Thursday, October 21, 2010

See My Vest(ments) - Part III: Looch of the Drawer

Coming down the home stretch, here is part III of my primer to my hockey sweater collection.

(Parts I and II can be found here and here)

Before we get to the goods, I probably should explain my system for buying a particular player's sweater.  It's not complicated.  Basically, I tend to buy those sweaters for players who have cemented their places in the annals of their teams' history. Local legends and hall-of-famer types are givens.  A player must have established themselves with the team and gone onto a decent, if not lengthy, career here. Championship players are in play as well.

One merely has to scan my closet to see what I mean: Larry Bird, John Havlicek, John Hannah, Doug Flutie, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Carlton Fisk, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely.  Even Patrice Bergeron.

Then there's Milan Lucic.

Huh?  He doesn't really fit my criteria.

Allow me to explain:

I've followed the Bruins closely for almost my entire life.  I've seen hundreds of players come and go, both seasoned veterans and hot-shot rookies alike.  Very rarely has there been a player who has flown under the radar only to show up at training camp and make a splash, so much so that they make the roster.

Looch was a 2nd round pick that only the die-hards knew about.  He was 19 years old.  He wasn't expected to make the Bruins' roster as it was widely assumed that he would be returned to his hometown Vancouver Giants in the WHL.

However, he made quite the impression in training camp and the preseason.  So much so that he earned a place on the 23 man roster. And then, in his first ever regular season game, he dropped the gloves with Dallas' Brad Winchester and held his own.

I was hooked then and there.

You could see it in his TV interviews and his style of play. He was hardnosed and played with grit and gumption. He finished his checks.  He hit anything that moved.  He wasn't afraid to mix it up with goons.  And he could pop in the occasional puck.

Part Cam Neely, part Terry O'Reilly.  In short, he exemplified the prototypical Bruin blue-collar work ethic. 

Then I got to meet him at a special season ticket holder event and got to chat with him for a few minutes.  It was apparent that he got "it" - a winning attitude, a willingness to get dirty when necessary and a desire to continuously improve his game all while maintaining a sense of humbleness and respect.

These are the types of players I love to watch.

And that's why I have his sweaters.

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2008 Milan Lucic Alternate Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2008
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the TD Bank Garden

The Deets:

When Patrice Bergeron was out injured with a concussion during the 2007, there was a video going around showing him skating around the Garden in a prototype 3rd sweater that was possibly going to be added for the 2008 season.  It was all black with the usual chest and shoulder logos switched up.  It had a sleeve stripe and collar much like the 1977-95 sweaters.  The large bear logo on the chest was reminiscent of the 1926-31 sweaters.
There was a single thin yellow stripe on the hem. It was sweet.

Fast forward to November 28, 2008.  Day after Thanksgiving.  This was the day the new sweaters were to debut.  The Bruins made a big deal out of it, giving all the fans in attendance special commemorative black t-shirts.  The sweaters themselves were nearly identical to the prototypes, save for the fact that there was no stripe on the hem.  I personally wished they had a hem stripe to match the ones on the sleeves, but even without it, they looked great.

So when the Bruins had their annual shopping night for season ticket holders later in December, it was a forgone conclusion that I was going to buy one for me with my 25% discount.  And it only made sense that it was going to be a Milan Lucic one.

Worn for: Non-original six games, Matinees

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2010 Milan Lucic Winter Classic Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2010
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the TD Bank Garden

The Deets:

There were rumors in 2008 that the Bruins were pushing the NHL to host a Winter Classic, possibly at Fenway Park.  Originally, it was hoped that the Bruins would face the Rangers on New Year's Day 2008 at Yankee Stadium before it was to be torn down.  That plan fell though and the Wings met the Hawks at Wrigley instead.

So in June 2009, there was a press conference was held at Fenway with representatives of both the Bruins and Flyers as well as everyone's least favorite commissioner, Gary Bettman, to officially announce that the 2010 Winter Classic was going to be held at Fenway.

As with the previous 2 installments of the WC, the teams were to be dressed in throwback uniforms.  Already, we had seen Buffalo break out the original blue and gold Sabres sweaters, the Penguins don the old baby blue skating penguin ones, the Wings hearken back to their Detroit Cougar days and the Blackhawks slightly tweak one of their best ever looks.

With a history rivaled only by their Canadian Original Six brethren, surely the Bruins would wear something that would be special.  The question was what exactly was that look?

And so it was at the 'State of the Bruins' town meeting with season ticket holders in September 2010 that we finally found out.  At the end of the meeting, Cam Neely, now working in the Bruins front office, mentioned that he had something special to show us.

Amidst a spectacular light show featuring fake snow, David Krejci emerged from behind the stage in full uniform wearing what was to be worn for the Winter Classic.  It was amazing.

Cam went on to explain that he had a huge say in the design and that he culled many different elements from past designs to create this one: The 1949 spoked B logo, the gold body from the 1950s and 60s, the stripe patterns from the 70s and 80s and the brown accents reminiscent of the original sweaters.

I knew I had to have one. So much so that I pre-ordered one right there on the spot.

Sadly, Looch missed the Winter Classic, but he did don the sweater later in the season as the Bruins would wear these again a couple of more times throughout the season.

Worn for: Original Six and Second Six matchups

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a regular hockey viewer, know next to nothing about the Bruins, and don't follow any particular team (unless my family's ancestral home, Winnipeg, gets its NHL team back), but this series has been a lot of fun to read. Plus, I think hockey sweaters have it over most other sports' unis.