Found January 12, 2013 on The Detroit Sports Site:
Nashville_predators_v_f78d
Love him or hate him, new Detroit Red Wings’ forward Jordin Tootoo has always possessed an uncanny talent for making a big impact on the game. Yes, at times it might have been a very noisy, annoying impact, considering the prevalence of yowling train whistles which followed his on-ice arrival in Nashville. No worries Red Wings’ fans, that trend probably won’t be continuing in Hockeytown, USA. The nickname “Tootoo train” will likely be continued more as a badge of honor in Detroit and used less as a tactic to sell cheesy novelty items. The most important trend that will continue though, is Tootoo’s ability to be hockey’s best current agitator. He’s gritty, he’s testy, and he’s got no problem mixing it up for the betterment of his team. Tootoo will make the big hit, take a punch, start a fight, or finish a fight. The Red Wings have been missing a player like that since Dallas Drake retired after the 2008 season. Since then, what has been the critique of the Red Wings come playoff time? They’re not tough enough, nor are they hard enough to play against top to bottom. There’s been nobody on the lower lines, sans Justin Abdelkader, willing to mix it up, score a dirty goal or force the opposition to think twice about physically testing Detroit’s top-line superstars. As a result, teams like Phoenix, San Jose and Nashville have been able to outmuscle the Red Wings and get inside their heads, which quickly zaps their will in a long series. Finally, the days of that should be over once again. Tootoo’s not always a major scoring threat, but he’s a constant threat to drop the gloves, be a motormouth and play the Dino Ciccerelli role. Every championship team has a player like that who makes a difference, even though his name might not be the one drawing most of the attention. Be it Darren McCarty, Joey Kocur, Kirk Maltby or Drake, every one of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup teams have had a spark plug that the opposition just seems to hate. Their less successful teams haven’t found the proper balance between being abrasive and finesse. A player like Tootoo impacts the whole game. His hits can change momentum on a dime. His willingness to fight and stand up for teammates can galvanize a team, and his goals, ever sporadic as they may be, can be the unexpected contribution which makes an offense look much better. As far as a low risk, high reward signing goes, Ken Holland knocked the ball out of the park by snapping up Tootoo. Red Wings’ fans should know that, being they’ve likely loathed his every move for the past six seasons. Secretly, though, many would probably admit he’s just what the Red Wings have been missing lately. Think for a moment about Mike Babcock being able to pair Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Tootoo together. The speed, grittiness and determination of that line would be off the charts. Call them the “sandpaper” line, because they’d be that abrasive to the opposition. The potential success for such a grouping is a very exciting prospect to consider. In March of 2012, Tootoo took on the Blackhawks’ Brandon Bollig early in the first period. The fight was a mismatch across the board. Bollig was taller and outweighed Tootoo. Still, that didn’t stop the spark plug from trying to ignite something in a critical contest. After Bollig landed a major punch, Tootoo immediatly got back up and skated to the locker room to the delight of his teammates. He never returned thanks to injury, but the will of his team suddenly appeared. The Predators went on to paste Chicago 6-1, stopping their five game winning streak. That night, Tootoo set the tone early. Detroit’s got that type of effort to look forward to, which should make their Red Wings a much tougher team to play against across the board in 2013. As trump cards go, Tootoo might be the best one in hockey thanks to all these rough and tumble intangibles. Now, he’s a member of the home team. Game on. Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Pavel Datsyuk impresses at KHL All Star Game Skills Competition Shootout

Pavel Datsyuk made the decision to participate in the KHL All Star weekend instead of returning to the U.S. right away to get ready for the Red Wings training camp.  At first I was worried, but he doesn’t need training camp.  These moves just continue to show that he is in mid-season form and his performances in the KHL have been awesome.  I can’t wait to see him back in a...

Red Wings officially recall Smith and Brunner, bring up Lashoff

I guess one must follow the CBA to the letter, per the Red Wings' PR department: RED WINGS RECALL THREE PLAYERS FROM GRAND RAPIDS … Detroit’s 2012-13 Training Camp Opens Later Today at Compuware Arena … Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that defensemen Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith and forward Damien Brunner have been recalled from the Grand...
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOOT IT

Incredible shootout goal from KHL

After watching Pavel Datsyuk dazzle in the shootout during the skills competition on Saturday, Novosibirsk Siber forward Jori Lehtera had this fantastic move during his penalty shot on Sunday.  The goalie assumed that when he put the puck through his legs that he would pull the puck far side, and he paid for it.  This was a fantastic and unique move that you might see more of...

Wings get training camp under way

PLYMOUTH, Mich. The Detroit Red Wings have always had a very passionate fan base. Many of them make a special trip to Traverse City every September to watch the team during training camp. Because of the lockout and the 48-game season, the Wings are having to adjust to a much quicker schedule. So instead of Traverse City, the Wings settled in at Compuware Arena, home of the...

Red Wings will start selling single-game tickets on Thursday, go w/ ‘Thanks for Sticking With Us’

From the Red Wings' PR department: RED WINGS ANNOUNCE 2012-13 SCHEDULE… Fee-Free Single Game Tickets On Sale Thursday … Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced their 2012-13 schedule that has the Wings playing 48 games in 99 days as Detroit looks to extend its 21-season playoff streak, the longest current streak in professional sports.  Detroit...

Red Wings release 2013 schedule

Updated 2x at 10:53 PM: As it turns out, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen had it down pat. The Red Wings just released their 2013 regular season schedule (per Stephen Brooks on Twitter, the Wings' "calendar view" has national TV info up already) and, as the Free Press's Helene St. James duly noted, this is a 48-games-in-99-nights marathon. I can assure...

St. James, Khan confirm: Zetterberg to be named Wings’ captain Tues, Holmstrom to retire Thu or Fri

If you missed it in the first training camp, day 1 post, the Free Press's Helene St. James reported that the Red Wings will officially name Henrik Zetterberg their captain on Tuesday, and that Tomas Holmstrom will probably officially retire on Thursday or Friday... The Red Wings are starting their campaign to win back fans angered by the lockout by having a free Red and...

Kulfan offers nuts-and-bolts details regarding Red Wings’ training camp

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers news regarding the Red Wings' training camp plans, and updates will follow Kulfan's report: Nothing announced officially from the Red Wings yet, that will come later today, but details regarding the team's Compuware Arena have emerged. The Red Wings will take the ice Sunday from noon to 1:45 p.m. at the NHL rink with doors...

Is this the Red Wings’ 2013 schedule? It’s highly likely.

Via RedWingsFeed, the Red Wings apparently leaked  their 2013 schedule to someone, and DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen snagged it: The condensed 2013 schedule for the Detroit Red Wings will see them play on consecutive days twelve times, with those 24 games counting for fully half of their 48-game slate. Of the twelve times, four sets are in the same city. The Red...

Red Wings training camp opens: Z to be named captain Tue, Homer to retire Thu/Fri, Helm’s back sore

The Detroit Red Wings have officially begun training camp at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, and, for lack of a better term, the Wings' official Twitter account and the beat writers are Tweeting the hell out of it. Here's a selection of said Tweets, with stories from the first day to follow: Continue reading "Red Wings training camp opens: Z to be named captain Tue, Homer...

Red Wings overnight report: today, the Wings begin to ‘answer questions’ in more ways than one

Like everything else that transpired over the course of the NHL's third and most unnecessary lockout, things went ass-backwards on Saturday, and involved a delay that could only involve lawyers trying to rack up as many billable hours as possible. First came the CBA's ratification (with more than a few abstentions) by the NHLPA, and, late on Saturday evening, the NHL and...

Khan: Mike Knuble’s been invited to the Red Wings’ abbreviated training camp

MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings have decided to give 40-year-old Mike Knuble a thank-you for helping out the Grand Rapids Griffins...and they're giving him a chance to finish his career with the team he wanted to finish his career playing for: Veteran forward Mike Knuble, 40, will be attending Detroit Red Wings training camp on a tryout. The 6-foot...

Red Wings overnight report: young Wings team must get in gear quickly, mend fences with fans

The Detroit Red Wings' abbreviated training camp, which will continue at Comuware Arena today (click here for all the details) with practices from 12-12:45 PM and 1-1:45 PM (again, the doors open at 11, admission and parking are free, concessions stands will be open, and there will be a scrimmage on Tuesday at 6 PM, which will also be free to the public, and aired on Fox Sports...

Ilitches apologize to fans on Red Wings.com

The NHL is back…almost.  Games are scheduled to resume some time this month, so owners, players and everyone involved with the lockout are reaching out to the fans to beg for their mercy. Today, it was Red Wings owners, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who extended their apology on redwings.nhl.com. Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, I am very thankful for everything you have done with the city of...

We Return to 14th and Clark

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock speaks to his team during the first day of NHL hockey training camp. The Blues open their season at home Jan. 19, against the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo: Scott Neer/TSN Photography) There is no place I’d rather be on a Sunday afternoon in January than hanging out with friends at The post We Return to 14th and Clark appeared first on No Coast Bias.
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.