The last season in the Joe is going to be a special occasion that brings out plenty of former players. The great part about the Red Wings’ history is the ample amount of players that changed the game. When the Oilers did their closing ceremony for Rexall Place, it was a bit lame. They brought out every single player that had any sort of impact and it ruined any bit of atmosphere around the night. Here I want to name five players that should absolutely be honored on the last night of Joe Louis Arena.
This is one of the easy inclusions on the list. Save for Gordie Howe, Yzerman would be the all time team leader in most categories. Most notably he is the all time team leader in assists. Although he is now the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Yzerman’s roots with the team run deep and make him an easy choice for a Joe Louis Area event.
How can you have a list of all-time great Red Wings and not have Ted Lindsay on the list? Linday is in the top ten in every single offensive category years after he stopped playing. His play has even gotten his namesake attached to an award that is given to the league’s most outstanding player. If that doesn’t scream legendary, I don’t know what does.
The best Red Wings’ defenseman had to find a way onto this list, right? Lidstrom is the all-time team leader in plus/minus and is third in assists. What is even more outstanding is the fact that he is fourth in Red Wings’ history in points as a defensemen. Not the definitive offensive-defensemen, Lidstrom is damn close to being one of the best. He exemplifies everything the Red Wings are as a franchise.
This will likely be the most controversial selection on the list. Osgood for whatever reason is one of the most polarizing players to come into the league. Osgood never put up gaudy numbers and was always hovering below league average in save percentage. On the other hand, Osgood has three Stanley Cups to his credit and was a key part in all of them. His playoff save percentages were amazing his last couple of years in the league and put his name into the hall of fame conversation.
He is behind Terry Sawchuk in nearly every Red Wing goalie category and doesn’t have any Vezina’s to his name like Sawchuk. Which will make this selection even more befuddling, yet the selection of Osgood feels right to me given what he meant to Joe Louis Arena.
One of the greatest of all-time. Howe is an easy selection to be honored. The Red Wings have honored Howe plenty of times, yet it somehow still doesn’t feel like it is enough. He leads in almost every offensive category and was a fantastic ambassador for the Red Wings.
Howe’s unfortunate passing means he won’t be in attendance at the event, it would be a perfect time for a moment of silence followed by an announcement that they named it the Gordie Howe Rink at Little Caesars Arena. It would be a fitting tribute to the man they call “Mr. Hockey”.