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Stadium and Main: Off-Topic Tuesday: Stevie Y. and Joe D.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Off-Topic Tuesday: Stevie Y. and Joe D.

It was pretty painful as a die-hard Red Wings fan to watch them blow yet another first-round series last night. I give tons of credit to the Oilers - they deserve it all - but it doesn't take away from the sadness of watching Steve Yzerman play what was possibly his last game ever.

I want to make some quick comments about Yzerman and Joe Dumars, because I really think they are two of the most under-appreciated athletes of all time. I am likely biased due to my Detroit roots, but these two guys both possessed a quality that many "great" athletes don't have: complete body control. What does that mean? It means that Yzerman was still shaking players out of their jocks in his early 40's. It means that Dumars could post up on anybody. These guys knew the intricacies of their sports, and knew how to use their bodies to get in perfect position and/or make their opponents look silly.

For Dumars, maybe his greatest asset was his big butt. That's right, his big ol' booty. It allowed him to get position by backing down, and use subtle head and body fakes from there to get open jumpers and even layups. It was uncanny. Current Piston Chauncey Billups has a "mini-booty," but Dumars is the O.G. of the butt. And besides his own offensive positioning skills, it's quite likely that without Dumars' superior defense, the Pistons would have 2 fewer championships and M.J. and the Bulls would have 2 more.

With Yzerman, it was always the best hand-eye coordination in the league. In his prime, he literally won every face-off. Check the tapes. Watching him and the rest of the Wings cycle the puck in the offensive zone circa 1997-98 (and certain years before and after) was a thing of beauty. Yzerman not only saw things happening before anybody else did, he had the body control to make things happen for both himself and his teammates.

With Joe D. rightfully in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Stevie Y. well on his way into Hockey's version, it only seems appropriate to take a look back and remember how amazing these guys really were. Thanks to both for giving me some of the best sports memories of my life.


Blogger Jake said...

Well said! Is it more or does Stevie Y not look the same as those old dudes that retired back in the 80's and 90's? He looks the exact same as he did 15 years ago.

Joe D was about as unathletic as they come which makes his career even more phenomenal.

Legace blows.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Legace is quite poopy. Stats-wise, that was a pretty bad choke job for a goalie (from regular season to playoffs, at least).

8:07 PM  

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