Ok, a lot.
But I have an excuse. For a blog that focuses on finding unique and rare hockey sweaters at Bruins games, this season has been a huge letdown.
Not that it was unexpected, though. I fully assumed it'd be a lot tougher than in the past, just not this bad. With the Bruins the hottest ticket in town (actually, with the NBA lockout going on, the only ticket in town), the games are pretty much sold out and much like Fenway in 2005, you get a lot of people who pay a significant premium to go to a game just because its the socially in thing to do. The problem with that, more often than not, is that these are not the die hard fans. Consequently, you find that these people are the ones with the brand new t shirts with current players names on their backs or if you're lucky, a sweater. But rarely, if ever, do they wear team apparel older than 2 or 3 years. And that really, really limits the available selection of photo-worthy shots for this blog.
At the same time, with so many locals buying tickets, fans of the opposing teams are being frozen out. And that is really taking its toll on my blog productivity. Simply put, there just hasn't been that much out there for me to write about. Since I last posted, teams that have huge traveling fanbases such as Toronto and Montreal have come here with only a smattering of their fans in attendance. Granted, those were Thursday night games, but usually the local colleges provide more than enough ex-pat students to make their presence known. Not this year, however.
At the same time, teams such as San Jose and Los Angeles that are based in the western conference actually have decent fan representation due to their minor league affiliates being based nearby (Worcester and Manchester, respectively). But there was nothing to be found when Joe Thornton and his crew came to town.
Adding to the insult, I missed the games against Carolina and the Islanders due to scheduling conflicts. In all probability, I figure that there wasn't much I missed by the way of opponent apparel, though I always wonder if I blew a chance at finding the ever elusive Islanders "Fisherman" sweaters from the 1995-98 seasons.
And hey, while I'm at it, I would be remiss if I did not mention the 2 hour commute from my office in Marlborough to the game versus the Oilers on November 10th. By all accounts, traffic was an absolute mess throughout the region during the evening rush hour commute, but my decision to exit the Pike at Copley Square and make my way across town via Boylston, Beacon and Bowdoin Streets only further compounded the problem. By far, it was the worst commute into a game I could ever remember, including a good number of times driving into town in snowstorms.
Now that I've got all that negativity out of my system, let's move on to much more positive things (aka "The Good Stuff"). I'm going to forgo my normal restaurant reviews (rest assured, they'll be back), but I will mention that I ordered the boneless chicken fingers before the game against the Sabres by indicating to Ian behind the bar that I wanted them with the spicy sauce option, specifically avoiding using the traditional nomenclature associated with a certain western New York locale famed for their spicy chicken wings tossed in a hot pepper sauce.
So, without further adieu, onto the show:
Circa 2001 Curtis Joseph Maple Leafs home replica
Just a classy looking sweater.
Circa 2008 Jonathan Cheechoo San Jose home replica
This was literally the only Sharks sweater I saw in the entire building for the San Jose game.
Circa 2006 Dwayne Roloson Edmonton home replica
The Oilers only come into town every other year or so, so we don't get to see Edmonton fans all that much. But thankfully, there were a few in attendance when the Oil came here. And this was the first one I saw. When you think Edmonton, you can't help to think about their classic royal blue and orange color scheme. But in the 1996-7 season, Edmonton ditched it for a navy and copper one. And it wasn't half bad. They kept the striping pattern intact, so there was some connection to their original look.
Also, thins one caught my eye because Roloson is also a fellow UMass Lowell alum, one of the few in the NHL today.
80's Wayne Gretzky Oilers away replica
This one really needs no explanation other than to say that if I hadn't seen at least one of these at the game, I would have been greatly disappointed.
Late 80's Bill Ranford Edmonton home replica
For those not in the know, Ranford started his career with the Bruins but was traded to Edmonton late in the 1988 season for Andy Moog. And of course, he was the backstop when the Oilers beat the Bruins for the Stanley Cup in 1990.
He was actually re-acquired by the Bruins in 1995 from Edmonton in a trade that sent Mariusz Czerkawsi and Sean Brown to the Oilers. And strangely enough, both Czerkawski and Brown each had a second stint with the Bruins later in their careers as well.
Ranford's second stint with the Bruins concluded when he was packaged with Rick Tocchet and Adam Oates and sent to the Caps for Jason Alison, Anson Cater and Jim Carrey.
Late 90's Mats Sundin Toronto home replica
2001 Gary Roberts Toronto home replica
Sundin is synonymous with the Maple Leafs of the 90s and 00s. Roberts was a douchebag. But damn if those aren't two great looking sweaters.
Circa 1978 Gordie Howe New England Whalers home replica
Every season, I come across one sweater that is so unique, so outstanding that it blows me away. This is the leader in the clubhouse so far.
At the ripe old age of 49, Mr. Hockey joined the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association from the Houston Aeros. He also got to play alongside his sons Mark and Marty, hence the use of his full name on the nameplate.
2011 Jonas Enroth Bufalo away, home and alternate replicas
These people were all congregated together during intermission, so I'm figuring they were all family or friends of the Sabres' backup goalie. I mean, it's the only logical conclusion, right?
2011 Scott Stevens Devils Alternate
Scott Stevens, the longtime Devils captain and defenseman retired after the 2004 season. So why in the hell would anyone buy a current alternate with his name on it? This is but one of my pet peeves when it comes to customizing sweaters.
Late 90's Kyle McLaren Bruins alternate replica
When these sweaters first came out in 1996, I thought the were an abomination. The jagged shoulder yoke and hemline striping, the large "Bruins" patches on the shoulders and "Gentle Ben" bear head crest just made it such a weak attempt at an alternate design. The colors were great. I had been longing for a gold Bruins sweater for years, so I was excited when I heard they were finally going to have one for the first time since 1967. But, man, were these a letdown.
That said, I probably will try to pick one of these up someday off of eBay.
Mid 90's Dominik Hasek Sabres away replica
I love this design. The current Sabres set is supposed to be a modernized version of this, but it doesn't even come close. The royal blue and gold trim on the shoulder yoke made this sweater.
Late 80's Andy Brickley Bruins away replica
There's a Bruins season ticket holder at the Garden that has a home Brick replica. I see him a bunch of times throughout the year. But this is the first away version that I can recall seeing.
Circa 1991-2 Scott Stevens Devils away replica
Unlike the doofus I mentioned earlier who had the 2011 version, this guy did it right. This was from back when the Devils still had the green in their color scheme. Much like that Hasek Sabres replica, the white trim around the shoulder yoke makes the green really pop. This was a unique look back in the day, but the Devils' switch to black in the 1992-3 season worked out ok in my book.
2011 Patrik Elias Devils alternate replica
For the longest time, the Devils organization (GM Lou Lamoriello, in particular) refused to bring back the original green and red color scheme as an alternate sweater. Finally, in 2010, the Devils brought them back for St. Paddy's Day.
1991-2 Martin Brodeur Devils away replica
He only wore this rendition during his rookie season.
2009-10 Tyler Seguin Plymouth Whalers home replica
All the traditional Hartford Whalers sweater greatness, but with none of the Nutmeg state suckiness!
Anwhere from 1983 to 1992 Ken Daneyko Devils away replica
As awesome as the Stevens and Brodeur red & green sweaters were, this one beats them. Ken Daneyko was a lifelong Devil who never got the accolades afforded to some of his more skilled teammates, but ask and Devil fan who was the guy who typified the devils and more often than not, they'll name #3.
2000-1 Geoff Sanderson Columbus away replica
This was seriously the only Blue Jackets customized sweater I found in the entire Garden when Columbus played here. And it happened to be that of Geoff Sanderson, the onetime Hartford Whaler who was an member of the inaugural 2000-1 Columbus squad. This was actually a pretty decent sweater design.
Ok, that's it for now. But I promise I'll be back, and far more often.
Thanks for watching.