Why Brian Lashoff isn’t the typical Hustler. And why it’s not his fault.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Beneath the familiar number is an unfamiliar stride and a story you’ll recognize if you’ve ever seen a movie, read a book or watched a feature on ESPN.

No. 23. Brian Lashoff. The undrafted free agent who earned a contract during training camp four year ago and then spent four years working up to this point.

The first time he pulls the Winged Wheel sweater over his head, he scores.

He’s one of us. A feel-good story. An overachiever. A Hustler.

He’s had no DWIs, no complaints about playing time. He should be the exact player you root a little extra for. Yet, something’s off. It was something I didn’t fully understand until I saw him drop his head, rest his stick on his waist and gingerly skate to the corner following Dallas’ second goal Tuesday night.

Lashoff had just blocked Ray Whitney’s shot on a one-timer. As he teammates, including defense partner Kyle Quincey, went to chase the puck that had ricocheted to the boards and the surrounding Stars, Lashoff made the safe play. He went to the front of the net.

What he made was the smart play. Michael Ryder slipped about four feet above him, took a pass from Ray Whitney and put a shot low, far-side all in one motion for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal. Lashoff stared at the puck from the time Whitney regained possession to the time the man he should have been covering deposited it into the back of the net.

The fact is, Lashoff isn’t — and never was projected to be — very good.

If you believe the gurus, he’s already reached his ceiling as a bottom pair defenseman. Hockey Prospectus doesn’t even rank him among the Red Wings’ Top 15 prospects.

He’s not the type of unknown who worked so hard and played so well that the team had no choice but to stick him into the lineup. He was called up out of necessity. He’s an emergency replacement for a unit that is quickly going from bad to abominable.

This isn’t Lashoff’s fault. He didn’t ask for two of Detroit’s top defensemen to leave in the same off-season. He didn’t ask for three more to get injured before the season could get two games old (Jonathan Ericsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jakub Kindl).  He didn’t ask to come to a team that has fans and media wondering about an existential crisis on defense.

Were I writing his story, I would have ended with that first career goal and the Red Wings win. All future endeavors would be just a short note in the epilogue.

But he’s here. The lumbering skater who can occasionally get lost defensively but has a shot that stays low and travels fast will be with the Red Wings for a while.

Right now, Lashoff might just be the Red Wings’ third-best defensemen.

This is your life. This is Life after Lidstrom. Get familiar with it.

9 comments on “Why Brian Lashoff isn’t the typical Hustler. And why it’s not his fault.

  1. terrible writing, decent story

  2. Hi Mike, nice write-up, but I’m afraid that I agree with anonymous on this one. Grammar and spelling are not great, my guess is that you didn’t have a read through of it once you had finished typing.

    He should the exact player you root a little extra for.
    – Accidentally a word.

    As he teammates, including defense partner Kyle Quincy went to chase the puck that had ricocheted to the boards and the surrounding Stars
    – As his team-mates, including defence partner Kyle QuincEy, went…

    What he make was the smart play.
    – *made

    Lashoff stared the puck from the time Whitney regained possession
    – stared *at the puck?

    Right, now Lashoff might just be the Red Wings’ third-best defensemen.
    – comma after right is wrong.

    Not trying to be a dick, but if you are to avoid annoying/negative comments, you might want to proofread a bit more.

    • See. This is what I appreciate. I popped this one out at about 2 a.m. last night and I realize I made some mistakes. Thanks for the help Tonto.

  3. You are a terrible writer there is one thing to be knowledgable and then there is just rude. He’s played 18 minutes including 5 on 3 where he played fantastic and you rag him for one power play goal he gave up. You are a sorry excuse for a writer and a cry baby because the red wings are struggling. You should write poetry you cry baby not hockey.

    • Shit dude, is a guy not allowed an opinion?
      I agree that Lashoff played well, but he still has a lot to learn. I liked seeing this take on a player that most of us will know very little about right now.

      Enjoyable read, thanks!

      • Thanks, Dan. I appreciate it. That’s my goal. While everybody is looking at the top of the roster, I like to give some love to the guys at the bottom of it.

    • Pat. Calm down. I think you may take this whole thing way too seriously. You’re probably right. I may have been a little too hard on him. But I said he might be the Red Wings No. 3 defenseman right now. I said he’s probably not the most talented player the Red Wings have in the minors. I said he’s an emergency replacement. Both things are true. Mike Babcock said he, “Never would have believed he would have played for us this year.” (Near the bottom here: http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8876958/injuries-dominant-storyline-all-season). And he was partially responsible for the game-winning goal. He’s got some learning to do. That’s true also.

      Thanks for telling me I should write poetry though. I cann’t sure if it was a backhanded compliment or not. Either way, it was creative. I’ve never had anyone tell me that before.

      • Haha I just think you are going to be pleasantly surprised with him, good siZe physical defemseman. The article seemed mean spirited. Take the poetry line as you will bud.

      • Yeah, I it may have came off a little more mean spirited than I intended, but I still stand by the basic premise. I think he’s a great story, rising to the NHL after he went undrafted but is only here because the Red Wings lacked the depth they usually have. As mentioned in the article, this isn’t his fault and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity. But (and this is my opinion) I think he’s a bit limited in his skill set, although he could be a decent bottom pair defenseman.

        You may be right. I may be surprised.

        And I’m taking the poetry line as a compliment, although I know that’s not how it was originally intended.

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