Showing posts from January, 2011

The Story of Mikko Leinonen

A few days ago I noted that one of Wayne Gretzky's 60 existing NHL records is shared by a fairly obscure player, Mikko Leinonen. In April, 1982 Leinonen set the NHL record for assists in a playoff game with six.

Mikko Leinonen began playing for his hometown team Tappara Tampere in the Finnish professional league as an 18 year old. He played four seasons finishing in top six of league scoring the last two seasons. As a 22 year old he transfered to Modo in the Swedish league and finished fourth in scoring with 44 points in 36 games, one behind future Canuck Tomas Gradin.

After one more year in Sweden, he went back to Finland with Karpat Oulu where he put up back-to-back 52 point in 36 games seasons.

During the 79/80 season Leinonen suited up for Finland in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and scored 6 goals and 10 points in the 7 matches. He also played in the 1981 Canada Cup were he scored only 1 assist in 5 games. It was at this tournament that he and fellow Finn Reijo Ruotsalainen wer…

Gretzky 50, I'm feeling old

I recall vividly collecting O-Pee-Chee hockey cards in 1980, Gretzky's rookie year. I was 9 years old and the scoring exploits of this guy fascinated and amazed me. The magazine pictured above was issued by Scholastic books in 1980 and was perhaps my very first non-hockey card related piece of hockey memorabilia, even back then I knew to keep it in good condition.

I cut out newspaper articles and photos to put in scrapbooks, I made my own Gretzky hockey cards and drew pictures of him. Hockey stickers were collected and traded and in 1982 I distinctly remember having about twenty of Gretzky's card from the 81/82 set. Even then however my Leafs were number one as I recall trading a Gretzky oversize card straight-up for the Darryl Sittler one.

So yes....the fact that Wayne Gretzky is 50 years old now brings back recollections of youth and makes me feel that much older, (I am turning 40 this summer after-all).

Even this long after Gretzky retired, he still holds 60 NHL records havin…

UBC tender signed by San Jose

Just before 2pm this afternoon, Jordan White of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds was signed to a one game amateur tryout with the San Jose Sharks. The NHL stipulates a player must be signed by 2pm in order to play in that evening's game, and White just made the deadline. Sharks goalie Antero Niittymaki was injured in the game day skate necessitating the emergency signing.
This season White has a 7-11 record for UBC with a GAA of 3.51 and Save Pct. of .876 in starting every game for the T-Birds. Last season he went 4-7 with a 3.91 GAA. Also last season he was in net for UBC in an exhibition against the Norweigian Olympic team and lost 4-1. He played 34 games over two seasons in the WHL an had a 4.83 GAA to go with a won loss record of 2-26-2. Yes, 2-26-2. He did however have a game with Portland in 2007/08 in which he stopped 68 shots in a 4-0 loss.

Return of Wellwood and the miracle of Chris Tanev

Ok, back home from two weeks in Maui I have not been in touch with the hockey world as I would have liked. Although, I did manage to watch the Canada/Russia Gold medal game on a patio in Lahaina...with the audio on even! I caught the Leafs at Los Angeles on Fox Sports West in my condo and barely managed to keep my fantasy pools all up to date. Perhaps worse I missed four games of my own two beer league teams, (they went a collective 0-2-2, which makes me feel a little better). Now it's back to full hockey immersion.

Kyle Wellwood makes his return to the NHL tonight when San Jose visits Vancouver. Apparently he will centre the third line of Benn Ferreiro and fellow newcomer Ben Eager. In 25 games with KHL's Atlant Wellwood scored 5 goals and had 3 helpers while averaging 8:39 of playing time per game. He hasn't played a game since December 29th when he notched a goal in a 4-3 loss to Dinamo Minsk. In that game he actually played 12:29 in 13 shifts. This was less playing tim…

Tony Demers - From Running with The Rocket to Prison

The story of Tony Demers is a case of promise unfullfilled and ultimate tragedy. Born in Chambly, Quebec in 1917, Demers began his professional hockey career with the Lachine Rapides of the QPHL in 1938/39. The following year with the Valleyfield V's he notched 30 goals in 35 games as well as playing 14 games with the Montreal Canadiens.

In 1940/41 he played a full season with the Habs and scored 13 goals and 23 points. The next year due to injuries he was limited to 7 games (and 7 points) in the big leagues and 14 more games back with Valleyfield. The next year of 1942/43 The Rocket arrived in Montreal. Tony Demers began the season on a line with the rookie Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach. It was Demers' first goal of the year which allowed Richard to gain his first ever NHL point on an assist. Richard however would only play 16 games as a rookie on account of a leg injury. Along with Lach playing only one game the previous year and Demers continuing injury woes, the unit was d…

Nazzy and the First Rounders

Maple Leaf top prospect and first round pick from two years ago Nazem Kadri has been sent back to the AHL, obviously the correct move by the team (he was so happy about it he got into a fight in his first Marlie game back). The kid has yet to even play 20 games in the AHL, there is no shame in developing slowly but surely. The pressure of being a first round pick of a team as scrutinized and short of talent as Toronto is hard enough, and the truth is, rarely have the Leafs ever suceessfully developed first round forwards througout their history. If indeed any of these picks have slightly panned out, it was most certainly with at least a full season or two in the minors.

The only other recent forward Toronto has selected in the first round was Jiri Tlusty in 2006 and the jury is still out on him, (although they won't be out for long). Before that. the last first round picks spent on a forward position was when they selected the following;

Alex Steen, 24th overall in 2002. Spent thre…