| The Detroit News
Bobby Ryan knows and understands what it takes to get into professional sports, achieve a level of success, and stay in the game for a number of years.
The veteran Red Wings forward has had an admirable career in the NHL, and in his 14th season, has had a career young players would dream about.
But then, in Sunday’s Super Bowl, there’s Tampa quarterback Tom Brady.
And Ryan, and many pro athletes like him, can only shake their heads in amazement.
“You tip your cap to him for years 12 through 15, and when you get to year 21, you’re just like ‘what is happening?’” said Ryan, 33. “You’re just marveling.”
At age 43, Brady is going after his seventh Super Bowl victory, in his first year with a new organization, and playing at an elite level that few can touch in the NFL.
And has been doing so for a number of years.
“I read an article yesterday about what the rest of his draft class is doing,” Ryan said. “Guys are going back to teaching or other businesses and have been out of the league for 10 or 12 years.
“The fact he just continues to not just do it, but to do it to this level, it’s unthinkable.
“I don’t know, I can only speak for myself, but I feel lucky to get to watch him play.”
Brady, of course, had a rocky tenure at Michigan, having to share playing time at times with the younger, and much-heralded Drew Henson.
When coach Jeff Blashill talks about Brady’s time at Michigan, and the character it showed, Blashill feels it’s a good life lesson for athletes and non-athletes alike.
“It’s amazing, absolutely amazing he’s back in the Super Bowl, astounding really,” Blashill said. “It’s actually an unbelievable story. I talk to a lot of people, a lot of groups, I talk about perseverance and the two biggest factors in individual success are hard work and perseverance — and he embodies that as much as anybody.
“I’m from Michigan, and I’ve watched his career at the University of Michigan, and it was never easy for him, and that’s probably why he’s had such a great level of success because he’s never become entitled. He’s quoted as saying he wants to earn his spot every day and that’s why, ultimately, he’ll go down as probably the best ever.”
Not enough time
The Wings are mired in an eight-game winless streak (0-6-2), and in this shortened NHL regular season, d are basically playing every other day for two weeks in this current stretch.
It’s good, in that they’re getting opportunities to get snap out of the streak immediately, with all the games.
But getting things ironed out, so as to actually go out and win a game, that becomes tougher with games so often on the schedule.
“Everything is happening so quick, and you’re in a funk, or teamwise, or me personally, getting trouble getting the puck on the net right now, you need reps to get out of it,” Ryan said. “A lot of times when you’re practicing on a day like today, we play at 3 (p.m.) tomorrow (Sunday), you can’t really get to work on the details as much as you’d like. You have to get moving and get some shots on the goalie and get a chance to install (schematics) but other than that, you’re really saving it for the next night all the time.
“That’s the downside of where we’re at, but more so this year. We’re seeing a lot more video and things like that and that’s where you’re at right now, that’s just the way it is. It is more difficult, but we have to accept it.”
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier (upper body) continues to progress but isn’t ready to rejoin the lineup. Bernier has missed the last four games, after taking the brunt of a collision in the crease with Anthony Mantha.
…The Wings displayed much more grit and fortitude, two words often brought up after Wednesday’s discouraging loss, in Friday’s 3-1 loss in Tampa.
That, in itself, was a step in a positive direction.
“We played hard, you saw guys all over the ice finishing checks and it makes a difference,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “When we’re bumping them, and finishing them, and making it hard (on goalies) and going after defensemen, they think about it and don’t think as much about offense and playing with the puck.
“We have to continue that gritty style of game.”
Red Wings at Panthers
Faceoff: 3 p.m., Sunday, BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.
Outlook: The Red Wings (2-8-2) and Florida (6-0-2) begin a two-game series…The Panthers swept both games in Detroit last week, one in overtime…LW Jonathan Huberdeau (4 goals, 8 assists) and C Aleksander Barkov (4 goals, 7 assists) are off to fine starts for Florida.