With the Detroit Red Wings facing playoff elimination, could this be the final games for some veteran players? Read on for the latest.
YAHOO! SPORTS/ESPN.COM/KUKLA’S KORNER: reports of the possibility veteran Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood could be making their final appearances in Game Four of their series against the San Jose Sharks. George Malik of Kukla’s Korner writes it could be up to Wings GM Ken Holland if Draper and Osgood return next season.
NHL.COM: Jeff Sanford reports Lidstrom is keeping mum as to his future plans, preferring to wait until the playoffs are over to make a decision on whether he’ll return or retire.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Red Wings forward Mike Modano has found it difficult being a healthy scratch, and wonders if he’s already played his final NHL game.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell reported Jonathan Ericsson and Ruslan Salei are unrestricted free agents, doubting Salei will be re-signed while suggesting management might be growing weary of Ericsson’s defensive mistakes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recommend reading Malik’s post as he’s made a nice compilation and analysis of all the recent speculation on the Wings aging stars and their respective futures with the organization. As for my two cents worth, Modano, Draper and Osgood won’t be back. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Draper return as part of the coaching staff. Modano and Osgood are no longer capable of playing up to the high level expected of them. Lidstrom still has enough in the tank for another season, but the Wings have already taken to reducing his ice time, and he rarely plays on the penalty kill. If he decides to retire, don’t be surprised if the Wings go shopping for a replacement, though of course you really don’t replace a player of Lidstrom’s caliber. Ericsson could return if he’s willing to accept a reasonable salary, but Salei probably won’t be back.