The hockey world is saying goodbye to its greatest hero. Gordie Howe, the man known as Mr. Hockey and truly the greatest player--let alone Red Wing--to play the game has died at the age of 88.
I was too young to ever get to watch Gordie play, but you didn't have to witness his greatness first-hand, his accomplishments and his legacy are so enormous that anyone who loves the game of hockey will agree he was simply the best. There's really not much I can say that hasn't already been said, and likely in better words from people far more familiar with Gordie Howe than myself, but I felt the need deep within my hockey-loving soul to at least address the news publicly. Howe's presence in modern day Red Wings hockey was subtle but invaluable to generations of new players coming into the league. For kids like Dylan Larkin or Andreas Athanasiou to meet a man like Gordie and understand the greatness they are privileged to succeed by carrying on the Red Wing way is something many other teams simply cannot offer. Howe was quite literally a link to the Red Wings' past, and helped personify the essence of the Red Wings and what it meant to wear the Winged Wheel.
A marvelous hockey player and an outstanding human being, Mr. Hockey has earned his final sleep.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Posted by Brad Butland at 3:33 PM
Saturday, April 9, 2016
I feel like an apology is in order.
Life can so quickly get in the way of the things you love that, before you know it, the season is almost over and you realize that you haven't published any material since the start of the season. I didn't want it to be this way; however, at the same time as this feeling of an apology being necessary, I realize it is not. I have a beautiful baby girl who amazes me daily and makes my life more complete than it's ever been, a loving wife who is there for me no matter what, and friends that would bend over backwards for my family in a time of need, whenever that might be. I'm doing pretty well for myself.
But enough about me.
I'm here, we're here, and the Red Wings are here, on this final day of our regular season. We are as close to the brink as we are to the promised land, and which way we go will be determined over the course of the next three hours or so. It's all so simple:
Win. One. Game.
Nothing fancy, just a W in the column, by hook or by crook. Win and you're in. Yes, there are other scenarios, but I don't care. Detroit had a shot in Boston and blew it, that should be the wake-up call. Let it be. Let that humiliating defeat rally you to grater heights and a postseason berth. Get revenge on the Bruins in the best way possible: by closing the door on their playoff hopes in their faces.
I believe. Deep down, we all believe under however much cynicism or objective reasoning we put out there into the aether. We believe in our Red Wings, so please, Red Wings: Reward our faith and get it done today.
Posted by Brad Butland at 9:16 AM
Friday, October 9, 2015
Welcome back to Detroit, Mike Babcock.
The Red Wings may have taken a moment during the game to honor their former head coach, but Mike Babcock was given no further warmth by his old team as Detroit opened their season at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Justin Abdelkader posted a hat trick and 19 year old Dylan Larkin got his first goal and assist of his NHL career as the Wings pummeled Toronto by a score of 4-0. Jimmy Howard, looking to return to form after a poor second half of last season, earned a 19-save shutout in the victory.
If you weren't able to watch this game, I hate to tell you this but you missed one of the most entertaining Red Wings games I've seen in a long, long time. Detroit showed a passion and a hunger that I feel has been lacking for some time. Now I do realize this is only the first game of a long season, but tonight showed us all what kind of potential this team has and what it is capable of. Good play on the 5 on 5, the powerplay clicked, the penalty killers were perfect, very few miscues and turnovers all contributed to a dominant performance by the Wings.
I will admit that it was hard to appreciate the play of the entire team with how well the top line played, but no one really played badly for Detroit from top to bottom, and that might be the most exciting prospect of all that I gleaned from this evening's tilt. Oh, and keep in mind, we're not even running Datsyuk or DeKeyser yet. Yeah, this is gonna be a fun team to watch.
The Red Wings are back in action tomorrow against Carolina. Petr Mrazek will get his first start of the season, and hopefully the team will carry this burst of momentum forward and keep the W's flowing.
Don't forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and leave your comments below!
Posted by Brad Butland at 8:03 PM
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Is it October yet?
Oh, wait. Yes, yes it is!
That's right, folks! The NHL regular season is getting underway tonight, and despite the Wings not playing until Friday, I must admit I'm excited just to know that hockey is back for another year. The slate had once again been wiped clean and Detroit begins its next new journey toward attaining the Stanley Cup.
And wouldn't you know it? We got a nice surprise earlier on in the day: Dan Cleary HAS BEEN WAIVED! You read it right, friends: Dan Cleary will NOT be on the opening night roster. Hell, he might even get picked up before noon and that'll be the end of it (I'm looking at you, Philly).
Jimmy Howard will be starting the Red Wings' opening game against the Toronto Bable Cocks, while Petr Mrazek is starting the next game against Carolina. This means that, at least for the start of the season, new coach Jeff Blashill is doing what I hoped he would do: Tandem the goalies. We know Howard can be elite per his experience but we also know Mrazek can be elite per his raw potential and ability, so why not play them both? Besides, a lighter workload on Jimmy could help prevent another injury and I know you remember what happened last year with regards to those and the subsequent return...
Blashill is also making somewhat of a statement by penning rookie Dylan Larkin into the opening night roster. No matter how much he might have promised he would consider it, I cannot for a moment believe that Mike Babcock ever would have made that call; in fact, I'm pretty sure it would be Larkin getting the boot and Cleary staying up if it were Babs' decision. It is not his decision now though, of course, and it is nice to see Blash willing to accept the Youth Movement and see just what the kids can really do at the NHL level.
All in all, it's an exciting time to be a Red Wings fan. Now that you've heard from the Geek, what are YOU most interested in/excited to see as this season begins from our boys in red? Leave a comment below or let me know via Twitter @DatsyukianGeek where I can be found ranting and/or live-tweeting during the game!
Posted by Brad Butland at 4:34 PM