One day remains to the commencement of the Washington Capitals’ Rookie Camp, and that only means one thing: Hockey is right around the corner One number left in our countdown of the Caps’ greatest sweater numbers. Be sure to look over the winners for 10-99, and stay tuned to see who takes the crown from 1-9.
We’ve been naming victors based upon significance to the club and Captials nostalgia, and today’s winner has both: #5.
Number 5 was first worn by Joe Lundrigan in 3 total games in 1974 (becoming the first ex-Capital) and then Willie Brossart the next season, but it really came to form when Rick Green was selected 1st overall by Washington in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft. In the 5, Green was a coaches’ dream as a true “stay at home” defenseman, shutting down opponents offense for six seasons with the Caps. And while Green’s proficiency on the blue line helped turn around the Capitals’ ill-fated early years, he is most remembered for the blockbuster trade which sent him (and Ryan Walter) to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Doug Jarvis, Craig Laughlin, Brian Engblom and the next number 5- Rod Langway.
Post-trade, Langway (right) lead Washington to the post-season in every one of his 11 years with the team after not making the playoffs for the first eight seasons of the club. Langway was also immediately named Captain of the Caps, a position he would hold for his 11 years with the team, and only ended by his NHL retirement. In the 5, the “Secretary of Defense” would win the Norris Trophy twice, be named to two NHL All-Star First Teams (and one Second Team), and represent the Capitals in 4 consecutive All-Star games. Langway was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2002, and had his number retired by Washington on November 26, 1997.