I'm just hearing the Hall of Fame induction speeches piece-meal as the week goes on, so apologies for the old news. In glimpses of 2009 Hall of Fame induction coverage, I didn't see mention of this, though I'm sure it's been brought up. Just 40 seconds into Steve Yzerman's acceptance speech (video after the jump), this bit caused my allergies to spontaneously act up:
"As a boy, my idols were hockey players. I worshiped them, my room was covered in posters of hockey players of all generations. For me to go into the Hall of Fame with these players is a tremendous honor.
One player in particular I must bring up: As I've noticed in the last 20 or so years, the league has been scattered with #19 centermen out there. And the reason I chose #19, and the reason I think a lot of players chose #19 and played the way they did, is because of #19 of the New York Islanders, Bryan Trottier. I wore that number in his honor. He was a player I looked up to and admired.
So today, if I can stand up and thank Bryan -- I'm not sure if he's here tonight -- but I hope I did his number [justice] and honored him well."
Sweet. You hear Red Wings fans talk about Yzerman "defining" that number. And Colorado fans have their own rebuttal to that claim. I'd always wondered which #19s were Trottier worshipers. Interesting to hear it straight from the mouth of one of them, as the first point in his own Hall of Fame induction speech.
And remember during the 1991-92 season, when Yzerman was the subject of trade rumors during a season that saw prolific centers Pat LaFontaine, Pierre Turgeon, Adam Oates and Craig Janney all trade places? It boggles the mind to imagine if things had worked out a little differently...