DETROIT - Ian White’s quasi-silence spoke volumes.
Asked about what it was like to play for Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson (on those occasions he wasn’t a healthy scratch, of course), the former Toronto defenceman prescribed to the theory that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
“That’s a tough question to answer,” he said.
During the course of a five minute interview on Friday evening, he repeated that statement three times. Obviously White was trying to take the high road.
“It’s tough to describe his coaching,” White said. “There were times I played a lot.”
And there were times where he didn’t play at all, notably an 11-game banishment as a healthy scratch early in the 2008-09 season.
White eventually was sent to Calgary early in 2010 as part of the deal that brought Dion Phaneuf to Toronto. It was the beginning of a wild ride for the young defenceman, one that saw him make ensuing appearances with the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks before signing with the Detroit Red Wings over the summer.
Five teams in 20 months. That’s a lot of airline miles.
For White, however, this final stop seems to be the best. When you are paired on the blue line with seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nick Lidstrom, why wouldn’t it be?
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” White said. “He is so easy to play with. He’s just such a good player.
“I enjoyed my five years in Toronto but I guess it was time to move on. As for playing for all those other teams, I guess that’s just part of the business of hockey.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock has been impressed by White thus far.
“Unless you are a superstar, mere mortals turn into good players around the age of 27, which is what he is,” Babcock said.
“Sometimes you hear stories about guys but you want to see for yourself. And I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.”