Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Anaheim Ducks

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Going from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim made famous by Paul Kariya and Guy Hebert to the Anaheim Ducks who became more professional and won a Stanley Cup with Chris Pronger and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made for a drastic change in looks. As for what looked best and what didn’t pull the trick off so well… That’s a bit easier to figure out.

Best: The Ducks’ sweater history is fascinating. From their opening years as the by-product of a Disney movie to their current days with a logo that doesn’t exactly do a whole lot for everyone, the ones that did it the best were the home whites they had during their 2003 Stanley Cup finals run. The menacing duck goalie mask logo on the front, a more stylized circular logo on the shoulders and all the plum and teal coloring you can handle.

Worst: Yeah, yeah… We know their “Wildwing” third jersey from the 1995-1996 season is the kind of horror inflicted by some ad wizards hoping to capitalize on their cartoony mascot and Disney roots. It was a terrible jersey, but in their Disney era there’s another third of theirs that makes even less sense. Their dual third jerseys from 1997-1999 that saw them have differently styled thirds for both home and away were just deviations from their already perfect uniforms. Their road thirds, however, are hideous. With more color being blasted across them and amplifying the amount of teal and plum your eyes could handle, it was as if someone told the Mighty Ducks that more color was needed to make more money. Brutal.

Old-timey goodness: The Ducks don’t have a long history, but one of their thirds tried to evoke that old time style. The Ducks broke out a very dark sweater from 2003-2006 with “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim” in bold script across the front and an interlocking “MD” on the shoulders. It could’ve been nice if it made any damn sense at all for what the team had going on with their regular jerseys. It was a third jersey for third jersey’s sake and not very memorable or necessary.

Assessment: Their current black, gold, and orange set up that features a word mark logo on their home and away jerseys is plain as plain could be. With new ownership came new colors and no sign of the Disney days… Until their third jersey arrived. I like the newest third. Embracing a crest logo with the webbed-foot “D” and then the oval-shaped shoulder logo with the old duck mask logo involved in it is a great touch. Adding more orange makes it even more bold too. They might not escape the black jerseys ever again, but it gives them a more professional look.

(Photo credit: LegendsOfHockey.net)

Video: AHL goalie Jonas Gustavsson scores his first career goal

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He didn’t shoot, but Jonas Gustavsson still scored.

The former NHL netminder, now with the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL, scored his first career goal Friday, as part of his team’s victory over the San Diego Gulls.

From the AHL:

With San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the bench for an extra attacker and the Gulls working on a power play, Gustavsson made a save before an errant San Diego pass slid down the length of the ice and into the vacated net at 16:56 of the third period.

Gustavsson is the fifth AHL goaltender to be credited with a goal without actually shooting the puck into the opposition net. In addition to his goal, Gustavsson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Condors victory.

Bolts and Islanders both win, which is bad news for Bruins

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The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning each had to work overtime to decide their separate games, but when they ended, both clubs were victorious.

And that makes things even more interesting in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

With their shootout win in Pittsburgh, the Islanders tie the Bruins in points but take over the final playoff spot for now with fewer games played. The Lightning, despite an abundance of injuries all season, are just a point back of Boston and New York.

Nikita Kucherov scored the winner for Tampa Bay against the Red Wings. He’s up to 38 goals, which is second most in the league behind Sidney Crosby, currently at 42 goals.

Sellers leading up to the trade deadline, and without Steven Stamkos since the middle of November, the Lightning are in the thick of this race, even if others may have counted them out.

“Once again, people counted us out,” defenseman Victor Hedman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But we showed a lot of character. And we’re right back in it.”

The Bolts don’t play again until Monday, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks — only one of the hottest teams in the league.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s busy slate of games includes a showdown between the Bruins and Islanders. For Boston, it’s a chance for redemption after a particularly costly third period against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

What is wrong with the Sharks?

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Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

The Ducks defeated the Jets on Friday, moving into a tie with the Sharks at 91 points.

San Jose’s struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.