There's only one problem

Yes, I know I gushed mightily upon learning that the Los Angeles Kings announced the organization would retire Luc Robitaille's number. I'm sorry, but I just can't do the same for legendary Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman.

His sweater and its No. 19 will officially be
retired Jan. 2, 2007, when the Anaheim Ducks meet the Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena. And on that night, No. 19 will join Detroit legends Terry Sawchuk's No. 1, Ted Lindsay's No. 7, Gordie Howe's No. 9, Alex Delvecchio's No. 10 and Sid Abel's No. 12.

I'm certainly not opposed to having a team retire the number of a captain who brought three Stanley Cups home to the Motor City. The sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer is certainly deserving and, if in attendance that night, I'd cheer and clap as loudly as anyone. There's no doubting, at least from where I sit, that Stevie Y is a Hockey God.

The problem, though, is the ceremony is four years too late. Why didn't he retire after the Red Wings won their last Cup in 2002, going out on top? Remember
Ray Bourque and the Avalanche? He knew when to go.

Instead, we had to watch Yzerman labor through three more seasons (not counting the lockout), take a diminished role with the team all while possibly stunting the growth, maturity and leadership capabilities of such younger Red Wings as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jiri Hudler and, possibly, Johan Franzen.

Now, if Detroit could convince crotchety dinosaur
Chris Chelios (Did you know that he is Lady Byng's great-great grandfather? Really, he is!) to spend more time in the restaurant business, the Red wings might actually contend in the West this season.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can agree that maybe Yzerman should have retired sooner, but I do not agree that an Yzerman on the ice could ever stunt the growth, maturity and leadership capabilities of a younger player. All they could do from a class individual like Stevie Y is learn and I am sure if you spoke with them, they would most assuredly agree with that point. Did he hang on too long...probably, but he was never a detriment anytime he was on the ice.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

You make valid points, but I still believe that he could have done more, such as serving as a coach or in the front office (as he has), than continue playing and take away minutes from a developing prospect.

Bottom line, I'd rather see my heroes go out on top, not as a fading star who had lost more than a step.

And it's easier for me to say that, because it's coming from my head, not my heart. As a Red Wings fan, it's easy to see, as well as applaud, your loyalty.

11:20 PM  

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