PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Stanley Cup Playoffs have officially started and the Penguins will open up their opening round series with the New York Islanders tonight.

The playoffs bring out some of the greatest traditions and superstitions in the sport from playoff beards to game day routines.

With that in mind, KDKA-TV’s Jory Rand asked some of the Penguins about their jersey numbers and if there are any particular reasons why they have them.

Pascal Dupuis may wear No. 9 for the Pens, but he began his career as No. 11 for Minnesota. That changed when he was traded and became a dad.

“It was my son’s birthday, so I took No. 9. Feb. 9. That’s why I wear No. 9,” Dupuis said.

Pascal Dupuis

Matt Cooke offered a much simpler explanation.

“I actually wore 12, but when I got to Vancouver, it was retired for Stan Smyl. So, I just doubled it, 24 was available, so that’s what I got,” Cooke said.

Matt Cooke

No. 12 on the Penguins is worn by Jarome Iginla, who, if he had his choice in juniors years ago, would be wearing No. 11 today.

“I was a big Mark Messier fan, and am still, but for whatever reason got No. 12. Just got used to it. After I got to the NHL, I started with No. 24, but 12 came available partway through my first year and {I have] worn it ever since,” Iginla said.

Jarome Iginla

Another new Penguins can credit a Hall-of-Famer for his choice of numbers.

“Oddly enough 45 was my first jersey in Dallas my rookie year. It was a training camp number. Something that was given to me and when I got to camp my second year, Brett Hull told [coach Ken Hitchcock] that 45 wasn’t a hockey number and I wasn’t allowed to play if that was my number. So, I had to change. My options were 14 or 10 and another teammate wanted 14, so I was with 10 and have had it since. It was that simple, Yeah, Brett Hull had a lot to do with me being 10,” Brenden Morrow said.

Brenden Morrow

Before becoming a coach, Dan Bylsma spent time with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

“When you get called up or you go to a new team, sometimes you don’t get to push people out of the way like Brenden Morrow for Tanner Glass. When I was in the L.A. organization, I had 21 in the minor leagues. When I got called up to the NHL, when I came for training camp the trainers doubled 21 to make it 42, because 21 was Tony Granato, which I was not [going to] be taking from Tony Granato. So, 42 was my number in L.A. for my duration there. When I went to Anaheim in 2000, I was coming as a free agent guy and 21 was available, so I got to choose 21 and was 21 for the rest of my career,” Bylsma said.

Dan Bylsma

Brooks Orpik is known as No. 44 in Pittsburgh, but few remember he began here wearing the same number Marc-Andre Fleury dons today.

“My first year I was given 29 for like six games. They didn’t even buy me a new jersey, it was [Krzysztof Oliwa’s] old jersey and it was ripped from here to here and stitched up because of all his fights. I knew they tried to give it to me at the end of the year and I didn’t even want it. I think it was the following year after that I switched,” Orpik said.

Brooks Orpik

Speaking of Fleury and No. 29, how did the Flower come to wear a non-traditional goalie number?

“Just in juniors there was three goalie jerseys and I was the youngest guy there, so I had no choice, so they just gave it to me,” Fleury said.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Finally, we all know Sidney Crosby’s 87 comes from his birthday, 8-7-87, but he wouldn’t begin wearing it until he was about 17-years-old.

“Yeah, I wore, growing up we always had a choice between 1 -20. Those were the jersey choices we had. I wore 9 a lot growing up, 10, 9 was kinda, I mean, there’s a long list — Rocket Richard, Gordie Howe, a lot of guys wore 9,” Crosby said.

Sidney Crosby

Now that the playoffs have started, the only number that really matters is 16.

The first team to win 16 games, wins the Stanley Cup.

Other Penguins players also talked about how they got their numbers.

Kris Letang

Tyler Kennedy

Jordan Staal

Max Talbot

Sergei Gonchart


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