Some people questioned Ken Holland last season when he brought Detroit draftee Dallas Drake back into the fold for his 15th season in the NHL.
Those people should know never to question Ken Holland.
While Drake made his way through the regular season looking relatively average, his gritty play stood out in the playoffs and made a huge impact on the Wings eventual Cup victory. The guy threw punches, delivered massive hits (My personal favorite being his apparent vendetta against no-name Toby Petersen during the Stars series; three times in one game Drake sent the former Oiler to the ice. That's what you get for standing out against our big Eurotwins line, Toby.) and genuinely seemed to enjoy every bit of his limited ice time. It was predicted at the end of the season that Drake would retire, but the official announcement came yesterday. Drake, who received the Cup second, directly from Nicklas Lidstrom on the ice the night of the victory, and who is now enjoying his time with it in Rossland, BC, said that mentally he has more hockey in him, but his body disagrees:
"Mentally, I want to play," Drake said. "I love the game as much as I ever have. But my body's not recovering as well. The years have worn me out."
"I played a long time and had a lot of fun," Drake said. "After winning the Stanley Cup, there's not a better way to go out."
Earlier in the season I made a post about being invested in each and every player on this year's team's specific quest for the cup, and Drake was one of the frontrunners. After fifteen seasons, he finally got to not only reach the Cup Finals, but to hold Lord Stanley high - and there's not a better way to go out than that. Plus, he takes a jab at Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre, and how can you not love that?
"I'm a little disappointed in Brett right now," Drake said of the Packers quarterback who retired in March but now says he wants to continue playing -- for another team. "You don't have to worry about me doing that."
Best of luck to you, Dallas, in all your future endeavors, whether they be hockey-related or not, and thank you for being a big part of a wonderful Red Wings season.