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Red Wings add Klima, Ysebaert, Drake, Unger to Winter Classic Alumni Showdown

Updated 2x at 1:09 PM: From the Red Wings, the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown will include more blasts from the past:

Update: From the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle:


Update #2: NHL.com confirms the whole dealy-o:

The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday announced the addition of eight more players who will participate in the festivities surrounding the 2012 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown on Dec. 31 at Detroit’s Comerica Park as part of the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival.

Detroit has added forwards Petr Klima, Dallas Drake, Garry Unger and Paul Ysebaert, while Toronto announced the addition of Hall of Famers Joe Nieuwendyk, Borje Salming, Frank Mahovlich and Mats Sundin.

A seven-time participant in the NHL All-Star Game, Unger appeared in 216 consecutive games for the Red Wings after being acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs on March 3, 1968. Unger went on to set the League’s “iron man” record (later surpassed by Doug Jarvis) by skating in 914 straight contests during his 1,105-games career that included stints with Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Calgary.

Selected by the Red Wings in the fifth round (No. 88) of the 1983 Entry Draft, Klima defected to Detroit from Czechoslovakia prior to the 1985-86 season, making him the first player in history to go directly from an Iron Curtain nation to a United States-based NHL team. Klima went on to appear in 293 games for the Red Wings during his first stint in Detroit, tallying 222 points on 129 goals and 93 assists. Traded to Edmonton on Nov. 2, 1989, Klima went on to skate with Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh prior to returning to the Red Wings in 1998-99, tallying one goal in 13 appearances to finish his NHL career with 313 goals and 260 assists in 786 games.

Acquired from the Devils 11 games into the 1990-91 season, Ysebaert spent 210 of his 532 career NHL games with the Red Wings, totaling 84 goals and 86 assists for Detroit. Ysebaert became the first Red Wing to win the NHL’s Plus/Minus Award in 1991-92 after finishing his first full season in the League with a mark of plus-44.

A native of Trail, B.C., Drake played collegiate hockey with the Northern Michigan Wildcats, earning a WCHA First Team All-Star nod in 1992 to go along with NCAA West First Team All-American honors. Detroit’s sixth pick (sixth round, No. 116) at the 1989 NHL Draft, Drake made his Red Wings’ debut in 1992-93 and was traded to Winnipeg the following season. After a lengthy tenure with the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise and St. Louis, Drake signed with Detroit as a free agent during the summer of 2007 and the gritty winger went on to end his 1,009-game career in storybook fashion by winning the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings the following spring.

Currently the general manager of the Dallas Stars, Nieuwendyk won three Stanley Cups over the course of his 20-season playing career (Calgary-1989, Dallas-1999, New Jersey-2003) during which he tallied 1,126 points (564 goals, 562 assists) in 1,257 games. During his lone season in Toronto (2003-04), Nieuwendyk recorded 22 goals and 28 assists. In 2011, the Oshawa, Ont., native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A 1981 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Mahovlich won four Stanley Cups with Toronto between 1962 and 1967, then added two more as a member of the Montréal Canadiens in 1971 and 1973. Having helped Canada defeat the Soviet Union at the 1972 Summit Series, Mahovlich was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1998 by then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

The highest-scoring Swedish-born player in NHL history, Sundin is also the Maple Leafs’ all-time leading scorer with 987 points (420 goals, 567 assists) in 981 appearances. A member of Sweden’s gold medal-winning squad at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, Sundin was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this year and will be officially inducted in November.

Toronto’s all-time leading scoring among defensemen with 14 goals and 620 assists, Salming was a five-time NHL Second Team All-Star (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980) and one-time First Team All-Star (1977) during his 17 seasons with the Maple Leafs. The Swedish-born blueliner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1998.

Updated alumni rosters for Toronto and Detroit can be found below. Further additions for both teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

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  
Dallas Drake Mark Howe
Sergei Fedorov Vladimir Konstantinov
Petr Klima Larry Murphy
Joe Kocur Aaron Ward
Martin Lapointe
Igor Larionov    
Ted Lindsay  
Kirk Maltby
Darren McCarty
John Ogrodnick
Dennis Polonich
Mickey Redmond
Luc Robitaille
Gary Unger
Paul Ysebaert

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
Bill Derlago Borje Salming
Tie Domi
Ron Ellis
Doug Gilmour
Gary Leeman
Kevin Maguire
Frank Mahovlich
Brad May
Lanny McDonald
Joe Nieuwendyk
Gary Roberts
Darryl Sittler
Mats Sundin
Darcy Tucker
Rick Vaive
Tiger Williams

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press’s James Jahnke confirm…

And Bill Roose spoke to Paul Ysebaert about his short but fun tenure with the Wings, as well as the way that his nickname, “Rocketman,” was born:

“It was on a West Coast trip and I was on a bit of a roll, scoring some one-timer goals, and Mickey Redmond said it just came out of his mouth,” said Ysebaert, of his nickname. “He said, ‘Yeah, that’s another rocket from the Rocket Man,’ And it ended up sticking.”

It stuck alright. For two seasons, whenever Ysebaert scored a goal at home, Elton John’s smash hit, “Rocket Man” blared over the PA system at Joe Louis Arena.

“At first, it was like ‘Holy crow’, but every time after that it was, ‘Let’s hear that song again!’ ” Ysebaert said. “The guys in the locker room wouldn’t let me forget it, either, so it kind of gave me incentive to score more.”

Twenty years later, Ysebaert hopes that he can get Wings’ fans to sing along this New Year’s Eve when he suits up for the Red Wings-Maple Leafs Alumni Showdown doubleheader during the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park.

“It certainly is an honor,” Ysebaert said. “With both franchises you could fill these games with all Hall-of-Famers if you wanted to, if they were all winning to and could skate.”

The Wings announced Thursday that Ysebaert, center Garry Unger and forwards Petr Klima and Dallas Drake have been added to the Dec. 31 games, boasting the Wings’ alumni roster to 30 players. Meanwhile, the Leafs announced this week that four hall-of-famers – Frank Mahovlich, Joe Nieuwendyk, Börje Salming and Mats Sundin – will join their lineup for the New Year’s Eve games. Besides being an offensive weapon during his tenure with the Wings, the former AHL scoring leader and MVP was a responsible defensive asset playing mainly on a line with Shawn Burr and Sergei Fedorov. Ysebaert became the first player in Wings’ history to lead the NHL in plus/minus rating, registering a plus-44 in 79 games during the 1991-92 campaign.

“The games back then you would be back-and-forth against some high-powered teams,” he said. “It seemed like you wouldn’t have a whistle for five-minutes and the games would be 6-5 and 7-6, that kind of deal. It was good flowing hockey back then.”


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



anyone with ties to Goose Loonies should not be allowed to play…

Klima and Kocur… (I don’t care if they were injured and not playing at the time)...

Wings analyst Darren Eliot this means you too… (I don’t care you were the 3rd stringer then)

John Chabot

and they should get told the reason is how they embarrassed the organization during a playoff series.

Go do you Vernors commercial and go away…

Posted by dca from leaving for enemy territory (Denver) soon.. on 08/23/12 at 06:50 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.