Monday, November 30, 2009

What the hell is going on?

This blog is basically toast. It should get back up to par over Christmas break when I get some time to write write write but it's been out of touch all semester. Who are the Red Wings even starting nowadays? I got Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, an 80-year-old man posing as Tomas Holmstrom, four Yzerman cutouts for intimidation, and a boxboy from Best Buy that loses fights and goes by the name of May. And who the hell is Drew Miller? I can't remember a time where I had absolutely no clue who a player was that was in the Red Wings organization, but Drew Miller fits that bill. I read his name on one of The Triple Deke's latest recaps so he must be real, but as far as I'm concerned he still pitches for the Tigers and was never traded to the Marlins.

Seriously, what's happening with the NHL right now? The Wings have won 13 games and lost 13 games and have about 13 injured players that are making about 13 million bucks apiece. I'm more confident in Jimmy Howard than I am in Chris Osgood, which isn't saying much but considering I thought of Jimmy Howard as more of an aborted fetus than a hockey player before the season started, I'm pretty surprised that he's risen to the occasion so quickly. I'm annoyed that the Hawks are doing so well, Hossa included, but since goaltending and coaching are two of the most important aspects of playoff hockey, I see a first-round choke job in their future. At least last year they had no expectations. This year, they'll be sure to keep Hossa on the personal train of epic life decision failures.

I'll end this ridiculously random post that does nothing but continue to show this blog as the old senile bastard of Red Wings blogs with a simple prediction that the Wings finish eighth in the conference and lead a 16-0 charge to Stanley's silver chalice. Hooah, what a season it will be. Go Detroit Cougars! Falcons! Red Wings!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Captain

Steve Yzerman. Stevie Y. The Captain. His long journey through the ranks of the NHL came to a close at the top this week, as he was rightly inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. People say it was an incredible Hall of Fame class with Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Brian Leetch too, but there's no one who compares to Yzerman. He's the greatest overall hockey player I've ever seen. I don't care if you show me statistics; I don't care if you show me highlights. He proved his worth to me with 22 years of loyalty to the Detroit Red Wings, with humble interviews and speeches, with unmatched skill in the 1980s and determination in the 1990s. He's a complete player and the game hasn't felt the same without him since his departure in 2006.

Steve Yzerman is the reason I love hockey. He's the reason I love the Detroit Red Wings. He's the reason I still cling to my first Red Wings jersey, even though now it fits me like a t-shirt would. I think my passion for all sports would be severely less developed and undoubtedly less passionate if not for Steve Yzerman. Why? It's his funky name that only hockey fans can seem to pronounce. It's his humility that showed the world that professional athletes don't all have to be stereotypical, money-grubbing buffoons. It's his tremendous skill that he used to make a name for himself then tossed in his back pocket when he realized it wasn't what the team needed to succeed. It's his goal in the 1996 quarters that will never cease to give me shivers.

It's his 19. There can never be another 19. It's his C. There will never be another captain like him. It's the way he picked up the Cup in 1997 and held it for all of Detroit. It's the way he handed it to Vladdie in the wheelchair in '98. It's the way he avoided the spotlight, despite the fact that he was the one everyone wanted to see and talk to. It's the determination to win another Cup. It's the selflessness to take less money so the team could go out and pay for more star players. It's in the grimaces. It's the way he dragged himself off the ice time after time in the 2002 playoffs. It's his gap-toothed smile.

There's no way I can encompass all that Steve Yzerman has meant to me as a Detroit Red Wings fan. He's got the top spot cemented for my favorite player of all-time; everyone else is just fighting for number two. I might wish for every other fan in the country to feel the same way about a certain player they look up to, but that's impossible. There's just no single athlete in the world like Steve Yzerman. There's a reason he's referred to as "God" in so many Red Wings circles: he's on par with one.

I don't know...his legacy has meant so much to me as a hockey fan that it was really special to see him in the spotlight again. Even though he was wearing a black suit and delivering a speech in Toronto, it almost felt like he had pulled on that Wings sweater again and was skating a lap or two around the Joe. I wish he'd never left the game, and I felt that an honorary post about him was necessary. I haven't touched on much Wings content this fall, but hopefully this does the franchise some justice. Stevie sure did.