June 24, 2009

What's this about Yzerman?

Shame on me for having a Red Wings blog and not acknowledging His induction yesterday. Not even so much as a picture or a three-word post. Indefensible.


He's still, three years after his last game, my favorite hockey player. He will never not be my favorite hockey player. I used to think it was lame when I was younger and kids my age would say that Michael Jordan or Barry Sanders was their favorite player even after they retired, but I sort of get it now. Somewhere in the back of my brain, I'm still cheering for him as if he's a 44 year-old active player with surgically repaired knees and playing 7 minutes a game on the 4th line. And there's a tiny, selfish part of me that wishes that this was reality.

We don't actually know professional athletes, despite how much we worship them. We're reminded of this fact whenever a positive steroids test or criminal report comes out and permanently changes somebody's image for the worse. But you never felt as assured about someone as you did with Stevie Y. You could watch just one of his post game interviews or press conferences and your lasting perception of him would be one of class and character. When you hear him talk, he almost comes across as overly humble; you can practically see the pain in his face whenever he's asked to talk about himself. Your mom probably saw him on TV at some point and remarked, "wow, he seems like a nice guy, why aren't you more like him?" (Assuming your mom is the same as mine).

On the ice he was perfect. Physically, he wasn't imposing with that 5'11"/185 lb. frame, but he squeezed out every last ounce of talent. That was my favorite thing about watching him, how a guy could appear to be so unassuming yet consistently do amazing things with the puck.

There was the one where he lofted a puck over a defenseman's head and into an empty net, like a soccer player chipping the keeper. Or that goal against the Penguins in the above video. Or any of the times that he terrorized Patrick Roy: In the '97 playoffs with that bank shot from behind the net, or the '99 playoffs when he roofed one over his shoulder though like a 2 inch window. His goal-scoring touch was simply different, if not the best, from anyone I've ever seen. He found the strangest ways to score sometimes.

Not to mention his playmaking ability, leadership, general sexiness, and how he helped set a Red Wing precedent as a "skill guy" who would play defense -- something that's been the norm for some 15 years now. He's a living legend in every sense of the term. A hockey deity. If I'm ever fortunate enough to meet him, It's likely that I will literally collapse and die. Right there at his feet. And for that I will be able to say that Steve Yzerman was the last person on Earth that I saw, which wouldn't be that bad.


Nate A said...

I wasn't old enough or smart enough to really understand much of what little I got to watch him play, but hell yes.

Alan Trammell is the only other athlete that even comes close to the respect and admiration I have for the Captian. Still waiting for his time in the hall.

RT said...

There's a very good why after 14 years of wings fanhood I still only own one jersey. Every other jersey seems to pale in comparison to #19 in white much like almost every other player does. I've probably watched every Stevie Y youtube video that exists and I don't even care if that's even a little gay. The man is a legend and I'm honored to have had the honor of watching the second half of his career. I can't believe how many absolutely stupifying goals the man scored and rarely celebrated with more than a quick fist pump. Simply incredible.

Anonymous said...

Steve Yzerman is the only professional athlete that I ever wrote a letter to. Just a little note wishing him the best and stating my admiration for his skills and integrity. I wasn't a kid. I was an adult. Yzerman does that to you. Congrats to him. We were so lucky to be able to watch him his whole career.


Triple Deke Staff said...

"I wasn't a kid. I was an adult."

That's awesome.

Chris said...

Everytime I read the comments on here, I feel like I've entered a strange love triangle between Tyler, Brent and Tram...

Triple Deke Staff said...

@ Chris,

I'm not one for "lol"s in comment sections, but I was pretty close this time. Given that Tram entered the Dekeosphere with guns ablaze in support of Chris Osgood -- and we were convinced that he was Chris Osgood, and we love Chris Osgood .... the triangle theory would seem correct. In fact, he might still be Chris Osgood.

- Tyler

hockeychic said...

Excellent post. I love the Captain the most out of all hockey players and always will. He was it for the Wings in the "Dead Wings" era and I'll never forget everything he did for this team.

Osrt said...

You can have all the triple-plays you want boys, I'm keeping Fil (ManCrush).

For our generation of fans, Stevie Y will always be The Captain. When I saw the "C" on the banner, I teared up; it was the Illitches paying tribute to their son for everything he has done for them. Just Amazing.