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Who wore it best: The history of the number eight with the Penguins

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Lots of good ones to choose from with this crooked number. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

These have usually been reserved for the dog days of summer, but we find ourselves in need of some in-season entertainment as the sports world figures out a new normal during these strange times.

Here’s a quick Pens-ception of how these have gone the last three summers:

This will be the third [fourth] installment of which Penguins player has the distinguished honor of being the best player to ever wear a specific number for the Penguins. We’ve already gone through number 3 and number 25 [and now number 1], and this article will feature number 1 [eight] for the Penguins.

In case you’re new here or haven’t read the previous articles, here’s a quick introduction from the original post in 2017:

There have been many memorable jersey numbers given out in the history of the Penguins franchise. Only two numbers in the Penguins franchise have been retired, No. 21 of Michel Briere, whose life was unfortunately cut short at the young age of 21 when he was involved in a car accident in 1970. No player has ever worn the No. 21 for the Penguins since, and Briere’s jersey was officially retired in January of 2001. The other number retired is of course the No. 66 of former great Penguins player, and current team owner, Mario Lemieux. There are no words necessary to explain the reasoning behind his jersey hanging in the rafters, as he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time. The next number to be retired is most likely going to be Jaromir Jagr’s famous No. 68, which there’s plenty of time to argue one way or the other as Jagr may play until he’s 68 if a team is willing to give him a contract.

According to hockey-reference.com, the Penguins have given out 77 [80 as of 2019] [make that 81 now thanks to Emil Larmi] out of 99 98 possible numbers. Numbers 1-52 [63] have all been assigned to current or former Penguin players. That brings me to the question, who wore it best?

This one will feature the number eight which is currently worn by Brian Dumoulin. It’s been a well recycled number and has been used almost every year the Penguins have been in existence. However, this list will only feature players who played 40 or more games with the Penguins while wearing this number as some players on the list wore other numbers during their time with the Penguins.

Without further adieu, let’s debate while we wait on the number eight:


Val Fonteyne, LW 1967-72

349 GP, 39 G, 82 A, 121 P, -51, 4 PIM

  • Claimed by Pittsburgh in 1967 Expansion Draft from Detroit.
  • Played 14 career playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1970 and ‘72.
  • Registered two assists and two penalty minutes in those games.
  • Only FOUR(!!!!) penalty minutes in 349 career games with Pittsburgh.
  • Only 26 penalty minutes in 823 career NHL games; well-known for his defensive prowess and clean play.
  • Was selected by the then-Alberta Oilers in the WHA General Player Draft with their first pick in 1972 at 38 years old. He was honored by the Edmonton Oilers in their final game at Rexall Place in 2016.
  • Played 823 career games in the NHL in 13 years with Detroit, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh and recorded 75 goals, 154 assists and 26 penalty minutes.
  • Career high of six penalty minutes in one season in 13 years in the NHL. Recorded zero penalties in 159 games from 1966-68.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Rick Kehoe, RW 1974-77

227 GP, 91 G, 105 A, 196 PTS, +22, 38 PIM

  • Acquired by Pittsburgh on September 13, 1974 from Toronto for Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick in 1977 (Trevor Johansen) and Blaine Stoughton.
  • Played in 37 career playoff games with Pittsburgh from 1976-82.
  • Scored four goals and 17 assists and two penalty minutes in those games.
  • Switched to number 17 in 1977, the season after Pittsburgh traded Ron Schock who had previously worn the number.
  • Scored 55 goals and 33 assists in 1980-81 with only six penalty minutes and won the Lady Byng Trophy. The first to win the trophy with Pittsburgh - Ron Francis also won in 1995 and 1998 with Pittsburgh.
  • Played 722 games with Pittsburgh from 1974-85 and scored 312 goals and 324 assists for 636 points and only 88 penalty minutes.
  • Retired as the Penguins leader in points.
  • Became Director of Pro Scouting for Pittsburgh in 1985 and was named assistant coach in 1986.
  • Has named engraved on Stanley Cup for two championships in 1991 and ‘92.
  • Remained as scout or coach with Penguins until 2001 when he was promoted to head coach four games into the 2001 season until the end of the 2002-03 season.
  • Career head coaching record of 55-81-14-10 in 158 games with Pittsburgh.
  • Final stint with the Penguins came when Michel Therrien was promoted to Pittsburgh in December of 2005 and Kehoe coached three games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He then began working for the Rangers the following season.
  • Inducted into the Penguins Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • Played 906 career games in the NHL in 14 years with Toronto and Pittsburgh and recorded 371 goals, 396 assists and 120 penalty minutes.

Schultz Skates Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Dave Schultz, LW 1977-79

113 GP, 13 G, 34 A, 47 PTS, -11, 533 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on November 2, 1977 with Gene Carr and Los Angeles’ 1978 4th round pick (Shane Pearsall) for Hartland Monahan and Syl Apps Jr..
  • Nicknamed “The Hammer.”
  • Recorded 9 goals and 25 assists and 378 penalty minutes in 66 games in his first year with Pittsburgh.
  • Ranks 26th all time in PIM for Pittsburgh in only 113 games.
  • Traded to Buffalo on February 6, 1979 by Pittsburgh for Gary McAdam.
  • Led the NHL in PIM for four years in a row from 1973-78.
  • Holds NHL record for PIM with 472 in 1974-75.
  • Won the Stanley Cup with Philadelphia in 1974 and 1975.
  • Scored two goals and four assists in 17 games in 1974 and two goals and three assists in 1975.
  • Also recorded 139 PIM in 17 games in 1974 and 83 in 17 games in 1975.
  • Played 535 career games in the NHL in 9 years with Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Buffalo and recorded 79 goals, 121 assists and 2,292 penalty minutes.
  • Played 73 career playoff games in 6 years with Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Buffalo and recorded 8 goals, 12 assists and 412 penalty minutes. His 412 playoff penalty minutes are 10th most all-time.

Bob Stewart, LHD 1979-80

65 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 PTS, -24, 52 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on November 13, 1979 by St. Louis for Blair Chapman.
  • Played five career playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1980 and recorded one goal and one assist in those games.
  • Played last career NHL game with Pittsburgh in 1980.
  • Career -257 in 575 career NHL games - is the lowest career plus/minus in the history of the NHL.
  • Played 575 career games in 9 years in the NHL with Boston, California Golden Seals (1972-76), Cleveland Barons (1976-78), St. Louis and Pittsburgh and recorded 27 goals, 101 assists and 809 penalty minutes.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Dave Burrows, LHD 1980-81

53 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, -13, 28 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on November 18, 1980 with Paul Gardner for Kim Davis and Paul Marshall.
  • Previously played for Pittsburgh from 1971-78 and wore number four. Was traded to Toronto on June 14, 1978 for Randy Carlyle and George Ferguson.
  • Played 20 career playoff games with Pittsburgh and recorded one goal and three assists and 16 penalty minutes.
  • Recorded 24 goals and 108 assists in career 573 games with Pittsburgh.
  • Retired after the 1980-81 season with Pittsburgh at the age of 32.
  • His 573 games played ranks 11th all time with the Penguins, one game ahead of Bob Errey in 12th.
  • Played 724 career games in 10 years in the NHL with Pittsburgh and Toronto and recorded 29 goals, 135 assists and 373 penalty minutes.

Randy Boyd, LHD 1981-83

84 GP, 4 G, 17 A, 21 PTS, -43, 126 PIM

  • Drafted by Pittsburgh in the 3rd round, 51st overall, by Pittsburgh in the 1980 NHL Draft.
  • Played three playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1982 and recorded no points and 11 penalty minutes.
  • Played 84 games with Pittsburgh and was traded in his third season after five games with the Penguins on December 6, 1983 to Chicago for Greg Fox.
  • Played 257 career games eight years in the NHL with Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York Islanders, and Vancouver and recorded 20 goals and 67 assists and 328 penalty minutes.

Tom O’Regan, C/D 1983-85

52 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 P, -20, 8 PIM

  • Signed as a free agent on September 4, 1983.
  • Played nine games in 1985-86 with Pittsburgh wearing number 12.
  • Totaled 61 games with Pittsburgh in three years recording five goals, 12 assists and 10 penalty minutes.
  • Played one more year in the AHL with Detroit’s minor league team before playing in Germany and earning quite a reputation and put up some pretty solid numbers until he retired in 1998.
  • Played for the U.S. at the World Championships in 1989, 1990, 1995 and 1996 and won the bronze medal in 1996.
  • His son, Danny O’Regan was drafted 138th overall by San Jose in 2012 and currently plays for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He has played 25 NHL games with San Jose and Buffalo and recorded one goal and four assists.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Terry Ruskowski, C 1985-87

142 GP, 40 G, 74 A, 114 PTS, +17, 307 PIM

  • Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh on October 3, 1985.
  • Named captain in 1986 after then-captain Mike Bullard was traded to Calgary.
  • Had two pretty good years with Pittsburgh as a physical player who could also contribute offensively with 114 points in two years to go along with 300+ penalty minutes.
  • Recorded a hat trick against New Jersey on October 18, 1986 at the Civic Arena with all three goals assisted by Mario Lemieux.
  • Scored seven game winning goals in 1985-86. The Penguins won 34 games that season and Ruskowski scored 26 goals. He knew when to pick them.
  • Somehow the most most similar player to him according to hockey-reference (and they’re usually on-point) is... Aleksey Morozov. Morozov had 98 penalty minutes in 451 games; Ruskowski had 1,354 in 629. Weird.
  • Signed with Minnesota after the 1986-87 season.
  • Played in 629 career NHL games in 10 years with Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Minnesota North Stars recording 113 goals, 313 assists and 1,354 penalty minutes.
  • Played in 21 career NHL playoff games in four years with Chicago and Los Angeles recording one goal, six assists and 86 penalty minutes.

1991 Stanley Cup Finals: Pittsburgh Penguins v Minnesota North Stars

Mark Recchi, RW 1988-92; 2006-08

389 GP, 154 G, 231 A, 385 PTS, -41, 300 PIM

  • Currently assistant coach with the Penguins under head coach Mike Sullivan.
  • Drafted by Pittsburgh in the 4th round, 67th overall, in the 1988 NHL Draft.
  • Won Stanley Cup in 1991 with Penguins.
  • Recorded 10 goals, 24 assists and 33 penalty minutes in 24 games in the 1991 Stanley Cup run.
  • Won the Stanley Cup in 1991 (PIT), 2006 (CAR) and 2011 (BOS).
  • Won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 as a coach with Pittsburgh.
  • Inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • Traded to Philadelphia on February 19, 1992 with Brian Benning and L.A.’s 1st round pick in 1992 (Jason Bowen) for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and Philadelphia’s 3rd round pick in 1993 (Dave Roche).
  • Re-signed with Pittsburgh on July 9, 2004.
  • Traded to Carolina on March 9, 2006 for Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos and Carolina’s 2nd round pick in 2007 (later traded to San Jose). Won Stanley Cup with Carolina that spring.
  • Re-signed with Pittsburgh on July 25, 2006.
  • Claimed on waivers by Atlanta Thrashers on December 8, 2007.
  • Recorded his first hat trick with Pittsburgh in November, 1991. Recorded his second hat trick with Pittsburgh 15 years later in March, 2006.
  • Became the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup final in 2011 at the age of 43 with Boston. Announced his retirement immediately after winning the Cup for the third time.
  • Holds the Flyers franchise single season record of 123 points (53 goals, 70 assists) in 1992-93; also personal career high in goals in points.
  • Scored triple-overtime goal for the Flyers on April 16, 2003 in Toronto against the Maple Leafs in Game Four of the Quarter Finals.
  • Played 1,652 career games in 22 years in the NHL with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay and Boston recording 577 goals, 956 assists and 1,033 penalty minutes.
  • In a weird stat, is an even zero in plus/minus after 22 years and 1,652 games.
  • Played 189 career playoff games in 15 years in the NHL with Pittsburgh, Montreal, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Boston.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Bobby Dollas, LHD 1998-99

70 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 10 PTS, -3, 60 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on June 16, 1998 from Edmonton with Tony Hrkac for Josef Beranek.
  • Signed with Ottawa after the 1998-99 season.
  • Traded back to Pittsburgh on March 12, 2001 from San Jose with Johan Hedberg for Jeff Norton.
  • Wore number four in his second stint with Pittsburgh. Played five games in 2001 and retired from the NHL after that season.
  • Played 13 playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1999 and recorded one goal and six penalty minutes.
  • Played 646 career games in 16 years in the NHL with Winnipeg, Quebec Nordiques, Detroit, Anaheim, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Calgary, San Jose and Pittsburgh recording 42 goals, 96 assists and 467 penalty minutes.
  • Played 47 career playoff games in six years in the NHL with Winnipeg, Detroit, Anaheim, Edmonton and Pittsburgh recording two goals, one assist and 41 penalty minutes.
  • Is currently radio commentator for the Montreal Canadiens.

Penguins v Panthers X

Hans Jonsson, LHD 1999-2003

242 GP, 10 G, 38 A, 48 PTS, -29, 92 PIM

  • Drafted by the Penguins in the 11th round, 286th overall, in the 1993 NHL Draft.
  • Played for MoDo of the Swedish league until he was 25 before playing with the Penguins from 1999-2003.
  • Returned to MODO in 2003 after the NHL lockout and retired in 2011.
  • Played 27 career playoff games with the Penguins in 2000 and 2001 and recorded one assist and 14 penalty minutes.

Matt Bradley Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Matt Bradley, RW 2003-04

82 GP, 7 G, 9 A, 16 PTS, -27, 65 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on March 11, 2003 from San Jose for Wayne Primeau.
  • Played every game for the Penguins in 2003-04 and signed with Washington post lockout in 2005.
  • Played 675 career games in 11 years in the NHL with San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington and Florida and recorded 59 goals, 90 assists and 562 penalty minutes.
  • Played 47 career playoff games in five years in the NHL with San Jose and Washington and recorded three goals, eight assists and eight penalty minutes.
  • Began working as a scout for Washington in 2015 and is still currently scouting for the Capitals.

NHL: OCT 29 Flyers at Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Brian Dumoulin, LHD 2013-currently

347 GP, 11 G, 71 A, 82 PTS, +55, 94 PIM

  • Traded to Pittsburgh on June 22, 2012 with Brandon Sutter and Carolina’s 1st round pick in 2012 (Derrick Pouliot) from Carolina for Jordan Staal.
  • Won Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 with Pittsburgh.
  • Played in 70 career playoff games in the NHL with Pittsburgh recording four goals, 18 assists and 10 penalty minutes.
  • Signed 6 year, $24.6 million contract on July 24, 2017 and is signed through 2022-23.
  • Averages 20:12 per game for the Penguins in the regular season and 21:03 per game in the playoffs.

Poll

Number eight. Who wore it best?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Val Fonteye, 1967-72
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Rick Kehoe, 1974-77
    (93 votes)
  • 0%
    Dave Schultz, 1977-79
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Bob Stewart, 1979-80
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Dave Burrows, 1980-81
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Randy Boyd, 1981-83
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Tom O’Regan, 1983-85
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Terry Ruskowski, 1985-87
    (5 votes)
  • 56%
    Mark Recchi, 1988-92; 2006-08
    (777 votes)
  • 0%
    Bobby Dollas, 1998-99
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Hans Jonsson, 1999-2003
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Matt Bradley, 2003-04
    (0 votes)
  • 35%
    Brian Dumoulin, 2013-currently
    (491 votes)
1387 votes total Vote Now