The gang's finally all here (even if it took 4 days) and ready to prep for the 2010-11 NHL season starting Sunday when Rookie Camp commences. Although two days remain until the return of camp, that means that only two days remain in our countdown of the greatest sweater numbers ever worn by the Washington Capitals.
Today we unveil our choice for the most prolific sweater number between 10 and 19. And while a countdown of Rock the Red from 10 to 19 might include speeding tickets, bad hair cuts and the mysterious changes we went through as we grew from a gangly nervous 10 year old into a gangly nervous 19 year old, we promise not to let any of this affect today's decision.
As much reservation as I have proclaiming a number victorious that was employed for 3 seasons or less by 12 of the 15 Capitals to wear it, of a Captain that was voted-out of his role and before demanding a trade, 19 is triumphant for three very different reasons:
1- Overly aggressive Bryan "Bugsy" Watson remained in the area post-career and opened a faboulous pizza joint in Old Town Alexandria.
2- Current employer of the 19, Nicklas Backstrom, has evolved from a European-style Center into one of the NHL's most elite (and complete) players - and has signed on for at least 10 more years of sharp passing assists and awesome wardrobe.
3- Two words: John. Druce. Only topping 20 goals once in his entire career, Druce (right) is the epitome of digging deep and rising to the occasion. For those that are unaware of his legend, Druce was a non-descript fourth-line winger that rose from anonymity to net 14 goals in 15 playoff games for the Caps in the 1990 playoffs. Included in these 14 goals were nine in a series (including a Game 5 game winner), tying him for third on the all-time list of goals scored in a playoff series - exactly the type of play needed by the current group of Caps to play hockey into June.