Many, many, many years ago (four) Raw Charge started a series to help pass the time through the dog days of summer. With news about hockey and our beloved Lightning coming out slower than Kokusai Green paid their bills (allegedly), we figured it would be a good time to bring back the series and walk back down memory lane as we remember some players.
Welcome back - The Sweater Series.
Over the next few weeks we will be going through the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning and highlighting the most notable or notorious players by their jersey number. When the original series ran in 2014, it ended at number 27 (Colin Forbes!) so we will eventually pick back up at 28. Our first couple of posts will focus on including the players that have come and gone during our hiatus. Today’s post we cover the sweater numbers 0-5.
To this day, no player has donned the number 0 in an official game for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sadly, due to the NHL not allowing players to wear “0” or “00” it looks like no one ever will. According to an ESPN article, the league does not allow that number because it messes with their database systems. That seems like a glitch that could be fixed. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a goaltender making saves with a big ol’ goose egg on the back of his sweater.
There’s no updates on this number since the last time this series has run. Sean Burke in 2006 remains the last Bolt to sport a “1” on his back. Hopefully that changes and someone (cough, cough, Connor Ingram, cough, cough) brings the traditional goalie number back.
There’s also no changes here as the player highlighted, Eric Brewer, wore it until he left in 2015. I disagree slightly with Noah, the original writer, claiming that Brewer was the “manliest man’s man” when Enrico Ciccone wore the same exact number!
Another number that is gathering dust in the equipment manager’s closet. What is it with kids these days and their lack of appreciation for single digit numbers? That would change if Lou Lamoriello was around here. No more of these highfalutin numbers like “86” or “77”. If Lou was here, Victor Hedman would be shutting opposing offenses down with the number “2” strapped across his uniform.
On a somewhat related note, I feel like this is the season a Lightning player equals or bests Doug Crossman’s 6-point mark in a game.
No more shall a player coming to the Lightning have the opportunity to don the number made famous in these parts by a young man from Ile Bizard, Quebec. Vincent Lecavalier is synonymous with the number “4” (despite the fact he wore “8” his rookie year) and had the honor of seeing it raised to the Amalie Arena rafters next to that of his good friend Marty St. Louis.
Finally we have some new blood. Since Jassen Cullimore was dubbed the king of the number “5” back in 2014, two players have chosen to wear that on their uniform. First it was Jason Garrison who had it sewn to the back of his jersey from 2015-17. Brought in to boost a young Lightning defense he had some good times during his three seasons in Tampa, Garrison garnered 50 points in 212 games before injuries slowed him to the point where his play did not outweigh his cap hit. General Manager Steve Yzerman was able to entice the Vegas Golden Knights to take him in the expansion draft, which cleared the way for the current wearer of the number: Dan Girardi.
Signed last off-season to a chorus of boos and disbelief, Girardi ended up doing alright in the blue and white. Both the staff and our readers graded his performance in 2017-18 with a B-, which is a testament to the lowered expectations at the beginning of the season. Loserpoints damned him (and Braydon Coburn) with the faintest of praise in the linked article,
“Both [Girardi and Coburn] were serviceable in limited roles but struggled when asked to play up the lineup. Neither had a positive impact on their teammates in terms of shots or expected goals.
Realistically, having both of them playing every day next year is not ideal. The front office should be looking for ways to minimize the role of one or both heading into next season.”
Girardi managed to cover the entire spectrum from good (game winning goal) to bad (swatting goal into his own net) to scary (puck to the neck), sometimes all in the same game. With the emergence of Mikhail Sergachev and the acquisition of Ryan McDonagh, Girardi will be seeing more shielded minutes, which is just fine for a player entering the final portion of his career. Even if the summer-long flirtation between the Lightning and Erik Karlsson come to fruition, it is unlikely Girardi is somewhere other than the Lightning blueline next season.
It is also unlikely that he will play in Tampa long enough to unseat Cullimore, a similar type of player who appeared in over 400 games in a Lightning uniform, in the hearts and minds of Lightning fans when it comes to the most memorable player to wear the number “5”.
Stay tuned through the rest of this month as we update the rest of the previously reviewed numbers and then start tackling number 28 (worn by 11 players!) and beyond. Feel free to leave your comments about your favorite players and the numbers they wore in the comments field down below. Vote in the poll as well!
Who wore the number "5" the best?
This poll is closed
Matt Carle (one season)
Other (list in comments)