne EC in West Germany, where he scored 12 goals and 31 points to close out his career.

Today's featured jersey is a 1973-74 Minnesota Fighting Saints Mike Walton jersey as worn during his prolific season during which he led the WHA in scoring, besting the likes of defending WHA scoring champion Andre Lacroix, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull.

The Fighting Saints began their inaugural season with a large oval shaped "S" logo on their home white, road blue and gold alternate jerseys before introducing a new set of sweaters with the "little saint" logo, which was applied to a white and blue set of jerseys. The new logo was never worn on their gold sweaters.

The new style of jersey would remain in use and unchanged for the rest of the Fighting Saints all to brief history and is at the top of our list for our favorite jerseys of all time, thanks in part to one of the greatest logos in hockey history.

Note the details of the logo on this jersey, as the Little Saint does not have a halo, does not have the name "Saints" in the "S" on his chest and is wearing white skates, all details done incorrectly on the vast majority of modern reproductions of Fighting Saints jerseys on the market today. However, our friends at Vintage Minnesota Hockey have taken the time to hit all the marks properly with their uniquely accurate version of the Fighting Saints jersey, thanks to their research using actual game worn jerseys. Click here for the Little Saint version, and they also offer the original "S" logo version as well.

Minnesota Fighting Saints 73-74 jersey, Minnesota Fighting Saints 73-74 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

In our video section today, coach Harry Neale interviews a few of the Fighting Saints roster prior to Walton's record setting season. Goaltender John Garrett's suit and bow tie along are worth your time as he does some early time in front of the TV cameras prior to his current broadcasting career. Walton would go on to exceed the prediction of 50 goals.

Here is a more recently produced video on the Fighting Saints, during which Walton himself verifies the story about leaving the rink in full gear and heading to the bar, as well as the arrival of the real life Carlson Brothers, who inspired the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slap Shot.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

1991-92 Dynamo Moscow Sergei Klimovich Jersey

Born on this date in 1974, Sergei Klimovich first played for Dynamo Moscow in 1991-92 as well as participating in the European Junior Championships for Russia.

Klimovich started his professional career with Dynamo Moscow

In the summer of 1992, Klimovich was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 41st overall in the NHL Entry Draft. The following season he became a full time member of Dynamo and also played in the 1993 World Junior Championships, scoring four points in seven games.

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Klimovich wearing the rare "Onion Dome" jersey style from the early days of the post-Soviet Russian National Team

After another season with Dynamo, Klimovich came to the United States, joining many Russians at the time seeking fame and fortune in the NHL. He played three full seasons with the Indianapolis Ice of the International Hockey League (IHL), scoring a high of 57 points in 1997-98. In addition, during the 1996-97 season Klimovich would play his one and only NHL game with two penalty minutes served but no points for the Blackhawks.

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Klimovich played three seasons for Indianapolis in the IHL

He would play for both the Las Vegas Thunder and Quebec Rafales, both of the IHL, and the Idaho Steelheads of the West Coast Hockey League in 1997-98 as his time in North America came to an end.

1998-99 Klimovich split time between first EC Graz in Austria and the Augsburg Panthers in Germany and remained with Augsburg for the 1999-00 season as well.

A return to Russia followed for 2000-01 when Kilmovich rejoined Dynamo Moscow. 2001-02 was split between Sibir Novosibirsk, then in the Russian second division, where he excelled with 63 points in 47 games. The remainder of the season saw him join Metallurg Magnitogorsk for 13 games in the top division.

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Klimovich returned to Dyanmo for the 2001-02 season

For the first time since his three seasons in Indianapolis, Klimovich found some stability, as he rejoined Sibir Novosibirsk, now in the top division of the Russian league, for three seasons from 2002-03 to 2004-05.

His career would wind down with a season spent with Spartak Moscow and a move to Metallurg Novokuznetsk, 3,000 kilometers east of Moscow in south central Russia for the 2006-07 season. After three seasons off the ice, Klimovich returned to action with HK Belgorod in the Russian third division and then 4 games with Donbass Donetsk in Ukraine, ending a 21 year hockey journey that took him from Idaho around the globe to central Asia.

While Klimovich only played in a single NHL contest, there are many other leagues in the world where one can make a living being a hockey player, and his long career proves that the NHL, while the elite league on the planet, is not the only one.

Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 Dynamo Moscow Sergei Klimovich jersey and it's white color shows off the many battle scars this jersey accumulated on the ice. It also features the bold sponsorship of the Samsung electronics company, the first jersey sponsor of Dynamo.

This jersey has all graphics screen printed onto the light weight mesh, typical of Russian jerseys of the era.

Russia Moscow Dynamo 1992-93 jersey photo Russia Moscow Dynamo 1992-93F.jpg
Russia Moscow Dynamo 1992-93 jersey photo Russia Moscow Dynamo 1992-93B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1993-94 Dynamo Moscow Sergei Klimovich jersey. This jersey was made by the Tackla company out of Finland. While Dynamo was still sponsored by Samsung, they had also now added sponsorship from Simod sportswear of Italy and Favorit Bank.

Moscow Dynamo 1993-94 jersey photo Moscow Dynamo 1993-94 F jersey.jpg
Moscow Dynamo 1993-94 jersey photo Moscow Dynamo 1993-94 B jersey.jpg

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