Tomas Jurco revealed some personal and telling information in an interview with the Chicago Tribune over the weekend in regard to his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings. Jurco, who was drafted 35th overall by Detroit in 2011, was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the NHL’s trade deadline on March 1st.
Tomas starts off by stating how both his girlfriend and himself often found their time living in Detroit a bit boring compared to now living in the Windy City:
"There's so much stuff to do," Jurco said. "In Detroit, we were so bored, my girlfriend and I, we didn't know what to do. ... There wasn't much to do. Here there's so much stuff to do."
I don’t believe this quote to be a slight or backhanded comment to the city of Detroit. It’s not hard to believe that a 24-year-old professional athlete and his girlfriend might not find the glitz and glamour they seek in a recovering rustbelt city like Detroit.
The most revealing statement made by Jurco is when he contrasts the roles he has been asked to play previously with the Red Wings, compared to his role now with the Blackhawks:
"The biggest difference is that here we're told to make plays instead of just making safe plays and chipping it in and playing safely," Jurco said. "Here you actually should create something if you want to stick in this lineup because there's so many creative players."
"I try to play it safe and it doesn't work here. You obviously can't be risking it at certain times of the game or situation, but most of the time you should try to create something, hold onto pucks and don't just chip it in and go for it."
It’s no secret that the Red Wings are no longer the dynamic and thrilling puck-possession team that they once were, but to have a former player come out and publically say that Detroit prefers a safe dump-and-chase system only adds to the frustration felt by many fans in Hockeytown.
Granted, the Chicago Blackhawks may be in a much better position to play a more creative style of hockey than the Red Wings thanks to their roster depth, it also slightly stings that Detroit appears to be embracing a ‘safe’ style of play as they prepare to rebuild while continuing to fall from contention.
Jurco goes on to basically describe Detroit’s system as ‘bad habits’:
"I played that third-, fourth-line role so it's in me now," Jurco said. "I have that bad habit sometimes to play safe and chip it in. When I played juniors (and) in the AHL, I was a creative player, so it takes a little while for me.”
It’s both interesting and possibly true when Tomas says that he “was a creative player”, almost indicating that his time in Detroit stymied his skills and creativity. Jurco never quite panned out to be the skilled and slick winger that fans had hoped he would be for the Red Wings.
Jurco has failed to register any points with the Blackhawks in his first six games with the club. It will be interesting to see whose bad habits breaks first, Tomas Jurco’s or the Detroit Red Wings’.