Numbers game in full force

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Even if you can remember who wore what number back in the spring of 2004, you'll still need a program to watch the Calgary Flames. That's because a handful changed numbers in the long off-season.

Chuck Kobasew, due to the departure of Oleg Saprykin, traded his No. 7 jersey for 19, while Chris Simon has switched from 15 to 17.

Byron Ritchie, who signed with the team in the summer of '04, swooped in and grabbed 15. And Jordan Leopold offered up his No. 4 sweater to Roman Hamrlik and is now donning No. 6.

"I knew Hammer liked 4 and we had a couple of discussions and it meant something to him so I ended up switching," Leopold explained. "I've got a lot of respect for the guy. He's played a lot of years and been a good player and a great pick up for us so I thought I'd welcome him here. If it makes him play better, I guess it's worth it."

In the NBA and NFL, players have received five-figure payments for such a move but Leopold insists he didn't ask for an envelop filled with unmarked bills or a week's use of a condo in the Bahamas.

"Nope, nothing like that. It's totally mutual," he said.

"It's one of those things where the number doesn't play on the ice, it's the person. I'm happy to be out here, start out and get going.

"I'm sure he'll buy me dinner. I did ask him for some Czech beer but we'll see. I think we're better buddies because of it."


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