We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 6th Stanley Cup Banner on October 7th season opener against the New York Rangers.
We are down to 29 days until opening night, and as the weather looks to cool off, we are less than a month away from the season so we are all downhill from here in our summer schedule.
The number 29 has been worn by a bunch of players since 1977, but Bryan Bickell is the only one to wear the #29 and win a Stanley Cup Championship.
All the naysayers will point to his pretty pathetic regular season statistics as whyBryan Bickell
isn’t worth 4 million dollars a season, a contract as we all know he earned from his 2013 Stanley Cup playoff performance and his 9 goals including the first half of 17 seconds.
I was one of the few that thought it was ok to overlook his regular season because he turned into a new player when the lights of the playoffs turned on. The only problem is the Bickell playoff myth was debunked this year when he went missing this season with vertigo symptoms, and was a no show in the Stanley Cup Finals, so now everyone is asking for Bickell to be traded this offseason.
I find it hard to trade Bickell on two fronts. First, I don’t see anyone taking on Bickell’s contract because of his poor regular season stats, and I don’t see Stan Bowman trading Bickell because he’s the franchises only real big power forward. Either way we will see soon if he’s here or gone next season. Bickell isn’t the only 29 in franchise history so here is a quick look at the other 29’s in Chicago Blackhawks history.
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- Best Blackhawks Goalie of All-Time: Esposito, Hall, or Crawford?
- The Jersey Numbers Never Worn in Blackhawks History
- Ted Bulley – drafted by the Hawks in 1975, he spent the majority of his NHL career in Chicago before heading to the Washington Capitals for the 1982-83 season.
- Steve Ludzik – drafted by the Hawks in 1980, and played from 1983-89. He had a brief 11-game sting with the Buffalo Sabres the following year, but ultimately spent the rest of his hockey playing days in the minors.
- Greg Millen – originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, he made the rounds of NHL teams (though not quite to a Jagr extent) before spending two seasons in Chicago later in his career, in the early 90s.
- Jimmy Waite – drafted by the Hawks in 1987, in the days of Ed Belfour and Dominik Hašek. He primarily served in the backup role to Belfour, but sent to the San Jose Sharks in the late 90s. Ending his playing career in Europe, he eventually made his way back to Chicago: he recently replaced Steve Weeks as the Hawks’ goalie coach (a role previously filled by his brother, Stéphane).
- Darin Kimble – ended his 9-year NHL career with two seasons in Chicago during the early-to-mid 90s.
- Andrei Trefilov – goalie who played for a few different NHL teams, including the Hawks in the late 90s.
- Steve Passmore – goalie who played four seasons for the Hawks in the early 2000s. After the 2005 lockout, he headed to Europe and rounded out his professional career there.
- Valeri Zelepukin – spent most of his 12-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, but ended it in Chicago for the 2000-01 season.
- Shawn Thornton – a guy known for his physical play (to put it mildly), he spent a few seasons in Chicago early in his career (2002-06), before heading to the Anaheim Ducks (where he won his first of two Stanley Cups) for one season, then on to the Boston Bruins where he has been since 2007.
- Troy Brouwer – drafted by the Hawks in 2004 and spent his first five NHL seasons in Chicago, including the Cup drought-breaking 2010 season. In 2011, he was traded to the Capitals, where he currently plays, and where will face many of his former teammates for this season’s Winter Classic.
- Jason Williams – signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Red Wings in 2000, Williams found his way to Chicago in the middle of the 2006-07 season after having been sidelined for a while due to injuries sustained from a dirty Raffi Torres hit (yes, I know, the word “dirty” is somewhat redundant). He fared well with the Hawks in the following season – 36 points in 43 games – but became a UFA and was signed by the Atlanta Thrashers.
There you have it! we only have 29 days left in our countdown!