So here I sit on my lunch break – well dinner break I guess as it is a little after six and still I do not know how to digest the events that took place earlier today.
I flipped through my phone and came across a shot of Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom; however, it was not because of Backs that I paused at the shot – it was the small image in the corner that made me take a short breath and hold it. There was Ruslan Salei stretching on the ice for pre game. I do not know how long I held my breath looking at the picture.
How is it that this “more consistent Andreas Lilja” is gone? Along with his entire team…. Just… gone…
It feels like just yesterday we were all celebrating him as a Red Wing. As a Detroiter. One of us.
Losing Salei in today’s tragedy was a hit to this city – so is the loss of Brad McCrimmon. After being with the Wings so long that he was Captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s first defensive partner; he left this summer to take on the head coach spot with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. We all wished them both well as they went on with their careers. Never did we see what lay ahead.
Both Crimmon and Salei are in our hearts today as this tragedy is being felt from Russia to Hockeytown to Phoenix and Vancouver.
This off season ahs been full of tragedy yet the hockey world has come together, the world over, to mourn and grieve for those lost and to look to one another for strength, love and passion to move forward.
Russians and Finns
Americans and Canadians
Blackhawk fans and Canucks fans
Even Red Wings fans and Ryan Lambert have something in coming – we all carry with us the weight of today’s sorrow and loss but also the hope that tomorrow those that lost loved ones can find the strength to carry on.
To the friends, families and loved ones of those lost this summer out hearts go out to you.
The players may be gone but they will never be forgotten.
The follow video was put out by the NHL on 8 September 2011: