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Caps to Retire Gartner's No. 11

The team just announced that it will retire Mike Garnter's No. 11 jersey during a pregame cermony before the Toronto game on Dec. 28.

Gartner, a Hall of Famer who ranks second in franchise history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789) will be the fourth Cap to have his number retired. (Rod Langway, Yvon Labre and Dale Hunter are the others.)

I'll have more on this later. I've got an hour-long drive to KCI to make.

Update:I noticed some confusion in the comments about whether it's Gartner's jersey or number that will be retired. It's his number -- it will never be worn again in Washington.

There's a conference call later on, and I hope to update with quotes from Gartner, Ted Leonsis and Dick Patrick.

On another front, Donald Brashear and Shaone Morrisonn have joined the unofficial skates. I'm planning to talk to Shaone when he comes off. So check back for an update on that, too.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 2, 2008; 8:53 AM ET
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pretty cool

Posted by: david | September 2, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to post something before someone said the dreaded 5 letter word

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I guess the marketing department wants a side or Heritage, but the SE Div banner's sufficient ceiling clutter...for now.

Posted by: redlineblue | September 2, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

So does that mean Bondra's #12 in the near future?

Posted by: Mike M. | September 2, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, I note that your blog entry says that his "jersey" will be retired. I assume it's the actual #11 that's being retired? The reason I ask is that there is this new trend among some teams to retire a "jersey" while leaving the "number" in circulation. (The Packers originally did this with Reggie White's jersey; UVA has done it for both football and basketball players.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 2, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to our owner, that's great!

Posted by: Htr23k | September 2, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

College always just raise the jersey. If they retired numbers they would quickly run out of them.

Classy move. Should be a nice ceremony.

Posted by: EricS | September 2, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I hope this means they'll get some nicer-looking retired number banners. I'm not too fond of the big faces on the current ones, and they're in the old colors, anyway. I prefer the ones that look like actual jerseys - just the names, numbers, and maybe a bottom stripe imitating the jersey stripes. See the Devils, Canadiens, etc.

Anyway, Gartner is certainly deserving. Although, if they also retire Bondra's in the not-too-distant future, that'll be five retired numbers for a team with a not-exactly-storied history.

Posted by: blanket | September 2, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@ 1995hoo I think its different with football because there are so many players on a team and so many number restrictions (ie QBs have to have a # between 1-19).

College teams also do things like this because so much turnover happens (new players every 4/5 years) but football is for the same reasons above and basketball is different at ever school (at unc nobody will ever where #23 ever again, but Sean Singeltary's number at uva is still 'available' but his jersey's retired). Each college sets its own rules with regards to retiring numbers/jerseys.

Since hockey has no number restrictions, I'd bet they're retiring his number, not just his jersey.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | September 2, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

reading the quote, it seems clear that they are retiring his number. so nobody will wear 11 again. good for the team and good for garts.

re: bondra, i believe that ted has said that they cant/wont retire a number until the player retires. not sure if bondra has officially "retired" yet. none the less, it inevitable.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | September 2, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, folks. I went and read the Caps' press release and it was arguably ambiguous, but it sounds like the intent is that #11 will become like #s 5, 7, and 32 (unavailable to anyone in the future).

I've always been amused by retiring the "jersey" as I described because it's never been clear to me what exactly it means. For example, on Saturday UVA retired Ronde Barber's #19 jersey. Seems to me that this should mean that if another player named Barber comes along, he can choose any available number except 19 (or 21, which was Tiki Barber's and was retired last year) because retiring the "jersey" suggests that "Barber 19" would be off-limits (even though we didn't have names on the jerseys when he played). Perhaps they ought to adopt the terminology the Maple Leafs use in referring to "Honoured Numbers"--the name and number are raised but remain available for others.

Cap Fan 1, Bondra did officially announce his retirement.

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 2, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I just received word from the Caps that the NUMBER will indeed be retired and unavailable for future use.

Posted by: Gustafsson | September 2, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Does UVA hang the retired jerseys next to their overflowing championship trophy case? LOLZ

Posted by: Question | September 2, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Does UVA hang the retired jerseys next to their overflowing championship trophy case?"

There is just as many football trophies as Va Tek and more overall.

Posted by: More than Tek | September 2, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

...they missed! By one number!

Posted by: Jordan | September 2, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This seems kind of...random. Mike Gartner? Really?

Posted by: Ben | September 2, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

He is in the Hall-of-Fame as a Capital...He should be in the rafters.

Bondra, and Kolzig (if he accepts) should go too. Other then that, no one is close to being considered until Ovie..

Posted by: SA-Town | September 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a really big fan of having more retired numbers than meaningful championship banners. (That is, not regular season division banners.)

Posted by: Goat | September 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Can we raise a banner and retire Obnoxious Penguin fans from our building?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse


I think an exorcism would do the job of getting rid of those Obnoxious Penguins fans (an oxymoron to be sure) - has anyone seen Linda Blair in DC recently?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | September 2, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This might be a bit premature but I think it would be really cool for all of us to get together like we did at the end of the year for our first game which is an away game. Friday October 10th I believe.

Maybe Tarik could join us instead of flying to boring Atlanta and just wait for the next night homeopener.


Posted by: #94 | September 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

yeah, Tarik wants to hang with a bunch of unproductive losers with no life beyond a message board.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

DevilsCapsGal -
I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I really think you need to rethink your use of oxymoron

Posted by: AP | September 2, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse


There is some interesting timing to this. As Kolzig takes off on bad terms, Gartner gets recognized as a true "leader," of the franchise.

We have not heard too much from the players on how they look at the Kolzig situation. Do you think any of these young guys care about this stuff and how the Caps pay respect to vets?.....or is it more important to us?

Posted by: SA-Town | September 2, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Finally... recognition for a true gentleman, leader and hockey player... Mike Gartner.

If only the obsurd trade that sent him to Minnesota could be reveresed.

Posted by: CantMissKid | September 2, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Other then that, no one is close to being considered until Ovie

Ummm...I can't disagree more. What about ol' #6...Calle Johannson?

No one has played more seasons or games in a Caps uniform...and he was the defensive anchor of the team for many a playoff season...

Posted by: Yosh | September 2, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse


This might be a bit premature but I think it would be really cool for all of us to get together like we did at the end of the year for our first game which is an away game. Friday October 10th I believe.

Or maybe a group of us could go to Atlanta and watch the game in person...can't imagine tickets are that hard to come by and flights/hotels in atlanta are cheap.

Posted by: Yosh | September 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

About time -- Gartner's #11 should have been retired years ago, I never understood why the Caps took so long ......he was a great great player!!!!

Posted by: Geo | September 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Awfully random timing. Gartner played for the Caps 18 years ago. Most current fans have no memory of him. He was replaced by someone the fans instantly loved even more than him. What demand was there to retire his number? Add this to Bondra and Kolzig, and it's way too many retired numbers from very unsuccessful eras in the franchise's history.

Posted by: katzistan | September 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Mike Gartner was a very good player, but really another number in the rafters at VC? That's four, plus Bondra and Kolzig in the next couple of years. 6 retired numbers and 0 cups and one trip to the finals? That's too many numbers and not enough success. Sure, the Caps made the playoffs a lot but just being good or even really good shouldn't be enough to get your number in the rafters. Langway, Ovechkin and maybe Kolzig should eventually be the only retired numbers. Other guys like Bondra, Hunter and Gartner should be part of a deal like they had in Philly with Hextall when the Caps played them. It is too bad that this team has been too quick to retire numbers, but hey it will probably sell some more tickets that night.

Posted by: Too many jerseys | September 2, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Too many jerseys; I see your point, but six retired numbers leaves 93 numbers left to choose from. (#99 excluded for obvious reasons.)

How better to celebrate the diverse player history of the franchise in order to build fan equity -- sell more merchandise and help pay Ovie's salary? Ted is a master marketer.

Here's to Bondra and Olie getting "raftered" in the future.

Posted by: stayathomeD | September 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"DevilsCapsGal -
I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I really think you need to rethink your use of oxymoron

Posted by: AP | September 2, 2008 11:45 AM"

You're right - I should have said that Obnoxious Penguins fans was redundent...right?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | September 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I will join the forces of Gartner not deserving to be hung in the rafters for many reasons. One, we was very good from October through March, but disappeared a great deal in April. Two, He did not leave on good terms and held it against the team up until now. 3) Frankly this is to sell tickets. 4) If he was so deserving all these years then no one would have been wearing it for 18 years on and off. If he goes up, then so does Bondra and as mentioned before Ollie. That is 5 numbers for a team that only gone to final once in 35 + plus. Now, if they want to take down Labre's number, as he is a very nice guy and stuck up for his teammates during the first 3 ugly years, but deserving to have his number retired, not a chance. Abe liked him and gave him a job like Unseld, but Wes was rookie of the year, MVP and won a championship. I cringe everytime I look up and see that number up there.

Posted by: Rich | September 2, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think Calle was a top notch Cap.

I just think if your in the Hall of Fame as a Capital, you should be up top in the rafters.

Eventually you have to stop retiring numbers, and create a way to display someone's name without shutting down the jersey. A "circle of honor," has been done for other teams. Maybe multiple names on one banner.

Posted by: SA-Town | September 2, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Has any team in the NHL ever un-retired a number? It doesn't seem very likely to happen, really.

Posted by: Jordan | September 2, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Mike Gartner was more to the Capitals than just hockey, and his name and number deserve to be up there as much as Bondra's does. Like others have said, very stand up guy and a class act all around.

As for why now... why not now?

If you don't think Gartner deserves to be up there, you have not been a Caps fan for very long, and that's okay. You need to realize that there was hockey before the Verizon Center, and there will be hockey after the Verizon Center. Don't discount the early years.

Posted by: RobMonroe | September 2, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I grew up watching Gartner's jersey swoosh back and forth as he raced down the right wing, so often winding up a slap shot and blasting it by the opposing goalie.

This gesture is long overdue.

Posted by: Sem-antics | September 2, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Gartner was the Cal Ripken of the Washington Capitals...minus the 2,632 games in a row thing.

Posted by: Screetch | September 2, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Here here, about f-ing time.

Posted by: Section 117 | September 2, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I think I remember the sign: "Jesus saves, but Gartner gets the rebound and scores!"

Posted by: CapitalCentre | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think I remember the sign: "Jesus saves, but Gartner gets the rebound and scores!"

Posted by: CapitalCentre | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Wrong number ted. It's actually 12 we want to retire.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think I remember the sign: "Jesus saves, but Gartner gets the rebound and scores!"

Posted by: CapitalCentre | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow we already had more retired jerseys then the Maple Leafs why can't we just have honored numbers? 12 obviously needs to be retired if the number two scorer gets retired the number one scorer should with out question. You could make a very good bid for 37, and on day 8 the we're gonna be going out with fractions for our jersey numbers by 2050.

Posted by: DC FURY | September 2, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I was infuriated when Tim Bergland showed up wearing #11 after Gartner was traded. This is long overdue, for one of the 3 best forwards this franchise has seen. (OV, Bondra)

Posted by: JR | September 2, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Jesus we have four now? Un-retire #7...thats a given. Now I know I will get flamed for this but un-retire #32. Sure he was an icon but does he REALLY deserve to have his number retired. The answer is no unless your fooling yourself

Posted by: asdlkfj | September 2, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let the flaming begin. What are ya, some kind of commie devil?

Posted by: uncatim | September 2, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say that Gartner as HOF'er is well deserving. I do understand the concern about having too many jerseys in the rafters relative to the franchise's history success, but so far two of the guys (including Gartner) up there are HOF'ers, and one other (hunter) was the face of the franchise and a team captain.

Labre however is a mystery to me as I was not born until 1981

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | September 2, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Make your updates new posts so those following you by RSS don't have to go back to old posts to see if you have updated them.

Posted by: An Annoyed Reader | September 2, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

About time...if there are too many numbers then take #32 down. Fan fav yes, but not a great player. A player should have to be in he HOF to get his number retired. That would probably mean only 1 or 2 guys should have retired numbers (5 and 11). If Bondra makes the HOF (doubt it) then he should have #12 retired. If Kolzig makes HOF (might happen, but probably not) then ditto

Posted by: CapsFanSince1979 | September 3, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Labre's banner does not belong up there. I had season tickets for the Capitals' sorry first season (and others). Labre gave an honest effort every night, but would have had trouble making any other NHL team (except the Kansas City Scouts).

His banner must be up there to represent the early years of the Capitals.

Posted by: Joe B | September 3, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow, now that they retire #11, whatever number will Timmy Bergland wear during his 3rd stint as a Cap??!!


Posted by: alpca3877 | September 3, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Long overdue. No athelete ever gave D.C. a better decade on and OFF playing area then Mile Gartner. If you don't remember, or don't take the time to look up the facts about Capitals hocket from 79-89, it's understood. Gartner would go to Childrens Hospital and other varios places WITHOUT the cameras and media attention. He did it from his soul. And as far as consistant goal scorer, there haven't been much better. Finally, as for the "not producing in the playoffs" slander, can you tell me any other Capital (not recent, back in the 80s and 90s) that excelled in the playoffs, other then Druce in 1990? It was sad the way things never worked out in the playoffs back then, but to point to one player is wrong. A beleive if you checked the stats, Gartner had a few playoff OT goals, and produce at a very similiar rate as the regular season. Long overdue honor for a class act!

Posted by: Capital Centre forever | September 3, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

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