Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's official: Shanahan now a Ranger

The New York Rangers have issued a press release announcing the signing and are holding a conference call at 2:00 PM today as well. So ends another era in Detroit, less than a week after the Yzerman Era ended. Shanahan came to Detroit in at the start of the '96-'97 season and scored 46 goals for the Wings through 79 games. He is generally seen as the final piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle for the team and has become one of the most popular players in the city over time. Ansar Khan reminds us of the scene in the lockerroom after the Wings were eliminated by Calgary in 2004 where Shanahan was in tears because he was afraid that he would be taking off the Winged Wheel for the last time. And now he's gone, despite the Wings desperately trying to bring him back by offering more than they could afford in a two-year deal at $4 million in the first year. Since Shanahan went on the market last week, there had been many conflicting reports on where he was headed. Some thought he was just testing the market as a staunch union man or for kicks, to see what he would get, but that he always intended to sign with the Wings. Others said he was looking to leave the Wings because of Mike Babcock or because he wanted more money than the Wings were willing or able to offer him. It was easy to believe Babcock and Shanahan had clashed due to the coach's apparent distaste for the older players on the team but I remembered Shanny's resurgence this past season and thought perhaps that Babcock made an exception with him. Therefore, I allowed myself to believe reports such as a blog post by Ansar Khan, which came late last night, that assured Wings fans that Shanahan wasn't going anywhere (Khan has since taken the post down - a big no-no in the blogging community, Ansar). We even had it straight from The Captain. Well, the Wings have lost two of their greatest leaders in just a few days. I have no idea what Holland can, or will, do to fill in the holes. The leadership shoes will have to be filled by players such as Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk with the help of Nick Lidstrom, Kris Draper and the rest of the remaining veterans. The hole left in the offense by Shanahan's departure will be harder to fill (remember, he scored 41 goals last year). Anson Carter, Michael Peca and Scott Gomez are names already being thrown around. None of them will really replace Shanahan, even if they produce 20-30 goals a year. Ken Holland is not to blame for this. The Wings really couldn't afford to give Shanahan such a raise and the real shame here is that he wouldn't take a pay cut to help the team stay competitive. I will not be angry at Brendan for leaving. He's done too much for the team to deserve that. But I am very disappointed in him. We wanted change this off-season and we're getting it, folks. It hurts, doesn't it? The Wings' 2002 Playoff CD had a variation of Shanny's Irish Jig that incluced Ken Daniels and Ken Kal calling a number of Shanahan goals from that season. I don't know about you guys but I can picture a number of the goals and it's hard to believe that we'll never again hear the Jig played for a Shanahan goal at JLA. Click here to listen to it and remember (.wma, 1.2 MB). Goodbye, Brendan. Thanks for the memories. I hope you find what you're looking for in New York.


At 7/09/2006 03:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

At 7/09/2006 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

I was utterly shocked when I woke up this morning to find out Brendan Shanahan had signed with another team. It didn't matter which team. I just can't believe he left. I was among the crowd that was sure he'd come back. Shanahan's always been such a reasonable guy. If I had known this was a real threat, I would have spent less time worrying about Luongo and more time worrying about Shanny. And the sad thing is, he's sort left Holland in a terrible situation. Holland was waiting for Shanahan, and now there's really not anyone to sign. It really hurts that we offered him more than we could really afford to, and he left for less. I'm still in shock.

At 7/09/2006 04:40:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel said...

You know, every summer we nervously hear about the shakeup, the youth-movement, the rebuilding, and then each Fall we put the same core of aging vets on the ice. Come every Spring we watch a team go to the playoffs with little to prove except "do they still have it in them?" and a handful of younger stars once again lean on the elders to perform.

If there's a single bright side to losing the Captain and Shanny in one summer it's that we finally can stop collectively holding our breath. The one thing that stood out most this year was how hungry the Oilers looked compared to the Wings. Next year, out of the shadows of future hall of famers, we can at least look forward to watching a young team struggle to step up. Yes, I'm mourning the dynasty (even if the term is disputed), but under the veteran leadership of Lidstrom, Chelios and Draper I'm ready to cheer for a young, hungry team again. I'm ready for the Wings to lose a few more games and even perhaps not make the playoffs if it just means that if they do get to the post-season, they'll fight tooth and nail for the Cup.

Just please, dear God, don't let Holland sign Belfour.

At 7/09/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Megan, one of the worst things about this is the position in which it leaves Holland. It seems pretty obvious that Holland was waiting on Shanahan and that he was doing that only because Shanahan had him believing he'd be back. I think that's what makes it such a surprise because it seems like everyone in Detroit thought he was coming back.

Gabriel, you're right, the team is going to be a lot younger and hopefully that means they'll be a lot more hungry. Hunger isn't everything, though, and this leaves the Wings less skilled than they were probably expecting to be. I think we're in for a few rough years.

At 7/09/2006 08:47:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

On the news, Shanahan explained that he has recently seen many members of the Cup winning teams of '97,'98,'02 move on or retire. He had the instinct that the team was transitioning to youth and next season would be a re-building type season. And he felt it was his time to move on. I respect that decision completely. I wouldn't expect him to stick around on a team he didn't believe was on the path to a Cup and his sticking around hindered the rebuilding process.

The only thing I hold against Shanahan was his making Ken Holland and the fans believe he was coming back. By saying that he wanted to come back to Yzerman and the media, he kept the Wings from making a lot of moves they needed to make last weekend.

Now the focus is almost more-so on replacing Shanny's offense than goaltending. The Wings need to find a way to score close to the 305 goals they had last season (especially with a question-mark in net). Minus the 54 goals between Shanny and Yzerman, and factoring in that Samuelsson, Holmstrom, Williams, and Schneider had great seasons that can't realistically be expected again, the Wings should be very concerned about their offense. There will be a lot of pressure on Lang, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg to put up All-Star numbers. I hope Holland can bring in a few 2nd line forwards and a gritty defenseman, or it's going to be a long season.

I just heard on the news that the Wings are close to signing Belfour, and it could be announced tomorrow. So yes, the bad week continues for Wings fans. It's a very sad day when Belfour, 41, is the only player who WANTS to be a Red Wing on the market. Most other players on the market would require hefty contracts to land in Detroit. It's no longer the days when players want to become Red Wings and would take paycuts to do so...

At 7/09/2006 08:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's going to be that bad. We still have a lot of potential in the team. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Williams, and some core defensemen will bring the team into a new dynasty. They'll struggle, but I'm sure they'll make the playoffs and do alright. I'm not expecting a Stanley Cup this year, but I'm going to expect the same great hockey the Redwings are known to bring.

And I still respect Shanahan. He's done a lot for our team, even if we had to give up Coffey for him. Just like Yzerman, he'll be missed; and I thank him for his efforts and memories he's brought.


At 7/09/2006 09:08:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

What does everyone think about the Fedorov/Shanahan comparisons? There's a big debate going over at LGW's:

I say the difference is that Fedorov left at the height of the Wings' success and blasted Detroit in the process, saying leaving Detroit was like defecting from Soviet Russia. He couldn't handle being overshadowed by Yzerman, and everyone remembers him signing with Carolina and giving the Wings a hard time every free agency. Wings fans loved Fedorov, and we didn't receive that love back from Feds on many, many occassions.

Shanny, on the other hand, has deferred money for the Wings and taken pay-cuts to stay here in the past. He leaves at 37 years old and when the team is in a rebuilding process. His good friend in Yzerman has just retired, and being in NY will allow his proximity to league offices (he has been active in league business recently) and a chance to move into that new part of his career. He also has nothing but kind words to say about his time in Detroit.

The difference is class and heart. I will be rooting for Shanny as a NYR, and hope he has a successful season on a line with Jagr, possibly.

At 7/09/2006 09:35:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel said...

Great words, Brian, and I couldn't agree more. I can only hope that the rest of the Detroit faithful see it that way when the Rangers come to town. Shanny, unlike Feds, was one of the keys to the heart of this team through their three-cup run, and I'll be terribly disappointed if he gets any boos for his decision to move on.

At 7/09/2006 11:59:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

Gabriel, I agree totally. If Shanahan gets booed in JLA, I will be very disappointed in the fans. Shanny was a great forward for us for many years, and played a key role in winning all three Cups. I totally respect him as a player and a person-that will never change.

At 7/10/2006 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous WI Wing Nut said...

I don't think it's reasonably to say Federov was not an integral part of the Cup runs...come on, let's be realistic. Look at the highlight reals, he scored some very big playoff goals in the Cup years, despite his not showing up in the playoffs in other years.

However the reason he gets booed at JLA despite being #2 and #3 in most all time Red Wing stats categories next to only Howe and Stevie Y is because he's just a little bitch...that's what it comes down to. Especially the WAY he left...stringing the Wings along like he always did, thinking he could get more money. Then when he help out for the big money and realized his value was starting to drop, instead of swallowing his pride and re-signing, he took LESS money from Anaheim.

Shanahan's departure may have had SOME similar characteristics, but Shanny doesn't have a TRACK RECORD OF BEING A BITCH, so he gets a pass. He just made the decision he thought was best in the end. That's the way it goes in business.

Thanks for the memories Shanny. You'll always be a Red Wings to me!!!

At 7/10/2006 01:15:00 PM, Anonymous Ben said...

Yes, it looks like the Rangers are making a run at it. Sad to see him go. Thought he would retire in Detroit.
Which is why I was also a little bit shocked about this as well. Even more shocking was the blog i read that called Shanahan a F%#$head. Who the hell in their right minds would say something like that? The link for it is on my amateurish blog(just started).

At 7/10/2006 03:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am satisfied that the Wings made runs at the best guys on the market - namely Luongo and Elias - and signed Lidstrom. They only were able to sign one of three but they are taking the right approach as far as targeting the best players possible.

I also think Shanny having made his decision after the feeding frenzy helped to limit the chance of a panicked reaction to overpay to sign the other UFA on the market. It also looks like Holland is coming to his senses and may not sign Belfour. If we don't hear anything today I think the chances are good he doesn't sign. That would be a big relief.

Right now being as far under the cap as possible is probably a good thing for the Red Wings. They have lost some huge pieces from those dominant teams but they can play a lot of the younger guys and possibly start Osgood with Liv getting #2 'tender appearances. Then, based on how the team looks, make trades or acquisitions prior to the trade deadline.

Going forward, this is going to be the time when Babcock and Holland really put their imprint on the Red Wings.


At 7/10/2006 04:26:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel said...

wi wing nut, I didn't mean to suggest that Feds wasn't an integral part of the Cup run - I think he played a critical role each time. But, for the reasons you mentioned, he was never as important to the heart of this team as was Shanny.

dave, I hope you're right, but remember, Holland's also mentioned that Hasek is also in the mix. Not signing Belfour today doesn't guarantee we get to start the season without a 41-year old netminder.

So here's a question for you all: Given this weeks' news, what do you now think the chances are that we'll ever see Shanny's #14 hanging from JLA's rafters?

At 7/10/2006 04:51:00 PM, Anonymous WI Wing Nut said...

gabriel .... funny you should pose that question. I was just thinking about it this morning. The only Wing that goes to the rafters anytime in the near future is Stevie Y. And frankly, if it doesn't go up on opening night THIS OCTOBER I may have to drive to the Wings front office and go postal.

As far as Shanny know it seems that history tends to take a step back and eventually judge a player's overall importance to a team. It won't happen next year if, by chance, Shanny retires at the end of this season, but I think if there is ANY other Wing that has a chance of having his number retired at JLA, it's Shanny. Maybe in 3-5 years, you see his number go up. That's my prediction.

I would not even be shocked if Fed's 91 is sent to the rafters at some point, but that will take at least another 5-7 years.

Dark Horse - I wouldn't be shocked if a Darren McCarty banner is shot up there sometime in the future, though I don't think it's likely, but it is possible.

At 7/10/2006 05:22:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Retiring numbers is much more rare than that. Consider:

Lidstrom and Yzerman are both locks at this point. Beyond them, I don't see a current player who deserves it.

At 7/10/2006 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Brian. I think #5 and #19 get retired. I don't think #14 or #91 go up in the rafters. The Wings are a franchise that does this the right way: the franchise has an incredible history and retiring a number should only be done on very rare occasions.

At 7/10/2006 09:57:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel said...

I'm agree, although I would have thought differently had Shanny finished out his career in Detroit, especially if it ended on a high note.

And I realize how rare retired jerseys are in Detroit, but I have to say that if Chelios is still wearing the Winged Wheel at 50, I'm going to have to place a call or two on his behalf.

At 7/10/2006 09:58:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

After reading Mitch Albom's column today, I feel much less disappointed in Shanahan for this. He put it very well when he said, "As great as the future is in Detroit, I think I belonged a little more to its great past."

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm any happier that he left but I can understand his reasoning a lot better now.

I think the Wings could have still used him and that he would have been a major part of the team, but they are in transition and stepping aside so the young players can take over was probably the right thing to do.

Still, it's going to hurt to see him in another uniform next season.


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