Hello and welcome to On the Wings. I’m Matt Saler and I’ll be your host today as we go through the 19th Carnival of the NHL. Because this is Hockeytown and the number 19 has only one meaning here, this Carnival has been dubbed “The Steve Yzerman Edition,” and was meant to focus on captains. However, the New Jersey State Police didn’t get the memo and they neglected to keep their “Operation Slapshot” under wraps for just a couple more weeks. Read the post next time, guys. You screwed everything up.
Anyway, we do have some captain material to cover so here it is.
First, we have d-lee of Red and Black Hockey and the colorful Acid Queen of Sweet Tea, Barbecue and Bodychecks. D-lee takes us back to September, 2005, when the ‘Canes’ beloved captain Ron Francis announced his retirement, taking a look at one of the classiest players in league history. The Queen took a slightly different angle but wrote more recently on the retirement ceremony. Also, be sure to check out d-lee’s look at Rod Brind’amour, the ‘Canes’ latest captain, and how he arrived in Carolina.
While we’re on the topic of recently-retired captains, we should stop by Steve Ovadia’s Puck Update, where Steve reveals a secret about Mark Messier (*gasp*! Messier not liked? Wow…). Not far off geographically is blogger-in-spirit Greg Wyshynski, who covered the Devils’ retirement ceremony for Scott Stevens for NY Sports Day. Be sure to check that one out.
It hasn’t happened yet (thank God) but it will happen soon and Bill Houlihan is on top of it. I’m talking about Steve Yzerman’s retirement and who is in line to replace him. Bill takes a look at the candidates here but may want to add Robert Lang to the list. Lang was named captain of the Czech Olympic team this past week.
While we’re on the topic of Steve Yzerman, here is an email tribute to him from a fellow fan here:
Steve Yzerman is my personal sports hero.
He is a true example of class and what a professional athlete should be. I am 30 years old, and idolized him so much 15 years ago that I wore his number 19 on all my highs school sports teams. Before he was a legend, and before he won a cup, when he was just a very, very good player, he was my hero. At the time, however, it was more of an immature youthful idol-worship. Now, 15 years later, it has turned to a deep respect and appreciation for one of the greatest leaders/players/heroes in sports history. I will truly miss him when he is gone. He is one of the few public figures whose example has truly inspired me, and I can’t wait to tell my kids about his example when they are old enough. As a lifelong Wings fan, I really can’t imagine the Wings without him, because I’ve never SEEN the Wings without him. 22 seasons in a Red Wing uniform. That in itself is a truly iconic feat.
Cheers to the kid from Ottawa. I’ve enjoyed cheering you on….thanks for all the memories, and hopefully a few more to come!
Kevin Usealman – transplanted Wings fan
And if you’ve never read Christy’s piece on The Captain, read it now.
That’s the last of the captain-related content. But before we move on to the gambling scandal, I will direct you to some more uplifting stuff.
First, we have JP of Japer’s Rink, who, in the current spirit of Olympics-inspired national pride, provides two lists. The first is of the best American-born players in NHL history and the second is of the best Americans in Captials history. Both lists are very well done, though I confess I haven’t heard of a few of the Caps players. JP also has this account of the game he attended with Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Capitals. Ah, for an owner such as that here in Detroit….
If Mike Illitch’s hard heart about “independent media” makes you sad, check out Jes Golbez’s “Peter Forsberg Slideshow.” It’s worth a laugh or two (though that last slide goes a long ways in quieting any laughter, my fellow Wings fans).
One final attempt at avoiding the gambling issue: Grampapinhead takes a look at penalties and the referees that call them here. He also makes an interesting suggestion: female refs.
Now, we have to talk about the gambling scandal. But it won’t be too bad, since I didn’t get a lot of submissions on it, though there is plenty out there if you look.
First, Michael of Confessions of a Hockey Fan takes a look at the defense strategy of Mark Recchi and John LeClair. Here’s Steve Ovadia’s unique look at the whole thing. Finally, we have another great piece from Greg Wyshynski.
And that’s the Carnival. I apologize for my tardiness in getting it published. Next time I’ll be sure I have a clear spot in my schedule before volunteering to do it!