Wednesday, August 27, 2008

By the numbers

Every once in a while, I stumble upon useless information and pass it on to you. This post is one of those times.

Jersey numbers are a funny business in the NHL, and these days there are a whole lot of wacky numbers in use. Amazingly, the only seven digits from No. 1 to 98 that didn't have a sweater last season were 62, 66, 69, 86, 90, 95 and 98.

Gretzky's 99 is, of course, retired for everyone. No one's been bold enough to wear Lemieux's 66, either. (Mel Angelstad did don No. 69 for two games with the Capitals in 2003-04, however. According to Wikipedia, it took more than 80 years before he became the first player to wear the number.)

Here's my picks for the top players from 2007-08 by jersey number:

1 Luongo
2 Keith
3 Phaneuf
4 Lecavalier
5 Lidstrom
6 Wideman
7 Seabrook
8 Ovechkin
9 Roy
10 Gaborik
11 Alfredsson
12 Iginla
13 Datsyuk
14 Plekanec
15 Heatley
16 Horton
17 Kovalchuk
18 M. Richards
19 Thornton
20 Nabokov
21 Higgins
22 Boyes
23 Brown
24 Frolov
25 Pronger
26 Stastny
27 Kovalev
28 Rafalski
29 Pominville
30 Brodeur
31 Price
32 Backstrom
33 Chara
34 Legace
35 Giguere
36 J. Jokinen
37 Samuelsson
38 Huet
39 Ellis
40 Zetterberg
41 M. Smith
42 Backes
43 Biron
44 Timonen
45 M. Stuart
46 A. Kostitsyn
47 Radulov
48 Briere
49 Fritsche
50 Crawford
51 Campbell
52 Green
53 Morris
54 Ranger
55 Gonchar
56 Zubov
57 Perron
58 Letang
59 LaRose
60 Theodore
61 Nash
62 none
63 Ribeiro
64 Meyer
65 Greentree
66 none
67 Goligoski
68 Jagr
69 none
70 G. Stewart
71 Malkin
72 Schaefer
73 Ryder
74 S. Kostitsyn
75 P. Vandermeer
76 Peters
77 Gilbert
78 M. Pouliot
79 Markov
80 Antropov
81 Kessel
82 Straka
83 Hemsky
84 Latendresse
85 Olesz
86 none
87 Crosby
88 Kane
89 Comrie
90 none
91 Savard
92 Nylander
93 Franzen
94 Smyth
95 none
96 Bouchard
97 Klesla
98 none

And there's five minutes of your day you'll never get back. Carry on.


At 12:01 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous John Richardson said...

You should seek immediate psychiatric help

At 12:08 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Fred Poulin said...

You definitely have a lot of spare time to waste lol

At 12:31 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I remember when Latendresse made his debut, he was apparently the first #84 in NHL history, and that was the last number that had never been worn.

More useless facts to keep you through a slow news day.

I also noticed a disproportinate number of Habs or ex-Habs from #60 and up (I counted 7, though Ribeiro wore #71 in Montreal, not #63). I know a lot of the best numbers are retired in Montreal, but a lot of those guys could've changed their numbers to something like 36 or 21 upon making the team, but chose to keep their random high number given to them in their first training camp.

At 12:39 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Katebits said...

Hee. This post is fun.

At 12:43 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous treved said...

Nobody debating Mirtle's picks? Ok, I'll start:

Boyes over D. Sedin at #22? I know he got 40+ goals last year, but that was one year. Sedin still got more points last year and has done better over his career.

At 12:54 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

James, as time-wasting as you claim this post is, I am hopeful that you are working on a follow-up to this post: the worst (dollar value?) player for each sweater number.

It'd be funny when guys with unique numbers make both lists.

At 1:18 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

34 Legace

If there was ever a clearer indication that Kipper needs a bounce-back year in a big way, I haven't seen it.

At 1:31 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Huet is #38 now? Actually, that was what he wore with Washington, I think. He was #39 with Montreal.

I was going to argue Ellis wasn't better than Huet and then I saw Huet's name right above it.

You've been rather kind to the Habs in this one, but I still say Jaro is a better goalie than Mike Smith for #41. And if they're equal, Halak gets the win due to his name and hilarious ramblings on Four Habs Fans. :)

At 1:32 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

I think NHL hockey is the only sport where #69 goes unclaimed for more than 30 seconds.

At 1:32 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yeah, 22 and 34 are tougher to call, but (a) Boyes was fifth in the league in goal scoring and (b) Kiprusoff had a rotten year while Legace was an all-star.

At 1:34 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't think Halak played enough.

And my info says Huet wore 38 all year, but that might be wrong.

At 1:48 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...


Huet over Demitra?


Oh, I'm gonna smack you so hard >:(

At 2:18 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Chris Moore said...

People you missed:

Homer should be #96
Hossa should be #18

At 2:52 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

You need a new #47. Pretty safe bet that Radulov won't be in the league this year (he's not even in NHL 09 for goodness sake). I'm guessing maybe Nagy?

At 2:54 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

These are the best players from last year; we don't yet know the jersey numbers for next season.

And Nagy's gone to the KHL, too.

At 3:10 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Tom said...

#52 Green > Foote?

At 3:13 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Tom said...

Okay, 2 more:

# 19 Burnaby Joe over Thornton
# 21 Forsberg over who-ever you have there

At 3:26 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous is it september yet? said...

Uh, Thornton over Nicklas Backstrom at #19 WTH?

At 3:31 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

So who was the best player in the league last year not on this list?

And which is the best number? My ballot says #19. Thornton, Sakic, Spezza, Arnott, Toews, Doan, Naslund, Backstrom, MacDonald (before the trade), Hartnell, and others.

At 4:11 p.m., August 27, 2008, OpenID jimmypop6996 said...

MA Fleury > Pominville

At 4:21 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Paul F said...

Derek Roy? #9 has fallen on some hard times. 19 is the new 9.

At 5:55 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Kiprusoff guy must be quite a goalie?

39-26-10 and a "rotten year"? Hopefully he can bounce back to a some kind of form.

With decent numbers he could be soon alltime best #34 with Flames before Jamie "Moose Kill" Macoun.

At 6:32 p.m., August 27, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

I know it doesn't affect the overall rankings, but I'm taking issue with

(Mel Angelstad did don No. 69 for two games with the Capitals in 2003-04, however. According to Wikipedia, it took more than 80 years before he became the first player to wear the number.)

Maxim Afinogenov wore #69 during the preseason (probably why it "doesn't count") in his rookie year before switching to #61.

I only remember this because I was 15 years old and I thought it was the greatest thing ever.

At 9:04 p.m., August 27, 2008, OpenID jimmypop6996 said...

Baseball player Richie Sexson should realistically wear 69

At 11:33 p.m., August 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wideman over Redden (#6)? Well, ok... maybe...

At 12:07 a.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we want to get real technical, I know nobody's worn 66 since Lemieux retired, but Yanick Dupre wore it in 91-92 with the Flyers.

At 1:14 a.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody should play with #66 because I don't think any #4 is better than Bobby Orr.

At 3:46 a.m., August 28, 2008, Blogger Andy Monet said...

now, that's really useless...
but somehow, why does nobody wears 90?
i think it's a decent number, also if it's not your year of birth.

At 7:03 a.m., August 28, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Joe Juneau is a player that comes immediately to mind historically that wore #90.

At 7:17 a.m., August 28, 2008, Blogger J.S. said...

Goligoski really had to compete for that #67, didn't he?

At 12:10 p.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you picked Crosby over Brashear.

It's because Crosby won more fights last year isn't it?

At 12:33 p.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous kineda27 said...

MA Fleury is the best 29!

At 2:22 p.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

Comrie @ 89? Must be the only 89. Wait a sec...Gagner West has the same number. Sam Gagner over Comrie is an easy call from where I sit. Post All-Star game at any rate. Maybe you got tired near the end of the list. Carry on.

At 7:30 p.m., August 28, 2008, Blogger Jean-Francois said...

This was a funny read. Nice try, hard to do list and it comes down to personal preference when it comes to hard decision. The interesting part was to see players wearing higher numbers and how some were the best because they were (Smyth, Markov...) and other because... well... not many choices. Stewart is a great example, playing only the last game of the season.

Also, they could as well retire 66 league-wide already. Nobody will wear that number for a very long time. #4 is a lot different because at the time (and since) pretty much every team has a #4 in their team. 66, like 99, is unique. It`s Super Mario. Nobodsy else has it so it takes more guts to decide to take it now.

At 8:54 p.m., August 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legace over Kipper? uhhh I dont think so

At 9:47 p.m., August 28, 2008, Blogger Becky said...

Andrew Peters made the list as the best #76, huh...Let me guess - the only one?


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