Hometown: Holland, MI. A small city most famous for tulips and wooden shoes.
Size: Dwarfed by most NHL players. Even Nathan Gerbe has a couple inches on me.
Hands: Steady, but more comfortable with a scalpel than a hockey stick.
Skating ability: 0/5. Seriously, the last time I attempted skating, I fell backwards and somehow hit my face on the ice. I don't know.
Jerseys owned: Red Nyquist, Winter Classic Datsyuk, hand-me-down white Fedorov 'A'.
Trips to Joe Louis Arena: 2. Record of 1-1-0, but the win was preseason so it doesn't count. Only regular season game was a shutout by Montreal. Curse you, Carey Price!
Wings memories: Never existed in a world without playoff hockey in Detroit. Clearly remember watching parts of the 2002 Final and Game 6 of the 2008 Final. Started following full-time in the 2013 shortened season.
Why the Detroit Red Wings?
Easy. I grew up in Michigan, dad's side of the family is in the Detroit area; it was only natural. We didn't really watch a lot of hockey at home as a kid, except when the Wings were deep into a playoff run. I lost track of the team until college, when a video of a hockey fight showed up on my Facebook wall. I watched as many videos as I could find for a while, decided I wanted to keep up with the team, and adopted Darren Helm as my favorite player.
Unfortunately, it was already the offseason by that time. Then Nicklas Lidstrom retired, Henrik Zetterberg was named Captain, and there was a whole lot of uncertainty in Hockeytown. My introduction into true Red Wings fanaticism was delayed for a few long months, during which the Tigers let me down in the World Series, and then the Wings got their butts thoroughly kicked their first game back. I watched the team muddle through a difficult season, at times thinking I had somehow brought bad luck upon them as a "new" fan. But defying odds stacked against them, they won the last four crucial games of the season and once again made the playoffs, and I was hooked. For life, guys, you're stuck with me.
Least favorite team?
Difficult question. I don't have a lot of history to draw back on, so I mostly greatly dislike teams rather than hate them. I didn't experience the great Detroit-Colorado rivalry and I didn't suffer through the heartbreak of 2009. Sure, there are teams I can't stand (Anaheim, Nashville, St. Louis) or really hate losing to (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston), but an all-out visceral revulsion for one specific team just isn't there yet.
Prospects: Yea or Nay?
Hearty, resounding YEA. I live close enough to Grand Rapids that I'm able to make it to several Griffins games every year. I love being able to watch the youth in the organization show their stuff. I get to see the first real flashes of potential develop into shining, polished skills that I hope will translate to the NHL level. Though I'm at an age where I could be any player's sister, I feel like a proud mama when one of them gets called up. I'm currently a conductor on the Andreas Athanasiou Hype Train, I'll take your tickets as you board. No pushing, please.
The Streak: Source of Pride or Hindrance to Progress?
Absolutely Source of Pride for me. Our inaugural season in the Eastern Conference, with its ridiculous injuries (remember Joakim Andersson as first line center?), led to a trade deadline move that had more people than ever wondering, is the management satisfied with simply extending the Streak another year? Would it be better for the Wings to miss the playoffs if it meant more radical moves within the roster and the organization as a whole? Feelings about that trade aside
(hated it, still hate it, will continue to hate it), the fact that the Red Wings did actually make the playoffs that year was a huge statement, to the league and to themselves. That's more than teams like Columbus and Boston can say, as both were similarly decimated by injuries in 2014-15 and ended up on the outside looking in come April. Plus, even if the Streak were to end someday, how much of an insult is it really for fans of other teams to talk shit? Sorry haters, your jealousy is showing.
Finally, how excited are you for the new season?
It's been an up-and-down, far-too-long offseason. I was numb to hockey for a while after the Wings were eliminated, conflicted when Babcock left for Toronto, psyched when Blashill was announced as head coach. I had a moment of, "holy shit, what are the Wings going to do with NINE defensemen?" when I woke up to a notification about the Green signing. I had a moment of, "why the hell did we do that?" when I saw the Brad Richards deal. But then I got over it, because we addressed our biggest need on defense that wasn't of the addition-by-subtraction variety, and also because Brad Richards is not Dan Cleary. I'm a little nervous for possible moves before October, but I'm very positive on this Red Wings team right now. I think we underachieved last year down the stretch and in the postseason and have only improved since then. I'm ready to get this show on the road, and I'm very excited to be doing it as part of the wonderful team we have here at Winging It In Motown!