Wings Won’t Bring Back Lang

The Detroit News reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has opted not to offer a contract to forward Robert Lang. Lang will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“With the salary cap, you can’t bring back everyone,” Holland said. “It forces you to make decisions.”

Holland will be meeting with the agents for defensemen Danny Markov and Mathieu Schneider and goalie Dominik Hasek during the draft this weekend.

I don’t think a lot of people will be too surprised that Lang won’t return. He saw decreased playing time during the playoffs and has been a constant target of criticism across the blogosphere (I hate that word).

To replace him, I expect either that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be split up to center the top two lines or Valtteri Filppula will jump up to second-line center.

Lidstrom, Datsyuk Claim Awards

Detroit Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were honored with NHL awards Thursday night, repeating as the winners of the James Norris Trophy and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, respectively.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman for the fifth time, matching a feat accomplished by Ray Bourque. Only Bobby Orr (eight) and Doug Harvey (seven) have won it more times.

“Ray Bourque was a player that I looked up to,” Lidstrom said. “I really enjoyed watching him play. Being mentioned with names like Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey, it’s quite an honor.”

Datsyuk was awarded his second Lady Byng, given for gentlemanly play and sportsmanship.

Datsyuk was not present to accept the award. Detroit general manager Ken Holland did so on his behalf.

“He plays the game the right way,” Lidstrom said of Datsyuk. “He has fun out on the ice, and he exemplifies the sportsmanship (part of the trophy). He should be very proud.”

Pittsburgh Penguins’ sophomore Sidney Crosby took home the most hardware of anyone, claiming the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player (as voted by the NHLPA) to go along with the Art Ross Trophy that he had already locked up by being the league’s leading scorer.

Crosby’s teammate, Evgeni Malkin, went home with the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur claimed his third Vezina Trophy in the last four years as the league’s best goalie. Netminders Nicklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez shared the William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals against.

Rod Brind’Amour, captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, was named the league’s best defensive forward, repeating as the winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks was named the coach of the year, winning the Jack Adams Award.

Saku Koivu was awarded the King Clancy Award for humanitarian contribution to hockey.

Boston Bruins’ rookie Phil Kessel was given the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Kessel was diagnosed with, treated for, and recovered from testicular cancer all in his first NHL campaign.

Tamapa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier claimed the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal-scorer.

Chelios Re-ups with Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Tuesday that they have re-signed veteran defenseman Chris Chelios. Financial terms of the one-year deal were not announced.

Chelios, 45, was the league’s oldest player last season. He has previously stated that he would like to play until age 51, one year younger than Gordie Howe‘s record of 52.

Detroit alternate captain Kris Draper praised Chelios for his work ethic and resiliancy.

“The one thing you could say about this year’s playoffs is everybody stepped up on the back end with all the injuries we had. And nobody did that better than Cheli. Guys went down and he kept playing more minutes. It’s unbelievable what he’s able to do.”

With Chelios signed, Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland‘s focus turns to goaltender Dominik Hasek.

Hasek’s agent, Rich Winter, told the Canadian media earlier this week that the goalie has made his decision on whether or not to return for another season and will tell the Wings in the next couple days.