Numbers Game: 1

Numbers Game: They wore one

Devils, Rangers and Islanders players behind their number. our first installment — the number one.

Ed Giacomin

New York Rangers

Before teams traveled by air they would ride the rails. Ed Giacomin is credited with this insight: In the ’60s, players with the lowest numbers would get first dibs on the more comfortable sleeper berths while rookies, with higher jersey numbers, would be last in line to bed. It’s not clear whether goalies were given priority treatment by giving them the number one or if it just worked out in their favor.

Sean Burke

New Jersey Devils // Hartford Whalers

As a highly touted draft pick Sean Burke along with Chris Terreri legitimized a fledgling ’80s New Jersey Devils organization to their first winning season and playoff push. Contract disputes got Burke traded to the Hartford Whalers for Bobby Holik where Burke would consistently get voted Team MVP.

Robert Luongo

New York Islanders

The most bone-headed trade and fallout in the tristate area. GM Mike Milbury tossed aside Luongo after just one year of service to the Panthers for two unknowns, gambling on drafting goalie Rick DiPietro. DiPietro tanked, somehow wrangled and then strangled the Islanders with an insane contract which haunts them to this day.
Luongo went on to countless playoff appearances with the Canucks.