Friday, November 11, 2011
This being 11/11/11, we at Third String Goalie are taking a look at the best players to ever wear #11.
Notable players to have worn #11 include Bobby Carpenter, Kevin Dineen, Vic Hadfield, Walt McKechnie, Ulf Nilsson, Hall of Famer Bill Quackenbush and Charlie Simmer among many others.
Two active players wearing #11 we anticipate will have their numbers retired are Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and long time Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu.
Alfressson has played all of his 16 seasons with the Senators and holds club records for goals, assists and points as well as games played. Remarkably, his 1,023 points are nearly twice as many as the Jason Spezza's 532. He was named team captain in 1999-00 and has remained so for 13 seasons.
Alfredsson's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Ottawa Senators jersey. This was worn during Alfredsson's rookie season when he won the Calder Trophy and has the Smitty patch in memory of Brian Smith, a Senators reporter who was murdered that year.
Koivu played 13 seasons with the Canadiens, with nine of those as team captain, tied with the legendary Jean Beliveau for the longest tenure. Koivu holds the distinction of being the first European to captain the Canadiens. Koivu overcame cancer during his career and made an emotional comeback to the game after missing nearly the entire 2001-02 season, receiving an eight-minute long standing ovation. For his dedication to hockey, he received the Masterton Trophy in 2002. He is currently 6th all-time in assists for Montreal and has also won the King Clancy Trophy for leadership qualities on and off the ice and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
Koivu's featured jersey is a 2002-03 Montreal Canadiens jersey with the Hockey Fights Cancer patch worn during the season after Koivu's return from his bout with cancer.
Four players have had #11 retired in their honor in league history, the first of which was Brian Sutter of the St. Louis Blues. The oldest of the six Sutter brothers, he played 11 seasons with the Blues, the last nine of them as team captain. The season following his retirement he was named the coach of the team, a position he held for four seasons. He was known as an extremely hard working player who was responsible in the defensive zone yet still managed two forty goal seasons.
Sutter's featured jersey is a 1984-85 St. Louis Blues jersey from the only season they wore this exact jersey. This was the first season with the "Blues" script above the team logo, and for the next two seasons with the script logo, red trim was added to the jersey.
Mike Gartner had his number retired by the Washington Capitals after spending the first 10 of his 19 seasons with Washington. He is sixth in games played for the Capitals, second in all time Capitals goals, assists and points. He would go on to play with the Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Phoenix Coyotes in a career that would include 1,432 games played, 708 goals, 627 assists and 1,335 points. He was known for his blazing speed and holds the NHL record with 15 consecutive seasons of 30 goals or more and the most 30 goal seasons with 17. Gartner was only the fifth player to reach 700 goals for a career, was the 1993 NHL All-Star Game MVP and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Gartner's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Washington Capitals jersey. This jersey features the five stars down the sleeves, which the Capitals jerseys had from 1974-75 until 1982-83 until going to just four stars for two seasons until reverting back to five again for the 1985-86 season.
The next player to have his #11 lifted to the rafters was Buffalo Sabres legend and cornerstone, Gilbert Perreault. He was the franchise's first ever draft pick, taken first overall in 1970 thanks to a spin of a wheel which came up #11, giving the Sabres the first pick in the draft.
Perreault would play 17 seasons in Buffalo and is widely regarded as one of the most gifted and skillful playmaking centers to ever play the game. He would win the Calder Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy during his career. Despite retiring in 1987, he still holds franchise records for games played, goals, assists and points as well as game winning goals and shots on goal. He is the only Sabre with over 500 goals and his 1,326 points are over 500 more than the next highest Sabre. He was team captain for five seasons and is the only Sabre to ever wear #11. Perreault was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
Perreault's featured jersey is a 1983-84 Buffalo Sabres jersey. The Sabres played with essentially the same jerseys from 1970 to 1996 with only slight variations, such as eliminating the original tie-neck collars in 1978, the same year they added shoulder logos.
This jersey proved so popular with the Sabres fans that it was brought back as a third jersey in 2006-07 and was modernized for a new third jersey again in 2008, which then became the primary jersey in 2010.
The best player to ever wear #11 has the distinction of having his number retired by two different teams. Mark Messier is known as one of the greatest leaders in hockey history ranks second on the all-time list in points, playoff points and games. He won six Stanley Cups, five with the Edmonton Oilers and a memorable one with the New York Rangers to end their 54 year drought.
He played the first 12 seasons of his career with the Oilers, three of which were as team captain. After five championships with Edmonton, Messier moved to the New York Rangers for six seasons, all of which were as team captain. When the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, Messier became the only man in league history to captain two different teams to the championship. After leaving the Rangers he moved to the Vancouver Canucks for three seasons as captain before returning to the Rangers for a second time, where he would spend the final four seasons of his 25 year career.
During his career he won the Hart Trophy twice, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Pearson Award twice. He played in 16 NHL All-Star Games. The Rangers retired his #11 in 2006 and the Oilers did the same in 2007. Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
Messier's first featured jersey is a 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers jersey as worn on May 24th, 1990 as he was awarded the Stanley Cup after a 4-1 victory over the Bruins in Boston. It was the first and only time that the Oilers would win the cup in their blue road jersey.
This jersey also features the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals patch on the left chest, only the second time the finals patches were worn, and the first time in it's now traditional location on the right chest.
Messier's second featured jersey is a 1993-94 New York Rangers jersey as worn when Messier famously was handed the Stanley Cup after leading the Rangers to the championship. The Rangers are the only team to wear the patch on their right shoulder due to the diagonal RANGERS cresting on the front of the jersey interfering with the standard location on the right chest.