This one's from reader Painst. A couple of you have emailed me, and I'll run them all, but keep them coming as we want to keep this going for a while with nothing real going on. And Doug Wilson did rule as a player, even my hockey-indifferent father marveled at Wilson's skating ability.
Most people know Doug Wilson as the notorious general manager of San Jose Sharks who made the Blackhawks overpay for Hjalmarsson and stole Anti Niemi for less money than what Stan Bowman offered him. I definitely agree the guy is an asshole. I also fondly remember when that asshole was our asshole and arguably the best Blackhawk defenseman of all time. Sure there was Chris Chelios after him. It’s difficult not to love everything about Chris Chelios, but Doug Wilson was a new generation Bobby Orr.
He was special … and he was special to me.
He could skate like Brian Campbell, defend like Duncan Keith and had the balls of Brent Seabrook.
This wasn’t a player to me. This was a hockey god.
It’s easy to love great players and he was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen, but to be a favorite, especially in those days of relative youth, a player needed something more. He needed something ephemeral that I could admire … he needed cool.
Doug Wilson was the epitome of cool.
Little by little the new helmet rules covered the heads of our superstars in the 1980’s until only a few hardcore players, who were grandfathered under the rule, skated around with their hair flowing in the wind.
Eventually only Al Secord and Doug Wilson played without helmets on the Blackhawks. Al didn’t have much hair even then but Doug had these long curly blonde tresses that waved behind him as he skated like a flag of cool and where Al looked like a boxer on skates, Doug was like a Greek God … He was beautiful.
It’s difficult to explain the ambiance of a game where everyone is covered from head to toe sporting head gear and sometimes shields like refuges from empire strikes back playing against this bareheaded demigod who was so much better than everyone on the ice in every conceivable way.
On those Blackhawks teams of the late 80’s which were filled to the brim with great players,
Doug Wilson was my favorite.