Agree to disagree I'll put it another way: Konstantinov played some very good seasons with the Wings and was an important piece of the 1997 Cup run, but having had his career ended in a tragic accident does not entitle him to the honor in question. It is entirely possible, and perhaps probable, that he'd not have had his jersey retired even had the injury not happened and had he gone on to finish his career with the Red Wings. As is evident, this honor is given only to a very few even amongst those players who do play an entire, successful career with the organization. On a related note, I think that the manner in which Konstantinov's career ended has led to his accomplishments and value as a player being overstated by many Red Wings fans. For example, calling his contribution to the 1997 Cup win "vast" is an exaggeration; while he played an important top-four role on the defense, his numbers on offense were mediocre, and Lidstrom and Murphy did the lion's share of the important offensive and defensive legwork. He was a very good defenseman, but not a hockey god in his time; and unfortunately, we were deprived by a drunk limo driver of the opportunity to see the rest of his career.
Go back and watch those playoff games if you can find them. He was with Lidstrom the entire time until the Finals, then Bowman changed things up to screw with Philly. In 97 he was the best D-man in the NHL and the only reason he didn't win multiple Norris Trophies is because of the anti-European bias in the media, especially towards Russians. Chelios and other North American guys were hard nosed, Vlad was dirty for playing the same way.That being said, career length counts. As much as I loved what he did, 16 shouldn't be in the rafters. I'd like to see the team honor him somehow though.
Im new here but my opinion is, and honestly I only read about half this post before writing this so if i missed a post, i'm sorry. But people keep saying its reserved for legends, and if thats the case really only yzerman howe and lids should be up there, delvecchio, abel, lindsay, sawchuck all should be taken down. were they great hockey players? yes 100% but so were feds, shhanny, ozzy, hull, cheli, and number of other guys. and yes i know most of them didn't play theyre whole career in DET but they did play great there. and if you look at what what they did as the production line with howe, sure they were great but so were shanny and feds with yzerman... I just dont understand it...honestly i think if youre going to lock up detroit legends, leave those guys, retire shanny, feds, ozzy, holmer, the grind line, probie, and then Dats, and Z need to be in the running also.. to think that they have no shot in an era where scoring on a goalie is harder than beating the guy who dives around and acutally plays the position as well as the forwards is insane, nobody is going to put up Gretzky numbers anymore, its not going to happen. as far as legends for the the winged wheel, ozzy, holmer, shanny, feds, pav, hank, should all be up there. obv wait for pav and Z to retire but the point is the same
The production line, both with Abel then with Delvechio at center, carried those teams to their Cups. Sawchuk was the best goalie in his era. If you don't think they're legends you're a moron.