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|The goal that sounded great on the radio|
|Thursday, 24 December 2009 23:05|
Steve Yzerman’s legacy will live on in the record books, and in the hearts of Red Wings fans, as long as there is hockey in Detroit. Sure would’ve been nice to see him play in person.
Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series highlighting the NHL's most memorable and important moments of the decade.
Growing up in suburban Detroit my best friend, Ryan, was a hockey kid who skated from an early age and played in travel leagues all the way through high school. I wasn't a big hockey fan, but was always excited to go to Joe Louis Arena on the few occasions that my father scored Wings tickets from a client. I was especially psyched when he handed me a pair of tickets for the Nov. 26, 1999 game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Steve Yzerman was one goal away from the 600th of his career.
The previous game Yzerman could’ve gotten the job done on an empty netter but instead passed it to Brendan Shanahan. On this night, he was not quite so selfless.
I’d love to go into detail describing the glory of that 600th goal. I wish I could. But I can’t. Because what I failed to mention about my best friend Ryan, the hockey player, is that while he might’ve been a pretty fast skater, he is the slowest human being in the world when it comes to getting ready to go out.
So while we were searching for a parking spot in a lot down the street from the Joe, the sounds of Stevie Y becoming just the 11th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goal mark played on our car radio.
When we finally got to our seats, located about 20 or 30 rows behind the goal Yzerman scored his 600th on, I was not happy. I brooded the entire game. The fact that I was so upset speaks to how much the Captain transcends hockey, and penetrates a broader culture in the metropolitan area — a true Spirit of Detroit.
Luckily for Ryan, YouTube was created and Stevie Y's goal is archived here.
Ryan was also lucky that we weren’t alive on Nov. 27, 1965 and therefore not late for the 600th career goal scored by Gordie Howe, the first NHL player to reach that milestone.
Two years later I was doing an internship at the Palm Beach Post in South Florida when the Wings were playing in the Stanley Cup finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. A woman in the sports department at the paper had no connection to Michigan but sported a Sergei Fedorov jersey to work throughout the playoffs. She was a huge Red Wings fan. It was nice to have someone to talk to about the Wings and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of Detroit Pride.
The Red Wings beat the Hurricanes four games to one, including a 3-2 triple-overtime win in Game 3. After a 3-1 Game 5 victory to clinch the Cup, Scotty Bowman retired.
The first thing Steve Yzerman did after being rewarded the trophy was to hand it to Bowman. Then, the 37-year-old raised the Cup himself.
The moment made me miss being back home in Detroit, especially later in the summer when my friends told stories about being at a bar to which players brought the Cup. The revelers spilled out into the middle of the street and my friends got to drink out of the Cup.
In hockey as in life, everything tastes sweeter in person.
|Last Updated on Monday, 28 December 2009 01:05|