Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 07/08/11 at 06:16 PM ET
There’s a sweater number debate in Carolina that got solved by Twitter. It’s not as exciting as the Mike Commodore situation in Detroit, but it’s still pretty neat.
Tim Brent (@Brenter37), who signed with the Hurricanes on July 1, had a dilemma on his hands, and he turned to Twitter to get it resolved. He’s always loved the number 8 and he always wore that as a kid, but has never been able to wear it in the NHL. In Carolina, he finally has an opportunity, but he thought that 37 was pretty good to him. He left it up to the twitterverse, and the end result is that he’s going with 37.
This whole thing started on July 6, when Brent tweeted:
Trying to decide between #37 which was good to me last year, or #8 my number since I was 5 yrs old. What do “Y’all” think???
There were hundreds of replies, and interestingly, most Canes fans suggested 8. I guess we’ve forgotten all about Matt Cullen already. Leafs fans, and everyone else, suggested that because he broke in with 37, he should stick with it. And he did. He told the coaches, equipment managers and whoever else needed to know. And then he tweeted it:
Well everyone- I have decided to stay with #37- done deal! Thanks for all the input. A lot of great reasons to stay with it.
He’s the only new Hurricane to have declared his number, and it’s officially listed on the website.
Brent’s path to the NHL was sort of long, but he’s finally here. Although he’s been in the NHL for parts of five seasons, last season was the first time that he played more than 15 games. In his first season, he played 15 games, but just one, two, and one in the next three seasons respectively.
He was originally drafted by the Ducks in the second round (37th overall) of the 2002 Entry Draft. He went back to his Junior team, the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors and played two more seasons. He re-entered the 2004 draft, and was again selected by the Ducks. This time, in the third round (75th overall). Two full seasons in the American League, then he finally cracked the Ducks roster in the second half of the 2006-07 season. Obviously, he wasn’t going to wear his beloved 8 there, as it belongs to Teemu Selanne. Instead, he wore the unusual number 47. He played a total of 15 games and scored one goal. His only goal was against Dany Sabourin of the Canucks, in a 3-2 overtime loss on February 20.
Before the 2007-08 season, he was traded to the Penguins, and he played just one game on the big team. The Recchin’ Ball was on that Penguins team, and he wore 8, so Brent stuck with 47.
Before the 2008-09 season, he was traded to the Blackhawks for former Hurricane Danny Richmond. He played in two late-season games during separate call-ups, and registered no points. Defenseman Matt Walker was wearing 8 for the Hawks, and Brent wore 56 for them.
The Leafs signed Brent to a one-year deal as an unrestricted free agent in July of 2009. Mike Komisarek was wearing 8, so Brent was again blocked. He ended up with 37. He was injured for much of the season, and only played in one game on the big team.
He re-signed for one year with the Leafs and kept the number 37. On opening night, he scored against Cary Price of the Habs in a 3-2 win. He stayed on the big team for the entire season, and did most of his damage, ironically, against the Hurricanes. In three games against the Canes, he had two goals and two assists, including a career-high three point (2/1) night at the RBC Center on January 24. Carolina ended up winning that game 6-4. Tomas Kaberle also scored for the Leafs in that game.
While he put up a modest 20 (6/12) points last season, he became a fan and coach favorite for being a shot blocking machine and a strong penalty killer. In some ways, he’s a lot like former Hurricane Kevyn Adams, who was a favorite in Raleigh for his lunch pail mentality.
He’s already endeared himself to the Carolina fans, and because of that monstrous penalty kill sequence against the Canes, we’re well aware of what he can do on the ice. We’re all looking forward to him being a big part of the team.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.