Thursday, March 29, 2007

The cursed #6

When you visit the TD Banknorth Garden, you see the numbers of the Bruins immortals hanging from the rafters, probably still caked with those stalactites of dust that gripped the ceiling of the old Boston Garden.

#2 - Eddie Shore
#3 - Lionel Hitchman
#4 - Bobby Orr
#5 - Aubrey "Dit" Clapper
#7 - Phil Esposito
#8 - Cam Neely
#9 - Johnny Bucyk
#15 - Milt Schmidt
#24 - Terry O'Reilly
#77 - Ray Bourque

But something odd is missing there. Where the hell is #6? You figure that the first nine numbers on this team would HAVE to be retired by now, right? Alright, the fact that there hasn't been a #1 retired is odd too (why NOT HOF'er Tiny Thompson?), but wearing a #1 on a team has a sort of stigma to it...perhaps an overt implication that you're the best I can see why that number might be avoided. Either that, or a goalie sucked it up.

But why #6? You're going to tell me that throughout this team's storied history, there's never been a player donning numero seis that's worthy of having his number retired by the team? Happily, I recently discovered that The Internet Hockey Database now has jersey numbers logged on their website. Now I can finally go through the archives and scroll through the mediocrity associated with that number. So, tonight, let's you and I take a whirlwind tour of Bruins players past who have worn the cursed 6.

First, a disclaimer. I'm limited by the stats posted over the IHDB and not every season has jersey numbers listed. In fact, the jersey numbers for the Bruins don't even start until the 1929-30 season (which, actually, is pretty impressive itself) so some years I needed to make some assumptions. Sometimes they're easy and a player's jersey number is only listed once or twice, but he's on the team for a dozen years. But other times I was staring at large gaps with no idea as to who was wearing the dreaded jersey.

So, let's see who the culprits are...

1929-1934: Percy "Perk" Galbraith
1934-1936: Charlie Sands
1936-1937: Reginald "Hooley" Smith
1937-1939: Ray Getliffe
1939-1940: Unknown
1940-1950: Jack Crawford
1950-1951: Unknown
1951-1952: Walter "Gus" Kyle
1952-1957: Unknown
1957-1961: Bronco Horvarth
1961-1963: Unknown
1963-1972: Ted Green (famous for his Wayne Maki stick fight in which he fractured his skull and suffered brain damage)
1972-1973: Nick Beverley
1973-1978: Darryl Edestrand
1978-1982: Dick Redmond (thanks to an anonymous commenter!)
1982-1991: Gord Kluzak (the ultimate cursed player...almost a decade with that jersey and only 299 NHL games to show for it)
1991-1994: Glen Featherstone
1994-1996: Alexei Kasatonov (Russian legend who ended his career with the B's)
1996-1997: None
1997-2000: Joe Thornton (changed his jersey in 2000! Was he feeling the curse?)
2000-2001: None
2001-2002: Gord Murphy
2002-2004: Dan McGillis
2004-2005: Season canceled
2005-2007: Brad Stuart (thanks #4bobbyorr!)
2007: Dennis Wideman

So there you have it. At least since the "Percy" and "Reginald" years, they've toughened up a bit name-wise (Bronco). Funny how in the last couple of decades Sinden & company have WANTED someone to step up and claim that #6 for the rafters. Kluzak was taken 1st overall in 1982 and Thornton 1st overall in 1997. I'm sure it was no accident that both started out wearing #6.

Thornton would have been the closest to finally get that #6 up in the rafters, but a funny thing happened...he changed his jersey to #19 and his inability to meet management expectations got him shipped off to San Jose.



Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

You're gonna smack your head here, but Brad Stuart was wearing No. 6 this season until Wideman took it over. And didn't he wear it last year too? I'm not sure who wore it prior to the big trade though.

Great post by the way!

12:26 a.m., March 30, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...


Thannnnk yoouuuu. I'm off to change the post.

1:08 a.m., March 30, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

Glen Featherstone. Thanks for cheering me up. I now realize that our defense could be worse - we could still have Featherstone who was perhaps the worst "D" we ever had. Yes even worse than Gill and Boynton combined!

7:34 a.m., March 30, 2007  
Blogger Katie O'D said...

I always kind of wondered this, especially when Brad Stuart was able to get #6. Maybe we should just retire it in honor of general Bruins mediocrity? It'd be a great ceremony. I'd go.

9:09 a.m., March 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the number is cursed, ruined and awful. give it to neb.

7:24 p.m., March 30, 2007  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

You know, looking at the list of Bruins numbers that have been retired, begs the question: why aren't there any goaltenders?

7:54 p.m., March 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick Redmond also wore the # 6.

2:44 a.m., April 01, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

anon: that would explain the gap between '78 and '82. Thanks! let me know who you are and i'll credit you.

1:28 p.m., April 01, 2007  
Blogger tom said...

my son and I would like to know if anyone can tell us what number Sean shanahan wore in his 6 games with the bruins

9:22 p.m., April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I was at their games.. Seeing it on the Tv set wasnt really as exciting..
Being there with adrenaline fully pumped into your vains really tells a lot about how much love we really have for the game. I guess its in our hearts to feel the players pain, the players game, and as a fan hope to make it to fame.. :)

8:55 p.m., February 05, 2009  

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