As the countdown to the preseason opener continues, today we look into history and see what the number 46 has meant to players in Coyote history. We have a couple of players to look at in regards to this. One is Jean-Francois Jomphe who played all of 1 game for the Coyotes after being acquired from Anaheim for Jim McKenzie in June 1998. Additionally, there is Brent Hughes, who played 39 games over two seasons for the Jets from 1988 to 1990. He actually had serviceable numbers in those 39 games scoring 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points and compiling 115 PIMs. But it doesn't feel enough to earn the right to be called the greatest 46 in franchise history. Surely, somewhere there has to be a player who wore 46 that had a memorable impact for the Yotes.
Then from out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightning or the shark that ate Sam Jackson in Deep Blue Sea or a free beer in a Scottsdale bar, it came to me. A person who was so dedicated to being a good wingman, that he helped us advance farther in the playoffs than we'd ever been before. A man willing to go out as far above and beyond the curfew of duty that the Coyotes could advance all the way to the Western Conference Finals. A skater so committed to being there for the absolute last call, I have no choice but to name him the greatest 46 in Coyote history (have I made this clear enough yet?). Ladies and gentleman, our most beloved 46, Andrei Kostitsyn!
For those of you new to the Coyotes or who lived under a rock during the 2012 playoff run, Kostitsyn was a LW for the Nashville Predators whom we faced in the 2nd round of the playoffs that year. He was a trade deadline acquisition for Preds that season joining forces with Alexander Radulov and Paul Gaustad as late season additions expected to put Nashville over the top and make them a force in the West for the rest of the year and into the playoffs. Going into the series, the Coyotes were considered the underdog against Nashville because of these additions and the stingy defense and goaltending of Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. But then the greatest 46 in Coyote history made his presence felt. After a Coyote game 1 win, Kostitsyn and Radulov allegedly stayed out late into the evening and the next morning, enjoying the, shall we say "amenities" of Scottsdale. They were both suspended for game 3 of the series, and the Yotes would go on to win the series in 5 games and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
So here's to you Andrei Kostitsyn, the greatest sweater number 46 in Coyote franchise history. Cheers!