Caps acquire Scott "Wild Thing" Walker
Newest Cap Scott Walker is 36, which means the early days of his career came a long time ago. As he aged, his game changed, his reputation changed, his minutes changed, his scoring totals changed and even his position changed; he was once a defenseman, and is now a right wing. Still, let's not go forgetting that when he first broke into the NHL, his nickname was "Wild Thing," his fists got most of the attention, and his reputation was that of an undersized scrapper.
He reportedly didn't like the "Wild Thing" nickname, and it gradually disappeared after he left Vancouver, but you can't erase something like that. When he went back to Syracuse not long after making the NHL, his Canuck teammates taped "Wild Thing" on the back of his jersey. The Syracuse paper called him arguably the most important player in franchise history, for rallying support with his Wild Thing antics. And this town is always big enough for a guy nicknamed "Wild Thing" who prances around naked in his hotel room and gets in bench-clearing brawls with his buddies during pick-up games. Some blasts from that past:
April, 1995, Vancouver Sun
In Syracuse they called him Wild Thing, but Scott Walker doesn't like the nickname.
OK, how about Pitbull, Cyclone, the Little Hurt or Take A Walker On The Wild Side? Nope, Walker says Scott is fine. If things go well, he'll make a name for himself with the Vancouver Canucks.
Undoubtedly one of the toughest 185-pounders in hockey, Walker, whose hands are as good as his fists, on Wednesday had his first practice with the Canucks and could be in the Vancouver lineup tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
This means he should be one of the most popular Canucks by next week.
"Whatever city he goes to, in two or three or four games he's a fan favorite," Canuck Mike Peca said of Walker, his teammate for much of the season with the minor-league Syracuse Crunch. "When you skate like he does and have no fear, you can hurt people. He is as tough as they come."
September, 1995, Vancouver Sun
Last year Syracuse coach Jack McIlhargey dubbed him "The Wild Thing," because of his rambunctious style. That has become his calling card.
It is almost axiomatic that the toughest battlers on the ice are among the nicest people off it and Walker fits that mold.
"I'm just not a big fan of having other people take care of me," he says. "Fighting is not what I had in mind but when you play my style it sometimes happens. Believe me, I'm a totally different person off the ice."
September, 1997, Vancouver Sun
Scott Walker, the Canucks' bulldog forward, said his phone started ringing early Thursday morning once his buddies back home in Cambridge, Ont., viewed the highlights of his Wednesday night punch-up with Coyote Jeremy Roenick.
"They're all die hards and they started calling me as soon as they saw it on [TSN] Sportsdesk," reported Walker. "They wanted to know if I had a tape of the whole fight and they want me to bring it home."
Presumably the tape would go alongside the one of Walker pounding on Edmonton's Jason Arnott two years ago. Arnott's face was a bloody mess after that one and the Wild Thing thing, which began in Syracuse, became a Vancouver tradition.
February, 2001, The Tennessean
How can you not laugh at a guy who sometimes packs nothing more than a toothbrush when he goes on road trips? A guy who enjoys traipsing about naked in hotel rooms? A guy who's fond of saying he'd rather hang out with his 135-pound St. Bernard than with his teammates?...
Though he's not a big man at 5-feet-10 and 195 pounds, Walker once collected 334 penalty minutes in 74 games at Syracuse, many while the home arena's PA system pumped out The Troggs' Wild Thing.
"I think it was because I was the youngest in the family, and my two older sisters beat up on me pretty good when I was growing up," Walker said. "No, really, I just did whatever I could to be in the NHL. I always had put up points but had been considered too small, so I figured if they thought I was too small, I was just going to show them I was not."
October, 2001, The Vancouver Province
Walker, the ex-Canuck who enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2000-01, has come up with an effective, slightly indecorous method of ensuring ownership of the clicker, even as it dissuades unwanted loiterers in his room.
The Wild Thing, it seems, will drop his laundry.
"I just take off all my clothes, sit on top of the sheets and anybody who wants to come sit beside me, that's fine," Walker advises. "It usually keeps my side of the room pretty clear.
"The main reason I do it is because it keeps my room empty of guys. Guys always want to hang out in my room and sit on my bed, and I'm wanting to relax."
December, 2001, Vancouver Sun
He recently reached further greatness when the Predators held Scott Walker Bobblehead Doll Night....
Needless to say, Walker received a fair amount of ribbing from his teammates. They seized upon the fact Walker, with his square head and little body, resembles one of the cute little toys.
"People have often told me I look like a human bobblehead," noted Walker, who ironically missed the game with a concussion, "so it's kind of neat to see yourself on a bobblehead. The guys have been kidding me saying that I'm turning into one, wandering around wiggling my head."
April, 2005, The Province
Despite the fact he's had "three or four" serious concussions, including one that kept him out almost a whole year with post-concussion syndrome while in Nashville, Walker had two fights this year in the six games he played in the Ontario senior league, five for Cambridge and another for the Dundas Real McCoys.
"I know, I know, it's not the smartest thing in the world for me to be doing, but it's hard to resist sometimes," he confessed. "You think that's bad, last year I was in a pick-up game with a few of my buddies and we ended up in a bench clearing brawl. It was crazy."
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