Friday, February 10, 2012

Thousandth Goalie Falls Victim to Tomas Holmstrom...

Instead of writing about the Wings' dramatic victory at the Joe tonight (Have you heard that they're on some kind of winning streak?), I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to one of my most beloved Wings of all time: Tomas Holmstrom.  I remember watching him as a rookie when he couldn't skate to save his life, and his version of stick-handling involved repeatedly chopping the ice with his stick sort of in the general vicinity of the puck.  Despite the fact that not much has changed over the years, Homer managed to carve out a niche for himself and ended up being the best in the league at what he does.  I can't exactly quantify what it is that he does, but it generally involves getting the pulp beat out of him, annoying opposing goalies, serving as a human wall, and deflecting pucks into the net.  I think there's a name for that, but I can't come up with it in any of the languages that I speak (I'm American, so that's only 1.5.).

One thousand games is impressive for anybody, but especially so for a guy like #96.  I look at it like car mileage.  The condition of a car with 80,000 miles on it is going to vary depending on whether those were highway or city miles.  I promise you that Homer didn't have 1,000 games of highway miles.  He joined a bunch of elite Wings in the 1,000 game club, but I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that he had the most brutal route to that milestone.

Homer's had his struggles over the years, but it's impossible not to admire the effort he puts out every single game.  He's fearless, and no defenseman, no matter how big or strong, has ever been able to intimidate him or discourage him from going back to the front of the net.  The abuse he takes in his "office" is so bad that he created extra layers of padding to soften some of the blows.  He still heads straight to the front of the net.  He and the Wings have had a ridiculous amount of goals disallowed because of reputation calls made against him, but that's never stopped him from heading out there to do his job.  Despite never being the most talented guy on the roster, he found a way to make himself valuable.  He found one thing that he excelled at and gave it his all night in and night out.  I think there's something pretty admirable in that.

Here's to you, Homer, and to a thousand sleepless nights that opposing goalies have spent tossing and turning due to nightmares about you and your rear end.