Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Damn You, Guillaume Latendresse

Jim Iovino at LCS Hockey points out that Canadiens rookie Guillaume Latendresse has accomplished something this season that no other NHL player will ever be able to match.

Latendresse has taken the one final jersey number to have never been used in an official NHL game:

According to a little-known group called the Society for International Hockey Research, entering the 2006-07 season there was just one number left that was unique in regular-season NHL action. No. 84 had never been worn in an official game, according to those wild and crazy guys at SIHR.

That is until now.

Guillaume Latendresse took the number this season when he made the Montreal Canadiens roster. The big, bruising power forward was a second-round pick by Montreal in 2005 (after being picked second overall in the QMJHL in 2003 after-- who else?-- Sidney Crosby).

However, the 19-year-old winger is pointless and a minus-4 through his first eight NHL contests. So the No. 84 is still a virgin when it comes to scoring in the NHL.

Speaking of virgins-- err, young players with odd numbers-- check out No. 85 of the Florida Panthers. No, that's not the ghost of Petr Klima. That's Rostislav Olesz, a 2004 first-round pick who is in his second season with the Panthers.

And perhaps there's something about the name Rostislav. Rostislav Klesla changed his number this season from 44 to 97. While he said there was no real reason for the change, perhaps No. 44 was bad luck, considering the amount of time Klesla has spent in the trainer's room throughout his career.

Pavel Bure, who came into the league wearing No. 10, switched to No. 96 before the 1995-96 season because... well, just because. He admitted that he wanted to wear something unique for a few seasons and, seeing that there were a lot of No. 10s in the league, he went with 96, which had never been worn in the NHL before then. The meaning of the number has been debated. On one hand, it stood for the month and day he defected to North America (Sept. 6, 1991). On the other hand, it signified the first year he was eligible for citizenship in North America (1996).

Since then, the number has been worn by Tomas Holmstrom (sunshine you, Detroit!), Phil Housley, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

Sorry, Pavel, unique has become passé.

So has No. 86. No one had worn that number before last season. But another Canadiens rookie, Jonathan Ferland, donned the sweater for seven games. And yes, he scored a goal.

Ladies and gentlemen, the day of unique numbers in the NHL is over. From here on out, rookies will be hard-pressed to make their claim to a jersey number that they can call their own.

To quote Charlie Brown: Rats!


Anonymous quint said...

Interesting Photo. It is obviously not a photo from the actual game where the #84 was worn by Latendresse in an official NHL game. Since the mighty Marcel Hossa is in the picture has to be early in the preseason of last season prior to Hossa’s trade to the New York Rangers for Garth Murray.

Now in regard to the meaning of the number 84. It is obvious the Canadiens have won 23 Stanley cups. 84 minus 23 equals 61. Now 1961 was the first season that marked the end of 5 consecutive Stanley Cup championships for the Canadiens. 61 minus 5 equals 56. Now 5 plus 6 equals 11 – the #11 was the number of Latendresse’s favorite player growing up — Mark Messier.

10/29/06, 4:24 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Jeez, Quint-- maybe you are a Monarchs fan!

I chose that photo (which I found through Jes Golbez's blog) because it shows Latendresse's #84 very clearly-- which is the topic being discussed-- and not because it represents him playing in a regular-season NHL game or anything like that.

In fact, besides the "Hossa" tip-off, it also appears that Latendresse is celebrating after scoring a goal in the photo-- something he had yet to do during the NHL regular season.

Not only that, but I've heard that Latendresse chose that number because 8 + 4 = 12, and his favorite Nextel Cup driver is Ryan Newman, in the #12 Mobil One Dodge.

So there.

10/29/06, 9:29 PM

Anonymous quint said...

Jeez, Quint-- maybe you are a Monarchs fan!

You caught me. ;)

10/30/06, 2:28 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

That explains the bad mullet and the pitchfork.


10/30/06, 3:01 PM

Anonymous quint said...

you forgot the boots covered in pig sh*t!

10/30/06, 5:48 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Naw, I didn't forget 'em-- I'm wearing 'em.


10/30/06, 9:06 PM

Blogger Robert said...

Sorry people, the habs have won 24 cups! 23 since the formation of the NHL and 1 prior to it. They all count - ask the Senators!

11/29/06, 3:44 PM


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