Wings Announce Fall Exhibition Schedule

The Detroit Red Wings announced their nine-game exhibition schedule for the fall of 2003.

The Red Wings will open on September 19 with a home game against the Washington Capitals. The schedule also features a home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs to end the preseason.

Detroit’s five exhibition home games will begin at 7:30 PM (US Eastern). Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster or the Joe Louis Arena box office, with more information planned to be released in August.

It’s Official: Roy Retires

Patrick Roy, arguably the greatest goaltender of all time, called it quits Wednesday afternoon during a press conference at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

“I feel great about my decision,” Roy said Wednesday after announcing his retirement. “I really feel like I emptied the tank and I’m ready to move on. I step aside with no regrets.”

At 37 years old, Roy is still considered one of the league’s top netminders. He posted the a career-best regular-season just two years ago. However, he preferred to go out while he still was on top of his game.

“It’s always been important for me to play with consistency, but also leave on my own terms,” said Roy. “I think I’ve accomplished everything I wanted and I think I’ve done basically what I think I should.”

Roy said he made the decision to retire before the start of this NHL season. He made the announcement of his retirement a press conference attended by his wife and three children, as well as Avalanche coach Tony Granato and teammates Mike Keane, Joe Sakic and Brad Larsen.

Roy is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, twice with Montreal and twice with Colorado. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP three times and holds NHL records for wins and games played by a netminder.

I’ve had a blast. It’s been unbelievable. I’ve been so fortunate to have lived a dream and have fun for more than 18 years earning a living by playing a game I love,” said Roy, who alternated between speaking in English and French as he answered questions from both Denver and Montreal.

Roy spent the first ten years of his career with the Canadiens before he was traded to Colorado in the middle of his eleventh season. After eighteen years in the NHL, Roy has no immediate plans to take a management role for an NHL team but says he’s open to the idea. For now he plans on moving his family back to Quebec.


Pierre Lacroix, Avalanche general manager, announced that Roy’s No. 33 jersey will be retired by the Avalanche next season. It will be the second number retired by the Avs since their move to Denver from Quebec. Colorado retired Ray Bourque’s No. 77 during the 2001-2002 season.

Flyers Send Cechmanek to Kings for Pick

The Philadelphia Flyers traded goaltender Roman Cechmanek to the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday, receiving a second-round draft pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft in return.

Los Angeles acquired Cechmanek to replace starting goalie Felix Potvin, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and will not be resigned by the Kings.

The Flyers scapegoated Cechmanek after their second-round playoff loss to the Ottawa Senators. Flyers’ general manager Bobby Clarke cited Cechmanek’s inconsistancy as the reason behind his trade.

Discussing his time in Philadelphia, Cechmanek said, “We had a couple of problems, not big problems. In the playoffs, maybe it wasn’t great, but not bad.

“It was tough for people, but for me, too. I don’t know why that was the situation. I play for fans and teammates, but the Ottawa team was very strong and they played great.”

Los Angeles general manager Dave Taylor expects Cechmanek, a 2001 NHL All-Star, to fit in well with the Kings.

“His track record speaks volumes,” Taylor said. “We feel our coaching staff will be good for him to work with.”

Cechmanek has played in 163 regular-season NHL games since being drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He has the lowest career goals-against average of goaltenders with at least 150 regular-season games in almost 60 years.

Last season, Cechmanek went 33-15-10 in fifty-eight games for Philadelphia. His 1.83 goals-against average was second in the NHL behind Dallas’ Marty Turco and his .925 save percentage was third-best in the league.

Roy Reportedly Set to Retire

Patrick Roy, the NHL’s all-time winningest goalie and a four-time Stanley Cup Champion, has apparently decided to hang up his skates.

The Boulder Daily Camera and K-USA TV in Denver report that the 37-year-old Colorado Avalanche netminder will make an official announcement on Wednesday. Other sources say Roy’s retirement could be revealed as early as Tuesday.

Roy has 551 career victories and has won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs three times. He also won the Vezina Trophy for most outstanding goaltender three times. Roy spent the first ten years of his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche in the middle of his eleventh season. He remained in Colorado for the final seven years of his career.

Colorado was upset in the first round of the playoffs this year by the Minnesota Wild, who went on a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Roy had previously stated that he would announce his plans for the future at the conclusion of the postseason. Last week the Associated Press reported that he was 90% sure about his decision.

“I think it’s important when you’ve played for 18 years, you have to take your time, you have to be patient and you have to make sure it’s the right decision,” Roy said.

Grigorenko in Critical Condition Amid Rumors

Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Igor Grigorenko is in critical condition in a Russian hospital after suffering what is rumored to be an adipose embolism in his left lung.

Mark Lapush, Grigorenko’s agent, denies reports that the twenty-year-old forward is in a coma. Lapush also says that the lung is merely infected.

An adipose embolism is similar to a blood clot is that it blocks blood vessels. However, the fatty tissue creating the obstruction cannot be dissolved as most blood clots can. Reports state that Grigorenko is on a ventilator, which is typical in cases of adipose embolisms.

Grigorenko is under heavy medication and has undergone two surgeries. He has been asleep most of the time since the car accident in which he suffered the initial injuries of a broken left hip and a broken left tibia (shin).

“He hurt himself very badly,” Lapush said. “But everything is fixable. It just takes time. In two weeks, he can be in better shape than today. He’s a strong, young guy. He’s going to be all right.”

Red Wings doctors have been in communication with those treating Grigorenko in his hometown of Togliatti. Detroit center Igor Larionov acted as a translator between the two parties on one occasion.

The Red Wings considered sending their own doctors to Russia to observe Grigorenko but decided against it due to the many obstacles they would face.

“In the end, I don’t know how beneficial it would have been,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure Igor Grigorenko gets the best treatment. Obviously it’s a difficult situation. I wish we could help more.”

Grigorenko is the Red Wings’ top prospect. He played on a line with Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk and Atlanta star Ilya Kovalchuk at the World Championships earlier this month in Finland. The Wings had hoped to bring him over to North America next season, but that now seems unlikely.

Ducks Advance to Cup Finals

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim continued their Cinderella post-season, defeating the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, to sweep their Western Conference Finals series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Anaheim is the lowest-seeded team to make the Stanley Cup Finals since the Vancouver Canucks advanced in 1994, only to fall to the New York Rangers. They are making their first Finals appearance in the franchise’s ten-year history.

The Ducks have ridden goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere throughout the playoffs. Giguere has lost only twice in fourteen games this postseason and allowed a single goal against in the Western Conference Finals, the lowest total ever in a best-of-seven series.

Giguere made twenty-four saves on twenty-five shots on his twenty-sixth birthday Friday. “It’s a great birthday present, something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid,” said Giguere, who stopped 122 of 123 Minnesota shots in the Western Conference finals. “Just to be part of this is very exceptional.”

Adam Oates, who will be making his second Stanley Cup Finals appearance, scored both Anaheim goals, leading the Ducks’ comeback after being down 1-0.

Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette scored the only Wild goal of the series less than five minutes into the game.

Anaheim now awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Ottawa and New Jersey. The Devils lead that series, two games to one.

Wings Prospect Grigorenko Injured in Accident

Red Wings’ top prospect Igor Grigorenko was injured early Friday morning in a one-car accident in his hometown of Togliatti, Russia.

Grigorenko suffered a broken leg and hip. He had surgery on the leg on Friday and procedures are scheduled for the hip on Saturday.

Mark Lapush, Grigorenko’s agent, passed along the following account of the accident: Grigorenko dropped off his girlfriend and was heading home, it was raining and the road was slippery, and Grigorenko lost control going around a curve.

On the possibility of the accident being alcohol-related, Lapush said, “I know this guy. He was not drinking at all.”

The Wings had been in negotiations with Lapush, hoping to bring Grigorenko to North America for next season with the possibility of him following in the footsteps of young stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. With Grigorenko now out for three to four months, his outlook is unclear.

“God willing, he’s going to be fine,” Lapush said. “I hope so.”

Wings Won’t Bring Back Robitaille

The Detroit Red Wings have notified Hall of Fame-bound forward Luc Robitaille that they will not exercise their option to bring him back for the 2003-04 season. The Red Wings will pay $1 million for declining to bring Robitaille back for a third season in Detroit.

Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland broke the news to Robitaille on Thursday and spoke to Pat Brisson, Robitaille’s agent, on Friday.

“It wasn’t made official in writing, but we did talk,” Brisson said Sunday night. “It wasn’t unexpected.”

Robitaille experienced the least-productive season of his career in 2002-03, scoring only 11 goals.

Robitaille, 37, does not plan to retire yet.

“Once we have permission to speak to other teams, we’ll make a few calls and we’ll get a few calls,” Brisson said. “He still believes he has one or two years in this league. He played on the fourth line. On another team, he might get more ice time, more power-play time.”

Robitaille is reportedly interested in playing in Los Angeles, where he was twice a member of the Kings and where he spent the most-productive years of his career, Phoenix, Colorado or Montreal, his hometown.