There’s a time for war and there’s a time for peace. Even though, as I type this, the Columbus Blue Jackets organization is holding development camp for its upcoming soldiers, it’s nevertheless a time we put our weapons aside and let brothers be brothers. And although he isn’t my brother, John Evans from octopusthrower.com, Fansided Network’s Detroit Red Wings site, is my friend. I sat down with him (and by “set down with him” I really mean “emailed over the past week”) to gage his opinion on the Blue Jackets and the Red Wings. Hop on over to Octopus Thrower after this to see his interview with me!
Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
1. You live in Columbus. Why a Red Wings fan again?
Much to the dismay of many local residents, most of my family is from Michigan. My dad watched the Wings for my whole life, and around 2002 I decided I was going to get into hockey. This of course happened to be the year the Wings won the cup with a powerhouse of a team with future Hall-of-famers on the 4th line, so I got spoiled kind of quickly.
2. How does Octopus Thrower differ from other Red Wings blogs?
One thing I really like about our blog is our variety, which is certainly is a hallmark of the fansided network. Peter brings a lot of fantastic updates and he can bring people up to speed on prospects like no other. Christina always has a ton of unique ideas that you won’t find anywhere else, like her Avengers/Red Wings mash up. Tom has a knack for making great arguments to back up his ideas, even if they’re a little crazy sometimes. Jack is a young writer who is really working on his craft. Oh, and I write stuff too sometimes.
Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
3. Why are you passionate about Detroit?
Although I wasn’t born there, there’s an incredible thing about the city itself. Being there live for a game is really something else. The history of the team, the high rise of the late 90s and 2000s, 23 consecutive playoff appearances, there’s a ton to be proud of with this team. Some fans never get to see their team win a cup in their lifetime, Detroit has won 4 in mine. Watching Steve Yzerman is what hooked me on hockey to begin with, especially watching him work through a knee injury in the 2002 playoffs to put the team on his back. Although this is my first time living in a NHL market as an adult, there’s no way I could give up my Wings fandom.
5. One nice thing about Columbus
There’s a lot to like about the city of Columbus. Particularly, the arena district. There’s so much to do before and after games that it becomes an event. The North Market, R-bar, Dirty Franks (my personal favorite) all so close by. There’s a lot to appreciate as far as how unique Nationwide Arena is. And love it or hate it, there’s something to appreciate about something as unique as the cannon.
Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
6. One nice thing about the CBJ organization
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team engage in fan organizations the way the CBJ organization does. I don’t care much for the 5th line saying, but the fact that it was thought up by a fan blog/group and that they adopted it really seemed to get people engaged. Much in the same way I may not like all the CBJ fan organizations, but I think it’s cool they’re actually trying to change the nationwide arena atmosphere instead of just complaining about it. They recognize that they aren’t selling out every game and aren’t looked upon as a traditional hockey market, but they’re doing what they have to do to build a fan base and that’s pretty impressive.
7. Future of CBJ-DET series?
I wrote about this at the start of the season and both teams lack a little of what a strong rivalry really needs, but who knows what the future holds? Both teams have to be legitimately good for it to be a rivalry, no one likes a one sided affair. You can’t get hyped up for a game that your team is supposed to wipe the floor with their opponent because there’s nothing to gain. If they win, they were expected to. If they lose, oh the humiliation! It’s unfortunate that they’re in different divisions as well, because nothing builds a rivalry like playoff match ups, as I’m sure you’re noticing with Pittsburgh.
8. What do red wings have to do to get better?
Detroit is a tough spot at the moment. They have a strong forward corps, but Datsyuk and Zetterberg aren’t getting younger. Both missed half the season with injuries last year, and I’ve never heard to an athlete in his 30s to start to have major injuries (knee for Datsyuk, Zetterberg had back issues) and turn around one season and not be injured at all. So we can anticipate both will gradually play less and less as they age. Additionally, Detroit has traditionally been able to get by with medicore “good enough” goaltending by having a superb defense. The defense isn’t superb anymore, and Jimmy Howard is good but definitely not great in net. One of those two needs serious upgrades if they’re going to be a cup team.
I’d like to thank John Evans for giving great insight and analysis. Like I mentioned, be sure to head on over to octopusthrower.com to read his interview with me. And don’t feel guilty about lingering to read their content. Just call it scouting the enemy.