Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Washington Capitals: What's in a Number?

Sports can be a “numbers” game.  And not just the statistics part of it.  Jersey numbers mean a lot to players and fans alike.  They become one with the identity of the player.  Everyone knows who "The Great 8" is ("Kirk Cousins!"... shut up, Cheerless).  It is also part of what fans identify with in that player.  It brings to mind the interesting assignment of jersey number “91” to Tyler Graovac of the Washington Capitals in training camp.  Not that he has anything to do with its history, or should care, in fact, but that number was worn by only one player in Caps history (regular or postseason), and any Caps fan of even recent vintage will remember it being worn by Sergei Fedorov, a hall of famer for his exploits with other teams, perhaps, but who certainly left his mark on this franchise.

It makes the cousins and I wonder about numbers being worn by prospects, depth players looking for a roster spot, and invitees at training camp and how they compare to those who might have worn the number with distinction (or as the only one to do it) for the Caps.  This is one of those silly “end of the bar” sorts of things guys might argue about after a few beers.  Like…

John Albert…wearing number 16…better or worse than the last owner of that number, Eric Fehr?

And you can go on and on.  Will any of these players among those on the training camp roster make their mark on the Capitals like those who might have worn the number before them?…

  • 1: Pheonix Copley or Pete Peeters
  • 3: Jyrki Jokipakka or Scott Stevens
  • 14: Anthony Peluso or Gaetan Duchesne
  • 21: Lucas Johansen or Dennis Maruk
  • 22: Madison Bowey or Dino Ciccarelli
  • 24: Riley Barber or Mark Tinordi
  • 29: Christian Djoos or Joe Reekie
  • 33: Parker Milner or Don Beaupre
  • 34: Jonas Siegenthaler or Al Iafrate
  • 35: Adam Morrison or Al Jensen
  • 36: Connor Hobbs or Mike Eagles
  • 38: Colby Williams or Jack Hillen
  • 40: Garrett Pilon or Nolan Yonkman
  • 41: Vitek Vanecek or Jaroslav Halak
  • 42: Wayne Simpson or Joel Ward
  • 47: Beck Malenstyn or Mike Farrell
  • 50: Matais Bau or Joe Motzko
  • 51: Kristian Marthinsen or Stephen Peat
  • 53: Hubert Labrie or Sean Collins
  • 54: Mason Mitchell or Quinton Laing
  • 55: Aaron Ness or Jeff Schultz
  • 56: Tommy Hughes or Patrrick Wey
  • 61: Brendan Semchuk or Steve Oleksy
  • 66: Dustin Gazley or Milan Novy
  • 67: Hampus Gustafsson or Chris Brown
  • 75: Tim McCauley or Chris Hajt
  • 76: Garrett Mitchell or Darcy Verot
  • 81: Adam Carlson or Dmitry Orlov
  • 84: Kristofers Bindulis or Mikhail Grabovski
  • 94: Damien Riat or Sergei Berezin
  • 96: Stephen Collins or Phil Housley

And there are those who are wearing a number that has not been worn in the regular season by any Capital.  Think any of these players will stake their claim to being remembered by their number?

  • 71 – Kevin Elgestal
  • 72 – Travis Boyd
  • 73 – Tanner Jeannot
  • 78 – Tyler Lewington
  • 79 – Nathan Walker
  • 82 -- Robbie Baillargeon
  • 93 – Mark Simpson
  • 95 – Dmitri Zaitsev
  • 97 – Jimmy DeVito

Alas, three numbers will wait for their first regular season owner, barring any number changes: “80,” “86,” and “98 (“99” being permanently retired league-wide).”

Whether they will be here only this week or have a long career in the NHL, all of these players now have their place in the history of the Capitals.


MikeL-Pivonka said...

How could you mention #3 and not include Tom Poti! Hahahahaha!

Actually, some of the numbers you include have had several players bring it glory. Of course, Dino was a hall of famer and wore 22 here, but Kono and Knuble also wore 22 with honor here in DC.

And of course, number 8 will be the first number on the Caps worn by two Hall of Fame players.

Great article, and tell Cheerless to enjoy watching Kirk Cousins this year, probably his last in DC.

Unknown said...

Would have to say 79 Walker. 1st Aussie NHL player...history in the making.