Saturday, 23 March 2013

What's in a number, 2012-13 edition

As a hockey fan for over 30 years, I am always intrigued numbers players wear.
This season, although it’s been a shortened 48 game schedule coming out of the lockout, has seen its fair share of number changes for the 2012-13 edition of the Montreal Canadiens.
#8 Brandon Prust
Let’s begin with the off-season acquisitions rookie GM Marc Bergevin made. Brandon Prust, chose #8. I number he’s all too familiar with playing with that number in New York. In recent years Mike Komisarek wore it for 7 seasons (2002-2009).
#20 Colby Armstrong
Colby Armstrong was signed as UFA, having played with Toronto. Armstrong opted to go with the number20, the number he first used when he broke into the NHL back in 2007 with Pittsburgh. Armstrong also wore #20 in his second season with Atlanta Thrashers. James Wisniewski was the last Hab to wear #20.
#55 Francis Bouillon
In his second stint with the Canadiens, Bouillon wanted to wear the same number he’s worn all his NHL career with both Montreal and Nashville; #51. However, #51 is worn by David Desharnais. So Bouillon went with #55. #55 was last worn briefly by Brent Sopel. Over the years, five players have worn #55. Longest serving was Igor Ulanov for parts of three seasons (1997-2000).
#17 Rene Bourque
Last season when Bourque was traded to Montreal, he wore #27. With Chris Campoli becoming a UFA, #17 became available, a number Bourque is familiar with when he was with the Calgary Flames prior to his trade to Montreal. The most famous Canadien ever to wear #17? Jean Beliveau who wore it briefly when he was called up to the big club the first time back in 1951. Beliveau was then given #4 when he made the club for good in 1953.
#27 Alex Galchenyuk
Canadiens Rookies are rarely given a say on what number they wear. And Alex Galchenyuk is no exception. Having played with #94 in Sarnia in Junior, the Canadiens gave Galchenyuk #27. Before Rene Bourque, Alex Kovalev, the most famous Russian ever to play with the Canadiens wore it from 2003-2009.
#73 à#11 Brendan Gallagher
Brendan Gallagher broke into the NHL with #73. But barely 30 games into the 2012-13 season, Gallagher switched to #11 as Michael Ryder was re-acquired in trade with Dallas. Ryder wore #73 previously and before Gallagher wore the number this season, Ryder was in club history the only player ever to wear #73. Gallagher was all too happy switching to #11, a number he wore in Junior with the Vancouver Giants. And for Habs fans, we would all like to forget who last wore #11; Scott Gomez wore it the last two seasons. Notable players to wear #11 were Ryan Walter (1982-91), Kirk Muller (1991-95), and Saku Koivu (1995-2009).
#73 Michael Ryder
Michael Ryder was re-acquired by the Canadiens this season in a trade with the Dallas Stars. Ryder has played with the Canadiens, Bruins and Stars and has always worn #73. So it was all too welcoming for Ryder when Gallagher offered the number to Ryder when he re-joined the Habs.
#42 Jarred Tinordi
Jarred Tinordi’s dad Mark Tinordi played 12 seasons in the NHL. And for 11 of those seasons he wore #24. So the Canadiens wanting Jarred Tinrodi to make his own mark with the club inversed the numbers to #42. Domenic Moore was the last player to wear #42 prior to Tinordi.
#37 Gabriel Dumont
Gabriel Dumont was first called up during the 2011-12 season. And #37 is the only number he has worn with the Canadiens. #37 was first worn my Steve Penny back in 1983. And the first 6 players in club history to wear #37 were all goaltenders. Prior to Dumont, Niklas Sundstrum wore it for parts of four seasons (2002-06).
#64 Greg Pateryn
Greg Pateryn was recently called up to the Canadiens making his NHL debut. Not too many players have worn #64 in the Canadiens storied history. He joins Armand Mondou (1934-35) and Jean-Philippe Côté (2005-06).

#24 Jeff Halpern
Jeff Halpern was picked up off waivers in March and returns for his second tour of duty with the Havs.  In Halpern's 13 year career in the NHL, Halpern always wore #15.  But #15 is currently reserved for Petteri Nokelainen who is in Hamilton after missing a year of action due to a back injury.  Halpern becomes the 42nd different player in Canadiens history to wear #24.  Among the notables to don the jersey were Chris Chelios (1983-90) and Lyle Odelein (1990-96). #24 was last worn by Mathieu Schneider. Trivia enthusiast will appreciate that when Serge Savard was first called up by the Canadiens back in 1966, and similarly by Pierre Mondou back 1976, they were given #24.

#40 Nathan Beaulieu
Nathan Beaulieu becomes the 5th rookie to earn a start with the Canadiens during the abbreviated 2012-13 season. Beaulieu becomes only the 8th different player to wear the number 40, and the first since Maxime Lapierre wore it for six seasons (2005-11).  The first player to wear #40 in Habs history was Domenic Campedelli back in the 1985-86 season.

-- Mario Perrazzino

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