Hasek Returns to Detroit Crease

The Detroit Red Wings have signed goaltender Dominik Hasek to a one-year deal, the team announced on Monday.

Hasek was a member of the Red Wings’ 2002 Stanley Cup-winning team before retiring that summer. The following offseason, Hasek announced his return to the game and played 14 games for the Red Wings in the fall of 2003 before a groin injury ended his season.

After the end of the lockout that wiped out the NHL’s 2004-05 season, Hasek signed with the Ottawa Senators. He posted a 28-10-4 record, a 2.09 goals-against average, and a .925 save percentage with Ottawa before his season was cut short by injury again.

He will join Chris Osgood – who he displaced upon joining the team in 2001 – between the pipes for the Red Wings.

As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Red Wings Bring Back Williams

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that they had agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Jason Williams, avoiding an arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for next Monday.

As per club policy, financial terms of the two-year deal were not announced.

“We are pleased to reach a deal with Jason before going to arbitration,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He took a big step forward as an NHL player last year and we look forward to even more progress in the future.”

Williams had a breakout year in 2005-06, playing in 80 games while scoring 21 goals and adding 37 assists.

Detroit Signs Defenseman Markov

The Canadian Press reported on Wednesday that free agent defenseman Danny Markov has agreed to terms with the Detroit Red Wings.

Earlier in the day the Detroit Free Press had reported that the Red Wings were close to signing an unnamed “top four defenseman.”

The Red Wings will be Markov’s sixth NHL team and his fifth in the last five seasons. He entered the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

Markov spent last season with the Nashville Predators. In addition to Nashville and Toronto, he has also played with Phoenix, Carolina and Philadelphia in a career spanning 472 games.

The deal is for one year at $2.5 million, a small raise from Markov’s last contract.

Markov will be expected to help fill the role of Jiri Fischer, who the Red Wings do not expect to return from the heart ailment that caused him to collapse during a November 21, 2005, game against the Predators.

“He’s tough to play against,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He has a reputation as an agitator, and he brings a different dimension to our team. He’s a top-four defenseman who can play a lot of minutes, and we expect he’ll be a good fit for our team.”

Wings to Host Canucks in Season Opener

The National Hockey League released its 2006-2007 season schedule on Wednesday, revealing that the Detroit Red Wings will open their season at home, hosting the Vancouver Canucks on October 5.

The Red Wings will play the first of their ten inter-conference games just two days later when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins. After hosting Atlantic Division teams and visiting the Southeast Division last season, the Central Division will travel to the Atlantic Division cities while hosting Northeast Division teams this year.

Detroit’s annual tradition of a New Year’s Eve game will stay alive as the Red Wings host the Los Angles Kings on the last night of 2006.

The Red Wings’ first matchup with the Edmonton Oilers after falling to them in the 2006 playoffs comes on October 21 when the Wings visit Edmonton. The Oilers first visit of the season to Joe Louis Arena comes on November 8.

Longtime Red Wing Brendan Shanahan‘s new club, the New York Rangers, will host Detroit on February 5.

Like last season, the schedule includes the rare quirk of a home-and-home-and-home series, this one with the Minnesota Wild in late December.

In yet another scheduling oddity, the Red Wings will play on back-to-back nights 14 times throughout the season. Each time features games in different cities.

Guest Editorial: Brendan on Broadway

To all the Red Wing fans who wanted to see Shanny gone, I hope you come to regret that wish.

To all the Red Wing fans who are brokenhearted to see the best power forward of the last decade to leave Hockeytown, I send my condolences.

But time marches on and so too has Brendan Shanahan. I secretly wished for Shanahan to become a Ranger for a very long time but I dismissed it as impossible. Brendan Shanahan would never come to the hapless New York Rangers, the team the whole league loves to hate! He would retire a Red Wing and take over as Captain after Steve Yzerman retired. I am happy to say that for Ranger fans, I was very much surprised and mistaken. I am sad to say for Detroit fans that the negative comments I have read on numerous Wings message boards may have been what drove Shanny away.

Well you may say that the Rangers once again are signing an aging veteren in a futile attempt to be a winning team. Well, that is no longer the case. The Rangers were a winning team and were one point away from the Atlantic Division title until the injury bug decimated them at the end of last season. They relied upon their one trick work horse (Jaromir Jagr). Their lack of scoring depth killed them in the playoffs.

Brendan Shanahan brings scoring depth on the left side and from the point on the power play. Brendan Shanahan brings veteran leadership to the young players on the Rangers. Brendan Shanahan brings class and a commitment to play his best for the New York Rangers, as he always did for all the teams he has played for in the past.

At the end of the day, I don’t care if Brendan scores 40 goals or 25 goals. He brings a dimension to the Rangers that they have been lacking. I hope for Brendan’s sake he does well in New York. Ranger fans really know how to express their appreciation for their cherished players.

Welcome to the Big Apple, Shanny! I hope to see you enjoy the Rangers Stick Raising Salute to the Fans after each Ranger home victory, learn the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline” and hear the Irish Jig after every goal you score at the Garden!

Cead Mile Failte Brendan Shanahan
(Irish for A Thousand Welcomes)

Wings Bring Back Lebda

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Tuesday that they have agreed to terms on a four-year deal with defenseman Brett Lebda.

As per club policy, financial terms of the contract were not announced.

Lebda split the 2005-06 season between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He earned 12 points in 46 games with Detroit and earned a spot on the team’s playoff lineup over veteran defensemen Cory Cross and Jason Woolley.

“Brett was impressive in the time he spent with us last season,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland. “He possesses the skills I think will help contribute to the success of this organization in the long-term.”

Cleary Signs Two-year Deal

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced on Monday that the team had re-signed forward Dan Cleary to a two-year deal.

Cleary, who signed with Detroit for the 2005-06 season after a training camp tryout, will reportedly earn $1.325 million over the life of the deal.

“Dan’s a gritty player and we value what he brings to the team,” said Holland. “I’m glad he will be in a Red Wings jersey for the next two seasons.”

A former first-round draft pick, Cleary scored 15 points in 77 games with Detroit last season. He has totalled 127 points in 406 NHL games.

Before coming to the Red Wings, Cleary played for the Chicago, Edmonton and Phoenix.

Shanahan Signs with Rangers

As first reported by the New York Post on Sunday, free agent forward Brendan Shanahan has agreed to terms with the New York Rangers.

Shanahan had spent the last nine seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, helping carry the team to three Stanley Cup championships.

“It really came down to an instinct I had,” Shanahan said. “Detroit has a great past and a great future ahead of them as well, but I guess I just felt that maybe I was identified with the past a little bit more than the future.”

The prototypical power forward reportedly rejected more lucrative offers from the Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens to accept the Rangers’ offer.

Shanahan had 40 goals and 81 points last season and earned $2.28 million. His new deal is reportedly worth $4 million.

Before joining the Red Wings, Shanahan played for the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers.

End of an Era: Yzerman retires after 22 seasons

Longtime Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman announced his retirement at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, ending a 22-season career spent entirely with the Red Wings.

At a press conference attended by Red Wings greats including Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, Yzerman calmly said, “I’ve decided to retire… Hang up my skates.”

Drafted by the Red Wings with the fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Yzerman was named captain of the team after just three seasons, making the 21-year-old the youngest team captain in NHL history to that point. At his retirement, he was the longest-serving captain in NHL history.

Yzerman said that his plan throughout the 2005-06 season was to retire at the end of the year but that Ken Holland tried to get him to return.

“[He] almost had me convinced that I was coming back this year.”

Throughout the 1980s, Yzerman consistantly ranked with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in scoring. He changed his game to embrace a more defensive style in the 1990s, adding to his arsenal the tools needed to lead the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup.

The Yzerman-led Red Wings claimed Stanley Cup Championships in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Yzerman was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after the 1998 run.

In 2002, Yzerman earned an Olympic gold medal skating with Team Canada at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Red Wings Re-sign Osgood

Hours after he hit the market as an NHL free agent, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they had reached a deal to keep goaltender Chris Osgood in Hockeytown for two more seasons.

Osgood started his career in Detroit before being traded to the New York Islanders in 2001. He joined the St. Louis Blues in 2003 and returned to the Red Wings last summer, spending the 2005-06 season as Manny Legace‘s backup.

He is expected to remain in the backup role, with the Red Wings attempting to acquire a new starting netminder after parting ways with Legace.

As per club policy, the financial terms of the deal were not announced. It had previously been reported that the Red Wings were trying to retain Osgood for one season at his 2005-06 salary of $900,000, with a two-year deal on the table for less money annually.