What do I miss most about Red Wings hockey? Mickey Redmond. No doubt. I grew up listening to Mickey's old-school banter. Bingo-bango and "Katie bar the door." Who's Katie? It doesn't matter, Mickey knows what's up.
Tonight, as I scour NHL.com for the Chicago vs. Detroit box score, I'm starting to feel more detached than ever. A phone call from my cousin, and suddenly it's all put in perspective: I never understood how special Hockeytown is until I left. It's the old cliche - you don't know what you have until you lose it. In this case, I moved.
Each time I craft a new post for this blog, I feel like a phony - where's my ethics? I don't live anywhere near Detroit. Who am I to have a Red Wings blog? Well, the answer is simple: I can't live without it. I moved out of Hockeytown, but it never moved out of me - it never will.
I could go on and talk about how difficult it is for me to hear people at work get so passionate about Monday Night Football, yet have no clue what Hockey Night in Canada is, but I must stop before this post gets ridiculously emotional. It will regardless.
I think it's important for people to stay passionate about their teams. I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a city with so much passion. There are few constants in life, that goes without saying. I find it quite comforting to know hockey and the Detroit Red Wings are things I'll take to the grave.
Tonight, my cousin - who shares my passion - put it best: We're lucky to have a rich background in a sport with such an exclusive clientele. It doesn't matter if hockey is the least or most popular sport in the world. It will always be the most special to us.
I couldn't say it better myself.
It's a difficult sport to explain to anyone who didn't spend every Saturday morning of their childhood in a rink. I can explain offsides. I can explain icing. I'm sure I could get someone to understand how the mechanics of the game work. However, I could never get anyone new to the game to understand what an octopus has to do with hockey, why a pass can be called suicidal, why Slap Shot may be the best movie ever created, or why hanging someone's jock from the clock is the highlight of the game.
Hockey is more than a game - it's a lifestyle. It's fast, creative, tough and exclusive. When you lace up the skates and hit the ice without fear, you're part of the club.
The next time someone asks me why I choose to watch the Kings vs. Sharks in a regular season matchup instead of a MLB playoff game, I'll just look them in the eyes and say: "Because I understand this."