Yzerman’s Jersey to be Retired After New Year

The Red Wings made official on Wednesday what has been known for years: No Detroit player will ever again wear Steve Yzerman‘s No. 19 jersey.

The team announced that Yzerman’s number will be raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena on January 2, 2007, when the Red Wings host the Anaheim Ducks.

It will be the Red Wings’ sixth officially retired number. Terry Sawchuck’s No. 1, Ted Lindsay‘s No. 7, Gordie Howe‘s No. 9, Alex Delvecchio‘s No. 10 and Sid Abel’s No. 12 are all honored by banners at the Joe. As well, Larry Aurie’s No. 6 and Vladimir Konstantinov‘s No. 16 are no longer used by the team but do not hang from the arena’s rafters.

“For a long time, there was no doubt in ownership’s mind that Steve Yzerman would play his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and that his sweater would fittingly go up into the rafters along with the other all-time greatest Red Wing players – Abel, Delvecchio, Howe, Lindsay and Sawchuk,” Red Wings senior vice-president Jim Devellano said in a statement.

Red Wings Re-sign Franzen

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday that they have signed restricted free agent forward Johan Franzen to a three-year deal. As per club policy, financial terms were not announced.

Franzen appeared in 80 games in 2005-06, his rookie season. He scored twelve goals and added four assists in a checking-line role with the team.

“Johan had a very good rookie season in the NHL,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He was a big part of our penalty killing, provided us with a physical presence and played very well in the playoffs. Moving into his second NHL season and beyond, we’re hopeful he can gain some confidence and increase his contribution in the scoring department as well.”

Report: Lidstrom to be Next Captain

The Detroit Free Press reported on Wednesday that defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be named the next captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

The team has not made a formal announcement and head coach Mike Babcock said that the decision has yet to be made.

“I’m not saying Nick Lidstrom won’t be the captain but what I am telling you is that we haven’t spent one second on it yet,” Babcock told the Canadian Press. “Anything written about it at this point is pure speculation.”

“When I get back I’ll meet with (GM) Kenny (Holland), Steve Yzerman and also with our veteran core, Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper, have a chat, and do what’s best for our hockey club.”

The question of who would succeed longtime captain Steve Yzerman is one that has been asked since long before he announced his retirement on July 3. Along with Lidstrom, veteran Draper and young star Zetterberg have been considered frontrunners for the captaincy.

If Lidstrom is named captain, both of the team’s alternate captain positions will be available.

Former Wing Johnson Returns to Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that they have signed Greg Johnson as an unrestricted free agent, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal.

Johnson has served as the captain of the Nashville Predators since 2002. He joined the Predators through the 1998 Expansion Draft.

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989, Johnson broke into the NHL with the Red Wings during the 1993-94 season. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tomas Sandstrom during Detroit’s 1997 Stanley Cup run and sent to the Chicago Blackhawks the following year.

In a 785-game NHL career, Johnson has totalled 145 goals and 224 assists for 369 points.

“We know he has character, he has speed,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We were looking for someone with speed.”

Johnson is the second Nashville free agent to sign with Detroit this summer, following Danny Markov, who came to the Red Wings in on July 26.

Zetterberg Won’t Need Wrist Surgery

The Detroit Red Wings learned on Friday that forward Henrik Zetterberg will not require surgery to repair a nagging wrist injury that flared up this week.

Zetterberg has experienced wrist pain on and off for the last year and a half, his agent stated earlier this week. After the pain came back and Zetterberg was unable to shoot while practicing with Swedish team Timra, he flew to Detroit to be examined at the Detroit Medical Center.

No tear was detected, meaning Zetterberg’s wrist ligaments are fine.

“It’s huge, because if there had been ligament damage, we would have been talking about extended time out,” general manager Ken Holland said. “Basically he has an inflammation, so that’s very, very positive news. It’s something that can be treated with rest and an anti-inflammatory. By late August, we expect that he is 100%.”

Holland stressed Zetterberg’s importance to a team that lost longtime captain Steve Yzerman to retirement and fan-favorite Brendan Shanahan to free agency this summer.

“Steve was able to will this organization to unbelievable years with the three Stanley Cups, and now it’s up to someone else. Z has that kind of will and that work ethic and that passion to be the best. It’s going to be his time.”

Zetterberg Nursing Sore Wrist

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg is cutting his summer short and returning to Detroit to have team doctors check on a sore wrist.

The Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that the injury could cause Zetterberg to miss the start of the season. The Red Wings begin regular season play on October 5.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland stated that the team’s examination would be a “precautionary move” due to Zetterberg’s previous wrist problems. He said that Zetterberg has periodically complained of a sore wrist but that it didn’t keep him from playing last season.

“He called two days ago and just said that he’s trying to shoot the puck and was having a hard time,” Holland said. “We’re going to bring him over and have our doctors look at him.”

Expressen quoted Gunnar Svensson, Zetterberg’s agent, as saying that the wrist has been a problem for a year and a half, with it flaring up again this week while Zetterberg skated with Timra, his former Swedish club.

Former Wing Legace Signs with St. Louis

Former Detroit Red Wings goalie Manny Legace agreed to terms with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Legace, a career backup until winning the starting role in Detroit for the 2005-06 campaign, will join a St. Louis crease already manned by Curtis Sanford and Jason Bacashihua.

“The Blues are thrilled to bring a veteran goaltender with a career winning record to our team,” said club president John Davidson. “With the addition of Manny, we feel solid with the depth we have in goal.”

The Red Wings cut ties with Legace after the team’s first-round upset at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, which saw Legace’s play and his mental toughness called into question.

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