Wednesday, March 4, 2015

1998-99 Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph Jersey

On this date in 1999, the Toronto Maple Leafs set an NHL record for the fewest shots taken in a winning effort with just nine shots on goal in a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.

The Maple Leafs registered three shots on goal during the first period to ten for St. Louis, but ended the period leading 1-0 on a breakaway goal by Steve Sullivan with an assist from Mike Johnson at 11:03. Little did St. Louis know there ten shots in the first period would be more than the Maple Leafs would register for the whole game.

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Steve Sullivan

The second period went even better for Toronto, when Mats Sundin scored on their first shot when he beat St. Louis starting goaltender Brent Johnson with a wrist shot off Johnson's glove from the right faceoff circle.

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Mats Sundin

Toronto's second shot of the period also found the back of the net when Lonny Bohonos, who had just been called up from the minors earlier that same day, fired a slapshot from the right circle, beating Johnson between his pads at 5:58, ending Johnson's day after giving up three goals on just five shots.

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Lonny Bohonos was called up from the St. John's Maple Leafs

With Jim Carey now in goal, the Blues fared no better as Gary Valk scored for Toronto on a 2-on-1 with Igor Korolev on the first shot Carey would face, giving Toronto four goals on six shots. Carey would save the only other shot he saw in the second period, as St. Louis again outshot Toronto, this time eight to four for the period, although Toronto scored on three of the four.

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Gary Valk

Carey was able to withstand the two shot barrage he faced in the third period, but the Blues failed to score on any of the ten shots they threw at Toronto netminder Curtis Joseph, who made 28 saves while blanking his former club, the 22nd shutout of his career.

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Curtis Joseph 

Of the nine Toronto shots, three were credited to Sundin, with no one else having more than one.

When asked about the low number of shots, Sullivan responded "As Glen Healy told me once, 'Good teams look at the scoreboard and not the shot clock.' "

Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph jersey. While the Maple Leafs began wearing this jersey style in 1992-93, it was tweaked in 1997-98 with an odd, overly thick and quite rounded new font for the numbers and a new font for the names as well. This specification would remain in use through 1999-00 until the secondary shoulder logo was changed to a "TML" monogram and the number font reverted to a more traditional block font, only now with the addition of silver trim for the first time, while the font for the names remained unchanged, making for an odd pairing with the new number font.

This jersey also features the Memories and Dreams patch worn that year to commemorate the final season of Maple Leaf Gardens, the Maple Leafs long time home since 1931.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's first video is a look back at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Our next video is Hamada Takasi playing the Maple Leaf Rag on his banjo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

1927-28 Toronto Maple Leafs Joe Ironstone Jersey

Born in Montreal in 1898, Joe Ironstone grew up in northern Ontario and began his playing career with the Sudbury Wolves of the Northern Ontario Hockey League (NOHA) in the 1921-22 season, winning 3 and losing 2 in the 6 games in which he played before moving to the Sudbury Legionnaires, where he won 3 out of 3 starts during the regular season prior to going 0-1-1 in a pair of playoff games.

Back with the Wolves for 1922-23, Ironstone went 4-4 in eight games. Records show he was with the Wolves again in 1923-24, but no statistics are shown across multiple sources, perhaps indicating he did not play, perhaps due to an injury. He was signed by the powerful Ottawa Senators of the NHL in 1924-25, but saw no playing time as a backup to Alex Connell, who played in all 30 of the Senators games.

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Joe Ironstone

Ironstone became a member of the New York Americans during their debut season and was again a backup goaltender, this time to Jake Forbes. While Forbes played in all 36 of the games on the Americans schedule, Ironstone was able to make his NHL debut with two periods of relief work.

Having played as little as 40 minutes over the previous three seasons, Ironstone was likely more than happy to find himself a member of the Niagara Falls Cataracts (with "cataract" meaning "a large or high waterfall") where he played 23 games in the Canadian Professional Hockey League (CPHL).

He had a busy season in 1927-28, with 14 more games with Niagara Falls. After going 3-6-5, Ironstone he became a member of the Toronto Ravinas of the same league when he was sold by the Cataracts. In 26 games he posted a winning record of 13-10-3 to help the Ravinas get into the playoffs.

It was also during this season that Ironstone played in one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins on this date in 1928 as an injury replacement for goaltender John Roach. Ironstone played well and held the Bruins off the scoreboard for the entire game, earning his only NHL shutout. He was denied the win however, when Boston's Hal Winkler matched him save for save for his 12th shutout of the season as the game ended in a scoreless tie.

The next club to employ Ironstone's services was the London Panthers, for whom he played a career high 42 games on his way to a 16-22-3 record. The 1929-30 season saw Ironstone split time between London, who switched from the CPHL to the International Hockey League (IHL). After 10 games, he was back in the CPHL with the Kitchener Flying Dutchmen, with whom he won 7 and lost 8 games.

Seemingly always on the move, the 1930-31 season was divided between the Marquette Iron Rangers of the Northern Michigan Hockey League, the Guelph Maple Leafs of the Ontario Professional Hockey League and the Syracuse Stars of the IHL.

He did not play the next two seasons, but returned to the ice with the Sudbury Legion once again for the 1933-34 and 1934-35 seasons. His final season in hockey was spent with the Falconbridge Falcons of the NOHA, with whom he completed for the Allan Cup, and also make one appearance for his original team, the Sudbury Wolves, bringing his career full circle.

Ironstone's career NHL stats are the unusual line of 0-0-1 with 1 shutout. He allowed 3 goals during his relief effort in two periods in New York, and combined with his shutout in Toronto, his final goals against average stands at 1.64.

Today's featured jersey is a 1927-28 Toronto Maple Leafs Joe Ironstone jersey from his only appearance for the Maple Leafs, which resulted in a scoreless tie.

The Toronto St. Patricks had only been renamed the Maple Leafs during the previous season when the club was purchased by Conn Smythe. At the time, they changed from the St. Pats green sweaters with a white band across the chest to a plain white sweater with a green maple leaf logo on the chest. For the 1927-28 season, the club changed colors back to blue and white, as they wore during their first two seasons while they were known as the Toronto Arenas.

The simple, stripeless white sweater, worn for games against the New York Rangers, now had a blue maple leaf crest on the front. Their primary jersey was now an attractive blue jersey with multiple arm and body stripes done in the art deco style of the times.

This exact style would remain in use three seasons until a another white stripe was added across the top of the shoulders. That version of this jersey would be used through the 1933-34 season when a reversal of course was taken and the stripes were reduced to a simple pair of narrow white stripes on the arms and waist and a new, simpler leaf crest was introduced, which is nearly identical to the one the Maple Leafs now use today, 75 years later.

Toronto Maple Leafs 27-28 jersey

Monday, March 2, 2015

2001-02 Toronto St. Patricks Mats Sundin Jersey

The Toronto Arenas had won the Stanley Cup in 1918 but quickly ran into financial difficulties and were sold by their owners, The Toronto Arena Company, who owned the Arena Gardens rink where the team played, to new owners for $5,000.

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The Arena Gardens, later changed to the Mutual Street Arena

The new owners were Charile Querrie, the General Manager of the Toronto Arenas, and the owners of an amateur hockey club called the St. Patricks. The new ownership group then changed the NHL club's name to the Toronto St. Patricks and their sweaters from blue to now green.

Rebounding from a chaotic 5-13 season resulting from the sale or defection of their best players due to the financial problems of the previous ownership, the St. Patricks were essentially starting over from scratch for the 1919-20 season.

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1919-20 Toronto St Patricks

While they did not qualify for the playoffs, the St. Patricks did improve their season record to 12-12 and were led in points by Corb Denneny, a holdover from the Toronto Arenas, who had 24 goals and 36 points in 24 games, good for fourth in the league.

Future Hall of Famer Babe Dye led the club with 33 goals and 38 points in 23 games in 1920-21, and the team would finish first in the second half standings, but lost in the NHL finals to the Ottawa Senators.

Babe Dye during the 1920-21 season

1921-22 again saw the St. Patricks led by Dye's 31 goals and 38 points in 24 games, as Toronto would defeat the Senators 5-4 in a two-game, total goals series to capture the O'Brien Trophy and earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup against the Vancouver Millionaires, champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.

The series was a best-of-five and all games were played in Toronto. The Millionaires won Game 1 and Dye scored in overtime to even the series at 1 game apiece. Vancouver shut out Toronto 3-0 in Game 3, only to have the St. Patricks return the favor 6-0 in Game 4. Dye took control of the deciding Game 5, scoring four goals to lead the St. Patricks to a 5-1 victory and the Stanley Cup.

1921-22 Stanley Cup Champion Toronto St. Patricks

The next two seasons Toronto would finish in third place, and miss out on the playoffs both times. Dye again led the team in scoring both seasons, with 37 points in 1922-23 and just 19 in 1923-24, but still enough to lead the club.

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The 1923-24 Toronto St Patricks

Dye rebounded with 38 goals and 46 points in 1924-25 to lead the team for the fifth season in a row and Toronto again returned to the playoffs, only to lose out to the Montreal Canadiens 5 goals to 2.

Another Hall of Famer, Jack Adams, would finally unseat Dye as the club's leading scorer, as he managed 21 goals and 26 points to Dye's 23 points in 1925-26, but Toronto would fail to reach the playoffs.

St. Pats Owner Querrie lost a lawsuit to the notorious Eddie Livingstone, the one time owner of the franchise when they were known as the Toronto Blueshirts and played in the National Hockey Association, and decided to put the team up for sale. The club was purchased by Conn Smythe for $160,000 and took control of the team on February 14, 1927 and immediately changed the club's name to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On this date in 2002, the Toronto Maple Leafs wore the green jerseys of the St. Patricks, along with brown pants and helmets, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the franchise changing their name to the Maple Leafs in a 3-3 tie against the Buffalo Sabres, led by captain Mats Sundin's two goals.

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Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 Toronto St. Patricks Mats Sundin jersey as worn once on March 2, 2002 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the change in the club's name from the St. Patricks to the Maple Leafs following their purchase by Conn Smythe.

The original 1919-20 St. Pats jerseys were alternating green a white hoops on the body, while the sleeves were green with a single white band and white cuffs. For 1920-21, the sweaters were solid green with white cuffs, collar and waist stripe. They reverted to their original horizontally striped sweaters for 1921-22.

For 1922-23, the location of the sweater's colors were reversed, with the result being a predominately white look now that the arms were white with a green band and cuffs. This style was worn for three seasons through 1924-25. It was back to an all-green look for 1925-26, including the collar and cuffs, with the only white being three narrow stripes along the waist.

Finally, for the team's final season as the St. Patricks, they added a white chest band trimmed with narrow white stripes and reduced the three narrow waist stripes to two. With the sale of the club to Smythe, this jersey would not finish out the season, as it was immediately replaced by a solid white sweater with a green maple leaf crest, with the team colors permanently changing to blue and white for the 1927-28 season.

It would be the St. Patricks final green jersey with the white chest band of 1926-27 which would become the basis for the modern day Maple Leafs throwback jersey featured today.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Spectrum's Roof Blows Off

Opened on September 30, 1967, The Spectrum became home to both the expansion Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL as well as the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA.

The Spectrum

Construction began in June of 1966 and was completed in 16 months at a cost of $7 million. The name Spectrum was chosen to represent the wide range of events that would be held there.

On October 19th, the Flyers shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 with Bill Sutherland scoring the first goal in the building's history during their first ever home game in front of 7,812 fans.

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Bill Sutherland

With all six of the new expansion teams being placed in the West Division in 1967-68, the Flyers fared quite well. While all the expansion clubs were regularly defeated by the Original 6 teams which comprised the East Division, the Flyers were able to defeat all of the established clubs to gain valuable points in the standings as well as hold their own against the expansion cousins.

On February 17, 1968 the Ice Capades to move in for their show in Philadelphia. The 11,000 in attendance that afternoon got more than the bargained for when high winds blew a large section of the roof off the building with a thunderous roar, letting daylight into the arena. With the Flyers on a road trip until the 22nd, a patch was put on the roof and the Flyers completed a three game homestand without any further issues.

Going into the last of the three games on February 29th, 1968 (yes, it was a Leap Year), the Flyers were sitting at 26-24-9 with 61 points. They lost to the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 that night and then vacated the Spectrum to travel to New York to face the Rangers on March 2nd.

On this date in 1968, the winds once again blew with such force that more of the materials were torn from the roof. "We could have fixed it within 24 hours, but it became a political football. They closed the arena and we had to play our last eight games on the road. Also, we had to refund the money, which I didn't have," said Flyers owner Ed Snider.

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Light  streaming through the hole in The Spectrum's damaged roof

Then Philadelphia Mayor James H. J. Tate surveyed the damage in person and then announced the Spectrum was closed for repairs indefinitely, forcing the Flyers to vacate the Spectrum for their remaining home games while repairs were conducted.

The extended time to conduct the repairs, which in reality should have taken less than two weeks was a result of the political wrangling over the situation between Republican Walter Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Democrat Matthew McCloskey, owner of the firm who constructed the Spectrum on a limited budget due to the finances of Jerry Wolman, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles who paid for the construction of the stadium but started to run out of money before it was completed, resulting in a number of cutbacks.

More political posturing occurred between Mayor Tate, a democrat, and Arlen Specter, the city's District Attorney, and the man who Tate just happened to defeat for the Mayor's office! Specter sent his own investigators to the scene, knowing both Wolman and McCloskey had contributed to Tate's campaign, looking to uncover as much evidence to use against his foes as possible.

Spectrum management, eager to get back in business as quickly as possible reminded everyone the job was rushed with everyone's knowledge in order to get the Flyers franchise. "If we'd followed every damn semicolon," said Hal Freeman, president of the Spectrum, "it would have taken three years to finish the place. Everyone knew there would be shortcuts. But we've passed every inspection required, as far as I know."

Tate, proceeding with as much care and concern as possible to keep himself from being subject to any further political scrutiny by the Inquirer, ordered the Franklin Institute to conduct tests on the new roofing materials, including some in a wind tunnel, as well as research into which kind of fasteners should be used to attach the roof. Not wanting to risk their scientific reputation, the institute took care to make an informed decision. All of this led to the extended delay in getting the roof repairs completed, sending the Flyers on the road for the final month of the season.

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Repairs to the roof look longer than necessary

While the 76ers were able to simply move back to their previous home, Convention Hall, the other possibly suitable arenas in Philadelphia were not equipped to make ice back in those days. With no other options remaining in Philadelphia, the Flyers next "home" game was played in Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 3rd, (the day after the Flyers played the Rangers there) 100 miles northeast, where they tied the Oakland Seals 1-1 in front of 12,127.

The Flyers then traveled to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs on March 6th, losing 7-2, and then stayed in town to "host" Boston the next night in Maple Leaf Gardens, a game they also lost 2-1 while drawing a respectable 10,452 for a neutral site game.

A more permanent plan was put into place during the three days before their next game, as the Flyers remaining home games for the rest of the regular season were now to be played at Le Colisee in Quebec City, in Canada, which was home to the Flyers top minor league affiliate, the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League.

Life in French speaking Canada agreed with the Flyers, as they shut out the Minnesota North Stars 2-0 behind the goaltending of Bernie Parent on March 10th with 10,171 in attendance. After defeating the North Stars again in Minnesota on March 13th, they returned "home" to Quebec to tie the Kings with just 4,116 on hand. Things were quite different when the Maple Leafs made the trip to Quebec as 13,650 were in attendance for the popular Canadian opponents, whom the Flyers defeated 7-4.

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Flyer's goaltender Bernie Parent

After three road games Philadelphia returned to Le Colisee for a pair of vital games as work continued on the Spectrum's roof, as the Flyers were in a tie with the Kings for first place in the division with three games left on the schedule with 71 points each.

On March 28th, the Flyers got a second period goal from Gary Dornhoefer at 4:21 and an empty net goal from Andre Lacroix to seal a 2-0 shutout by Doug Favell as watched by 5,382. The two points put Philadelphia at 73 points to the Kings 71. Two nights Pittsburgh shut out the Flyers 2-0 in Quebec, but they clinched the division with one game left to play when the Kings drew with Oakland later that day out in California during the final game on their schedule.

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Gary Dornhoefer

The Flyers dropped their final game of the season 5-1 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh to finish the season with 73 points to the Kings 72. St. Louis came third with 70 points and became the Flyers first round playoff opponent.

The two teams met at the now repaired Spectrum on April 4, 1968 for the first game in Philadelphia since February 29th. During the Flyers month long road trip in March, the club was 5-7-2 including a 3-1-1 record for games in Quebec and 3-2-2 including their relocated games in New York and Toronto.

Their playoff series went the full seven games, including wins at home in Game 2 and Game 5, but lost at home 3-1 in the deciding Game 7 to end the tumultuous finish to their season.

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The 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers played more
road games than they had bargained for

Throughout it's history the Spectrum saw the Flyers win the Stanley Cup at home in 1974, defeat the Soviet Central Red Army in a memorable, if not notorious, game in 1976. Later that season it also hosted to games of the inaugural Canada Cup when the United States played Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. It would later host Stanley Cup Finals games in 1975, 1976, 1980, 1985 and 1987.

Spectrum banners
The Flyers retired numbers hang from the Spectrum ceiling

The NHL All-Star Game was played there in both 1976 and 1992, as well as the NBA's All-Star Game in 1970 and 1976, making it the only arena's to host both All-Star Games in the same year. The NBA finals were also held there in 1977, 1980 (during the same time period the Flyers were also in the finals, 1982 and 1983.

Once the Flyers moved to a new arena, their top minor league club, the Philadelphia Phantoms called the Spectrum home from 1996 to 2009, including winning the Calder Cup in 1998 on home ice.

Spectrum logo
The jersey patch worn by the Phantoms during the Spectrum's final season

Additionally, the arena hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1976 and 1981, as well as numerous rodeos, professional wrestling cards, concerts, including Elvis Presley, The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Who.

The Flyers continued to play in the Spectrum until the 1995-96 season until moving to the new CoreStates Center, which has since been renamed three times through various naming rights deals and is currently known as the Wells Fargo Center.

After the departure of the Flyers and 76ers, the arena continued to operate as usual, which included being home to the Phantoms, as well as indoor soccer and arena football clubs.

Finally the Spectrum was closed on October 31, 2009 and demolition began in late November of 2010.

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The wrecking ball begins to take down the Spectrum

Today's featured jersey is a 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers Forbes Kennedy jersey from the Flyers inaugural season. For the Flyers first three seasons they wore simple one color numbers and no names on the backs of their sweaters. They were the first NHL team to use orange as their primary color.

The front of their jersey was decorated with their Flying P logo, which has remained in use throughout the entire history of the team and has aged very well over time. The basic flyers sweater design of the color running down and then wrapping around the arms just above the wrists, which have always been black on both the home or road style, was a popular style at the time and the Flyers have stuck with them, although in a modified form with the introduction of the new Reebok jerseys in 2007, only to see it return in 2008 with a new retro style alternate jersey, since promoted to their primary home jersey.

Kennedy played in 603 NHL games, scoring 70 goals and 178 points as well as 988 penalty minutes. While a smaller player, he was known for his toughness and grit, making him an early fan favorite with the fans in Philadelphia.

His NHL career began in 1956 with the Chicago Black Hawks and he subsequently played for Detroit and Boston prior to joining the Flyers in 1967-68. After playing 59 games for the Flyers in 1968-69, he was traded to the Maple Leafs where his NHL career concluded.

Philadelphia Flyers 67-68 jersey

Today's video segment begins with the Top 10 moments in Spectrum history.

Next, the Flyers win the Stanley Cup on Spectrum ice in 1974. Look at all those fans on the ice afterwards!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2010 Team Canada Sidney Crosby Jersey

After their failure to medal at the 2006 Olympics, there could not have been more pressure on Canada to win gold as hosts of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

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The 12 teams in the tournament were divided into three groups of four teams each based on their IIHF World Rankings. Following the completion of group play, the group winners, plus the fourth ranked team, were given byes into the quarterfinals where they would await the winners of elimination games among the eight remaining teams.

Group A was won by the United States following an exciting 5-3 win for the Americans what was in doubt until the final minute before an empty net goal provided the final margin.

Hard fought Group B belonged to Russia while defending gold medalists Sweden went undefeated in Group C. Finland advanced as the fourth ranked team with 6 points in their group, the same as the Czech Republic, but earned the bye thanks to a better goal differential thanks to big wins over Belarus and Germany.

In the Elimination Round, Switzerland defeated Belarus 3-2 in overtime, the Czech Republic downed feisty Latvia 3-2, also in overtime, Slovakia beat plucky Norway 4-3 and Canada dominated Germany 8-2.

The Quarterfinals had the United States advancing with a 2-0 win over the Swiss, Finland shutout the Czechs 2-0, Slovakia upset Sweden 4-3 to end their hopes of a repeat and Canada dominated Russia 7-3.

The Semifinals paired the United States with Finland and Canada and Slovakia. In the first game, the United States streaked out to a shocking 6-0 lead a little over half way through the first period on their way to a 6-1 win and a place in the final.

Canada got two first period goals by Patrick Marleau and Brendan Morrow and then at 16:54 of the second period Ryan Getzlaf's goal gave the Canadians a 3-0 lead, which was enough to defeat the Slovaks, who scored two goals three and a half minutes apart midway through the third period to make for a tense finish. Canada was able to hold on to earn a rematch with the United States in the final with gold on the line at home and on an NHL sized ice sheet.

2010 Olympics in Canada

The dream matchup between the two North American rivals was a tense affair with both teams getting their chances to score until Jonathan Toews beat US goalie Ryan Miller on the short side to take a 1-0 lead at 12:50 of the first, the only goal of the period and the first time the United States had trailed in a game the entire tournament.

Toews goal
Jonathan Toews opens the scoring for Canada

The second period was more of the same, with hard hits, great saves and little scoring as the tension in the arena rose. Finally Corey Perry coming down the slot fired a loose puck past Miller for a 2-0 Canadian lead at 7:13.

Perry goal
Corey Perry puts Canada up by two

The Americans responded with a goal from Ryan Kesler that squeaked between Roberto Lunogo's body and arm at 12:44. The remainder of the second period was played even, as the shots on goal finished at 15-15.

Kesler goal
Ryan Kesler's goal gets the US on the board

Again, the third period wore on as the two teams punched and counterpunched, yet both failed to yield a goal. With no penalties called, waiting for a power play proved futile. With time running out and desperation setting in, the United States pulled Miller from their goal with 1:27 remaining for an extra attacker. With time now running out on the Americans, Patrick Kane hurled the puck at the Vancouver goal. It bounced off of Lunongo and was banged in by Zach Parise with 25 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Pairse celebrates
Parise's late goal puts the party on hold and
gives the US hope of stealing the gold

After seven minutes of play, during which many hoped someone, anyone, would score as to avoid having the gold medal decided by a shootout, Canada was leading 6-4 in shots, Jarome Iginla passed the puck off the boards to Sidney Crosby, who had a clear path to the goal. He took a few strides before shooting the puck, which went under Miller's pads before he could close the gap, ending one of the most memorable games in the history of the sport.

Crobsy golden goal
Crosby beats Miller to win gold

The goal sent the arena, and all of Canada, into a delirious celebration.

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Crosby begins the celebration of his golden goal

The gold medal was the eighth for Canada and their second in three tries after a 50 year drought.

Canada gold medals
Canada poses for a team picture after receiving their gold medals

Today's featured jersey is a 2010 Team Canada Sidney Crosby jersey as worn during the gold medal final in which Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal in overtime. Crosby had worn the assistant captain's "A" earlier in the tournament but for the final it was worn by Iginla and Chris Pronger.

With the ruling that countries could not carry the logos of their national organizations as their main crest, the usual Hockey Canada logo was replaced by a maple leaf which contained an intricate design full of symbols of Canadian culture and heritage, including an eagle, thunderbird, moose, beaver, maple leafs representing past gold medals and fleur-de-lis as well as a hockey player.

This jersey was a big improvement over the Nike Swift jerseys introduced in 2006 where each team wore essentially the exact same jersey only with their countries colors changed. By 2010, the designs began to diverge, with each country having it's own unique designs once again, although with certain elements shared, which is natural when they all come from the same source.

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This jersey is adorned with several logos, including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic logo on the left sleeve, the controversial Hockey Canada logo on the right sleeve and finally the Canadian Olympic Committee logo on the bottom right of the back of the jersey in the location formerly occupied by the IIHF logo.

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Today's video selections begin with the Top 10 plays of the tournament, followed by highlights from the gold medal final.

Friday, February 27, 2015

2001-02 Los Angeles Kings Jaroslav Modry Jersey

Another example of a player being born at the right time, defenseman Jaroslav Modry was born on this date in 1971 in Czechoslvakia. He began his hockey career with his hometown HC Ceske Budejovice as a 16 year old with three games during the 1987-88 season. A defensive defenseman, Modry would play 28 games of the 1988-89 season, being credited with a lone assist. He would become a regular in 1989-90 with 41 games, which included finding the net for the first time with a pair of goals on his way to four total points.

Following the season, the New Jersey Devils of the NHL drafted Modry 179th overall in the middle of the ninth round, a testament to the timing of his birth, as Czechoslovak hockey players were now being allowed to leave for the NHL without having to defect from behind the Iron Curtain any longer.

For the 1990-91 season Modry would join HC Dukla Trencin, scoring a goal and 9 assists in 33 games.   He also would make his only international appearance for Czechoslovakia at the 1991 World Junior Championship, earning a bronze medal.

In 1991-92, Modry would split the season between Dukla Trencin with 18 games in the First Ice Hockey League and 14 games withh his original club, Ceske Budejovice, who by then had been relegated to the Czech second division. Modry would tally 4 goals and 14 points as Budejovice would win the Second Ice Hockey League championship to earn a promotion back to the First League.

Also drafted the same year as Modry was Petr Nedved (2nd overall), who had defected in January of 1989, and Jaromir Jagr (fifth overall), who was not only allowed to leave, but was present for the draft itself. In all, 22 Czechoslovakians were drafted that year, including Jiri Slegr, Richard Smehlik, Roman Turek, Robert Lang and Peter Bondra.

With the path to North America now open, the now 21 year old Modry came to North America for the 1992-93 season and was assigned by the Devils to their AHL Utica Devils affiliate. No longer required to be a defensive specialist, Modry immediately blew away all his previous offensive numbers with a 7 goal, 42 points season, thanks in part to the AHL's 80 game schedule, double what he was used to playing in Europe.

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Modry's North American debut was with the Utica Devils

The Devils affiliate relocated to become the Albany River Rats for the 1993-94 season, where Modry played 18 games as well as making his NHL debut with New Jersey, with whom he saw action in 41 games.

The start of the 1994-95 NHL season was delayed due to labor issues, so Modry returned to HC Ceske Budejovice (which was now a part of the Czech Republic) for 19 games until the NHL season resumed. Back in North America, he played 18 games with Albany and 11 for New Jersey in the NHL. He was back in Albany in time for the playoffs, where he contributed 3 goals and 6 points in 14 games as the River Rats would claim the Calder Trophy as AHL champions.

Unable to crack the NHL Devils lineup, who went on to win the 1995 Stanley Cup, Modry was dealt to the Ottawa Senators for the 1995-96 season. He played 64 total games for the Senators, but would finish the season with 9 games for the Los Angeles Kings following a trade in late March.

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While he only played 9 games that season in Los Angeles,
Modry got to wear the infamous Burger King alternate jersey

It would take Modry five seasons to establish himself as a Kings regular, as 1996-97 was divided between the Kings (30 games), the Phoenix Roadrunners (23 games) and the Utah Grizzlies (11 games), both of the latter being in the IHL. 1997-98 was spent entirely with the Grizzlies, with whom he would seta new career high with 12 goals on his way to a 33 points season.

1998-99 was spent almost entirely with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the IHL, seeing action in 64 games, although he was recalled by the Kings for the first time in two seasons with 5 games. His playing time was limited in 1999-00 to just 37 games, but the majority of those, 26, were with Los Angeles in the NHL.

Finally in 2000-01, Modry spent an entire season in the Kings, scoring 19 points in 63 games. He then set an NHL career high in 2001-02 with 42 points from 4 goals and 38 assists. He fine season was recognized when he was named to the 2002 NHL All-Star Game.

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Modry played in the 2002 All-Star game hosted by Los Angeles

He then backed up his previous season with a 38 point campaign in 2002-03 when he set a career high by playing in all 82 games for the only time in his career. Following the season, Modry would appear in his only World Championships, playing in 9 games, this time for the Czech Republic. A third strong season followed in 2003-04 with 79 games played and 32 points.

Modry would return to what was now the Czech Republic in 2004-05 when the NHL season was cancelled, suiting up for 19 regular season games for HC Liberec and 12 more playoffs games.

He returned to the NHL for the 2005-06 season, only now as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, where he picked up where he left off with 79 games played and 38 points to lead all Thrashers defensemen. Despite his fine season in Atlanta, Modry was dealt to the Dallas Stars for the 2006-07 season, but after 57 games Modry would find himself back in familiar territory, as the Stars would include him in a deal which sent him to the Kings for a second tour of duty.

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Modry once again was back with the Kings

After finishing the season with 19 games for the Kings, Modry would play 61 games of the 2007-08 season before another trade would see him finish out his NHL career with 19 games with the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Modry finished his NHL career with the Flyers

Modry then returned to the Czech Republic for the final phase of his career, rejoining HC Liberec as team captain for 2008-09 before joining HC Plzen 1929, with whom he played the final three seasons of his career before retiring after the 2011-12 season.

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Modry celebrating a playoff goal for HC Plzen 1929

His final NHL totals were 725 games played, 49 goals and 201 assists for 250 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 Los Angeles Kings Jarslav Modry jersey worn during the season he set a career bests with 38 assists and 42 points.

This jersey features the 2002 NHL  s-Star Game patch, as the Kings hosted the All-Star Game that season, as well as the AM memorial patch for Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis, scouts for the Kings were were killed when United Airlines flight 175 was flown into the World Trade Center on September 11th just prior to the start of the 2001-02 season.

This style of jersey was the Kings alternate jersey for three seasons, first introduced in 1999-00 to compliment their home white and road black jersey. From 2002 onward, the club swapped the coat of arms and crown logos on all their jerseys, making the original purple alternate with the crown logo the scarcer of the two versions, as the coat of arms crested purple alt would remain in use for five seasons compared to the three for the crown version.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey:  Today's bonus jersey is a 2005-06 Atlanta Thrashers Jaroslav Modry jersey as worn when Modry returned from Europe when NHL play resumed after the lost season of 2004-05.

The Thrashers wore this style from their debut in 1999-00 through the change to Reebok Edge jerseys for 2007-08, seven seasons in all, not counting the lost season of 2004-05.

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Atlanta Thrashers 2005-06 jersey photo Atlanta Thrashers 2005-06 B jersey.jpg

In today's video section, Modry scores a surprising overtime goal to beat Patrick Roy and the Avalanche.

Next, Modry discusses being traded during the middle of a season and it's challenges.


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