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Friday, February 10, 2017

1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Russ Courtnall Jersey

Announcing his presence, Russ Courtnall showed is offensive skills with 36 goals and 61 assists for 97 points in 60 games for the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League during the 1982-83 season. This caught the attention of the NHL scouts, and he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 7th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.

This led to a busy 1983-84 season for Courtnall, as he played 32 games for the Cougars, scoring nearly a goal per game with 29. His 37 assists gave him 66 points, which gave him a 2 point per game average. At Chirstmas time, he played for Canada at the 1984 World Junior Championships, scoring at the same pace he did in junior hockey with 7 goals and 13 points in 7 games to lead Canada in scoring while placing fourth in the tournament. His back to back hat tricks earned him MVP honors for the Canadians.

Courtnall Cougars
Courtnall played two seasons with the Victoria Cougars
while wearing Cooperalls long pants

He then joined the Canadian National Team for 16 games in preparation for the 1984 Olympics. After scoring 11 points for the National Team, Courtnall, still just 18 years old, scored a goal and 4 points in 7 games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Courtnall, Kirk Muller, Dave Gagner and J. J. Daigneault became the first Canadian players to play in the World Juniors and Olympics in the same year.

Courtnall playing for Canada at the 1984 Olympics

Upon his return to North America, Courtnall joined the Toronto Maple Leafs and made his NHL debut with 14 games, scoring 3 goals and 12 points. Courtnall would go on to play six seasons for the Maple Leafs, highlighted by a 29 goal, 73 point season in 1986-87, which included 6 shorthanded goals, second in the league that season. He had two other 20 goal seasons with Toronto, but the Maple Leafs wanted him to play a tougher brand of hockey, which saw his offensive numbers decline in 1987-88 to 49 points.

Courtnall Maple Leafs
Courtnall played six seasons in Toronto

Just nine games into the 1988-89 season, the fast skating Courtnall was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for tough guy John Kordic and a 6th round draft choice. He became a fan favorite in Montreal due to his speed and stickhandling skills. In the 64 games after the trade, Courtnall scored 22 goals and 39 points before adding another 8 goals and 13 points in 21 playoff games as Montreal made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Over the next two seasons, Courtnall scored 27 goals and 59 points in 1989-90 before scoring 26 goals and setting a new personal best of 76 points in 1990-91.

After a seven year gap, Courtnall returned to the international stage for Canada after Montreal was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, playing in the 1991 World Championships where he scored a goal and 3 assists in two games and winning a silver medal.

Later that fall, Courtnall was named to the roster for Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup, playing in 8 games with 2 assists as Canada would win the tournament.

A torn rotator cuff in training camp in preparation for the 1991-92 season, followed by re-injuring it in an early October game kept him out of action until mid-January 1992. Shortly after returning, he missed another month after being slashed on the hand and limited him to just 27 games that season during which he scored 21 points. His relationship with Montreal soured over accusations about his willingness to play while hurt over the amount of time he missed.

Courtnall Canadiens
Courtnall in the Canadiens 19991-92 Turn Back the Clock
jersey worn during the NHL's 75th Anniversary season

All of that led to the Canadiens trading Courtnall to the Minnesota North Stars in August of 1992 for their final season in Minnesota. The change in scenery worked well for him, as he set a career high with 36 goals and set a new career best with 79 points, finishing second on the team to Mike Modano.

For the 1993-94 season, the North Stars relocated to Dallas and Courtnall moved with the club. While his goal total dropped by a third to 26, his 57 assists saw him set a career best of 80 points, again second on the team to Modano.

Courtnall Stars
Courtnall played for the Stars in both Minnesota and Dallas

Once the delayed 1994-95 season got underway, Courtnall played in 32 games for Dallas before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Greg Adams, Dan Kesa and a 5th round draft choice. His playmaking skills were on display once he arrived in Vancouver, registering 14 assists and 18 points in 13 games.

Courtnall Canucks
Brothers Russ and Geoff Courtnall were teammates in
Vancouver but only for 13 games late in the 1994-95 season

In 1995-96, Courtnall had his ninth 20 goal season with 26 goals on his way to 65 points, his sixth season of 60 or more. In 1996-97, he played 47 games with Vancouver, scoring 28 points before being traded once again, this time to the New York Rangers for the final 14 games of the 1996-97 season.

Courtnall Rangers
Photographic evidence of Courtnall's brief stay in New York

For the 1997-98 season, Courtnall signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent. He was limited by a hip injury to 58 games during his first season with the Kings.

Courtnall Kings 2
Courtnall during his first season in Los Angeles

His 1998-99 season was curtailed by a broken ankle, but he returned in time to play in his 1,000th career game on this date in 1999 against the Phoenix Coyotes, making Russ and his brother Geoff Courtnall the first brother combination to both play in 1,000 career NHL games.

Courtnall Kings 3
New jerseys arrived for Los Angeles for the 1998-99 season
when Courtnall played in his 1,000th NHL game

Courtnall retired after the 1998-99 season with 1,029 games played with 297 goals and 447 assists for 744 points as well as 39 goals and 83 points in 129 playoff games.

Geoff and Russ Courtnall and his mullet were the
first pair of brothers to each play in 1,000 NHL games

Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Los Angeles Kings Russ Courtnall jersey as worn the season Courtnall played in his 1,000th NHL game.

Bringing purple back to their color set, the Kings introduced this new jersey style for the 1998-99 season with the coat of arms cresting on their home white and road black jerseys. They introduced a purple alternate for the 1999-00 season with the secondary crown logo as the alternate's main crest. The white and black jerseys were used for four seasons and the purple alternate for three until all the logos were reversed starting in 2002-03, making the crown now the main logo on the white and black jerseys going forward, while the purple alternate now featured the coat of arms.

Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 F jersey
Los Angeles Kings 1998-99 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1993-94 Dallas Stars Russ Courtnall jersey as worn during the Stars first season in Texas when Courtnall set a career best with 80 points.

This style was worn by the North Stars for their final two seasons in Minnesota. After the move to Dallas, the Texas shaped secondary logos were added to the jerseys for their first season in Dallas. This exact style was worn for just one season before the green color was made darker, the world "DALLAS" was added above the word "STARS" on the crest, the waist striping became much thicker and the three color sleeve numbers were changed to two colors, white outlined in green, leaving this style with the state of Texas sleeve patches without the world Dallas in the crest as a one season only rarity.

Dallas Stars 1993-94 F jersey
Dallas Stars 1993-94 B jersey

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1996-97 Vancouver Canucks Russ Courtnall jersey. The Canucks changed their home jersey from yellow to white in 1989-90 and wore this style through the 1996-97 season.

Vancouver Canucks 1996-97 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra extra bonus jersey: Today's extra extra bonus jersey is a 1991 Team Canada Russ Courtnall jersey as worn during the 1991. Canada Cup, Courtnall's final international tournament, which was won by Canada.

Canada wore this style for all five editions, from 1976 through 1991.

Canada 1991 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section features a tribute video to Courtnall on teh occasion of his being inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1915-16 St. Paul Athletic Club Moose Goheen Jersey

One of the United States greatest players in hockey's early days, Frank "Moose" Goheen was born on this date in 1894.

Moose Goheen

In 1915-16 and 1916-17, Goheen, an early offensive minded defenseman, was a member of the St. Paul Athletic Club which won the MacNaughton Cup as champions of amateur hockey in the United States.

MacNaughton Cup
The MacNaughton Cup

After missing two seasons while serving in the army during World War I in Belgium and Germany, Goheen returned to the St. Paul Athletic Club in time to win a league championship in 1920. He then became a member of the very first United States Olympic Hockey Team later in 1920.

1920 US Olympic Team
Goheen was a member of the first United States Olympic Hockey Team in 1920

The United States began their tournament with a 7-0 win over Sweden. They followed that with a 16-0 defeat of Czechoslovakia before destroying Switzerland by a score of 29-0, setting up a showdown with Canada. The Canadians narrowly defeated the United States 2-1 which resulted in the Americans being awarded the silver medal. Goheen scored 7 goals in the four games played during his return to Belgium.

He was later named to the 1924 Olympic Team, but passed on the opportunity because of work commitments. He also reportedly passed on offers from the Boston Bruins, Montreal Maroons, New York Americans and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL in order to remain in Minnesota.

1922-23 St. Paul Athletic Club
The 1922-23 St. Paul Athletic Club

In 1922-23 and 1923-24, Goheen was again a member of the St. Paul Athletic Club in the United States Amateur Hockey Association before turning professional with the newly renamed St. Paul Saints when they became members of the CHL in 1925-26 where he led the club in scoring with 13 goals and 23 points in 36 games, an impressive feat for a defenseman.

Goheen SPAC 25-26
Goheen in 1925-26

St. Paul moved to the new American Hockey Association in 1926-27 and Goheen played with the Saints for the next four seasons, with a high of 19 goals and 24 points in 1927-28.

He played in just two games in 1930-31 with the Buffalo Majors before returning to the Saints in 1931-32 for the final season of his career. As a professional, Goheen scored 52 goals and 39 assists for 91 points in 187 games in seven seasons. His rushing style of play from his defense position would not be seen again until the arrival of Eddie Shore in the 1930's and later Bobby Orr in the 1960's.

Goheen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952, only the second American ever inducted into the hall and a rare inductee to have never played in the NHL. He was later honored as a charter member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.

Moose Goheen

Today's featured jersey is a 1915-16 St. Paul Athletic Club Moose Goheen jersey, as worn when St. Paul won the MacNaughton Cup that season as the United States Amateur Hockey Association's national champions.

St. Paul Athletic Club 1915-16 jersey

Jersey photo courtesy of VintageMinnesotaHockey.com, where you can purchase your own St. Paul Athletic Club jersey.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sam and Peter LoPresti - 1974-75 Minnesota North Stars Pete LoPresti Jersey

Minnesota native Sam LoPresti played for the St. Paul Saints of the minor league American Hockey Association for three seasons from 1937-38 to 1939-40, highlighted by his final season when he had a record of 29-18 with a 2.55 goals against average. The Saints then went on to beat the Omaha Knights in four games for the AHA championship as LoPresti went 6-1 with a 1.29 goals against during the playoffs.

1939-40 St Paul Saints team
The 1939-40 AHA champion St. Paul Saints
with LoPresti front and center

During the 1939-40 season, LoPresti impressed Chicago Black Hawks President Bill Tobin and Head Coach Paul Thompson during an exhibition game between the Saints and Black Hawks, who signed LoPresti for the 1940-41 season. He was first assigned to the Kansas City Americans, also of the AHA. In 18 games, he posted an 9-9 record before being recalled in January of 1941 when Chicago goaltender Paul Goodman retired.

LoPresti had a tie and three wins in his first four starts for the Black Hawks, but the going got rough the rest of the way as he went 6-15-2 the rest of the way, which included his first NHL shutout on February 27th, a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He also set an NHL record on March 4, 1940 that still stands today when he made 80 saves in a regulation 60 minute game in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. Of his record setting game, LoPresti recalled, "They were shooting from every angle and I didn't see half the shots. They were bouncing off my pads, chest protector, my arms, my shoulders. I didn't even know where they were coming from. I lost between eight and ten pounds that night."

Sam LoPresti Blackhawks
Sam LoPresti while with the Chicago Black Hawks

He played 47 games in 1941-42, with a 21-23-3 record with 3 shutouts but that was the end of his career as he enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. He was assigned to the SS Roger B. Taney, which protected ships as they crossed the Atlantic. The Taney was torpedoed and sunk in February of 1943 and LoPresti was listed as missing in action, thought to be a casualty.

However, as the Taney sank, LoPresti and 25 other men abandoned the ship and sought safety on rafts. The next morning, those on the rafts were picked up by the #4 lifeboat, but with minimal food or water. The lifeboat then made a nearly 2,500 mile voyage to the South American coast. LoPresti in particular was credited with saving the men's lives by fashioning a weapon by lashing a knife to a boat hook. He then dove into the water and was able to catch a 35 pound dolphin, which provided blood to drink and meat, which they cooked in a metal bucket with a fire made of rags and kerosene. The men were finally rescued off of the coast of Brazil 42 days after their ship sank. LoPresti had lost 55 pounds during the time he was lost at sea.

After he returned from the war, LoPresti played. for the San Diego Skyhawks of the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1943-44 and 1944-45. He then returned to Minnesota and continued to play senior hockey with the Duluth Coolerators, Duluth Steelers and finally the Eveleth Rangers. LoPresti was a charter member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.

Sam married his wife Carol in 1941 and they had a son, Pete LoPresti, who was born on May 23, 1954. Pete became a goaltender like his father, and attended the University of Denver in 1972-73, getting into four games before becoming their starter in 1973-74 when his workload increased to 38 games, winning 22.

LoPresti Pioneers 2
Lopresti in goal for the Pioneers

He turned pro the following season with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, playing in 11 games prior to making his NHL debut with the Minnesota North Stars, where he split time with incumbent Cesare Maniago. It was a baptism by fire, as the North Stars were at a low point in their history, finishing below 70 points for the second of six consecutive seasons, all while trying to fend off competition from the cross-town WHA Minnesota Fighting Saints.

LoPresti North Stars, LoPresti North Stars
LoPresti made his NHL debut in 1974-75
the last season for this jersey style

On this date in 1975, rookie LoPresti earned his first career shutout, a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, making Peter and his father Sam not only the first father/son duo to ever play in the NHL, but also the first father/son combo to each record a shutout in the NHL. LoPresti ended his rookie season with a 9-20-3 record in 35 games, essentially the same as veteran Maniago.

Pete-LoPresti card fact
Sam and Peter LoPresti were the first father/son goaltending combo
in NHL history and the first pair to also record an NHL shutout

His second season with the North Stars was equally as trying, as he finished 7-22-1. With Minnesota failing to qualify for the playoffs, LoPresti was tabbed to join the United States for the 1976 World Championships in Poland. There, the US finished 3-3-1 in the First Round, thanks to wins over Sweden, Poland and West Germany and a tie with Finland. That was good enough for fourth place out of eight and a spot in the Final Round, eventually finishing fourth.

Before the next NHL season could begin, a new competition made it's debut and LoPresti was again called upon by the United States, along side fellow Minnesotan Mike Curran, to take part in the 1976 Canada Cup, which hoped to capitalize on the success of the 1972 Summit Series.

LoPresti USA 2
LoPresti defending the American goal against
Gilbert Perreault of Canada during the 1976 Canada Cup

For the 1976-77 season, Maniago was gone, and in his place arrived new goaltending partner Gary Smith. The North Stars improved from 47 to 64 points in the standings, which allowed LoPresti to set a career high with 13 wins in 44 games. The North Stars qualified for the playoffs for the only time during his tenure with the team, but were quickly ousted in two games.

 LoPresti North Stars 2

He would attain clear #1 status for the 1977-78 season, playing in 53 games with now Paul Harrison backing him up, but the unsettled North Stars would go through a series of three head coaches while stumbling to a last place finish as LoPresti won 12 times.

LoPresti North Stars, LoPresti North Stars

With the North Stars again missing out on the playoffs, he was off to Czechoslovakia for the 1978 World Championships. LoPresti started nine of ten games for the Americans, including wins over East Germany and Finland.

LoPresti USA, LoPresti USA
Peter played for the United States on three occasions

Huge changes were in store for the North Stars in 1978-79, who had now added several top draft picks as well as the unprecedented merger with the Cleveland Barons, which saw the arrival of established number one goaltender Gilles Meloche and his Barons backup and 10-year veteran Gary Edwards, which not only limited LoPresti to just 7 starts, but also relegated him to the minors with the Oklahoma City Stars for the bulk of the season, where his winning record of 16-15 was his first since college.

LoPresti North Stars Orr Boston
LoPresti defending against Bobby Orr of Boston

He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1979 Expansion Draft, but when he failed to make the Oilers roster following training camp, he retired but returned for the 1980-81 season, playing in 2 games for the Oilers as part of their revolving door in goal, which saw Andy Moog (7 games), former North Stars teammate Edwards (15), Ron Low (24) and Eddie Mio (43) all see time goal.

LoPresti Oilers 2
LoPresti played two games for the Oilers

The majority of his season was spent playing 36 games for the Wichita Wind in the Central Hockey League before retiring for good after a career unfortunately saddled with bad luck, including once having an easy save bust through his goalie stick and into the net for the game winning goal, and bad timing, having been on some very dismal teams during his six years in the NHL and failing to stick with the Oilers, who were on the verge of a dynasty.

Today's featured jersey is a 1974-75 Minnesota North Stars Pete LoPresti jersey as worn during his rookie season when he and his father Sam became not only the first father/son duo in NHL history, but also the first to each record a shutout as well.

The North Stars joined the NHL for the 1967-68 season wearing green jerseys with wide white waist and arm stripes with narrow gold trim. For their second season of 1968-69, a white shoulder yoke was added and the jerseys then remained unchanged through the 1974-75 season.

 Minnesota North Stars 1974-75 F jersey
Minnesota North Stars 1974-75 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1976 United States National Team Pete LoPresti jersey as created for the 1976 Canada Cup. This amazing jersey with it's fully chain stitched crest and sewn on names, numbers and shoulder stars was actually only used in the pre-tournament games by the Americans, as the players complaints about the weight of he heavy dureen fabric and how hot the sweaters were, especially in the late summer heat of late August, led to the USA wearing mesh jerseys with screened on graphics for the actual tournament games, a far cry from the outstanding workmanship which went into today's featured jersey.

This would be the only appearance of this style jersey, as the Americans reverted back to their standard jerseys for the 1977 World Championships.

USA 1976 Canada Cup jersey, USA 1976 Canada Cup jersey
USA 1976 Canada Cup jersey, USA 1976 Canada Cup jersey

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1976 United States National Team Pete LoPresti jersey as worn during the 1976 World Championships in the spring prior to the 1976 Canada Cup. This style was a carry over in look of the United States jerseys which date back to the late 1960's, illustrating what a radical design today's featured 1976 Canada Cup jersey was, obviously inspired by the nation's Bicentennial celebrations, which had occupied the minds of all Americans that year.

USA 1976 World Championships jersey, USA 1976 World Championships jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video selection is the United States taking on Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup with LoPresti in goal while wearing today's featured style jersey.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Case for the Washington Capitals Retiring Peter Bondra's #12

Think of this biography of Peter Bonda as an open letter to the Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in an effort to get the club to finally honor Bondra with the long overdue tribute of having his number retired by the Capitals.


Bondra was born on this date in 1968 in Lutsk, Ukraine in the Soviet Union after his Czechoslovkain father had moved there as a teenager. When Bondra was three years old, the family moved back to Poprad, Czechoslovakia where he father had originally come from.

Bondra played one season in the lower divisions of the Czech system for HK Poprad before transferring to VSZ Kosice in the First Division at age 18 during the 1986-87 season, where he joined his older brother Juraj Bondra, a defenseman who had already won a title the previous year.

After scoring just 4 goals and 9 points in 32 games of his first season, Bondra impressed with 27 goals and 38 points in 45 games in 1987-88. The team would go on to win the Czechoslovakian championship that season with both Bondra brothers on the roster.

Bondra Kosice
Peter Bondra started his career with VSZ Kosice

Bondra would continue to progress, scoring 30 goals and 40 points in 1988-89 before raising his totals to 36 goals and 55 points in 49 games of the 1989-90 season, leading the team in scoring both seasons.

This earned him the attention of NHL scouts, which led to his being drafted by the Washington Capitals, who drafted him in the 8th round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

He immediately made the move to North America for the 1990-91 season, making the Capitals roster on his first attempt without having to play any games in the minors, as many Europeans often did to get used to the harder hitting game played on smaller ice while assimilating to the change in culture.

Bondra Capitals young
A young Bondra during his rookie season

As a rookie, Bondra played in 54 games, scoring 12 goals and 28 points. The following season he saw action in 71 games while raising his point totals to 28 goals and 28 assists, with both categories equaling his point total from the year prior, which allowed him to double his point total to 56.

Bondra really found his stride in 1992-93, scoring 37 goals and adding 48 assists for 85 points to lead the team in scoring for the first time. That season, he also made his first NHL All-Star Game appearance in recognition of his fine season.

Bondra All-Star
Bondra appeared in his first of five All-Star Games in 1993

He was limited by injuries to 69 games in 1993-94, which limited his point totals to 24 goals and 43 points.

Bondra Capitals photo Bondra Capitals 2.jpg
Bondra jumps over the boards during the 1993-94 season

Despite being limited 24 goals that season, he had a career night on February 5, 1994 when he joined an exclusive club when he scored 5 goals in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bondra also set two NHL records that night, tying the mark for the Most Goals in a Period with 4 and setting the mark for the Fastest Four Goals, which required just 4:12.

Bondra Capitals photo Bondra Capitals 1.jpg
Peter Bondra versus the Tampa Bay Lightning

Also during 1994, Bondra changed his citizenship to Slovakian, having come to the United States as a citizen of the Soviet Union in 1990. That allowed him to make his first international appearances, taking part in four games of Olympic Qualifying play for Slovakia.

Bondra Slovakia 1
Bondra in the rarely seen early Slovakia jersey

The start of the NHL season was delayed due to labor issues, but once the season started, Bondra struck for 34 goals in 47 games. Despite having just 9 assists, Bondra's 43 points were enough to lead the Capitals in scoring for the second time. His 34 goals led the NHL, two ahead of Jaromir Jagr's 32.

In 1995-96, Bondra set a career high with 52 goals, just missing out on leading the team in points with 80 to teammate Michal Pivonka's 81. Bondra's 52 goals were 29 more than teammate Steve Konowalcuk's 23. He also appeared in his second All-Star Game, the first of four consecutive appearances. Of note, his 52 goals came in only 67 games for Washington, as Bondra missed the start of the season due to a contract hold out, which resulted in him (and holdout teammate Pivonka) playing in 7 games for the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League, the only minor league games of his career. In those seven games, Bondra scored 8 times.

Bondra Vipers
Bondra duirng his brief stint with the Vipers

That fall, Bondra again suited up for Slovakia, this time at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where he scored 3 goals in 3 games.

Bondra Slovakia 1996
Bondra during the 1996 World Cup

For the 1996-97 season, he once again led the Capitals in scoring with 46 goals and 77 points, which was 29 goals more than Konowalchuk's 17 and 31 points ahead of Dale Hunter's 46. Washington missed the playoffs that season, ending a run of six straight postseason appearances by the Capitals to start Bondra's NHL career.

Washington revamped it's roster for the 1997-98 season, but Bondra still was able to lead the team in scoring for the fourth time as he equaled his career high with 52 goals on his way to 78 points, just 2 points ahead of Adam Oates. Bondra's 52 goals again led the NHL, tying him with Teemu Selanne and 1 ahead of Pavel Bure and John LeClair at 51.

Bondra Capitals photo BondraCapitals.jpg
Bondra led the league with a career best 52 goals in 1997-98

The 1997-98 season was the first where the NHL took a break from its schedule in February to allow its best players to compete for their home countries at the Olympics. Bondra played in two games for the Slovaks in the Preliminary Round, scoring a goal while amassing an eyebrow raising 25 penalty minutes!

In the postseason, the Capitals, who had only advanced past the second round of the playoffs once in their previous 23 seasons, defeated the Boston Bruins in 6 games, the Ottawa Senators in 5 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals by eliminating the Buffalo Sabres in 6 where they lost in four straight to the defending champion Detroit Red Wings. Bondra tied for the team lead with 7 goals after playing in 17 of the team's 21 playoff games.

Bondra Capitals 2
Bondra made his only Stanley Cup Finals in 1998

He would play in 66 games in 1998-99, scoring 31 goals and 55 points to lead the team in scoring for the fifth time despite missing 16 games that season. He had a difficult 1999-00 season when he scored 21 goals and 38 points in 62 games.

The 2000-01 season saw Bondra rebound nicely with a 45 goal, 81 point year while playing in all 82 games for Washington, just missing out on leading the club in scoring by a single point to Oates.

Bondra led the Capitals in scoring five times

Bondra again came second in team scoring in 2001-02 to the newly arrived Jagr, but led the team in goals with 39 to go with his 31 assists for 70 points. Following the season, Bondra competed for Slovakia in the first World Championships of his career, where the Slovakians stunned the hockey world by winning gold over Russia. Bondra had an outstanding tournament, scoring 7 goals and 9 points in 9 games, including the game winning goal in the final with less than two minutes remaining.

Bondra Slovakia 2
Bondra celebrating with the World Championship trophy in 2002

In 2002-03 Bondra had his ninth season of 30 goals or more when he had exactly 30 as part of a 56 point season. After the conclusion of the NHL season, he returned to the World Championships with Slovakia, scoring 3 goals and 5 points in 8 games on his way to earning a bronze medal.

In 2003-04, his 14th season in Washington, he had 21 goals and 35 points in 54 games but was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Brooks Laich and a second round draft pick in a salary cutting move by the Capitals, who had already dealt away Jagr, and finished in the bottom two of the NHL that season. Bondra played 23 games in Ottawa, scoring 5 goals and 14 points.

Bondra Senators 1
Bondra during his brief time with the Senators

Internationally, Bondra was named to the Slovakia roster for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, but was unable to appear in any games due to an injury.

The 2004-05 NHL season was never played due to a lockout of the players by the owners. Many NHL players chose to play in the top European leagues to keep busy and in shape in case there was a resolution to the labor problems. While Bondra did suit up for his childhood hometown Poprad HK SKP, it was only for 6 games. While with HK SKP, he did score 4 goals and 6 points.

For the 2005-06 season, Bondra signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. He played in 60 games for Atlanta and scored 21 goals, his 14th season of 20 goals or more in this then 15th year in the NHL. He also contributed 18 assists for 39 points.

Bondra Thrashers
Bondra with the Thrashers in 2005-06

Also during the 2005-06 season, Bondra competed in his second Olympics for Slovakia, scoring 4 goals in 6 games in Torino, Italy.

Bondra Slovakia 4
Bondra celebrates a goal during the 2006 Olympics

A free agent once more, he signed to play the 2006-07 season with the Chicago Blackhawks. While he only saw action in just 37 games for Chicago, on December 22, 2006, Bondra knocked a rebound of a point shot by Janssen Cullimore past Toronto goaltender Jean-Sebasstien Aubin on a power play to score the 500th goal of his career.

Bondra Blackhawks 1
Bondra scored his 500th NHL goal with the Blackhawks

His final NHL totals were 503 goals and 389 assists for 892 points in 1,081games played. Additionally, he scored another 30 goals and 26 assists for 56 points in 80 playoff games.

Internationally, Bondra scored 18 goals and 22 points in 28 games while winning World Championship gold and bronze medals for Slovakia. In 2016, Bondra was named to the IIHF Hall of Fame.

Bondra was named to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2016

Bondra ranks second in games played for Washington with 961, was first in goals (472), points (825), power play goals (137) and game winning goals (73) at the time of his trade to Ottawa and is currently second to Alexander Ovechkin in those four categories. He is still first in Capitals history with 32 shorthanded goals and 19 hat tricks and is third in longevity for Washington with 14 seasons played.

Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey as worn during his record setting five goal game on this date in 1994 when he set the NHL record for the Fastest Four Goals in NHL history.

The Capitals wore their star-spangled jerseys from their inception in 1974-75 through the 1994-95 season. They brought back their original white jersey for the 2011 Winter Classic, the annual NHL outdoor game held on New Year's Day. They would wear the throwback white version as their third jersey for four seasons until changing to the red version as their alternate for the 2015-16 season.

Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey photo Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey.jpg
Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey photo Washington Capitals 93-94 B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995-96 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey as worn during his career best season of 52 goals in 1995-96.

The Capitals had adopted this style of jersey, often referred to as "the screaming eagle" style that season after 21 seasons wearing their original red, white and blue jerseys. This style remained in use through the 1999-00 season until being dropped by the team in favor of its black alternate jersey.

 Washington Capitals 1995-96 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey as worn during his four goal performance as a part of the Capitals record setting 9 goal scoring binge in a span of 11:32 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 3, 1999.

The Capitals had adopted this style of jersey, often referred to as "the screaming eagle" style in 1995 after 21 seasons wearing their original red, white and blue jerseys. This white style remained in use through the 2006-07 season before a complete redesign in 2007 coinciding with the new Reebok Edge jerseys saw a return to patriotic red, white and blue colors.

Washington Capitals 98-99 jersey
Washington Capitals 98-99 jersey

Extra extra bonus jersey: Today's extra extra bonus jersey is a 1999-00 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey. The Capitals comprehensively rebranded themselves in 1995 when they introduced an entirely new color scheme and logo, replacing their original red, white and blue colors with blue, bronze and black. Two seasons later in 1997-98, Washington debuted a new third jersey, which promoted their secondary logo to the front of their new black jersey. Note the arched treatment for the name on the back, which also employed a single white outline to encapsulate the entire name.

1999-00 was the final season of use as an alternate, notable for the NHL 2000 patch worn by all the players that season. For the 2000-01 season, this jersey was promoted to the Capitals primary road jersey, replacing the blue road jersey with the black jersey, which saw the names on the back become straight across and each letter now separate from the others from 2000-01 to 2006-07.

photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra extra extra bonus jersey: Today's extra extra extra bonus jersey is a 2002 Slovakia National Team Peter Bondra jersey as worn during Slovakia's stunning World Championship, less than ten years after becoming an independent nation following the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and being forced to start at the lower depths of the IIHF ladder system in Pool C.

Slovakia 2002 WC jersey photo Slovakia 2002 WC F.jpg
Slovakia 2002 WC jersey photo Slovakia 2002 WC B.jpg

Today's video section is highlights of Bondra's five goal performance, which includes his record setting four first period goals.

Next is video of Bondra's 500th NHL career goal while he was a member of the Blackhawks.

Finally, here are highlights of Slovakia winning the World Championship, with Bondra scoring the clinching goal in the gold medal game.


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