The summer is a boring time in Hockeyville. You know this. To try and keep our sanity, various folks from around the internet will stop by to share their thoughts on hockey, their favorite team, of course, whatever random crap we can come up with. Our first contestant is Christy Hammond creator of the Red Wings blog, Behind the Jersey. Christy can also be found at Winging It in Motown and is arguably the most well known female writer in blog land. Our conversation starts in 3... 2... 1...
You work for the Red Wings and are obviously a huge fan. Was their Stanley Cup victory that much sweeter seeing it from both sides? How was your view of the series different from the average fan?
I've been a fan of the Wings since I started watching games with my dad at the age of six. The Wings first won the Cup (after a 42 year drought) when I was ten. Their Cup win in 2002 was my freshman year of high school and I didn't have my license yet. I didn't attend a single Wings game in any of those seasons nor could I attend the parades so I only watched from afar.
As a PR intern for the Wings this past season, I got to see a completely different side of the Red Wings while working every single home game but one including the preseason, regular season, and postseason games (around 50 in total). From the security guards to the sound guy to my bosses to GM Ken Holland to the players, I got to interact with them throughout the entire season. Come playoff time, you truly live and breathe hockey and playoff success makes all your hard work seem worthwhile. You have invested so much time into this organization that you want them to win so badly. During home playoff games, I spent my time in the press box, media room, and the PR office. I passed out stats to the reporters and management during and after the games. I passed the microphone around during the press conferences following the games. I sometimes had to record quotes from scrums in the locker room after the game. It's a very different view of the game than when I was just a fan. Sure I can't watch the game in my Kronwall jersey with a beer in hand at Joe Louis Arena, but I can do that on road games and I love having that unique perspective of the team.
After the Wings loss in triple overtime in Game #5 of the SCF, the players were obviously disappointed but it was the employees who took it the hardest. It was depressing to look around and see everyone visibly disappointed. However, it was a complete turnaround to see my co-workers after the Cup win. We were rewarded with pictures with the Cup at center ice of Joe Louis Arena, VIP parties, and I even got to drive a red corvette in the parade. The players were a lot more talkative after the win and it was an absolute treat to see them with friends and family the day of the parade and for the team photo the following day. While I didn't technically win the Cup, this win will probably be the closest I'll ever be to actually earning it unless I get a paid job with a NHL team. It has been a total dream come true and I can't wait for it to start all over again next season!
To follow up on my original question, do you think those fans wearing red and blue 3D glasses had an even better view?
They just might. The red tinted hue would be great for Wings fans so that they can watch their favorite team in the team's colors. And we all know that hockey fans love the big hits. Perhaps the red 3D glasses makes these hits jump out at you even more improving the viewing experience, but I think I would need to test it out personally for further analysis.
Normally this is the point where I would ask you what you would do differently if you were GM, but seeing that your team just came off a Stanley Cup victory, that's kind of irrelevant. Instead, if you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
In honor of my favorite character (Hiro Nakamura) on the TV show Heroes, I would want to have the ability to manipulate the time-space continuum. Not only would I be able to essentially teleport to whatever location I desired, but also there are so many other possible benefits including time travel. I could go back and be at Joe Louis Arena when the Wings won the Cup in 1997 for the first time in 42 years, or I could watch the Wings road game in Vancouver and still make it back in time for class the next morning.
Who is the better captain and why: Captain Crunch (the cereal guy) or Nicklas Lidstrom?
As much as I love Norris (Lidstrom's nickname) and agree with his teammates who call him the perfect human (ed. note -- somewhere Tom Brady disagrees), I'm going to have to go with Cap'n Crunch. I mean this man has been captain for 45 years. 45! Sure Lidstrom has seen the Wings transition from the Russian Five to the Swedish Seven, but Crunch has seen his "team" expand from Cap'n Crunch to Peanut Butter Crunch to Choco Donuts. Now that's diversity. Plus, Crunch saved a friend from sharks by bribing them with his Cap'n Crunch cereal. I'll choose Lidstrom when he can top that.
Here's a tough one. Imagine that you're building a team from the ground up and can start it with either Datsyuk or Zetterberg but not both. Whom do you choose and why?
Ahh. This is like asking me to pick one of my brothers as a favorite. But since I have to choose and Lidstrom isn't an option, I would select Henrik Zetterberg. I love Datsyuk and he has to be one of the most humorous personalities on the team, but I think Zetterberg would be the better candidate to be the building block for the future. Not only will Hank be the future captain of the Wings upon Lidstrom's retirement, but he is also a very strong two-way player. Datsyuk certainly is an exceptional defensive forward (I mean he did just win the Selke), but Datsyuk is known for his brilliant passing. He even prefers to see someone else score on one of his dazzling passes to actually scoring the goal himself. Without much support, Datsyuk would lose some of his magic because there wouldn't be another strong player to score the actual goal.
Unfortunately, you can't win on impressive passing alone. I would want to start my team with a dominant scorer who can also pass and defend the opposing team's top line, which is why I select Zetterberg.
Marian Hossa. Describe your feelings about signing him using only song lyrics.
This was the most challenging question of the bunch and I'm still not totally satisfied with my response.
My initial reaction:
It aint no party like a Detroit party,
Cause a Detroit party don't stop.
I said it aint no party like a Detroit party,
Cause a Detroit party don't stop.
How I felt the rest of the day:On this perfect day
Nothing's standing in my way,
On this perfect day,
Nothing can go wrong
I'm in the race
But I've already won
And getting there can
Be half the fun,
So don't stop me
Till I'm good and done,
Don't you try to rain on my
On this perfect day
Well said. Thanks to Christy for stopping by today. Never have I seen someone so well versed in the history of Captain Crunch. If you're a Wings fan, or simply bored, you can read more from her at Behind the Jersey and Winging It in Motown.