It was announced yesterday that Pavel Datsyuk will wear #24 throughout the preseason in honor of Ruslan Salei. That was big news from a team that has made no formal announcement of any effort to honor Salei, Brad McCrimmon, and Stefan Liv – the three former members of the Detroit organization who were killed in Yaroslavl Lokomotiv’s plane crash on September 7.
Not as noticed was Mike Babcock‘s comment at McCrimmon’s funeral, implying that the Red Wings will do something in memory of their former teammates.
“Brad’s going to be with us all year,” he said. “No question.”
The Dallas Stars will wear a #37 sticker for Karlis Skrastins and the Carolina Hurricanes will wear a #63 patch for Josef Vasicek. The New Jersey Devils have said they will do something (yet to be defined) to honor Alexander Vasyunov and Karel Rachunek. The Colorado Avalanche have said they will honor Salei, Skrastins and Wade Belak (who also died this summer) on opening night. The Winnipeg Jets will wear an “RR” sticker for Rick Rypien, another offseason death.
The last time the Red Wings honored a fallen teammate was the “Believe” patch the team wore for the 1997-98 season, honoring Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakonov, who were critically injured in a limo accident while celebrating the team’s 1997 Stanley Cup Championship.
Both Konstantinov and Mnatsakonov were active members of the team at the time of their accident, however. McCrimmon, Salei and Liv had left the Detroit organization, so the same action may not be taken in their memories.
My personal preference would be either a one-game patch, worn during the home opener as part of an in-arena memorial (an idea doesn’t seem likely as Babcock said “all year”), or a helmet sticker worn for the season. I took some time to play around with a design and came up with the following:
It was intended to be a patch but I think it would work better as a sticker. In all honesty, I’m not thrilled with the design.
With that in mind, I’m interested in seeing what the Red Wings come up with and what the fans think would be appropriate. Have some thoughts on it? Post them here and we’ll see if any of us end up coming close to what actually happens.