The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/10/14 at 03:43 PM ET
Paul posted DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's conversation with former Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski about what I guess we'll call a faith-based comeback, but you'll note that Rafalski told Roose that he doesn't plan on uprooting himself from the Fort Myers-Naples area at present...
Asked if the Wings showed interest in him playing for their ECHL affiliate in Toledo, Rafalski said: “I’m not leaving (Florida). I have too many commitments here right now. There are those things that would have to be address. My family is established here with my two boys in school. They’re not going anywhere.”
And ESPN's Scott Burnside added more context as to why Rafalski's doing what he's doing...
A father of three boys, Rafalski has been active in coaching youth hockey in the Sanibel Island area, not far from where the Everblades play. He approached the team about serving as chaplain when he and his family moved to Florida after his final NHL season.
For the past two years he has met with players on a weekly basis, often taking the group to lunch, a gesture that wasn't lost on young players not making a lot of money, coach Greg Poss told ESPN.com Friday.
As well as where Rafalski goes from here:
The plan is for Rafalski to play in one of the team's two games this weekend and then practice next week in preparation for next weekend's games against Orlando. The timing is good for the Everblades, who have had as many as a dozen players called up to the American Hockey League.
Rafalski isn't taking anyone's spot on the roster, Poss said.
"We actually need him to play," the coach said, adding he is expecting to make use of Rafalski, always a gifted puck-mover, on the team's power play.
As for Rafalski's conditioning, Poss said the veteran defender "has a ways to go," but given that he was always among the league's smartest players, Poss said Rafalski could again be a valuable commodity as an NHL defenseman. Rafalski said he'll just take everything a day at a time.
"I went where God wanted me to be," he said. "He'll put you where you're supposed to be."
At 39 years of age and having both no ACL in I believe his right knee and some persistent back issues, I simply wish Rafalski the best and hope that he's successful in his endeavors.
Ken Holland told Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating that the Wings are well aware of the fact that elite players tend to be able to do what they do best for longer than other players, but Rafalski was an immobile target of forechecking players who knew he didn't have the mobility to both make passes and get out of the way of checkers, so he's going to have to prove that he's regained the steps he lost over his tenure with Detroit...
And the Wings probably want to go with someone younger if they can get their hands on an Edler or whoever else might become available between now and the deadline.
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