Before we get into that, some great news yesterday came down the pipe with the re-signing of Justin Abdelkader to a 2 year, $1.57M contract. For those of you that live in Detroit, please let me know if Kenny Holland ever gives a course on how to sign contracts. Part of my professional life involves negotiating, and I would kill to learn how he gets these guys to sign these contracts. Think about what he did this summer:
- He re-signed every single FA he said he was going to, even if we didn't want them all back (Bertuzzi)
- He got Mike Modano to sign for $1.25M to play on the third line.
- He got Tomas Holmstrom - the best net presence player in the NHL - to take a pay cut
- He got the best defenseman in the NHL today to take a pay cut. Not just any pay cut - a 17% pay cut. Would you take 17% less money in your job, no matter how much you loved it? Me either.
I want to thank everyone for the nice comments about the site, both on here, on Twitter and via email. I can say that I had a ton of fun doing each post, with some being more enjoyable than others. I loved going on to Youtube to find one specific video only to spend an hour there just watching all the great moments. It was a nice way for me to spend a summer re-living the glory days, especially after a disappointing end to this latest season.
I wanted to talk about the list. I'm hoping that the top-6 were no-brainers, and I understand that some of you still hold a grudge against Fedorov. As wingsluver4ever pointed out in the comments, I focused exclusively on players. Had I included coaches and management, I would have had an extremely hard time placing the Illitches, Kenny Holland, Jimmy D, Jim Nill, Scotty Bowman and Hakan Andersson on the list; would they go above guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg? What about Jacques Demers and Bryan Murray, 2 coaches who were able to make the Wings great in the regular season but could not translate that to playoff success? I just couldn't reconcile their place on the list because their contributions were different from the players. Perhaps I will do another list, although to try and come up with 19 off-ice people will be pretty tough. We'll save that for next year.
I didn't receive a lot of criticism in the guys that made the list. However, one player was mentioned more than anyone: Darren McCarty. Truthfully, he was #20. He scored the prettiest Stanley Cup-winning goal I have ever seen; his hat trick against Colorado was a nice way to deal with a hangover (that's an interesting story - ask me if you want to hear it); and his beat-down of Clau....de.....Le..... (nope, can't type his full name) coupled with scoring the OT winner on March 26 made him an instant fan favourite. Unfortunately, his contributions were too scattered, and he left the team for a time. He did not have great numbers overall, an I just couldn't justify putting him ahead of some of the other players that I got to see, even though I recognize that he was a big part of all of the Cup-winning teams.
Now, on to the comments. I was going to do this in the post itself, but to address everyone would just take too long in one giant comment.
Brandon - thank you for the kind words. While I never did get to meet him, there's still a chance - even if that means cornering him in a men's room at O'Hare.
dorfarm - your story really resonated with me. I could probably have written your story and just substituted "Gordie Howe" for "Steve Yzerman". Thankfully we were able to escape the evil clutches of the Maple Leafs and their fans. As one of the few Wing fans that endured the entire Dead Wings era of the '70s and '80s, I can only imagine how sweet it was for you to experience winning Stanley Cups again.
wingsluver4ever - again, thanks for the kind words. I agree that the Illitches have been and will continue to be instrumental in the Wings' success, and had they been on the list, they would have come in around #3. Like you said, I was only listing players.
Norm - I've read a couple of Yzerman books, and I can't get enough of the man. I think because he's such a private person, our curiosity just expands. That would make a great job: traveling the country talking to Wing fans about their favourite Stevie moment or memory. The different stories that would come out from fans young and old would be really interesting.
Crater - Like I've said before, the Wings have been as important to me as most of the people in my life outside of my family and closest friends. These guys were my heroes growing up and I still continue to look up to them.
Smitty - Awesome story. I am supremely jealous of any person who has had the pleasure of meeting him, even if it was fleeting. Given what I've heard about him and cars, he may very well remember that. I'm a history guy (as you might have guessed) so any time I can talk to someone who saw games at the Olympia and got to see Howe, Abel, Lindsay and Delvecchio play, I consider that a real treat. You seem to have been destined to meet and marry your wife, both for the birthday and for the fact that she yells at idiot Blues fans. I enjoyed all of the personal stories you told. I hope you enjoyed the same.
Well, that's it. We are less than 30 days from training camp, and the start of the season will soon be upon us. We're going to start with some previews soon, both for the team and for the league. Here's a hint: I think the Wings are going to do well this year.