Tag Archives: hockey

Nicklas Lidstrom and Class in Detroit Sports

“And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” – The Rolling Stones

It really was the moment every Red Wings fan had been dreading for years, but after an absolutely brilliant 20 season career filled with accolades (really, there’s a bunch: 7 Norris Trophies, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, an Olympic Gold Medal, a World Championship Gold Medal, 12 time NHL All-Star, and 4 Stanley Cup Trophies to go along with never seeing his team fall short of a playoff berth) defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement from the NHL this morning. Lidstrom is easily one of the best defensemen to ever play this amazing sport (he’s without a doubt the best defenseman I’ve ever seen play the game), but he’s also one of the classiest and nicest players this league and the city of Detroit has ever seen. He’s been referred to as “TPH – The Perfect Human” or “Norris”, but anyone-whether they be media, fan, or opposing player-has never had a bad thing to say about him. It’s probably not an understatement to say that there’s a huge hole to fill on the Red Wings’ blue line with #5 retired, but his class will be missed too.

When I think about it, the city of Detroit has been pretty blessed with its share of humble superstars. Just in my timeframe of watching, Alan Trammell of the Tigers, Barry Sanders of the Lions, and Steve Yzerman of the Red Wings have all represented their teams and city just like Nick Lidstrom has. Odds are I’ve missed a few, but those are the ones that immediately popped into my head. I can only hope that the current and future athletes will represent their team and city as well as those four have.

I seriously thought I had more to write, but what else is there to really say? Countless words have been written about Nick Lidstrom from mainstream media and bloggers alike, and if you’re looking for something with a bit more substance, you’ll want to start at The Malik Report-George Malik is an excellent writer and the first one you’d want to go to for information about the Red Wings. I guess I’ll just end with this: thank you for one hell of an amazing Hall of Fame career. Your talents on the ice, as well as your class and patience off of it will truly be missed.

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May 31, 2012 · 9:25 pm

Michigan Hockey Post-Mortem, and a word on Shawn Hunwick

It’s been a long time since I’d written about sports here (for that matter, it’s been a long time since I’d written about anything here), but I feel compelled to write about it now, a little more than 12 hours has passed since the Michigan Wolverines hockey team had their season ended way sooner than many fans had hoped…and no less agonizing than the year before when the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs scored in OT to win the Frozen Four Championship (not sure what I’m talking about? If you watched any of the NCAA hockey coverage on ESPNU or ESPN3.com yesterday, then you saw the highlight pretty much EVERY COMMERCIAL BREAK. It doesn’t sting any less with repeated viewings, ESPN, thanks).

The start of this game gave plenty of hope, simply because Michigan started off quickly and took control early. Compared to the CCHA Championship weekend games against Bowling Green and Western Michigan where they found themselves trying to dig out of two-and-three goal holes, the start against Cornell couldn’t have gone much better. Luke Glendening scored just 1:11 into the game, and then just :13 seconds later Kevin Lynch appeared to make it a 2-0 game and the Wolverines looked like they might just steamroll all over Big Red. An official review would overturn Lynch’s goal however, and then a combination of the Wolverines deflating/Big Red getting their legs under them would make this contest much closer than it looked like we’d all get to see. I really am torn on the goal being overturned: my Michigan bias thought that goal should’ve counted since the goaltender interference came just as much from a slight bump by Luke Moffatt as it did from a Cornell defender, but as someone that’s also dabbled in playing goal I’d be pissed off if I didn’t have a shot at making the save.

Special teams had a huge part in Michigan’s downfall: Cornell was able to score on the power play to tie the game up later in the first period, and then early in the second period Big Red took the lead on a shorthanded goal (the first SHG the Wolverines had given up this season couldn’t have come at a much worse time). If it seemed like the Wolverines spent a decent portion of that game on the power play, they did-but they couldn’t score with the man-advantage once. Not to take away anything from Cornell’s special teams or the play of goaltender Andy Iles (they were stellar), but a team with Michigan’s firepower throughout the lineup can’t have that many chances and not bury them. Down 2-1 heading into the third, and for a large portion of that period it seemed the Wolverines just couldn’t get anything going until Kevin Lynch scored the game-tying goal with about four minutes left. An odd-man rush and some very mediocre back-checking led to Cornell’s OT goal: Shawn Hunwick made the initial save but couldn’t control the rebound, giving Big Red forward Rodger Craig the easy tap-in. Bubble burst, season ended too soon.

Speaking of Shawn Hunwick, the fifth-year senior that by most accounts was never even supposed to see ice time at Michigan and yet proved everyone wrong: man, he’ll be missed. There’s no way Michigan keeps the NCAA record streak of tournament appearances alive in 2010 without a stellar performance from Hunwick to win the CCHA Tournament. There’s no way Michigan gets to the Frozen Four final without Hunwick carrying the team and shutting down the cage night after night. Easily one of my all-time favorite players to ever wear the Maize & Blue, up there with RB Mike Hart and guards Zack Novak and Stu Douglass. Not much was expected from any of those guys, but every single one of them delivered above & beyond and helped the Wolverines in their own way. So Shawn: thank you.

For the record, Michigan Daily’s Zach Helfand wrote one hell of an article about Hunwick and you should definitely check it out: The midnight gesture of Shawn Hunwick.

Michigan Daily Sports and MiHockeyNow were both referenced in the writing of this post. Thank you.

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