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My Hero

The Captain, Steve YzermanI hesitate even to mention this, for fear that in my enthusiasm I would somehow cause the professional hockey season to be cancelled again. (That sound in the background is me spitting over my shoulder, in the superstitious hope of avoiding a repeat of last season.) Tyler and Laura (OGIC) surely share my feeling of being on pins and needles until we see an actual team hit the actual ice somewhere. Careful readers know that film critic Todd Babcock and I grew up together in the Great State of Michigan, and we are both now devoted fans of the Detroit Red Wings. If I may share my respect for one particular player, here is an article (Competitive drive still fuels Yzerman, September 30) by Aaron Rennie on Yahoo! Sports:

Mark Messier. Ron Francis. Al MacInnis. Scott Stevens. All are future Hall of Famers who decided to hang up their skates rather than make one last run at a Stanley Cup.

Not Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman.

A shoo-in for the Hall of Fame once he retires, Yzerman is back for the grind of a 22nd NHL season. The 5-11, 185-pound center often will be banging with defensemen six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier - a difficult task to begin with, but especially so when one considers the native of Ontario is 40 years old. Yzerman has nothing left to prove on the ice. He has collected a staggering 1,721 points - 678 goals and a franchise-record 1,043 assists - in his 1,453-game career and helped lead the Red Wings to Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Yzerman also won a gold medal with Canada in the 2002 Olympics. Further, the last time he suited up for the Red Wings, in Game Five of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals against the Calgary Flames, he was hit in the face by the puck. He suffered a fractured orbital bone, underwent a lengthy surgery and missed Game Six as Detroit was eliminated.
You are a man of steel, Stevie Y. Thank you for giving the team another year. As for the rest of the team, the new NHL salary cap is designed to hurt teams like our dear Wings, and it has certainly made an impact on their roster. I will be sorry not to see Brett Hull and Darren McCarty in the red anymore. Even so, the names on that roster are plenty exciting, at least to me: stars like Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios; grind players like Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Tomas Holmstrom; very exciting younger players like Pavel Datsyuk and Hendrik Zetterberg. I'm not sure yet what to think about the choice of Chris Osgood returning to the Detroit goal or Mike Babcock calling the shots at the bench, but I will be happy to watch it.


Princess Alpenrose said...

"For nearly 50 years, hockey fans in Detroit have been throwing octopi on to the ice after a big win by the Red Wings. This started on April 15, 1952 during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup run. Two brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who owned a fish shop in Detroit threw an octopus on the ice during a game in Detroit. Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs. Back then, the NHL had just six teams and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup. The largest octopus to be thrown on the ice was a 50 pounder in 1996. The creature was proundly displayed on the hood of the Zamboni while the ice at the Joe Louis Arena was being cleaned between periods."

My husband says, "Make sure to use up all your octopi before the Stanley Cup Finals because the (Philadelphia) Flyers are going to win the Cup."

Anonymous said...

The tentacles are so easily removed by skating over them... sssippp. squiggle-squiggle.

I commented below on comments about our calendar. We are working on a Java-script window that would be the cultural calendar in a convenient format. Now I'll add "easily printable" to the list of requirements. Please send comments on what you'd want in a calendar to me - I am having our web-developing team work on it. (It's also for the not yet undertaken "Cultural Affairs Forum" which is going to be the cultural/public diplomacy sister of the International Affairs Forum. That's how I can justify it.)


Princess Alpenrose said...

eeech... well that's ONE way to make sushi...

I'll e-mail my printable calendar ideas/demands. (The "Cultural Affairs Forum" sounds tasty to me, too!)

Todd said...

Can one argue with the choice to hire a Babcock as head coach? Me say nay, sir, nay. My hopes are for Draper to evolve from grinder to scorer. But mostly, to see The Captain's steely gaze on the ice again (think Arthur wielding Excaliber one more time). Thank you for this post, my friend. Much love.

(Sad thing about Kronwall, though.)