Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Longing For Another Slice Of Little Caesar’s Pizza

In the audience Wednesday at the Shanahan Summit, among the 400 puck bunnies, sales executives, movie producers, parents, contest winners, beer guzzlers, hip-hop stars and lucky locals who knew somebody who knew somebody, there were two former stars for Michigan State, Justin Abdelkader and Tim Kennedy.

They sat in the stands, in their MSU clothing, and rooted on the prospects. They were teammates in the magical 2007 season, when the Spartans won it all. Both now play in the NHL, Abdelkader for the Red Wings, Kennedy for Buffalo.

And both made it a point to fly in from wherever they were in their professional schedule just to sit together Wednesday. Abdelkader, who could earn millions, flew by Ilitch’s private plane. Cleaves, who’s just been bought out by the Sabres, walked.

It was loyalty, sure. And it was exciting, no doubt. But in talking to both players, it was more than that. It was a chance to do something almost all of us would love to do: recapture, for a few hours, the best time of their lives, bitches.

“In the pros, you don’t hang out with your teammates; everybody has their own life, their wife or their kids or their girlfriends,” Abdelkader said. “And anyhow, you’re together on the plane, at the arena, on the bus, 82 games a season. When you have time, you’re just looking to get away.”

“You gotta miss those college days,” Kennedy said. “We were a family at Michigan State. In the NHL, you’re just not as close.”

The times of the Lifetime Network

When athletes talk about leaving college early, I always wish they would forget for a moment the financial gains or their draft lottery position. I wish they would think about the fun.

I’m not talking about the fun of seeing yourself on “SportsCenter.” You can do that in the pros, too. I’m talking about the fun you take for granted as a 19-year-old because you’ve never known anything else. I’m talking about plopping on the dorm couch and laughing about nothing, or squeezing in an old car and making dumb jokes about how your buddies smell, or sharing a sub sandwich at 3 in the morning, or putting your speakers out the window of your room, or hanging in the cafeteria for hours on end as the table changes characters, some coming, some going, all friends.

“In the pros, it’s funny, you got all these nice houses and nice cars,” Kennedy said, “as opposed to when you were kids riding bikes, staying over each others’ places, going half on a Little Caesar’s pizza. Remember when you had to borrow $2 from the next-door neighbor just to have enough to get it, you know?”

He laughed, and the laughter alone is exactly what I’m talking about.

Real fauxing journalism right there, bitches.

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Comments

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Go to bed, bartender.  I’ll lock up the place.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 02:48 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

And thanks for all this; I’ll catch up in a few.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 02:49 AM ET

VooX's avatar

This is a very special article to me, Andrew, you have no fauxing idea.  I’m waiting for a book deal to come through.  This bartender is going places.

My first book will be called, “Counting Tuesdays with the Chief”.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 02:52 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Great reading, VooX, thank you.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 08/19/10 at 03:30 AM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Or like, remember when you were in college and your best friend’s girlfriend made a move on you and it was totally cool to follow through on it, because they didn’t have kids or anything serious yet?  And you said you’d buy him his weed for the next month if he didn’t slash your tires?  And after he forgave you had to buy him his weed all over again to help pay for the abortion?  Remember?

Ahhh….college.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 08/19/10 at 03:37 AM ET

pensfan29's avatar

Kennedy’s actually an UFA

Posted by pensfan29 on 08/19/10 at 03:39 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

This is pure gold bartender.

It’s kind of surprising to learn about the relationships between the players. I always thought of it as kinda like one big group, and maybe Dangle, Hank, Mule and Homer go for a beer after a game, say Gator, God, Eaves and Miller hang out, etc. 82+ games, practices, travelling etc though is a pretty good argument for wanting some privacy away from the team though.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 08/19/10 at 05:44 AM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Everything so far has been awesome VooX. Can’t wait for the next round of drin..I mean updates.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 08/19/10 at 05:58 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

This bartender is going places.

OH MY GAWD it’s finally clear to me.

You’re Mitch Albom and Oprah’s illegitimate love child.  You’re Damien!

If that’s the case, mix me a double anything, as long as it’s on fire.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 06:23 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

In all seriousness, damn good stuff.  Well done, and don’t forget us little people when Hollywood comes knocking.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 06:25 AM ET

SYF's avatar

I guarantee you no one’s writing like this at the Shanny Jig and we’re very fortunate to have a terrific guy in VooX writing for the 19. 

Outstanding work, VooX.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/19/10 at 07:42 AM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

All posts have been beyond expectations, Voox. 

Bartenders tend to have good stories (along with emergency dispatchers).

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 08/19/10 at 07:53 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

(along with emergency dispatchers).

One of my friends is a U of M EMT.  You can say that again.

“He had a WHAT stuck in WHERE?!?”

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 08:11 AM ET

Primis's avatar

When did Kenendy become Mateen Cleaves?

Posted by Primis on 08/19/10 at 09:37 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Great stuff VooX.  You certainly have the clout for this redolently fauxtastic mission.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 08/19/10 at 09:56 AM ET

Osrt's avatar

Awesome Voox. This is really awesome stuff.

Posted by Osrt on 08/19/10 at 10:15 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

holy cow, 2 threads and 46 comments behind.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Gonna be a good morning at work!

Thanks v00x and all, I’m looking forward to getting to work and catching up with The 19 and v00x inside the circle of trust.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 08/19/10 at 11:00 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Alzy, of course they pronounce it “Lindstrom”, how else could it be pronounced?
Yay NHL!

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 08/19/10 at 11:08 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Dick Lindstrom, bitches.  Best defenseman never to lace ‘em up for the Wings.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 11:13 AM ET

FranzensMouthguard's avatar

Go Green!!

Great stuff so far, illustrious barkeep, did you ask abby if he plans on signing anytime soon?

Posted by FranzensMouthguard from Chicago, IL on 08/19/10 at 11:50 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

As busy as I’ve been I will always find time to read A2Y and anything you post, bartender. The 19 are lucky to have you.

October is just around the corner. Bitches.


Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 08/19/10 at 12:13 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Amazing post, VooX. Brilliant. I, for one, miss college already, I only complete it next year.

I wonder what the Chief will think of your Albom-like one-sentence-paragraphs.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/19/10 at 12:21 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


Gary can read. 
Ken Holland can read between the lines.
Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 09:42 AM ET

Every couple of days or once a week I read a comment so insightful or outrageously funny that I would recommend it go into the top 100 all time A2Y.  I think by now that has to be expanded to the all time top 500 or 1000.

This is definitely one of the all time greats.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 08/19/10 at 01:06 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

I wonder what the Chief will think of your Albom-like one-sentence-paragraphs.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/19/10 at 10:21 AM ET

The difference is that like relatively early Albom and unlike current Albom, VooX’s one sentence paragraphs are more than just a gimmick to fall back on.

As others have duly noted, this is good stuff—both in content and style. I wonder where that troll who accused VooX of being nothing but a lame Chief imitator is now? (Not that I want it to come back, mind you…)

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 08/19/10 at 01:42 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Great insight Voox.  You really picked up on this Notajournalist thing pretty quick.  More insight in one day than the Diggers give us in a season. 

Solved the “pour your own” issue.  Dug out my olde IV stand and hooked up a fifth of the Captain to my left arm.  Better living through chemistry.  Is it October yet?

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, hanging with Dan Cleary.... on 08/19/10 at 02:10 PM ET

ITDeuce's avatar

Man this stuff is amazing.  I keep waiting to hear that it is all some joke or something.  I mean how the faux is the A2Y bartender off intervieWING NHL peeps?  Fuching awesome.

Posted by ITDeuce from The Sunny High Desert on 08/19/10 at 02:50 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Not much I can say that everyone hasn’t already said.
Thanks VooX.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 08/19/10 at 02:53 PM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

this smells like something I have never smelled before. Is this what journalism should have been?

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/19/10 at 05:03 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com