Modano Retires

Mike Modano announced via Facebook today that he will retire. A press conference for the official announcement is scheduled for Friday.

After a long summer of thinking about my future, I’ve come to the decision that it’s time to retire as a player from the NHL. There’s way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it’s been!

Modano retires as the all-time leading American scorer, having played in eight All-Star Games, three Olympics, and a winning a Stanley Cup Championship in 1999 with the Dallas Stars.

Red Wings Announce Lineups for Opening Preseason Games

Per Ansar Khan, the Red Wings have revealed their rosters for the first two games of the 2011 exhibition season.

The Red Wings will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night with the following lines:

Jiri HudlerPavel DatsyukDanny Cleary
Fabian BrunnstromCory EmmertonPatrick Eaves
Drew MillerRyan JohnsonJan Mursak
Tomas TatarChris ConnerTomas Holmstrom

Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Brendan SmithMike Commodore
Garnet ExelbyLogan Pyett

Jimmy Howard
Joey MacDonald

On Thursday Detroit will be in London, Ontario, to play the Philadelphia Flyers. Their lineup for that game will be as follows:

Valtteri FilppulaHenrik ZetterbergJohan Franzen
Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmTodd Bertuzzi
Gustav NyquistJoakim AnderssonWillie Coetzee
Tomas JurcoBrent RaedekeFrancis Pare

Nicklas LidstromIan White
Jonathan EricssonJakub Kindl
Brian LashoffDoug Janik

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

No lineup has been announced for the Wings’ preseason home opener on Friday, where Detroit will host the Flyers.

Partial Rosters for the Red Wings’ Red & White Game (Round One)

The Freep has a set of partial rosters for the Red Wings’ Red & White Game in Traverse City tomorrow (as opposed to the Red & White Game in Grand Rapids next week).

Team Red
Cleary – Datsyuk – Eaves
Miller – Emmerton – Holmstrom
Hudler – Johnson – Brunnstrom
Tatar – Conner – Mursak

Kronwall – Stuart
Smith – Commodore

Howard
MacDonald

Team White
Filppula – Zetterberg – Franzen
Abdelkader – Helm – Bertuzzi
Lidstrom – White
Ericsson – Kindl

Conklin
Pearce

Update 5:00 PM: Sarah Lindenau has the full rosters.

How Should the Wings Honor Lokomotiv?

It was announced yesterday that Pavel Datsyuk will wear #24 throughout the preseason in honor of Ruslan Salei. That was big news from a team that has made no formal announcement of any effort to honor Salei, Brad McCrimmon, and Stefan Liv – the three former members of the Detroit organization who were killed in Yaroslavl Lokomotiv’s plane crash on September 7.

Not as noticed was Mike Babcock‘s comment at McCrimmon’s funeral, implying that the Red Wings will do something in memory of their former teammates.

“Brad’s going to be with us all year,” he said. “No question.”

The Dallas Stars will wear a #37 sticker for Karlis Skrastins and the Carolina Hurricanes will wear a #63 patch for Josef Vasicek. The New Jersey Devils have said they will do something (yet to be defined) to honor Alexander Vasyunov and Karel Rachunek. The Colorado Avalanche have said they will honor Salei, Skrastins and Wade Belak (who also died this summer) on opening night. The Winnipeg Jets will wear an “RR” sticker for Rick Rypien, another offseason death.

The last time the Red Wings honored a fallen teammate was the “Believe” patch the team wore for the 1997-98 season, honoring Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakonov, who were critically injured in a limo accident while celebrating the team’s 1997 Stanley Cup Championship.

Both Konstantinov and Mnatsakonov were active members of the team at the time of their accident, however. McCrimmon, Salei and Liv had left the Detroit organization, so the same action may not be taken in their memories.

My personal preference would be either a one-game patch, worn during the home opener as part of an in-arena memorial (an idea doesn’t seem likely as Babcock said “all year”), or a helmet sticker worn for the season. I took some time to play around with a design and came up with the following:

lokomotiv_wings_memorial

It was intended to be a patch but I think it would work better as a sticker. In all honesty, I’m not thrilled with the design.

With that in mind, I’m interested in seeing what the Red Wings come up with and what the fans think would be appropriate. Have some thoughts on it? Post them here and we’ll see if any of us end up coming close to what actually happens.

Datsyuk to Wear Salei’s #24 in Preseason

As the Detroit Red Wings opened the on-ice portion of their 2011 training camp on Saturday, Pavel Datsyuk‘s tribute to fallen former teammate Ruslan Salei was revealed.

Datsyuk will wear Salei’s #24 on his back during the preseason this year, rather than the #13 he’s worn since making the Detroit roster ten years ago. The temporary number switch was announced via the Red Wings’ official Twitter account minutes before Datsyuk stepped onto the ice for the team’s first practice.

The team later tweeted a photo of Datsyuk in the #24.

Salei was among 44 people killed in the September 7 crash of KHL team Yaroslavl Lokomotiv’s chartered plane. Included in that group were former Wings’ prospect Stefan Liv and former Red Wing Brad McCrimmon.

Fifteen Years: Looking Back and Looking Forward

I spend a lot of time talking about the distant past when I bring up important dates. Upon reaching DetroitHockey.Net’s fifteenth birthday, I just want to take some time to look over the last year and ahead to the next one.

The fifteenth season of DH.N was supposed to include a lot of changes to the site. Unfortunately, only some of them happened.

The DetroitHockey.Net Community Forums have undergone a major upgrade. A big part of this is the ability for visitors to log in and post using a Twitter or Facebook account, rather than having to create an account here.

Speaking of Twitter, DH.N has embraced that technology in the last year, with the official account being @detroithockey96. Tweets are archived on DH.N, with important ones pulled onto the site home page.

Said home page was redesigned as part of a reworking of the site’s news system. The other most visible part of that update is that news posts and blog posts have been separated in the site, with the blogs.detroithockey.net domain now in use. The forum upgrades were also carried into this area, as Twitter and Facebook users can comment on news stories and blog posts without having to sign up for an account here.

The site’s multimedia archive is next up for upgrades. Already almost 500 low-quality multimedia files have been removed from the system, with work to make it more usable and interactive underway.

What will DetroitHockey.Net’s sixteenth year bring? Continued upgrades and (hopefully) a major event.

The aforementioned multimedia upgrades should wrap early in the NHL season. After that is a stats project and another round of forum upgrades, with maybe a new store thrown in as well.

If you’re a fan of old-school hockey video games (Blades of Steel, Ice Hockey, the early NHL series, etc.) or charities that help sick children, keep an eye out for news about the Retro Hockey Challenge. It’s an idea I’m excited about but I have no idea yet if it’ll work. If it happens, it’ll be the biggest thing of DetroitHockey.Net’s next year.

Thoughts on the Lokomotiv Plane Crash

I’ve been trying to come up with the right words to explain what I’ve been feeling since hearing about the plane crash that claimed the lives of the entire roster of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Yaroslavl Lokomotiv today. The problem I keep coming back to is that the ones I want to use are losing meaning.

When Derek Boogaard died earlier this year, I said, “Anytime something like this happens it’s a terrifying reminder of just how human our hockey heroes are. I’ve said it before, we think of them as invincible but they’re just men.”

I feel like this should have hit me when Vladimir Konstantinov was nearly killed in 1997 but it was too easy to chalk that up as a car accident, something that happens every day. Instead, it’s an idea that I first really realized when Chris Pronger collapsed after blocking a shot during the 1998 playoffs. It’s been reinforced with every death or major injury since, most notably Steve Yzerman‘s eye injury in 2004 and Jiri Fischer‘s 2005 collapse on the Detroit bench.

So it was easy to break out that line in May, an idea that’s always there but you never want to think about. But then in July you have Rick Rypien’s death, so soon after Boogaard’s. The words that came so easily don’t have the same meaning after so little time.

Two weeks later and Wade Belak is gone. Isolated incidents or an epidemic?nbsp; There’s almost panic in the feeling of “This is not supposed to happen.”

Three deaths in a single summer. It’s pretty much unprecedented. The idea of this being the worst offseason in NHL history is being thrown around.

And then an entire team is wiped out at once.

There are no words anymore because this is not how it’s supposed to be.

No, our hockey heroes are not invincible, they are just men. They are men in their prime, however, and it makes no sense for them to be cut down. There is no understanding it. We can only hope to come to terms with it.

Three Former Wings Among 43 Dead in Plane Crash

Former Red Wings Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei and Stefan Liv were killed in a plane crash today, reports out of Russia state.

The chartered Yak-42, reportedly carrying the entire roster of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team, collided with a radar tower shortly after liftoff outside Yaroslavl. The plane was en route to Minsk, Belarus, where Lokomotiv was to play their first game of the KHL season.

Lokomotiv’s roster included several former NHLers, including Josef Vasicek, Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Alexander Vasyunov, and Karlis Skrastins.

McCrimmon was the team’s head coach, having moved to the KHL after his contract as an assistant with the Red Wings was not renewed this summer. Former NHL players Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev were his assistants.

Salei signed with Yaroslavl after being unable to come to terms with an NHL team. He spent the 2010-11 season with the Red Wings after stints with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche.

Former Detroit prospect Liv also joined Lokomotiv over the summer, jumping from fellow KHL squad Novosibirsk Siber. He dressed for Detroit but never saw game action during the 2006-07 season, splitting his lone North American season between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Toledo Storm.

The only player reported to survive the crash is Alexander Galimov, who is in critical condition. One member of the crew is reported as having survived.