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sharks

Shark Week

It’s not Shark Week just yet, but there sure is a lot of (hockey) Sharks news popping up lately. ????

First was the announcement of Joe Thornton’s number retirement, and now, an entirely new set of jerseys!

When it was leaked that the new Sharks jersey was going to have 30 stripes on the sleeve, I thought it was going to look like a Maypole! But what they did with the ripple effect is a nice touch. 

Moving the fin crest from the shoulder to front and centre works great. I wish they would have thought of that with the OG Sharks jersey.

Which other team needs to freshen up their alternates?

kurger bing

The Rarest of All Gretzky Jerseys

Here’s a jersey from my personal collection; maybe the rarest Gretzky NHL jersey outside of the All-Star jerseys. ????

These sweaters were only worn during a handful of times during 1995-96, which was also Gretzky’s last season with the Kings.

Double CCM tags, Paulina and Tyler’s initials are hidden inside, and a velcro tab; done as close to his on-ice jersey as I could based on my research. 

If you have an authentic game worn, let me know how close I got!

jerset
skates

Why Did This Stop?

In my opinion, the 80’s and 90’s had some of the sweetest looking skates in NHL history. 

I thought some of those designs looked so cool, that I wouldn’t even WEAR skates without black or blue blade holders. 

White was just too boring for me to skate on.

What happened to these colourful accents?

Why was Jagr one of the last to use black holders? And who wants to see my new slides? 

Keep an eye on our 4 Shots newsletter, as I’ll eventually explore the forgotten world of cool skate trends!

winnipeg jorts

Jersey Secrets

When I first held a game worn Jets jersey in my hands, not only did I feel the difference in quality and weight between the replicas I was used to, but I also noticed the change in embroidery direction in the “J stick” on the crest-

-the stick had tape! ????

If you’re a pro/game worn collector, this is the stuff you love. The details no one else knows about!

There’s a bunch of them out there, and we try to catch them all in this Friday’s article.

Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Serena Williams all in order from left to right. The KJ logo is located above MJ's head.

The Great Debate

Sometimes it feels like Gretzky is the sports version of The Tragically Hip.

Cross the border, and his popularity plummets. John Oliver’s recent mention of ‘The GOATs’ – Jordan, Messi, and Serena Williams – serves as yet another reminder that Gretzky and hockey aren’t universally appreciated.

To understand Gretzky’s dominance from 1981 to 1987 in other sports:
‣ In baseball, a player would need to consistently surpass a .400 batting average, hit 80-90 home runs per season, steal 80-90 bases, and maintain an OPS over 1.200.
‣ In football, picture a quarterback throwing for 60-70 touchdowns, surpassing 5,000 passing yards, and completing 75-80% of their passes in a single season.
‣ In basketball, envision a player averaging 45-50 points, securing 15-20 rebounds and assists, shooting above 60% from the field, all while dominating defensively.

It’s unfortunate that Gretzky might forever remain overlooked as ‘the GOAT’ beyond Canada.

If he were an American excelling in those other sports, there might be a towering statue honouring his greatness off the New York shore instead of the Statue of Liberty.

Bob Probert, Bobby Clarke, and Duncan Keith all pose with their interesting dental situations

This is NOT Dentist Approved

Other than greasy mullets and the phrase “pucks in deep”, players missing a few teeth is probably the biggest stereotype you think of when somebody says the word ‘hockey.’

That one photo of Bobby Clarke smiling- you know the one I’m talking about- could possibly be the most recognizable hockey photo of all time.

Seeing that the coveted ‘hockey smile’ is such a huge piece of the sport’s reputation, I figured that we could check out some of the most iconic hockey smiles and their stories.

Getting smacked in the face by a hockey stick while moving at a rapid speed probably doesn’t feel great, but you would never know that, seeing how Pascal Dupuis handled it.
After getting an accidental whack to the chops by his own teammate, Kris Letang, Pascal did what any other person would do and simply skated off the ice… and yanked those chompers out himself! 30 seconds later, he’s back on the ice. Didn’t even miss a shift!

If losing two teeth is less than ideal, how about seven? During a playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, Duncan Keith had the misfortune of experiencing just that.
After an errant puck struck him in the face, writhing in pain, he understandably left the ice.
Understandably concerned, teammate Adam Burish stated he thought Duncan would be done for the series. Not even three minutes later, Keith is back on the bench with a mouthful of toilet paper, ready to get back to work.

In his prime, when the name “Bob Probert” was mentioned, opponents stayed in line and teammates stood a foot taller.
He was the scariest man in hockey, a 1-time NHL All-Star, a fan favourite, and would do whatever was necessary to keep his teammates safe.
Being such a prominent and popular figure in the sport, it was every enforcer’s goal to beat him in a fight. And after years of taking punches for a living, let’s just say his teeth weren’t thanking him.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Wear a mouthguard, and keep those chiclets safe!

Steve Yzerman poses in front of his own, Daniel Sedin's and Henrik Lundqvist's retired jersey banners

Honour Greatness.

Retirement banners are representative of a legendary player’s ascent to hockey immortality.

A chance for the older fans to look up to the rafters and see the names of players they looked up to as kids.
With Jagr about to have his name hanging up in the rafters of PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, I wanted to honour some of the nicest retired player banners in the NHL.

The Canucks, for example, have uniquely themed their banners to each player’s respective eras.

Fans looking up at the Rogers Arena rafters can get a true snapshot into their team’s history; seeing players like Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Pavel Bure all represented with the iconic Flying Skate, whereas Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins are represented with the more modern ‘Orca C’ logo we all know today.

Taking our focus over to the other side of the continent now, of course an Original 6 team got it right.

Not only do the Detroit Red Wings have one of the most impressive catalogues of retired numbers in NHL history, but they also have some of the most recognizable branding in the entire history of sports as a whole.

From Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings did their legendary players justice with a simple and elegant red banner featuring the player’s name, number, and a small Wings logo in the lower left-hand corner.

In Steve Yzerman’s case, a small captain’s ‘C’ is located on the upper right-hand side of the banner, to symbolize his nearly 2-decade span as team captain.

Which player do you think should have their jersey number retired next?

bucket 1

The Art of the Bucket

I love a good bucket.

When I was young, the NHL had lots of different shaped lids; from Lanny’s bowling ball, to Messier’s Tron Top- almost every player had a unique helmet.

These days, helmets don’t differ too much in shape, but the teams are getting creative with decorating them.

The chrome domes in LA and Vegas, and the painted football look the Pens and Flyers wore in the 2019 Stadium Series Games come from true outside-the-skull thinking!

This weekend, my wife pointed out that the Coyotes’ were wearing matte helmets with their Desert Night jerseys— wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for her!

Kinda reminded me of myself in the early 90’s: when Chelios was traded to the Blackhawks, he wore a flat-looking helmet that was probably painted to cover all that old Canadiens blue!
I thought it was a great look, so I sanded down my Cooper SK2000 (Tron) to look the same.

Boy, did my scoring not increase at all! 

PLAYERSTRIBUTEKJ

This Is TRUE Dedication.

Ava, one of our own employees, is a huge NASCAR fan. She shows her admiration of Dale Sr. with a customized spare tire cover on the back of her Jeep- although that’s NOTHING compared to the Montreal Canadiens superfan who decked out their H2 Hummer bumper-to-bumper in Habs branding!

Fans show their love for sports in many different ways; tattoos, head shavings, and apparently, even customized car wraps!

What’s the strangest way YOU’VE ever seen a fan honour their favourite sports team or player? Let us know on our social channels!

playerswocupkj

They All Have One Thing in Common…

Someone once said, ‘What makes the Stanley Cup special is the fact that not everyone gets to lift it.’ 

I lifted it once at the Hall of Fame when security wasn’t looking, but I don’t think that counts. With the recent retirement of the long-time Shark Joe Thornton, we thought we would reflect on some of the greatest players in NHL history who never got a chance to lift the cup (on the ice at least, who knows when security wasn’t looking!) 

Currently, 4 of the top 25 all-time points leaders are in that category. Although, It’s not all sad times for these four, as they had all amassed some pretty impressive awards and accolades throughout their respective careers.

Marcel Dionne, currently #16 on the NHL’s all time scoring list, won multiple Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay trophies, an Art Ross, but never made it past the second round.
Dale Hawerchuk, #22 on the all time scoring list won the Calder Trophy his rookie season, and would regularly post triple-digit point seasons. Throughout his career, he only made one Stanley Cup Finals appearance with the 1997 Flyers, falling to the Red Wings.
Adam Oates, #20 on the all-time scoring list, was a six time Lady Byng finalist and a perennial All-Star. He got his Hall of Fame nod back in 2012, but never got a chance to lift Lord Stanley on the ice.

With Joe Thornton announcing his retirement, he becomes the latest star NHL player to retire without a cup. Currently #12 on the all-time scoring list, Jumbo Joe enjoyed a long and storied career, playing with Boston and San Jose most notably, finishing off his career with stints with the Maple Leafs and Panthers. In 2006, he became the first player in NHL history to win both the Hart and Art Ross trophy in the same year, for different teams.

Not too shabby at all.

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