So here's a neat little piece of trivia.
Brad Richards, we all know, wore No. 19 for many successful seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but was unable to secure the same number with his new team, the Dallas Stars, even though no other Dallas player wears it.
Well, the Stars still maintain a historical connection to their ancestors, the Minnesota North Stars, and No. 19 is one of three numbers retired by the North Stars. It was done so in honor of Bill Masterton, who died in a game in 1968 and for whom the Masterton Trophy was named.
Richards instead chose No. 91, reversing the digits, and then went out Thursday and had five assists in Dallas' romp over Chicago.
That's about as good a start as you can have with a new team. and Richards was even a plus-2 after being the league's worst plus-minus player for most of the season.
He skated more than 19 minutes, more than either Mike Modano or Mike Ribeiro, who has been leading the Stars in scoring most of the season. Richards, from his Tampa days, is used to playing a lot more than that, and it will be interesting to see how coach Dave Tippett juggles the ice time between his three pivots as the season progresses.
If that was the perfect debut for a trade deadline day pickup, the opposite was true for Marian Hossa. The Penguins were thumped by the Bruins, 5-1, in Hossa's first game, and the Slovak winger suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in a collision with Boston forward Glen Murray.
The team is saying Hossa will only miss a week, and we'll see if that's an accurate assessment. Ex-Leaf defenceman Hal Gill, by the way, was minus-2 in his first game with Pittsburgh.
The Hossa injury underlined what an ambitious but risky deal this was for Pittsburgh. In giving up two affordable, young players, their top draft pick from last summer and their 2008 first rounder, the Pens were betting that Hossa's contributions would be so significant in the remainder of the playoffs and post-season that the deal would be worthwhile even if he doesn't re-sign as an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
You applaud Pittsburgh management for the aggressive play, particularly since it was a bit of an impulse buy on the final day. But given the youth of the team's top players and the uncertainty of its goaltending, the Pens would be a bit of a longshot to get out of the conference even if Sidney Crosby returns soon and at full strength after being out since Jan. 18 with a high ankle sprain.
By comparison, Dallas gave up less for Richards in terms of actual players and prospects because the biggest asset they gave to Tampa Bay in the trade was relief from the final three years of the centre's $7.8 million per season contract.
So if Richards were to be hurt, well, the Stars didn't seriously affect their current roster in the trade and they've still got No. 91 locked up for a while yet.
Pittsburgh, by contrast, deleted regulars Erik Christenson and Colby Armstrong to get Hossa, and gave up significant futures for a player who might, in the worst-case scenario, only play a dozen regular season games and one playoff round.
It's going to be fascinating to compare how these deals have turned out in a year from now.