NHL honours

So the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to honour former captains Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour. Clark will have his jersey (#17) retired before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 22. Gilmour will have his jersey (#93) retired before a Jan. 31 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I’m all in favour of jersey retirements, as long as it’s done well (although I’m sure I’ll be sick of these retirements as TSN, Sportsnet and the rest dedicate shows to these “legends”). So many teams try to outdo each other, that it can lead to painful 45-minute ceremonies.

But the point of this post is to mention the teams they’re playing against. Unless a player has played most of his games for one team, I think it would be better if the jersey was retired in a game where the player played for both teams.

For Clark, it’s a bit more difficult, because even though he played for five other teams, he never played more than 65 games for any of them, so we can let that one slide (to note, he was with the Blackhawks for 13 games).

But for Gilmour, he was so instrumental in other teams’ success. He had five good seasons with the St. Louis Blues in the 80s (scoring 100 points in one season, the only other team besides the Leafs he has done that for). He won a Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989. He became a leader for the Montreal Canadiens in his last couple of NHL seasons.

Any of those teams would have made for a better night. I understand that for the western conference teams, it may be more difficult to schedule, but the Blues do visit on Oct. 13, and the Flames visit on March 14. But what do the Pittsburgh Penguins have to do with Gilmour’s career? Absolutely nothing.

This is a chance for two teams and their fans to celebrate his career. Two teams could be honouring this player. Instead, we’ll get a game against a team that has absolutely no meaning for Gilmour.

And that is one of the biggest travesties of this whole thing.


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