Prepare the beach balls: Cloutier will try out for Red Wings

The news that 33-year-old Dan Cloutier(notes) will be attending Detroit Red Wings training camp on a tryout is glorious for two reasons: As an opportunity to resurrect the Cloutier/beach ball Photoshop, one of the single greatest hockey memes since the invention of the Internet ...

... and also to witness the reaction from Wings fans as one of the most maligned players in recent NHL history -- how many others players had their own disaster preparedness kit? -- will potentially wear the Winged Wheel this season. From Babcock's Death Stare:

Personally, I don't think I've ever made fun of a goalie more than Dan Cloutier, as our friend at Dan Cloutier for Vezina will probably attest to after I post this. It's not that I hate the guy per say, I'm sure at one point I did, but he does suck. I always felt he was the weakest link on some average to strong Canuck teams. During the glory days of the Naslund/Bertuzzi tandem, Cloutier held them back with his soft goals, poor mental game, and well below average goaltending ability.

But from a managing standpoint I absolutely hate it.

(Kyle from Death Stare also has a great conspiracy theory: "That the NHL might have sent out a memo telling teams to invite a player to camp as a joke." See: Jason Allison in Toronto, Manny Legace(notes) in Atlanta and Kyle McLaren(notes) with the Rangers.)

The Chief from Abel To Yzerman has much more on this in a post that has the word "vomit" in the headline. It's been an odd summer for Wings fans after their team fell short in its Stanley Cup defense: Seeing Marian Hossa(notes) jump to the Blackhawks, watching some key supporting players leave, stomaching the signing of Todd Bertuzzi, questioning the signing of Jason Williams and then having Dan Cloutier bring his beach ball to camp.

But Cloutier isn't making this team unless Jimmy Howard(notes) implodes; and even then, it can only make Chris Osgood(notes) play better to know that Dan Cloutier is the alternative, right?

In Jersey, they have a saying: "In Lou We Trust." As long as it's the brilliant Ken Holland making these decisions in Detroit, you put your faith in them as being the right ones. For example: Maybe, in bringing Cloutier to camp, he's just looking for an enforcer.

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