This afternoon brought the end of two summertime sagas for the NHL.
The first constituted “real news” as the New York Rangers tidied up the last bit of work they needed to do this summer, signing Ryan Callahan to a three-year deal worth $12.85 million. The second bit probably qualifies as pure fluff for the easily unamused: instead of delighting nostalgic video gamers by paying tribute to the Commodore 64, Mike Commodore will wear No. 22 instead during the 2011-12 season.
Commodore explained his logic on Twitter, writing that playing for the Detroit Red Wings is a “special thing” and for that reason, he wants to wear a number that is special to him. He also seemingly tied up the loose ends that came with the charitable drive organized by Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski by claiming that he will match the pledges although he wasn’t certain about which charity would receive the donations.
There’s little doubt that Commodore has some strong memories of wearing No. 22. He wore No. 2 during part of his brief stay with the New Jersey Devils and became well-known with the single digit version during the Calgary Flames’ Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup finals. Commodore then wore No. 22 with the Carolina Hurricanes from 2006-2008, where he won a Stanley Cup. A trade to the Ottawa Senators prompted him to briefly wear No. 44, but he switched back to 22 during three rocky years with the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Jersey history via hockey-reference.com.)
Seeing Commodore in No. 64 probably would have been worth a few giggles here and there, but once the joke got old he might have regretted giving in to peer pressure. As long as Commodore makes sure that the charitable end is taken care of, we can look at this as an amusing story that didn’t really need to come to fruition.
It might have cost the NHL a little money in merchandise sales, but the Winnipeg Jets should make up that difference by a pretty healthy margin.