Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1938-39 Boston Bruins Roy Conacher Jersey

Beginning his career with the West Toronto Nationals of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1933-34, Roy Conacher and the Nationals would capture the Memorial Cup in 1936. Conacher would then join the Toronto Dominos in senior hockey in 1936-37 before joining the Kirkland Lake Hargreaves for 1937-38, where he had a fine season, scoring 12 goals and 23 points in 14 games.

Conacher Dominoes, Conacher Dominoes
Roy Conacher while with the Dominoes

That fine season led to him making his NHL debut the following season of 1938-39 with the Boston Bruins, where he established himself with a league leading 26 goals and 37 points in 47 games, good for second on he club behind only linemate and future Hall of Famer Bill Cowley as the Bruins finished atop the NHL standings with a 36-10-2 record for 74 points, 16 ahead of the second place New York Rangers. Conacher was the last rookie to lead the league in goals until Teemu Selanne 54 years later!

During the odd playoff format of the era, Boston immediately faced the Rangers in a best-of-seven series for an immediate berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, while the second and third place teams faced off with the winner meeting the survivor of the fourth place vs. fifth place club, all best-of-three series.

Boston won the first game against the Rangers in New York after 59:25 of overtime, just 35 second short of two complete games, setting the tone for what would be a most difficult series for both clubs.

Boston won another overtime game at home in Game 2 after 8:24 of extra time before a relatively easy 4-1 win in Game 3. The series moved back to New York, where the Rangers won a narrow 2-1 win. Back in Boston for Game 5, the Rangers won another 2-1 game, this one requiring 17:19 of overtime.

The Rangers then evened the series at 3-3 after having lost the first three games when they took a 3-1 win in New York, setting up a Game 7 in Boston.

In yet another 2-1 game, the fourth of the series and fifth one goal game, Boston survived after 48 minutes of overtime, the fourth game to extend beyond regulation time.

The Toronto Maple Leafs advanced to face the Bruins in the finals after defeating the New York Americans and the Detroit Red Wings, which they accomplished so quickly that they had an extras day's rest despite having to play in two series spread out over three cities. In fact, Toronto had played in just five games with an additional 5 minutes of overtime, while the Bruins needed seven games plus an additional 133 minutes of overtime, the equivalent of over two additional games of play!

The 1939 Stanley Cup Finals began in Boston on April 6th, a game won by Bobby Bauer of Boston with a goal with 4 1/2 minutes remaining for a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 on the 9th went to the visiting Maple Leafs in overtime before the series moved to Toronto for Game 3 on April 11th.

There was no scoring through the first two periods before Bauer got Boston on the board at 1:28 followed by Conacher at 8:12. Jack Crawford extended the Bruins lead to 3-0 and when Gus Marker got one by Frank Brimsek with just 49 seconds remaining to spoil the shutout, it made Conacher's goal the game winner.

Boston went up 3 games to 1 when Brimsek shut out the Maple Leafs as Conacher scored both Bruins goals, the first coming at 2:21 of the first period on the powerplay, which gave him his second game winning goal in as many games. His second goal came at 12:55 of the third period to give the Bruins some additional breathing room.

It was back to Boston for Game 5 and the Bruins broke out on top with Mel Hill's goal from Conacher and Cowley at 11:40 with a man advantage only to have Toronto even the score at 18:40 of the first with Bingo Kampman's goal at 18:40.

The only goal of the second period was by Conacher, from Cowley and Eddie Shore at 17:54. Brimsek then held the Maple Leafs at bay throughout the third period while Flash Hollett added a late goal with just 37 seconds left in the game to make the final margin 3-1 as the Bruins captured the Stanley Cup thanks to the rookie Conacher's third consecutive game winning goal on this date in 1939, making him the first player to ever score three straight game winning goals in one playoff series, let alone the finals.

1938-39 Boston Bruins team, 1938-39 Boston Bruins team
The 1939 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins

Conacher finished second in playoff scoring for the Bruins with 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points, trailing only Cowley's 3 goals and 11 assists.

Conacher would go on to play three more seasons for the Bruins, including winning a second Stanley Cup in 1941 before his career was interrupted like so many others by World War II from 1942-43 to 1944-45, during which time he did compete for a number of Royal Canadian Air Force teams on a limited basis.

Roy Conacher Bruins, Roy Conacher Bruins
Roy during his later years with the Bruins

He returned to the NHL with the Bruins for 4 regular season and 3 playoff games in 1945-46 before being traded to Detroit for 1946-47 when the Bruins' Art Ross had his doubts that Conacher could regain his previous form. In his only season in Detroit, Conacher posted the only 30 goal season of his career on his way to 54 points in 60 games while becoming the answer to a trivia question, as he wore #9 with Detroit during Gordie Howe's rookie season as Howe wore #17. During that season Conacher had a career best four goals in a single game, all of them assisted by Billy Taylor, who set an NHL record with 7 assists that night.

After just one season with Detroit, following a dispute over his pay, Conacher was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks where he would play the final five seasons of his career, reeling off consistent seasons of 22, 26, 25 and 26 goals before an abbreviated final season in 1951-52.

Roy Conacher Blackhawks, Roy Conacher Blackhawks
Roy while with the Chicago Black Hawks

He would finish his career with 490 games played, 226 goals and 200 assists for 426 points and a pair of Stanley Cups and an Art Ross Trophy, won in 1949 while with Chicago when he totaled a career best 68 points in 60 games while teamed with playmakers Bill Mosienko and Doug Bentley, ironically winning a trophy for scoring excellence named after the very same man who doubted his!

Roy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, joining his older brothers Charlie (1961) and Lionel (1994) as the only trio of brothers currently in the Hall of Fame.

Charlie, Roy, Lionel Conacher, Charlie, Roy, Lionel Conacher
Hall of Famers Charlie and Lionel Conacher flanking Roy's twin brother Bert

Today's featured jersey is a 1938-39 Boston Bruins Roy Conacher jersey as worn by the rookie Conacher when he scored the game winning goal in three consecutive games to lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins debuted this sweater style in 1936-37 before the term "sports marketing" had been invented, choosing to feature a large player number on the front of their jerseys instead of any sort of logo in what looked more like an NFL football jersey.

The numbers would reverse colors in 1940-41 and would remain that way until the 1948-49 season when the famous "spoked B" would be seen for the first time.

Boston Bruins 38-39 jersey, Boston Bruins 38-39 jersey

Today's video segment is an interesting look at what hockey was like back in 1939 when Conacher was a rookie.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Detroit's Octopus Throwing Tradition

On this date in 1952, Metro Prystai scored two goals and an assist, while Terry Sawchuk held the Montreal Canadiens scoreless as the Detroit Red Wings captured the Stanley Cup, becoming the first team to ever go undefeated in the playoffs.

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But more significant than being awarded a silver chalice as a trinket to note one's success, on this date in 1952 the tradition of hurling a celebratory cephalopod was born in The Motor City.

The brainchild of Pete and Jerry Cusimano, owners of a fish market in Detroit's Eastern Market, the brothers had the bright idea to hurl an octopus onto the ice during the series clinching game to symbolize the eight wins needed to achieve the Stanley Cup during the days of the Original Six - the same number of tentacles possessed by an octopus, making for the perfect synergy in seafood.

"It was a good luck omen," said Cusimano. "The octopus has eight legs and we were going for eight straight."

The bizarre ritual caught on, and Sports Illustrated reported in 1978 when writing about the Red Wings playoff series versus the Atlanta Flames,
"Making their first cup appearance in eight seasons, the Red Wings won their best-of-three preliminary series in two straight games over the favored Atlanta Flames. And as Detroit clinched the upset with a 3-2 victory Thursday night before a record Olympia throng of 16,671, fans hurled no fewer than a dozen live octopuses onto the ice.
As a result, maintenance crews kept scurrying around the rink with pails and shovels and more mannerly fans began to wonder whether there might not be a more seemly way of saluting Detroit's hockey revival.
When the teams moved to Detroit for Thursday's game, the passions of Motown hockey fans were at fever pitch. Scalpers commanded $60 for a pair of $11 tickets, and parking spaces near the Olympia were going for $8. Inside the building, fans bombarded the ice with all those octopuses, as well as two dead chickens, scores of apples and other comestibles. There were moments when the inside of the Olympia was almost as littered as the mean streets outside."

The tradition continues to this day and has made a celebrity of sorts out of Al Sobotka, the Zamboni driver at Joe Louis Arena and the man responsible for retrieving the hurled octopi, which he does with aplomb, twirling the projectile from the depths over his head, winding up the faithful in the process.

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During the 1995 playoffs, three dozen octopi were flung onto the ice during the playoffs and the record for a single octopus belongs to Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell, who topped their record 38 pounder a year later with a 50 pound monster, which Sobotka proudly displayed on the hood of his Zamboni.

With Detroit's first home game in their quest for the cup scheduled for Sunday, here is a primer on how to get your shot at gooey glory.

After purchasing your Octopus, preferably at the Eastern Market, boil it for 20 minutes on high heat with a little lemon juice and white wine to mask the odor. Not only will this hide the stench of the creature, a boiled octopus will bounce and roll when it hits the ice, rather than landing with a sticky splat that will leave an inky stain on the ice, making for more work for the ice crew.

Another key is the purchase of a desirable aisle seat, allowing a quick response and plenty of elbow room immediately following a goal.

Speaking of a goal, one must know when it is appropriate to toss your octopus. Acceptable opportunities are following the national anthem, following a Red Wings goal or a final game victory, and for heaven's sake, don't aim for anything other than open ice. You don't want to hit any of the game's participants with a disgusting sea creature, or worse, actually hurt them with a launched projectile of between five and thirty pounds.

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Cusimano's insights on the proper form for throwing your octopus recommends holding it around the middle of the tentacles with the head hanging down by your knees and then, while keeping your arm straight, swinging it over your head as if throwing a grenade. "That's the only way you're going to get any leverage. You try to throw it like a baseball and you're going to throw your shoulder out," he relates.

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Don't grasp it too far down the tentacles however, as they will likely break off in your hand, causing the bulk of the creature to end up randomly deposited on an unsuspecting fan nearby.

Keep in mind, it is against the law to throw anything on the ice during a game, and while no octopus hurler has ever been prosecuted, the Red Wings do try to discourage fans from bringing them into the game. With that in mind, all manner of smuggling techniques have been developed by would-be hurlers. After encapsulating the creature in a zip-lock bag, it can be stuffed stuffed down your shirt or pants, wrapped to your body with plastic wrap or hidden under a hat if size allows.

Once the beast has been launched, getting the stench off your hands with wet-wipes and a slice of lemon will do the trick if gloves weren't worn to begin with.

The Red Wings organization has embraced the tradition, including creating a 35-foot-wide purple octopus which they hang from the rafters of Joe Louis Arena named Al the Octopus, in honor of Sobotka, the Zamboni driver and octopus retriever.

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Today's featured jersey is a 1951-52 Detroit Red Wings Terry Sawchuk jersey. The Red Wings jersey is a true classic in the NHL and has remained essentially unchanged since it was introduced back in 1932 when the club changed their name from the Falcons, as they had been known since 1930. The original Detroit red sweaters used red numbers trimmed in white from 1932-33 until a change to single color white numbers in 1937-38, with the next change to the red jerseys being the addition of names forty years later in 1977-78.

In his Stanley Cup Finals debut, Sawchuk won four straight games, including a pair of shutouts in Games 3 and 4 to clinch the cup, bookending the pair of shutouts he had to open the tournament against the Toronto Maple Leafs on his way to an 8-0 record in that year's playoffs.

Detroit Red Wings 1954-55 jersey photo DetroitRedWings1954-55jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's first video is a look at the Octopus tradition and what it means to Red Wings fans.


In this brief clip, Cody MeLeod of the Colorado Avalanche returns the octopus into the stands!


Finally, another look at the Octopus tradition through the lens of ESPN.


Monday, April 14, 2014

1927-28 New York Rangers Lester Patrick Jersey

On this date in 1928, in only their second year of existence, the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 defeat of the Montreal Maroons, becoming the first NHL franchise based in the United States to win the cup, and only the second American club to win the cup after the 1916-17 Seattle Metropolitans.

1927-28 New York Rangers

After the success of the New York Americans, who were founded in 1925, Madison Square Garden president Tex Rickard wanted a team of his own. He was granted a franchise for the 1926-27 season, which was named the Rangers. He originally hired Conn Smythe to run the team, but after Smythe had a falling out with John S. Hammond, who ran the team for Rickard, Lester Patrick was hired to be both the coach and general manager.

The Rangers won the American Division during their first season, but were defeated by the Boston Bruins in the semifinals 3 goals to 1 in their two-game, total-goal series.

While the Rangers finished second in the American Division in 1927-28, they first knocked out the Pittsburgh Pirates 6 goals to 4 and then got their revenge on the Bruins 5 goals to 2 to advance to face the winner of the Canadian Division playoffs, the Montreal Maroons, in a best-of-five series.

The Rangers were led by Frank Boucher, who was third in league scoring with 23 goals and 35 points, Bun Cook (28 points) and his brother Bill Cook (24 points) and Lorne Chabot in goal.

The Rangers were unable to host the series however, due to the circus being booked into Madison Square Garden. As a result, all games were played in the Montreal Forum.

Game One went to the Maroons by a score of 2-0, with Clint Benedict of the Maroons earning the shutout.

Game Two provided one of the most unusual events in NHL history, when Nels Stewart of the Maroons fired a hard shot that struck Rangers goalie Chabot in the eye, knocking him out of the game. Maroons coach Eddie Gerard refused to let the Rangers use either Ottawa Senators goalie Alex Connell or minor leaguer Hugh McCormick, both of whom were in attendance watching the contest, forcing the Rangers coach Patrick to put the pads on and take over in goal after a 40 minute delay - at age 44.

He told his squad, "Boys, don't let an old man down" and proceeded to hold the Maroons to a single goal as the Rangers came through for their boss, checking the Maroons like mad, doing everything in their power to keep them as far away from their goaltender as possible.

Bill Cook put the Rangers up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the third period before Stewart tied it with a goal for Montreal with a long shot that made in between Patrick's pads with less than six minutes remaining. Boucher then scored the game winning goal in overtime to give New York a 2-1 win to even the series at a game apiece as the Rangers carried a tearful Patrick off the ice on their shoulders in celebration. Patrick's appearance set a record for the oldest person to play in the Stanley Cup Finals at 44 years, 3 months and 10 days, a record which still stands today.

For the remaining games, the Rangers employed Joe Miller of the New York Americans to tend goal.

The Maroons went back on top with another 2-0 win in Game 3 and the Rangers fought back in Game 4 with a 1-0 squeaker to force a fifth and deciding game on this date in 1928.

The Rangers prevailed in the low scoring series with another nail-biter, this time by a 2-1 score to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup.

Today's featured jersey is a 1927-28 New York Rangers Lester Patrick jersey. The Rangers began their first season with blue sweaters with white letters and changed to red lettering for their second, Stanley Cup winning season.

The following year they outlined the red letters with white, setting the standard that would remain in effect to this day.

Lester Patrick

The Rangers would win the Stanley Cup again in 1933, and here Canadian broadcasting legend Foster Hewitt interviews members of the Rangers, including Lester Patrick.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 KHL Gagarin Cup Playoff Update

The semifinals round of the Kontinental Hockey League Gagarin Cup playoffs concluded Friday and the Gagarin Cup Finals are now set.

KHL logo photo KHLlogo.png

In the Eastern Conference, #1 seed Metallurg Magnitogorsk, coached by Canadian Mike Keenan, defeated #4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 games to 1. The series began with Metallurg winning a pair of 3-2 games at home, with the second requiring overtime. Game 3 in Ufa saw Salavat forcefully announce their intention to win the series with a dominating 4-0 shutout, but all that accomplished was to sound the alarm and Magnitogorsk did not allow another goal for the rest of the series, winning Game 4 1-0 on a goal by Viktor Antipin and take the series back at home with another 1-0 win with the final goal coming 1:14 into overtime from Yaroslav Khabarov as goaltender Vasily Koshechkin shut out Ufa for over the final 120 minutes of the series.

Here are the highlights of Metallurg and Koshechkin shutting out Salavat despite the valiant effort of Ufa goaltender (#88!) Andrei Vasilevsky, who makes a spectacular glove save on the goal line in an effort to keep his club's hopes alive.


Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, #3 Lev Prague out of the Czech Republic faced the #8 seed and sentimental favorites Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, who had already defeated the #1 seed and defending champions Dynamo Moscow and #2 SKA Saint Petersburg.

Lev took the first two games in Prague 3-0 and 2-1. Back in front of their home fans in Yaroslavl, Lokomotiv won 3-0 to get back in the series thanks to a shutout by former NHLer Curtis Sanford, but then dropped Game 4 by a score of 3-2 in overtime with the winning goal coming with just 19 seconds left in the extra session.

The series then moved back to the Czech Republic where Lev closed out the series, becoming the first team based outside of Russia to make the Gagarin Cup Finals and put an end to the dream story of Lokomotiv winning the championship just two seasons removed from the disaster that claimed the lives of the entire 2011-12 team, forcing the club to start over from scratch.

Here are the highlights of the final game between Lev and Lokomotiv, which includes the wild goal scored by Lokomotiv's Geoff Platt, his second of the game.


The Gagarin Cup Finals begin on Friday, April 18th.

Meanwhile, unlike the NHL, the 12 teams that fail to qualify for the championship playoffs enter a tournament of their own for "the best of the rest", known as Nadezhda Cup (the Cup of Hope), a concept which began last season.

The First Round is a quick two game series, and if each team wins one, a 5 minute overtime followed by a shootout decides the series, something you won't see in the NHL! #11 Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia was ousted by #14 Dinamo Minsk of Belarus 2-0 and #13 Vityaz Chekov advanced when #12 Spartak Moscow was excluded from the playoffs due to their financial situation.

In the East, #11 Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk defeated #14 Amur Khabarovsk from far eastern Russia after a 4-2 win in Game 1 followed by a 1-1 tie in Game 2, another thing North American's aren't used to seeing, a playoff series ending with a tie game!

In the battle of the longest names, #12 Neftkhimik Nizhnekamsk swept a pair of games from #13 Metallurg Novokuznetsk.

For the Quarterfinals, teams ranked 9th and 10th joined the competition to face the winners of the First Round. There, the series are four games with a 20 minute overtime and shootout if the teams are tied 2-2 after the four games. #14 Dinamo Minsk upset #9 Atlant Moscow Oblast in three straight and Minsk advanced to face #10 Severstal Cherepovets, who eliminated #13 Vityaz Chekov 3-1. In the East, #10 Avangard Omsk were 3-1 victors over #11 Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. The series between #9 Traktor Chelyabinsk and #12 Neftkhimik Nizhnekamsk went to the deciding shootout after a long night of hockey, as Traktor first had to win Game 4 1-0 after 18 minutes of overtime. Then, the two teams played a scoreless 20 minute "series" overtime before Traktor advanced in the series deciding shootout after nearly five full periods of hockey.

The Western Semifinal saw #14 Dinamo Minsk stay hot with a 3-1 series win over #10 Severstal Cherepovets, giving Minsk 8 wins in 9 games. #10 Avangard Omsk advanced with a 3-1 defeat of #9 Traktor Cheylabinsk. In the finals, Avangard put an end to Dinamo's hot streak, shutting them out 2-0 and 4-0 before taking the Nadezhda Cup with a 3-2 win in Game 3.

Highlights of the final game of the Cup of Hope begin at the 1:22 mark.


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


Pro Russian Jerseys, Pro Russian Jerseys

Friday, April 11, 2014

1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure Jersey

Born in 1971 in Moscow in the Soviet Union, Pavel Bure was once selected to practice with Wayne Gretzky and Vladislav Tretiak for a television program at the age of 11. By the age of 14, Bure was named to the famed Central Red Army's junior team.

In 1986, five years before playing in Vancouver as a professional, Bure toured Canada with a Soviet youth team and played a game at the Pacific Coliseum, his future home rink.

Bure made his debut with the Central Red Army senior club in 1987-88 at the age of 16 as a fill-in player when the Red Army Club was without several regulars who were participating in the 1987 Canada Cup. In all, he managed to get into five games, which included scoring his first goal.

While with CSKA Moscow, Bure was teamed with Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, a dangerously potent line combination that was set to dominate not only Soviet hockey, but international hockey for years to come, until politics interfered and changed everything.

Bure set a Soviet League record for goals by a rookie in 1988-89 when he totaled 17 goals in 32 games, a mark that would stand for 18 years. He was recognized for his for his efforts by being named the rookie of the year. He also participated in the 1989 World Junior Tournament, with his eight goals tying for the tournament lead. Additionally, his 14 points led the tournament in scoring, earned him Best Forward honors and led the Soviet Union to the gold medal.

Mogilny would later defect after that spring's World Championships in Sweden, breaking up the line the Soviets expected would lead them into the future.

Later on June 17, 1989, thanks to some detective work by their head scout, the Vancouver Canucks were able to draft Bure one year earlier than many thought he would be eligible due to a rule that stated he needed at least two seasons of play, with a minimum of 11 games each season, for his top-level European club.

Although Bure only played in five league games, it was discovered he had also competed in enough exhibition and international games to make him eligible to be chosen 113th overall in the 6th round. The Detroit Red Wings had even been told by an NHL vice-president that Bure was not eligible prior to their fifth round pick. Verbal complaints and written protests followed, which resulted in a formal investigation, which ended in league president John Ziegler declaring the pick illegal on May 17, 1990.

Bure would compete in the 1990 World Junior Championships, this time scoring seven goals in seven games, but come up short with a silver medal. Later that spring he made is debut with the Soviet National Team as a 19-year-old at the World Championships in Switzerland in which he scored six points in ten games on the way to a gold medal.

Pavel Bure
Pavel Bure at the 1990 World Junior Championships

Another international tournament was on the calendar for 1990, this time in Seattle, Washington for the Goodwill Games. While the Soviet Union won the gold medal, and Bure contributed four goals and an assist in five games, the tournament is best remembered for the defection of Bure's other linemate, Fedorov, who tried to persuade Bure to defect with him. Bure declined out of concerns about the repercussions for his brother Valeri Bure, who was then an up and coming 15-year-old in the Soviet Union.

After the Canucks selection of Bure was negated by the league's ruling, Vancouver appealed to the league and provided game sheets proving his participation in the required number of games. On June 15, 1990, the day before that year's Entry Draft in which Bure would have been fair game for any team who wished to select him, Vancouver's selection of Bure was permanently reinstated.

In Bure's third season with Central Red Army in 1990-91, he tied for the team lead in scoring with 46 points in 44 games. His 35 goals were one behind the league leader in that category. During the season he also participated in his third World Junior Championships. Bure finished as the tournament's leading scorer once more following his 12 goal, 15 point effort, but had to once more settle for a silver medal. He concluded his junior career with a tournament record 27 goals.

Later that spring he participated in the 1991 World Championships where he tied for the team lead with 11 points in 11 games on his way to a bronze medal finish.

Bure left Moscow on September 6, 1991 and the Canucks began to negotiate a contract with Bure, but before it could be finalized, the Canucks also had to deal with the Central Red Army club, who had an existing contract with Bure. The two sides met in late October of 1991 in Detroit and in the end, Bure was free to join the Canucks following a $250,000 payment to Central Red Army. Once that deal was settled, Bure signed a four year contract with Vancouver, making him the second highest paid player on the team behind only team captain Trevor Linden.

Due to the court proceedings, Bure missed the first month of the season and eventually made his NHL debut on November 5, 1991 against the Winnipeg Jets which ignited "Pavel-mania". His speed on the ice was eye-catching and led to his eventual nickname of "The Russian Rocket".

Pavel Bure
Prior to his NHL debut, Bure poses for one of
Upper Deck's unconventional "lifestyle" cards

After a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 7th, Bure got his first NHL point on November 10th with an assist on a goal by Cliff Ronning in a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders. As he adjusted to life in North America and the NHL style of game, he was able to score 12 goals in 42 games. It was at that point that Bure caught fire and surged to the end of the season with a stellar 22 goals in his final 23 games, which sent Vancouver into a frenzy and gave him 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games, which tied a team record for points by a rookie.

Pavel Bure
Bure as a rookie in 1991-92

Once in the playoffs, Bure registered his first hat trick during Game 6 of the Canucks opening round series against Winnipeg. The Canucks would participate in two rounds of the playoffs that season, with the confident rookie scoring 6 goals and 10 points in 13 games.

At the conclusion of the season, Bure was named the winner of the 1992 Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, the first Canuck's player to win an individual award in the team's 21 seasons.

Pavel Bure
Bure poses with the Calder Trophy

Now with a full year of experience and confidence under his belt, Bure got off to a flying start, scoring a career high four goals in only the third game of the season. He also set Canucks team records for goals and points in a period when he scored three goals and added an assist during the second period of the Canucks game against the Winnipeg Jets. Additionally, his four goals set a team record for goals in a game and shorthanded goals in a game, as two of Bure's goals came with the Canucks a man down.

That season he participated in his first NHL All-Star Game, scoring twice for the Campbell Conference. Not long after the all-star game, Bure set the Canucks team record for goals in a season with his 46th goal, passing Tony Tanti's mark of 45. He continued to light the lamp at a furious pace, hitting the 50 goal mark on March 1st in a neutral site game in Hamilton, Ontario against the Buffalo Sabres.

March 9th saw Bure pass Patrik Sundstrom's franchise record of 91 points with a pair of assists in a 7-2 win over the New Jersey Devils before reaching the rarified air of the 60 goal plateau, which he accomplished on this date in 1993 in a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Bure would finish his sophomore season with exactly 60 goals and 50 assists for 110 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure jersey as worn during his second season in the NHL during which he reached the 60 goal mark on this date in 1991. This jersey features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch on the right chest as worn by all players in the NHL that season.

This style of jersey was adopted in 1989 and worn through the 1996-97 season, with the only notable change being the addition of the "Canuck Place" patch in 1992.

Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey, Vancouver Canucks 92-93 jersey
Photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991 Soviet Union Pavel Bure jersey. Following Adidas in the mid to late 1980's, the Finnish brand Tackla became the supplier for the World Championships and Olympics through 1993. Their jerseys featured mesh fabric and classic styling (for the most part), with contrasting colored shoulders which contained repeating diamond shapes, which is the Tackla company logo.

Their jerseys are also instantly recognizable by their block font numbers with the "3-D" drop shadow effect. These jerseys are all sublimated, and therefore age very well, retaining their bright colors over time.

Jerseys worn in 1994 and 1995 were branded as Reebok jerseys, but have all the hallmarks of being produced by Tackla, the dye-sublimated mesh fabric and 3-d block numbers, especially the logo on the lower left hem on the back which reads "manufactured by Tackla"!

Soviet Union 1992 jersey
Soviet Union 1992 jersey

In today's video segment, a look at what could have been, with Bure, Mogilny and Fedorov playing together at the 1989 World Junior Tournament.


Next, a look at "Pavel-mania" during Bure's rookie season, including footage of his first NHL game and his first two NHL goals.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 NCAA Frozen Four

The semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four will take place at the home of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center.

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The tournament kicks off with a game at 5:00 PM Eastern, pitting the #2 ranked Boston College Eagles of Hockey East facing off against the #3 Union Dutchmen of the ECAC our of Schenectady, New York.

The second game scheduled for 8:30 PM will feature the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers representing the first year Big Ten Conference against their long-time rivals, #14 ranked North Dakota of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is also a first year conference following the massive shakeup of the western college hockey landscape.

The Boston College hockey program dates back to the 1917-18 season when they played a whopping total of just three games, but even then one of those was against their fierce rivals Boston University.

In their early days, the Eagles played against various amateur athletic clubs and a growing number of other college teams, winning their first NCAA championship in 1949 with a record of 21-1.

1948-49 Boston College Eagles team photo 1948-49BostonCollegeEaglesteam.jpg
Boston College's first championship squad from 1949

They would not win another national championship for over 50 years until winning the title again in 2001. They then entered the era of their greatest success, winning the NCAA championship in 2008, 2010 and 2012, an every other year pace which puts them on track to win the title again this year!

2000-01 Boston College Eagles team photo 2000-01BostonCollegeEaglesteam.png
The 2000-01 Eagles team ended their long championship drought

Boston College played as an independent through the 1960-61 season before joining new Eastern College Athletic Conference in 1961-62 as a charter member. They remained in the ECAC until concerns that the Ivy League members of the ECAC were going to leave the league led to the formation of Hockey East in 1984-85. Before leaving for Hockey East, the Eagles won the conference tournament in 1965 and again in 1978 with a regular season title in 1980.

They proved to be an immediate power in Hockey East, winning the league's first three regular season titles in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and then three consecutive again in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Ten years later a seventh regular season championship came in 2001 followed by another hat trick of championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005, their 10th. The Eagles then made it an even dozen with back-to-back first place finishes in 2011 and 2012.

In addition, Boston College has won Hockey East conference playoff titles in 1987, 1990, 1998 and 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 and a three-peat in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Stability has been a feature of the program, with first head coach John "Snooks" Kelley being behind the bench for 36 years from 1932-33 through 1971-72, save for a gap of four years during World War II when he was a member of the United States Navy before returning to BC in 1946 and winning the national title in 1949. Kelley was the first coach in NCAA history to win 500 games, was named College Hockey Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1972, was named the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States in 1972 and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.

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Snooks Kelley

Len Ceglarski, a member of the 1949 championship squad and former BC captain, took over for Kelley as head coach in 1972-73 and held the position through the 1991-92 season, amassing 419 wins during his time at Boston College and 689 for his career, which was the most in NCAA history at the time of his retirement. He was also the first one to ever coach 1,000 collegiate games, was named College Hockey Coach of the Year in 1973 and 1985 and won the Lester Patrick Award in 1990.

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Len Ceglarski

Current Eagles head coach Jerry York took over two seasons after Ceglarski's retirement and is now in his 20th year. York is currently the winningest coach in the NCAA with 983 and has been at the helm for the four national championships since 2001. York also has a national title from 1984 while with Bowling Green and won his Lester Patrick Award in 2010.

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Like Ceglarski, York also played for BC under coach Kelley

Notable Boston College alumni include Hobey Baker winners David Emma in 1991 and Mike Mottau in 2000 and future NHL stars Brian Leetch, Brian Gionta, Joe Mullen, Brooks Orpik and Bill Guerin, Emma holds the school record with 239 career points from 147 games played, while Gionta leads the Eagles in career goals scored with 123, ahead of Emma's 112. Scott Harlow and Mullen are the only two others to have topped 200 career points, while Scott Clemmensen leads all goaltenders with 99 career wins.

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Brian Leetch

Boston College has also won the famous Beanpot Tournament 19 times in the 62 year history of the event, including the last five in a row.

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Brian Gionta celebrates a Beanpot victory

Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Boston College Eagles Tim Ceglarski jersey as worn when Tim played for his legendary father and coach Len.

This jersey has the classic look of the colored shoulder yoke paired with three stripes on the arms and waist which is then adorned with an eagle in full flight, making for a striking look in contrast to many of BC's recent efforts, notable for their unfortunate choices of "Star Trek" number fonts and unattractive pale gold alternate jerseys.

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Boston College 85-86 B jersey photo BostonCollege85-86Bjersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1999-00 Boston College Eagles Brian Gionta jersey. This is a more traditional Eagles jersey with "Boston College" across the front from one of BC's more successful recent NHL graduates.

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photos courtesy of JohnsonJerseys.net

Today's video segment begins with the Eagles fifth consecutive Beanpot championship from earlier this year.


Up next is Boston College's most recent NCAA national championship from 2012.

 

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