Monday, July 5, 2010

Leaf Number of the Day #10

The recent signing of Colby Armstrong, a winger cut in the truculent style that Brian Burke seems to enjoy, got me to thinking. Surely, if there is any hockey god out there, the kid has to, I repeat, HAS TO, wear good old number 10. The last guy named Armstrong who played for the Leafs turned out to be a fairly decent player. Here then, is a small Maple Leaf history of the number 10

George (The Chief) Armstrong

That's him, sharing a sip from the Cup with Andy Bathgate after the 1964 Stanley Cup final. George broke into the NHL with the Leafs in 1951 and stuck around until his retirement in 1971. He succeeded Teeder Kennedy as the Leafs captain and passed that honour onto Dave Keon to start the 1970 season. 4 Stanley Cup wins, (all as Captain), 7 All-Star elections, 1187 (!) games played and all as a Leaf. A Leaf from day one, he returned in the 1988-89 season to serve as Head Coach for 47 games. He never was a glorious goal-scorer (his best season was 23 goals) and he mellowed as he got older, but in his day he'd stick an elbow in someones ear as easy as Gordie Howe would. Born with Native heritage, the Irish-Algonquin wound down his career with the greatest exclamation mark a Leaf fan could ask for. An empty-net goal in the 1967 Stanley Cup final to ice the win and the Cup for the Leafs over the hated Montreal Canadiens.

George Ferguson

Ferguson was drafted 11th overall by the Leafs in 1972 and went on to play 6 seasons with the Buds. He was traded to Pittsburgh with Randy Carlyle for Dave Burrows. (Ouch). Went on to 4 consecutive 20+ goal seasons with the Penguins. He did centre Lanny McDonald and Errol Thompson for a while before Darryl Sittler was given the spot. He now coaches the Trenton Sting in his hometown of Trenton, ON.

John Anderson

Drafted 11th overall like his predecessor above, Anderson found the net a lot more often then Ferguson did with the Leafs scoring 189 goals in 8 seasons with the Buds. Traded to Quebec for Brad Maxwell (double ouch) his goal scoring started to dwindle, but he made the most of his time building and gaining an understanding of the game which eventually led to a Head Coaching job in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers. The other reason he is famous in Toronto is for his chain of hamburger restaurants...John Anderson Burgers might not be as big as Tim Hortons donuts, but they made a mean banquet burger.

Bill Berg

"I wouldn't know Bill Berg if I ran over him with a car." So said Pat Burns when hearing about the then new Maple Leaf. Berg would make his mark in this city over the next 4 years as a defensive specialist. Currently employed by the NHL network as an analyst and on the Fan 590, he also operates a water store in his hometown of Beamsville, ON

Other notable #10's

Syl Apps, Teeder Kennedy, Ron Francis, Alex Steen, Glenn Anderson and Garry Valk