There are certain instances in sports where a player signs with a team whose fan base previously hated them. Think Fernando Torres going from Liverpool to Chelsea, Johnny Damon going from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees and I’m sure many of you have your own personal example.
Tootoo spent the last eight seasons in the yellow and blue of Nashville and often spent those years terrorizing his Red Wings counterparts. Tootoo isn’t exactly known as a silky smooth type of hockey player–rather, he spends his time sacrificing his body to the detriment of his opponents. Tootoo wasn’t the most hated Predator, especially after Shea Weber used Henrik Zetterberg‘s head as a hammer, but he wasn’t exactly beloved.
Tootoo doesn’t score goals, because he has never scored more than 11 goals in an NHL season, but his impact will be felt–literally–elsewhere. He can best be described on the ice as a pest. Tootoo would have fit in perfectly with the famous, or infamous for other teams, grind line of the 90s. This version of the Red Wings has a different identity than those teams, but Tootoo will lead the charge to bring back some of that grind that was so successful.
Many Red Wings fans were dissatisfied with Detroit’s ability to bring in the big free agent this summer, but this signing will prove to positively impact this team nearly as much as those high dollar players would. This team has players who can score goals, but often the toughness and ability to grind was missing last season. Tootoo will surely counteract those issues.
Tootoo is the kind of guy you hate when they play on the other side, but will absolutely be a fan favorite wearing the winged wheel in Hockeytown.