Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Greatest Red Wings of MY Time - #16

Hey, did you hear that Aaron Downey is getting a tryout with the Wings? I did. I'm excited. Really excited. Not since Brad May have the Wings had a legitimate enforcer on the roster, ready to play 4 minutes a game and get in the requisite fight to stir the team up when they are playing like shit (not that the Wings play like shit - it's the stupid refs who cause them to play that way - and Bettman). So, while we continue to hold our collective breaths until we turn purple waiting for Mikey to make a decision, let's continue our series. Today I present #16, and it's funny, because this was already predetermined when metaltje made a comment on Dino.

Ray Sheppard

Pertinent Stats: 274 GP, 152 G, 113 A, 265 P, +38
Awards: None

I can hear it already: "another Wing from the mid-90s"? Yes, and remember, this is my lifetime, and I was a big fan in the early '90s. As much as I wanted to just name every player from 1996-1997, some of the guys who did not win Cups were pretty good. They just weren't the right fit for the team.

Ray Sheppard. Other than Larry Murphy, this is the slowest skater I have ever seen in my lifetime. Did any of you ever play "Stanley Cup" for the SNES? Sheppard was on the top line with Yzerman and Federov, and it would take 3 years for him to skate from one end of the ice to the other. But he had a wicked wrist shot and I scored 480,000 goals with him in one season (I'm exaggerating, obviously, but you get the idea). Ironically, this was how he played in real life.

He was signed in the Wings' annual "quest to buy a Stanley Cup" and put up some big numbers while on the team. Check them out; he was very nearly a point-per-game player. Even in the high-flying, soon-to-be-trapping early '90s, these were pretty good numbers. And laugh all you want, but he put up 50 goals in a season, also not too shabby. Unfortunately, the man had no idea what "defense" was, but as a right winger, it was not his job, so who cares? He could score, and more importantly, he could score on the power play.

Ray was not a flashy player, nor was he the greatest. But he was solid, he could put up points, and he stayed out of the box, which is never really a bad thing. Alas, he was not able to continue his career with the Wings, and they traded him for some scrub named Igor Larionov a few games into the 95-96 season (I remember thinking at the time "they traded Sheppard to get an older guy? WTF?") Unfortunately Ray never put up any great numbers after that, but when he was with the Wings, he was one of their top 3 goal scorers. Based on the consistency that he brought, the scoring he provided, and his bringing in Larionov, Ray gets to be #16 on the list of Greatest Red Wings of My Time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to fire up my old SNES and whoop the shit out of the Penguins on my way to the 1992 Stanley Cup.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Greatest Red Wings of MY Time - #17

First, sorry for the delay. I just got back from vacation, and I spent an amazing 3 days up north at my buddy's cottage. Nothing but sun, swimming, and boating. After that, it was back to the folks' house for some golf and relaxing by the pool combined with visiting with family. Unfortunately, I neglected both Twitter and the blog while I was up there, and I've been feeling very disconnected lately. However, when I did check the site and email, I received queries as to when the next entry in the series will be up. I am happy to report that time is now. Presenting #17 of the Greatest Red Wings of My Time.

Dino Ciccarelli

Pertinent Stats: 254 GP, 107 G, 133 A, 241 P, +48, 292 PIM
Awards: None

Dino was another one of those guys that was picked up by the Wings in the mid-90s to give them some veteran depth and experience. Unfortunately, he was also one of the guys who was shipped out just prior to the Wings winning it all, so he never experienced a Cup win while part of the Wings (or with anyone else, for that matter). Although he was only with the Wings for 4 years, he had a big impact on the team not only because of the goals he scored, but because of how he paved the way for Tomas Holmstrom to become an important part of the team.

Dino was already an established scorer and power play specialist when he was brought in by the Wings in a trade for Kevin Miller. He also had a reputation as a guy who played He immediately became a force for the Wings, racking up 97 points in his first season as a Wing. Unfortunately, in what I call "The Season From Hell", it was not enough as the Wings lost to the Maple Leafs in the 1st round of the playoffs. He never really put up the numbers after that while in a Wing uniform, and he was eventually let go.

His impact for me was understated. Essentially, he was Holmstrom before Homer became what he is now. However, for me, it took a long time to really appreciate what Homer means to the team (more on him soon). It's the same with Dino. I didn't really get what he brought to the team until after he left. He was a good scorer who could put the puck in the net, even if it wasn't always pretty. He played with an edge, and provided some grit during the playoff runs in '95 and '96. Unfortunately, he just didn't have what it took in order to get them over the top, but he was part of the teams that gained the experience necessary to succeed.

One thing that got me about Dino when writing this up was wondering what the reaction was when they brought him in. Obviously, Dino was picked up before the internet and blogs, so the only way to know what other fans' reactions were was to talk to them. Growing up in Toronto, those fans were few and far between, so I didn't have any real opinion on Dino other than that he was a giant pain in the ass and I was glad he was now a teammate and not an enemy. But Dino came with his set of demons from the past, most notably his McSorely-chop on Luke Richardson in 1987. That I remember because he was vilified in the Toronto papers for the cheap shot (as he should have been), and he was even charged with criminal assault. I bring this up because it makes me wonder how we would react to the same signing today when we can all converse and voice our opinions to a broader audience. For me, as I pondered this, I couldn't help but think of Todd Bertuzzi, and I realized there are a lot of parallels there: the Wings took a guy who had talent, but had fucked up at one time and was a major pariah throughout the league. When that player became a Wing, the idiocy stopped and they became a decent contributor to the team and helped them get close to achieving the ultimate goal. I guess that's why I cut Todd a little slack; I've been through this once before. But that's another discussion for another day.

So there you have it. Dino wasn't here long, and ultimately he couldn't get the Wings to a Cup. But without him I don't think the Wings would have let Homer developed the way he did, and that's a big thing in my books. That is why he gets the coveted spot of #17 of the Greatest Red Wings of MY Time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Greatest Red Wings of MY Time - #18

Welcome back. I got a lot of positive feedback to the first post in this series, so I decided to keep it going. One thing I really enjoyed was getting other memories that I had either glossed over or forgotten (Draper's OT goal in Game 2 of '98 was really the only exciting "highlight" from that Finals). Thanks to all those who commented, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. Today we will look at the #18 player on the list of Greatest Red Wings of My Time.

Keith Primeau

Pertinent Stats: 363 GP, 97 G, 133 A, 230 P, +61, 781 PIM
Awards: None

Keith Primeau was the last high draft pick the Red Wings have had, and by "high", I mean top-5. He was drafted third overall by the Wings in 1990, which just happened to be following the last time they missed the playoffs. The Wings had drafted Sergei Federov, Nicklas Lidstrom and Vladimir Konstantinov the year before, and it was believed that Primeau would be the power forward the Wings needed to start their climb towards contention.

I'll be completely honest: I don't remember a ton about Primeau's career as a Red Wing. One thing that I do remember is that he did not start his career off lighting up the scoreboard. He was always a tougher guy, and during those years, the Wings were very much a finesse team. Primeau was expected to come in, score 30-40 goals and throw his body around. The Wings moved him around a lot, and I know that at times he was played on the wing when he was a natural centreman. Once Primeau learned to score with any sort of regularity, then he became a much more important player on the team. His last 3 years in Detroit he was able to score at an almost a point-per-game pace. With Primeau emerging as a dependable offensive player, Bryan Murray and Scotty Bowman were able to use that to their advantage by moving Federov around on different lines and as a winger. Primeau was a key player in the Wings' run to the Finals in 1995, and he was great the next year when the Wings obliterated everyone in the regular season. Unfortunately, he was never a great playoff performer, and his underachieving was one of the reasons why the Wings were never able to win a Cup.

Primeau's time with the Wings will be remembered for 3 very distinct things: his slowness to develop into the type of player the Wings expected him to be when they drafted him 3rd overall; his fight with Bob Probert in January of 1994; and his part in the deal that brought Brendan Shanahan to the Wings.

I vividly remember the fight between Probert and Primeau, because it's not often that fights between teammates is caught on video. It was reported that Primeau was complaining about not getting credit for a point in the previous game, and some of the Wings decided to have the PA announcer announce his point during practice. Primeau did not like this, and went after Probert, who I guess he thought started the whole thing. Ultimately it turned out that it wasn't Probert who was behind it, but I do remember Primeau holding his own in the fight, and that gave me a newfound respect for him. After all, anyone who fought Bob Probert and not only stayed conscious but stayed upright was pretty tough in my books.

Ultimately, Primeau was never destined to be a life-long Red Wing. In 1996 the Wings signed Igor Larionov, and Primeau held out, believing that his ice time was going to be further diminished. Let's face it; by that time, he was going to be behind Yzerman, Federov and now Larionov as centres on the team. He certainly saw the writing on the wall, and the Wings traded him to Hartford to get Brendan Shanahan. We all know how the rest of that season went; the Wings went on to win the Cup, with Shanahan being the missing piece that the Wings had been searching for. To his credit, Primeau had a couple of good years in Hartford/Carolina, but then he ended up in Philadelphia where he forged himself a pretty decent career.

For me, Primeau's importance to the team is a little understated. I find it extremely ironic that the Wings drafted Primeau with high hopes of his becoming the tough, talented forward that would complement the skill of Federov and Yzerman, and in the end he was traded for the guy that became that player for the Wings and got them to the next level. I never disliked Primeau; while he was never my favourite player, he wore the Red and White, and that endeared him to me at least on a very basic level. Unfortunately, he never fulfilled the promise and potential that the Red Wings thought he had, and it took him going to another team to achieve great things. Regardless of his underachievements while in Detroit, he was still a dynamic player, and for this, he earns the spot of #18 on my list of Greatest Red Wings of My Time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Series - The 19 Greatest Red Wings of MY Time

I'm excited. The other night, I was lying in bed and couldn't sleep, and I thought "I need to come up with something that's not going to bore people to tears." That's when it hit me: rank the greatest Red Wings of all time. Brilliant! No one has ever thought of this before. Then, without doing any research, I figured that this has probably been done many times by much more talented people, and I didn't want to duplicate work. I also realized that I would have a real problem with that, because I never saw Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, or any of the other Red Wing greats actually play. I could look up stats, but what's the fun in that? That's when I started thinking about all of the great Wings I personally have seen, and the idea was born.

First, before we get into this, a comment on the Wings' signing of Derek Meech:


That's all I've got. He's making league minimum, and yet I feel like he's over-paid. Oh well. He's got some versatility: he can be a 4th line forward or a 6th defenseman. Not too many guys bring that amount of skill to the table. That we got him for only $500K is a steal. We're all still waiting for Helm and Abdelkader to sign, and of course there's He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Because-He-Is-Driving-Us-Crazy-With-His-Indecision. But that's not what I want to talk about today.

On to the series. This will be 19 posts: 1 for each player that I believe is the greatest I personally have ever seen play, either on TV or in person (I'll bet you will never guess who #1 is). Why 19? If you have to ask that question, then get the fuck out of here, because you're clearly an idiot. There a few ground rules for this. First, this is not about the best players to ever put on a Wing uniform at one time. You will not see Brett Hull or Luc Robitaille on this list because those guys were at best one-year players. This is about what the specific player did while wearing the Red and White. Contrary to this, you will also not see life-long Wings on this list just because they have been with the team for a long time. The contributions from the player had to have been significant over at least a few seasons. The time frame is important, as well: I've been a Wing fan since about 1988 (I saw Yzerman play when I was 8 in 1986, but there's a story there that I will share later - I'm such a tease). Being from Toronto, I did not see a lot of games on TV, unless they were playing the Leafs, because these were the days before cable and internet showing every single game. It wasn't until around 1991 that I started to see them on TV more often, so that explains why I don't have a lot of late-80s guys on there. All stats that are presented are the player's stats while playing with the Red Wings. Other than that, there's really no rules other than my own personal beliefs. I hope you guys and gals have as much fun reading this list as I had making it. I also appreciate any feedback regarding it: did I rank someone too high or low? Did I miss someone? Did this absolutely bore you to tears? Let me know.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the 19th Greatest Red Wing of My Lifetime:

Kris Draper

Pertinent Stats: 1090 GP - 152 G - 198 A - 350 P - 769 PIM - + 65
Individual Awards: 2004 Selke Award
Stanley Cups: 4 - 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008

We start our series with a guy that might make a lot of you say "well, this is clearly going to suck". It might, but let me explain why Kris makes THITD's list (at the bottom, I should point out). First, ignore the stats. I did not pick Drapes because of his numbers. They are mediocre at best. He didn't have a season above 15 goals until 2003-2004 when he had 24, and that represents a career high for him. He's only touched 40 points once, and his +/- usually hovers right around even. Drapes is here because of the intangibles he brings to the table, which is something that I pay attention to.

His story is similar to Drew Miller's: he was picked up off waivers from an under-achieving team in 1993, and the sum total of what the Wings paid for him was $1 American Dollar (or, $250 Canadian at the time). There's not a Red Wing fan alive who would say he was not worth it. Since then, he has become one of the core guys that the team is built around. No, he's not a top-6 forward. But what he did for the Wings was give them a legitimate 3rd line/checking line center. He ate up valuable minutes and he was great at faceoffs (still is, to a degree). There was a time that he and Maltby probably made up the best 1-2 punch of penalty killers in the NHL. One thing I always used to notice was that after the Wings were scored on, who did Scotty put on the ice? Draper and his line. He brought energy to the team, and if you ever saw ESPN's The Season, you'll know he's a good dressing room guy. One thing I remember from that show (besides Tomas Holmstrom's daily butchering of the English language) was Draper saying to Shanahan "I don't think Jack Bauer would like you doing that to his hat" after Shanny had written something on a "24" hat. I thought that was hilarious. There's also the well-known antic of shoving a pie in a teammate's face on his birthday.

One thing for me that gets Draper on this list is the fact that he has played over 1000 games as a Red Wing; only Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom accomplished. 1000 games with one team by anyone is a major feat for anyone, and even more so when you consider that Draper has never been a "star". I think it speaks to the Wings' belief in him as an important cog of the team that he has remained with the team, and playing the same role he has had for his entire career. His role has been reduced somewhat with the emergence of Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves as penalty-killers, but he has transitioned to being a role model for those guys, teaching them what it takes to be a 3rd line player in the league while contributing to the team's success. I've long maintained that one of the biggest reasons why the Wings broke through and won the Stanley Cup in 1997 was the emergence of the Grind Line, especially Draper. A team can not be successful without their depth players stepping up, and Draper led the charge for the Wings. It is for that reason combined with his consistency throughout his Wings career that has garnered him the #19 spot in the Greatest Red Wings of My Time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coming soon.....

I'm not going to do a huge update today, because quite frankly, nothing is going on. Plus, I'm leaving for vacation in a couple of days, and I'm trying to cram 10 days of worth of work into 2 and a half days of actually being here.

Having said that, I'm working on some new stuff that hopefully you find interesting. A lot of what's coming has to do with my personal experiences as a Red Wing fan, but I don't want to spoil the surprise too much. I hope you'll tune in starting (hopefully) tomorrow for a new series.

I did want to mention that there are some new Red Wing blogs out there that you should be taking the time to check out and read. Brandon asked me whether I was aware of another team that had the number of quality bloggers the Wings do; I can't think of one, and if there is such a team that exists, it probably plays it's home games in some magical world like Narnia or at Hogwarts. If you haven't already, I highly recommend the following new sites:

Etched In Cold - Written by a Marine, Rob's a very passionate fan who wears his heart on his sleeve. He's also got a funny side, as evidenced by his thoughts on how to alleviate the Blackhawks' salary cap problems (hint - been to a good bake sale lately?)

Babcock's Fly Hair - With a name like this, you know you're dealing with a very creative guy. Liam is new to the blogging world, but the few posts that I've seen from him are insightful and funny. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he does with Babcock's press conferences.

Beards of War - I swear, there are some great-named blogs in the Red Wing blogosphere, and this one is a great example. Josh has been going for about a couple of months, and if you're looking for great commentary that will make you laugh, check him out. Be sure to watch the video documenting about the Hawks and their cap issues - it ranks up there with the TTD Minutes.

Brendan Smithsonian Institution - This is the first blog I've ever seen named for a player who is not actually on the team. I've chatted with Jeff on Twitter before, and he's a native of Michigan who has been transplanted to Boston. Like the rest of us out-of-towners, he loves his Wings from afar, and is excited to see his namesake make the team and follow in Lids' footsteps.

These guys are all churning out great stuff, and that's in addition to the numerous quality blogs that are out there already. Truth be told, I feel a little inadequate when I read their posts, because their work is really, really good. It makes me proud to see that our community of fans boasts such intelligent, insightful people, and I look forward to sharing an entire season with all of you.

Update: Apparently I need to proofread this a little better, as in my haste to type everything out, I said that the writer for the Brendan Smithsonian Institution is Josh, when in fact, his name is Jeff. I should have paid more attention since that's his Twitter name.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Musings

I was going to put something up on Friday, but couldn't find an "F" word that meant thoughts or opinions without going online, and then I got distracted by something else and....well, let's just say it wasn't going to happen. But, it's Monday afternoon and some stuff has gone down in the last few days that I need to talk about.

Brett Lebda Signs with Maple Leafs - Look, we all had a good laugh when we heard the Leafs had signed Lebda. As I said on Twitter that day, I have nothing against the guy. He was a serviceable fifth or sixth defenseman who didn't do anything particularly well except skate fast and pinch at inopportune times. It's the money: I can't believe that anyone would give that amount of money to Brett freaking Lebda. $1.45M a year for 2 years? Laughable. But what was even funnier for me after the signing was the comments he made to the Toronto Star:

As far as us making the playoffs, and making noise in the playoffs, I found a good mix in that and being able to meet the personal goals I’ve set for myself,” said Lebda, reached by phone at his home in Wonder Lake, Ill. “I’d like to get more ice time. I’d like to contribute more.

“In Detroit, I was more of a depth defenceman, and right now, that’s how the hockey world sees me. I’d kind of like to change that, and be a four or five guy, and contribute more to the team, in special teams, in key situations.”
He played 15 minutes a game as a third pairing defenseman. I'm not sure exactly what he is thinking he can contribute other than drunken antics with inanimate objects, hilarity for Leaf fans, and chips and salsa for the rest of the healthy scratches. It's a shame that he was stuck behind such lame players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart. Now he gets to play with such brilliant defensemen like Dion "Sloppy Seconds" Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek. Good luck Brett!

Mike Modano's Continued Wooing: Is anyone else getting pretty tired of this shit? Look, Mike, I'd like to see you as a Wing. I think you'd be a good fit. But if you're going to dick the team around, then just take your shit to San Jose and enjoy being a part of yet another epic playoff failure. I've said before that I would like him in Detroit; just not at the expense of players like Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. Those 2 guys may not be superstars, but they are quality depth players who have bought into the system in place and will be good for years. They could be big reasons why the Wings have the 3rd and 4th lines that keep them contending for Cups every year. Cups are not won and lost with the superstars; it's the role players chipping in key goals and eating up important minutes, maybe with a big penalty kill or a strong shift when momentum is lacking. I don't think Helm is going to score 40 goals a year; but we all remember his monster shift against Chicago in the WCF in 2009, and that's the type of play that wins championships. I do not want the Wings to give up important players to get him; that's what I have always maintained. But if he feels that he could get more money, then good luck to him. I've always respected and liked him as a player, and that won't change. I just want him to make up his damn mind and get on with it (and don't even get me started on Kovalchuk. Good gravy, he's like the prettiest stripper; everyone knows he's the best one, but you have to look at who you're being compared to).

The Ongoing Saga of the Chicago Blackhawks - We here at THITD (and by "we", I mean me in the royal sense) have not really commented on the happenings of the local NHL team. It started with the trading of Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to the Thrashers. Then it was Kris Versteeg to the Leafs. Then Andrew Ladd went to the Thrashers (I guess Atlanta's thought is that if you can't beat them, then get all their players that looked good playing along side superstars). Then, in the best development yet, the Sharks signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet of $16M over 4 years (cap hit of $3.5M), which the Hawks matched today. As it stands right now, the Hawks have just over $100K in cap space, and we are still waiting for Niemi's arbitration date to see how much he gets. The Hawks also still don't have a full roster, even with the little cap space they have. Excuse me for a second.


Whew, I needed that.

A lot of people are pointing at Stan Bowman and saying that he is screwing this all up. I say to those people: what was he supposed to do? He was put in salary cap hell by Tallon with the ridiculous contracts to Huet and Campbell, then he had to sign the big 3 of Kane, Toews and Keith. Now we all get to sit back as this team that less than a month ago was on top of the world is dismantled to a shell of itself. And to any Hawks fans who read this, understand one thing: none of the players that are coming in are going to be as good as the guys that left. That's what makes this so funny. We all know they're going to bury Huet in the minors to get some cap space. Even with that happening, this team will not be as good as they were, and now there's talk that Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell and/or Patrick Sharp could be traded to make room. Personally, I think it would be awesome if Hossa got banished to the Islanders or the Panthers and he never comes close to a Cup again, especially the way he did absolutely dick-all to win for the Hawks. I would also like to see Sharp moved, but not because I dislike him; I actually respect him as a player, and I think losing him would hurt the Hawks more than any other departed player has so far this off-season. And anything that hurts the Hawks (and conversely, helps the Wings) brings a smile to my face.

I will say this: in light of all of the recent events (Lebda, Modano, Hjalmarsson and the rest of the ex-Hawks), I am fucking ecstatic that we have Ken Holland as a GM. Yes, we're all still a little miffed at the Bertuzzi signing. But think about this: would you rather we be slightly perturbed at that, or apoplectic that half of our team has been traded? Or that he signed a depth defenseman for almost as much money as Bertuzzi is making? He's made his pitch to Modano, and if Mikey doesn't feel it's worth it, then buh-bye; we'll just sign Helm and Abby, get a depth defenseman, and get back to dominating the division like normal. He was able to sign Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves to decent deals, with more than enough money to finish his shopping. In Kenny We Trust.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Wonderings

Since both of my readers are probably wondering where I have been the last week or so, I decided to weigh in on what's been going down in Red Wing nation the last week or so. It's been a pretty quiet couple of weeks, but in the last few days we've had 2 signings, a courtship, and a tragedy.

Bob Probert passes away at 45 - I really wish I could say this news shocked me. I was shocked that he died so young; anytime someone under the age of 50 passes away due to a heart attack or something health-related that was not overtly known, it's a shock. But when you consider the way that Probert lived his life during his playing career, it's no surprise that he developed heart issues. The man had a known cocaine and alcohol problem during his playing career, and he lived like he played: hard and fast. Being a young lad in Toronto, I remember him and Kocur getting involved with Wendel Clark a lot when they played the Leafs. I also remember him not being able to cross the border into Canada after his arrest, so I didn't get to see him play a lot. What I will remember about him the most was his epic battles with Troy Crowder of the Devils in the early '90s, and his battle with Marty McSorely that was one of the longest fights I've ever seen. RIP Probie.

Patrick Eaves signs 1 year deal for $750K- This hot off the presses, but this is great news for the Wings. I like this deal, although I'm surprised he didn't get a multi-year deal. Perhaps the Wings are making sure last year was no fluke for Eaves. He gets a nice raise, but he was making league-minimum last year and was one of the more consistent Wing players throughout the season. He started off as a 4th line player, but the chemistry he developed with Darren Helm was nice to see, and those two quickly became the Wings' best PK forward unit. I look forward to an entire season with those two playing together.

Drew Miller signs 1 year deal for $650K - It's a little ironic for me that Miller was the first of the RFAs to sign, because in my head I had the priority of signing them in this order: Helm, Abdelkader, Eaves, Miller. So of course Miller signs first. Miller got a nice raise (23%) from what he made last year, when he was a solid waiver-wire pick up while the Wings were in injury Hell. He's a gritty 3rd or 4th line player that can chip in the odd goal here or there, but with the Wings' nucleus in place, they only need to sign depth players. That's exactly what Miller is. I like the money involved, because it leaves ample space to sign the other 2 left, plus a little for cap space. As it stands after the Miller and Eaves signings, the Wings have $3.75M in cap space, which is more than enough for Helm and Abby. Then there's always Mikey Mo.....

The courtship of Mike Modano - This is an interesting scenario brewing. Not being from Detroit, or Michigan, or the US, I don't have any of the "coming home to play" feelings that a lot of people have. Plus, I'm just not that much of a sentimental guy. I had enough of the "guys coming to play for the hometeam because no one else wants them" in the late '90s when the Leafs signed every single player who played in the old MTHL in the 1970s. Personally, I like the idea of Modano in a Wings jersey because I believe he still brings something to the table. It's not like the Wings are trying to get him to be their messiah; they are looking for him to come in and play on the 3rd and/or 4th line, take some heat off of Pavel and Hank, and chip in goals on the PP while bringing veteran leadership to an already awesome dressing room. This is a signing that reminds me of Luc Robitaille in 2002; they are bringing in a veteran for a shot at the Cup. There are some people who feel that bringing in Modano will stunt the growth of someone like Ritola. Let's be honest here: Ritola is not being brought up to the NHL to have an impact. He's being brought up to experience being part of the big club, soak up the experience in the dressing room, and learn what it will take for him to be an important part of this team for years to come. The Wings have the reputation as being one of the most patient organizations in sports; there's no reason for them to deviate from their philosophy now.

It's a shame how Dallas has cast him aside like this. I don't see how you can claim a rebuilding effort and not keep the most important player in the history of the franchise. I understand the need to move forward as a team, but I don't see how not bringing back the face of the franchise helps anywhere; on the ice as a leader, and from a PR standpoint as well. Let's face it: Dallas is not exactly a hockey hotbed, and with Modano gone and the team struggling, will it continue to bring in fans? Hard to say.

I will say this: they better not overpay for him. The Wings' priorities should be to sign Helm and Abby first, then worry about Modano. I would also prefer a 6th defenseman if one is available to replace Lilja, who is all but certain to be gone. But if the money is right and Modano wants to be in Detroit, I say sign him up and let's gun for Number 12.