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SpikeDDS

Retire 91 or no?

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Since I’m nowhere near Detroit, I have to read about what going on there hockey-wise. And because I’m only seeing it in the Freep and not the Detroit News—whose hockey writers I prefer over Helene St. James—perhaps this is simply St. James just creating a story more than a story in itself.

 

That said, is there serious talk about the Red Wings retiring Sergei Federov’s #91?

 

And whether there is or not, are you for or against it?

 

I see both sides of the argument. Personally, I don’t have a 100% problem with it, but I also don’t tend to hold grudges. Though I didn’t like Datsyuk walking away mid-contract, and the damage that did to the organization, I wouldn’t have any hesitation about raising his #13 to the rafters.

 

But #91? I have more hesitation. I don’t have 100% problem with it, but it is more than 50% problem, yes. OK, Pav didn’t finish his contract, but he left for home and didn’t come back. He didn’t decide to play for another NHL team. He left primarily for family reasons and to play in his home country before he retires. I can respect those priorities, even as I didn’t like him walking away mid-contract. 

 

Federov is different. To his credit, he didn’t walk on any agreements he made. But he held out for more than half of the 97-98 season after winning his first Stanley Cup. Now, that being said, his fresh legs and play DID play a very significant role in winning the 1998 Cup. He had a superb abbreviated season and playoff performance that year, of course motivated by a $12M bonus for getting to the conference finals. Now, as much as I didn’t like that when it happened, that WAS about business, so I really don’t hold that against him, especially since he came through WELL and helped us win another 2 Cups. 

 

But his walkaway leaves even more of a bitter taste than Pav’s. He took LESS money for the same term to play for the Ducks. Not just a little less. 20% less. And Ilitch, who was responsible for helping Federov defect from the USSR, made our offer to Sergei personally. Unlike some others, where we can say it was just business, this wasn’t. This was a player disrespecting the franchise that enabled him to escape and become who he was. Loyalty to the franchise and to the men who took significant risks to get him here was thrown out the window.

 

As good as he was as a player—and there is absolutely no question that his skill and play are deserving of his number being retired—it seems hard, due to his disrespect of the franchise/team for that same franchise to honor him much like they honor legends like Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, and Nick Lidstrom, who throughout their entire careers held the Detroit Red Wings with respect and in high regard. Two of these played their entire careers in Detroit and even voluntarily took pay cuts to continue to play here.

 

I do recognize that without Federov, the Wings do not win 3 Cups in 6 years. (They still win in 2002 without him. That team was just so stacked with talent!) Thus, I do recognize his contributions to the team, and see the importance of that in addition to his skills and abilities.

 

However, I still say he does not deserve his number in the rafters. They can have his image on some of the walls of LCA. He can be included with some others in remembrance there, but it should not be the same as the others I listed, and one way to differentiate would be to NOT retire his number.

 

Let’s be honest, though. Any kid coming in would be stupid for wearing 91, and I doubt anyone will, so it will likely be practically retired anyway. Which is fine. Again, I’m fine with remembering him. I’m fine with acknowledging his accomplishments. I’m not as fine revering him in the same way as others who have demonstrated unwavering respect for the franchise.

 

What say ye, Wings fans? (Others’ opinions also welcomed.)

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No. God no. Great player, hall of fame player but he always seemed to be in search of an exit strategy the entire time he was in Detroit. He loathed Bowman and fought buying into the system, @SpikeDDS this is a great subject! As you mentioned 91 is not in high demand anyway so it is unlikely to be given out anyway. It does happen tho, Probie watched Cheli take number 24, he spoke of his mixed feelings about it in his book even. 

 Datsyuk, yes, no doubt a no brainer. 13 should and will hang in the rafters. 40 will be there alongside 9 and 5 and 19 and 12, 1 10 and 7. Numbers 6 (Larry Aurie) and 16 (Vlad) are retired although they do not hang in the rafters. 

 

  Truthfully I would rather see 14 retired for Shanny, or the grind line get their collective numbers retired first. Hell, maybe even Osgood and number 30 (but the truth is I don't believe any of those will or should be retired which is kind of my point). To me it has less to do with Federov leaving as a free agent and more to do with him not getting the most out of his enormous ability instead spending most of his career as a mild disappointment who while he skated like Baryshnikov on ice on many nights, there were too many where he simply seemed content to mail it in. 1997 he was a key to winning the cup, 2002 and 1998 we would have won with or without him. I just don't think he measures up  as a Wings immortal.

Edited by yave1964
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It's a no for me. He wanted out, and got out. Not much loyalty, and his ego was always a problem, playing second fiddle to Stevie. Great, but not great for long enough, and not loyal enough. 

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He had one of the highest two way peaks of any player to play the game, but I don't think I would retire his number, but I wouldn't retire 13 or 40 either. For me it isn't so much that I have something against him leaving, I just don't think he contributed enough to the history of the team to consider retiring his number.  Looking at the numbers the Wings have retired and what they contributed to the organization over their career, I don't think those 3 are at the same level.

 

Lidstrom, Yzerman, Abel, Sawchuk, Delvecchio, Lindsay, Howe. That is really special company to be in. I think it'll be awhile before we find another number worthy of hanging with them.

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@Haliax

 

I would retire #13. #40, it might depend on whether he makes the Hall, which I don’t think he will do. Pav should make the Hall.

 

If Z doesn’t make the HOF, I can see Detroit honoring him with his number being retired, but the argument to do that for Z is weaker than for Pav. One of Z’s biggest strengths has been his steadfast loyalty to the team—the opposite of Federov. Certainly not as gifted as Sergei, and has less hardware to show for it—only 1 Cup.

 

But he also didn’t have teams like Sergei had. He was never on a line with the equivalent of Yzerman in his prime and Shanahan. Not even close. But he led very well and his strength has always been in his two-way play. You may remember Gretzky commenting that he thought the toughest opponent he played against was Henrik Zetterberg. That says a lot about how much the guy has done that doesn’t make the score sheet. That doesn’t often warrant a HOF induction, but can be enough to retire a number. 

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@SpikeDDS

 

I actually think that Zetterberg's case is stronger than Datsyuk's (and by extension Fedorov's), for the simple fact that Datsyuk was never team captain. Every player who had their number retired was captain at some point, with the exception of Sawchuk, who is obviously a special case. I don't think that is a coincidence, retiring a number is not solely about skill. It is about legacy. I am a huge fan of both Zetterberg and Datsyuk, but neither have the legacy with this team to be considered for retirement when compared to the others. I do believe that #13 and #40 will be numbers that are honored for at least awhile in the same way that 91 has been, but I don't personally see the case for retiring them. I wouldn't be disappointed or upset about seeing any of those numbers in the rafters, I would just be surprised.

 

Now, if the Red Wings do retire #91, then I don't see the reason for not considering 40 and 13 because it kind of changes the script.

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@Haliax

 

Pav's inability to speak English well really took him out of any serious consideration of captaincy. Captains have to, by role, be able to tell the team what they need to hear when they need to hear it from non-coach team leadership.

 

But I would argue that Pav's on-ice and off-ice demonstration for how to be a pro was very captain-like and was there his entire career. It was noted, by Larkin IIRC, that Pav was always the first player on the ice at practice and the last one off. And as skilled as he was, he was the one practicing his skills to try to get better. His walk did the talking for him, even as the role of team captain was not a role suited for him. On a Russian team, perhaps. But he still isn't the most outspoken player by his nature anyway, I would agree. Neither is Z. Neither was Yzerman for much, if not all, of his career. Nor was Lidstrom.

 

I think Pav's performance, the fact that he has 2 Cups, all the Selke's, his excellence in stealing pucks--no one was better than him in the league for a majority of his career--plus the revolutionary moves he made that no one had ever seen before that made him a YouTube star, even before that was a thing, speak to his worthiness. I think a lot more people are aware of his play than Z's. Certainly, I think that is why his chances for the HOF are greater than Z's.

 

Retiring the number is more a Red Wing thing, though.But I certainly think Pav has had almost as much influence on the direction and success of the franchise as Z has. They just did it in different ways. It would be fine to have the franchise recognize them both.

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@SpikeDDS

 

I absolutely agree. I think that Datsyuk was the better player and better Red Wing than Zetterberg, it would just be a different direction for the team to take by retiring his number. I hope it doesn't seem like I am belittling either of their accomplishments. After Yzerman and Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Datsyuk are easily my favourite Red Wing players that I have had the pleasure of watching. 

 

I also don't hold his going home in the middle of his contract against him. He was at a point in his career where he had accomplished everything that he needed to, and he owed the organization nothing more. He wanted to go home. I'm sure anyone who has spent extended time away from their home country can understand that longing.

 

At the same time, I understand Fedorov wanting to be a star on his own team. In Detroit he was always going to be behind Yzerman, and then Lidstrom, and maybe even Shanahan. In Anaheim, he had a chance to be the shining star. The fact that it didn't happen was a disappointment for everyone (other than Wings fans), but I'm sure especially for him. I think Wings fans hold this against him too much. He accomplished a lot as a Red Wing, for himself and the team. Saying the Wings would have won any of those Cups without him is doing him a disservice. He was highly instrumental both offensively and defensively in those wins. I believe he should have won the Conn Smythe over Vernon in 97. But, I do agree that his holdout in 98 is a blight on his legacy. I understand wanting to get paid, but he marched right into greedy territory with that move.

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@Haliax

 

And this will be my last comment, because I think we've covered things pretty well--I have more of a problem with Federov's exit than his holdout. He held out to get what he thought he was worth on the market. The Red Wings, reluctantly, gave it to him. That's business. I didn't like it at the time, but in retrospect, both sides got what they wanted on that deal.

 

His slap-in-the-face turning down of a $50M offer for 5 years and taking $40M for 5 years to play on another team--that's not about business at all.That's about ego. Federov put his ego before his love for the team--the team that stuck their necks out and took great risks allowing him to become the star player that he was. That is what is in stark contrast with any of the other names we have listed in this thread. And that's why I'm OK with any of the others being retired, but not so much Federov. I would swallow the bitter pill if the Wings decided to do it--they DO need reasons to celebrate these days, and I can see them trying to bring excitement/relevance to their franchise as they rebuild. But I won't like it as I swallow it.

 

Maybe later I'll be more OK with it. Time, as they say, heals all wounds. But scars remain, despite time.

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@SpikeDDS

 

My issue isn't with Fedorov holding out, it is for what the contract ended up being, and some of his statements made along the way. I believe he said at one point that he would never again play for the Red Wings. Then when he signed the offer sheet with Carolina, it included that $12 million bonus for making the conference finals. The entirety of the contract was fair value ($38 million over 6 years), but this was nothing but a "make them bleed" inclusion, since he would never have made the Conference Finals or even the playoffs with Carolina. I don't know. I have a harder time with that display of ego than with wanting to be the go-to person on a team, but it is all a matter of perspective.

 

Anyways, I enjoy these discussions. Too often on larger forums when you disagree on points, no matter how small, they turn to silly mud slinging. So, thanks for the fun conversation.

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28 minutes ago, Haliax said:

My issue isn't with Fedorov holding out, it is for what the contract ended up being, and some of his statements made along the way. I believe he said at one point that he would never again play for the Red Wings. Then when he signed the offer sheet with Carolina, it included that $12 million bonus for making the conference finals. The entirety of the contract was fair value ($38 million over 6 years), but this was nothing but a "make them bleed" inclusion, since he would never have made the Conference Finals or even the playoffs with Carolina. I don't know. I have a harder time with that display of ego than with wanting to be the go-to person on a team, but it is all a matter of perspective.

 

Over time I have come to realize that the competitive system the NHL had in place at the time is what allowed this. They just took advantage. He couldn't have done it as a less-skilled player. He was a good player, and we won another Cup that would have been difficult to win without him. (It was hard enough to win it with him!) Yes, Carolina took advantage, and so did Federov, but hey, that's competition and letting the market decide. And, yes that DID bother me...until he came through and won that second Cup. Making it to the conference finals was not enough--if we hadn't won the Cup in 1998 I would still be pissed. But we not only won it, but he also played well that season and in those playoffs. So it's kinda like the difference between cockiness and confidence--if you can actually do what you say you can/will do, then I'm OK with you saying it beforehand. It wasn't all his doing, but the Wings still could have let him walk away to Carolina. They (wisely) paid the man.

 

And you're right about the dialogue on here. With few exceptions, talking hockey--even in the face of significant disagreement--is pretty darn good. Millennials on FB and other social media could learn a thing or ten from HF contributors on agreeing to disagree agreeably or even <shudder> actually coming to a consensus! 

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I think Pavs gets into the HOF before Zetts. Let's face it, MANY players, from his team and others were not shy about saying he was the most skilled player in the league. At one point, it was taken for granted he had the most natural talent in the NHL. As was mentioned in this thread....it's always the great ones that are NEVER satisified with their skill level.....the true greats are on a non stop mission to learn, practice, and hone every skill they have. It's just engrained into them...ex. Crosby. Gretzky and Orr...the exact same thrist for improvement.

 

 Zetts is a bit of different animal. Better than average skill, but not great. BUT....that was not his real calling card, it was his passion for the game, the unbridled grit he brought night in and night out, even hurt. When it mattered the most, Zetts brought his A game in the playoffs. He took the grit to another level. He was downright mean and nasty to play against. 

 

 Pavs for the HOF for sure. Zetts is more of a borderline case who might be hurt by frequent injuries. I have the utmost respect for Zetts though, he plays the game the way it was meant to be played. 

 

 I have trouble retiring either of their numbers. They are not true greats like Howe, Abel, Lindsay, Stevie, Lids....it's a very tough call though, but reserve number retirement for TRUE SUPERSTARS. Weak and newer teams without the storied history can retire a Paul Karia (not great), but the Wings have such a storied history, it's a LOT to be compared to those other all time greats. 

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4 hours ago, jammer2 said:

I think Pavs gets into the HOF before Zetts. Let's face it, MANY players, from his team and others were not shy about saying he was the most skilled player in the league. At one point, it was taken for granted he had the most natural talent in the NHL. As was mentioned in this thread....it's always the great ones that are NEVER satisified with their skill level.....the true greats are on a non stop mission to learn, practice, and hone every skill they have. It's just engrained into them...ex. Crosby. Gretzky and Orr...the exact same thrist for improvement.

 

 Zetts is a bit of different animal. Better than average skill, but not great. BUT....that was not his real calling card, it was his passion for the game, the unbridled grit he brought night in and night out, even hurt. When it mattered the most, Zetts brought his A game in the playoffs. He took the grit to another level. He was downright mean and nasty to play against. 

 

 Pavs for the HOF for sure. Zetts is more of a borderline case who might be hurt by frequent injuries. I have the utmost respect for Zetts though, he plays the game the way it was meant to be played. 

 

 I have trouble retiring either of their numbers. They are not true greats like Howe, Abel, Lindsay, Stevie, Lids....it's a very tough call though, but reserve number retirement for TRUE SUPERSTARS. Weak and newer teams without the storied history can retire a Paul Karia (not great), but the Wings have such a storied history, it's a LOT to be compared to those other all time greats. 

Yeah I saw the Ducks are retiring Kariya and Niedermayers numbers this year, I can see Kariya more than Nieds, Kariya spent most of his career in Anaheim while Nieds was there for only 5 years so I found that one a bit curious.

 

  I think both 13 and 40 belong in the rafters and will eventually be there, the question is, do they go up together and it was hard to think of one without the other or do they go up individually? I could see a ceremony where they both get hung up together as the way to do it properly. Either way, nearly two decades of brilliance or nearly so means they belong in the rafters. I see both as HOFers who spent their entire career in Detroit, I cannot justify keeping two guys who are worthy of the Hall who spent their entire careers in Detroit out of the rafters.

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@yave1964

 

Though I agree with you that it would be pretty cool to have them raised together, I don’t see it happening for several reasons:

 

1. It is possible that one or both may not have their numbers retired.

 

2. They didn’t leave the league/Wings at the same time. (Not a huge deal.)

 

3. Each man deserves his own celebration of his own career and merits without having to share the spotlight.

 

4. The Red Wings need as many PR opportunities as they can muster as they rebuild to get as many people in the seats as possible right now. Putting these together would halve that opportunity.

 

Like Trammell and Whittaker “should” have been inducted into the HOF together but won’t be, I don’t see these two having their numbers retired together. It WOULD be cool. I just don’t see it happening.

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I will safely say no to retiring his number. Federov played too many games outside and he has no loyalty at all.

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On 7/17/2018 at 1:32 PM, SpikeDDS said:

Millennials on FB and other social media could learn a thing or ten from HF contributors on agreeing to disagree agreeably or even <shudder> actually coming to a consensus! 

 

 Just to give you an idea of what you are dealing with when it comes to millennials....I heard this on the radio the other day. Apparently 36% of mills take fake vacation photos, in order to "keep up with their friends". 

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      I think Pavs gets into the HOF before Zetts. Let's face it, MANY players, from his team and others were not shy about saying he was the most skilled player in the league. At one point, it was taken for granted he had the most natural talent in the NHL. As was mentioned in this thread....it's always the great ones that are NEVER satisified with their skill level.....the true greats are on a non stop mission to learn, practice, and hone every skill they have. It's just engrained into them...ex. Crosby. Gretzky and Orr...the exact same thrist for improvement.    Zetts is a bit of different animal. Better than average skill, but not great. BUT....that was not his real calling card, it was his passion for the game, the unbridled grit he brought night in and night out, even hurt. When it mattered the most, Zetts brought his A game in the playoffs. He took the grit to another level. He was downright mean and nasty to play against.     Pavs for the HOF for sure. Zetts is more of a borderline case who might be hurt by frequent injuries. I have the utmost respect for Zetts though, he plays the game the way it was meant to be played.     I have trouble retiring either of their numbers. They are not true greats like Howe, Abel, Lindsay, Stevie, Lids....it's a very tough call though, but reserve number retirement for TRUE SUPERSTARS. Weak and newer teams without the storied history can retire a Paul Karia (not great), but the Wings have such a storied history, it's a LOT to be compared to those other all time greats. 
    • 2
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      @Haliax   I would retire #13. #40, it might depend on whether he makes the Hall, which I don’t think he will do. Pav should make the Hall.   If Z doesn’t make the HOF, I can see Detroit honoring him with his number being retired, but the argument to do that for Z is weaker than for Pav. One of Z’s biggest strengths has been his steadfast loyalty to the team—the opposite of Federov. Certainly not as gifted as Sergei, and has less hardware to show for it—only 1 Cup.   But he also didn’t have teams like Sergei had. He was never on a line with the equivalent of Yzerman in his prime and Shanahan. Not even close. But he led very well and his strength has always been in his two-way play. You may remember Gretzky commenting that he thought the toughest opponent he played against was Henrik Zetterberg. That says a lot about how much the guy has done that doesn’t make the score sheet. That doesn’t often warrant a HOF induction, but can be enough to retire a number. 
    • 2
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      @SpikeDDS   I actually think that Zetterberg's case is stronger than Datsyuk's (and by extension Fedorov's), for the simple fact that Datsyuk was never team captain. Every player who had their number retired was captain at some point, with the exception of Sawchuk, who is obviously a special case. I don't think that is a coincidence, retiring a number is not solely about skill. It is about legacy. I am a huge fan of both Zetterberg and Datsyuk, but neither have the legacy with this team to be considered for retirement when compared to the others. I do believe that #13 and #40 will be numbers that are honored for at least awhile in the same way that 91 has been, but I don't personally see the case for retiring them. I wouldn't be disappointed or upset about seeing any of those numbers in the rafters, I would just be surprised.   Now, if the Red Wings do retire #91, then I don't see the reason for not considering 40 and 13 because it kind of changes the script.
    • 2
      Post
      @SpikeDDS   My issue isn't with Fedorov holding out, it is for what the contract ended up being, and some of his statements made along the way. I believe he said at one point that he would never again play for the Red Wings. Then when he signed the offer sheet with Carolina, it included that $12 million bonus for making the conference finals. The entirety of the contract was fair value ($38 million over 6 years), but this was nothing but a "make them bleed" inclusion, since he would never have made the Conference Finals or even the playoffs with Carolina. I don't know. I have a harder time with that display of ego than with wanting to be the go-to person on a team, but it is all a matter of perspective.   Anyways, I enjoy these discussions. Too often on larger forums when you disagree on points, no matter how small, they turn to silly mud slinging. So, thanks for the fun conversation.
    • 1
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      No. God no. Great player, hall of fame player but he always seemed to be in search of an exit strategy the entire time he was in Detroit. He loathed Bowman and fought buying into the system, @SpikeDDS this is a great subject! As you mentioned 91 is not in high demand anyway so it is unlikely to be given out anyway. It does happen tho, Probie watched Cheli take number 24, he spoke of his mixed feelings about it in his book even.   Datsyuk, yes, no doubt a no brainer. 13 should and will hang in the rafters. 40 will be there alongside 9 and 5 and 19 and 12, 1 10 and 7. Numbers 6 (Larry Aurie) and 16 (Vlad) are retired although they do not hang in the rafters.      Truthfully I would rather see 14 retired for Shanny, or the grind line get their collective numbers retired first. Hell, maybe even Osgood and number 30 (but the truth is I don't believe any of those will or should be retired which is kind of my point). To me it has less to do with Federov leaving as a free agent and more to do with him not getting the most out of his enormous ability instead spending most of his career as a mild disappointment who while he skated like Baryshnikov on ice on many nights, there were too many where he simply seemed content to mail it in. 1997 he was a key to winning the cup, 2002 and 1998 we would have won with or without him. I just don't think he measures up  as a Wings immortal.
    • 1
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      I will safely say no to retiring his number. Federov played too many games outside and he has no loyalty at all.

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