Showing posts from July, 2009

Mosienko's Hat-Trick...Tainted?

Any good hockey fan knows that the record for fastest three goals by one player was achieved by Chicago's Bill Mosienko in 21 seconds. A really good hockey fan can also tell you that each goal was assisted by Gus Bodnar. However to know the actual circumstances of the record, is to understand that no matter how stellar it was it may not be as lusturous as first thought. With help from the 1974 book "The Fastest Sport" the details are explained.

The day was March 23, 1952. The last day of the NHL season. The last place Black Hawks were about to play the fifth place Rangers. Charlie Rayner, the Rangers stellar goalie had been sidelined for a while with an injury and their skilled replacement Emile Francis was more needed with the Ranger farm team that day in Cinncinnati. This left 20 year old Lorne Anderson to tend the New York goal. Anderson had played two games with the Rangers that season (this would be his last NHL game) but spent the rest of the year with the New Yor…

Sid and Ovie, The first four years.

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin recently completed their fourth season in the NHL. I wanted to compare the beginning of their careers to those of the all-time greats. The Great One fairly obviously leads with 269 goals over his first four full seasons followed by Mike Bossy at 241 and Brett Hull at 232 (I counted Hull’s first four FULL years as he played only five games in his technical first season). Ovechkin actually rates fourth all time with 219 goals in his first four years in the NHL, four goals ahead of Mario Lemieux. He is ahead of the likes of Luc Robitaille, Peter Stastny, Dale Hawerchuk and Pavel Bure.
As for Goals/Game over the first four years, Gretzky still leads at 0.84 and the top five remain the same except that Maurice Richard at 0.70 Goals/game knocks Ovechkin’s 0.68 down to sixth all-time. The often forgotten Eric Lindros ranks seventh right behind Ovechkin.

When we look at points/game over the first four seasons, once again Gretzky leads at 2.22 well clear of Lemie…

All Decade Team 2000's

It’s just about time to choose an all decade team for the 2000’s. We’ve only got half a season left before turning the page to the 2010’s, so let’s do it now. Of course this decade will forever be missing an entire season due to the lockout which lessens the overall numbers in an already low scoring decade.

Centre has really only two choices in Joe Thornton and Joe Sakic. Thornton leads the decade by a fair margin over Jaromir Jagr for overall points. Sakic has played 114 less games than Thornton due to a few injury riddled years yet his points per game of 1.13 is equal to his as one of the tops in the decade. Other centres warranting consideration are Vinny Lecavalier and Pavel Datsyuk.

The right wing slots are also fairly easily to select with decade goal leading Jarome Iginla and second overall point scorer Jagr (even with spending last year in Russia). A case can be made for Daniel Alfredsson or Marian Hossa, but it’s hard to dispute the winners of three Lester B. Pearson trophies…

1978 Team Canada Juniors

Recently on ESPN Classic I enjoyed watching a 1977/78 World Junior Championship game between Canada and Czechoslovakia. The game was from Christmas day 1977 and featured a 16 year old Wayne Gretzky firing three goals and six points. Canada won 9-3 over a Czech team that included Anton Stastny and Miroslav Frycer. Upon searching for a roster of Canada from this tourney I was somewhat surprised that I couldn’t find much info on the internet. With the help of PVR and the hockey database sites, I was able to piece together Canada’s roster.

Gretzky’s 17 points would lead the tournament in scoring, a tourney that along with Stastny included Sergei Makarov and Mats Naslund. All of them were two and three years older than Gretzky. In the Czech game that I watched, the line of Gretzky, Wayne Babych and Tony McKegney was simply dominant. Canada’s roster that year may have been one of the best ever and included future stars Mike Gartner, Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter, Rick Vaive and Stan Smyl. This …

More Airbrush Magic

Here's my next batch of delightfully whimsical attempts by O-Pee-Chee to trick us into believing players were wearing the jersey of their brand new team. The lost art of the hockey card airbrush is explored further.

Here we see a complete paint job on Mike Blaisdell and we learn why in fact the gloves of traded players were rarely painted over in the airbrush process. A very cartoony “glove” is the result as they just can’t deal with all the folds and pieces of the glove. And again, the lettering of “New York” on the jersey appears to have been applied by a four year old. I am not familiar with the style of helmet he is wearing either, I think at one point in time it was a Jofa.

Another full-body attempt on, this time on Chico. The Rockies logo actually looks almost presentable. What’s funny on this one is the “artist” kept the original red stripe from the Islanders jersey at the bottom-left of the image. This small bit of original mesh somehow helps the overall realism of the airb…

Rookie All-Star Teams

This season, Luke Schenn was named to the NHL Rookie All-Star team. As a Leaf fan myself, I may even say that he didn’t quite deserve the selection over Boston’s Matt Hunwick or even Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian. Either way, his selection gives the Maple Leafs a complete team of rookie All-Star selections since the first post season squad was selected in 1982/83. The Leafs join Philadelphia, New Jersey and Boston as teams that have had at least three forwards, two defense and a goalie selected since then.

The Leafs selections over the years are:
F Dan Daoust, Wendel Clark, Sergei Berezin, Mike Johnson
D Kenny Jonsson, Luke Schenn
G Felix Potvin

Not the greatest septet, nobody of Hall of Fame caliber although Clark may have had a shot had he stayed healthy.

Over the twenty-six seasons of selecting Rookie squads, three teams have had ten players honoured.
Philadelphia’s ten:
F Eric Lindros, Mikael Renberg, Simon Gagne
D Thomas Eriksson, Chris Therien, Janne Niinimaa, Joni Pitkanen
G Pelle Lindbergh, R…

Airbrushed cards and other faves.

I have been collecting sports cards, (mainly hockey) fairly seriously since about 1979. Over the years I have had alot of cards pass through my hands, and I have kept many of them. My Gretzky rookie and Bill Barilko Parkhurst are two of my favourites, but others stand out for reasons other than their grandeur. There are some hockey cards worth no more than a few pennies that stand out in my mind moreso than some of the expensive ones. As a kid, I marvelled at the airbrush techniques used on traded players and how easily these poor pieces of work were spotted.
Perhaps one of the more poorly treated players in this regard is Rogie Vachon. His first two issues were fairly straight forward and handled with the respect that most Montreal Canadiens receive in the hockey world. Once traded to the Kings however he was abused in hockey card form. For his first Kings release of 1972/72 he was actually decapitated. The good people in the O-Pee-Chee graphics department attempted unsucessfully to p…

Quebec League Craziness

In celebration of their 40th season, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has released a concise database of every game ever played. It’s very well put together and easy to use. It would be real nice if the OHL and WHL could do the same thing.
The “Q” has predominantly been known as the more offense driven circuit of the three Canadian junior leagues with players often putting up astronomical totals. Below are a few of the crazy numbers I found using the new site.

In 1983/84 Mario Lemieux set the junior record for consecutive games with a point at 61 games. He tallied a point in each and every of the first 61 games played that year with totals of 108 goals, 128 assists and 236 points. This works out to an average of 3.87 points per game, ridiculous. However, after his streak was finally snapped in his 62nd game, he really turned it on. Lemieux would score in each of his final 9 games of the season putting up a truly incredible 25 goals, 21assists and 46 points. This is an average of 5.…