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Golden Tate is part golden boy, part mean guy; You should love him because of it

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One time, an editor sent me out to a charity basketball game to interview Von Miller. I got there and didn’t spot him. After scouring the benches, there were a couple that kind of looked like him but I wasn’t sure. Then a 6-foot-3 dude walked through the door with his pectorals bulging out of his shirt and long arms that were thicker than my head.

It’s like that with almost NFL player. You can identify them as soon as they walk through the door. They’re taller and wider than everyone around them, yet have complete control of their bodies. It’s amazing. At times I can’t stop thinking to myself, ‘Holy crap. This guy is huge.’

I’ve never stood around Golden Tate, but I can guarantee he’s an exception. He’s listed at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds. He’s not tall. Muscular, yes, but not cartoonish. Yet, the man belongs on a football field.

The dirty truth of sports is that the players don’t care as much as you do. Some don’t care at all and play just because they’re good at it. Others care but not as much. Others care in a different way. Peyton Manning wants to be the best at his position. Tom Brady wants to win.

Golden Tate wants to destroy you.

I’ve experienced half a season of Golden Tate. On his own he doesn’t seem all that spectacular. He runs some routes and catches some balls just like every other receiver. In press conference videos he’s incredibly well-spoken and gives solid answers. He seems nice. But get somebody in his face, make the game seem out of reach, challenge him in any sort of way, and a monster emerges.

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A long drive and a Detroit Lions team that burps rainbows

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As teams from Michigan and Georgia played a game in London, I listened to it in a radio station in Texas.

Sunday morning I drove three hours from Houston to Dallas. I didn’t see Golden Tate use his invisibility cloak or Theo Riddick’s one-handed catch or Matt Prater’s kick cut immediately left, only to wobble back down the middle until hours later. No, it was just me, cruise control and two national radio announcers whose names I don’t remember — and I didn’t discover them until the end of the first quarter.

The Lions were already down 14-0. Midway through the second, the station cut out. The audio came through intermittently until I re-discovered civilization right around the time the Lions scored their first touchdown.

At that point the play-by-play announcer was getting really excited about anything the Falcons did while the color analyst just kind of made fun of Matt Stafford for 20 minutes.

“Another overthrow by Matthew Stafford there. He just chucked it well over Golden Tate’s head.”

“Golden Tate even turned and looked at Stafford like, ‘was that to me?’ (fake laughter). Again, Stafford has really struggled to find his open receivers all day.”

When the comeback became for real, the play-by-play guy babbled about Tate and Theo Riddick. The color guy just shut up. It was the appropriate response.

The Lions are 6-2. They are not good. These things are somehow not mutually exclusive.

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Red Wings rumor roundup: Mike Babcock’s contract demands; Some new defensemen on trade block

Every Sunday I’ll bring you a recap of all the legitimate Red Wings-related transaction and signing rumors from the previous week. I see all this stuff anyway. I figured I might as well share it with you.

• The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch says he’s hearing talk that Flyers defenseman Nick Grossman and Luke Schenn are available. A couple other notes from Garrioch: the package for Tyler Myers will have to be “massive”, the Panthers are looking for a top prospect in return for Brian Campbell and Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman has a no movement clause, and the Devils’ 21-year-old defenseman Adam Larsson might be available. Larsson is right handed.

• Regarding Campbell, SportsNet’s Nick Kypreos says the Red Wings are interested in Brian Campbell. They’re trying to move Jakub Kindl in the deal but the Panthers want a top defense prospect, either Xaveir Ouellet or Nick Jensen.

• Kypreos also reported that Maple Leafs GM Brendan Shanahan contacted the Red Wings regarding Mike Babcock. Detroit did not give Toronto permission to speak to the coach. TSN’s Darren Dreger says the Red Wings’ offer to Mike Babcock mirrors the extension that Ken Holland signed in the summer: four years at slightly under $3 million a year. Babcock wants at least five years and better than $3 million.

• The Jeff Petry sweepstakes might’ve slowed down. SportsNet’s Elliotte Freidman had an executive say the Oilers “are making (fewer) trade calls than you would think.”

Dreger says the Red Wings like but don’t love Tyler Myers. The Sabres still want Dylan Larkin, and the Red Wings are saying the asking price has to come down. MLive’s Ansar Khan says he doesn’t think the Red Wings will trade Larkin in a package for Myers.

• The injured Anthony Mantha has relocated to Grand Rapids. He’s getting closer..,

 

 

 

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Enjoy the Red Wings’ comeback, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves

(AP)

(AP)

Everybody saw Danny DeKeyser stop a shot on an empty net with his leg, Justin Abdelkader stop another with the little patch of cloth on his pants that hangs below his junk, Niklas Kronwall glide around with his arms open and a stupid look on his face after scoring off Evgeni Malkin’s skate, Henrik Zetterberg’s get his stick on the and Justin Abdelkader’s score the winner goal. Everybody saw the Red Wings’ two goals in three minutes. If they haven’t, they soon will. The internet is a wonderful thing.

What it all means, though, nobody knows.

A hockey game has an almost infinite number of different combinations of actions performed by the players. Jumble those and start firing off outputs 82 times a year stuff happens. It did Thursday night, and right now in the immediate aftermath, when the buzzing in your chest is still there, it feels important.

But the Red Wings are seven games into a season. They’d been OK before Thursday night. This won’t be the spark the struck the turnaround.

Instead, the game might’ve hidden the truth. The Red Wings have played six one-goal games. They’re 3-3 in those game. They’ve had four games go to overtime. They’re 2-2 in those games. Take that, remember this improbable comeback and  Jimmy Howard putting da team on his back in the second Boston game, and Detroit probably shouldn’t be 4-1-2 right now.

At a certain point it’ll have a stretch of bad luck. It’ll lose a couple in a row, maybe drop three or four straight one-goal games. The media will ask Mike Babcock what’s happened to his team. He’ll scowl and give a whole load of non-answers because no one likes to hear, ‘Our luck turned sour.’

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The Stephen Weiss conundrum and what it means for the Red Wings

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He’s scored 20 goals in a season four times. He’s notched more than 60 points twice. Yet he’s resigned to press box purgatory, watching guys eight and 10 years younger fill his spot.

Before Saturday, Stephen Weiss hadn’t played in an NHL game since December 10th. The past two years, he’s missed 66 percent of the games his team has played in. Most of that is due to injury, but Weiss is only 31. All accounts say he’s finally healthy and has plenty of energy.

There just isn’t a spot for him. Andrej Nestrasil and Tomas Jurco snagged the only open forward spots the Red Wings had in the preseason, leaving Weiss to literally watch the season go by. He can’t play because there’s no room. He’s can’t be waived because he has a no movement clause. Weiss could void the clause, would you opt to give up millions of dollars?

His cap hit is $4.9 million. That’s a bigger than Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall. It’s more than Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser and Gustav Nyquist combined. And he’s on the books for the next four years. He’s untradeable.

So what do you do?

Weiss needs to play to relearn the speed of the game and regain the form he had for all those years in Florida. The Red Wings don’t have the room to let him play his way into shape and they can’t lend him to the AHL to let Weiss get a 3/4 simulation.

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I want to believe: finding the meaning in the Lions’ inexplicable win over the Saints

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Jim Caldwell stepped to the podium as he does every week. He knew he had to talk first, that he needed an opening statement, a couple of words to summarize the game.

He couldn’t find any.

“Alright. Games in this league are…”

Caldwell shook his head.

“…are, uh, are crazy.”

When it was 23-10 I was sitting with a friend who had grown up a Lions fan but had moved out of state. He still paid attention, but became apathetic to actually watching the games.

“At a certain point they have to show me something,” he told me.

This game was not that. New Orleans isn’t good. Detroit was worse for most of the game. Stafford did what he’s always done. He was inconsistent but did a couple things that weren’t that good but were close enough to make you want to believe. In a game that should’ve had him hit the NOS the second quarter, he had to find a way to pull a win out of his ear hole in the final minutes. He did the same thing against Cleveland his rookie year and against the Cowboys in 2013. Those two seasons ended with 2-14 and 7-9 records. This one game means nothing.

Unless, of course, we’re just pawns in a cruel game being played some high power, one that gets pleasure from ironic word play. (THE SAINTS). 

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Red Wings rumor roundup: The latest on Tyler Myers and a list of some other defenseman Detroit has interest in

Every Sunday I’ll bring you a recap of all the legitimate Red Wings-related transaction and signing rumors from the previous week. I see all this stuff anyway. I figured I might as well share it with you.

• The Red Wings inquired about acquiring Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, according to TSN’s Elliotte Friedman. The Sabres wanted Anthony Mantha. Detroit said no. Talks fizzled after that. TSN’s Darren Dreger told a Toronto radio station that he expects Myers to be moved, but maybe not any time soon. TSN’s Bob McKenzie also said that Detroit was one of many asking Buffalo about Myers. MLive.com’s Ansar Khan said he doesn’t think Detroit would trade 2014 first-round pick Dylan Larkin or their 2015 first-round pick for Myers. But McKenzie says that Buffalo is quote “honing in” on Larkin plus another piece as their asking price.

• ESPN/TSN’s Pierre LeBrun confirmed the reports and said the Red Wings asked about Buffalo in the spring. He also mentioned a few other defensemen that could be moved. He said Edmonton’s Jeff Petry has been out there, who grew up in Michigan and played for Michigan State, and that Ottawa has eight one-way contract defensemen, so that could make Patrick Wiercioch or Marc Methot available. Dreger says Petry might be gone sooner rather than later.

Khan says the Red Wings tried to trade for the Petry over the summer. Edmonton wanted Darren Helm. Detroit said no. The Oilers apparently want a center, which Detroit doesn’t have a lot of.

• Another trade target, according to Lyle Richardson, is Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman.

Freidman said Detroit would be interested if the Panthers started shopping Brian Campbell, despite Campbell not being right handed. SportsNet’s Mike Johnston says the Panthers would probably want a top defense prospect like Nick Jensen or Xavier Ouellet while taking Jakub Kindl off the Red Wings’ hands, but that’s not happening.

• Numerous reports have the Red Wings trying to get rid of Kindl.

• Some other candidates for trade Khan threw out: Washington’s Mike Green, Toronto’s Cody Franson, Winnipeg’s Zach Bogosian. He also said the Red Wings have show interest in left-handed defensemen Keith Yandle of Phoenix and Vancouver’s Alex Edler.

• Daniel Alfredsson chances of returning are dwindling according to Khan.

• ESPN’s Craig Custance notes that talks are quiet on restricted free agents-to-be Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist.

• Former Red Wing Ville Leino signed with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL according to CBSSports.com’s Chris Peters.

• Andy Miele cleared waivers and went to Grand Rapids, while Shane Berschbach was demoted to the Toledo Walleye.

• The Red Wings signed prospect Tyler Bertuzzi to an entry-level contract.

• There’s also a bunch of “Babcock to Toronto” report-type substances, that might or might not be more speculation than reporting.

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