Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
Canada, ON • Canada • 50 Years Old • Male
As reported by TSN: "The Toronto Maple Leafs will honour former captains Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour by raising their numbers to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre this season."

Both were great players without a doubt and both were classy guys as well. However, neither brought a championship to the Leafs, the ultimate model of greatness in any league. If these players are recognized as benchmarks for greatness in the Leaf's organization, then it is obvious a Cup is not their measure for success, which explains a lot. It's no secret that the Maple Leafs have crossed the 40 year mark without a championship and decisions like this accept the reality of an organization that annually ends the season with disappointment.

Gilmour and Clark were wonderful hockey players and class acts all the way but their achievements with the Maple Leafs really don't spell greatness. Gilmour won a Cup with Calgary not Toronto and that will be his legacy. After all is said and done that Cup, without a doubt, will be his most cherished memory in hockey, not what he did with the Maple Leafs.

In my opinion, the honoring of these two players is simply a marketing ploy by MLSE to keep Leaf fans talking Leafs. The debates will rage on about who was the better captain. The memories will flow about runs to the Semi-finals. That last sentence is what seems wrong to me. Teams with winning histories don’t honour mediocrity. Can you imagine the Montreal Canadiens retiring the number of a player who never won a Cup? It just won’t happen. There are great players who played with the Habs who have multiple rings and haven’t been honoured in this way. Greatness is truly great in the history of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s true it has been 15 years since there was a parade down St. Catherines but it is safe to say you won’t see a retired number from this era.

Winning cultures start from the top. MLSE is telling their fans this is the best we have to offer and this is about the best we expect going forward. It’s decisions like these that will forever keep the Toronto Maple Leafs an average hockey team. There will be better and worse seasons. However, a parade down Yonge Street with a big silver trophy will remain a pipe dream of Leaf fans for years to come.
Filed Under:   Maple   Leafs   Toronto   Canadiens   Habs   Clark   Gilmour  
July 22, 2008 10:34 AM ET | Delete
Los Angeles retired Robitaille's and Gretzky's numbers. St. Louis retired Hull's. Rangers retired Rod Gilbert's. Sabres retired LaFontaine's. Washington retired Rod Langway's. Boston retired Neely's. Vancouver retired Stan Smyl's.None of those guys brought a Cup to their team either.
July 22, 2008 10:47 AM ET | Delete
It goes to show how some teams need to simulate greatness in the absence of any...
July 22, 2008 10:49 AM ET | Delete
Wow, what a rediculous blog
July 22, 2008 10:50 AM ET | Delete
This is ridiculous... Dan Marino... Karl Malone... The names mentioned by BluesFan, let's not forget Ray Bourque. Unworthy of honor for their loyalty and superstar play for which they devoted to one team? Wow... a marketing ploy? You should probably give your head a shake. Is Montreal the only team allowed to honor players? Or just teams who have won the cup? Not everyone has a storied franchise with 24 cups. Although I don't like teams that promote mediocrity, this is not one of those instances.
July 22, 2008 10:57 AM ET | Delete
The worst part of this is now that their are 30 teams in the league, you will see all kinds of superstar talent retiring without a Cup on their resume. This should have been titled."Why I think my team is better then the Leafs"
July 22, 2008 11:15 AM ET | Delete
FuzE_Gus, quit being a homer. As a Leafs fan, let me apologize on behalf of MLSE for not checking with you first before making the decision to honor two players who gave everything they had to their team. Our apologies for honoring a player who still holds the single season total points and playoff points records in a Leafs uniform (Dougy.) Or, choosing to honor an iconic player in Wendel Clark, who was the start of the end of the long cold winter our Pal Hal put us through. A man who wore the C with pride, played alongside Gilmour and Andreychuk on a line that gave us faint flickers of hope for a while. This is a pathetic waste of space and the only reason i'm so pissed is because I wasted the time to read it...
July 22, 2008 11:15 AM ET | Delete
Message Posted
July 22, 2008 11:16 AM ET | Delete
Far from...How about Edmonton, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New Jersey...teams with winning histories in recent memory. My intention was not a Habs/Leafs comparison but in light of many other decisions made by the Leafs organization I'm simply questioning the integrity of this move. And mslepp, your points are well taken but can you compare the achievements of Marino, Malone and Bourque to what Gilmour or Clark achieved with the Leafs? Wendel was a fan favourite and a hard worker but hardly a superstar. Gilmour's performance with the Leafs was incredible in the short time he was with the leafs but his pinnacle was with Calgary...am I that far off with my original statements?
July 22, 2008 11:22 AM ET | Delete
What about Koivu? Do you believe that, if the Canadiens don't win the Cup that Koivu is unworthy of the honour of having his number retired or honoured? What about Mats Sundin?Gilmour and Clark, for Leafs fans, did a lot. They symbolized hope for a team that seemingly had none and gave us something to cheer for. It doesn't matter that Clark's career was cut short and Gilmour didn't spend the majority of his career here. They are both remembered for their contributions to the team and the city as the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seriously, some of my earliest hockey memories and one of my favourites is Gilmour's goal in the 1993 playoffs against St. Louis.
July 22, 2008 11:25 AM ET | Delete
I think it's great they are remembering them as good players but I don't think they deserve to have their number retired. Honor the player is a great idea, its simply a thank you.
July 22, 2008 11:27 AM ET | Delete
Your original point was that they "didn't win a Cup" now you've changed it too "hardly a superstar". Yes you are that far off with your original statements.
July 22, 2008 11:28 AM ET | Delete
I think Sundin is the best candidate for a retired number...he is the most prolific scorer in Leafs history and brought far more to the organization than Clarke and Gilmour...and no...if Koivu's career ended tomorrow I don't think he should have his number retired...The whole purpose of my blog was to question the reason for retiring a player's number, not to belittle a team for belittling sake...All you Leaf fans dream of winning a Cup...why not set the bench higher and demand greatness from your team? That's all I meant by this blog...
July 22, 2008 11:36 AM ET | Delete
Most of my favorite Leafs memories are of Dougy and Clark (and their run to the finals against LA back in 92.) That's why they are being recognized, for the memories they gave us as fans while wearing the blue and white. The Leafs don't retire numbers, except for those who have passed away while in a Leafs uniform. I know lot's of people don't understand or agree with this mode of thinking (Dave Keon to name just one) but that's how things have ALWAYS been done. So, what do you care why they honor (not retire) a number? Like the Habs don't do things for the money, but out of the goodness of their own hearts? Puh-leeze, you really are exposing your naivete and ignorance of the grown up world here. It's a business, and they're honoring two employees. They have every right to do it for WHATEVER reason they want. Get over it and start worrying about how your team is going to get their hands on Sundin.
July 22, 2008 11:38 AM ET | Delete
And, desiredtoe. Don't forget Clarks wrist shot off Cujo's mask (while he was in STL) that same year. That was an incredible run. My point exactly, it's the memories of what they did as Leafs that are being honored.
July 22, 2008 12:15 PM ET | Delete
No, I wouldn't put those guys in the same category with Gilmour and Clark, however, you said they shouldn't be honoured because they never won a cup... I simply mentioned others who never won a championship with their main team. Players like Gilmour and Clark come around once a decade, probably less. They deserve to be honoured. Name a player other than Mats Sundin that has played for the Leafs in the last 10 years that deserves to be honoured. There are none. Whoever mentioned Koivu is exactly right, he will be honoured by the Habs when his career is over, for sure. But he may not win a cup, and he sure as hell wasn't as good as either Gilmour or Clark, but he deserves the recognition for his contributions to the franchise on and off the ice. I really do feel this was a feeble attempt to bash the Leafs, which I love to do myself, but try to find an argument you can back.
July 22, 2008 12:39 PM ET | Delete
Well they didn't win a Cup...recognized, honoured, retired whatever...but immortalized to greatness..if Leaf fans think so then congrats...I guess I underestimated your desire to celebrate real greatness...I love to bash the leafs in good spirited fun as well...however in this case I simply asked a question...I'm not trying to upset Leaf fans...Is this what you expect from the organization? is this the benchmark? If so, I stand corrected...
July 22, 2008 2:15 PM ET | Delete
Wow... sorry, but you are completely out to lunch with that blog...No wonder why other teams fans say habs fans are cocky.
July 22, 2008 3:10 PM ET | Delete
To me, the only criterion for retiring a number is "What did this person mean to our organization?". It's not about point, wins, championships, or anything else. Hell, the Blues retired a Shamrock for Dan Kelly, who never played a game for any team. It's a decision to be made by that team, and no others really have a place to question it.
July 22, 2008 4:46 PM ET | Delete
First time posting in here, but feel a comment is warranted. Let's not forget that the Leafs are not retiring #'s 17 and 93, but are simply honoring them, and there is a difference (FYI....the Leafs practice is to only retire numbers of players who either died, or had their careers cut short in tragic circumstances). Yes, I am a Leafs fan, and I will grant you that if Montreal followed this practice, their rafters would be overflowing with banners (and I have to say, nobody does these ceremonies to honor their players with the class that Montreal does), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Leafs wanting to put a permanent reminder in the rafters, of two of the best performers to wear a Leafs jersey over the past twenty years.
July 22, 2008 5:53 PM ET | Delete
Doug Gilmour1992-93: NHL - Most points in one season (127), Toronto club record 1992-93: NHL - Most assists in one season (95), Toronto club record 1992-93: NHL - Most assists in one game (6), Toronto club record For the record honouring is not retiring the number... and for the record, your team, the montreal canadiens, had their hands full with the bruins and flyers last year in the playoffs. Both teams missing argueably their best players... patrice bergeron and simone gagne. The real pipe dream is montreal winning a cup in the next few years.one more coment for fun.... Valtteri Filppula 1 cup, koivu 0... by your standards he deserves his number "retired" more than saku
July 22, 2008 6:08 PM ET | Delete
Ronny, let me begin by saying that your last post was one of the most idiotic, childish and useless posts I've ever read. Why not throw a few useless insults instead of making a valid point...well done!With that out of the way, let me mention first that this is not a number retirement. MLSE only "honours" numbers, a tradition I'm not too fond of. In specific reference to Dougie and Wendel, congrats to them both for being the faces of the Maple Leaf organization during the 90's. Both were great players and gave hope to their fans. They gave the same hope that Koivu gave Habs fans during the late 90's, when he was surrounded by AHLs. The difference between them and Koivu however, is that Dougie and Wendel were larger than life and were media darlings. Wendel's mustache alone has more presence than Saku does in his whole body! Not to knock Saku (who I love), but he's a different personality. He leads by being subtle and delivering in clutch situations. And coming back from cancer...that was a big one.Fuze, I understand what you were trying to get at with this blog, but you left yourself exposed when you accused MLSE of creating a marketing ploy by honour two great players. It's a hard thing to do to lead a team to a championship, but it takes more dedication to stick with a mediocre team and give your all every night. That's what Gilmour and Clark did and they deserve to be honoured for that.
July 22, 2008 6:53 PM ET | Delete
usesless insults? or direct refernceing to the blog.... "However, a parade down Yonge Street with a big silver trophy will remain a pipe dream of Leaf fans for years to come. "..... I pointed out that montreal winning a cup is just as much of a pipe dream at this point. And I began my post by backing up the dougie honouring by showing his club records. Then the valteri to koivu comparison was in reference to this ... " However, neither brought a championship to the Leafs, the ultimate model of greatness in any league." I admit it was a bit offside, but it was a basic comparison... saku means alot to the canadiens, just putting in perspective why douggie deserves to be honoured without a cup, and that winning a cup doesnt automatically make you "great".
July 23, 2008 7:05 AM ET | Delete
I've gone on record to say I don't think Koivu should have his jersey retired if his career ended today...and cup25...that marketing ploy line was a bit of a stretch, I agree...I was just trying to make a point...I truly believe Leaf fans are used to losing and cling to alternate successes...I'm not basing here...I guess it is truly perspective...The Habs have not been a great team since they last won the Cup...that's for damn sure but I have watched my team win a Cup several times in my Life...which most Leaf fans can't say...So maybe through that my expectations are higher...I think Kirk Muller would be a good Gilmour comparison...great player...fellow Kingstoner....and he did win a cup with Montreal but he won't have his jersey retired by Montreal...just different standards I guess...Leaf Fans: You really need to set the bar higher and expect more from your favourite franchise...that's why you get bashed so much...it's too easy to do it because a lot of you seem content regardless of winning or losing...
July 23, 2008 9:30 AM ET | Delete
This blog was pathetic on every level, simple dribble"Leaf Fans: You really need to set the bar higher and expect more from your favourite franchise...that's why you get bashed so much...it's too easy to do it because a lot of you seem content regardless of winning or losing"I hate it when other fans act like we are happy losing and that it is ACTUALLY in our control or something. What do you want us to do, march outside the ACC like a bunch of hippies coming from Woodstock? We are faithful to our club, through thick and thin, that is why we are so hated. There is no arena in the NHL that wouldn't be flooded with Leaf sweaters when they arrive, that is why other fans hate us, because we have the largest fan base in hockey and regardless, we love our team and always hold that faith that eventually things will turn around for us....I thought that was what being a fan meant, not just hopping bandwagons to whomever is winning......if the Habs hit a spiral would you just hang up your jersey and refuse to believe in the team you claim to love and support? Or would you be a fan? Don't sh*t on us because we love our team, we are fans, some of the greatest fans out thereThe Hawks haven't won a cup since 61' 47 Years ago, should they not honour Denis Savard (who won a cup with Montreal in 93) or Tony Esposito (who also won his only cup in Montreal)?
July 23, 2008 10:38 AM ET | Delete
jakrabbit, you bring up a very interesting dynamic. Leaf fans are bashed for their devotion, yet Cubs fans are admired for theirs..... wonder why that is.....
July 23, 2008 11:08 AM ET | Delete
Jakrabbit: You could go flip cars?
July 23, 2008 11:11 AM ET | Delete
Why else would we be bashed though? Honestly, aside from the stereotype that ALL Leaf fans are ignorant people who lack hockey sense and aren't really hockey fans but simply fans of Toronto (which is utter BS) I can't think of a reason, and if that is the reason, than all fans of all teams in ALL sports should be bashed accordingly because every single team in any sport has fans of that nature. We have more, because we have an extremely large fan base. Can you think of another reason why we are so hated aside from the stereotype or the fact that we are everywhere and have an undying faith that our team will someday be good again?Maybe we're are bashed for our devotion because we are so committed to a losing franchise? But again, that's not something we can control, and frankly, to pack up and leave your club for that reason, doesn't make you a fan
July 23, 2008 11:14 AM ET | Delete
"Jakrabbit: You could go flip cars? "hahahaha yeah or start setting fires in the street
July 23, 2008 11:21 AM ET | Delete
Well said, jakrabbit!
July 23, 2008 2:27 PM ET | Delete
jakrabbit nailed it. i'm a lifer. even since moving to california over 10 years ago, i still hang on to the hope that one day, it will happen. when it does, i'll be on the first plane back to TO to celebrate with the faithful. Sure, I could have jumped on the Ducks bandwagon, or converted to the Sharks, but I can't. As far as Muller not getting his jersey retired, well that would be an embarrasment. I have always respected Muller as a player who wore his heart on his sleeve. Classic Leafs player, just in the wrong jersey. His number would have been honored at ACC...
July 23, 2008 6:36 PM ET | Delete
BTW...I was born in Montreal but have lived in Toronto for 30 years...and as you can imagine, a lot of my friends are Leaf fans...I can only speak for myself but I don't "hate" Leaf fans...the reason for the bashing is simple: Toronto is the biggest market...the richest market...the most valuable franchise...All those resources and they can't or don't want to put it together...if you think about it, it's kind of laughable...the management historically, not the fans...The one thing Leaf fans could do is stay away from games...it happened in Detroit...but that would never happen in T.O....so we bash...for the fun of it....because the returns are always emotional and not factual...because there are no championships to back up your arguments...that's all... :)
July 24, 2008 12:23 AM ET | Delete
So basically your saying you like to piss off Leaf fans for no particular reason but for kicks? You mock of dedication and commitment to our team for no legitimate reason? How can you call yourself a hockey fan if you laugh at other fans for their dedication?
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.