The first is easy. The rest – not so much.
That is the premise behind NHL’s ‘Who Wore It Best’, a new five-part series from NHL Original Programming which debuted this week on league broadcasts and social media channels.
Every week, the personalities of US NHL copyright holders, NBC Sports, and their Canadian partners on Sportsnet will gather together with a writer from NHL.com and moderator Tony Luftman from the NHL Network, which aims to reach a consensus on the biggest NHL player of all time. to wear each jersey number from 1 to 99.
Finalists for each number will be determined in advance by a vote by a panel of 19 authors from NHL.com.
This series will use a countdown format so that in Week 1, Brian Burke and Pierre McGuire will lock horns as they try to reach consensus about the best players who have used the numbers 99 to 61.
For some numbers, there is no debate. Number 99 Wayne Gretzky retired from the league in 2000, 10 months after the all-time top scorer NHL hung up his shoes as a member of the New York Rangers.
Five other players wore 99 before becoming synonymous with Gretzky: Wilf Paiement of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1979-82, current senior vice president of Carolina Hurricanes hockey operations, Rick Dudley with Winnipeg Jets in 1981 and three members from Montreal Canadiens during the 1934-35 season.
For the most part, high numbers did not become popular until the Gretzky era, but there will still be plenty of food for contention because Burke and McGuire focus on five specific numbers in Episodes 1 – 92, 91, 88, 81, and 77.
Consider this possibility for the best No. 91: Sergei Fedorov, Tyler Seguin, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares – even Butch Goring with the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s.
No. 77 is no easier, with legends such as Ray Bourque, Pierre Turgeon and Paul Coffey, Phil Esposito and Adam Oates who are newer against today’s stars like Victor Hedman and T.J. Oshie
Burke and McGuire will also return for the fifth and final episode of the series to talk about the best players who have used numbers 10 to 1.
‘Who Wore It Best? ‘Debut on May 15 and will run every Sunday on Friday at 5 pm ET on Sportsnet, NHL.com and the YouTube, Facebook and IGTV platforms of NHL, then on Tuesday at 6pm. ET on NBCSN and 9:30 tonight. ET on the NHL Network, starting May 19.
This program is the latest addition to the original content stack that the NHL production team has launched since the league was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other regular series include P.K. A game hosted on the outskirts of the city, ‘Hat Trick Trivia, ‘That’NHL Player Gaming ChallengeNHL 20 and ‘#HockeyAtHome’, the ‘competition series on EA Sports’ which have featured NHL siblings, spouses, fathers and mothers and Gretzky himself sat down to chat with Alex Ovechkin in one episode and with the draft of the 2020 top league prospects in another league.
As far as fans may see the action return, there is no fixed schedule. But NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told me Pierre LeBrun from Athletics that “I think there is some optimism, “following a meeting day on Tuesday with the Return To Play committee, which represents the league and the NHL Players Association.
“The trend is positive now in most of our markets,” Daly said. “We have an open business and economy, and that’s a good thing. Don’t know what that means for us. But we are heading in a positive direction. “
Rather than targeting specific play-back dates or committing to structures for the end of the 2019-20 regular season and / or playoffs, NHL’s main focus now is to move to Phase 2 in the following month, according to LeBrun. That means “ending quarantine for the team / player and allowing players in small groups to skate again at the team facilities.”
British Columbia and Vancouver have made it clear that they would be interested in becoming the host city if the league continued the “hub” model when it returned to playing.
SM has seen a marked decline in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks and is moving towards carefully opening the province starting next week. SM Prime Minister John Horgan spoke with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about potential partnerships on Wednesday.
There is also no clarity about whether the NHL is still aiming to continue its design in June, as was stated in a memo in early May.
“We are talking to clubs which we will discuss in more detail,” Daly said. “We want to understand their concerns, we want to understand the pros and cons. So no need to rush.
“I did anticipate, at some point, whether this week or next week, maybe more likely next week, you have to make a decision. But nothing is close.”