Today, hockey legend Brendan Shanahan announced his retirement. NHL.com broke the news, which caught some steam on Twitter.
The New Jersey Devils used the second overall pick in 1987 to select Shanny, who also played for the Blues, Whalers, Wings, and Rangers during his 21-year career. His best offensive years were with the Blues, but it wasn’t until Hockeytown that he was able to find the holy grail. All three of his Stanley Cups came in a Red Wings uniform, while serving as an alternate captain.
Over the next few days, plenty will be said of his career in hockey, and his importance to the union (which I predict he’ll be running in a matter of hours), and all of it will be deserved. I won’t try to be the one to write something epic about our Shanny, but this does provide an opportunity to say something we all know, but should be said anyway:
Brendan Shanahan is the reason the Red Wings started winning Stanley Cups in 1997. Just two games into the 96-97 season, the Hartford Whalers sent Shanahan to Detroit for Keith Primeau, Paul Coffey, and a first round draft pick. At the time, it may have seemed like a heavy pay-out, but I can’t think of a trade that saw more value come to the Wings. He was that last piece of the puzzle to send the team over the top of the mountain, playing a big part in the Wings’ first Cup in 42 years that very same season.
The next year, the Wings repeated. It was practically automatic. Four years after that, Brendan Shanahan anchored the 2002 Cup team, which featured no less than ten personalities destined for the Hall of Fame, which is exactly where we’ll see Brendan in three years.
From The Production Line, a sincere thank you to Brendan Shanahan for his years in red and white.