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Cup soothes Chelios, Hasek

Veterans are happy even on the bench

Dave Dye / The Detroit News

PITTSBURGH -- One watched from the bench, the other listened from the dressing room.

But when it was all over and the Red Wings had defeated the Penguins, 3-2, Wednesday night, goalie Dominik Hasek and defenseman Chris Chelios were right there celebrating another Stanley Cup.

"It's a little bit different situation for me, but to be part of the winning team was my ultimate goal, why I decide to play hockey again and come back to Detroit," Hasek said. "I'm so happy for everyone here."

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Chelios insisted there was no awkwardness for him.

"It's no different," Chelios said. "It's the same exact thing. Different time, different faces, but the same feeling after you win the Cup. It's the greatest feeling in the world. There's not a guy who wouldn't change spots with me right now in this league."

Chelios confirmed that he almost certainly will return next season for his 24th year in the NHL. Hasek, however, sounded like he might not be back, but he plans to make that decision within the next couple of weeks.

Chelios, 46, played in 14 of the first 15 playoff games, but was scratched for the final seven, including the entire Stanley Cup Finals.

He couldn't stand to watch Wednesday's clincher.

"I sat with one of the assistant coaches, Jim Paek," Chelios said. "He sat in a shower stall. I just sat in the corner. I couldn't watch it. The last game was so stressful. I decided I'm going to listen to it like radio. It's a lot easier to listen to it than watch it, trust me."

Chelios said it was easier to handle sitting because the Wings were winning.

"When you're winning, it's way easier," he said. "When you lose a game then you start thinking you can contribute more, you can help the team. That's just the nature of the beast.

"The bottom line is I'm part of a team, a role player, contributed a little bit the first three rounds. Now look at the reward -- winning the Cup."

As for his plans to return next season, Chelios said, "I have every intention, yeah. If Kenny (general manager Ken Holland) wants me back, I'm back. That's all because I'm always there for them.

Holland said he wants Chelios back.

"I told Cheli on the ice, he was a real pro," Holland said. "He was injured (for) Game 6 of Dallas series. In goes Andreas Lilja and Cheli never gets another opportunity to play in the Finals.

"But when (Wednesday's) game is over, you see he comes flying out of the locker room with his equipment on to join the guys.

"I mean, he's the consummate pro. He leads by example. He was out here with the Black Aces (reserve players) for a half an hour, an hour, every morning after practice trying to stay ready.

"It wasn't about him, it was about the team."

Holland said he will meet with Chelios to finalize details on next season.

"We have to sit down," Holland said. "He's a great role model. He's still got lots of hockey left in him.

"So certainly I would love to have him back. He's still a good player. He loves hockey. He loves to play, he loves to compete. You can't have enough of those guys in the locker room."

Whether Hasek will be in that locker room is another story. He said his decision will come down whether he's motivated enough to play again.

Hasek, 43, started the first four games in the opening round, but was replaced by Chris Osgood after allowing three goals in less than 27 minutes.

Osgood came to the rescue, starting the final 18 games of the playoffs while Hasek watched from the bench.

"It was tough," Hasek said. "I don't know how to compare it to something. I believed I would get a chance to play again. Unfortunately for me, the coach made a different decision. Most important, it's a team goal. We won the Cup. That's most important."

What's most important now is Hasek's next move.

"I'll go home and within the next 10 days I'll make a decision," he said. "He (Holland) mentioned something to me and my agent that he wants to talk. I told him, during playoffs, this is not a good time to talk.

"I know my body is able to do it, but the question is it's all about my motivation. If I don't feel motivated to get ready and prepare for every game for the next season, the decision will be to quit, to say goodbye. If I feel I am motivated, I make decision to play again. Definitely, I want to do it before the end of this month."

How will Holland handle the situation?

"I want to sit down with him," Holland said. "If Dom tells me that he's really motivated and he really wants to come back, I'm interested in talking. I'm not going to convince him to play. If he walks into my office and tells me, there's passion there, there's energy, there's enthusiasm, then we're going to have a long talk.

"We like (reserve goalie) Jimmy Howard. But you can't have enough depth. I thought Dom and Ozzie, the last two years, have given us a tremendous one-two punch in net."

You can reach Dave Dye at dave.dye@detnews.com.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080605/SPORTS0103/806050451/1128/SPORTS0103

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Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings expect to complete a new deal shortly after the season to keep the coach under contract next season and beyond.

"I'm not going anywhere," Babcock said yesterday. "We just have a couple details to fix."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said the new contract was almost completed the day before the first round started, but both sides decided to put it on hold until the playoffs ended so that the story didn't distract from the team's quest for the Cup.

"As soon as the season is over, we'll get it done," Holland said.

http://www.torontosun.com/Sports/Hockey/2008/06/02/5743686-sun.html

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Red Wings might have good shot at Sundin

Maple Leafs captain scheduled to become a free agent on July 1; Wings have cap room.

John Niyo / The Detroit News

PITTSBURGH -- The Wings lost out on the sweepstakes for one of agent J.P. Barry's Swedish clients.

But while Fabian Brunnstrom is signed, sealed and delivered to Dallas, there's a chance Mats Sundin could end up in Detroit.

Sundin, who was in Pittsburgh to accept the NHL's Mark Messier Leadership Award, didn't shed much light on his future plans when he met with the media Wednesday afternoon. But according to a league source, the Wings and the Montreal Canadiens are among the teams that will pursue the 37-year-old center if he opts to leave Toronto. He's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

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The Wings will have room under the salary cap to make a significant splash in free agency, at least for next season. The team will look to lock up Henrik Zetterberg to a long-term deal beginning July 1, but he's still locked in for one more year at a cap-friendly salary of $2.65 million.

"It's all speculation," Sundin said Tuesday. "I think the biggest decision for me, that I have right now, is to make sure that I feel that I'm physically and mentally ready to train for another season to continue my career. And I think, No. 1, is to see what's going to happen with the Toronto Maple Leafs. And after that, I think we'll go from there.

"But, obviously, what's going to happen in Toronto is it's going to be very interesting. And it's going to affect my decision in the future."

The Leafs' current front-office upheaval, with no full-time general manager and no coach at the moment, may have an impact on Sundin's decision. The 17-year NHL veteran -- Sundin has been Toronto's captain for a decade -- is expected to meet with interim GM Cliff Fletcher next week.

"I haven't made a decision about next year," Sundin said. "But I do think I have a lot of different options in terms of -- I have a lot of options I can explore. And I think I still remain that I want to end my career as a Toronto Maple Leafs. Saying that, though, the way the situation is right now, I don't have everything in my control, either. There's got to be a mutual agreement there. And as I said, I don't have any at this point, I don't have anything I can say about what's going to happen next year.

"For me to come back to Toronto, Toronto has got to show they really want me to come back, too. So we'll see what happens."

Sundin, who again led his team in goals (32) and assists (46) this season, opted not to waive his no-trade clause this winter as the Leafs tried to move him at the trade deadline. The Leafs' captain said he didn't want to be a rental player. But if the Leafs decide to move forward with a rebuilding effort -- or if Sundin decides he'd have a better shot at winning an elusive Stanley Cup elsewhere -- he could be on the move.

You can reach John Niyo at John.Niyo@detnews.com

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080529/SPORTS0103/805290367/1128/SPORTS0103

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Report: Blackhawks to play Wings at Wrigley

The Blackhawks are expected to play the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in January in the NHL's Winter Classic, Comcast SportsNet reported Wednesday night, with an official announcement perhaps coming this week.

Hawks president John McDonough has been pushing for an outdoor game after the success of this season's Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium. A league-record 71,217 fans saw the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.

» Click to enlarge image

The Blackhawks are expected to play the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in January in the NHL's Winter Classic, Comcast SportsNet reported Wednesday night.

(AP)

Yankee Stadium, one of the other front-runners to host the outdoor game next season, was deemed an unlikely site last week by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Soldier Field also has been mentioned as a possible host in Chicago.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/976961,CST-SPT-hawk29.article

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Dallas Drake might retire

"I try to tell the young guys how hard it is to get there," Drake said. "It's been 16 years; this is the farthest I've been, the closest I've been to even having a chance to play for the Stanley Cup. You try to reiterate how hard it is. It's very difficult."

Drake lives in the Traverse City area during the off-season, and his wife and children have stayed there the past year while Drake has been in Detroit. Drake most likely will retire after this season, but long playoff runs have a way of making players feel full of energy.

"Have I considered retirement after the year? I'm not going to lie to you," Drake said. "It's run through my mind. ... Whatever happens, you know, sometimes it's a little bit out of your control. But you play hard most nights, as this team does, you give yourself a chance to win."

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080522/SPORTS05/805220439/1053/SPORTS05

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By all accounts, Hasek and Chelios really handled their situations well in the playoff. A credit to them, and a credit to the organization for having a system that players buy into even when they personally get pushed out of the limelight. The Wings are not an old team. They proved they could win without Hasek and Chelios, and if you subtract Drake as well, the Wings have a good mix of young (Helm, Filppula, Hudler), prime (Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Stuart, Rafalski, Franzen) and veteran players with a few years left (Lidstrom, Osgood, Holmstrom, Draper)

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Which means they'll be looking to add another gritty veteran winger to put up the minutes Drake provided.

I just don't see Sundin winding up in Detroit for numerous reasons.

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Which means they'll be looking to add another gritty veteran winger to put up the minutes Drake provided.

I just don't see Sundin winding up in Detroit for numerous reasons.

Sundin, or another big name is on the way to Detroit. The Wings simply have toom uch cap space not to make a move like that.

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Sundin if we could get him on the cheap. I'd love to see them make a run at Hossa.

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Is there a list of free agents somewhere?

Also for the record, I wouldn't mind seeing Sundin in a Winged Wheel. He's got a couple of years left.

Also also, I think we need to sign Brad Stuart if we haven't already.

Just my $.02.

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Is there a list of free agents somewhere?

Also for the record, I wouldn't mind seeing Sundin in a Winged Wheel. He's got a couple of years left.

Also also, I think we need to sign Brad Stuart if we haven't already.

Just my $.02.

2009 Players Under Contract › ›16

2009 Salary Cap Commitment › ›$39,523,333

Projected 2009 Cap › › $55,750,000

Unrestricted Free Agents (14)

Adam Berkhoel, Chris Chelios, Carl Corazzini, Mark Cullen, Aaron Downey, Dallas Drake, Brett Engelhardt, Brad Ference, Mark Hartigan, Dominik Hasek, Andreas Lilja, Darren McCarty, Garrett Stafford, Brad Stuart

Restricted Free Agents (7)

Jonathon Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula, Igor Grigorenko, Jimmy Howard, Logan Koopmans, Kyle Quincey, Ryan Oulahen

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Sundin if we could get him on the cheap. I'd love to see them make a run at Hossa.

Hossa would be unbelieveble if we could get him for 5 mill a year, but he probably outpriced himself from the Wings with the playoff season he had. I could really go for Sundin on this team for 1 year (because Z and Franzen are up for new contracts after next year).

I just hope that we can resign Stuart for a reasonable price.

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I wasnt too certain that I wanted Stuart resigned......I thought he was responsible for a couple Pens goals......However, after he destroyed Crosby in Game 6, I Want him back....

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Resign Brad Stuart and Chris Chelios (to a lower contract). You'd have Kyle Quincey, Jon Ericsson, Derek Meech as depth defensemen. That's a damn good group there.

If I was looking at one potential big name free agent that they could afford for a 3 or 4 year stint at about 3 mil a year......Sean Avery. There's your scrapper, but he makes things happen and can score. If not him, think about Brendan Morrison or Mike Comrie. I think Hossa and Sundin will want either too much or too many years.

Think about this lineup next year.

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom

Franzen-Fillpula-Avery

Maltby-Draper-Cleary

Leino-Hudler-Samuleson

off the bench

Helm

Kopecky

McCarty

----------------------------

Lidstrom-Kronwall

Stuart-Rafalski

Lebda-Lilja

off the bench

Chelios

Ericsson

Quincey

Meech

Goalies

Osgood, Howard and a veteran backup, maybe even Hasek if he wants to sign for 800K or so.

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Sorry, I see that Comrie did sign for next year.

But what the Wings need to do is look for a guy in that 2.5-4 million dollar range that they can sign for 3 or 4 years and I love Avery for that. But I just noticed that Ryan Malone is a free agent. I was impressed by his toughness in the Finals. Takes a few dumb penalties, but like the way he plays, the fact that he came out after taking a puck in the face in Game 5 and still played hard, really impressed me.

The Sedin twins are also free agents. Do they come as a set? If they do, skip it, too expensive.

I don't think the Wings really need any help with a major defenseman. They have the old vet in Chelios (he will re-sign) and some really good young guys.

Marian Hossa would be something. If he wants a ring badly enough, would he consider anything less than 5 mil a year. The Wings just have to keep some available room for the upgrades of Zetterberg and Franzen for the 2009-10 season and beyond.

Ken Holland has a team of youth and veterans in almost perfect balance with a defensive corps of a Top 5 that would be Top 2 on 80% of the teams in the NHL and still has about 9 million in salary cap room? What a freaking genius that guy is.

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Being 10 mill under the cap is pretty impressive. Holland could do some tweaking this summer, or just stand pat and still be fine. Young depth on defense and on offense. The goaltending decision is his only thing that needs to be adressed (go figure...its Detroit) but I think the simple answer is the best one...just let Jimmy Howard play. The price of 5-10 losses because of inexperience in net is worth it IMO. Pitts threw Fleury into the fire a few years ago, and look what kind of goalie he has become. Howard looked very impressive in his few starts this year, and Im sure the diehards would love to see him get some time.

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Brad Stuart needs to be a priority. Much prefer Hossa over Sundin, even at a higher price. But I agree with Sonics about Avery and Malone - would love to see either one in a Wings uniform.

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There's no way Stuart is getting away, but Filppula is the biggest priority to me. He's an RFA and you've got to think he's probably one of the top ones there is out there. With so few great UFAs some team is going to make a play for him if the Wings don't have him signed before July 1.

I think the team is fine as is. Remember, we were missing Kopecky for the entire playoff run and he was really starting to come into his own. I can see the logic behind keeping Cheli and Dom around at reduced rates. I'm on the fence about Lilja. I won't be devastated if he leaves, it'll give Ericsson a chance, but he can block shots and he's sort of tough. I won't cry if they let McCarty leave either. It was a nice story, but I don't know if I'd rather have him out there than guys like Kopecky or Helm (who has to be on the main roster next year in my opinion). This team doesn't need much tweaking, and there's no sense adding someone just for the sake of it.

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as much as I love some of these guys like Chelli and McCarty, it seems we have to let some of these younger guys play or lose them...

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...I think the team is fine as is...

This team doesn't need much tweaking, and there's no sense adding someone just for the sake of it.

I agree, though I do think that someone will be added. It won't be the big name guy (Hossa, Sundin ect.), but it will be a complimenary piece. We have a deep young core that can only get better.

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Our #1 priority, IMHO, needs to be a second line caliber winger to take Samuelsson's spot alongside Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen.

Brian Rolston would be a great addition, IMO, and he would be my #1 target. Rolston gives you a really solid second line-caliber winger who is renowned for his two-way ability and his heavy slapshot. Not to mention, he's a hometown guy. I don't know how much he's looking for, but his addition would give us two dominant scoring lines (Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Holmstrom; Rolston-Filppula-Franzen), a really good checking line (Cleary-Draper-Maltby), and one of the league's better fourth lines (Hudler-Helm-Samuelsson).

Obviously, I'd love a guy like Hossa, but like jade mentioned above, I'd have to think he moved past our price range with his postseason performance this year. I like Malone, but I feel his game is too similar to Franzen's. I wouldn't mind a guy like Sundin if we can get him on a 1- or 2-year contract worth $5 million or so. Anymore and we'd be paying too much.

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But I agree with Sonics about Avery and Malone - would love to see either one in a Wings uniform.

Yuck, I can't stand Sean Avery. I was very happy the day we traded him.

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I would keep Chelios and McCarty because they are both good experience team-oriented playes. Neither one of them complained one bit about not playing in the finals (I know McCarty played a bit).

Just make sure that they know that they are depth guys and when the team is healthy, they are scratched. I think both could deal with that at 600K a year.

I did think McCarty brought somehting to this team. He seemed to be pretty inspired when he played and he played well.

I just want to see Chelios play when he's 50, because he probably still could - in a limited role of course.

Helm impressed me. Talk about coming out of nowhere. Dude is fast, he is like Draper, he should be Draper's shadow the next year.

And Lilja is fine, you need workman-like guys like that. I am sure during the regular season with older defensmen like Rafalski and Lidstrom (who actually got injured this year) they will need depth guys like that. Would not surprise me to see Lilja as the 7th D, with Ericsson or Quincey ahead of him. Quincey's gonna be pretty good too.

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