So tonight was Manny Legace's first night back between the pipes at the Joe Louis Arena since the Red Wings bid him farewell after their early exit from the playoffs. He could be bitter. Instead, he says,
"It was nice to be back in front of the fans. I saw some signs in the warmup, it brought some tears to my eyes. They missed me and that touched me. They treated me well here. I love it here."We miss you too, Manny. I admit you did part of it to yourself with the lack of confidence and the big mouth, and the lackluster attempt at the playoffs last year, and the "I could hang myself", and the Manny Legace Suicide Watch, and the insistance that Detroit was going to let you go the second you messed up the playoffs, but look at the season as a whole! Sure we had good defense and sure that made a big difference, but Manny Legace was the face of the Detroit Red Wings last year. Whatever happened to "October may be over, but Manny Legace is a month you never forget"?
I was really proud to see him win tonight, especially in a shootout (and don't get me wrong, I still hate shootouts as determiners of games) beating players who knew his tendencies (and whose tendencies he knew) after six seasons of comraderie on this team. I never like to see the Wings lose (unless of course it's to the Leafs or Oilers), but tonight, a little part of me was spitefully happy to see Manny stop those 41 pucks and show them what they'd lost. And a lot bigger part of me was just happy to see him win, especially his second game in a row (gee, if only I'd had some faith and unbenched him in my fantasy league, huh?) and especially on the team he's on now against the sort of team the Wings are shaping up to be. Way to prove your worth, Manny. Even Mike Babcock was willing to say "He played well. He gave them an opportunity....Manny made some good saves. Give him credit."
I suppose he had to make himself look good somehow, though, after insisting on starting Hasek tonight in a last ditch attempt to make sure the Wings pulled a win (against a team they should have hopelessly trounced), leaving him now with a four game losing streak and a choice between starting rookie Joey MacDonald against the intimidating--Vokoun or not--Predators tomorrow, or going against the rhetoric they've been so insistant upon all season thus far and starting Hasek in back to back games early in the season. I'm as curious as you are.
At any rate, I've never been so happy to see Pavel Datsyuk hit the goalpost. I still love you Manny! And so does a good chunk of Detroit--which is more than I can say for certain other--excuse me for stealing your term, Elly--lame ducks who get their very own homecomings within the week. CoughCHRISPRONGERcough.
(In other news seven goals by seven different members of the team? Nice going, Toronto and thanks for the win, Raycroft.)