(Title Tune: Won't You Come Home, Bill Baily?)
15 April 2008
Mr. Brendan Shanahan
c/o The New York Rangers
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY 10121
Dear Mr. Shanahan,
How are you doing today? I just happened to catch the third and overtime periods of the loss to the New Jersey Devils, the other night, and I’m sorry you lost. I was rooting for you and the Rangers. Maybe, if you came back to Detroit that wouldn’t happen so much.
Sorry for the slam, it wasn’t intended. You see, I am a hockey fan from Hockeytown and I have been transplanted into, of all places, Oklahoma. These people don’t know the difference between a clothes line and a blue line.
One of my friends asked me if I wanted to go skating sometime and I said, “You mean roller blade?” Then he informed me that Tulsa, OK, the buckle of the Bible belt, had an ice rink. I almost fell over.
You know curiosity makes me almost want to go and see it. Maybe, it’ll be good for a laugh or something. I was raised (almost) with a pair of ice hockey skates on my feet, right on the outskirts of Detroit.
I used to root for the Red Wings when they called them the “Dead” Wings. Hockey has always been my game. We used to play all winter long and Michigan winters can be long.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. While you were with Detroit, your stats were pretty good. Usually, you had between 50-80 total points. Not too shabby in my book.
You had stints with the St. Louis Blues and the New Jersey Devils but in looking at those stats, you improved a lot with the Wings. You might attribute that to the coaching of Scotty Bowman, one of my favorite coaches. Now with the Rangers, you seem to have dropped some, even though your total points land in the 40-60 range.
You can say that your older now and not in as good a shape as you were with Detroit or that you peaked in Hockeytown and now your planning on retiring soon and just want to play maybe a season or two more. I don’t blame you. I look forward to retirement as well.
Ask yourself something, though. Do you want to win another Stanley Cup? Do you want to skate around the rink one more time holding that most sacred trophy in all of sports, once again? Kind of thrilling just thinking about it, eh?
Now I’m not saying that the Rangers aren’t going to win the Cup this year (well, they’re not because the Wings are going all the way), they are a fine hockey club. Maybe, this year they will meet the Wings in the finals. Personally, I’d like to see that, an “Original Six” SC Final.
What I am saying is that I think (my opinion) that you would have a better shot with Detroit than with New York. I could be wrong, though, I have been wrong before.
Think about it. I know that some fans in Hockeytown still wear Red Wing jerseys with the name “Shanahan” on the back and even though they are cheering their hearts out, there is a sadness in their eyes that their favorite player has added a color to his uniform (red, white, blue as opposed to red and white).
Oh, it would be nice for Detroit to acquire Mike Modano from the Dallas Stars or Joe Thornton from the San Jose Sharks but they would be adding to the depth of the Wings. To me, you are like a missing piece of a puzzle that Detroit and Hockeytown, itself, needs to complete it.
Consider it, think about it, talk it over with your family and friends. I know it is a big decision but I think it would be well worth it. Won’t you come home, B. Shany?
Sincerely Yours from (my heart is in) Hockeytown,
Brian Kates (Columnist)
The Bleacher Report
PS. I know that I’m dating myself with “Won’t you come home, Bill Bailey” but check it out on YouTube if you don’t know it…… BAK