No one with the Phoenix Coyotes can wear No. 9 because the sweater was retired in honor of Bobby Hull — who might have picked up a golf club in Arizona when visiting his son Brett, but never a hockey stick.
But when the Winnipeg Jets return to the NHL this fall, Evander Kane will be wearing No. 9 in the city the Golden Jet is revered and led the team to a pair of WHA titles.
The same can be said for No. 10 (Dale Hawerchuk) and No. 25 (Thomas Steen). Both numbers are retired by the Coyotes even though neither player saw the ice in Arizona. But the numbers are open and available in Winnipeg, because while hockey fans have memories of their city’s hockey history, they don’t own them.
Oh, they came this close to getting them back. And since the city of Glendale had to fork over $25 million to keep the Coyotes around, I suppose they would want to hang on to everything that comes with it — including retired players who couldn’t find Arizona on a map.
Leave Teppo Numminen’s No. 27 in the Jobing.com Arena rafters. He’s as much a Coyote as he was a Jet and a captain in Glendale. Save room for Shane Doan. Mark NHL records like Brian Boucher’s shutout streak or Deron Quint’s two fastest goals. But give the rest of the retired Jets to the city in which their careers and accomplishments mean so much.
• There was some grumbling in Diamondbacks circles this week when attendance for the Milwaukee series failed to reach 20,000 a night. For a city that has had to endure a pair of 90-loss seasons, failing to support a winner and contender while the surprising Pirates are drawing 25,000 fans was couched as embarrassing.
But I think Arizona fans are waiting for a cue from management before they fight the traffic and haboobs on the way to Chase Field.
Who is going to go “all in” first? A week until the trade deadline, and the D-Backs are still slithering along, running Barry Enright and Yhency Brazoban out to the mound and telling us Geoff Blum is the only addition the offense needs.
Since their incredible May, Arizona is a .500 team. They are 4-3 since the All-Star Break thanks to great non-Enright starting pitching and home runs. The offense isn’t good enough. The pitching has gaping holes. Arizona fans aren’t incredibly astute, but it doesn’t take Bill James to see this roster — now minus Stephen Drew — needs bolstering.
Mr. Kendrick, Mr. Towers, it’s your move. If your best answer is Cody Ransom and a Double-A call-up, you might as well follow the Florida Marlins’ lead and close the upper deck.
• Thanks to Al Davis for abstaining on the new CBA agreement. If we would have had to wait for Al to read the whole proposal before voting, the entire season could have been lost.
Remember when Al dragged out his overhead projector to break down the Lane Kiffin firing a few years back? They had to roll it out of his personal office — word was it was sitting in between his crank phone and Victrola.
• I’m all for the Cardinals getting Kevin Kolb from the Eagles, but should it really cost them a former Pro Bowler (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and a high draft pick? Exactly who else is making that kind of offer to Philly? It makes no sense to get in a bidding war with yourself, and most of the other teams shopping for quarterbacks seem smitten with other options.
One or the other, you decide. If you can find someone to give you a better deal, let Rod Graves know.
• Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org