Not that you’re likely to remember but a few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to copy the excellent “ABC’s of the Senators” over at Silver Seven Sens by writing a post on the greatest player in Leafs’ history for each letter of the alphabet. I had a list saved in a document with names for almost every letter. The problem was that there were too many names on some letters and I’m terribly indecisive. I mean Sundins, Sittler, Salming, Smythe, how could I choose one and not the other. So I decided to re-jig the project and use sweater numbers instead. Since we don’t have any hockey to talk about I think a few history lessons on some of the great, and lesser known Leafs would distract us from the fact that there are no games to watch. There are 72 numbers to cover, let’s get started.
30 players have worn the #1 for the Maple Leafs, all of them goalies. Apparently Jim Rutherford, current GM of the Carolina Hurricanes wore the number when he played goal for the Leafs. I was not aware of that. I’ve decided that I’ll break each number down in the Best, Worst, and most random or surprising person to wear the number. Here we go:
Best- Turk Broda, Johnny Bower
Two of the best goalies to ever play the game wore #1 with the Leafs Broda from 1936-1952, 13 seasons of excellent goaltending, so I mean, it can happen! Broda played 629 NHL games all with the Leafs winning 302 games and 5 Cups. Bower wore #1 for 12 seasons with the Leafs between 1956 and 1970 winning 4 Cups, 3 straight between 61 and 64. Two Hall of Fame goalies with 9 of the Leafs 13 Cups between them, not too shabby. Maybe we should get another goalies who wears the #1 and has a record of success. Although it all went downhill from here for the #1.
Worst- Andrew Raycroft
There is no better argument against using “wins” as a statistic to measure goalie performance than the fact that Raycroft currently holds the Leafs All-Time record in wins in a season. I hate him so very much. He deserves no further mention.
Who?- Cesare Maniago
Isn’t that just the best name you’ve ever seen? Seriously have the Leafs always had terrible goaltending? What the hell is it with this franchise. He apparently played 568 NHL games, although his career with the Leafs amounted to 7 games in the 1960-1961 season. He went onto have an awesome name and play for the Habs and the North Stars. Good for him.