Lidstrom Re-ups with Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings have locked up the services of Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom for two more seasons, the team announced on Friday.

As per club policy, financial terms were not announced, but reports that the 36-year-old signed for $7.6 million per year, the same amount that he made last season.

Lidstrom has spent his entire career with the Red Wings and has been named the NHL’s best defenseman for four of the last five seasons.

Playing for Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics alongside Detroit teammates Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Mikael Samuelsson and Niklas Kronwall, Lidstrom claimed a gold medal.

He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy during Detroit’s run to the 2002 Stanley Cup Championship.

Lidstrom, Datsyuk Claim NHL Hardware

Two Detroit Red Wings claimed trophies at the 2006 NHL Awards Show on Thursday night. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom walked away with the James Norris Memorial Trophy while forward Pavel Datsyuk was given the Lady Byng Trophy.

Lidstrom earned the Norris Trophy – awarded to the league’s best defenseman – for the fourth time in five years. He has been nominated for the award seven of the last eight years. Leading the league’s defensemen in scoring, Lidstrom beat out Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer, the 2004 winner, and Dallas’ Sergei Zubov.

Datsyuk’s 22 penalty minutes in 75 games played helped him edge out San Jose’s Patrick Marleau and Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards, who was awarded the trophy in 2004. He becomes the first Red Wing since Marcel Dionne in 1975 to win the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers split the MVP awards, with Thornton claiming the Hart Memorial Trophy and Jagr claiming the Lester B. Pearson Award.

Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie while Rod Brind’Amour of the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes was named the best defensive forward with the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

After a heated race, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals beat out Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the rookie of the year.

Buffalo head coach was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year.

Hurricanes Hold Off Oilers to Claim Cup

Rookie goaltender Cam Ward led his Carolina Hurricanes as they held off a third-period comeback by the Edmonton Oilers to claim the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Championship Monday night.

Ward made nine saves on ten shots in the final period, including several key stops in the game’s closing minutes. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs after the game.

Carolina’s veteran defense put them out in front early, when Aaron Ward – who earned two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 – opened the scoring just 1:26 in on a screened shot from the left circle.

After an apparent Carolina penalty shot attempt was called off late in the first, Frantisek Kaberle scored on the power play at 4:18 of the second to extend the Hurricanes’ lead.

Just 1:03 into the third, Edmonton struck back, with playoff hero Fernando Pisani banging in a rebound to pull the Oilers within one.

Cam Ward kept the Oilers from pulling even and with 1:01 remaining, Justin Williams added an empty net goal to seal Carolina’s victory.

The 3-1 final score is identical to that of the final game of Carolina’s only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Hurricanes by that score in Game Five of the 2002 series to claim the cup. Both games featured a final goal scored into the empty net.

Legace Won’t Return to Wings

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced on Friday that the team would not offer a contract to goaltender Manny Legace before July 1, making him a free agent when that date comes.

Legace, Detroit’s backup netminder from the 2000-2001 season and the starter for 2005-2006, will be able to sign with any team.

“We want to explore all of the options out there,” Holland said. “Be it the free-agent market or through trades, we want to see what is available.”

Legace followed up his first season in the starting role with a 2-4 record in the playoffs and a .884 save percentage. For the first time in his career, many fans and pundits called him out as a top reason for the Edmonton Oilers’ upset of Detroit in the first round.

“I can’t say I’m surprised, but I was hoping they would make an offer,” Legace said. “I wanted to come back here. I love the city and the organization. But this is a business.”

With the Wings looking for a new starting goaltender, Legace did not help his case to return to Detroit.

After being ousted from the playoffs, Legace was asked if he would consider returning to the backup role, replying, “No, not at all. I love playing. I don’t want to be back on the bench again, so… I want to start again.”

Chris Osgood, the former Detroit starter who returned to the Red Wings in a backup capacity this season, will likely reclaim that role next season. He is also an unrestricted free agent but has stated that he’s willing to sign with the team in any role. He made $900,000 last season and did not earn a raise over that amount.

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