Abel to Yzerman
by VooX on 08/19/10 at 02:35 AM ET
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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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: firstname.lastname@example.org