Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Numbers Worth Retiring

Mark Messier had his number retired in Edmonton last night, here's some other players writer George Johnson thinks should have their jersies raised to the rafters.
Theo Fleury, No. 14, Calgary Flames
Small, fiery, insolent, brilliant, damaged. The image of the tiny terror at Northlands Coliseum in the spring of 1991, having scored after stealing the puck from Messier to send the Flames' playoff series against the Oilers back to Calgary for a Game 7, remains an iconic moment. Love him or hate him, Fleury still holds the franchise records for goals (364) and points (830).

Mike Gartner, No. 11, Washington Capitals
The second overall choice in the 1979 draft, Gartner symbolized scoring punch in the way Rod Langway did efficient defense and Dale Hunter unconquerable anarchy. Think about the stats: He scored 30 or more goals in nine of his 10 seasons with the Capitals, hitting a high of 50 in 1984-85. Eighteen years after he was dealt to Minnesota, Gartner, the quiet assassin, still ranks second on franchise lists in goals, assists and points. It took Peter Bondra 14 seasons to surpass what Gartner accomplished in 10.

Kevin Lowe, No. 4, Edmonton Oilers
Maybe this current GM thing is what's holding the Oilers back. But, certainly, no one has contributed more to the Oilers organization on as many levels as Lowe, who was the quiet, unsung defensive linchpin of those Wayne Gretzky-Messier-Jari Kurri-Grant Fuhr-Paul Coffey outfits that revolutionized the game. No one played more regular-season games in the colors than Lowe with 1,037. He won five Stanley Cups as an Oiler.
Find George Johnson's complete list of those players he feels are worthy of having their numbers retired >>> here.

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