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For the moment, it doesn’t sound like Brian Rafalski’s worried about making an ‘NHL’ comeback

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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Primis's avatar

I wish someone of consequence on defense would be available but… they won’t.  There’s, in truth, a dearth of elite d-men leaguewide and the end result is teams looking at the cap and simply locking everyone up rather than gamble in the FA market or trying to trade.

Team like CGY and EDM are exceptions because they are so wretched they can’t really fall any further.  So throw it all against the wall and see what sticks.  It’s not like the management of those teams hasn’t been fired/isn’t about to be fired anyways.

I have doubts Rafalski’s legs/knees will allow him to play at the NHL level again.  He certainly could at the ECHL, and probably AHL level I’d guess.  Even then I’m not sure he could go 70+ games and then playoffs for a team at any of those lower levels.  I expect he’ll play this year, see how high he can get, and that’s that.  There will be no “next year”.

Posted by Primis on 01/10/14 at 05:18 PM ET

RW19's avatar

Maybe, just maybe, he wants to have some fun on the ice and compete at a decent level. I think he could care less about the NHL, the travel, the hype and even the money.

Posted by RW19 on 01/10/14 at 05:47 PM ET

Crater's avatar

My confusion is, “I’m not leaving florida” yet he signed up to play in a league which has a bit of travel in it. How is travel there different than travel elsewhere? Unless he plans on only playing home games?

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 01/10/14 at 07:49 PM ET


Wait! Here’s the UFA 1st line d-man hihd has been talking about. The wings are saved!!!!

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/11/14 at 01:02 PM ET

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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.