Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Please, support local music!

I love local music.
There’s just so much undiscovered talent out there.
Unless you’ve heard the group before, you walk into a bar or some other venue, and are greeted with a  wide variety of styles and abilities.
Some would make any self-respecting Josh Groban fan cringe. Others would be embraced by lovers of Iggy Pop.

The Hand In The Ocean (Photo by Megan Boltz)

It just all depends. There are rock bands. Or indie bands. Or folks groups. Or blues groups. Or other groups that defy definition.
They are all passionate and it is a real potpourri. Some are smooth as silk and others are sandpaper dragged across a screen door. It is great entertainment and you never know what will greet you as you walk through the door of places like P.J.’s Lager House in Corktown, Paychecks in Hamtramck, the Berkley Front or the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale.
Maybe you’ll see the Muggs at the Cadieux Café in Detroit. Or it could be Chef Chris and the Rumpshakers at Callahan’s in Auburn Hills. 60 Second Crush will be at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor in a couple of weeks. Amy Gore and the Valentines play at the Lager House Monday. The Hard Lessons just played the Pig & Whiskey festival in Ferndale. Immediately preceding them was Child Bite.
Still, as talented as many of the musicians are, it is tough for them to put even Hamburger Helper on the table. At most bars, cover charge is around five bucks. Depending upon the number of bands scheduled that night, that cover charge might be split three or four ways. Sometimes bands get paid well and sometimes gas money is not even covered.

Green Collar

Both of our sons are in bands. Our oldest, Kyle, is in a group called Green Collar. Our youngest, Jordan, plays in both The Hand in the Ocean and Jacques Rocque. Both kids, for obvious reasons, have other jobs.
But music is their true passion. I love my sons. Hence, I love local music. I’m sure my wife, Kim, and I will be listening to some music this weekend.
It won’t be Jimmy Buffet for $179 per ticket at Comerica Park, either. I'll be he hasn't eaten Hamburger Helper in years.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lions smart for giving Berry the boot

Aaron Berry and my high school buddy, Danny.
There’s something very familiar about their situations.
Aaron Berry played in the NFL. Danny played high school basketball.
Aaron Berry got busted twice in the last month.
Berry was charged with three counts of simple assault for allegedly pointing a gun at three people from a car. This happened less than one full day after Berry entered a diversion program for first-time offenders, based on a DUI arrest that happened after witnesses saw his BMW hit two parked cars.
Under the agreement, Berry was to perform 20-40 hours of community service in a six-month period and submit to an alcohol evaluation.

Aaron Berry in happier times with the Detroit Lions.

On Monday, Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew announced that the team had terminated the contract of Aaron Berry due to personal conduct which adversely affects the club," the team said in a statement.
"'We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,' Lions President Tom Lewand said."
Berry's second arrest of the offseason was the seventh overall of a Lions player in the last few months. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley has been busted for DUI and marijuana possession in two separate incidents, running back Mikel Leshoure has two pot busts of his own, and offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath has one marijuana possession arrest of his own.
Danny missed the bus in 1970 on our way to a game in Livonia.
Aaron Berry got booted off the team. Danny should’ve been booted from the team.
Jim Schwartz talked to the team’s veterans who told the coach to get rid of Berry. The high school coach asked the other players if he should get rid of Danny.
Only one had the courage to say yes. That was my brother, Bill.
Danny had missed the bus. Danny had missed the bus because school had been cancelled that day due to a snowstorm. Members of the team converged on Elvis Saputo’s house where plenty of drinking ensued.
There was a game that night. A few of the players did not care. Danny was one of them.
So Danny stayed on the team. We wound up winning just a handful of games that year. There's a corollary there.
I blame it on the coach who didn’t have enough courage to boot Danny off the team himself. I blame it on myself for voting to let Danny stay. I certainly do not blame it on my brother, Bill.
At some point, rules have to be applied. If they do not apply, why bother having any rules at all? They weren’t applied to Danny. They weren’t applied to Aaron Berry, at least not the first time he got busted in a month.
Thankfully, Schwartz booted him after he was accused of brandishing a gun during an altercation.
The team is better off because of it. Believe me, I know.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Obtaining Lou Gehrig's autograph was a signature moment

Forget that new Escalade. Do you want to drop some serious money? Grab the keys to some sports memorabilia instead.
Eyeing some leather interior? What about a home run ball smacked by Lou Gehrig in the second game of the 1928 World Series? That piece of cowhide brought $62,617 at an auction earlier this month.
So you’re thinking about upgrading to a Bentley? Why don’t you stick with the Ford Fiesta instead and go with some sports memorabilia? A baseball bat used by Ty Cobb during his 2011 MVP season went for $220,000 recently.
Talk about sticker shock. Here’s something else that is equally shocking; not every bat, ball or autograph has a price tag dangling from it.
Memories are priceless, and that is why the Lou Gehrig autograph gathered by my dad when he was a kid will never be spotted on eBay. It will never be the object of an auctioneer’s gavel, either.
It is ironic, because my dad was never into autographs or fawning over professional athletes. He never saw the point of gathering signatures and I tend to agree. Not unless they are on a petition to recall the Kardashians, Snooki and JWoww.
But my dad cherished his Lou Gehrig autograph. Really, it was the only one he ever bothered to get. I think even more than the signature, he enjoyed recalling the manner in which it was obtained.
Dad grew up on the south side of Chicago. It was a town he shared with Al Capone, the Bears, the Cubs and the White Sox.
New York Yankees' teammates Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth share a light-hearted moment.

Dad was a sports nut. He played basketball and baseball at Hirsch High School and was supposed to do likewise at what was then Michigan State College in East Lansing.
Only World War II intervened and dad opted to join the Navy instead. He spent four years in the Navy, and when he returned to the Michigan State campus, games no longer seemed so important.
He spent most of his working life as a teacher, coach and later, athletic director, with the Walled Lake schools.
Dad died some years back. The Lou Gehrig autograph was part of his legacy. You do not stick a price tag on something like that.
When dad was a boy, the Yankees were in town to play the White Sox. Dad’s favorite player was Lou Gehrig, and he heard from a buddy that Gehrig was going to dine with a lady who lived in a nearby apartment building.
They politely asked that lady if it would be all right if they stopped by when Gehrig was there, and she said sure.
Well, it was not that simple. The doorman would not let them in. Dad and his pal had to go around back, climb the fire escape, and get to the floor where the apartment was located.
When they knocked on the apartment door, there was Gehrig. They were awestruck. He could not have been more gracious, and they could not have been more intimidated. He kindly signed the back of a business card, and then asked if they wanted to stay for supper.  Dumbstruck, they stammered in unison “No thank you.”
That autograph stayed in my dad’s dresser drawer for years. He hardly ever showed it to anyone, but the fact he kept it for so long indicated how much he cherished it.
The autograph is not even at the house where I grew up in Walled Lake any longer. My nephew, Andrew, is a huge baseball fan. He played in high school, played a year in college, and is now a junior varsity baseball coach in Grand Rapids. He’s got the autograph, and it is nestled in a frame along with a picture of Gehrig that was purchased in Cooperstown.
It’s a shrine to Gehrig, I guess. It’s also a cherished memory of my dad. I have no idea what it is worth, but some recollections are invaluable.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dumb and dumber

I was watching Kelli and her temporary co-host, Josh Groban, the other day.
Included among their guests that day were Snooki and JWoww, a.k.a., Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley.
Apparently, these two Mensa members have moved off the Jersey Shore and into their own reality television show.
Snooki isn’t married but is pregnant. JWoww talked about being in the delivery room when her friend has the baby. Kelli then asked about the Situation. Turns out she was asking about a guy on the Jersey Shore.
I was not really listening. The lower case situation is disturbing enough.
Not to be judgmental, but is this country going into the crapper or what?
I mean, turn on the television for more than two minutes and you’re confronted by morons  beating the bejabbers out of one another on Jerry Springer, cartoon characters uttering obscenities on The Family Guy and a toothless guy residing in Kentucky wrestling snapping turtles and shadow boxing rabid raccoons..
Just how much lower can the lowest common denominator be anyway?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Lions' Avril plays (franchise) tag with management

On one hand, it’s tough to feel remotely sorry for a guy who will be making $10.6 million in the coming year.
Especially for a guy like me who is still tooling around in a ’97 subcompact with a muffler so full of holes it sounds like a Peterbilt coming home to roost when I’m tooling through the neighborhood after work at 2 a.m. or so.
The exhaust system needs to be replaced, but I can’t afford the $500 or so.
Still, I cannot help but feel a little bit sorry for the Lions’ Cliff Avril, a talented defensive end who will be making $10.6 million.

That’s the amount designated because he is the team’s franchise-tagged player.
Avril had wanted a long-term contract, but negotiations with the team fell apart Monday.
“I’m not mad,” Avril said to the Associated Press. “Business is business. You can’t take it personal. I wanted a deal last year, too, and they told me to go out and perform. It goes back to being a business. They can do whatever they want, obviously.”
Avril has definitely performed. The third round draft pick out of Purdue in 2008 has gotten more productive every season. He led the Lions with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles last year.
Contrast Avril’s performance with 2010 first-round pick Ndamukong Suh, whose production dropped off markedly during his sophomore year.
Suh was selected second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and signed a five-year, $68 million contract with $40 million guaranteed.
Suh definitely earned his money in his rookie season when he led the team, all rookies, and all defensive tackles in the league, with 10 sacks. He also made 49 solo tackles and had 17 assists.
It was a phenomenal season for anyone, much less the new kid on the block.
But last year, Suh thudded back to earth. He managed a paltry four sacks. He made 23 fewer solo tackles (26) and only 10 assists. He also only played 14 games because he was suspended for two games after stomping on the arm of Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Despite his subpar second season, Suh did not hand any money back to the Lions. And, despite Avril’s continued excellence, the Lions did not hand Avril a long-term deal.
One-year contracts in the NFL are treacherous. Due to the violence inherent in the game, every snap could potentially precipitate a guy’s last play. Knees get torn asunder all of the time. Shoulders get ripped and ankles get twisted and nearly every hut, hut is followed by Taps playing in the direction of someone’s career.
Contracts in the NFL are not etched in stone. The only thing guaranteed is the bonus money up front and there is not much of anything guaranteed excepting a whole lot of taped-up anxiety in a one-year deal with no bonus money attached.
Superlative defensive end Cliff Avril got the bum’s rush this year. But that is the system.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Jerry Lubanski Bazeball Classic

Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. On Van Dyke just off McNichols on the east side.
There have been a lot of mournful hymns in Mt. Olivet’s 100-plus years of existence, so the final tune that the Lubanski family busted out, joined in heartily by Reverend Edward Prus, was probably something a little new to the musical charts.
It was time for the final tearful goodbyes. It was also time for a rousing chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
One of the items left in the casket of Jerry Lubanski, who died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 69 in May of 2009, was a baseball with a note scrawled on it by Jerry and Kathleen’s oldest son, David.
Jerry and Kathleen Lubanski have three children; David, Jason and Susan. All three are graduates of Shrine High School in Royal Oak. Jerry Lubanski coached baseball for a couple of decades at Shrine; both at the grade school and high school.

David Lubanski (left) and Marty O'Neill will play in the Jerry Lubanski Bazeball Classic set for noon, Saturday, July 21, at Royal Oak High School. (Daily Tribune staff photo by Ray J. Skowronek)

“Dad loved baseball. He had a passion for baseball,” said David Lubanski. “He especially loved Shrine baseball and Tiger baseball.”
The inaugural Jerry Lubanski Bazeball Classic will be held Saturday, July 21, at the field at Royal Oak High School. While everybody is welcome, the diamond will be largely populated by players who took the field for Coach Lubanski. His coaching career at Shrine began in the early 1970s and he took over the varsity program in 1985.
Coach Lubanzki always pronounced it “bazeball.”
Interested players should dust off their mitts, spit shine the  bats, pop a couple of Advil and simply show up at the field. The game is slated to begin at noon.
“Consistency,” said Marty O’Neill, who graduated from Shrine in 1988. “That was the hallmark of every Jerry Lubanski team. I played for Coach Lubanski for six years, and I never missed a practice or a game. He just made the game fun.”
O’Neill played for Coach Lubanski from the seventh grade on. O’Neill, a State Farm insurance agent in Ferndale, has two kids.
“I can’t remember anyone ever quitting the team,” he said. “That is a remarkable testament to the coach.”
Jerry Lubanski was joined by Tony Andrus Sr. on the coaching staff at Shrine.
Kathleen Lubanski will throw the first pitch at Jerry Lubanski Bazeball Classic Saturday.
“We have probably heard from 50 people, and every one of them expressed an interest in playing,” said O’Neill. “Some said they could not make it because of other commitments. But even those guys indicated they would like to play next year if we have another game.”
Chances are, there will be another game. They will have the game because there is no better way to remember Jerry Lubanski. He grew up in Hamtramck when that community was a hotbed of baseball. He attended St. Ladislaus when eight of the nine starting players his senior year went on to play in college. Jerry Lubanski was among them. He went on to Central Michigan University.
Jerry Lubanski was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He worked security at Chrysler for years before retiring. After that, he took a job at Superior Fish.
“When we were just kids, my dad would take us all to the park to play baseball. Well, there was one kid in the neighborhood who would always harass me. We were Polish and he was German. Still, my dad would always stop by his house to see if he wanted to play baseball with us,” said David Lubanski.
“At my dad’s funeral, that same guy from the neighborhood said my dad’s kindness is what he remembered most; how he would always stop to pick him up to play baseball even with all the aggravation he caused.”
Inclusion was something else that earmarked any team Jerry Lubanski coached. It didn’t matter if you were the second coming of Derek Jeter or so jittery at the plate you couldn’t hit a 33 mph fastball. If you were on the team, you were on the team.
A lot of guys who are no longer kids will be on the team at Royal Oak High Saturday.
“It will be emotional, especially at first,” said David Lubanski. “But after that, we’ll just have fun and laugh and play baseball.”
Spoken like a true Lubanski.

Jim Evans is a sports writer for the Daily Tribune. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @jimevanssports

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kiss 'em Kate? Verlander and Upton are an item

I have two daughters older than supermodel Kate Upton. That puts things into perspective rather quickly.
Honestly, I don’t know Kate Upton.
The only thing I know about her is what I have seen on TMZ and on the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
I guess that means I have seen a lot.

I don’t know the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, either. I mean, not really. I’ve seen him pitch plenty. I know he can throw a baseball 100 miles an hour. I know he won both the Cy Young and the American League MVP Award last season.
I didn’t know that Justin Verlander and Kate Upton even knew one another until I began reading they’ve been seen around town lately.
Normally, that would not bother me. I say congratulations to them both. Upton is originally from the west side of the state and Verlander works in Detroit. They are both young, they are both single, and they are both successful.
However, Verlander’s success means a lot more to me than Upton’s. If he is successful, so are the Tigers. If the Tigers are successful, people around the Detroit area feel good. If the people around Detroit are feeling good, that includes me. I like feeling good and that has nothing to do with Kate Upton.
Normally I couldn’t care less how somebody pitches in the Major League Baseball All-Star game. Those games mean less to me than watching Tom Cruise bounce around on Oprah’s couch. But Tuesday night wasn’t normal. There was Verlander on the mound throwing 100 miles an hour out of the gate. Then he was throwing 101 miles per hour at the urging of teammate Prince Fielder. It was as if he was showing off.
For his fellow All-Stars. For the fans in Kansas City. For Kate Upton?
Verlander got rocked. He got rolled. He pitched worse than Buttermaker before a couple of boilermakers.
It was the Bad News Bears. Is this bad news for the Tigers?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Home Run Derby: A crowning achievement?

Where in the name of Mel Ott are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) folks when it comes to the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby?
I swear on a stack of hardhats and safety glasses, somebody from MLB must be paying off the folks from OSHA.
One other possibility; our own governor, Rick Snyder, is in charge of the entire Home Run Derby operation.
A bunch of kids in the outfield in Kansas City Monday night wearing nothing but shoes, pants, shirts and baseball gloves. No OSHA regulations dictating helmets. No other safety measures at all in place.

Sounds hauntingly like the state of Michigan. Motorcyclists can tool around wearing nothing but receding hairlines. Helmets are no longer required. Same goes with fireworks. Common sense is no longer required. Everything short of sticks of dynamite seems to be all right. I swear my neighborhood sounded like downtown Kabul last week.
Sorry for the tangent. Back to the all-star game. Powerful men ripping baseballs with such force they’d beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the grocery store and back. Those baseballs either disappear into the seats or go seering into the outfield.
On the receiving end of those outfield shots are a bunch of kids.
Don’t get me wrong, it must be a thrill to be in that outfield. What a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an even greater story to tell your buddies and later on, your kids and grandkids. Catching a ball hit by the Dodgers’  Matt Kemp. Grabbing one off the bat of defending home run derby champ Robinson Cano of the Yankees.  Camping under one of those high flying pyrotechnics from the Tigers’ Prince Fielder.
What worries me is if one of the kid’s misses. All of a sudden, that Crest smile looks like something from the set of Deliverance.
Anyway, another home run derby has come and gone. Nobody’s gone from the sports pages to the obituaries.
Not yet anyway. No thanks to OSHA, MLB or Gov. Snyder.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Have a great Fourth of July

Ever been to Arlington National Cemetery?
It’s a solemn place; both incredibly beautiful and immensely disturbing. Row after row of simple headstones. More than 300,000 in all. Each at close quarters and all standing at attention. A salute toward heaven perhaps? The cemetery’s rolling hills are dotted with trees, monuments and gardens. There are 624 developed acres and they all serve the same purpose.
What about Vietnam Veterans Memorial with its deeply affecting black granite wall? Engraved in it are the names of thousands of men and women whose lives ended way too soon.
The World War II Memorial? It honors all of those who served in the armed forces, including the more than 400,000 who died. It also recognizes the war effort on the home front and is located on the National Mall’s central axis in Washington D.C.
There’s a man in my neighborhood who is a veteran of the Korean war. He has a "Freedom Isn’t Free" bumper sticker on his van.
Truer words have never either been spoken or written. We’re still losing some of our best and brightest. Lance Cpl. Steven Stevens II of Detroit was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade when his platoon was ambushed while on patrol in Afghanistan. His funeral was held Monday afternoon at Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield. A husband, father and Marine, Stevens was 23 years old.
All of the above might be something to consider while biting into your third hot dog at the Fourth of July picnic. Or before slipping your left leg into a burlap sack as you get ready for the start of the three-legged race. Or as you wipe the yolk from the front of your T-shirt after yet another failed attempt to win the egg toss.
Maybe you are heading to the Tigers’ game against the Twins at Comerica Park Wednesday. Or going to Metro Beach or Kensington Park for a day of relaxation.
The Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day. But for most of us, it’s only acknowledged as a day of independence from work.
I guess it is human nature to forget the significance of holidays. But at the very least we should all take time to reflect on what we have, thanks largely to the sacrifices of others.
That reflection is especially important now when more and more of us are feeling sorrier and sorrier for ourselves because maybe we’re not making as much as we used to or we’re driving a car that’s nearly 10 years old or that is hamburger on the grill and not a sirloin steak.
The Fourth of July celebrates our independence. During the American Revolution, the separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence. The wording of the document was approved on July 4.
That independence was earned through the blood and tears of countless people. It has been preserved in the same way, too. I know Memorial Day is a time to remember the ultimate sacrifices of the military men and women. Veterans Day also honors those who have served.
To me, it’s hard to separate the three. Our freedom and continued independence comes from those who have fought for this country. It doesn’t matter if it was at Yorktown, Saipan or Afghanistan.
Have a great Fourth of July. Go on, inhale another hot dog. Take another helping of baked beans and another chunk of red velvet cake. Just remember what my neighbor’s bumper sticker says. Freedom definitely is not free.

Pay (and play) it forward

Pay It Forward.
Ever see that movie? Kevin Spacey is the teacher. Haley Joel Osment is the pupil. The assignment: Think of a way to change the world and put your idea into action.
Why not repay good deeds with a brand new batch of good deeds?
Pay It Forward II. The backdrop is youth baseball in Royal Oak.
Veteran coaches Steve Weiss and Norm Johnson play the Kevin Spacey role. Haley Joel Osment’s character is played by a handful of young men who are helping Weiss and Johnson coach a travel team made up mostly of 11-year-old players.
Johnson and Weiss have done plenty of good deeds in the past. They have donated their time season after season. They have made a positive impact on kids year after year.
Coach Steve Weiss talks baseball with his 11-under travel team. (Daily Tribune Photo by Liz Carnegie)

Pay It Forward, decided the young coaches.
“Bob Sullivan called and asked I’d help Steve coach this team,” said Norm Johnson. “I told him yes, but we would have to have some younger guys helping, too. I mean, I can’t move like I used to.”
With that he laughed, and then he looked out onto the field at Worden Park where the travel team was getting ready for its first foray into tournament play. The Royal Oak squad headed to Clio Friday for a weekend event that concluded today.
Among the younger members of the coaching staff are Norm Johnson’s son, Nick; as well as Derrick Weiss, who is Steve’s son.
The other young coaches include John Harris, Andy Seidl, Matt Wilusz and Mike Cyrocki. All are in their early 20s except for Cyrocki, who just graduated from high school.
“I wanted to pass on what all of my coaches including my dad have taught me over the years,” said Derrick Weiss.
He grew up playing youth baseball in Royal Oak. It started out in the ROSL, branched off to travel baseball, and then he went on to play on some outstanding teams at Brother Rice High School.
Ironically, while both managed teams in the Royal Oak Sandlot League, Norm Johnson and Steve Weiss squared off in the World Series one season. Their sons, Nick and Derrick, played for their fathers’ teams.
“They were a dominating team, and they won the first game, but we came back to win the next two and win the Series,” said Derrick.
His father played his youth baseball in Oak Park, Berkley and Royal Oak. He later played high school baseball at Berkley High School.
“I just love the game,” said Steve Weiss. “I’ve always loved baseball. It’s neat hearing Derrick telling the players some of the same things I told him years ago. He has his own ideas, too.”
Norm Johnson’s background contains the same sort of affection for baseball. He started out playing, and has been coaching for a long time now. He first got involved in coaching T-ball when his oldest son, Adam, began playing.
“I just love being around the kids,” said Norm Johnson. “It’s exciting to see the young guys coaching.”
Pay It Forward. In this case, it’s Play It Forward.
“I remember playing tournament baseball when I was 11,” said Nick Johnson, who is studying marketing at Wayne State University. “My dad started a tournament in Royal Oak, and we played travel teams. It was great. I just like passing on the things that my dad taught me.”
Some kids playing baseball in Royal Oak now are benefitting from the expertise of some young men who used to play baseball in Royal Oak.
Meanwhile, still doing good deeds are Steve Weiss and Norm Johnson.
Who needs a script writer when real life occupies the coaches’ boxes along first and third base?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Jordin Tootoo the tattoo artist

The cringing just might cease.
That was, sadly, the expression of choice when watching the Red Wings’ in the playoffs.
A highly skilled team, the Wings seemed to get nailed time and time again by the opposing team.
Nailed and nailed, hammered and hammered. What is this, a hockey game or a membership meeting of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters?
Guys took runs at the Red Wings all of the time.
Most of those runs were never returned.
Enter Tootoo the Tattoo.

Jordin Tootoo (left) battles Sean Avery of the New York Rangers.

A couple of days ago, the Red Wings signed the 29-year-old Tootoo, who had played his entire eight-season NHL career in Nashville.
“Obviously we’ve played against him,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s hard, he’s physical, and we think he can help the bottom six by providing some energy and physicality along with Darren Helm. We’re trying to get some more edge to the bottom six and he’ll do that.”
Don’t get me wrong; I love the Red Wings. I just could not stand the way they got continually turned into steak tartare once the physical stuff started.
Tootoo played 486 games for the Predators. He racked up 725 career penalty minutes and 125 points.
“I think I bring a special element to the game that no other player does,” Tootoo told Bill Roose, the managing editor of “For me, my foundation is being a physical presence out there, but at the same time I know that I can contribute offensively. It’s all about opportunities, and for me I know it’s not going to be given. I have to work every day to become a better professional both on and off the ice, and at this point in my career I believe I’m in the prime and I’m ready to take on challenges that arise.”
In recent years, the Wings and Predators have built a heated rivalry. Nashville eliminated the Red Wings in this year’s playoffs. Tootoo always seemed to be at the forefront of the rivalry.
While Tootoo is definitely a tough guy, he is not an NHL heavyweight. The game has changed. This move doesn’t resurrect the Bob Probert-Joey Kocur days. But Tootoo is definitely a difficult guy to play against. He’ll leave a welt in the corner. He’ll provide both a contusion and an abrasion in front of the net.
He’s a guy the Red Wings have needed for quite some time. You call him Jordin Tootoo. Me, I’m going with Jordin Tattoo.