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yave1964

TJ Hensick- what keeps guys like this going?

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  I scour eliteprospects daily, sometimes a couple of times a day, looking for signings of players who I know (I unashamedly collect Hockey cards and move them to the proper organization. Nerd, I know dont care, Always have, always will).

 

  Anyway-this today:

 

TJ HENSICK TOLEDO WALLEYE ONE YEAR CONTRACT

 

 Hensick had a monster career a decade plus ago with Michigan, went right to the NHL with the Avalanche,  couple of seasons as a 4th liner, he got derailed, traded to St. Louis and hasn't sniffed NHL action since Obama's first term. Since then, he has appeared with Charlotte, Peoria, Hamilton, Hartford,  Utica and Ontario all of the AHL, having a nice career a step below the NHL.

 

  Last year he couldn't sniff an AHL deal, he signed with Toledo of the ECHL for 475 bucks a week scored like a beast and was loaned to San Jose Barracuda for the tail end of the AHL season where he scored at nearly a point a game before being released at seasons end. Crash Durham has nothing on this guy.

  

  He obviously held out hope that the very solid season split between the ECHL and the AHL would convince an AHL team to sign him, AHL money is not NHL money but a vet like he or Tangradi or TJ Brennan can make a comfortable living in the A, instead no deal materialized and again he is going to play for the Walleye this year instead, hoping someone loses a scorer to either injury or the NHL and he gets a call up to the next rung and can take another bite out of the apple.

 

  It helps that he is from Howell Michigan, just this side of Detroit less than an hour from Toledo. His hopes for an NHL career long over, he is hanging on by his fingernails to a pro career, at least able to play in front of friends and family in the shadow of his glory days with Michigan.

 

 I never begrudge a guy like this taking a shot with the KHL or the Swiss league or any of the top Euro leagues as they pay better than the Ahl and a TON better than the ECHL with the added advantage of seeing the world. I also get it that some players simply dont want to wander that far from home either. But aproaching middle age playing for peanuts not ready to hang them up, slipping down the rungs, it always feels sad to me. The human side of the game gets lost a lot as we discuss who will be the captain or Marner holding out, I root for guys like Hensick and hope he manages another payday or two from the A.

 

  The prototype of this player IMHO was Mike Keane, a nasty pest of a player, a yapper for the 'Lanche in their glory days (he was traded from Montreal with some guy named Patrick Roy) who when he could no longer play in the NHL at the age of 38 with 1100 plus NHL games under his belt and cups won with Montreal, Dallas and Colorado, when he could have ridden off into the sunset and the golf course instead chose to play five more years in the AHL as the captain of the Manitoba Moose instead. By that point he knew his NHL career was a memory but he hung around as a 3rd liner, still yapping, occasionally getting into fights even with kids half his age clearly for love of the game. I hated Keane (as any good Wings fan of the era would) for his chirping in the press and his rugged heavy game, unlike Lemieux he backed up his words with fists to any taker any time although he didn't have to very often, the sucker could fight. By his fifth season in the AHL for the love of the game, I actually respected and even admired him for what he was doing.

 

 So there. TJ Hensick. For love of the game. Hope he has a monster first half and gets called up to the Griffins or Monsters or Marlies and wins a Calder Cup. For love of the game.

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@yave1964

You said it...For love of the game.
And what tough love it must be, because hockey isn't exactly easy on the body.

I've played sports myself (softball, volleyball, and of course, competed in minor Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido tourneys in Florida), but never ice hockey (pick up street ball hockey doesn't count, I don't think...haha), and there is definitely a mindset that has to go into what you are doing in order to not only be good at it, but to have the fortitude to continue on even when things aren't going your way.

The tougher the sport, the more iron willed you need to be.
This man must have a titanium steel will to keep going in pro hockey like he has.
Hard not to root for someone like that.

I'm sure he would like to be paid more for doing what he does, but apparently, even what he does make is enough for him to continue doing what he loves.
For him, beats the hell out of working at a Home Depot somewhere.
Home Depot frowns upon taking someone into the boards and skating away with their shopping carts after all....😄

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      @yave1964 You said it...For love of the game. And what tough love it must be, because hockey isn't exactly easy on the body. I've played sports myself (softball, volleyball, and of course, competed in minor Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido tourneys in Florida), but never ice hockey (pick up street ball hockey doesn't count, I don't think...haha), and there is definitely a mindset that has to go into what you are doing in order to not only be good at it, but to have the fortitude to continue on
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