This guy is a Red Wing.
The fact that I was ever unsure of how well Ian White would fit into our system is slightly embarrassing. Being that “embarrassing” is one of my least favorite words in our language, I’m going to pat myself on the back for using it.
One of the best Red Wings games I ever attended, was opening night of the 2007-2008 campaign. This game was special for several reasons. It was against the goonish team that had eliminated us the season prior, Anaheim. It went into a shootout. It was the first game to not sell out on opening night in years, we won, and the game motivated me to write my very first article on hockey that I felt confident enough in to share with others.
It was also Brian Rafalski’s first game as a Red Wing. The slick d-man made a pass to Johan Franzen during a power play, and it was then that I knew that “Raf” would be a fine addition to the squad.
Fast forward four seasons, and we have Rafalski announcing his retirement in order to serve God, among other reasons.
Ok, what do we do now?
Several elite defenseman were available. I heard from reliable sources that Christian Ehrhoff was at the top of our wish list. Likewise with my own. Having been seriously turned off by the asking price of players like Ehrhoff in order to replace Rafalski, the Wings looked elsewhere.
Enter Ian White.
Despite being a journeyman, White had succeeded in making something of a name for himself, even when playing for floundering squads in Toronto and Calgary. The keen eye of our own Mickey Redmond noticed White’s potential during his days as a Maple Leaf.
I wrote a while back, about something I like to call “The Wooley Effect”, referring to former Red Wing Jason Wooley, who perhaps played the best hockey of his career in Detroit. I asserted that White would benefit from this phenomena: marginal players excelling like never before when inserted into the Red Wing lineup.
The computer that churned out the schedule this season, is not worth the name “computer”. This is the second week in a row where we have had to wait a week to watch our team. Perhaps the NFL’s software is trying mutate the NHL’s. We are also far, far too early into the season to become overly excited about anything.
However, the play of Ian White has been beyond encouraging. He seems to possess all of the tools that Rafalski did, and then some. And since White is not even thirty yet, we don’t have to worry about him leaving to serve anyone, other than us.
An afterthought: The dude looks really mean too.