Behind the Blog: Gorilla Crouch

Today’s Behind the Blog feature highlights a relatively new Red Wings blog, Gorilla Crouch. The blogger behind it all, Dave, is a transplanted Wings fan living in Chicago so while he primarily focuses on the Wings, he also talks about other Michigan sports including the Tigers and U of M football and basketball. Gorilla Crouch is a great read as Dave analyzes games and all the recent Wings’ news.

Q.1 – According to your archives, you started Gorilla Crouch on September 1, 2006. Why did you start a hockey blog?

I started the blog because being a Red Wings fan in Chicago made it difficult to find people to talk Red Wings hockey with. I’ve met some Wing nuts while watching games at bars in Chicago, but the blog has been a great way to express my thoughts and opinions on the team and to interact with other Red Wings fans.

Q.2 – When did you become a Detroit Red Wings fan and what made you do so?

I became a serious Red Wings fan back in the late 80s, when the Wings were still in the Norris Division and played the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota North Stars on a regular basis. The rivalry between Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings teams and Wendel Clark’s Leaf teams were just so intense and they had some great playoff matchups in the late 80s and early 90s.

I couldn’t follow the team as closely when I first moved to Chicago so I’d follow the team by going to bars to watch big games and of course to watch the playoffs. With Center Ice I can now catch most of the games.

Q.3 – What do you hope to achieve with your blog over the next few years?

I’d like to develop the site to the point where there will be more interaction with Red Wings fans. There are a few regular visitors who comment and I’d like to see more visitors comment as that makes it more of a conversation which I particularly like.

Q.4 – You also discuss other Detroit/Michigan sports in your blog, but primarily cover the Wings. Why is hockey your favorite sport to talk about?

Hockey just has so many variables and to me that’s what make it interesting to discuss. I usually try to focus on the forward lines and part of that is because they do change frequently and it makes a big difference. At the start of the season Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg played on different lines and the team struggled to score goals. Then they were reunited and became the hottest line in the NHL. You can talk about similar variables in other sports but I find that doing so with hockey is more interesting because there are so many options as far as the makeup of the lines is concerned.

Q.5 – Who is your favorite hockey player (either current or retired player)? Why?

Steve Yzerman really got me hooked on hockey so I’d have to go with him. I was also a big Bob Probert fan and actually met him when he rented a movie at a video store I worked at as a kid. He seemed like a pretty cool and laid back guy which doesn’t fit the image at all considering he was one of the greatest fighters in the NHL. People talk about how down to earth hockey players are compared to other professional athletes and I have to agree completely due to meeting Probie.

Q.6 – Why do you believe Detroit is such a great sports city? Which Detroit team (including UM/MSU football and basketball) do you think will win the next national or league championship?

I think it’s a great sports city for the same reason it’s always been a great music city – the passion and devotion that the fans have for the teams. I mean if a franchise as backwards as the Detroit Lions can have strong fan support, what does that tell you about the city? Detroiters are just crazy for sports.

I think for the first time in a long time the Red Wings are not a favorite to win the Cup, so it will be interesting to see how they respond without the “target on their back” so to speak. I wouldn’t peg the Red Wings’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup as being great, but I think Mike Babcock has them headed in the right direction and I look forward to seeing how they
do in the playoffs.

I think Michigan football is in great shape to make a national title run this year. Their schedule is perfect for making it to the BCS championship game. The Detroit Tigers addressed their biggest need this offseason when they traded for Gary Sheffield, so they have an excellent shot at winning the World Series. But the AL Central is going to be ridiculously competitive, so much like the situation with the Red Wings I am optimistic but my expectations are tempered about the Tigers’ prospects for winning a
championship. The Pistons have a great chance to win the Eastern Conference but I think the West is too tough so the NBA champion (I won’t go very far out on a limb by picking Dallas) will likely come from the West.

So I’ll go with Michigan Football.

Q.7 – What changes would you like to see the Wings make in the upcoming offseason?

The only real area where I think the Wings are behind the times is in their relationship with their fans. George over at Snapshots has really done a great job covering this issue and it’s something that I don’t notice as much being an out of state fan. The organization has to do a better job reaching out to their fans and competing for their attention and devotion due to the competition from the Pistons, Tigers and from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. I am hopeful that the competition, combined with a difficult economic situation in Michigan, will force the team to address this shortcoming sooner rather than later.

Q.8 – Pavel Datsyuk has been rumored to want a $6.5-7 million per year salary. GM Ken Holland is likely to give him $5-6 million per year. What do you think will happen?

I think that if Datsyuk is to resign with Detroit it will be for somewhere between $5.75 million and $6.5 million per year.

Q.9 – Which team has surprised you the most whether it was because they did or did not make the playoffs?

It’s a bit early given that the playoffs haven’t started yet, but I think Vancouver has been really impressive. Dave Nonis trading for Robert Luongo in an unbelievably one-sided deal has really put the Nucks in a great position for the playoffs. They don’t score a ton of goals but that looks like a team that is built for the playoffs. I don’t think you can call a team that currently has 101 points a darkhorse candidate for postseason success but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had a solid playoff run.

Q.10 – Is there any hockey blog or website that you look to for inspiration?

As Red Wings fans we have a lot of great resources, from Kukla’s Korner/Abel to Yzeman and Snapshots, to Let’s Go Wings and to Red Wings Central, and of course Behind the Jersey and On the Wings. As far as outside of Detroit Red Wings coverage I like James Mirtle’s blog, Off Wing Opinion, and I also really like Tom Benjamin’s blog. As far as inspiration goes, there are two sites in particular that I really like.

The first is Kukla’s Korner because it is an excellent resource for reading articles on everything going on around the NHL and I probably check out Paul’s website more than any other as a result.

Another website that really impresses me is Red Wings Central. They have really carved out a niche by tracking Red Wings prospects. They do a great job and I am a big fan.

Any additional comments?
Thanks for including me in the Behind the Blog series!

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3 Responses to “Behind the Blog: Gorilla Crouch”

  1. [...] Christy over at Behind the Jersey was nice enough to include me in her Behind the Blog series. My interview with her is posted over at her site. [...]

  2. [...] The price will be the big question mark. If Datsyuk tears it up in the postseason this will be seen as a great move. If he struggles there is sure to be lots of criticism directed at Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. As far as my opinion, I think it was a good signing. It’s actually at the high end of what I speculated when Christy asked me about this topic in her Behind the Blog series. But it isn’t completely out of line, especially given that it is a long-term contract. [...]

  3. [...] It’s funny: Christy over at Behind the Jersey asked me which team from the state of Michigan was most likely to win a championship. Being a University of Michigan fan and alumni could have played a role, but I didn’t see Michigan State as having a great chance at winning the NCAA championship. Minnesota just seemed like the obvious choice. So I didn’t guess MSU hockey, which was the correct answer. [...]

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