Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Captain's Night

The first of three times The Captain raised the Cup

Tonight Steve Yzerman became the 6th player in the 80 year history of the Detroit Red Wings to have his number retired. Throughout his speech he was selfless and gave everyone else credit for the phenomenal career that he has. A class act on the ice and off, still to this day.
If Gordie Howe was Mr. Hockey, then Steve Yzerman is Mr. Hockeytown. He guided the franchise from the "Dead Things" era of the 70's and early eighties, to the premier NHL franchise in the 90's and early 2000's. 3 Stanley Cups and 5 President Trophies in the past 15 years. No other team has won more than two of each in that time span.
While he would be the last one to point out his individual success, he was a 10 time All-Star, the longest tenured captain in NHL history, and is one of three players (Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux being the others) to score over 150 points in a season. He also was able to excel at the other end of the rink, winning the Selke award for best defensive forward in 2000. The most vivid memory I have is of the double OT game winning goal vs. the Blues in 1996. The puck flying past Jon Casey and into the top right corner of the net, then The Captain leaping with joy into the boards.
The Captain is gone, but his memories hang in the rafters along with Howe, Sawchuk, Abel, Lindsay, and Delvecchio.

Photo from www.freep.com

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