Hello my fellow Wing-Nuts and hockey fans.
I was planning on writing another Player Spotlight, but given the recent tragedy in Russia involving the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and three former members of the Red Wings, I have decided to write this instead.
When I first heard the news my first initial thoughts were, "Why did this happen and why, once again, does something bad involve the Wings?" For me this brought up the memory from the limo crash in 1997, which ended the career of Vladimir Konstantinov who was by far one of the greatest brute force defensemen the Wings have ever had.
But once I took off the Wing-Nut hat and put on the Hockey Fan hat, I then realized, this plane crash didn't just affect the Wings, but every team and not just those of the various leagues, but the entire hockey community. The one thing that makes hockey players different is they are "enemies" when on the ice, but friends when off. Yes, I can name a few players who most likely are still disliked when off the ice, but if something were to happen to them, I'm sure there'd be players singing their praises. It is my hope that somewhere out there, there are a bunch of men and women creating Lokomotiv Yaroslavl remembrance patches to add to every teams jersey for this season. And sadly, if that doesn't happen, then I am sure the Wings will do something to honor Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei, and Stefan Liv. At the very least, McCrimmon's family and Salei's family will be taken very well cared of by the organization.
McCrimmon, played for 18 seasons; 3 of which were with the Red Wings. He was most recently an assistant coach for the Wings. He signed as head coach for Lokomotiv, it was his desire to one day become a head coach for the NHL. He was 52.
Salei, played for 14 seasons; last season with the Wings. When he wasn't given a contract extention for this coming season he signed a deal with Lokomotiv. He was 36.
Liv, was drafted by the Wings in 2000 and signed to a one year deal back in 2006. He played for the Grand Rapids Griffins that year, and was called up as a back-up goalie for two weeks in November, but never saw any NHL action. After that year was up he returned to the Swedish Elite League. He was 30.
The other former NHL players involved in the crash includes: Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek, Alexander Vasyunov, Alex Karpovtsev, Igor Korolev.
There has been a lot of tragedy for the sport as a whole long before the season has started. And it is my hope, as an overall fan of hockey, that every one of these players is given special recognition. May they all rest in peace.
I leave you a link to nhl.com to a video tribute that they have created: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=122451