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 A Red Wings' fan where?

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PostSubject: A Red Wings' fan where?   Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:03 pm

A lag of a few weeks in posting this. But believe a VERY GOOD story to share.

As you know, I have raved about the food at Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse of Philadelphia, PA, my favorite BBQ restaurant within reasonable driving distance of scenic, historic Trenton, NJ.

Here’s another reason to give DOUBLE THUMBS UP to Sweet Lucy's. An employee first name Rich. Will get his last name on next visit. Obtained the information to enable me to make this post on my last visit, the Monday after Christmas. My last trip for 2015 to the always superb Monday night buffet.



Arrived just after 7 p.m. and the PLACE WAS PACKED. Was told the wait to get a table would be close to an hour. Oh well, made the half-hour drive. So NO PROBLEM waiting. Once I pass through the front doors, am NOT LEAVING until I enjoy the great products of the kitchen.

Caught a BIG break after about 15 minutes as the hostess said there was an open seat at the bar and asked if I wanted to sit there. I accepted quickly and with gratitude.

As the crowd thinned out around 8:30 p.m., I was still awake, having not lapsed into a BBQ coma. Another employee I have gotten to know stopped by to talk NFL. Bryan is a fan of the Indianapolis Colts. From talking with Bryan, he knows that I am a fan of the San Francisco 49ers (since 1967 to be exact). He asked me what I thought the 49ers would do with QB Colin Kaepernick, who was lost for the season in early November to an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

If you are not aware, Kaepernick got into an “altercation,” don’t know if it got physical or not, with TE Vernon Davis in the lockerroom in October. A few days later, Davis was traded, essentially given away, to Denver.

But due to the poor season the 49ers were experiencing and Kaepernick’s poor play, was widely reported that Kaepernick had lost the confidence of his teammates and the coaching staff.

My response to Bryan was that I thought Kaepernick would be released by the 49ers and would be a perfect fit for head coach Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles since the 49ers would reap a big savings against the salary cap. Also, Kelly runs an up-tempo offense that emphasizes the pass and had an ineffective quarterback, Sam Bradford.

(In a strange twist of fate, Kelly was fired as head coach of the Eagles and is now the head coach of the 49ers. Could be that Kaepernick will not be released as I fully expected and will be given a chance to regain the starting QB position.)

Rich was tending bar that night. It was at that point that Rich, a fan of the Eagles in pro football, entered the conversation as I was only one of two people left at the bar. He agreed that Kelly's offense might be able to rejuvenate Kaepernick.

But hey, we’re not here to talk NFL. We’re here to talk NHL.

Bryan went back to work beginning cleanup. Rich and I talked for awhile. Somehow, the topic of which teams each of us root for in other pro sports came up. After I informed Rich that I have been a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins since the 1973-74 season and he feigned throwing up, I said, “Since you’re in Philadelphia (and you just feigned throwing up), you have to be a Flyers’ fan, right?”

(Big plus to Rich. He knew of Penguins' Hall of Fame announcer Mike Lange. Rich said, "He;s that guy who says 'scratch my back with a hacksaw' after Penguin goals." I told him Lange was part of the reason I am a Penguins’ fan.)

So who does Rich root for in the NHL?

Rich is in his early 40s. He grew up a Flyers’ fan. But in the late 1980s, he saw some highlight reel goals from someone all of our Detroit-based owners are VERY familiar with, the captain, No. 19, Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings.

Maybe these were some of the highlight reel goals than helped Rich make his decision.



Yzerman caused Rich to become a Red Wings’ fan, with the Flyers downgraded to his No. 2 team. He couldn’t lose in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals when the Red Wings opposed and swept the Flyers.

Rich added that he was rooting for Darren McCarty to inflict as much damage as possible on Colorado F Claude Lemieux as payback. He said that he was watching on TV, with Gary Thorne and Bill Clement announcing on ESPN, the famous Red Wings-Avalanche game in which McCarty exacted revenge on Lemieux for the cheap shot on Kris Draper. As part of a major brawl that even involved the goaltenders, McCarty pulled free from an official and went after Lemieux, who turtled. (This was one of the great examples of hockey justice I can remember. Quick and with great force.)

Here is a video of Lemieux and McCarty doing a joint interview years later!!!



Rich KNOWS his Red Wings. He knows the announcers Ken Kal and Paul Woods on radio, but he likes Mickey Redmond better.

Rich concedes it isn’t quite the same now. I think all of you Detroit-area owners would agree with that. But it is just not possible for it to remain the same forever. (It is not the same for me as a fan of the 49ers since there was only one Joe Montana, one Jerry Rice, one Ronnie Lott, etc.)

Even though they are still better than average, the Red Wings are going through a transition period as players like Zetterberg and Datsyuk, who have been HUGE for many seasons, are finally slowing up a bit and youngsters like Larkin, Mrazek and Nyquist are the future.

Rich and I DID NOT have time to discuss to two Stanley Cup Finals between the Penguins and the Red Wings.

Nor did I tell him my two stories about former colleague (Ms.) Laurie Spoon-Potter, a lifelong Red Wings fan. Now in her 50s as am I, Laurie and I were colleagues at a PR agency in San Jose. I’ll share those stories at some point.

Back to Rich. I asked if he had any youngsters that he also was bringing along as Red Wings’ fan in the heart of Flyers’ country. He laughed and said, “I have one son who is 12. He LOVES the NHL, but has chosen not to join me in rooting for the Red Wings or Flyers.”

I asked, “What’s up with that? If he doesn’t root for the Red Wings, Flyers and I assume the Penguins (or Rich would have already disowned him), which team does he root for?”

Rich responded, “He did not want to root for the same teams as me. And you’re right about the Penguins. But he and I share a LOVE of Steve Yzerman. My son is a fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning because Steve Yzerman is the general manager.”

Most Philadelphia residents root for Philadelphia teams. This is a VERY unusual case, Rich and his son, rooting for a team outside of Philadelphia because of a favorite player/executive. I think this is VERY COOL because this is why I root for some of the teams I root for, including the San Francisco 49ers and the San Francisco Giants.)

Awesome that Rich’s son savvy to be a fan of Steve Yzerman. And have to believe that having the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup finals last season cemented him as a fan.

Do we have anyone in the group who subscribes to a local newspaper, such as Detroit News or Detroit Free Press? Instead of throwing out sports section, would you mind saving a few that have Red Wings’ coverage and mail to either me or directly to Rich? He would be OVER THE MOON with that. Or if you have any Red Wings’ mementos collecting dust that you no longer want, I have a taker for you.

Also, Rich has said that he has played fantasy hockey in the past. I told him that it would be perfect match for him to come out of fantasy retirement to join the DETROIT-based Fantasy Hockey League!!!

Along with newspapers, whoever sends can pen short note, Red Wings’ fan to Red Wings’ fan, pitching him on joining FHL next season. Or I can get Rich’s Email address.

If Rich joins, any GMs who visit this area would HAVE to come with me to Sweet Lucy’s to meet and greet Rich. Paul, we’d make sure you get food elsewhere.

A VERY COOL story if I do say so myself. A Red Wings’ fan in Philadelphia working at my FAVORITE BBQ RESTAURANT.

I did tell Rich how I first heard about Sweet Lucy's, since I am maybe 25 miles away. I happened to be driving home listening to a Penguins versus Flyers game on the Flyers' station on the car radio. SWEET LUCY'S had just opened and was seeking to build a following by advertising on the Flyers' broadcasts. This was about 10 years ago,

All the planets have aligned. Penguins, Red Wings, Flyers, great BBQ and a new friend who happens to be a fan of the Red Wings and the Flyers. Can't make this up!!!


Last edited by Let's Go Pens!!! on Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:40 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Red Wings' fan where?   Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:17 am

Good read. Thanks for sharing.

Hard to believe the Yzerman era ended 10 years ago. Time is whipping by.

I watched all 10 of those Yzerman goals. Smile

Mickey Redmond might not be most polished commentator/analyst but there is no matching his passion for the game, and that's why he is No. 1 in my mind.

Other reasons to love Mickey:

"What is this, hockey or tiddlywinks?"
"Like a lumberjack fighting for the last pork chop!"
"Bingo, bango!"
"This is no place for a nervous person."
"He got the whole jar of mustard on that one!"  

I no longer subscribe to the News or Free Press - only buy the paper when something extraordinary is plastered on the front page. I have all the Red Wing front pages from their glory days, but sorry, no extra copies.

Never saw the McCarty/Lemieux chat. That was kinda cool. Brought to mind Probert's funeral - seeing guys like Domi and Grimson in attendance. Gotta love the respect hockey players have for each other. You don't see that in all sports.

When we go to Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse I'll stuff a cheese sandwich in my pocket beforehand. That and beer is usually enough. Cool
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PostSubject: Fear not, Paul   Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:20 pm

Paul, if you and I do make it to Sweet Lucy's, there are items on the menu that you can eat. My mistake for not pointing this out earlier.

SL usually has salmon as part of the Monday night buffet. Also, excellent macaroni and cheese, baked beans, Caesar salad, cole slaw and corn bread. (Used to have shrimp in the Monday night buffet but dropped it from the menu. I have been politicking to have shrimp returned. But no luck so far.)

SL also has a good bar with a number of local microbrews. (As you can see on the wall behind Rich in the photo, SL had Nut Roll Ale as Beer of the Month for December.)

So no need to bring along a cheese sandwich. You'd be fine.
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