By: Jeff Riger
Before I get started here, I wanted to say that this is not that big of a deal! But, you have to blog about something, so here goes…
If you have watched either of the Wings games this season you would notice that there is a new #25 skating around on the ice. Of course the 25 that we all knew and respect no longer plays, he was Darren McCarty. The new 25 is Cory Emmerton, who tweeted McCarty for permission to wear the number. D-Mac agreed and just like that it’s a non issue, no big deal!
Or is it?
I have no problem with Emmerton wearing McCarty’s number! D-Mac was a great Wing but it’s not like he is a Hall of Famer plus he didn’t even play his entire career here but he did win 4 cups. McCarty will obviously always be loved for what he did to Claude Lemiux back in 1997. You remember it, the whole “turtle” thing. But, again, he’s not going to get his number retired, so eventually somebody will wear it, might as well be Emmerton. It is nice that he asked permission as well.
But what about the others?
D-Mac is not the only Wing that won 4 cups that will not be headed to the hall. Nope! Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and the newly retired Tomas Holmstrom also won 4 titles but they are a little different then McCarty. They spent their entire careers wearing a winged wheel. Maltby, Draper and Homer each played in over 1000 games with the Wings and two of the three are still working in the organization with Holmstrom to more than likely soon be added.
Maltby, Draper and Holmstrom will not have their jersey or number raised to the rafters at the Joe or any other arena; so should other players wear them?
I say NO, not at first at least.
Someday I will be forced to get used to the idea that 18, 33 and 96 will be other players but that time is not right now. With as much success as those three guys have had, there is no reason for any other player to adopt those numbers anytime soon.
Eventually a new arena will be built and the proper respect will be able to be made to players like “Malts, Drapes and Homer.” Maybe there should be a ring of honor or a bust or statue of some kind. But until that happens, nobody should wear their numbers. I like the idea of a player asking for permission and I know that the three guys in question are too classy to say no, but they should.
To play with greats like Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom and so many others, these three never really got the send off or attention that they so richly deserve. Maltby retired 2 seasons ago before a regular season game as did Draper last season. The same will happen with Holmstrom this afternoon! Very few TV cameras, maybe less stories and the fact that the Wings have their opener after the presser… We know what will get the most attention. It’s not Homer!
I know this sounds petty, stupid and whiny but like I said at the beginning, it’s not that big of a deal. However it’s big enough to spend a couple paragraphs on, in hopes that people might take a read and at least remember for a second just how special these players were.
Take these numbers out of rotation for at least a couple of seasons, these guys deserve at least that much.