03 February 2010

Whitesnake Wednesday.

Another day. Another nut-bustin' day in which you learn one of the best players on your team is out...again, due to a tweak. No, seriously, I really did think that verb only applied to a specific act that may or may not occur during sexual congress. Not trying to be the moral police, but really, "tweaking" has no place on the ice.

Thanks to Petrella, via George Malik, we now know that Kronner's "tweaked" ankle makes him doubtful for tonight's game in Anaheim. Fuck a bunch.

So, on we go. What else can we do? Well, we could answer Wednesday's question (kudos to Brian for coming up with this one):

Who's your favorite "under the radar"* Wing (past or present) and why?

*We're defining "under the radar" pretty loosely here; you don't have to resort between choosing between Ville Leino or Mikael Samuelsson. Under the radar in this case means the player can have (or have had) success with the team, but he's not one of those players whose jerseys you see gajillions of at the Joe, nor is he one at whom all the ladies throw their unmentionables. In other words, your favorite non-superstar.

My answer's easy. Click here, here, or even here if you're not sure. I know it may be a stretch to call the guy leading the team in goals "under the radar," but I've never seen anyone wear a Homer jersey in person, nor do you hear anybody chattering about how hot he is, so that fits my definition, at least.

What about you guys?

Welcome back, Homer.


  1. Wow, that is a great question actually. Considering that our team has been full of "under the radar" guys this year, this is a tough one.

    But I'd have to say without a doubt, Kris Draper. I know he's well-loved and known around these parts, but I doubt the majority of hockey fans outside of Detroit know much about him. I know he's had good years and bad years, but this year, being the veteran on the DHE line has made me really appreciate everything he's done. I mean, think about it, we have a freakin' Selke winner on our 3rd/4th line. If that doesn't say depth, I don't know what does. But besides what he does on the ice, I think he's so much more off the ice. He's shown great leadership ability (still love the story of his rant to the team to get them to step their play up), he's really taken to mentoring the young guys, and even though he's like 37, he can still skate wicked fast. Plus, there's just something about the idea that he HAS to be the 1st player besides the goalie out on the ice before each period that just makes me love him & his enthusiasm to play every night. I love Maltby because of the history he's had with this team, but unlike him, I still see Drapes contributing night after night. Even if it doesn't show on the box score.

    My other favorite unsung hero, from back in the 90s, believe it or not, was probably Doug Brown. I just remember he was another player with a lot of heart who didn't get a lot of ice time, but was great on the PK, and was one of the few players who could substitute in for one of the Russian Five when need be.

    And well, Homer? How can you not love this guy? I remember back in the 90s, again, when Dino Cicarelli got traded & we wondered who the heck was going to take his place? Enter Homer, who learned quickly that his job was to park his behind in front of the goalie and never let up. We've seen lots of guys try to duplicate his genius, but it's never ever come close to being anywhere near as good as him. And I think you're perfectly right in calling him "under the radar." He's not a superstar by any means. And that's just the way we like him.

  2. I'd have to go with Drapes too, for all the reasons listed above. He doesn't seem to have much of a following, even for the years he's been here and the dedication he's shown. But hey, that's why this question was asked, right? Give the background guys a little bit of credit.

  3. Currently on the team? Brad Stuart is my rock star. I have never seen anyone sport his jersey around. I think his save percentage is higher than Ozzie's right now. He does alot of things that could be considered "under the radar." Yes, his play has been spotty this season, but really who has played consistantly well? Everyone has had their moments of suck.

    All time, it is going to be Igor Larionov. Nobody past or present has been able to pass like the Professor. I have a game worn jersey of his from the 2000 season. It only gets worn in game 7's during the playoffs. He brought a style and grace to the game. His intelligence is/was unrivaled. One of my favorite memories of Detroit Redwing hockey is when the Russian 5 was on the ice during away games and the crowd would start chanting "USA, USA!" And Iggy would skate across the blueline, find Sergei, and BOOM! Goal. And the crowd would be silenced.
    Also, Iggy was instrumental in 3/26/97. Forsberg became too annoying (Shocking, I know, right?) and Iggy starting punching him. It was epic. Besides whenever I hear him speak, I turn into a shivering pile of goo.

    My second choice would be Martin LaPointe. An excellent agitator and goal scorer. Even when he went to the Hawks I still loved him.

  4. By the way, I just wanted to add this visual,


    That is all.

  5. Larionov under the radar? Tsk, I don't know about that... I grew up in Latvia with a hockey obsessed Russian dad, and that name was dropped enough for me to think dood was my long lost uncle who moved to America. But still, what a man!

  6. Iggy's part in Fight Night at The Joe was absolutely full of AWESOME. To see someone like him, who played the "smart man's game" rather than the physical one, stand up for himself after getting pestered by Forsberg one too many times, well, I still get a feeling of pride when watching it. Of course the best part was D-Mac's reaction to Iggy heading for the box. I've never seen a guy so proud of another teammate for taking a penalty. If you watch him, he's like almost "showing" Iggy the box (which saraneuie and I have named the "Darren McCarty Honorary Penalty Box" for all the time he spent there) since he spent such little time there.

    And speaking of D-Mac, how about some love for him? I know he's the most famous of the "Grind Line," but what a role-player he was. That night, he stood up for his teammate (my other unsung hero, Drapes), made the most hated player in Detroit look like a cowering turtle, and then went in and scored the game-winning goal in OT. And Game 4 of the 97 finals? That goal? Oh, I still get chills from that one.

  7. Woops, FAIL. I meant to say we named it after D-Mac because he spent so MUCH time there. One could argue Probie probably spent more time there than him, but hey, that was before my time as a Wings fan.

  8. Can you count a 22-year-old half Wing/half Griff as under the radar? Cuz as Nurse Nitz will tell you, I love me some Justin Abdelkader. As in, I was practically despondent when I found out we had to send him down for Williams... Why is he my first choice? He's scrappy, he likes to throw around that big butt of his (Babcock's description, not mine), he scored his first two goals of his NHL career in the Finals, he's not afraid to drop the gloves when it's called for...
    If I can't pick him, then I'm going with Malts (I love Drapes and Homer too, but I think they'll get the representation here they deserve without me). No one can get a player riled up quite like Malts. It seems like the guy can get a whole bench mad at him sometimes simply by existing.

  9. Dan Cleary. I've seen one guy wearing his jersey at games, and my wife swears I have a man crush on him.

    He's been such a hard worker since he came here on a tryout. Babs can put him on any of the 4 lines, and he just goes out there and does what's needed. He's got chemistry with more guys that you'd realize at first.

    No, he doesn't have his junior scoring touch anymore it seems, but he's willing to go to the tough places and score the garbage goals with the occasional nifty wrister. His forehand-backhand move in the shootout is a bit stale, but I rarely see Cleary giving less than 100% out there.

    Had we won the cup last season, I think he would have at least gotten a little discussion for the Con Smythe, even if Ozzy won it in the end.

  10. I think Danny Cleary just might be the greatest Newfie ever.

  11. nurse nitz: I LOVE your mentioning of Brownie. Have you noticed in recent Wing history (aside from Brett Hull, whom I greatly dislike, but won't go into here) the guy who wears 17 is the "Scrappiest" (see what I did there Natalie) of the players on the roster?

    Which leads to my vote for under the radar player of the '07-'08 season and cup run:
    Mr. Dallywacker Drake. I was and still am soooo in love with him. And when Lids handed him the cup, I cried like a 12 year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

    And on the present roster? Mr. Patrick "Vidal Sassoon" Eaves. Scrappy (uh huh) and hard working. I'm throwing Mr. Eaves into the ring.

    On a side note, I would like to say something about Sergei. I still have his White Russian poster hanging in my kitchen. Does anybody else feel like I do? Like he is the one ex-boyfriend that you just can't let go of, even though you broke up YEARS ago. And if he were to approach you and ask for another chance, the answer would be YES.

  12. I love you guys so much. No, seriously. The main reason I've kept these Wednesday questions going is that I have so much fun reading what you all have to say. It's always interesting, entertaining, and very well thought out.

    Patrick "Vidal Sassoon" Eaves? Love it. He IS scrappy--you are one hundred billion percent correct, Dena.

    Also, I just want to chime in and agree 100 million percent with everyone who named Kris Draper--that guy has totally kicked it up a notch as of recently, too. He still has the speed of someone a decade and a half younger than he is, and he's a faceoff fiend. Not to mention the invaluable locker room presence, as several of you pointed out. I group Maltby in with that, too, as he provides a solid veteran presence with the youngins. It's going to be a sad day when the two of them are no longer with the team.

    P.S. Dena and anybody else to whom this applies: I'm glad Whitesnake was well received. It's a little cheesy, but I love that song. Remember how they used it in Old School when Will Ferrell was working on his car? Priceless. Maybe we should have Tawny Kitaen replacement competitions on here. (Never really got what the big deal was with her anyway...there were way hotter 80s pop culture vixens. But that's just me.)

  13. Natalie,

    I have had this arguement with Andy already. I LOVE hair bands. Their music is FUN. I'm all about having a good time ALL the time. Suggestion for next week, Girls, Girls, Girls. Wednesday, Wicked Hot Stripper day.

  14. Dena, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hair bands. When I said "cheesy," I was actually referring to the video itself, which is, admittedly, an 80s cheesefest at its best.

    I am now going to be a total jackass and quote directly from my own Facebook profile (oooh, special!):

    "I like a lot of classic rock, but I also listen to mindless pop and the kind of country music and white trash rock, past and present, that you'd most likely hear in dive bars."

    So you see, I proudly admit to loving things that serious music snobs would run me out of town on a rail for loving. As I used to tell my college friends who looked at me like I had seven heads for blaring some Hank Jr., it's all part of my delightfully tacky white trash heritage. Therefore, I will never, ever, ever be in a position to judge anybody else for what some would consider questionable tastes in music.

  15. P.S. Dena, you said this: "I'm all about having a good time ALL the time."

    And all I heard was this: "We are clearly soulmates."

  16. Darren Helm is not under the radar anymore, but I got him first.

  17. Dena - you know what, in my tiredness post-night shift, I totally was going to mention Mr. "Vidal Sasson" and the fact that he was also #17. Like Kris at SnipeDangle, I am literally falling in love with the guy more and more with each game. I LOVE LOVE the scrappy players on our team, and no one is "scrappier" than Mr. Eaves. I seriously was really liking the guy before, but then he had to to and get into that fight with Versteeg from Chicago, and played off the black eye & stitches like it was nothing (as any good scrappy player should do). He gets the job done (see last night's beauty of a goal), and it's nice to see we have a legit finisher on the red 'vettes line. Also, he's not afraid to work hard (::cough cough:: Mr. Leino). At the beginning of the year when he was struggling to "gel," he went to every special teams meeting without ever being asked. I attribute his attitude along with Stuie & Helmers for being basically responsible for turning around our PK.

    Sara - You KNOW I love me some Newfie and Abby. Another reason to love Eaves, he's essentially the "new" Danny Cleary. I love it when we take something that looks kinda rusty & polish it into a gem. Please Kenny, keep him and Miller.

    Also, I am kind of ashamed to admit that I didn't even know who Whitesnake was until I watched Old School. But I do love me some "cheesy" 80s-tastic big hair rock music. And maybe I'd get flamed for this, but I'd rather hear that piping thru the speakers at a game than Lady Gaga any day.

  18. Not to go off-topic here, but has anyone else looked closely at Homer's gloves in that picture? I love the little guy he's got on his thumb- it's even better than Datsyuk's "Pasha" gloves

  19. Natalie,
    You got me on Twitter, it will be a cold day in hell before I go on Facebook or MySpace. (shudder).
    Cheesy is good. In music, in Tv, and in food.
    Nurse nitz:
    Hearing some "Cherry Pie" during faceoffs would be the best thing EVER. Hair bands and hockey, two things that probably have the most obnoxious fans. Read: Mullets.
    Also, I was at that Wings/Hawks game, in the second row, next to the Wings bench. When Eaves was done whippin Chris "My Chauffeur/Douchebag" Versteeg ass, he turned around with the biggest smile on his face, blood dripping off his jaw. His bromance Helmer had just said something to him, and I just sighed and fluttered my eyelashes.
    And about Abbie. He was just as awesome at MSU. He was fun to watch, along with his Dad pacing back and forth. And he won the National Championship for us with a goal in the final seconds of the game. He is forever tops in my heart for that.

  20. Considering it took up until last year for the league to really put him on their radar and I loved him the minute I saw him in the 01-02 season, can I pick Pavel Datsyuk?

    Without completely retelling my story of how a guy from Kansas with no hockey background came to be a Red Wings fan, the short answer is The Russian Five. I don't really count any of the Russian Five as being under-the-radar type guys though, so I can't pick them (although Kozlov got overlooked a bunch for being awesome). Bottom line is that I have a special affinity for Russians (especially those wearing #13, I guess).

    If I can't have Datsyuk as an under-the-radar guy then I'm echoing the sentiment that Draper has always been the glue (or nails, rather) that's helped keep the team together and ground them in the blue-collar ethic that's made them so successful.

  21. Put me down for Dallas Drake. I love the whole story about how he got traded away, spent years on other teams, then got bought out and called the Wings right away to come back and finish his career. I love that he used the same stick as Henrik Zetterberg (the "Zetterdrake," it actually said on it - I still wonder if Hank's sticks say that now). And I love the moment when Nick handed him the Cup, the very first one, the perfect choice. The look on his face was the best combination of happiness and near-disbelief, that after all of those years he finally had what he'd always wanted.

    I totally understood why he retired after that (the family reasons, plus going out on top) but I was very sorry to see him go.

  22. Can Lidstrom still be under the radar? I feel like so many of the articles written about him are about how he is supposedly losing his Norris Trophy winning form, despite the fact that SO MANY MORONS NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED HIS AWESOMENESS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! Regardless, Nick and Pavel are far and away my favorites, so I'm picking Nick anyway. :P

    I'm not sure I can pick Patrick Eaves, because I loved him with Ottawa so his success isn't a surprise to me, although I am very pleased.

    I guess I'd have to say Draper because instead of fading into the background as Maltby is doing, he's still an integral part of the most consistent and consistently hard-working line on the team this year.

    Homer may be under the radar for the rest of the league, but every Wings fan I have met adores him whether or not they have his jersey. He's just such a normal guy, like your goofball neighbor a couple houses over who always starts a home-improvement project, gets in over his head, and his wife finally decides to call a contractor before he winds up cutting off his finger with a hacksaw and she has to take him to the emergency room again. :)

  23. Dena - I absolutely hate you right now for having such good seats to a Wings game. Saraneuie & I were there, but in Row 27 in the Obstructed view seats. It was only through very careful deliberation of viewing angles that I got any view at all of Pasha's goal... Oh, I'm kidding, of course. I'm just thankful I was there for it at all. I love any seat at The Joe, but god, what I would give to be able to afford seats in that section for one game...and what a game it was!

    Baroque - That has to be the most perfect description of Homer ever. I'm pretty sure that Homer & Lidstrom live close to each other, since they sometimes drive in together. So for some reason, that evokes an image of Homer getting in the middle of some kind of project, gets in trouble & calls Nick for help, who bails him out. Either that or Homer's wife just ends up yelling at both of them to get a professional to do the job and stick to hockey. Either way, it gives me a serious LOL.

  24. Baroque, just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply one has to have a particular person's jersey to show their love for that player; rather, I just meant that you don't see a sea of Homer jerseys in the same way you see our obvious superstars, like Hank, Datsyuk, Lidstrom or Yzerman still. I definitely don't want to give the impression that I believe you have to sport a jersey in order to appreciate your favorite players. You are spot on with your assessment of Homer--a zany sitcom is exactly what I imagine his everyday life to be.

    Nurse Nitz, 100 million percent agree with you that hair metal is WAY better at hockey games than hearing random pop. I love me some Gaga as much as anyone, but there's a time and a place for mindless dance pop, and hockey arenas are not it. Speaking of which, we were watching a high school hockey game on TV the other weekend, and they started playing "Party in the USA" during a stop in play. Fucking Miley Cyrus! I thought my life was over.

    JJ, your picking Datsyuk makes me feel much better for my choice of Homer. And Jenn, I didn't know that about Hank's and Drake's sticks--that's awesome. And finally, Herm--you are so entitled to the Helm claim. Your names are practically the same, for crying out loud. Of course you can have him. :)

  25. I know this is a lame answer, because he was decently popular, but I'd have to go McCarty. I loved that guy. Doug Brown would be another good one. As would Draper.

  26. I'd have to go Draper(If only for the circumstances which he came to the wings, $1) if I was picking in general. This year I would be extremely hard pressed not to pick Patrick Eaves.

  27. I'm sure that Homer's wife has the doctor on speed dial for when he does something crazy again. After all, he has said that with all the kids running around his house is like a freak show! :)

    Maybe one episode of Wingspan should be "A Day in the Life of Homer." I think his wife must be one of the most patient women on the planet.

  28. The bestest, scrappiest and my second favourite player ever, after Stevie Y. I'm gonna cry if you cannot guess who.

  29. Crater and everyone else picking Eaves, it's pretty hard to argue with that selection. He's on FIRE these days, and holy hell, is he a scrappy one. So, of course, we look upon him favorably.

    Baroque, I second that idea for Wingspan a million times. God. I would watch that every day for the rest of my life. Homer's the best!

    Andy, I hate to do this because it would actually be hilarious if you admitted to crying, but it's Darren McCarty, isn't it?

  30. Well, yup. Not hard, was it? You don't get more heart or more scrappiness than with him.

    Since you got it right I will (truthfully) admit that almost everything makes me cry. The 97 game 4, the 98 game 4, movies, books and hell, even a couple of songs.