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Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 KHL Playoff Update

With the close of the 2014-15 Kontinental Hockey League season, 16 of the 28 clubs qualified for the postseason, led by CSKA Moscow, who won the Kontinental Cup as the winner of the KHL regular season with a record 139 points.

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CSKA was led by both winger Alexander Radulov, who led the league in scoring with 24 goals and 76 points in 46 games, and goaltenders Stanislav Galimov (25-5-5, 1.78 GAA) and Kevin Lalande (16-3-3, 1.39 GAA).

The balance of power was clearly in the Western Conference this season, as CSKA was followed by both St. Petersburg SKA and Dynamo Moscow, both with 124 points, ahead of Western Conference leaders Ak Bars Kazan with 120.

The first round of the KHL Gagarin Cup Playoffs were frankly lacking in drama, as every favorite would win, with just three of the eight series reaching six games, and only Avangard Omsk requiring the full seven games to defeat Barys Astana of Kazakhstan.

In the Western Conference, #1 Ak Bars prevailed 4 games to 1 over #8 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, #2 Sibir Novosibirsk won 4-2 over #7 Traktor Cheylabinsk, #3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk defeated #6 Salavat Yulaev 4-1 in addition to Omsk outlasting Barys Astana.

The Eastern Conference was more of the same, as all four of he higher ranked clubs advanced, with #1 CSKA dispatching first year outfit #8 HC Sochi in a 4-0 sweep, #2 St. Petersburg downed #7 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4-1, #3 Dynamo Moscow ousted #6 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the closest series 4-2 and KHL newcomers #4 Jokerit Helsinki of Finland defeated #5 Dinamo Minsk of Belarus 4-1.

With the top four teams in each conference now paired off, one would expect the competition to be much closer and the series to all run longer, but the actual results were far from it, as once again, each favorite dominated with all four series ending 4 games to 1, as #2 Sibir Novosibirsk advances over #3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk to face #1 Ak Bars Kazan, who dispatched #4 Avangard Omsk in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference, #2 SKA St. Petersburg sent Dynamo Moscow packing to earn the right to face #1 CSKA Moscow who ended #4 Jokerit Helsinki's debut season.

The Western Conference Finals begin on March 26th when #1 CSKA hosts #2 SKA, while the Eastern Conference Finals between #1 Ak Bars and #2 Sibir begins on the 27th for the right to play in the Gagarin Cup Finals.

Today's video section are highlights of games played on March 19th, as Ak Bars, Sibir and CSKA all close our their series  and move on to the conference finals. Do not miss the save by goaltender Anders Nilsson and the goal by Alex Burmistrov, both of Ak Bars.

This next installment are highlights the conclusion of the end of the other series, , as SKA advances.

Finally, here is the opening video for the 2015 Gagarin Cup Conference Finals.

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

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1993-94 Washington Capitals Al Iafrate Jersey

Known for his powerful slapshot, Al Iafrate was born on this date in 1966 in Michigan. During the 1983-84 season, Iafrate played 61 games for the United States National Team, which included competing at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Following the Olympics, Iafrate finished the season with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL prior to being drafted 4th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs that spring., making him the first US born player ever selected by the Maple Leafs in the first round.

Iafrate made the Maple Leafs roster that fall, and completed his 12 year NHL career without ever having played a single game in the minor leagues, not even on a rehab assignment despite the many injuries that would plague the later stages of his career.

During his first three seasons with the Maple Leafs, Iafrate scored 21, 33 and then 30 points prior to taking his offensive game to a new level with 52 points in 1987-88 when his powerful slapshot found the back of the net on 22 occasions, up from a previous high of 9. After dropping back to 33 points in 1988-89, he set a new career best with 21 goals and 63 points in 1989-90. Also in 1990 he gained recognition by winning the Hardest Shot competition at the SuperSkills event as part of the NHL All-Star weekend with a shot clocked at 96 mph.

Iafrate Maple Leafs

After 42 games of the following season, Iafrate was traded to the Washington Capitals. He was a vital member of the Capitals power play, which resulted in a jump in points to 51, up from 32 the year prior. During the 1992-93 season, he would set a career highs with 25 goals and 66 points. His year would also include winning the Hardest Shot contest at the NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills event once again with a blast of 105.2 miles per hour, a mark that would remain the standard for 16 years!

Iafrate Capitals

After scoring 45 points in 67 games for the Capitals in 1993-94, Iafrate was on his way to join the Boston Bruins for the final 12 games of the regular season and a run at the playoffs, which saw him play and additional 13 games for Boston. During that season's All-Star weekend, he would win his third Hardest Shot competition with a drive clocked at 102.7 mph.

Iafrate would miss the entire 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons while recovering from knee surgery. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft before he could resume playing for the Bruins, but his playing time as again limited due to injuries. Iafrate would play 59 games for the Sharks over two seasons.

Iafrate Sharks

At the conclusion of the 1997-98 season, he would compete for the United States at the World Championships for the only time in his career. He then announced his retirement from the game in September of that year.

Iafrate would total 799 NHL games, 152 goals and 311 assists for 463 points. Additionally, he would be whistled for 1,301 penalty minutes but is probably best remembered for his hardest shot and his spectacular mullet!

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Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Washington Capitals Al Iafrate jersey which features the Capitals 20th Anniversary patch, barely able to fit on the front due to the number of stars filling the front of the Capitals jerseys like no other.

The Capitals wore their star-spangled jerseys from the time of their NHL debut in 1974 through the 1994-95 season when they stopped wearing their classic red, white and blue jerseys and changed to a new blue and black color scheme.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs Al Iafrate jersey. This jersey features the King Clancy Memorial patch on the upper left arm.

The Maple Leafs adopted this style in 1970 and wore it through the 1991-92 season until adopting a new style based on the jerseys they originally wore from the 1930's to the 1960's.

Toronto Maple Leafs 86-87 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

NCAA Conference Championship Weekend

The six men's NCAA hockey conferences will be holding their playoff championships this weekend with all the winners earning an automatic NCAA National Championship invite.

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Atlantic Hockey has #1 Robert Morris taking on #5 Mercyhurst with the winner talking on the survivor of the #2 Canisius vs. #3 Rochester Institute of Technology at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.

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The Big Ten sees all six teams invading the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Yesterday, #3 Michigan defeated #6 Wisconsin 5-1 and will now face #2 Michigan State, while #5 Ohio State defeated upstart #4 Penn State 3-1 to advance to face #1 Minnesota tonight with the winners meeting tomorrow.

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The four surviving ECAC schools are holding their playoff at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York. There, #4 Colgate faces #2 St. Lawrence while #6 Harvard faces a tough test in #1 Quinnipiac.

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Upsets have already been the order of business in the first two rounds of the Hockey East playoffs, which now see #7 Vermont paired with #4 UMass-Lowell and #8 New Hampshire battling #1 Boston University at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, as second and third seeds Providence and Boston College were knocked out in the Quarterfinals. Boston College should be safe for the NCAA field with their current #9 slot in the PairWise rankings, but Providence in on the bubble with a #14 PairWise position.

To clarify for those not up to speed on the US college hockey (or "cawlidgehawkey" for those of you twitter users), the NCAA field is made up of the top 16 teams in the PairWise rankings minus any invitations taken by conference tournament winners outside the top 16, one of which will certainly be the winner of Atlantic Hockey's tournament, as their current #1 Robert Morris is #22 in the PairWise.

Therefore, any teams ranked roughly 12th or lower in the PairWise are at risk of missing out on an NCAA berth depending on how many upset champions emerge over the course of the weekend.

It is at this point that all eyes turn to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which will be the center of the college hockey universe this weekend with no less than three important playoff tournaments.

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First up is the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff at the Target Center in Minneapolis, normally home to the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA. Hockey has been played at the Target Center over the years though, including some high school playoff games, the WCHA Final Five and even some NHL neutral site games along the way. One unique feature of the Target Center is that the floor of the arena raises up higher hydraulically for hockey to improve the sight lines.

#4 Denver is paired with #2 Miami in one semifinal, while #6 St. Cloud State will be hoping for some home ice advantage against #1 North Dakota.

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Meanwhile, across the Mississippi River, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's  Final Five returns to it's long-time home, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. There, #3 Bowling Green will battle #2 Michigan Tech for the right to face the winner of #5 Ferris State taking on #1 Minnesota State.

While various wins and losses over the course of the weekend will affect the PairWise rankings, teams like #16 Colgate are all but certain to be out of the NCAA's since we know the winner of the Atlantic Hockey championship will knock one Top 16 team out. Any other upset winner is likely to cause #15 Harvard their place in the national championship tournament. Likewise, #14 Providence will be hoping all six favorites come through with championship titles since they will not be playing this weekend thanks to their 2 games to 1 loss to New Hampshire in last weekend's Hockey East Quarterfinals, with all three games finishing with 2-1 scores with both of New Hampshire's wins coming in overtime in what could not have been a closer series.

Ironically, the team with the most on the line in the dual tournaments in Minnesota may be… Minnesota - who won't even be in Minnesota, as they will be in Detroit at the Big Ten desperately looking to win two games to claim an automatic berth in the NCAA's and not leave their fate in the hands of PairWise rankings, as any loss could damage their already shaky position.

Teams looking solid for NCAA berths are (in order of their PairWise rankings) North Dakota, Minnesota State, Denver, Boston University, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, Nebraska-Omaha, Boston College, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State and  Bowling Green. who comprise the top 12, with Minnesota, Providence and Harvard on the bubble, with Minnesota and Harvard in a position to do something about it, as they play this weekend, while Providence can only watch and wait while they pull for all the favorites.

But what about the third tournament in the Twin Cities this weekend, you ask?

Halfway in between the WCHA Final Five and the NCHC Frozen Faceoff at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus will be the NCAA Women's Frozen Four to crown a national champion.

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The first Semifinal sees the two eastern teams, #4 Harvard facing an uphill battle vs. #1 Boston College, while #3 Wisconsin tires to defeat the hosts and #2 rated Minnesota, who will be playing in front of a sold out home crowd of 3,400 with the winners to meet on Sunday.

To date, Wisconsin and Minnesota have won 8 of the last 11 titles, with Minnesota-Duluth taking the other two after winning the first three back in 2001-2003. Will Minnesota or Wisconsin be able to tie Duluth's five national championships, or will the tide have truly shifted east in favor of Harvard or Boston College, as Clarkson became the first eastern team in 14 years to win the national title last year with their upset win over the Gophers.

Certainly if you live within driving distance of the Twin Cities, you'd be doing yourself a favor to take in what is certain to be some dramatic playoff action, as many teams know any loss will end their season. True fanatics can hop on the Green Line Train and spend Friday in St. Paul with the WCHA, Saturday in Minneapolis with the NCHC and Sunday at the University of Minnesota to see the women's championship final.

Three arenas, five games, three champions!

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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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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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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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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

1944-45 Montreal Canadiens Maurice Richard Jersey

In the 1942-43 season, the NHL consisted of seven teams playing a 48 game schedule. The Brooklyn Americans would cease operations following that season, leaving the NHL with just six teams, who would now play a 50 game schedule starting with the 1943-44 campaign. Doug Bentley would lead the NHL in goals that season with 38, six shy of the current NHL record of 44, held by Joe Malone since way back in 1918.

The 1944-45 season was only the third NHL season for Maurice Richard. He had broken in with Montreal in 1942-43 with just 5 goals in only 16 games played due to a leg injury which ended his rookie season on December 27th. He established himself as an NHL regular in 1943-44 with 32 goals in 46 games as the Canadiens would go on to capture the Stanley Cup, but Richard had more memorable moments in store for the Montreal faithful the following season.

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The Stanley Cup winning 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens

He started out slowly with just nine goals in the first 28 games, but came on strong with 23 goals in his last 18 games. It came down to the final day of the season on this date in 1945, as Richard's total stood at 49. He had already surpassed Malone's 27-year-old single season record with his 45th goal, but now had his sights set on a record many thought unattainable - 50 goals in 50 games.

In fact, the night before, referee King Clancy had disallowed a Richard goal, preventing him from reaching the magic 50 goal mark.

During the first two periods, the Canadiens opponents that night, the Boston Bruins, kept a close watch on Richard, keeping him off the scoreboard for both the first and second periods, leaving the score tied at 1-1.

The Bruins gained the lead with a goal in the third, but with 2:15 to play in the final game of the season, Richard broke through and fired the puck past Bruins goaltender Harvey Bennett to become the first 50 goal scorer in National Hockey League history.

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Richard celebrates his 50 goals in 50 games

Despite his record setting goal total, Richard would come second in the NHL scoring race, as Canadiens teammate Elmer Lach would beat Richard to the scoring title by seven points, 80-73.

Fellow "Punch Line" member Toe Blake's 67 points meant, for only the second time ever, an entire line finished 1-2-3 in scoring, first accomplished in 1940 by Boston Bruins trio of Milt Schmidt (52 points), Bobby Bauer (43) and Woody Dumart (43) who were known as the "Kraut Line".

The Punch Line Pictures, Images and Photos
The "Punch Line" - Richard, Lach and Blake

In addition to scoring 50 goals in 50 games, another notable highlight of Richard's season would come on December 28, 1944, with five goals and three assists to set a new NHL single game scoring record with an eight point night at home against the Detroit Red Wings - this on a day he missed the morning skate after moving furniture into his new home and he had to convince coach Dick Irvin to put him into the lineup!

Richard would never duplicate 50 goals in the remaining 15 seasons of his career. The closest he would come would be 45 goals in 1947, a season expanded to a now 60 game schedule. Not even the 70 games played in 1949-50 would allow Richard to attain more than the 43 he scored that season for the third best of his career.

Richard would become the first to reach 500 goals in league history on October 19, 1957, aided in part by his leading the league in goal scoring on five separate occasions. Curiously, he never led the league in overall scoring as he came in second a tantalizing five times.

Even though Richard would bring the Stanley Cup to Montreal eight times, including a remarkable five in a row to finish out his career, his status as a legend was cemented early on when he became the first to reach 50 goals in 50 games in only his third season.

It would take another 16 years for any other player to duplicate Richard's 50 goals, when Bernie Geoffrion did it in 64 games in 1960-61, and not until Mike Bossy dramatically scored twice in the final five minutes of his 50th game of the 1980-81 season did anyone match Richard's feat of 50 in 50 some 35 years later.

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Mike Bossy poses with Maurice Richard
to celebrate Bossy's 50th goal in 50 games

Since that time, Wayne Gretzky achieved it three times, the first of which was accomplished in an amazing 39 games, as Gretzky scored nine times in two games to vault from 41 goals to the 50 mark. Additionally, Mario Lemeiux did it once and Brett Hull twice to join one of hockey's most exclusive clubs, which remains just five in number since 1992, now a span of 22 seasons and counting.

Today's featured jersey is a 1944-45 Montreal Canadiens Maurice Richard jersey. It's rare that we feature a jersey when we only have access to a photo of just one side, but we felt in the case of this historically significant sweater it was a no-brainer.

Careful examination of this Canadiens sweater will show that the red shoulder yoke takes a notch out of the blue arm band, most easily seen on the left sleeve. This variation began with the 1939-40 season and in 1941-42, the red, white and blue rounded collar changed to an all white lace-up collar, which would last through the 1946-47 season, after which the blue sleeve stripes would no longer have a bite taken out of them by the shoulder yoke.

Also noteworthy on this amazing sweater is the back-and-forth looping stitching on the number 9 on the back as seen in the lower photo.

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Here is a look back at Richard's 1944-45 season in which he became the first to score 50 goals in 50 games.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What if the Montreal Maroons Never Folded?

During the 1923-24 season the NHL consisted of just four member clubs, the Hamilton Tigers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and the Toronto St. Patricks. For the 1924-25 season, the league expanded by two when the Boston Bruins, the first club based in the United States, and the Montreal Maroons, were admitted to the league, the Maroons founded as a replacement team for the English speaking community in Montreal following the demise of the Montreal Wanderers who had folded four games into the inaugural 1917-18 NHL season when the Montreal Arena burnt down.

The 1924-25 Montreal Maroons

The Maroons were based out of the brand new Montreal Forum, which was built specifically for them, only to have their rival Montreal Canadiens take the honors of playing the first game in the new arena due to the poor ice conditions in their home rink, the Mount Royal Arena, which did not have the capability to produce artificial ice.

After finding their way through their first season with a 9-19-2 record, the second year Maroons went 20-11-5 to finish second in the league before defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the first place Ottawa Senators to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Victoria Cougars of the PCHA, who they defeated 3 games to 1 to capture the Stanley Cup in only their second season of play.

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The 1925-26 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons

Nine seasons later in 1935 they played for they swept the regular season champion Toronto Maple Leafs in three straight games to claim their second Stanley Cup championship, but despite their success, the Great Depression affected the Maroons and they finished with the lowest attendance in the league three years in a row, as the English community in Montreal was considerably smaller than the French community.

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The 1934-35 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons

By the time the 1937-38 season started, there were rumors the tam would be moving to a new city, but the club remained in Montreal and suffered through their worst year since their inaugural season, playing the final game in their history on this date in 1938, losing 6-3 to the Canadiens to finish 12-30-6, after 14 seasons and two championships.

But what if the Montreal Maroons had never folded?

We don't make a habit of posting NHL jersey concepts here at Third String Goalie since there are several websites that specialize in being the home for jersey concepts, and do a fine job of it, but  we came across a set of concepts unlike any we had ever seen before that really caught our eye for their creativity and sense of history.

The idea behind this set of concepts was "What if the Montreal Maroons had never folded?", which was proposed by John Baranowski, a member of the Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Community who goes by "hockey week".

Here is John's look at the history of the Montreal Maroons and would could have been - had they survived past 1938.

What if the Montreal Maroons never folded? Both Montreal franchises were owned by the same people, and as the depression wore on, they had to make a decision as to which team to keep. What if they found a partner to finance the team? This is a history of one of the NHL's Original Seven franchises.

First, I lift directly from nhluniforms.com, so that the entire history is present and you can see my thought process. These are not my images, but those of The Hockey Uniform Database: 
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Now here is where the real Maroons folded. Imagine if the team kept going. The following are my own images. 
1938-41 The Maroons follow the rest of the league and switch from the old leather-colored pants. They adopt black, considering it to be neutral and fitting.
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1941-45 Following the lead of the Detroit Red Wings, the team of Quebec's English-Canadians adopts the poppy flower of Flanders' Fields and the Union Jack, which was featured prominently on all Canadian WWII posters. Supporting the War Effort of the Crown became a major selling point.
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1945-48 As with all of the Original Seven teams, jersey tweaks happened often as new sets were bought. The Maroons would lose their white cuffs, as well as the serifs on the logo, when they lost their wartime patches.
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1948-49 With the Rangers dropping their front-numbered design, and the assurance that it would not be coming back, the Maroons ownership jumped on the idea. It would also be the first integration of black in the sweaters, though it did not turn out quite how the ownership wanted. 
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1949-53 The black would be better integrated in between the northwestern stripes on the sleeves. 
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1953-58 The last team to do so, the Maroons were forced to create a road white sweater. Though they had lasted so long with their unique color, television made a differentiation necessary. They would simply swap maroon for white in all cases. 
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1958-61 The Maroons get into a more classic groove, reaching into the past similar to what the Bruins were doing. The logos return, lace-ups are added, and the stripes on the white sweater change. 
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1961-72 White shoulders outlined by black, a unique trait to the NHL and beneficial for television, were added to the maroon sweaters. 
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1972-74 The Maroons obviously conform to the white-at-home and name-on-back rules. 
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1974-82 The Maroons go wild, similar to the Leafs and Rangers at the time, adopting shoulder stripes, but kept unique ideas with stripes-on-shoulder-stripes, and try out maroon pants. 
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1982-91 Following the weight of the 1980s, more black is integrated into the uniform, the pants go back to normal, and the whole thing is toned down just a little bit...just a little. 
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1991-92 The NHL's 75th Anniversary celebration inspires the Maroons to go back to the classics, along with new classic sweaters, a throwback to 1929 is used for games against the Original Seven teams, just as those teams did. 
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1992-95 The team keeps its classic look, but drops the alternate like the rest of the Original Seven.
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1995-96 The third jersey rocks the NHL, and the Maroons wouldn't be left out. They introduce a black jersey with multiple fades, diagonal lines, and a skewed logo. It was panned by the fans, and hated by the players. They quietly drop it after the season. 
 photo MontrealMaroons1995-96.jpg
1996-2002 The team drops the third jersey and keeps the classic look. 
 photo MontrealMaroons1996-2002.jpg
2002-07 Black-for-black's-sake is sweeping the league, and the Maroons give it a shot. A snazzy jersey, though not always appropriate for a team named "the Maroons", it sells well, and they use it until the Edge switchover. Also, lace-up collars are back in vogue, and the Maroons bring it back. 
 photo MontrealMaroons2002-2007.jpg
2007-10 The RBK Edge switchover takes the league, and the Maroons are rather apt to listen, just like the Leafs. They lose the hemline stripes, and add front numbers along the hem, as seen in past All-Star Games. 
 photo MontrealMaroons2007-10copy.jpg
2010-present The Maroons are noticing the league-wide cry for heritage, and are bringing back their usual look in the Edge format. 
 photo MontrealMaroons2010-.jpg
So there you have it, my historical look at the Montreal Maroons in an alternate history. I tried to follow what the Original Six teams did, because they followed a slightly different drummer than the rest of the fast-changing league. I used the NHL Uniforms template to keep it looking consistent and add a bit more believability to it.

Now that was a fun ride! We really like how John explains the changes in styles with an awareness of what other teams were actually doing as time passes.

Highlights for us are how he introduces a second sweater in 1953 due to the Maroons unique color, but we really love the beautiful 1958-61 jerseys.

He then hits the mark by bringing back the 1929 jersey as their Turn Back the Clock jersey for 1991-92 rather than creating something new, as all the Original 6 clubs revived an old sweater for the NHL's 75th Anniversary season. He also gets points for creating something odd for the arrival of the third jersey craze of the late 1990's, and even more points for dropping it quickly!

He's also spot on with his thoughts on the transition to the Edge jerseys of 2007, as horizontal stripes were on the outs with Reebok, only to have them return a short time later for a more traditional look.

Big thanks to John for letting us reprint his work and we hope you liked the trip through time with John's creativity as our guide.


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