Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thanks For The Memories

Among many, two of my favorites called it a career this past year.

First, the final member of the Red Wings vaunted "Grind Line", Chris Draper retired. 

His 20 year career was highlighted by 4 Stanley Cup Rings and the '03 Selke Award for best defensive forward.  Detroit got all this for value menu price of $1 in the summer of 1993.  A fan favorite due to his work ethic and drive, Draper played in over 1100 games.  A blue collar guy in a blue collar town, Detroit fans appreciated his "never say die" attitude, playing all out until he hit the bench.  Unofficially, #33 is credited with participating in more interviews, charity events, youth clinics, and hospital visits than any other Red Wing.  From a personal stand point, when my nephew was in a Detroit hospital, Drapes was one of the players who visited him.  

Players like this are few and far between and maybe he won't have a plaque in the NHL Hall of Fame, but he will always be remembered as one of the Red Wing greats.   Nice guys don't always finish last.


Second, LaMichael James ends his Duck career.

We knew it was coming, but hoped he might change his mind.   Had it not been for the elbow injury, we might have had a chance at seeing #21 back on the turf at Autzen.  But off he goes and we all wish him well, hoping he can find a niche much like Darren Sproles has at New Orleans.  He truly was a great running back at Oregon from his lighting long runs to his grinding one yarders, we all were LaMichael fans from the first time we saw him in 2009.   We were witness to over 5,000 rushing yards in just 3 seasons, 53 of those attempts finishing in the end zone with his patented frog leap.  


A two time All-American, LaMike has so many Oregon and Pac-12 records it's hard to list them all with out missing one.   Here's hoping he is drafted by a team that knows how to use him and that we see him on ESPN's Top 10 Plays next season.  As was my texting custom on long runs for TD's, for the last time as a Duck, AMF (Adios My Friend) LaMike.

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