December 31, 2014
The Greatest Players By Sweater Number: 41-60
This week we've been looking at the greatest player by sweater number. So far we've looked at 0 through 20 and 21 through 40. Today we look at 41 through 60!
41 -- Jocelyn Thibault - "T-Bo" gets the nod here if only because he was once traded for Patrick Roy! That cast a pretty big shadow over him but he should be more remembered as a very capable NHL goalie with 238 career victories in 586 games, most of which were with some pretty average teams. Stu Barnes and Ray Whitney are runners up.
42 -- Richard Smehlik - Now that we are heading into the 40s and higher, we are seeing much less traditional numbers and more and more contemporary players. Smehlik overcame knee injuries to have a solid NHL career. Boston Bruins' gigantic center Bob Sweeney is runner up. Special shout out to Kyle Wellwood.
43 -- Martin Biron - Martin Biron got gipped at 00, but he gets top billing at his much more familiar 43. Patrice Brisebois is runner up.
44 -- Todd Bertuzzi - The Double Digit numbers will be most interesting going forward with this project. We will give Todd Bertuzzi the edge here. Everyone hates him, but he when he was at his best (which was not often enough) the man was unstoppable. Stephane Richer, Dave Babych and Kimmo Timonen get consideration here, as well.
45 -- Arron Asham - Arron Asham was a useful utility player who worked hard every shift. He gets the nod of heady defenseman Dmitri Kalinin.
46 -- David Krejci - The cagey veteran has always come up big when it mattered the most - in the playoffs. That gives him the nod over Andre Kostitsyn, one half of the Kostitsyn brothers tandem from Belarus.
47 -- Marc-Andre Bergeron - This pint sized power play specialist beats out Montreal's Stephan Lebeau and the New York Islanders' Rich Pilon.
48 -- Danny Briere - Big playoff producer Danny Briere is one of hockey's all time great little men. He beats out Scott Young, the versatile forward/dman with the big shot.
49 -- Brian Savage - They called him Mr. October because he seemingly always started out the season strong but then faded. Brent Gretzky wore 49 in his brief stint in the NHL.
50 -- Corey Crawford - Crawford never seems to get the respect a Stanley Cup winning goalie deserves so we'll give him the nod over runner-up Antoine Vermette.
51 -- Brian Campbell - The smooth and gentlemanly defenseman Brian Campbell gets the nod over Valterri Filpulla, Andrei Kovalenko and Fedor Tyutin.
52 -- Adam Foote - A really strong defender with Colorado's Stanley Cup championship teams, Adam Foote outdistances Mike Green and Craig Rivet.
53 -- Derek Morris - Morris was a long time defenseman, but by the time Jeff Skinner is done he may get the title here.
54 -- David Jones - Jones, Adam McQuaid and Paul Ranger are the slim pickings at #54.
55 -- Larry Murphy - #55 makes up for 54's lack of excitement. Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Murphy gets the edge over Keith Primeau, Sergei Gonchar and Ed Jovanovski.
56 -- Sergei Zubov - Sergei Zubov is the obvious choice at 56. The smooth puck moving defensemen starred in New York and in Dallas, and should get some Hall of Fame consideration.
57 -- David Perron - While David Perron gets the nod over Tyler Myers and Blake Comeau, bonus points are awarded to Stephen Heinze when he finally switched to 57.
58 -- Kris Letang - Pittsburgh's high scoring defenseman is the obvious choice here. Here's hoping he continues to get over his health concerns.
59 -- Chad LaRose - Chad Larose was a useful player with Carolina's 2006 Stanley Cup championship team.
60 -- Jose Theodore - Jose Theodore was on top of the world in 2001-02, winning the Vezina and Hart trophies by going 30-24-10 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .931 save percentage for Montreal. He never came close to matching that season again, but it gives him the edge here over Vladimir Sobotka.