Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Viktor Tikhonov

One of hockey history's most successful, respected and feared coaches, Viktor Tikhonov, passed away yesterday at the age of 84.

Tikhonov's own playing career began in 1949 with VVS Moscow, the hockey club of the Soviet Air Force, under the guidance of Soviet hockey innovator Anatoli Tarasov. He later moved to Dynamo Moscow in 1953-54, where he played for ten seasons, eventually finishing his career with 35 goals in 296 games played, four consecutive Soviet League championships (3 with VVS 1951-1953 and 1 with Dynamo in 1954) and a USSR Cup in 1952 with VVS.

After the end of his playing days, he became an assistant coach with Dynamo Moscow in 1964 and later became a head coach with Dynamo Riga. He was later named head coach of the powerful CSKA Moscow (Central Red Army) in 1977. Along with those duties also came the position as head coach of the Soviet National Team, as the vast majority of the national team was made up of players from CSKA.

Tikhonov Dynamo Riga, Tikhonov Dynamo Riga
Dynamo Riga and young head coach Viktor Tikhonov

His success was immediate, as he led CSKA to a Soviet Championship League title in his first season. Following the domestic championship, Tikhonov guided the Soviet Union to the 1978 World Championship, setting the tone for what would become a historical run of success unequalled by any coach in hockey history.

With CSKA's unparalleled ability to choose nearly at will any player it desired from other clubs, by "drafting" them into military service and then assigning them to report to duty with the army' s hockey club, CSKA was essentially a perpetual Soviet National All-Star Team competing in a domestic league. This obvious advantage led to CSKA winning 12 consecutive Soviet Championship League titles under Tikhonov's reign. Additionally, CSKA would win the Soviet Cup in 1977, 1979 and 1988, the European Cup 14 times in 1976 and 1978-1990 and the Spengler Cup in 1991.

Tikhonov, Tikhonov

Additionally, the World Championship gold medal was nearly an annual right, as the Soviets were successful in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1990 - 8 out of a possible 10 times, with a silver medal in 1987 and a bronze in 1985, making for 12 out of 12 placings in the medals.

During that period of time, the World Championships were not held during Olympic years, and the Soviet Union came home with a sliver medal in 1980, followed by gold medals in both 1984 and 1988. In 1984, the Soviet Union went undefeated in seven games with 48 goals for an 5 against, while 1988 saw them finish 7-1 with 45 goals for and 13 against.

Soviet Union 1984 Olympics, Soviet Union 1984 Olympics
The undefeated 1984 Olympic gold medal winning Soviet National Team

Other international success included soundly defeating the NHL All-Stars in the 1979 Challenge Cup and capturing the 1981 Canada Cup tournament, the only nation to defeat the Canadians in five tries.

CCCP 1981 Canada Cup, CCCP 1981 Canada Cup
Viktor Zhluktov celebrates after the Soviet Union’s
shocking 8-1 win in the 1981 Canada Cup final

Despite the success of his teams, he was an unpopular figure with his players, as he was an absolute iron-fisted dictator, controlling not only the player's on the ice, but their personal lives as well, confining them to barracks away from their wives and families for intensive training 10 or 11 months out of the year.

This eventually led to friction followed by an open revolt by stars Igor Larionov and Viacheslav Fetisov in 1991, as they desired more personal freedom and the opportunity to sign a contract to play in the NHL in particular. Eventually the political and economic changes in the Soviet Union resulted in the national federation allowing players to leave for the NHL, with their incentive being a portion of the proceeds from the player's contracts proving too lucrative to pass up, despite Tikhonov's desire to keep the national team intact.

Tikhonov, Tikhonov

"In the past, players stuck it out with the national team for 10 years," Tikhonov told the Toronto Sun in September 1991. "I will have to replace the departed players with juniors and they'll stay with me until they are 23 or 24, before they leave. I'm trying my best to keep the 18- and 19-year-olds from jumping to Scandinavia, Central Europe, or North America. I don't want the drain on our talent to continue, because we won't have a national team at all."

Once players began to receive permission to leave for North America, Tikhonov's obvious advantage in compiling the CSKA roster deteriorated and no more domestic titles would be forthcoming in his remaining years as CSKA coach through 1996. The strength of the National Team had also diminished, as players such as Alexander Mogilny had been lost to defection and Tikhonov did not allow players drafted by NHL clubs, such as Pavel Bure, Valeri Zelepukin, Evgeny Davydov and Vladimir Konstantinov to compete in the 1991 Canada Cup for fear of them defecting to the west as well, which led to a dismal 1-3-1 record to close out the history of the Soviet Union National Team on a down note.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in December of 1991, Tikhonov guided the Unified Team to gold at the 1992 Olympics, the final great triumph of his long and successful career.

Unified Team celebrates, Unified Team celebrates

"This is the kind of joy I haven't experienced in a long time." He explained that he had mellowed, recognizing the need for a new approach to lure NHL and European stars to play for the Unified Team. "We had a lot of new players and we didn't know them very well," Tikhonov said after the Games. "We lost a lot of good players. In order to get fresh players, the coaches had to review our approach."

Tikhonov would return for the 1994 Olympics after relinquishing his duties as coach at the World Championships, guiding Russia to the Final Round playoffs and an eventual 4th place finish.

In addition to the many, many honors and awards he would receive in the Soviet Union and later Russia, including the prestigious Order of Lenin, Tikhonov would be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998. Later, when the IIHF named it's Centennial All-Star Team, four the six players named, Vladislav Tretiak, Fetisov, Valeri Kharlamov and Makarov, all had played for CSKA and the Soviet Union under Tikhonov during their careers.

Tikhonov, Tikhonov
Tikhonov receiving the Order of Friendship in 2010

Today's featured jersey is a 1981 Soviet Union National Team Sergei Makarov jersey as worn during the 1981 Canada Cup. While the Soviet Union was used to having it's way at the World Championships and the Olympics, the Canada Cup was the one time where each country could send it's best players regardless of their amateur or professional status, which benefitted Canada more than any other country.

The Soviet Union had opened it's tournament with a 1-1 tie against their rivals from Czechoslovakia and received a sound 7-3 thumping at the hands of Canada in the Round Robin portion of the tournament, knowing that both countries had already qualified for the playoffs. The Soviets then downed the Czechs 4-1 in the Semifinals and stunned Canada 8-1 in the finals, scoring the last seven goals of the contest after the game was tied at 1-1 eight minutes into the second period.

This style of Soviet jersey with the diamond shapes around the waist was used from 1977 until 1983, including gold medals at the World Championships in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983, the 1981 Canada Cup, the 1979 Challenge Cup vs. the NHL All-Stars and most famously, a silver medal at the 1980 Olympics.

Soviet Union 1981 jersey, Soviet Union 1981 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992 Unified Team Andrei Kovalenko jersey as used in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, Tikhonov's final great success of his coaching career.

With the upheaval of the political situation in the Soviet Union in 1991, there was little time to sort out what kind of identity the brand new team made up of six of the 15 former Soviet republics would compete with. Mind you, the Unified Team was not the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Team, which was comprised 12 of the 15 Soviet republics and acted more like an association similar to the European Union, rather than a country, such as the Soviet Union had.

The Unified Team competed under the Olympic flag, and with just five weeks before the games were to commence, the jersey supplier to all the Olympic teams, Tackla of Finland, made up a set of the usual Soviet Union jerseys, only without the "CCCP" lettering across the chest. Note they did not even continue or even alter the chest stripes, which were still notched on the left hand side for the curvature of the "P"!

This was the one and only appearance for these stop-gap jerseys, as Russia competed in a new set of jerseys in time for the 1992 World Championships two months later in April with"Россия" now across the front in rushed, simple one color block letters rather than the fancier two color, drop shadowed letters used during the 1991 season prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Russia 1992 Olympics Unified Team
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1988-89 CSKA Moscow Alexander Mogilny jersey from Red Army's 13th consecutive Soviet Championship League title under Tikhonov just weeks prior to Mogilny defecting to the west. Mogilny's departure in early May after that year's World Championships in Sweden, effectively marked the end of an era for Tikhnov and the supremacy of CSKA, as prior to the following season Fetisov, Larionov and Vladimir Krutov left the Soviet Union with permission of the authorities to play in the NHL, brining to a close their unparalleled streak of championship dominance.

CSKA Red Army 88-89 jersey, CSKA Red Army 88-89 jersey
CSKA Red Army 88-89 jersey, CSKA Red Army 88-89 jersey

Today's video section begins with highlights of the final game of the 1981 Canada Cup tournament.

Our next video selection is the gold medal game from the 1992 Olympics, as the Unified Team, wearing their jerseys without any national identity, captures the gold medal against Canada, followed by a brief clip of the medal ceremony.

For those of you with the time, here is a half hour interview with Tikhonov on the occasion of the Russian's first World Championship victory in 15 years in 2008, which features his long standing view on team play over individual talent and his thoughts on many other topics.

It requires some concentration to listen to the translator over the original Russian language in the background, but is a rare chance for North Americans to hear his experience come through in his own words.



Monday, November 24, 2014

1963-64 Boston Bruins Eddie Johnston Jersey

After playing junior hockey for the Montreal Jr. Royals, Trois-Rivieres Reds and Montreal Jr. Canadiens from 1953-54 to 1955-56, goaltender Eddie Johnston spent the next few seasons honing his craft as he worked his way up the ladder with stops with the Winnipeg Warriors of the WHL in 1956-57, the Shawinigan Cataracts of the QHL in 1957-58, the Edmonton Flyers back in the WHL in 1958-59, the Johnstown Jets of the EHL in 1959-60, the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens of the EPHL in 1960-61 where he posted a 41-20-9 record and finally the Spokane Comets again in the WHL in 1961-62 where Johnston racked up another 37 wins to show he was now ready for the NHL.

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Eddie Johnston of the Johnstown Jets in 1959-60

That move came for the 1962-63 season when Johnston, born on this date in 1935, claimed one of the rare and coveted spots as a goaltender in the six team NHL. Unfortunately, the Bruins were in the throws of a down period. Starting in 1960-61, Boston would win just 15 games out of a 70 game schedule the two seasons prior to Johnston's arrival. The low point proved to be his rookie season with just 14 wins (11 of those for Johnston) followed by a mere 18 as a team in 1963-64 with Johnston getting all 18 as he played every one of the 70 games for the Bruins, the last goalie to play in every one of his team's games, as was the norm at one time.

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Eddie Johnston, the last goalie to play every one of his team's games

After splitting time with Jack Norris in 1964-65, rookie Bernie Parent arrived in Boston for 1965-66 and took the majority of the games with 39, as well as the arrival of another NHL debutant, Gerry Cheevers, who was in the nets for 7 games. Johnston was in goal for 10 of the Bruins 21 wins in 33 appearances.

Johnston Bruins photo JohnstonBruins2.jpg

Johnston once more was the lead goaltender in 1966-67 with 34 games played, ahead of Cheevers  22 and Parent's 16, but the Bruins were once again the league's doormats with just 17 wins from 70 games, missing out on the playoffs for the eighth straight season, a dismal effort considering four of the league's six teams made the playoffs each year. But signs of change were in the air in Boston, as 1966-67 saw the arrival of game changer Bobby Orr, who caused Johnston to become one of the last goalies to wear a facemask after hitting him in the face with a shot during warmups.

Orr Johnston photo OrrJohnston.jpg
The arrival of Bobby Orr started a new era for Johnston and the Bruins

In a blockbuster trade prior to the 1967-68 season, the Bruins dealt Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin, and Norris to the Chicago Black Hawks for Fred Stanfield, Ken Hodge and Phil Esposito, whom immediately led the team in scoring six of the next seven seasons, finishing second to Orr in 1970 and 1975. Armed with this revamped lineup, Johnston's 11 wins in 28 games surpassed his 8 wins in 43 starts from the year before. The Bruins jumped up from 17 wins to 37 and a 40 point rise in the standings, no doubt aided by not only the new additions to the lineup, but also the expansion of the NHL from just six clubs to now 12, which allowed Boston to add to their win totals against the newcomers who were still finding their sea legs in the rocky waters of their first seasons in the NHL.

Johnston raised his win total to 14 but in four less games in 1968-69 as the Bruins continued their ascent up the standings. He also made his long awaited first playoff appearance of his career that season as well.

With the NHL season now up to 76 games, Johnston saw action in 37 games, nearly splitting time evenly with Cheevers, who appeared in 41. Johnston finished the year with a 16-9-11 mark and added another playoff win in two postseason games as the Bruins long march from the depths of the standings was completed with the team's first Stanley Cup championship since 1941.

Bucyk 300 goals photo Bucyk300JohnstonOrr1969.jpg
In a hilarious photo from 1970, Johnny Bucyk poses with goaltender Eddie Johnston and Bobby Orr as they pose with pucks indicating their career goal totals, Bucyk having just reached 300, Johnston still stuck at zero and Orr at 78!

1970-71 saw Johnston set an NHL career high with 30 wins, more than twice the number of wins the Bruins managed as at team in his early years with the club! His final record of 30-6-2 helped Boston to the best overall record in the league that season, but a hard fought first round, 7 game playoff loss to the rival Montreal Canadiens ended the Bruins season early.

Johnston Bruins photo JohnstonBruins4.jpg
Johnston during his mask wearing era

In 1971-72, he again split time almost evenly with Cheevers, and in 38 games finished with a 27-8-3 mark as the Bruins once again finished with the league's best record. Unlike in previous seasons however, Johnston and Cheevers split the starts in the playoffs, with Johnston going 6-1 with a shutout in 7 appearances as Boston claimed it's second Stanley Cup in three years.

While he did not see any action in the eight games of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, Johnston was a part of the roster and did appear in some of the team's exhibition games.

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Johnston wearing the maple leaf of Canada in 1972

Even greater changes to the world of hockey were in store for 1972-73, as Cheevers bolted for the upstart World Hockey Association, leaving the veteran Johnston the clear number one in net for the Bruins. He played in 45 games, going 24-17-1 as three others shared the 38 appearances.

One of the goaltenders who shared those 38 games for the Bruins was the legendary Jacques Plante, whom Boston acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for future considerations in 1973, which turned out to be Johnston, who was sent to Toronto after the conclusion of the season, ending his 11 year run in Boston.

After one 12-9-4 season with the Maple Leafs, Johnston was again on the move, this time to the St. Louis Blues in time for the 1974-75 season. There, he capably backed up John Davidson for one season until becoming the Blues primary goaltender for 1975-76, tying for he Blues lead in wins with Yves Belanger with 11. 1976-77 again saw Johnston as the number one, with his 38 starts leading Ed Staniowsk's 29.

Johnston Blues photo JohnstonBlues.jpg
Johnston spent several seasons with the Blues

Johnston's carer began to wind down at this point, as five goalies shared time in the crease for St. Louis,  with Johnston limited to just 12 games, but a respectable 5-6-1 mark considering the Blues 20-47-13 record. In January of that year, Johnston was sold by the Blues to the Black Hawks, with whom he would play the final four games of his career before retiring at the conclusion of the season at the age of 42.

Johnston would finish his career with 592 games played, 234 wins and 257 losses and 80 ties with a career 3.24 goals against average, a nice recovery when you take into account the first five seasons he spent with the then-lowly Bruins had him at 58-139-11 - a full 81 games under .500, more than a full season's worth of games at the time!

Following his playing days, Johnston became a head coach, first for the New Brunswick Hawks of the AHL in 1978 before returning to the NHL behind the bench of first the Chicago Blackhawks in 1979 before taking over as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1980-81 to 1982-83. He was then the General Manager of the Penguins from 1983 to 1988, which included drafting Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux.

Johnston Lemieux photo JohnstonLemieux.jpeg
Johnston with his draft pick Mario Lemieux

He then became the GM of the Hartford Whalers from 1989 to 1992. He then returned to Pittsburgh as their head coach from 1993 through the 1996-97 season. He would then remain with the Penguins as an assistant GM and then a senior advisor before retiring in 2009 after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in his 26th year with the Pittsburgh organization.

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Johnston reunited with an old friend in 2009

Today's featured jersey is a 1963-64 Boston Bruins Eddie Johnston jersey as worn the season Johnston was the last goaltender to play every one of his team's games that season, with 70. This style of Bruins sweater was first introduced back in 1949 with less sleeve stripes and two color numbers. This sweater evolved in 1951 with the addition of an additional sleeve stripe and black cuffs.

That style remained in use through 1957-58 when the design again evolved to reach today's featured style, which had narrower sleeve stripes to accommodate numbers on the arms for the first time. The numbers on the back also now became three colors with the addition of white trim around the black numeral, which was then outlined in gold. This jersey configuration lasted through the down period of the 1960's which ended with the arrival of Orr. It was replaced by a similar, but modernized for the time jersey in time for the team's return to prominence which began in 1967-68.

Boston Bruins 1963-64 jersey photo BostonBruins1967-68Fjersey.jpg
Boston Bruins 1963-64 jersey photo BostonBruins1967-68Bjersey.jpg

Today's bonus jersey is a 1971-72 Boston Bruins Eddie Johnston jersey as worn the season the Bruins would capture the second Stanley Cup of Johnston's career. This classic Bruins jersey was worn for both Stanley Cup championships. When first introduced in 1967-68 there was no white space in between the black cuffs and gold arm stripes, which was added the following season. This style remained unchanged until 1973-74 when the laces were eliminated followed by a redesign the following year, which eliminated the gold shoulder yoke and it's black trim.

A modernized version of this style, complete with laces, was introduced in 2008 and remains the Bruins primary road jersey to this day. It also managed to duplicate the success of the original jerseys, as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, their first since wearing today's bonus jersey in 1972.

Boston Bruins 1971-72 jersey photo BostonBruins1971-72Fjersey.jpg
Boston Bruins 1971-72 jersey photo BostonBruins1971-72Bjersey.jpg

Here is a tribute to Johnston from the Penguins that looks back on his entire eareer as well as his management career afterward.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

1974-75 Kansas City Scouts SImon Nolet Jersey

Born on this date in 1941, Simon Nolet played his junior hockey with the Quebec Citadelles of the QJHL. In 1961-62 he scored 52 points in 39 games and another 8 in 10 playoff games as the Citadelles qualified for the 1962 Memorial Cup, where Nolet added another 6 points in 9 games.

From there he moved to the Windsor Maple Leafs of the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League for two seasons where he was a dominant force, averaging 120 points a year at a two point per game average including scoring 68 goals in 68 games in 1963-64. He sat out the following regular season, but joined the Sherbrooke Beavers for the playoffs and scored 21 goals and 35 points in 15 games to lead Sherbrooke to the 1965 Allan Cup championship.

He turned professional with the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League the following season. After two seasons with the Aces, he made his NHL debut with the expansion Philadelphia Flyers for four games in the 1967-68 season, but played the majority of his games with the Aces for a third year.

Nolet Aces
Simon Nolet as a member of the Quebec Aces

Nolet spilt time with the Flyers and Aces in 1968-69, which included scoring his first NHL points with 4 goals and 10 assists in 35 games for the Flyers. He increased his games played the following season to 56 and topped the 20 goal mark for the first time with 22. He also played his final 22 games with the Aces, the fifth season as an Aces regular.

Starting with the 1970-71 season, Nolet played exclusively in the NHL, suiting up for 74 games, a career high. The next season Nolet pushed his high in goals up one to 23 and appeared in his first NHL All-Star Game. After two more seasons with the Flyers, which included winning a Stanley Cup in 1974.

1973-74 Philadelphia Flyers
1973-74 Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers

With the NHL expanding for the 1974-75 season, Nolet was left unprotected in the 1974 NHL Expansion Draft, and was claimed by the Kansas City Scouts. The change from Stanley Cup champions to expansion doormats was a mixed blessing for Nolet. While another championship was out of the question, the seven-year NHL veteran was named as the first ever team captain for the Scouts and was heavily relied upon by Kansas City. He did not disappoint, setting a career high in goals with 26, which included the first goal in Scouts history, assists with 32 and points with 58 to lead the team in scoring as well as being the Scouts representative at the NHL All-Star Game.

Simon Nolet Scouts
The first captain of the Scouts, Simon Nolet

He played the first half of the 1975-76 season with the Scouts prior to being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he would play the second half of the season. He was then transferred to the Colorado Rockies for the 1976-77 season as compensation for the Penguins signing goaltender Denis Herron. In actuality, the Rockies were the same Scouts franchise he had previously played for, only freshly relocated to Denver. Nolet was again named as team captain and retired at the conclusion of the season with 150 goals and 332 points in 10 seasons.

Today's featured jersey is a 1974-75 Kansas City Scouts Simon Nolet jersey as worn during the season in which Nolet made his second NHL All-Star Game appearance after being named the first captain in franchise history.

While the club retained the same color pattern after moving to Denver, the jerseys were thankfully simplified, as the Scouts striping pattern was far busier than needed thanks to the red pinstripes running inside the yellow stripes, making for a pattern which included nine different stripes, making for a quite complex pattern which was not easy on the eyes.

Kansas City Scouts 74-75 jersey
Kansas City Scouts 74-75 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1975 NHL All-Star Game Simon Nolet jersey as worn in the second NHL All-Star Game of Nolet's career which was held in Montreal. This style of All-Star jersey was first used in 1973 and lasted until 1981, a very long run by today's standards.

1975 NHL-All Star jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

In this video clip, the Flyers and Nolet win the 1974 Stanley Cup and hold one heck of a parade.



Saturday, November 22, 2014

2006-07 Anaheim Ducks Teemu Selanne Jersey

Teemu Selanne was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets 10th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first professional hockey for Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish SM-liiga. where he would lead the team in scoring in both 1990-91 and then again in 1991-92, a season in which he lead the league in goal scoring by a full ten goals more than the next closest player.

A move to the NHL followed for 1992-93, and in spectacular fashion, as Selanne set the hockey world on it's ear with an astounding 76 goals in his rookie season, the all-time NHL rookie record and a mark that still ranks as tied for fifth for Most Goals in a Season for all players. Selanne's 56 assists gave him 132 points for fifth place in the overall league scoring race and a natural choice for the Calder Trophy.

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Selanne during his memorable rookie season

Selanne had originally requested to wear #8, but with that being taken by Randy Carlyle, he opted for the #13 as a rookie, changing to #8 when it became available after Carlyle's retirement at the end of the season.

A torn Achillies tendon limited him to 51 games in his second season which contributed to the Jets failing to make the playoffs. He would finish with 25 goals and 54 points in the 51 games.

During the NHL lockout of 1994, Selanne would return to Jokerit Helsinki, along with Jari Kurri, and help Jokerit win the 1995 European Cup.

Selanne, lower right, celebrates Jokerit's Euopean Cup title

Upon his return to the NHL he would collect 48 points in 45 games.

The 1995-96 season would be one of change for Selanne. After playing 51 games in Winnipeg, scoring 72 points, he would be traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a salary dump by the financially struggling Jets during their final season in Winnipeg. The trade had little affect on Selanne's scoring, as he immediately clicked with new teammate Paul Kariya, scoring 36 points in the final 28 games of the season in Anaheim, giving him a total of 108 for the season.

Kariya Selanne Ducks photo KariyaSelanneDucks.jpg
The mighty duo of Kariya and Selanne

1996-97 would see Selanne reach the 50 goal mark for the second time, pumping in 51 goals and 109 points in 78 games, good for second in league scoring. The following season would see another 52 goals, tied for first in the NHL.

47 goals in 1998-99 gave Selanne the outright goal scoring title and his 107 points were good for second overall in points once more.

After another season with the Mighty Ducks in 1999-00, Selanne would be again traded, this time 366 miles down Interstate 5 to the San Jose Sharks. His next two seasons with the Sharks would see his offensive production decline, with point totals of 54 and then 64 points.

Selanne Sharks photo SelanneSharks.jpg

Now a free agent, Selanne and former teammate Kariya packaged themselves together in a cut-rate deal in an effort to win a Stanley Cup. The pair joined the Colorado Avalanche, a perennial cup contender at the time. Unfortunately, a rather dismal season instead followed, with Selanne managing just 32 points in 78 games, 22 points lower than his lowest previous season total.

Plans to compete once again for Jokerit Helsinki during the lockout season of 2004-05 were scuttled by knee surgery and Selanne then signed to return to the Mighty Ducks for 2005-06. A rejuvenated Selanne surprised his critics by scoring 40 goals and 50 assists for a 90 point season, his highest total since 1999. He was also awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2006.

Selanne 05-06 photo SelanneDucks05-06.jpg
Selanne had a fine season on his return to Anaheim in 2005-06

Proving the previous year was no fluke, another even stronger season would follow as Selanne scored 48 goals, third most in the NHL, and 94 points. It was during that 2006-07 season that Selanne would hit the 500 goal mark on this date by scoring on Jose Theodore of the Colorado Avalanche with a wrist shot at 14:54 of the second period.

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Selanne scoring his 500th goal on this date in 2006

Interestingly, Selanne's coach at the time was Carlyle, the player who had already taken Selanne's preferred #8 on his arrival in Winnipeg 14 years earlier. Selanne was the second Finnish-born NHL player to reach 500 goals after his former Jokerit teammate Kurri.

Selanne and the Ducks would cap off the 2006-07 by winning their first Stanley Cup by defeating the Ottawa Senators in five games. It was during that season's playoffs that Selanne would score his 30th playoff point and set a new franchise record.

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Selanne reaches the pinnacle and gets to raise the Stanley Cup

He would skip the first half of the following season and return to the Ducks in late January to compete in the final 26 games of the Ducks schedule followed by an early playoff exit. 2008-09 saw Selanne continue to be a productive player, with 54 points in 65 games after missing time due to an injury, with 2009-10 being a virtual repeat, as Selanne was again limited to 48 points in just 54 games, causing some to suggest his career was in decline.

Selanne, however, had other ideas and a 31 goal, 80 point season in 2010-11 was his best since 2007. He backed that up with a full 82 games in 2011-12 which saw him score 26 goals and 66 points.

He would play two additional seasons in Anaheim before retiring from the NHL with his final career totals being 1,451 games played with 684 goals and 1,457 points for greater than a point per game average for his entire NHL career.

He currently holds the NHL records for single season goals and points by a rookie, goals by a Finnish born player and is the Anaheim Ducks career leader in games played, goals, assists and points and club single season records for goals (52) and points (109) as well as the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes franchise leader in single season goals (76) and points (132). He scored an additional 44 goals and 88 playoff points and won the Calder, Richard and Masterton trophies during his career in addition to the Stanley Cup during his 21 year career.

Today's featured jersey is a 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks Teemu Selanne jersey as worn when Selanne scored his 500th career goal.

After starting life in 1993-94 as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim under the ownership of the Disney Corporation, the franchise was sold and renamed to the more conventional Anaheim Ducks for 2006-07. Along with the name change, the team used the opportunity to move away from the eggplant and jade colors of the past and adopt a new scheme of black, gold, orange and white.

Today's featured jersey was worn for only one season until the change to the Reebok Edge jerseys, but the same design carried over and remained in use through the 2013-14 season until being replaced by the team's alternate jersey which was introduced back in 2010-11.

Anaheim Ducks 2006-07 jersey photo AnaheimDucks2006-07Fjersey.jpg
Anaheim Ducks 2006-07 jersey photo AnaheimDucks2006-07Bjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1992-93 Winnipeg Jets Teemu Selanne jersey from his record setting rookie season.

This jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch worn by all the players during the season, only with the unique borderless version worn only by Winnipeg, as all the other teams had a bold, white outline around their patches. The borderless version is presumably from the latter part of the 1992-93 season, as in photos of Selanne with the borderless patch, he is now wearing the assistant captains' "A", while photos of Selanne with the bordered variation of the patch are without the "A".

Additionally, this jersey has the "Goals for Kids" patch worn on the left shoulder of the Jets jerseys in recognition of the teams charity program.

Winnipeg Jets 92-93 jersey photo WinnipegJets92-93F.jpg
Winnipeg Jets 92-93 jersey photo WinnipegJets92-93B.jpg
Winnipeg Jets 92-93 jersey photo WinnipegJets92-93P2.jpgaaaWinnipeg Jets 92-93 jersey photo WinnipegJets92-93P1.jpg

Here is video of Selanne breaking the rookie goal scoring record, followed by his assault on the rookie point record.

Here, Jets fans angrily react to Selanne's trade to the Mighty Ducks, already knowing they are going to lose their club at the end of the season.

Next, Selanne takes the Stanley Cup to Helsinki and shares it with 40,000 of his closest friends.

Next is a touching story about Selanne scoring a hat trick for a terminally ill friend.

For further viewing, we recommend Teemu Selanne - The New Boss Parts 1, 2 and 3 about his arrival on the NHL scene, essentially the long version of the first entry in today's video section.

Friday, November 21, 2014

1966-67 Seattle Totems Guyle Fielder Jersey

Quite likely the best player you've never heard of, Guyle Fielder was born on this date in 1930. Fielder currently ranks as the third leading scorer in professional hockey history with 1,929 points, behind only better known legends Wayne Gretzky (2,967) and Gordie Howe (2,358).

Fielder began his playing days with first the Prince Albert Mintos in 1947-48 and later with the Lethbridge Native Sons in 1949-50, where he demonstrated his offensive skills by scoring 47 goals and 105 points in only 39 games. He followed that up in 1950-51 with 44 goals and 101 points in 37 games, which led to him making his NHL debut with the Chicago Black Hawks, with whom he played 3 games.

1949-50 lethbridge Native Sons
The 1949-50 Lethbridge Native Sons

He spent the next season wit the New Westminster Royals of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, racking up another 25 goals and 75 points to win the league's Rookie of the Year award. For the 1952-53 season, Fielder played the majority of his season with the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey League, leading the team with 83 points and winning AHL Rookie of the Year honors, his second consecutive such honor. He also made three appearances for the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League and joined the Detroit Red Wings for four games during the NHL playoffs.

1953-54 was a repeat of the previous season, as Fielder led the Seattle Bombers of the WHL with 83 points and competed in the NHL postseason with a pair of games for the Boston Bruins. He returned to the New Westminster Royals for all of 1954-55, this time with a team leading 87 points.

His next stop was with the Seattle Americans of the WHL for two seasons, leading the team with 79 points in 1955-56 and leading the entire league with 122 points in 1956-57, which broke the single season professional scoring record.

1956-57 Seattle Americans team
The 1956-57 Seattle Americans

He was back in the NHL at the start of the 1957-58 season, his second stint with the Red Wings. He was released after six games at his own request due to limited playing time, and returned to Seattle where he picked right up where he left off, leading the WHL in scoring once again with 111 points despite giving the competition and eight game head start.

Fielder Red Wings
Guyle Fielder's only hockey card, a 1957-58 Topps Red Wings card

A new ownership group purchased the Seattle WHL club and renamed them the Totems beginning with the 1958-59 season and Fielder would remain a fixture with the club for the next 11 seasons, displaying amazing durability and consistency, playing out of 767 out of 780 games from 1958 to 1969, over 98% of the possible games. Offensively, Fielder led the Totems in scoring 9 times in those 11 seasons with 9 seasons of over 90 points and two over 100. His "down" seasons were 73 points in 69 games and 70 in 70, meaning his lowest average was a point per game for over a decade!

Fielder Totems
Guyle Fielder while with the Totems

In addition to his scoring titles, Fielder was also a five time WHL First Team All-Star five times with the Totems (in addition to the three previous times with the Bombers and Americans), three times the league's Most Gentlemanly Player and a six time WHL Most Valuable Player.

His time with Seattle finally came to an end when he retired, only to return for the next season, when he joined the expansion Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1969 to play for a former teammate who was the Golden Eagles coach. While his point totals dropped with the change to the last place Golden Eagles, Fielder still led the club in points with 66 and came second on the club the following season with 61.

In 1971-72, Fielder played 30 games with Salt Lake before being traded to the Portland Buckaroos for the final 40 games of the year during which he scored 49 points. Despite being drafted by the Houston Aeros of the fledgling WHA, Fielder chose to remain with Portland for the final season of his career, scoring a final 11 goals and 58 points in 70 games, only the second time in his 20 year career he averaged less than a point per game.

In addition to his personal awards, Fielder was also a member of championship teams in the WHL on three occasions, capturing the Lester Patrick Cup in 1959, 1967 and 1968 all with the Totems.

1967-68 Seattle Totems
The WHL Champion 1967-68 Seattle Totems

Fielder would retire with 1,487 games played, 438 goals, 1,491 assists and 1,929 points, which was also the professional record at the time of his retirement. He still holds the record for most minor league assists, points and games played despite having retired nearly 40 years ago. Amazingly, despite his indisputable offensive talent, his career record also shows 9 NHL games without registering a point.

For more information on the history of Seattle hockey, we recommend SeattleHockey.net.

Today's featured jersey is a 1967-68 Seattle Totems Guyle Fielder jersey. The Totems would begin life in 1958 wearing red, white and blue sweaters before changing to green for the 1966-67 campaign.

Seattle Totems 67-68 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1950-51 Lethbridge Native Sons Guyle Fielder jersey. This fantastic looking jersey features the Lethbridge script not only as part of the main crest, but also above the numbers on the back where names would become standard a quarter century later.

This jersey, with it's multiple arm and waist stripes is a true classic from a bygone era when hockey sweaters and football jerseys were much closer in style.

Of note, the "6" in the crest of the Native Sons jersey stands for the six First Nations tribes who inhabited the Lethbridge area of Alberta.

lethbridge Native Sons 49-50 jersey
lethbridge Native Sons 49-50 jersey

Today's video selection is a tribute to Guyle Fielder.




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