Monthly Archives: May 2011

NHL Finals schedule announced

The NHL released the schedule for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, which will get underway Wednesday.

2011 Stanley Cup Final Schedule

Game 1 Wed., June 1 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC

Game 2 Sat., June 4 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC

Game 3 Mon., June 6 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC

Game 4 Wed., June 8 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. VERSUS, CBC

*Game 5 Fri., June 10 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC

*Game 6 Mon., June 13 8:00 p.m. Vancouver at Eastern Conference Champ. NBC, CBC

*Game 7 Wed., June 15 8:00 p.m. Eastern Conference Champ. at Vancouver CBC, NBC

Rafalski makes it official

DETROIT – There wasn’t a day this past season that Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski didn’t find himself on the training table.

In that end, that’s what seemingly ended his NHL career.

Rafalski announced his retirement Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.

“This was probably the most challenging seasons of my career, physically, mentally and spiritually, but it was also the most rewarding,” Rafalski said. “The decision was made between myself and my wife approximately two months ago.

“We went through a long process of weighing different factors in our lives and at the end of the day it came down to priorities, with the top three priorities being serving God, serving my family and serving others,” Rafalski continued. “With hockey not being at the top, it’s time for me to move on.”

Rafalski, 37, had one year remaining on his contract at $6 million.

“The injuries took a toll,” Rafalski said. “There wasn’t a day this year that I wasn’t on the training table. That gets tiring. But at the same time the training staff did an excellent job. It played a role.

“I wasn’t able to skate the way I’d like to,” Rafalski added. “It made me adjust how I approach how I play the game. I’m still standing here, so that’s a good thing. Hopefully I’m standing here in another 10-20 years.”

In 2007, the Wings needed to replace Mathieu Schneider after he signed with Anaheim.

That offseason, Rafalski, a Dearborn native, signed a five-year, $30 million free-agent contract.

“He was so effective moving the puck,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He was always strong on the power play. He’s going to be sorely missed. He’s a great personality and a great guy in the room. He brought a lot of character to this team.

“I was shocked,” Howard said when he heard the news. “I was down in Miami on vacation when I heard Brian was retiring. I was very surprised.”

Rafalski won three Stanley Cups in his career, two with the New Jersey Devils and on in Detroit (2008).

“We just lost one heck of a hockey player,” Wings forward Kris Draper said. “That’s the selfish part in us, we wanted to have Brian Rafalski back for one more year playing because he’s a good player and has been a major part of our success.”

Rafalski press conference announced

DETROIT — The Wings have announced a time of a press conference for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Joe Louis Arena.

Scheduled to attend are general manager Ken Holland and defenseman Brian Rafalski.

Rafalski will announce his retirement at that time.

A pair of Canadian websites, TSN and Sportsnet, reported Monday that Rafalski had decided to retire with one year remaining on his deal, which was set to pay him $6 million.

Holland would not confirm the reports.

“I haven’t talked to him in more than a week,” Holland said. “I’m not confirming that he’s retiring.

“I think (retirement) is an option for him,” Holland added. “I met with him a week ago. He wanted to take some time. We planned to talk this week.”

Because Rafalski was not 35 when he signed his five-year, $30 million free-agent contract with Detroit in 2007, the final year of the deal will not count against the cap, if he retires.

With that kind of salary cap space, the Wings may turn their interest in Nashville restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber.

But Weber told the Tennessean after the season that a deal with the Predators was going to get done.

“Obviously, this is a place I love to play, and you saw how close we were this year to getting to the conference finals, and possibly further,” he told the paper. “This is a place I want to be, and it’s going to be a matter of time before something gets done.”

Nashville has until July 1 before Weber can get offers from other teams for his services.

Injuries have plagued Rafalski, 37, over the last three seasons.

He had back surgery last summer.

He missed 10 games in October after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He also sat out eight games due to back spasms.

During the playoffs, he was bothered by a sore knee, which prevented him from skating on most off-days.

“I think Rafi’s health (issue) is more over time,” Holland said. “Whatever injuries Rafi had this year were wear and tear of his career.”

Rafalski, who has spent the last four seasons in Detroit, had four goals and 44 assists in 63 games this season and was plus-11. In 11 playoff games, he had two goals and an assist.

In his 11-year career, he has 79 goals and 436 assists in 833.

Rafalski, who is a three-time Olympian and has won a silver medal twice with Team USA, has won three Stanley Cups, two of which came with the New Jersey Devils and one with the Wings (2008).

UPDATE … Source confirms Rafalski will announce retirement Wednesday

DETROIT – As the Wings await word on whether defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will return for a 20th season, another major piece along their blue line may have decided to call it quits.

A pair of Canadian websites, TSN and Sportsnet, reported Monday that Brian Rafalski has decided to retire with one year remaining on his deal, which was set to pay him $6 million.

A source told The Macomb Daily late Monday night that Rafalski is expected to announce his decision Wednesday during a news conference at Joe Louis Arena.

Wings general manager Ken Holland would not confirm the reports.

“I haven’t talked to him in more than a week,” Holland said. “I’m not confirming that he’s retiring.

“I think (retirement) is an option for him,” Holland added. “I met with him a week ago. He wanted to take some time. We planned to talk this week.”

Neither Rafalski, who is from Dearborn, nor his agent, Bill Zito, could be reached for comment.

Because Rafalski was not 35 when he signed his five-year, $30 million free-agent contract with Detroit in 2007, the final year of the deal will not count against the cap, if he retires.
With that kind of salary cap space, the Wings may turn their interest in Nashville restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber.

But Weber told the Tennessean after the season that a deal with the Predators was going to get done.

“Obviously, this is a place I love to play, and you saw how close we were this year to getting to the conference finals, and possibly further,” he told the paper. “This is a place I want to be, and it’s going to be a matter of time before something gets done.”

Nashville has until July 1 before Weber can get offers from other teams for his services.

Injuries have plagued Rafalski, 37, over the last three seasons.

He had back surgery last summer.

He missed 10 games in October after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He also sat out eight games due to back spasms.

During the playoffs, he was bothered by a sore knee, which prevented him from skating on most off-days.

“I think Rafi’s health (issue) is more over time,” Holland said. “Whatever injuries Rafi had this year were wear and tear of his career.”

Rafalski, who has spent the last four seasons in Detroit, had four goals and 44 assists in 63 games this season and was plus-11. In 11 playoff games, he had two goals and an assist.

In his 11-year career, he has 79 goals and 436 assists in 833.

Rafalski, who is a three-time Olympian and has won a silver medal twice with Team USA, has won three Stanley Cups, two of which came with the New Jersey Devils and one with the Wings (2008).

UPDATE … Holland would not confirm reports of Rafalski retiring

DETROIT – As the Wings await word on whether defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will return for a 20th season, another major piece along their blue line may have decided to call it quits.

A pair of Canadian websites, TSN and Sportsnet, reported Monday that Brian Rafalski has decided to retire with one year remaining on his deal, which was set to pay him $6 million.

Wings general manager Ken Holland would not confirm the reports.

“I haven’t talked to him in more than a week,” Holland said. “I’m not confirming that he’s retiring.

“I think (retirement) is an option for him,” Holland added. “I met with him a week ago. He wanted to take some time. We planned to talk this week.”

Neither Rafalski, who is from Dearborn, nor his agent, Bill Zito, could be reached for comment.

Because Rafalski was not 35 when he signed his five-year, $30 million free-agent contract with Detroit in 2007, the final year of the deal will not count against the cap, if he retires.

With that kind of salary cap space, the Wings may turn their interest in Nashville restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber.

But Weber told the Tennessean after the season that a deal with the Predators was going to get done.

“Obviously, this is a place I love to play, and you saw how close we were this year to getting to the conference finals, and possibly further,” he told the paper. “This is a place I want to be, and it’s going to be a matter of time before something gets done.”

Nashville has until July 1 before Weber can get offers from other teams for his services.

Injuries have plagued Rafalski, 37, over the last three seasons.

He had back surgery last summer.

He missed 10 games in October after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. He also sat out eight games due to back spasms.

During the playoffs, he was bothered by a sore knee, which prevented him from skating on most off-days.

“I think Rafi’s health (issue) is more over time,” Holland said. “Whatever injuries Rafi had this year were wear and tear of his career.”

Rafalski, who has spent the last four seasons in Detroit, had four goals and 44 assists in 63 games this season and was plus-11. In 11 playoff games, he had two goals and an assist.

In his 11-year career, he has 79 goals and 436 assists in 833.

Rafalski, who is a three-time Olympian and has won a silver medal twice with Team USA, has won three Stanley Cups, two of which came with the New Jersey Devils and one with the Wings (2008).

Rafalski set to retire

DETROIT — According to Nick Kypreos at Sportsnet.ca, Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski will announce his retirement this week.

Rafalski is 37 years old and has one year remaining on his contract worth $6 million.

He was hampered on-and-off all season with a knee injury.

A call has been put into Wings GM Ken Holland to confirm the report.

McCrimmon done with Wings

DETROIT — The first news of the Wings offseason has been made and it comes in the form of an assistant coach not coming back.

After spending three seasons with the team, assistant coach Brad McCrimmon will not return next year.

“I’d like to thank Brad for his dedication and tremendous work in serving as an assistant coach for the Red Wings,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said in a statement. “We wish Brad and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”

McCrimmon worked mainly with the defensemen.

McCrimmon has also been an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders.

He played 18 seasons in the NHL, appearing in 1,222 games and totaling 81 goals and 322 assists.

The Wings’ other assistant coach Paul MacLean is also without a contract for next season.