The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/17/13 at 06:14 PM ET
Updated 2x at 5:56 PM: The timing fits, per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Beloved net-front expert Tomas Holmstrom has told the Red Wings he's done playing in the NHL after 15 seasons, and naturally for a guy who helped them win four Stanley Cups, the Wings want to give Holmstrom a proper farewell.
That's been a bit tricky, what with a rushed training camp which started at Compuware because Joe Louis Arena was occupied by Ford Motor Company, and the possibility that Mike and Marian Ilitch want to be on hand for the event.
Plans now are to have Holmstrom - who turns 40 on Wednesday - announce his retirement before Tuesday's home opener against the Stars. That would enable all the current Wings players to be on hand for the event, and then Holmstrom and his family could be brought out on the ice to say goodbye to fans during an intermission.
That's what the Wings did with Kirk Maltby when he announced his retirement in 2010.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan is confirming...
As is the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Tomas Holmstrom will get one more chance to stand in front of the crowd at Joe Louis Arena. Holmstrom will announce his retirement at a press conference Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. prior to the Wings’ home opener against the Dallas Stars.
Holmstrom, who told the Wings a while ago he had planned to retire after 15 seasons, is the last of five Wings to have played on all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship teams since 1997. The other four players on the distinctive list are Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty.
“He’s just a good dude, great guy and great teammate,” Todd Bertuzzi said last week. “If you can hand one compliment out he was an outstanding teammate. He never complained. He always went out there and played probably the hardest 1,000 games ever played.”
Last season, Holmstrom became just the sixth player in a Wings uniform to play in 1,000 games, doing so living around the blue paint of the goal crease since joining the team.
“He took it to an art form,” Bertuzzi said. “There are guys that can stand in front of the net and screen, but there are guys that can actually tip slap shots coming for every angle. He just took it to a whole new level. I can see young kids mimicking themselves after Homer.”
Holmstrom turns 40 on Wednesday.
“He always took a beating in front of the net,” Darren Helm said last week. “He did a good job doing that. He’s a tough player. You just watch him and see what it takes to get those greasy goals. He was really good at it. Sometimes you have to take that beating, like he did. It’s worth it in the end.”
Holmstrom, who was a 10th round pick in 1994 by the Wings, ends his 15-year career playing in 1,026 games with 243 goals and 287 assists. He finished with 122 goals on the power play, which ranks him third in franchise history behind Steve Yzerman (202) and Nicklas Lidstrom (132).
His retirement seemed inevitable after the Wings added three forwards – Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and Damien Brunner – this offseason. Management also wants to give rookie Gustav Nyquist a shot this season. Then it almost seemed official when Samuelsson was given Holmstrom’s stall in September during informal skates at Joe Louis Arena.
“Homer will be missed for sure, especially in the dressing room,” Samuelsson said last week. “His one-liners are hard to beat. Everybody thinks he’s hilarious.”
Update #2: MLive's Brendan Savage also confirms:
Longtime Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom will announce his retirement prior to the club's home opener next week at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings will hold a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 to announce that Holmstrom won't be returning for a 16th season in Detroit, as first reported by MLive.com on Jan. 7.
In 15 seasons with the Red Wings, Holmstrom played on four Stanley Cup championship teams and recorded 243 goals and 287 assists in 1,026 regular-season games.
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