Countdown to Capitals Rookie Camp: 20-29

Washington Capitals announce their Rookie and Training Camp schedule? Check. DJ King selects a number for the upcoming season? Check. Rock the Red’s all time sweater number countdown reaches the 20’s? Check. It seems like all signs point to the 2010-11 NHL season starting in just over 4 weeks – and we couldn’t be happier.

But that’s enough with the warm n’ fuzzies – it’s time to crown the best sweater number in the Washington Capitals’ 36-year history spanning from 20 through 29.

Although not nearly as tough as yesterday’s epic showdown, the 20’s deliver a fair amount of agita while determining which digit reigns supreme. With every number well represented throughout history, narrowing down the recipient has become even tougher.

Were Mike Palmateer‘s cocky (and operation-dodging) play combined with Joe Reekie‘s work clearing creases and killing penalties in the 29 enough to raise them to the top to the crowd? Or did Dennis Maruk‘s mustache and Brooks Laich‘s handsome-pants persona and strong play elevate the 21 to victory? The answer, is neither.

For the 20’s, the most well-represented number is 22. Although worn by 15 different members of the Capitals’ squad (and both Dennis Hextall and Brent Tremblay from 1979-1980), it’s roster includes several influential Caps.

In the 22, Greg Adams matured into a physical goal-scoring left winger, helping the Caps to succeed in the early days. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dino Ciccarelli donned the 22 from 1988 to 1992, and tallied 112 goals, 97 assists. Solid two-way forward Steve Konowalchuk centered the Caps for 12 seasons in the 22, and his work ethic was recognized by being named captain of the squad. Most recently, garbage man Mike Knuble has brought veteran leadership, grit, and awesome shoot out head fakes to the to the 22.