Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and visit me at the Off Wing View. I want to spend just a moment explaining what I’ll be bringing to the table here, who I am and what you can look forward to out of this site.
First of all, who I am. The Detroit Red Wings were my first love, and remain one of my greatest passions. I learned the game of hockey when I was 7 years old, and have been hooked ever since. I was the little kid that knew all of the previous Cup winners, obscure player statistics, and any other information I could get my hands on.
Funny story about how I became a Wings fan. When I was little, my favourite colour was blue. I figured that meant that I had to like everything that was blue. Makes sense right? I vividly remember the first time I saw the Wings play. It was the November 2, 1996 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Wings got smoked that night, 6-2. As a fan of all things blue, I should have been happy. However, I found myself more drawn to the team in the beautiful red and white sweaters than I did to the winning Leafs. It was at that point that I denounced blue as my favourite colour and red took it’s place at the top. I’ve been a Red Wings fan ever since.
I remember one player in particular stood out to me in my infancy as a hockey fan. The recently acquired Brendan Shanahan put up 87 points and 131 penalty minutes in his first season with the Wings. He easily became my favourite player, with Vladimir Konstantinov growing into the second position due to his thunderous bodychecks.
The Off Wing View is kind of a tribute to Shanahan, in a sense. He was a player who excelled at coming in on his off wing and using his wicked shot to catch goaltenders off guard. The Off Wing View also refers to my view of the goings-on of Red Wings nation, as a fan slightly removed from Detroit, Michigan. As a resident of Windsor, Ontario, I can offer my insight from a distance that allows me a different perspective than I might have if I were from the heart of Detroit. As it is, I live in a city that is predominantly Leafs fans. One of my favourite views in the city of Windsor, and has been for as long as I can remember, is looking out over the Detroit River from Riverside Drive in the northwest part of Windsor. From there, I can see the Joe Louis Arena, and the Detroit skyline. Another of my favourite views is from sitting way up in the cheap seats at the Joe. From there, not only do you have an excellent view of the play developing, but you get to bask in the glory of the numerous banners that adorn the rafters.
These banners make up my own banner, for this blog. The rafters at Joe Louis are truly among the best in the league, because they reflect the rich history of the Red Wings franchise. The early days. All the Stanley Cups with Sawchuk, Howe, Delvecchio, Lindsay and Abel. The tough days of the Dead Wings era, with no Stanley Cup banners to show for the 60s, 70s or 80s. Then finally, the championship banners from 97, 98, 2002, and 2008. Steve Yzerman’s retired jersey number, with the C perched in the corner. Those banners are what it means to be a Red Wings fan. That view, it encapsulates everything about our history that we are proud of, the pain, the struggles, the jubilance of victory.
I really picked a great time to start watching hockey. That season, the Wings captured their first Stanley Cup in not only my life time, but my dad’s as well. It had been 42 years since the Wings had last lifted Lord Stanley’s mug. That season also featured the climax of what is probably among the best rivalries in the history of sports. Fight Night at the Joe, March 26th, 1997. That game still remains among my favourite hockey memories. From time to time, I’ll sit and watch the game in it’s entirety thanks to a DVD copy I acquired a few years ago.
Over the next decade and a half, I grew to love the game of hockey. Now in my twenties, I can’t get enough of it. I go to as many Red Wings games as possible. If I have to miss a game, I’ll DVR it and catch it after. I recently wrapped up a 13 year career in the local minor hockey program, and have been a referee for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association for the past 6 years. I basically try to have my finger in every hockey outlet possible.
About a year ago, I stumbled onto the world of sports blogging while I was bored in a philosophy lecture. It really happened almost by accident. I was trying to find out some information about the Red Wings to make the class go by faster, and to scratch my ever-persistent itch for knowledge. I came across one Red Wings blog. And then another. Soon, I’d discovered an entire world that lay just beneath the surface of the internet, waiting to be explored. I read those blogs cover to cover in a sense, and was checking them daily for updates. Then I learned that most of them have Twitter accounts, where the writers of the blogs update their readers on a more frequent basis. I was in hockey heaven. But still, it wasn’t enough.
That was when I decided to try my own hand at blogging. I started my own Red Wings blog, using a poke at my Canadian heritage for a title. Wings Win, Eh? was born. I was enjoying being a part of the blogging community, and some of the more senior members were really helpful in getting me started. Drew, from Nightmare on Helm Street, was especially courteous to me and really helped me get everything up and running.
I ran WWEh all by myself for a little while, before deciding to expand my writing staff. That’s when I asked a friend, Cody, to help me out. A little while later, we welcomed Becky into the fold, making it a three person team.
After I’d been writing for a few months, another friend tipped me off to a position at a fledgling enterprise called Detroit Sports Nation. They were looking for writers to cover the Detroit sports scene, so I sent in an application to fill any needs they had. I was hoping to cover the Red Wings, but I would also have been happy to write about the Tigers or Lions. As it was, I ended up having my wish fulfilled and started covering the Red Wings in about May of 2010.
Since that time, I have been doing my best to get the most up-to-date information to everyone of our 20,000+ followers. I provide a detailed game recap, breaking news, rumours, and any other interesting stories I come across. The experience has been one I have really embraced and enjoyed. What had started off from basically scratch by a very motivated and determined group of guys has now grown to something I am really proud of, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity it gave me to grow as a writer.
Now, with DSN expanding to become a member of the Sports Nation Network, which now includes New York Sports Nation and Texas Sports Nation, I am happy to announce that I will be the NHL editor moving forward for the entire SNN enterprise. As SNN continues to grow, we will only get better in providing you the best news there is in the world of sports, and my job is to bring you the hockey side of things.
So while what I will be doing here at The Off Wing View is going to be mainly Red Wings related, I may from time to time bring you some general NHL news which you may find interesting. I will continue to bring you some of the same features you enjoyed at DSN, including the Three Stars of the Month, my person favourite segment. Putting on the Foil, my brand new Red Wings podcast, will also be making the transition over to The Off Wing View. Putting on the Foil, if you’re new to the program, is a semi-weekly podcast I put on with Cody of Wings Win, Eh?. If you have yet to give us a listen, I strongly encourage you to take the time to do so. We talk about all the latest Red Wings and NHL news, offering our analysis along the way. We are both officials under Hockey Canada, and we use our knowledge in this area to dissect controversial plays from the world of hockey. We are both really excited about the show, and hope that we can continue to put it on for our listeners. We always welcome any and all feed back, comments and suggestions for future show topics.
I thank you all for stopping by. Feel free to contact me any time through Twitter (@robbenneian), or on Facebook (Rob Benneian). I love to talk about my favourite sport with anyone who will give me the time of day. I hope you will enjoy your time here at the Off Wing View.
Make sure to stop by later on tonight for a recap of tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. Pavel Datsyuk is expected to make his return to the lineup tonight, and the Wings will be facing the Rangers backup Martin Biron as they look to snap a 2 game goalless streak.