Of all the color analysts I’ve heard droning away during my very long tenure as a student of hockey, the one who has consistently and seamlessly blended populist humor and invaluable insight, has been our very own Mickey Redmond.
To deflect accusations of “homerism”, I should point out that my favorite play-by-play announcers are Bob Cole of CBC, Chris Cuthbert of TSN, and Doc Emrick of Versus and NBC, none of whom receive checks with an “Ilitch” listed as the guarantor, at least to my knowledge.
Now, back to Mickey.
During the opening seconds of Sunday night’s game against Pittsburgh, Redmond said that if it were not due to contractual obligations, Gustav Nyquist would be in the lineup for opening night on Friday against Ottawa, now commandeered by former Red Wings assistant coach, Paul Maclean.
As if Mickey too wields the magic hypnotic that Kenny Holland does (the fictional fume I referred to in my post on Sean Avery), Nyquist went on to score two gutsy goals and added an assist to lead Detroit to a victory over the Penguins.
Nyquist’s status as a rookie belies his wisdom and what I like to tiresomely call his “third eye” for the game. If there is a story of the pre-season, and there usually is not, then the story is certainly that the Red Wings have found a player in Nyquist.
The young skater is quick, shifty, smart, determined, unafraid and ready for the NHL. You can imagine my frustration that it is contractual bureaucracy which required Detroit to send Nyquist to Grand Rapids, and sign Fabian Brunnstrom, the former’s performance being tentative.
Holland likes his players to be over-ripe, a philosophy that has worked out extremely well for our club. So, down Nyquist goes to the AHL to continue his germination.
If I had my way, Brunnstrom would be headed down and Nyquist would remain.
But I am not a general manager, and not in any real position to criticize a decision made by our front office, which is more like a hockey think tank than anything else.
Nyquist will be a fine Red Wing, as will Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen; the youngsters dubbed the next “Eurotwins” (More on them to come).
Uncertainty seems to be an everlasting symptom in Red Wings fandom, as irrational as it is. It is reassuring to know however, that another fine Swede is nearing his prime time with Detroit.
Tags: Bob Cole Cbc Chris Cuthbert Tsn Doc Emrick Versus Nbc Fabian Brunnstrom Contracts Fabian Brunnstrom Red Wings Gustav Nyquist Ahl Gustav Nyquist Grand Rapids Gustav Nyquist Nhl Ilitch Detroit Ken Holland Detroit Red Wings Mickey Redmond Sean Avery