Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman...

That has a pretty nice ring to it, eh?

The Captain finally took his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame last night. He's been enshrined where all hockey fans will whisper his name in awe like we already do here in Hockeytown. Where parents will hold their kids up to his plaque and reverently tell stories about the feats they saw him accomplish. His status as a legend is fully cemented now, not that we didn't know that already. Stevie really has reached the "finish line" of his playing career, but you and I both know better than to think that his legacy won't continue to influence this team, this town, and our hearts and minds.

He delivered a wonderful speech that was everything we’ve come to expect from him over the years. It was humble and delivered with just a touch of nervousness from being in the uncomfortable spotlight. Instead of reflecting on his accomplishments, Stevie instead showered praise on those who surrounded him. It was a classic Captain moment, and yet another fond memory of Yzerman that I'll be telling my grandkids about someday. I’ve already had my say about how I feel about this even that’s been so long in the making, but there’s been quite the round of tributes popping up around the Wings’ blogosphere, and, I have to say, some of them really knocked it out of the park.

First up is the Chief’s entry over at Abel to Yzerman. Honestly, if you read nothing else this decade, read this post:
There are players who’ve been voted in who probably felt it was owed to them. There are “captains” who stayed too long, wore out their welcome in at least three different cities, loved the attention, begged for it, thrived on it, then missed it so much created ways to keep their name out there....like inventing a “leadership award” and finding a hygiene product to sponsor it. There are others who’s spectacular play earned their admission to the Hall, but their lack of character made you cringe to consider their place among the greats like Howe and Beliveau.

Steve Yzerman? He’s never felt like hockey owed him jack squat. And his character is spotless. He is the icon of our age. A hero in a time when defining one is nearly impossible.

So we’re gonna go ahead and break the glass tonite. We’re gonna smash it open and take him out. We present our Captain to you because he’s always been bigger than just one town. We’ve all known how lucky we’ve been and we’ve been stingy. Frankly, if it was just about us, we’d keep him to ourselves. But, it’s not and we know that. We owe it to Steve Yzerman, against his wishes probably, to let him wear the C for an entire sport, not just the red and white.

Four years later the legend was cemented with every shuddering rise from the ice. If you’re a Wing fan you look back at that playoff run and you hear stories of the kind of pain he was in and it brings tears to your eyes because you feel like he did it for you, individually. That’s the effect Yzerman had on Wing fans. You just felt like when he won, he willed it for you. And when the time came for credit and adulation, poof....gone.

But he’s ours no longer. Tonite he becomes hockey’s. And it’s a gift hockey had better be grateful for. Hockey had better stand on its feet tonite and understand that there can be only one. There has never been, and never will be, another Captain like Yzerman. No one has withstood the kind of pain he did, or led as well. Nobody. As Captain Norris said in a comment earlier today, the Hall had better be ready to be humbled.

He’s been ours for nearly three decades, hockey. Tonite we present him to you and the Hall becomes his keeper.
I know. I wish I could write like that too.

This is from On the Wings:
That’s all I can say. There’re more reasons why I love him, but I cannot put them into words. He has a quality. If you are a Wings fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you cannot put it into words either.

He’s Steve Yzerman, and he’s my captain. He’s The Captain.
Exactly. I’m pretty sure that no words we could come up with would do Stevie justice. It’s just not possible.

Detroit4Lyfe brings us this little quote:
If you're a Red Wings fan, you know how hard it was watching Red Wings games following Yzerman's retirement not seeing #19 glide down the ice. But I came to realize over the past four years that Yzerman's not gone. There is an aura about him that will last eternally. He has forever stamped his legacy on the Detroit Red Wings, permanently in a way that will never fade, that we'll never forget.
It won’t fade because this organization simply won’t let it. And neither will we fans.

Kukla’s article on NHL.com said this:
Yes Steve, you have crossed one finish line, but I am sure there are many of those lines ahead of you. People say the first race they win is the one that is most remembered, and as a fan of the Detroit Red Wings, I must admit, that holds true.

You thrilled us, Steve -- we named children after you, we have hockey shrines built because of you and now we anticipate your next race and assume you will finish first again.

You made our dreams come true, you brought happiness into our lives and provided us with memories we can pass on to younger generations.

It is our time to thank you, Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman, for all that you have done for us.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve considered the name Steve for my future firstborn child. Boy or girl. It doesn’t matter.

And two final quotes, this time from A2Y’s Live Blog of the induction ceremony (Of course we live-blogged it. Why wouldn’t we?). So now Steve Yzerman, our Captain, sits amongst the greatest of the greats, forever to be cherished by all:
The Pantheon. That tiny sliver of Hall of Famers whom even the other Hall of Famers stand in awe of. Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Nicklas Lidstrom, Terry Sawchuk. Absolute legends. Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Rocket Richard. Players for whom the Hall just doesn’t seem adequate. --monkey
Followed quite poetically with:
The ancient Greeks had no problems whatsoever with the concept - there are gods, demi-gods, and mere mortals.

Demi-gods don’t rise to the level of gods, but they are more than mere mortals and have some of the same qualities of gods, just not as many or in such a large quantity.

Gods and demi-gods alike are in the Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean they are all exactly equivalent. Just that they are alike in being so far above others that they deserve special recognition. --Baroque
There are more excellent posts at Bingo Bango, Nightmare on Helm Street, The Production Line, The Triple Deke, and Winging it in Motown. The Freep also had a couple of good articles, as did the News.

And now for your viewing pleasure:

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