They say your last line of defense is your goaltender.
So I guess it should come as no surprise that the Red Wings are building from the backend out…
Earlier this summer long time Red Wings net minder Chris Osgood made his retirement from the NHL official. After injury set backs and a young Jimmy Howard pushing and keeping that number one spot in the Red Wings crease it was time. Osgood may not be throwing on his number 30 but he is still taking to the ice as an assistant goaltending coach. Osgood will be working with the goaltenders in the Red Wings farm system in Grand Rapids with the Griffins (AHL) and in Toledo with the Walleye (ECHL).
Not only will Thomas McCollum, Jordan Pearce, and Petr Mrazek (drafted 141st overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft) benefit from working with one of (if not the) most think skinned goaltenders of all time; but so will Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin. Howard has worked side by side and has been mentored by Osgood for the last two seasons; Conklin spend one year in Detroit with Osgood before he spent the last two seasons with central division foe the St. Louis Blues.
The blueline was saved by that of Captain Nick when Nicklas Lidstrom signed another one-year deal putting off the panic in hockey town for another year before he decides to retire.
Though Lidstrom is returning the Red Wings lost Brian Rafalski to retirement and Ruslan Salei to Lokomotiv Yaroslval of the KHL. As many of you know by now this past Wednesday Lokomotiv’s plane went down shortly after take off heading to Salei’s native town Minsk, Belarus. The Belarus Olympic captain was laid to rest yesterday in Minsk; and Belarus Hockey has announced there will be a yearly tournament in his memory.
Returning for their final season in their contracts Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall will be patrolling the blueline with hard hits and hitting them where it really hurts – on the scoreboard. Jakub Kindl is back after his first full NHL season and looking to gain more ice time.
Jonathan Ericsson signed a new contract… with Detroit. Oh Kenny Holland – in you we trust.
New faces on defense are Mike Commodore and Ian White. Commodore had a falling out with the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended up being bought out of his contract. Which works out great for Detroit because now he is on our blueline rather than going against him. I’ll be honest. I remember hating the guy in the 2009 Playoffs. Though I think him ending up on the Wings bench in that series may have just been some foreshadowing for where he was bound to end up. Ian White comes via the San Jose Sharks after they couldn’t get him locked up before he hit the UFA market. One of the top sought after Free Agents this summer the Red Wings snagged him for the next two years.
Gone are the days of The Grind Line as Kirs Drapper has hung up his NHL skates along side those of the Grinders before him in Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joey Kocur.
Returning this season is the flying circus with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom. Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary went head to head in a bobble head fight this summer. Valtteri Filppula and Johan “The Mule” Franzen will make a return. Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are back with youthful vengeance and Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller are both back on new deals. Jiri Hulder heads into his last year of his contract after a lackluster season last year as he made his NHL comeback from the KHL.
Young guns looking to upset the balance and make a place in the NHL include: Gustav Nyquist, Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton and Tomas Tatar.
Head Coach Mike Babcock returns with two new assistant coaches in Bill Peters and Jeff Blashill as Paul MacLean is now head coach for the Ottawa Senators and Brad McCrimmon took the head coaching job with Yaroslav Lokomotiv (KHL) and was on that ill-fated flight with Ruslan Salei.
To those whom have moved on; and those whom has passed on you were once Red Wings and thus you will always be Red Wings. Forever you and your families are in our hearts.
Fansided will continue the count down to October with our 30 previews in 30 days tomorrow as we kick off the work week with a look at the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have some young guns on their squad just looking to make a name for themselves. Lets face it – Taylor Hall (2010 first overall NHL Entry Draft)has a bone to pick with Tyler Seguin (2010 second overall NHL Entry Draft and won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins this past season).
Topics: Brad McCrimmon, Detroit Red Wings, Drew Miller, Henrik Zetterberg, Is It October Yet?, Jimmy Howard, KHL, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Mike Babcock, Mike Commodore, NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Patrick Eaves, Pavel Datsyuk, Ruslan Salei, Ruslan Salei Tournament, Ty Conklin, Valtteri Filppula