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Free Press’s Samuelssen weighs in on the Red Wings’ number-retiring possibilities

The Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen tries to shake things up on a quiet Friday afternoon by offering his takes as to whether past and present members of the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings should have their numbers retired, and let's just say that Samuelssen doesn't believe that we'll see a banner-raising at Joe Louis Arena--or whatever they call the Wings' follow-on-rink--for a long time after Nicklas Lidstrom's #5 joins the list of retired Wings numbers next March:

Sergei Fedorov – He’s the last Red Wing to win the Hart Trophy. He was a Selke winner. Praise Yzerman all you want, but Fedorov was a vital performer on every one of those Red Wings Stanley Cup teams as well. The downside of Fedorov, of course, was that he signed the offer sheet with Carolina in 1998 and then bolted town for less money to sign with the Ducks in 2003. Some fans have never forgiven him for that. Those fans need to get over it. Fedorov is simply one of the greatest players ever to wear a Red Wings uniform. I think his number should be retired. But I doubt it ever will because of how he left town. VERDICT – NO

Fedorov is the Wings' fifth-leading scorer (surprisingly, Pavel Datsyuk's not that far behind Fedorov's 908 points with 779 of his own), and he was a dominant force for the vast majorit yof his tenure with the Wings...But between signing that $36 million deal with Carolina and the unbelievably acrimonious departure for the Ducks (the English-language media scuttlebutt was bad. Fedorov's dad spouting off at the mouth in the Russian media was far, far worse)...Let's just say that how things go down in terms of the Winter Classic Alumni game may let us know what's up going forward.

Brendan Shanahan – Shanahan was the final piece of the Cup puzzle when he arrived in the fall of 1996. He was here for all three of those early Cups as well and scored some huge goals in the postseason. I’ll never forget the image of Shanahan after he dumped in an empty-netter to close out the Avs and launch the Wings into the ’97 Finals. But Shanahan actually played more games for other teams (Blues, Whalers, Devils, Rangers) than he did in Detroit. And he’s done himself no favors in this city with his recent role as the Director of Player Safety (Shea Weber, Justin Abdelkader). VERDICT – NO

Chris Osgood – This is the most intriguing debate by far. If you blotted out Osgood’s name and strictly looked at the numbers, he’s a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame and a no-brainer to have his number retired. 401 wins. 50 shutouts. Two Stanley Cups as a starter and one as a back-up. But there is this misguided perception of Osgood that he just happened to be a goalie for already great teams. Add to that some of those long goals that he allowed in 1994 and 1998 and some fans view him as a weakness, not a strength. I think that’s a joke. Osgood remains the single most under-appreciated athlete in Detroit history. No man put up with more second-guessing and more criticism, and came through with more success than Osgood. He absolutely should have his number retired. But the standard for the Red Wings is so high that I doubt he will. VERDICT – NO

As many of you have pointed out, the Shanahans, Osgoods, Chris Chelioses, Kirk Maltbys, Kris Drapers and Igor Larionovs may not merit number-retiring ceremonies, but the Wings' multiple Cup-winners do deserve recognition, and the Red Wings really do need to start either a "ring of honor" or some sort of "Red Wings Hall of Fame" to honor the contributors to the team's four Cups while the gents are still relatively young--and sooner than later, the team needs to decide whether to retire #16.

I hope that the team will dedicate at least a small part of the follow-on rink to honoring long-time members of the team who helped its championship causes or otherwise displayed dedication to and pride in wearing the Winged Wheel.

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Comments

Down River Dan's avatar

The downside of Fedorov, of course, was that he signed the offer sheet with Carolina in 1998


If memory serves me, it was Carolina who made the offer to Sergei. I believe his contract with detroit had expired and mr. Karamonos saw an opportunity to stick it to mr. Illitch. I don’t believe Sergei went trolling his services?

Carolina signed the sheet and the wings either matched it, or they walked. Isn’t that just what happened with Philly and Shea Webber????

Posted by Down River Dan on 08/02/13 at 03:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Yep. Fedorov was a restricted free agent holding out, and Karmanos dropped a deal that paid Fedorov $12 million for the 97-98 season and another $12 million in bonuses if the Wings made the Conference Finals and maxed out at $36 million. The trolling involved the fact that the Wings knew they’d end up paying Fedorov $24 million for half-a-year’s work.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/02/13 at 03:55 PM ET

cementslinger's avatar

But there is this misguided perception of Osgood that he just happened to be a goalie for already great teams.

How many cups did the Wings win without Osgood?

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 08/02/13 at 04:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

How many cups did the Wings win without Osgood?

If you’re asking about him starting, the answer is 9.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/02/13 at 04:24 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I’d love to see the wings eradicate the ads on the boards and replace them with images of honored wings faces and numbers.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/02/13 at 05:45 PM ET

monkey's avatar

How many cups did the Wings win without Osgood?

JJ beat me to it, but my answer is eight.  I find nine to be an acceptable answer as well, although it requires a qualifier, which eight does not.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/02/13 at 06:00 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I’d love to see the wings eradicate the ads on the boards and replace them with images of honored wings faces and numbers.

Sign the check and they’ll put your image up there if you want.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/02/13 at 06:01 PM ET

monkey's avatar

As far as the original discussion, I would say yes to both Osgood and Fedorov, but then again I consider Larry Aurie’s number to be retired.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/02/13 at 06:02 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I love how Samuelsen mentions Matthew Stafford but not Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/02/13 at 06:04 PM ET

awould's avatar

I think Osgood deserves to be in the hall of fame, but not to have his number retired.

Posted by awould on 08/02/13 at 06:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I find nine to be an acceptable answer as well

I don’t need yer *#$%@& charity.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/02/13 at 06:54 PM ET

Avatar

The only way Fedorov’s number gets retired is if some rookie takes it and has a great career.

There’s no way Shanny’s number gets retired.

Osgood’s number shouldn’t be retired, but he should be a HOFer.

How many cups did the Wings win without Osgood?

How many have they won since he retired?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/02/13 at 08:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

If the Wings ever do a Ring of Honor thing (and to be honest I dunno’ that I want them to) first guy in should be Darren McCarty.  He scored one of the biggest goals ever for the Wings in the SCF’s, and he jumped Lemieux.  He needs no further resume.  He has it, but he doesn’t need it.

Truthfully Fedorov’s had his chances.  He hasn’t used them well, and he could care less about not having 91 up it seems.  If he doesn’t, honestly we shouldn’t care either.

Osgood… I like Ozzie but I think Howard’s going to make everyone re-evaluate him.  Howard already ranks tied for 4th all-time on the team in Wins (with Roger Crozier).  By the end of next season he could be in 3rd all-time behind Osgood.  Already.  When you consider who Howard’s playing with, and who Ozzie had… makes you think.

I firmly believe 13 will be up there in a number of years.  A one-of-a-kind amazing player and when all is said and done it would seem stupid not to put it up there.

Posted by Primis on 08/03/13 at 02:00 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.