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Holland has Howard, other options in goal

With about $15 million in salary cap room and a highly attractive program, the Red Wings figure to be just fine in goal next season and beyond.

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Dominik Hasek's retirement Monday wasn't much of a surprise, given that Chris Osgood clearly had earned the starting job next season after leading the Wings to the Stanley Cup and that Hasek will turn 44 next season.

But Hasek's decision does push to the forefront the question of Osgood's backup -- either Jimmy Howard, the goalie of the future, or possibly an inexpensive veteran acquired via free agency or a trade.

"I think Jimmy Howard is very close, if not there, to playing in the NHL," general manager Ken Holland said. "His shape from where he was three years ago to where he is now is night and day. His mental aspect of understanding what it takes to be a pro is night and day.

"Now, if I look at Ozzie, Ozzie can play 50ish games. Certainly, 20-to-30 games in a parity league, those are key games, those are key points. We're trying to continue to be a Cup contender, and how do you move young people into your team -- and at a key position. Do we pursue a veteran guy if there is one? Do we pursue a trade? Do we just decide that we're comfortable with Ozzie and Jimmy Howard? We want to be as deep as we possibly can. I'm not a big believer in handing people jobs -- they earn jobs. So at the same time, if there was a guy out there we could sign and create a competition, I'm also comfortable with that. I'm comfortable both ways, I guess."

The Wings drafted Howard, 24, in the second round in 2003, believing he could one day tend net in Detroit. Howard impressed the team last training camp after spending the off-season slimming and working on his agility. He got another endorsement Monday from Hasek, who practiced with Howard the past two months.

"I was surprised -- like, from what I saw, he is much better than he was two years ago," Hasek said. "You can see that he really improved, so I think if he gets a chance, he is ready to play probably 20-30 games."

Howard has played three seasons with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins with goals-against averages of 2.58, 2.70 and 2.83. In eight NHL games he is 1-4 with a 2.56.

Osgood, 35, is under contract for three more years, and if Howard doesn't pan out, the Wings likely will have plenty of money to pursue a free agent next summer, when, for starters, Buffalo's Ryan Miller could become available.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080610/SPORTS05/806100395/1053/SPORTS05

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Stuart, others may have to make financial sacrifices to stick around; Babcock extention coming soon

Ken Holland met with coach Mike Babcock briefly to talk contract and said "we'll get it done. Hopefully it won't take too many days."

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Holland plans to speak to agent for defenseman Brad Stuart over the next two weeks; Stuart will have to take less than the $3.5 million he made this season to stay.

"We've a whole group of people who are prepared to sacrifice financially, they're prepared to sacrifice ice time," Holland said. "My indications are Stuie is prepared to make some sacrifices to come here. We'd like to keep him, but he's got to buy into the Red Wings philosophy."

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080610/SPORTS05/80610008/1053/SPORTS05

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Hasek goes out as a champion

Red Wings goaltender, demoted to No. 2 early in playoffs, says he lacks passion to keep playing.

Ted Kulfan / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Dominik Hasek knew when he lifted the Stanley Cup last week it was over.

His illustrious career had come to an end, and a rather fitting end, lifting the Stanley Cup.

"When I was kissing that Cup, I had made the decision," said Hasek, 43, who made his exit from the game at a Monday morning press conference at Joe Louis Arena. "I didn't feel I needed to wait. I know it's 100 percent the right time."

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Hasek was joined on the stage by owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland. Hasek's family, coach Mike Babcock, many teammates, and the majority of the front office (including Jimmy Devellano, Jim Nill and Steve Yzerman) were in attendance.

"I'm feeling very happy and don't have any regrets," Hasek said. "Sixteen years (the length of Hasek's career) is a long time in life. Unfortunately, it's gone by too fast."

Hasek said the energy and passion he would require to play another season were lacking.

"Right now, I don't feel that it's there," Hasek said. "I need motivation every day. I don't feel today that I'm ready to compete on the highest level."

Hasek will go down as one of the premier goalies in NHL history.

He won two Hart Trophies (most valuable player) in his career, and six times won the Vezina Trophy (best goalie) between 1993 and 2001.

In 2002 Hasek was in net as the Wings won the Stanley Cup, and he set a record with six shutouts during the 2002 playoffs.

"We did a lot winning with Dom in net," Holland said. "In my mind, he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

Hasek's competitive nature stood out among his teammates. Even in practice, Hasek was determined to stop every shot he faced.

"He was tough to score against even in practice," Nicklas Lidstrom said. "He was a competitive guy. It's understandable he wants to retire, and he's doing it on his own terms."

Sensing he was at ease with his decision to retire, Holland didn't try to change Hasek's mind.

"There was nothing to discuss," Holland said. "Dom was completely at peace with the decision."

Hasek was disappointed about not getting an opportunity to return in net after being pulled by coach Mike Babcock during Game 4 of the Nashville series in the first round.

Chris Osgood went on to lead the Wings to a championship.

"Ozzie played very well and the team was winning most of the time," Hasek said. "I wished to be on the ice but I'm still very happy for myself and the team."

"I was more disappointed the next series, I never got a chance (to get back in). I felt very good about my body, and I felt like I should get a chance to be in the net but the coaches saw it a different way."

Next in line

Holland said he'll discuss the backup goalie situation with Babcock and the front office over the next couple of weeks.

Top prospect Jimmy Howard could be a good fit to play 20-30 games as Osgood's backup while being groomed for the starting job.

"Jimmy Howard is close, if not there," Holland said. "If you had to start the season with Ozzie and Jimmy Howard, I'd be comfortable."

Ice chips

Babcock took the Stanley Cup to Children's Hospital Monday. A three-year contract extension could be announced today or Wednesday, as Holland said final details are nearly complete.

... Holland said he'll make a contract offer to defenseman Brad Stuart , an unrestricted free agent on July 1, before the entry draft in Ottawa June 21.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080610/SPORTS0103/806100389/1128

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I can understand Holland and Babcock and their stance with Jimmy Howard. You don't get the No. 2 slot kid, you have to earn it in training camp next year. They won't spend much on a third goalie, but they do need to create some competition.

Priorities

1. Re-Sign Brad Stuart

2. Re-Sign Valteri Fillpula

3. Find another impact forward (Hossa, Sundin, Avery, Morrison)

4. Find a third goalie

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Are there any chance of Fedorov comming back? I remember at the deadline there were rumors of a deal, but is there still any chance we get him? He's underproduced in the last few years, we could get a good deal on him.

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I think Federov would be rejuvenated coming back to Detroit, and he plays solid enough defense to fit the Wings system. But who got their egos hurt when he left? I think some people in the Wings organization were pretty ticked off at him for leaving for less money after he hijacked them 3 years earlier in that Carolina deal. I don't know that he's the 2nd line forward they want....he might be a fourth liner now. He'd only be offered 1.5 to 2 million a year, but that would probably be the case with any team that offers him something. I think the Wings may look for a younger player.

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A list of this season's unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and restricted free agents (RFAs), by position and by team and updated periodically, can be found here. Let's go shopping!

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A list of this season's unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and restricted free agents (RFAs), by position and by team and updated periodically, can be found here. Let's go shopping!

There's some really good young RFAs out there. That's good, because it should minimize the chance of someone trying to poach Flip.

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UFA that i would like are:

Langkow, Daymond

Malone, Ryan

Pandolfo, Jay

Roloston, Brian

Ryder, Michael

As for D, not sure what route to go. I don't think you get too many chances to pick up a D-man like Brian Campbell very often, but how much would he be commanding.

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If Stuart can't be signed then I think they should look at trying to sign Bouwmeester to a big offer sheet. Even with the stiff RFA compensations he would be worth the price.

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I don't see the Wings signing anyone to a big contract. They have cap room for this upcoming year only. After that, both Franzen and Zetterberg will be UFAs and the Wings will need all their cap space to get them locked up.

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I don't see the Wings signing anyone to a big contract. They have cap room for this upcoming year only. After that, both Franzen and Zetterberg will be UFAs and the Wings will need all their cap space to get them locked up.

Zetter wont be a UFA.

Holland and Zetterberg have both said that Zetter wants to be in Detroit long term, and will negotiate Zetters new deal once he officially enters the last year of his current contract in July. I'm personally expecting Datsyuk type money for him, $7M+/year.

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I agree, Zetterberg isn't going anywhere. My point is his cap number is currently $2.6 million, but it's going to go up to at least $7 million after the 08/09 season.

So really, our cap flexibility is really for the next season only, especially when you consider Franzen is in the same situation (cap number will be significantly rising after 08/09).

To sign some UFA to a long-term, big-dollar contract this year sets us up with the potential to have major cap issues once Z and Franzen are signed (or it means we lose one or both of them).

The only way that doesn't happen is if the cap continues to rise at a clip of $3 to $5 million per season. That's no sure bet, and the cap number could even decrease, putting us in an even worse position.

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This seems wrong, I'm almost positive he will be

I think he was implying that the Wings wouldn't let it get to that point. And that he'd be resigned during his last contract year if not before.

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Are there any chance of Fedorov comming back? I remember at the deadline there were rumors of a deal, but is there still any chance we get him? He's underproduced in the last few years, we could get a good deal on him.

He's under produced (relative to talent) since 1994.

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This seems wrong, I'm almost positive he will be

He doesn't have the potential to be a UFA until after next season. Same with Franzen. Most are expecting that he'll be signed to an extension in this offseason though.

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ah makes sense, I thought it was implied that he would still be restricted.

I do agree that they will not allow him to walk

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He's under produced (relative to talent) since 1994.

Sorry, Darko but the Wings don't win the cup in 1997, 1998 or 2002 without Fedorov. Especially 1998, his defense was incredible in that series.

See, he could have scored 120 points......but Scotty stressed defense from all of his forwards, including Yzerman and Fedorov. He sacrificed his game and certain Hart Trophies to win the Stanley Cup.

I don't understand the bitterness and hate pointed at Fedorov in this town. Sure, he left badly (he wanted to be out of Stevie's shadow), but he was one hell of an exciting player and he should have his number retired by the Wings.

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Sorry, Darko but the Wings don't win the cup in 1997, 1998 or 2002 without Fedorov. Especially 1998, his defense was incredible in that series.

See, he could have scored 120 points......but Scotty stressed defense from all of his forwards, including Yzerman and Fedorov. He sacrificed his game and certain Hart Trophies to win the Stanley Cup.

I don't understand the bitterness and hate pointed at Fedorov in this town. Sure, he left badly (he wanted to be out of Stevie's shadow), but he was one hell of an exciting player and he should have his number retired by the Wings.

100% agree.

Fedorov was amazing.

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I'd like to have him back. He used to back check like Pavel and Hank do now.

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I'd like to have him back. He used to back check like Pavel and Hank do now.

Which leads to the friendly debate I had with family members a week ago. Who was a better all-around player: Fedorov at his peak or Zetterberg this year? I still give a slight nod to Fedorov at his peak, but Zetterberg conceivably could get even better the next couple of years.

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I think Fedorov's speed gives him an ever so slight edge. But Hank's heart and willingness to muck it up in the corners will probably tip the scales in his favor very soon.

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100% agree.

Fedorov was amazing.

His '93-'94 season has to be one of the best seasons by a forward in history. He scored 56 goals, 120 points, won the Hart Trophy, and won the Selke Trophy. That's ridiculous. He was such a complete player and he really doesn't get the respect he deserves. Even before his departure, fans never really appreciated him.

I hope he comes back. I have his jersey hanging up in my closet and I haven't been able to wear it for a couple years. It would be nice to be able to break it out again.

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