The Vancouver Canucks held a Summer Summit last night for season-ticket holders, and it was a rather noteworthy event: Candid comments about the team's plans, Dan Hamhuis goofing on Nashville Predators fans, and GM Mike Gillis saying there will be talks with Roberto Luongo(notes) about the captaincy.
But the big takeaway from the event was that Markus Naslund(notes) will have his No. 19 retired this season, while blog-inspiring former captain Orland Kurtenbach will be the first inductee into the Canucks' Ring of Honour.
The Naslund announcement is getting snark from some outside of Vancouver (see: Edmonton), but different players mean different things to each franchise. What we might see as a player's empty, stats-driven career could be seen as a vital part of history for a particular team; hence, Mike Gartner's No. 11 hangs in Washington.
The real issue here is the implementation of the Ring of Honour for the Canucks' 40th anniversary season, and the concept itself.
It's literally an honorable mention for players not worthy of immortality. It's merit roll to the Dean's List. It's indicative of our "everyone gets a gold star" society; and, well, also indicative of NHL teams' unending commitment to finding reasons to sell commemorative gear on "special" nights at the rink.
Worst of all, it's a cop-out. Last night, Gillis was asked about Pavel Bure getting his number retired, and ducked the question. Does he deserve the honor? We think so, but his contentious departure from the franchise (the holdout, playing in Russia) makes it a politically dicey decision. Best way to avoid that decision: Drop'em down a tier and put'em in the Ring of Honour on "Pavel Bure Night." First 10,000 fans get a Russian Rocket magnet.
As always, we're traditionalists. We like the idea of "in-the-rafters-or-bust," without the consolation prize of the ring of honor. But maybe there's merit to it; hell, a few of the Montreal Canadiens' retired numbers would likely still be in circulation, right? So with that, we put it to you, dear readers:
1. Pass or Fail: The "Ring of Honor" for players who fall short of number retirement.
2. Bonus Question: Who would be the first player inducted if your team created a "Ring of Honor"?