Saturday, February 25, 2017

Slap Shot 40th Anniversary - 1976-77 Charlestown Chiefs Reg Dunlop Jersey

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the classic 1977 movie Slap Shot, starring legendary actor Paul Newman as the fast-talking "Reg" Dunlop.


Written by Nancy Dowd, Slap Shot, about the sad-sack minor league Charlestown Chiefs and their reversal of fortunes coinciding with the arrival of the notorious Hanson Brothers, draws heavily from the real life Johnstown Jets and the Carlson Brothers, Jack, Steve and Jeff.

Steve, Jack and Jeff Carlson were the inspiration for the Hanson Brothers

In addition, the real life Goldie Goldthorpe is clearly the inspiration for the afroed character of Ogie Ogilthorpe, who was played in the film by writer Dowd's own brother Ned Dowd, who inspired Nancy and assisted her by collecting stories while he was playing in the minors.

The Notorious Goldie Goldthorpe was portrayed as Ogie Ogilthorpe

Jack Carlson was supposed to portray one of the three Hanson brothers in the film, however he was called up to play in the WHA with the Edmonton Oilers during filming. In his place, Dave Hanson was chosen to join Jeff and Steve as the third Hanson brother with actor Jerry Houser cast into Dave Hanson's original role as Dave "Killer" Carlson, which was based on the real life Hanson.

In the movie, the Chiefs, members of the Federal League, are a downtrodden club in financial trouble, mainly due to unemployment issues facing Charlestown, and are due to fold at the end of the season.

During the course of the season the club adds the Hanson brothers, an immature trio of horn-rimmed glasses wearing thugs player/coach Dunlop is reluctant to even let on the ice. Finally, Dunlop relents and, as the Hansons hit the ice, complete mayhem follows as the Hansons hit everything in sight - that is when they aren't fighting everyone in sight.

The fans in Charlestown go crazy at the antics of the Hansons, something Dunlop can't help but notice. As the Hansons are given more ice time, the fans at the games grow in number and enthusiasm, even following the team on road trips. Soon their teammates begin to adopt the Hansons violent, high-sticking, brawling style of play, at the urging of Dunlop.

Slap Shot fight, Slap Shot fight

Meanwhile, Dunlop keeps the team's morale up by fabricating a story about the potential sale and relocation of the club to a buyer who would move the franchise to Florida. In the end, Dunlop confesses to the team before the final and deciding game of the championship playoffs that there is no secret buyer and the team is in fact, playing their final game. And if it is to be his final game, Dunlop wants to go out playing clean and with dignity, which the rest of the Chiefs agree to.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, their violent, yet successful ways have influenced their opponents, the Syracuse Bulldogs, to round up the largest collection of thugs possible, including Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken, Gilmore Tuttle, Andre "Poodle" Lussier, Ross "Mad Dog" Madison, Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown and none other than rookie Ogie Ogilthorpe.

Tim McCracken, Tim McCracken
Tim McCracken showing how he got the nickname "Dr. Hook"

After being battered by the Bulldogs, the Chiefs finally fight back and the game degenerates into a brawl, with only the Chiefs high scoring forward Ned Braden refusing to participate. Braden "fights back" by going onto the ice in the middle of the melee and shocks everyone on the ice and in the arena by performing an impromptu strip-tease, which causes all the combatants to stop and stare in bewildered amusement.

McCracken demands that the referee stop Braden, and when he refuses, McCracken slugs the referee, who disqualifies the Bulldogs, giving the Chiefs the championship and the trophy, which Braden joyfully skates around while wearing nothing but his jockstrap.

Ned Braden, Ned Braden
Braden parades the Federal League championship trophy while Dunlop celebrates

The movie has attained cult status in the hockey community, often cited as the #1 hockey movie of all time. Many classic quotes from the film have woven their way into the hockey vernacular, such as
  • "You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes by yourself, you know, and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free."
  • "Who own the Chiefs?" "Ooownnzzz, ooownnzzz!!"
  • "Ok guys. Show us what you got."
  • "Hey Hanrahan! She's a lesbian!"
  • "Dave's a mess."
  • "I'm listening to the f***ing song!"
  • "The fans are standing up to them! The security guards are standing up to them! The peanut vendors are standing up to them! And by golly, if I could get down there, I'd be standing up to them!"
  • "puttin' on the foil!"
and of course,
  • "Old time hockey, like Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper and Toe Blake. Those guys were the greats!"

The Carlson brothers would all go on to have professional careers, which included all three brothers playing for the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA, glasses and all, at the same time during the 1975-76 season, which should be noted was based on merit and not an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the movie, which would not even be released until 1977.

The Carlson brothers while with the WHA's Fighting Saints

Jack Carlson would play in 272 games in 5 WHA seasons and 236 games in 6 NHL seasons. Steve Carlson totaled 173 WHA games and 52 NHL games in 5 combined seasons, while Jeff Carlson skated in 7 WHA games plus nine more minor league seasons.

The "Hanson Brothers" have also attained cult status on their own, as Steve Carlson, Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson continue to make personal appearances as The Hansons and have even been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In addition, it's nearly impossible to attend and NHL game in person without seeing a Chiefs jersey in the stands, as they continue to be sold to this day, 40 years after the movie's original release.


Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Charlestown Chiefs Reg Dunlop jersey. The classic Charlestown Chiefs jersey was patterned after the Johnstown Jets jerseys, which in turn came from their parent club, the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA.

While we have taken care to match the fonts for the back and sleeve numbers to those used on the jerseys worn by Newman in the movie, which do not match each other. We did stray from authenticity a bit by adding the name "DUNLOP" to the back of our jersey, as none of the Chiefs jerseys in the movie had names on the back. Our jersey was originally purchased blank for a bargain price and did not come with the Charlestown All American City patch on the shoulder like those worn in the movie, but we have since custom created one and have added it to our jersey since these photos were taken.

Humorously, many of the Chiefs jerseys sold feature #16 on one sleeve, #17 on the back and #18 on the other sleeve to cleverly represent all three Hanson Brothers on the same sweater!

Charlestown Chiefs 77 jersey photo CharlestownChiefs77F.jpg
Charlestown Chiefs 77 jersey photo CharlestownChiefs77B-1.jpg

Plenty of video options today, but no better place to start than with the original movie trailer for Slap Shot.



Next up, the Hansons take to the ice for the first time, and the game of hockey will never be the same.



Here is a look back at Slap Shot on the 25th Anniversary of the movie's release, in two parts.





The popularity of the Hanson brothers has not waned, as they are still making people laugh over three decades later. Here is their appearance as part of the 2011 NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2010-11 Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne Jersey

When Nashville Predators fan Tim Morrell found out his brother-in-law, Colonel Tim Kopra has been selected as one of the astronauts for flight STS-133 of the space shuttle Discovery, he had an idea.

Tim Kopra, Tim Kopra
Colonel Tim Kopra

While the main goal of the mission would be to deliver spare components and install a new module for the International Space Station, Morrell knew each crew member would be allowed to bring a limited amount of personal items into space, so he asked Kopra if he would be willing to bring a Pekka Rinne Nashville Predators jersey along for the ride.

It was to be Kopra's second trip into space, the first flight STS-127 coming in July of 2009 aboard Endeavour, which took him to the International Space Station, where he spent 60 days in orbit before coming back on the shuttle Discovery flight STS-128. During STS-127, Kopra, who's grandfather immigrated to the United States from Finland, brought with a Kalevala Medal, which is awarded for Service to Finnish Culture. During that first flight, he spoke with the President of Finland Tarja Halonen via a video teleconference and then later traveled to Finland, where he presented her with the actual medal which he had taken into space.

Kopra and Halonen, Kopra and Halonen
Timothy Kopra with Finnish President Halonen

Morell's idea to ask Kopra to bring a jersey of a Finnish goaltender from his favorite team came from another crew member aboard Kopra's original flight, Canadian Julie Payette, who appropriately brought with a Maurice "Rocket" Richard jersey for her trip into space, stating she brought "The Rocket" into the rocket to celebrate the Canadiens 100th Anniversary.

Payette Richard, Payette Richard
Canadian astronaut Julie Payette poses with the Rocket Richard jersey she took into space

Morell and his wife Beth brought Kopra and his wife to their first ever game in December of 2007, a 4-3 Nashville win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, making sure all four were appropriately dressed in Predators jerseys.

Kopras and Morrells, Kopras and Morrells
The Kopras and Morrells enjoying the Predators game

With Kopra having been given so much media coverage in Finland for his Finnish ancestry, choice of the Kalevala Medal to take with on his flight and subsequent meeting with President Halonen, Rinne was already familiar with Colonel Kopra, and was honored to learn that he intended to take one of his jerseys with him on his second flight.

"It's a big deal even in Finland," Rinne said. "He has been on the news several times. That's something that the Finnish people know well. I was really surprised when I heard about it. It's awesome. Obviously I'm proud of that. It is such and exciting thing."

Rinne Predators, Rinne Predators
Pekka Rinne

Kopra was scheduled for two space walks during his flight, which will be his last prior to retiring as an astronaut as well as the Army. The flight will also be the next-to-last mission for the space shuttle program in it's 30 year history.

Unfortunatley, with training for the mission having begun in October of 2009, 16 months prior to the scheduled flight, Kopra was injured in a biking accident on January 19, 2011 badly enough, said to be a possible broken hip, that he had to be replaced on the crew by astronaut Stephen Bowen with the scheduled launch less than five weeks away.

STS-133 was originally scheduled to launch on November 1, 2010, but mechanical delays pushed back the date several times, and it was during those delays that Kopra suffered his accident, putting the plan for the Predators jersey in space in serious jeopardy, as it was unknown at the time if Kopra's personal items would remain onboard for the flight.

After all the complex issues which delayed the mission had been sorted and solved, STS-133 was launched into orbit on this date in 2011.

Discovery, Discovery
The space shuttle Discovery

It docked with the International Space Station and successfully delivered it's payload to the space station, eventually returning to Earth on March 9, 2011 after 14 days.

On the day of the launch a NASA spokesperson reported that the Predators jersey was not listed on the official flight manifest, but left open a slight possibility that it did make in on board, but following the flight Kopra's wife relayed to her sister Beth Morrell that the #35 Rinne jersey was among the items removed from Discovery following it's return.

The story didn't end there however, as four years later on March 21, 2015 Kopra presented Rinne with the actual jersey that flew into space on the Endevour and then dropped the ceremonial first puck for the Predators game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Tim Kopra and Pekka Rinne
Kopra presents Rinne with his jersey that flew into space

Despite not being able to be a part of STS-133 when the Rinne jersey went into space, it was not the end of Kopra's career, as he returned to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-19M. During a space walk on January 15, 2016, his suit began leaking water into his helmet, which caused his walk to be cut short. He returned to Earth after spending 186 days in space.

Today's featured jersey is a 2010-11 Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne jersey. The jersey chosen to make the trip into space was not a Predators home or road jersey, but their short-lived blue alternate jersey that was only worn for two seasons, 2009-10 and 2010-11 before being dropped when the Predators introduced a brand new pair of home and road jerseys for 2011-12. They have not worn an alternate jersey since.

The Predators alternate jersey was unusual in that it completely eliminated the use of the color gold and had unconventional color-on-color checkerboard stripes around the arms and waist. The nearly monochromatic look was part of a small, brief trend in alternate jerseys, along with those worn during that time frame by the Florida Panthers, whose two-tone blue third jersey contained no red or gold, the St. Louis Blues, which had no medium blue on their navy blue jerseys, unlike their home and roads, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, whose cream and Columbia and navy blue jerseys lacked any red whatsoever. Additionally, the main crests used by Florida, St. Louis and Columbus were all brand new circular logos not worn on their home or road jerseys, all of which caused fans to wonder about this recent crop of jerseys that completely ignored a basic color of a team's identity.

After playing for Oulun Kärpät in Finland and being drafted 258th overall with the final pick of the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 6' 5" Finn Rinne came to North America for the 2005-06 season to play with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, eventually leading the club to the Calder Cup Finals. That same season he played a pair of games with the Predators of the NHL, earning his first victory in the process.

After two more seasons with the Admirals, Rinne became the Predators #1 goaltender beginning with the 2008-09 season, raising his win totals from 29 to 32 and then 33 in 2010-11, 9 of those by shutout. Since his jersey went into space, he is now playing in his sixth season since then, twice winning over 40 games and four times having a goals against average of under 2.50 while currently on pace for a fifth.

Nashville Predators 2009-10 F jersey
Nashville Predators 2009-10 B jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2010-11 Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne jersey. Today's bonus jersey made it's debut in 2007-08 with the league wide introduction of the new Reebok Edge jerseys. For the introduction of the Edge jerseys, Reebok created a limited number of templates, which resulted in Nashville's design sharing a similar appearance to the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and to a lesser degree, the Atlanta Thrashers.

Nashville Predators 09-10 jersey, Nashville Predators 09-10 jersey
Nashville Predators 09-10 jersey, Nashville Predators 09-10 jersey

In addition to the yellow piping, derisively called "the apron strings", the most maddening design element of this style jersey was, while the top side of the arms was a consistent sliver color, the underside of the sleeves was navy blue for the upper half, before unexplainably changing to white half way down for no reason whatsoever! Why the underside of the arms had to change color on the team's home dark jerseys at the midpoint, we will never fathom, especially in light of the teams road white jerseys carrying the same color from the neck to the wrist like a proper design should.

Rinne Predators, Rinne Predators
Rinne in a blue Predators jersey, showing how the underside of the sleeve change color in midstream

Today's video section begins with the launch of STS-133, the final flight of Discovery.


Here, Kopra presents Rinne with his famous jersey and then drops the ceremonial first puck.


Next up is a collection of Rinne highlights, showing the Finnish net minder at his sprawling, diving, denying best, set to a great soundtrack.


Finally, Colonel Kopra answering questions (in English) during his trip to Finland after his flight on STS-127.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux and Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman Jerseys

On this date in 1989, the Pittsburgh Penguins traveled to the Joe Louis Arena to face the host Detroit Red Wings. The Penguins brought a winning 32-22-5 record into the game against the Red Wings 27-26-10 mark.

The Red Wings started Greg Stefan in goal, while the Penguins countered with Tom Barasso

Defenseman David Hannan opened the scoring with a goal for the Penguins 3:11 into the game with assists from Zarley Zalapski and John Cullen. Dan Quinn added to the Pittsburgh lead at 6:38 with an assist from Mario Lemieux. After ten scoreless minutes, Lemieux got another assist when he set up Cullen for the third Penguins goal with the second assist to James Johnson at 17:12. Exactly one minute later, the Red Wings fans were in despair as the Pittsburgh lead grew to 4-0 when Paul Coffey found the back of the net with assists from Quinn and Lemieux, his third of the period.


Lemieux Penguins 3
Lemieux had three assists in the first period

The second period was just over five minutes old when John Callander extended the Penguins advantage to 5-0 with an assist from Bob Errey and, of course, Lemieux. The rout was well and truly on less than a minute later when, at 6:06, Coffey converted with yet another assist to Lemieux, not only his fifth assist, but now with an assist on five consecutive goals, which we imagine would be an NHL record.

Lemieux Penguins 2
Lemieux had assists on five consecutive goals

The sixth Penguins goal was the end of the line for Stefan, who had given up the six goals on 16 shots for a save percentage of 0.625. Stefan was replaced by Glen Hanlon, who was probably not looking forward to facing an on-form Lemieux and a Pittsburgh team on a roll.

Petr Klima saved some face for the Red Wings just under two minutes later when he was set up by Rick Zombo with the second assist to Adam Oates at 7:54. Again, just under two minutes later, Steve Yzerman struck for Detroit at 9:51 with an assist to Lee Norwood. The goal was Yzerman's 56th on the year, breaking the Red Wings single season team record of 55 held by John Ogrodnick in 1984-85.


Yzerman Red Wings 3
Yzerman set the Red Wings single season goal scoring record at 56

The Pittsburgh lead was cut in half at 12:39 when Paul MacLean lit the lamp with Gerard Gallant and Yzerman getting the assists. With four seconds left in a Detroit power play with Troy Loney off for hooking, Dave Barr made it 6-4 with assists from Oates and Norwood at 18:30, giving the Red Wings faithful hope that a real comeback was in the making.

At 4:28 of the third period, Chris Dahlquist was booked for tripping, putting Detroit back on the power play. This time, with just three seconds left in man advantage, Norwood converted at 6:25 from Yzerman and Gallant as the Penguins six goal lead had now melted to just one at 6-5, ratcheting up the tension at The Joe.

Yzerman Red Wings 1
Yzerman had assists on goals 3 and 5

Detroit, now sensing they had Pittsburgh reeling, continued to pressure Barasso but their attack was interrupted by a hooking penalty to Gallant at 9:32, but 1:08 into the Pittsburgh power play, Zalapski was whistled for holding at 10:40. With an abbreviated power play once Gallant was freed, the Red Wings were unable to convert.

Finally, at the 15:00 minute mark, the Red Wings six goal comeback was complete when Yzerman sent the home fans into delirium when he scored to extend his Red Wings single season record to 57 goals with the assist going to Gallant, his third, and MacLean.


Yzerman Red Wings 2
Yzerman tied the game with his second goal of the night

The teams both pressed for the game winner over the remaining five minutes of regulation plus an additional five minutes of overtime, but Barasso managed to hang on, while, somewhat unbelievably, with Stefan and Barasso both giving up six goals each, Hanlon did not allow a single goal in his 38:54 of action as the Red Wings defense only allowed the high powered Penguins 9 shots during Hanlon's time in goal as the game, clearly a tale of two halves, ended in a 6-6 tie.

Lemieux led all scorers with his five assists, followed by Yzerman with 2 goals and 2 assists as the fans got to see two NHL legends at their best that night. Norwood had a goal and two assists and Gallant had three helpers for Detroit. No one on Pittsburgh managed three points, but Coffey had two goals while Cullen and Quinn had a goal and an assist each. For the Red Wings, MacLean also had a goal and an assist, while Oates had a pair of assists.

Lemieux would go on to lead the NHL in goals, with 85, shorthanded goals with 13, assists with 114 and points with 199 while Yzerman finished 3rd in goals (65), assists (90) and points with 155.

Lemieux Penguins 1
Lemieux led the league in scoring in 1988-89

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey as worn the night Lemieux assisted on five consecutive Penguins goals.

The Penguins took the unusual step of introducing their new black and gold jerseys during the 1979-80 season. With both the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball having won championships for Pittsburgh wearing the black and gold colors of the city flag, the Penguins changed from their navy blue and Columbia blue color scheme to their new jerseys midseason.

The jerseys did undergo some tweaking during their initial run of use, such as the relocation of the sleeve numbers from the shoulders to the sleeves and some changes in fonts for both the names and numbers, as well as the straightening of the angles arm striping, which concluded with back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, only to have the team drop their by now classic and successful jerseys after 11 1/2 seasons!

While the new jerseys retained the black and gold colors, the club eventually changed the vibrant gold to a pale "Las Vegas Gold" in 2000-01 for their new alternate jersey, which became their primary jersey in 2002-03.

Today's bonus jersey style returned as a retro alternate jersey for 2014-15 before once again becoming the primary home jersey starting with the 2016-17 season for hopefully a longer run than the first time out for one of the league's most attractive designs.


Pittsburgh Penguins 1988-89 F jersey
Pittsburgh Penguins 1988-89 B jersey

Today's second featured jersey is a 1988-89 Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman jersey as worn the night Detroit came from six goals down for a tie as Yzerman set the Red Wings single season goal scoring record, which he would eventually extend to 65 goals as part of his franchise single season point record of 155.

From 1932 to 1934, the Red Wings only wore red sweaters for both home and road games, with the white jersey not being introduced until the 1934-35 season. The next real change of note was the addition of red sleeves decorated with sleeve numbers for the first time in 1961, as seen on today's bonus jersey. Names would not appear until 1973 with only changes to fonts for the name and numbers since, including the vertically arched names arriving in 1982-83.


Detroit Red Wings 1988-89 F jersey
Detroit Red Wings 1988-89 B jersey

In today's video section, the thoughts of both Yzerman and Lemieux when they were linemates during the 1983 World Junior Championships.



Next, Yzerman with a ridiculous solo effort from 1989 that simply has to be seen to be believed.



Here, a Top 10 Yzerman Goals highlight reel from TSN, which somehow failed to include the above goal, but still a worthy collection of Yzerman's skills for certain.




In the interests of equal time, a look at Lemieux and the Penguins 1988-89 season in three parts.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

1998 Czech Republic National Team Dominik Hasek Jersey

The Olympic hockey tournament changed like never before in 1998 when the the National Hockey League players were allowed to compete for the first time. Prior to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, professional players were allowed to participate, but with the Games taking place in February, the highest caliber players obligated to their ongoing NHL seasons, preventing them from even dreaming of taking part in the Olympics.

1998 Winter Olympic Logo photo 1998_Winter_Olympics_logo.png

Starting in 1920, the Olympic gold medal was essentially the property of Canada, winning 6 out of 7 possible gold medals through 1952. With the arrival of the Soviet Union on the scene in 1956, the balance of power was radically changed. Through 1992, when the Soviet trained players skated together one final time as the Unified Team, the Soviets won 8 to of 10 golds, with only the Americans winning twice at home preventing a clean sweep over the course of 4 decades by the Soviets.

Sweden took the gold in 1994 over Canada, but the form charts needed to be thrown away with the sudden availability of the stars of the NHL, who were now going to be on hand for the first time since their formative years, if not the first time ever for some, most notably Wayne Gretzky of Canada. With the NHL season on hold, interest in the tournament was tremendous.

Jagr Czech Republic photo Jagr1998Olympics1.jpg
Jaromir Jagr would be making his first Olympic appearance in 1998

The tournament began with Kazakhstan winning Group A and Belarus taking Group B, with the two former Soviet states advancing to the First Round at the expense of Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Germany, France and Japan, whose tournaments were now over after just three games of the Preliminary Round.

The tournament format now called for two groups of four teams to play a round robin schedule to determine their seeings when they all would advance to face an opponent from the opposite group in the single elimination Final Round playoffs.

Kazakhstan was placed in Group D along with the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia, who were all placed into the First Round directly based on their IIHF world ranking prior to the tournament, the same as Canada, Sweden and the United States in Group C, who were joined by Belarus.

In Group C, Canada finished first with a perfect 3-0 record to give them hope of returning to the top place on the medal stand for the first time since 1952 now that the controversy between their best amateurs versus the Soviet "amateurs" had now been finally removed, leveling the playing field on the Olympic stage for the first time in decades.

Canada's opponent as the first seed in Group C was the fourth place finisher in Group D, Kazakhstan. Sweden finished second thanks to a 4-2 win over the Americans, which paired them with Finland in the quarterfinals.

Group D winning Russia drew overmatched Belarus from Group C, while the Czech Republic's second place in Group D saw it facing the United States.

Group winners Canada and Russia held serve with a pair of easy 4-1 wins over Kazakhstan and Belarus as expected. The under achieving United States ran afoul of the Czech Republic, also by a 4-1 score. The only upset in terms of seeding came with Finland's exciting 2-1 defeat of Nordic rivals Sweden in a tense game that was scoreless after two periods.

The parings for the semifinals saw Canada drawing the Czech Republic. The Canadians were armed with some of the finest firepower in all of the world, including forwards Wayne Gretzky, Theo Fleury, Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman, boasted a defensive hall of fame with Rob Blake, Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger and Scott Stevens, with the legendary Patrick Roy in goal. Amazingly, the Canadian team General Manager Bobby Clarke chose Rob Zamuner to be on the Canadian roster over Mark Messier and Lindros as captain rather than Gretzky, Bourque or Yzerman!

Going into their game against Canada, the Czechs had won three and lost one, but goaltender Dominik Hasek was in top form, having surrendered only 5 goals in 4 games, with their only loss being a 2-1 decision to Russia in the First Round.

Czech Republic vs Russia, Czech Republic vs Russia
The Czech Republic losing to Russia 2-1 in Group D play

The first two periods passed without a goal by either side, as Roy and Hasek traded saves. Finally halfway through the third period, Jiri Slegr beat Roy with an assist from the veteran Pavel Patera. The Canadians pressed hard for the equalizer, but the Czech defensive system stood tall and Hasek took care of the rest as time would down. Finally with just 1:03 remaining in the game, Trevor Linden solved Hasek with an assist from Lindros.

Jagr Czech Republic photo JagrvsCanada1998.jpg
Jaromir Jagr battles Joe Niewendyk of Canada

Following a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout to determine who would advance to the gold medal final. Fleury, Bourque, Nieuwendyk, Lindros and Shanahan were all stopped by the on-form Hasek, while Robert Reichel's opening goal in off the pipe proved to be enough to win the game for the Czechs.

Hasek Shanahan, Hasek Shanahan
Hasek stops Shanahan to seal the victory for the Czech Republic

Russia advanced to face their long-time rivals with a dominant 7-4 win over Finland, setting up a rematch of their earlier First Round game, which was won by the Russians 2-1.

The championship final, held on this date in 1998, was a predictably low scoring affair, as each team looked to exploit any mistakes by their opponent, while both teams kept their game simple and looked to avoid any unnecessary mistakes. Just like in their first meeting, the opening period passed with no scoring and moved on to the second.

Czech Republic vs Russia, Czech Republic vs Russia
Action from the second meeting between Russia and
the Czech Republic, only this time for the gold medal

Again, Hasek in goal for the Czechs and Mikhail Stalenkov stood tall in goal for the Russians as both teams failed to solve the other. As the game approached the midway point of the third period, a faceoff took place in the Russian zone to the right of Stalenkov. Martin Prochazka won the draw back to his winger Patera, who simply slid the puck back to Petr Svoboda on the point, who teed up the puck and fired it on goal. It passed through a tangle of traffic still hooked up following the faceoff and flew past Stalenkov and into the net for a 1-0 Czech Republic lead with 11:52 still remaining.

Hasek Nagano Olympics 1998, Hasek Nagano Olympics 1998
Hasek holding off the Russian attack

The goal was enough for Hasek however, as he and his teammates finished off the shutout to capture the first gold medal of the full participation Olympic hockey tournament, making Hasek a household name around the world and Svoboda an instant and unlikely hero, as in 1,028 NHL games, the defensive defenseman had only scored 58 goals, less than 3 1/2 per season, with a career high of 8.

Jagr Vaclav Havel photo JagrHavel1998.jpg
Jagr's gold medal earned him a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Havel

Today's featured jersey is a 1998 Czech Republic National Team Dominik Hasek jersey as worn when the Czech Republic captured the Olympic gold medal in Nagano, Japan. This bold style of jersey was first worn in the 1998 Olympics and is associated with a golden era of Czech hockey, having been worn not only for the Olympic gold in 1998, but also for three consecutive World Championship gold medals in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Czech Republic 1998 H jersey photo CzechRepublic1998HF.jpg
Czech Republic 1998 H jersey photo CzechRepublic1998HB.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1998 Czech Republic Jaromir Jagr jersey as worn during the Olympics in Nagano, Japan. This style of jersey was first introduced for the 1998 Olympics by Nike, who produced new uniforms for each of the participating teams in that year's Games.

The Czech Republic jerseys, while somewhat similar to Canada and Belarus, with it's arched striping from the collar to the armpits, employed a unique font for the numbers as well as the bold color blocks inspired by the flag of the Czech Republic to set it apart from the others, but left no doubt as to who it belonged to with the ultra bold CZECH emblazoned across the lower back.

Czech Republic 1998 jersey photo CzechRepublic1998RF.jpg
Czech Republic 1998 jersey photo CzechRepublic1998RB.jpg

Our first video today are quick highlights from the Czech Republic's gold medal performance at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. Gooooooaaaaaaallllllll!!!!


Up next is the tense shootout between Canada and the Czech Republic in the semifinals, highlighting the sprawling, twisting, unorthodox style used by Hasek to full effect.



This next video contains highlights from the goal medal final, won by the Czech Repbulic 1-0 over Russia, focusing on Svoboda's goal.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

1995 Canada National Team Ryan Smyth Jersey

Having scored 50 goals and 105 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL during the 1993-94 season, Ryan Smyth was named to the Canadian World Junior squad for the 1995 tournament, held in Red Deer, Alberta, just 2 1/2 hours from his birthplace of Banff.

Smyth Moose Jaw Warriors photo SmythMooseJawWarriors.jpg
Smyth played his junior hockey for the Moose Jaw Warriors

Canada rolled to a perfect 7-0 record to give Smyth his first gold medal upon his international hockey debut. Smyth was tied for seventh in team scoring with 2 goals and 5 assists in the seven games.

Following the World Juniors, Smyth would return to Moose Jaw to finish the 1994-95 season, and when the Warriors were eliminated from the WHL playoffs, Smyth would make his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers, appearing in three games.

After playing four seasons for the Oilers, including two Conference Semifinals appearances in 1997 and 1998, the Oilers were eliminated quickly from the 1999 playoffs, freeing up Smyth for his first World Championships, which were held in Norway. Canada missed out on a medal by dropping the bronze medal game to Sweden 3-2.

Smyth returned to the World Championships again in 2000 in Russia. Canada suffered through a rough First Round, losing to both Norway and the Czech Republic, but advanced to the Second Round, where they righted their ship with wins over Finland, Italy and Slovakia to advance to the Final Round knockout playoffs. Despite defeating Switzerland, they again fell to the eventual champion Czechs prior to losing in the bronze game for the second year in a row in a rematch with Finland. Smyth's final stats were 3 goals and 9 points in 9 games, which would prove to be a career high.

For the 2001 World Championships, Smyth was named team captain for the event in Germany. While Smyth contributed 2 goals and 5 points in seven games, A Quarterfinal loss to the United States left Canada out of the medals with a 5 place finish.

Smyth, born on this date in 1976, was named to the 2002 Canadian Olympic Team for the games in Salt Lake City, his first Olympic appearance. The Canadians stumbled out of the gate, losing to Sweden 5-2 in their first game, eked out a narrow 3-2 win over Germany and then tied the Czech Republic, but came alive in the final round playoffs, first defeating Finland 2-1 before being handed a gift when Belarus shockingly eliminated the number one ranked Swedes. With Belarus demolished 7-1, Canadian confidence was high and they captured the gold medal with a 5-2 win over the host United States just three days shy of Smyth's birthday.

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Smyth is exuberant after winning the 2002 Olympic gold medal

Two months later, Smyth was back at the World Championships, again as team captain. Smyth contributed 4 goals as the Canadians cruised to a 4-1 record before losing by a goal to the eventual champion Slovaks in the Quarterfinals.

Smyth was back again for the 2003 World Championships in Finland. They reached the playoffs with a 4-0-1 record and defeated Germany 3-2, the Czech Republic 8-4 and then downed Sweden 3-2 to claim the title and Smyth's first World Championship gold medal, as he had the honor of hoisting the championship trophy as the team captain. The gold medal was Canada's first since 1997. Smyth totaled 2 goals and 4 points in the effort.

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Smyth with the World Championship trophy in 2003

He was back again as captain in 2004 and, following 3-1-1 early results, Canada knocked out Finland 5-4, got by Slovakia 2-1 and then claimed back-to-back world championships by defeating Sweden for the second year in a row, this time 5-3. Smyth again had 2 goals and 4 points during the tournament.

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Smyth shares a moment with his daughter
after winning the 2004 World Championships

Later that same year, Smyth once again was putting on the maple leaf for his country, this time at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey where he contributed 3 goals and 4 points. Playing in front of the home fans in Montreal and Toronto, Canada won the North American pool with a 3-0 record before a dominating 5-0 win over Slovakia, followed by a 4-3 overtime thriller against the Czech Republic before capturing the championship with a 3-2 win over Finland.

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Ryan Smyth congratulated after a goal during the 2004 World Cup

With the NHL players being locked out by the owners preventing the NHL season from taking place after the World Cup, Smyth was available for World Championship duty in Austria that spring. He was named team captain for the fifth consecutive year, which earned him the nickname "Captain Canada". After going 3-0 in the First Round, a 1-1-1 Second Round saw Canada needing to regain their form, which they did with wins over Slovakia (5-4) and Russia (4-3) before losing in the finals to the Czechs, which gave Smyth his first sliver medal, having won gold in his previous five finals.

Smyth made his second Olympic appearance at the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy but the Canadians fell short in the Quarterfinals to Russia 2-0 to finish out of the medals.

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Smyth at the 2006 Olympic Games

The 2002-07 season was Smyth's 12th with the Oilers, but after 53 games he was dealt to the New York Islanders in an emotional moment for Smyth. He would finish the season with the Islanders before moving to the Colorado Avalanche for the next two seasons and then joined the Los Angeles Kings for the 2009-10 season. Following the regular season, Smyth was call upon by Canada for the first time in four years for the World Championships in Germany, where he was named team captain for the sixth time. Unfortunately for Smyth, he suffered an ankle injury during the Canadians first game, which kept him out of the remainder of the competition.

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Smyth wore his emotions on his sleeve when he left Edmonton

After another season with Los Angeles, Smyth returned to the Oilers for the 2011-12 season, but the start of the 2012-13 season was delayed after New Year's by another lockout. With no NHL season occupying his time at the close of 2012, Smyth was once more wearing not only the red and white of Canada, but the familiar captain's "C", only this time for the Spengler Cup tournament, held each year in Davos, Switzerland.

Loaded with otherwise unavailable NHL caliber talent, such as Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Tyler Seguin, Matt Duchene and Patrice Bergeron, Canada opened with an overtime loss to Adler Manheim of Germany, but won the group with a 5-0 win over HC Davos. They built off that momentum and advanced to the finals with a 5-1 win over HC Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland and won the Spengler Cup with a second 5 goal win over Davos, this time by a score of 7-2 as Smyth scored twice in the final, including the game winner.

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Ryan Smyth lifts the Spengler Cup

In all, Smyth competed at one World Junior tournament, eight World Championships, captaining the team six times, two Olympics, one World Cup and a Spengler Cup for a total of 89 games played scoring 23 goals and 47 points. In all, he won an Olympic gold medal, two World Championship gold medals and one silver, a gold at the World Juniors, the World Cup and the Spengler Cup during his international career.

He would eventually compete in 47 games for Edmonton once the 2012-13 season began and returned for one final season with the Oilers in 2013-14 to wrap up his career with 1,270 games played with 386 goals and 456 assists for 976 points and played in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.

Today's featured jersey is a 1995 Canada National Team Ryan Smyth jersey from his first international tournament, the 1995 World Juniors where he earned his first gold medal out of four. This jersey would mark the first appearance of the red and black Hockey Canada logo on a Canadian National Team jersey. This style of jersey was only used for one year, having been used for the World Juniors and World Championships until Reebok was replaced by Nike as suppliers of jerseys to the IIHF beginning in 1996.

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Canada 1995 WJC jersey photo Canada1995WJCB.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2006 Canada National Team Ryan Smyth jersey as worn at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. The new Nike Swift styles made their international debut at the 2006 World Junior Championships with Canada and the USA in advance of being the predominant style worn at the Olympics five weeks later.

In Torino, every team, save Sweden and Switzerland, were wearing the new Swift styles, with all teams having changed over by the World Championships in May.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Our video section today begins with highlights of Smyth on his return to the Oilers.



Next up is Smyth captaining Canada to back-to-back world championships with a victory in 2004.


 

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