What's In A Number?

Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 10:17 AM CT / Razor With An Edge
By Daryl "Razor" Reaugh
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What\'s In A Number?

The answer should be, “A lot”.

For a player that number becomes a part of his or her identity.

You can see evidence of this in their Twitter handles and how they sign their names for autograph hounds – always including that number at the end. Many times it’s the only way of knowing whose signature it is. Penmanship; not a strength with athletes and doctors.

Some of the bigger names have that number they’ve become so synonymous with become part of their ‘brand’ long after their playing days are done.

Those that reach a certain level of stardom stemming from a career of spectacular accomplishment have their number retired, never to be worn by another player for that franchise, or, in the case of Wayne Gretzky’s #99 – the entire league.

Most clubs execute this well, but a few teams appear too liberal when doling out the honor - in my opinion. They seem to get on a fawning PR high that becomes tough to kick, struggling to answer the question, “Where do we stop?”

This is why I like the combination of number retirement for only a select few with very select number recirculation for that level of ‘all-time great” just below the no-debate icons.

For the Stars: #9 is the full lobotomy no-brainer of no-brainers (duh), but what about #26? - And #56? - Or #2? You see how it can escalate quickly.

That’s why - if it were up to me – I’d stop at Modano’s #9.

For the rest I would hold certain numbers out of circulation until that right player came along, a player worthy of perpetuating the excellence of the man who sported the digit so majestically in past.

I think the franchise has tried to do this. Robidas carrying on similar character defending to what Ludwig provided in #3. I like Eriksson in Carbonneau’s #21, Niskanen when in Sydor’s #5, and Jamie Benn in Barnes #14.

Some others have been well intended but haven’t worked out as planned (Sawada in Keane’s #12, Glennie in Langenbrunner’s #15 and Grossman in Hatcher’s #2) while others border on blasphemy (Avery in Hull’s and Verbeek’s #16, Jeremy Stevenson and Chris Conner in Nieuwendyk’s #25, and any human in Belfour’s #20)

The number 10 gets added to the mix this week. Personally, I’d keep that digit in a velvet trunk for a considerable amount of time - until another character-dripping leader came along to carry-on the tradition.

The Cowboys do the hand-me-down, hold-a-number-out thing quite well. Exhibit A for hand-me-downs is #88 (Pearson to Irvin to Bryant) but at the same time no player has worn #74 since Bob Lilly and no one is ever getting Staubach’s #12 again (Ditto for #8 I’d think). Those numbers aren’t retired, they’re just “out of rotation”.

The Mavs have retired Brad Davis’ #15 and Rolando Blackman’s #22 (Got a feeling the big German’s #41 ain’t getting’ handed out after he’s done with it)

The Rangers have only retired one number, Nolan Ryan’s #34.

In conclusion, here is the Razorboy Rule for NHL player jersey retirement:

The player has to have been drafted by the team (or arrived in organization as a pup), spent a decade or more in the jersey, and performed at a level at which his legend is not debatable. Born, nurtured, blossomed, connected, endured, dominated, retired…honored.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 74 27 44 -4 71
T. Seguin 64 33 34 -1 67
J. Spezza 74 16 40 -4 56
J. Klingberg 57 10 27 7 37
C. Eakin 70 17 17 -2 34
A. Goligoski 74 4 30 0 34
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
A. Hemsky 68 11 21 -7 32
S. Horcoff 70 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 72 12 14 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 33 14 10 .908 2.82
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
 
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