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January 02, 2015

The Greatest Players By Sweater Number: 81-99



81 -- Marian Hossa - Marian Hossa has looked great in 81 with the Chicago Blackhawks. Interestingly, his brother Marcel previously wore the same number. It's also the signature number for Phil Kessel and Miroslav Satan.

82 -- Martin Straka - He's the only player ever to wear only No. 82 in a career of any length. Straka had a pair of 30-goal seasons with Pittsburgh and a pair of 70-point seasons playing on Jaromir Jagr's line with the Rangers, leaving the NHL with 257 goals and 717 points in 954 games.

83 -- Ales Hemsky - Super skilled Ales Hemsky is the only player of note to wear 83.

Hemsky, Edmonton's first-round pick in 2001, has been solid but never has matched the 77 points he put up in 2005-06. He also had 17 points in 24 games during the 2006 playoffs, when he helped lead the Oilers' stunning run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

84 -- Mikhail Gabrovski - We'll give the Russian the edge over Guillaume Latendresse, the first player in NHL history to wear the last unused double-digit number in League history.

85 -- Petr Klima - Petr Klima, famous for his bucket helmet and his triple-overtime winner for Edmonton in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final, wore 85 because he defected from communist Czechoslovakia in 1985. Rostislav Olesz also wore 85. . Runner-up: Rostislav Olesz

86 -- Wojtek Wolski - Very few players have ever worn 86, so Wolski wins by default since he wore it for 3 seasons. Chicago's super rookie Tuevo Teravainen may one day soon take over Wolski's spot, assuming he stays with 86.

87 -- Sidney Crosby - Sid is a kid of destiny. He wears 87 because of his birthday. "August 7th, 1987," he explains. "Eighth month, 7th day, 87th year." Donald Brashear is the only other player of note to consistently wear 87.

88 -- Eric Lindros - Controversy and injuries dogged Lindros from the day he was drafted No. 1 in 1991, but he still gets top billing here. Though Chicago's Patrick Kane is now a serious contender.

89 -- Alexander Mogilny - Mogilny wore 89 because he defected from communist Russia to America in 1989. He finished with 473 goals in just 990 games and had some seasons for the ages -- most notably a 76-goal, 127-point performance for Buffalo in 1992-93. Mike Comrie and Sam Gagner get distant honourable mention.

90 -- Joe Juneau - Juneau is really the only player to wear 90, though Marcus Johansson will one day challenge him for the top spot at jersey #90.

91 -- Sergei Fedorov - We mentioned previously that #19 is perhaps the most revered hockey number of all. So it comes as no surprise that many players chose to reverse the numbers and go with 91. Fedorov, Brad Richards, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, and Marc Savard.

92 -- Michael Nylander - Nylander wore No. 92 for most of an NHL career that saw him total 209 goals and 679 points in 920 games. Rick Tocchet and Jeff O'Neill also get recognition here.

93 -- Doug Gilmour - When Doug Gilmour switched from No. 39 to No. 93 when he was dealt to Toronto from Calgary in January 1992, he became a superstar and made the number 93 famous in the process. Petr Nedved, Johan Frazen and goalie Daren Puppa also enjoyed success with 93.

94 -- Ryan Smyth - Ryan Smyth made 94 his signature number after being drafted in 1994. Yanic Perreault and Sergei Berezin also had good careers with the number.

95 -- Aleksey Morozov - He underachieved in seven seasons in the NHL and left early to go dominate the KHL for many seasons. But we will give the edge to Morozov here since it has only been worn so rarely.

96 -- Tomas Holmstrom - Pavel Bure infamously switched to 96 for 3 seasons, so we'll go with crease crashing Tomas Holmstrom. Pierre-Marc Bouchard also wore 96 for a long career.

97 -- Jeremy Roenick - Jeremy Roenick wore #27 for the best years of his career - the first 8 seasons in Chicago. When he went to Phoenix in 1996 he changed to 97 and stuck with it in Philly and LA. But he was never the same offensive player. He switched back to 27 late in his career when he played 2 seasons with San Jose.

98 -- Brian Lawton - Lawton wins this one by default as, to date, he is the only NHL player ever to wear number 98. Lawton, the first American born player drafted 1st overall, wore 98 in his rookie season, but it was mistake. On the ice players around the league called him "Notch," as in one notch below Wayne Gretzky. "I was a oung guy just trying to prove myself and I didn't need the added hurdle. I never felt comfortable with that number.

99 -- Wayne Gretzky - There is no other choice here. Though technically there is. Six players in NHL history have worn #99, including Gretzky, Wilf Paiement and Rick Dudley in modern times. Also in the 1930s Montreal Canadiens farm team call-ups Joe Lamb, Desse Roche and Leo Bourgault all wore 99 at different times in the season. It is likely that the Habs had an extra jersey with 99 on it, and any and all call-ups would wear it. Joe Lamb is believed to be the first to wear 99.

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