Thursday, December 8, 2011

You Knew It Was Coming...

Bloggers note: Obviously, I started this post before the game tonight ended. And with the final outcome cemented, I debating posting such a celebratory post. But, then I said, eh, screw it. THIS GUY DESERVES IT!

My dear Blue Jackets unabashed fangirl crush on Derek Dorsett has been long documented (and mocked), but tonight, the time has come. It is time for everyone to recognize what a valuable asset to the team #15 truly is.

To quickly recap for you - I have long worn the 15 jersey to support a guy who plays all out.* All the time. His heart and dedication to team and game are beyond admirable in my opinion.

But he was stuck, by many, in the "wannabe Boll" category for too too long. But this season the man has truly distinguished himself. (and can we mention how he is starting to lose his earnest young guy look?) So for all you naysayers, let's review what you used to say, shall we?

No offensive production. As of tonight, he has 6 goals and 8 points. Including 6 points in his last nine games. Including two goals in one game. And the last two - positively gorgeous. Oh, and one looked like this:
Courtesy of John Kemp
Liability on defense. If you follow scoring changes over at The Cannon, you'll see that Dorse regularly faces, and performs, against the top lines of other teams. If you watch him in practice you see his skills are technically sound and he seems to be getting more and more comfortable putting them to use on the ice plus....

Poor decision making and foolish penalties. Dorse has truly matured. Recall the Detroit game early in the season when Dorse had the foolish penalty late in the game. Now, he's become the chirpy agitator. You'll see him jawing with guys, getting under their skin and affecting their play.  While every once and a while he may still get a foolish two minutes to sit with his thoughts in the penalty box, you can't say he's not starting to play smarter. And while every couple of fights we may shake our heads, he's starting to try to use his trigger finger more discerningly.

One thing none of you has ever questioned is his heart. And that remains true and 100%. The man plays with intensity like no other. And it is so great to see his hard work paying off in arguably some of his best performances of his career as a more well-rounded, and less "hectic" player.

Another thing you'll never hear questioned is his character. I never did share the story of FanFest this year (where the above pic of #DD and I was taken) But Stephen patiently waited in line with me to get Derek's signature on my Dorsett 3rd.

We walked up, and I tried to play it cool. Until Stephen said "she's your biggest fan" and I turned red and shoved my jersey at him while wanting to die. When Derek turned over the jersey and saw that it was, in fact, his he said "NICE!" with a little bit of surprise and a little bit more enthusiasm. And then I mumbled something about "can I...maybe...picture...sorry...go Jackets?" and he obliged.

SIDEBAR: Now - here's the problem. Men - understand that a bad picture is worse than no picture at all - so when we ASK YOU "Is it good?" either a) show it to us for review or b) be damn sure the picture is good. Because Stephen said "Yep!" and on we went. I was just thankful to be done mortifying myself in front of a 25 year old guy. Then I saw the picture. NOT. GOOD.

So now, I have to go stalk #DD AGAIN for his scheduled pictures at center ice. Which I was hoping to avoid, because look, even I have my limits and truly, I don't want to scare the kid. But now, well NOW I HAD TO.

So up I walk, in my freshly signed jersey, apologizing all the way (after waiting in line with a bunch of people no older than 10 mind you!) saying "look I'm not a stalker, but the picture my husband took didn't turn out so well...and..." And he was so gracious, and nice, and he laughed at me. (Even if I did freak him out a little bit).

So there you go. Dorse has been forever a good guy. He's been forever a hard worker, and now he's finally starting to reap some rewards on the ice. And nothing could make me happier for him. Dorse, you go boy, just remember who loved ya first (or as one of the first ;) ) and best and who started the #DD and #becausehesawesome hashtags...may they only grow in popularity with the quality of your play! :)

*It is important to clarify for many that my extreme fandom comes from how much I admire DD as a player and a person. I'm a happily married woman and while DD is a cutie, that's not from where my admiration stems.

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