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Hammond: Holmstrom's departure ushers out era of Red Wings hockey

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  • Holmstrom Retires from Red Wings

    Holmstrom Retires from Red Wings

    Tuesday, January 22 2013 6:02 PM EST2013-01-22 23:02:13 GMT
    Tomas Holmstrom has made his retirement official after 15 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.
    Tomas Holmstrom has made his retirement official after 15 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

By Jennifer Hammond
FOX 2 Sports

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Dean Winters better watch his back, because there's now another man out of work who can conceivably wreak more mayhem than he does in those Allstate ads. After 15 years and 1,026 games played, Tomas Holmstrom is now looking for a new gig after announcing his retirement Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

He was drafted 257th overall by the Wings in 1994 and began playing for the big team in 1996, when No. 96 took up residence in front of the goal crease of every opposing net minder in the NHL. From there, Holmstrom went on to score 243 goals with 122 of them coming on the power play; most off of tipped slap shots whizzing 100 mph at his head. He arguably took more slashes, cross checks and face washes than every other player ever to wear a Red Wings uniform. He is the original definition of  "If it ain't rough, it ain't right."
 
The news was not a surprise, after all his close friend and fellow Swede Nick Lidstrom departed in May, leaving Homer as the only remaining four-time Stanley Cup winner left on a changing Wings roster. Nor was the news sad, Holmstrom wouldn't let it be. Saying later in the day that he had to keep laughing or else he would have cried. But with the departure of Homer comes a new dawn for this Detroit team; one of uncertainty; a bit of consternation; and a whole lot of learning. And the curve may be steep for this team.

Datsyuk and Zetterberg are the only two players on the roster with ten plus years of experience with this team. From there, grizzled veterans, role players, a patch work defense - Kent Huskins was still introducing himself to teammates when he took his first shift on the blue line - and some budding young stars full of potential round out the roster.

Will this year be exciting? Absolutely. Just check out the highlight of Damien Brunner's breath taking shoot out winner Monday night in Columbus. But it will also be an adventure - full of missed passes, turnovers, penalties and perhaps a white knuckled race to the playoffs, the likes of which we haven't seen around these parts since last year's Tigers - and look where they ended up!

Opening night was a cross roads of sorts for this Red Wings team with a playoff atmosphere, complete with red glow sticks and a raucous full house. So as Tomas Holmstrom stepped out onto the ice to a standing ovation, dropping the puck in front of the Wings new captain in his final act in Detroit hockey - it ushered out an (old) era of Red Wings hockey, one that was also full of excitement and adventure, and gave way to a new trend. One in which fans will have to glance at their program a little more often to see who just turned the puck over, or who just scored.

But make no mistake hockey is back in Detroit and the fans are still cheering.

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