The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/16/12 at 02:35 PM ET
From the Red Wings’ PR department:
FOUR PLAYERS WITH STRONG TIES TO THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ADDED TO WINGS’ ROSTER FOR ALUMNI SHOWDOWN VS. LEAFS
… Red Berenson, Jimmy Carson, Dennis Polonich and Aaron Ward to Skate for Detroit at Comerica Park on Dec. 31; Toronto Adds Tie Domi, Brad May and Tiger Williams …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings® and Toronto Maple Leafs® today announced the addition of seven total players who will participate in the festivities surrounding the 2012 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown™ on December 31 at Comerica Park™ as part of the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™. Detroit has added defenseman Aaron Ward as well as forwards Red Berenson, Jimmy Carson and Dennis Polonich. In addition to having suited up for the Red Wings, all four of these players were also members of either minor league or collegiate teams in the Great Lakes State during their respective careers; Berenson and Ward both attended the University of Michigan prior to turning pro while Carson – a Metro Detroit minor hockey product – and Polonich each competed in the International Hockey League for various Michigan-based clubs.
Toronto, meanwhile, has added former enforcers Tie Domi, Brad May and Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams – the NHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes (3,966) – to their alumni roster. Between the three of them, Domi, May and Williams spent nearly 10,000 minutes in the sin bin over the course of their 3,023 combined regular season appearances.
Acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on February 6, 1971, Gordon Arthur ‘Red’ Berenson recorded 201 points (73G-128A) for the Red Wings over the course of his 283 appearances with the club. The Regina , Sask. , native skated in 987 total career NHL games, tallying 261G-397A-658P for the Red Wings, Blues, Rangers and Canadiens. Upon retiring as a player, Berenson moved behind the bench – first in the NHL with St. Louis and Buffalo and later at his alma mater, the University of Michigan . Now the fifth-winningest coach in collegiate hockey history, the 72-year-old bench boss has amassed a career record of 752-352-77 in 28 seasons with the Wolverines, capturing a pair of NCAA titles in 1996 & 1998 as well as a National Coach of the Year award in 2008.
Originally selected by Los Angeles in the opening round (second overall) of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Jimmy Carson enjoyed a highly-respectable professional career during which he appeared in 626 games for the Kings, Oilers, Whalers, Canucks and Red Wings. The Michigander scored 275 goals during his tenure in the NHL, still the 19th-highest total in league history amongst U.S.-born players. Carson also dished out 286 assists during his 12 NHL seasons to finish with 561 points. In his 240 games with Detroit , Carson tallied 100G-102A-202P, ranking him fourth in franchise history in scoring by an American (61st overall).
A native of Foam Lake, Sask., Dennis Polonich broke into the NHL with the Red Wings during the 1974-75 season and went on to appear in 390 games for Detroit and 360 games for Adirondack/Virginia (AHL) over the course of his 11 seasons with the franchise. The 5’6”, 165-lb. agitator finished in the top 10 in the NHL in penalty minutes for four straight seasons between 1975 and 1979 with his 1976-77 total of 274 placing him second in the league behind only Tiger Williams of Toronto (338). Polonich wrapped up his playing career with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, helping the western Michigan-based club win the Turner Cup as IHL champions in 1985-86 prior to retiring the following season.
Winnipeg’s top pick (first round, fifth overall) at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings acquired Aaron Ward in a trade with the Jets on June 11, 1993. The Windsor , Ont., native went on to skate in 276 regular season games for Detroit as well as 30 playoff contests. Ward was a part of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup titles in both 1997 and 1998. Traded to Carolina on July 9, 2001, Ward won another championship with the Hurricanes in 2006. Upon his retirement at the end of the 2009-10 campaign, Ward had appeared in 839 career NHL games with the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Rangers, Bruins and Ducks. The 6’2”, 209-lb. blue-liner registered 44G-107A-151P over the course of his 16 seasons in the league.
Updated alumni rosters for Toronto and Detroit can be found below. Further roster for both teams will be announced in the coming weeks.
DETROIT RED WINGS ALUMNI:
FORWARDS DEFENSEMEN GOALIES COACHES
Red Berenson Chris Chelios Chris Osgood Scotty Bowman
Jimmy Carson Paul Coffey Mike Vernon Barry Smith
Dino Ciccarelli Mathieu Dandenault
Alex Delvecchio Jiri Fischer
Kris Draper Viacheslav Fetisov
Sergei Fedorov Mark Howe
Joe Kocur Vladimir Konstantinov
Martin Lapointe Larry Murphy
Igor Larionov Aaron Ward
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS ALUMNI:
FORWARDS DEFENSEMEN GOALIES COACHES
Dave Andreychuk Dave Ellett Johnny Bower Red Kelly
Wendel Clark Jim McKenny Curtis Joseph Pat Quinn
Russ Courtnall Bryan McCabe Mike Palmateer
Vincent Damphousse Bob McGill Felix Potvin
Update: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Polonich about joining the roster and dealing with the fact that he scrapped so much that his, well, his face is kind of disfigured:
The shortest drafted player to ever don a Red Wings’ sweater, Dennis Polonich wasn’t going to allow his vertically challenged stature prevent him from fighting his way to a pro career.
“Being a little guy wanting to prove people wrong all of the time, it’s just the way I grew up,” said the 5-foot-6 Polonich. “I was very tenacious with very unbelievable will-power, and tremendous attitude and character. It was all of the traits.”
But that wasn’t the only driving force for Polonich, who was an eight-round draft pick in 1973.
“I was afraid to lose,” he said. “I was afraid to get cut, I was afraid to return home, so I was going to do whatever it took.”
Three decades after he had fans on their feet and cheering his name at Olympia Stadium, Polonich, who lives in Calgary, will return to his NHL home in December to participate in the Alumni Showdown during the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park on New Year’s Eve. Besides Polonich, the Wings announced Thursday the addition of defenseman Aaron Ward and forwards Red Berenson and Jimmy Carson to the rosters that will take on former Toronto Maple Leafs in an alumni doubleheader.
The Leafs also revealed that a trio agitators – Tie Domi, Tiger Williams and Brad May – have committed to their Dec. 31 roster. Williams and May also spent some of their careers with the Red Wings.
“It’s such an honor when I see some of the names that are going to participate,” Polonich said. “And then I start thinking about all of the players that have gone through there, and for myself, a guy who is all of 5-foot-6 from small town Saskatchewan it’s kind of the final chapter for me. When I look back at the whole thing, everything that I have is through hockey, it’s through the Red Wings, it’s through the NHL.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.