What If Paul Bissonnette Never Had To Change His Number Because It Looked Too Similar To Crosby's?
The butterfly effect is the idea that small changes can, over time, result in large and unpredictable effects. Steve Jobs made a phone one day and that lead to a world where everybody has a tiny computer in their pocket that they use to watch porn. That sort of thing.
So last night Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette told a story on the TNT broadcast which I don't remember ever being told before. A moment in history that at the time may have seemed borderline irrelevant, but has had massive implications ever since then. Apparently during his rookie season with the Penguins, Biz had to change his number from 67 to 16 because Mr. and Mrs. Crosby were sick of mistaking this goon for their son out on the ice.
At the time I'm sure it didn't feel like a pivotal moment in hockey history. I mean guys change their numbers all the time. LeBron does it any time he's not the NBA's leading jersey seller anymore. But just think about what could have been if Biz never changed his number from 67.
There's a chance that he goes on to have a career where he's in the lineup every night. You look at players who seemingly came out of nowhere and find immediate success playing on a line with Crosby. Take Jake Guentzel for example. He's a 3rd rounder who went on to have a 40-goal season playing with Crosby. Had Biz kept his original jersey number that was bringing him good luck, maybe there's a chance he has a 40-tuck season in his career.
But what happens from there? If Paul Bissonnette becomes an every night player in the NHL, then he probably never has the time to get on Twitter. There's a chance he solely focuses on the game and never gets a chance to fully develop his role as a locker room guy. He's not on Twitter, he's not racking up a bunch of kill stories, he just becomes another hockey robot. If that's the case, he never 1) meets Whit on a PTO with the Blues at the tailend of his career and 2) never develops the personality to hop on Spittin Chiclets. I think Whitney, RA and Grinnelli are all studs on their own but who knows how far Chiclets goes without Biz. The Oilers would still be a good team if they only had McDavid or Draisaitl, but they sure as shit are a powerhouse because they have both of them.
All I'm saying is that if you think about it, the Chiclets we know and love today really exists because Sidney Crosby's parents couldn't tell 67 and 87 apart on the TV screen and Biz had to change his number. So I guess out of all the times this has been said, this one means the most...Thanks, Sid.