Thursday, December 15, 2005


Wayne's World: Retire Yzerman's #19 for Team Canada?

What the frick? Has Wayne Gretzky gone drunk with power?

It was bad enough that Wayner the Whiner was guaranteeing Steve Yzerman and his reconstructed legs a spot on Team Canada for the Olympics, but now he wants to ensure nobody can use #19, for now and forever.


One week after announcing that he's withdrawing his name from Canadian Olympic team consideration, it appears that Steve Yzerman's No. 19 won't be going to the Turin Games either.

According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky is considering not allowing any players on the team to wear Yzerman's number.

''Wayne says in all likelihood that jersey's going to be retired,'' said [Darren] Pang. ''Wayne's really something, that way. He just thinks so highly of Mario (Lemieux) and guys like Steve.'
Yep, the “Old Boys Club” mentality is at work again. I don’t blame Steve for any of this, since he’s probably just as surprised as the rest of us.

Stevie Y has had an awesome NHL career, but has he done anything at the International level to justify having #19 retired for Team Canada in his honour? Mario has played in very few tournaments, and spurned Team Canada many times in the past, yet we should retire #66?

As a rule, national team numbers should never be retired unless there are some incredibly special circumstances. Why should a future hall-of-famer like Joe Sakic be denied #19? Why should Brad Richards, Shane Doan, or anyone else who uses #19 be denied their usual number?

The only Team Canada uniform number I would ever consider retiring would be Ryan Smyth’s #94. Has anyone done more for Team Canada than Ryan Smyth, aka “Captain Canada”? I can’t think of any.
Look at the number of World Championships Ryan Smyth has been in, plus the World Cup and the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Smyth has answered the call for Team Canada more than any other player I’ve grown up with, and he’s done so in the typical “Canadian” way (heart, soul, sportsmanship, and all that crap).

You said it pal! Stevie has been a great player and representative for the game, but this is the Olympics. We have a Hockey Hall of Fame (Not "NHL" i.e including international play) and arena rafters for honouring our great players of the game.

The Olympics is different. All these guys are to-be hall of fame players (On Team Canada at least) is an all-star of all-star teams. What burns me most about this is how Wayne is prempting the Detroit Red Wings from being able to honour him first - he only played his whole carreer there.

Generally I am not a big fan of retiring numbers period. This game and these numbers are going to last a lot longer than us - if we are not careful we are going to run out and have a Y2K like issue with player number assignments in the 2142-43 season.

(I don't know why, but I am sensing some general contempt for the Great One these days in the hockey universe)
wow what happened to the kiss wayno's feet mentality? i mean the man moves to the states, marries a missouri "actress", lives on the west coast, invests in an american business in arizona, but was still canada's greatest living hero up until today?

hey he and jackie robinson are the only players to have their number retired in their entire sport that i am aware of.

he helped start the stupid "ignore the rules you get into the hall automatically" crap that has a hall of famer playing in the nhl tody and setting up the future questions like "ok is brett hull the best right wing ever and deserves to bypass the wait, or not". thankfully they stopped that crap.

but come on! i KNOW 95% of you guys didn't think wayno could pull off anything in his post hockey player career, i've read you. don't lie. but he gave canada its medal color back in canada's own game (so called) AND he has people talking about his great NHL coaching (great apparently=get really good coaches and delegate, but whatever) so let wayno do what he wants. he ain't in charge of the ioc or canada, so let him say anything.

let him devote this season to the memory of stevie y's international footprint. let him make up a slogan about how coach blake would love to have lived to see his team, "win one for the big toe" the canadans can all yell. let him show his players the miracle on ice movie but run it backwards so canada is still alive at the end as motivation..

I DON'T care. lol

why do you? and if you do, why does that concern override past accomplishments of his?
Saw the head of Hockey Canada on TSN this morning saying the reason no one will wear number 19 is because nobody on the team wanted to wear it out of respect for Yzerman. Apparently it was a team decision, not Gretzky's.

Take it for what it's worth. I don't see what the fuss is about. If the players aren't concered about it, why should we be?
I am not a fan of retiring jersey numbers, regardless of the player.
I will say this, regarding Yzerman, If Gretzky doesn't create a position of 'Advisor', and invite Yzerman to fill it in Turin, he is missing out on a great opportunity. One guy picking up on one little detail can be the difference between Success and 2nd best.
Jez, I was with you until the comment abouts about Mario's contribution to international hockey for Canada. The guy was the leader (every player on the team acknowledged it) for the recent World Cup and previous Olympic Gold Medal teams. He was awesome with Gretzky in a Canada Cup that we won. Like 99, the number 66 should just be put up on the shelf and not worn anymore in the game at the professional or national team level. I agree about Yzerman's contribution being exagerated, but Mario has given his pound of flesh and got the results and I doubt anyone in the world would debate the impact Gretzky has had on the game all over the world. You'd have to be a total goose as a player to want to wear those numbers anyway.
I agree that if anyones number is retired on Team Canada, it should be Ryan Smyth. I really don't believe the other stuff. There must be more to the story.
If we're to be retiring #19 for service to Team Canada, there's someone else in line ahead of Stevie Y, I dare say...
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