Saturday, January 15, 2011

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Craig Johnson

Tonight was Rogie Vachon night in Los Angeles. A tribute to one of the most popular L.A. Kings players of all time. Announced as being "the first superstar in Kings' history", his jersey hangs in the rafters along side the likes of Gretzky, Robitaille, Dionne and Taylor.

One interesting note from the pregame ceremony, they were really pushing - and I mean REALLY PUSHING to get him into the Hall Of Fame. Throwing stats out there, pleading to the powers that be and even having Luc Robitaille come out and vouch for him. It was a little much and I could almost see Rogie starting to become a little uncomfortable with the whole situation.

One of the cool things associated with tonight's theme - retro jerseys for the Kings. Quite possible the single best jersey ever seen in NHL history.

To top off the gorgeous purple and gold look, backup goalie Jonathan Quick was donning his retro crown mask and the decked out brown pads and gloves for the occasion.

Fantastic! If only they would keep this look through the entire season. Think of the cards, the memorabilia cuts and so on that could come of it. And still could I guess.

Anyways, tonight's game got me thinking about some other jerseys the Kings have worn in years past. As it happens, I have a card that depicts the complete opposite of what was seen tonight.

1996/97 Upper Deck
#80 Craig Johnson

Man alive! Those are some ugly looking jerseys.

Now, I understand that in the mid-90's, there was a real push for these third jerseys throughout the league. Every team seemed to have some sort of crazy looking alternate look. I saw it as more of a cash grab as it probably upped jersey sales considerably.

Looking into the history of this atrocious looking jersey (which only appeared in the 1995/96 season), I came across this info on the Kings' website...

After the 1994-95 season, Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski, Jr. purchased the Kings and began a rebuilding phase. One of their initiatives included the Kings first-ever third jersey, part of an NHL-wide initiative. Five teams introduced alternate jerseys on Jan. 27, 1996, the Kings wearing theirs in a 5-4 win against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at the Great Western Forum.

The sweater design included arcing gradient stripes transitioning from black on the upper right front to light gray on the bottom left. Shoulder patches of the Kings primary logo made their first appearance, while on the upper left front there was the only human image ever featured on a Kings jersey. The angular features of the new King logo and sharply defined colors contrasted the blended color scheme of the stripes.

Very few of these jerseys still exist as they were only worn one season, and they are considered a collectors item by fans of the Los Angeles Kings.

Collector's item.......uh-huh. Right!

I still can't believe that the NHL, in their infinite wisdom, had the audacity to put their face of the league - Wayne Gretzky - into one of these embarrassments.

I can't say I miss them in the least. It's not your fault Craig Johnson, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Burger King jersey card...



As a little bonus, here's some cool Rogie Vachon footage. Enjoy.


  1. Nice seeing Rogie honored tonight.

    The purple and gold are my favorite unis. I wish the Kings would sport them more often. Plus, they got the win tonight wearing them.

  2. And how about Doughty laying out Hall. What a hit!

    It was a great night.

  3. That hit was amazing. I want to more of that from the Kings. I wish they'd get more physical.

  4. gee, I thought they were pretty physical when they played the Leafs. I was getting pretty ticked at how they kept on charging the net and smacking away at rebounds!! They were also creating a lot of traffic in front of the net, do the Kings play that way a lot?

  5. As bad as those short-lived third jerseys were, they were still better than the ones the the Mighty Ducks wore at around the same time.

  6. Baseballislife1984:
    I haven't seen much Kings action this season, but I heard the commentators saying that they have been 'consistently inconsistent' this season. I think they are still trying to find a style of play that fits them best.

    Definitely an up-and-coming team though.

    Matt Pederson:
    I was going to do a 2 card blog post using just that jersey. I held off so I can properly give it its due.

    Those were equally as nasty - maybe even the all-time worst.

  7. Baseballislife1984 - The Kings have been all over the place this season. They've got a nice young group, but one game it's all finesse the next it's all physical play.

    Beating up on Edmonton is fine, but they need to come out and play some of that physical style against the better teams in the west. They're giving up too many goals. Now with Wayne Simmonds hurt, it's gonna be a lot tougher.