Wearing the No. 13, Glen Metropolit figures, makes him stand out a bit.
Though the number usually speaks to a bad omen if you're the superstitious kind, luck has had little to do with Metropolit's season with the Boston Bruins.
The Toronto native, whose rise from a hardscrabble childhood in Regent Park to the NHL has been well-documented, is the Bruins' nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
"It has not really sunk in, because I have been thinking a lot about our games and I want to make the playoffs so badly," Metropolit said. "I don't even know what to say. If there is a chance for me to be on a trophy in the Hall of Fame, that would be unbelievable."
Metropolit has been, in the words of Bruins coach Claude Julien, "a blessing" for the club. Metropolit was not lighting up the scoreboard on a nightly basis, with 30 points (11 goals and 19 assists). But he has absorbed a lot of the playing time that would have went to Patrice Bergeron, who has been out since October with a concussion, and is one of only three Bruins who has played in all of the team's 76 games this season.
"With his experience and the way he competes, I can't say enough about him," Julien said. "To be nominated for that award is so well-deserved."
After time with the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and three seasons in Europe, Metropolit split 2006-07 between the St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers, but skated into Bruins camp last fall without a contract. By the time the Bruins broke camp, he had earned a one-year, $500,000 US pact. One of the club's equipment managers handed him No. 13 and Metropolit has worn it with pride.
"It has been a long road, but I have taken advantage of my chances here," said Metropolit, who relocates each off-season with his wife, Michlyn, and their three children to Destin, Fla. "When Bergeron went down, it gave me a good shot to prove I belong at this level. I've always believed in myself."
Metropolit learned to play hockey at Moss Park, at the notorious downtown Toronto corner of Queen and Sherbourne. In the past, he has estimated he moved 20 times as a child in the Regent Park area. A brother, Troy, is serving 16 years for a carjacking.
"I don't know what (penitentiary) he is in, I just hear from my mom how he is doing," Metropolit said. "I try to help out with his canteen, give him some money.
"I have so many family (members) and friends who live vicariously through me. I don't look at the way I was brought up or what I went through. I'm playing hockey and having fun."