- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

DETROIT (AP) Part of the Hockey Hall of Fame might someday look like the Detroit Red Wings' dressing room does today.
There's Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman and Luc Robitaille to the right.
Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov to the left.
Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom are straight ahead.
Then there's the NHL's winningest coach, Scotty Bowman, who is already in the Hall of Fame.
"The best part about this group is they know that the names on the stalls or the jerseys aren't going to win games," Hull said.
The luster Detroit lost after failing to advance past the first round of the playoffs the last three seasons, after winning consecutive Stanley Cups, has been restored.
Owner Mike Ilitch spent over $16 million during the offseason boosting one of the NHL's highest payrolls to over $60 million to pry open this aging team's window of opportunity.
The Red Wings traded for the dominant goaltender they haven't had in Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner and two-time MVP from Buffalo.
"You catch yourself looking back there in practice," said Lidstrom, last season's Norris Trophy winner. "It's a thrill just to be able to play in front of him."
After getting Hasek, Detroit continued to restock. It signed two free-agent stars Hull and Robitaille to give the Red Wings three of the top five active goal scorers and bolster their even-strength attack.
Hull, who played for the Dallas Stars last season, is second among active players with 649 goals, two behind Mark Messier and one ahead of Mario Lemieux. Yzerman is fourth with 645 goals and Robitaille is fifth with 590.
Yzerman was one of a few Red Wings who deferred part of his salary to give management the cash to sign Hasek, Hull and Robitaille, who was with the Los Angeles Kings last season.
"It was a simple and easy thing to do," Yzerman said.
The addition of defensemen Fredrik Olausson, who played in Switzerland last season after 14 years in the NHL, also will provide depth.
Inflated egos with such a star-studded lineup will not be a problem, new and old Red Wings insist.
"For me, there will be no difficulty at all," Hasek said. "I asked to be traded to Detroit. I'm glad to be with stars like Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios."
Hasek didn't say aging stars, but he could have. The Red Wings' roster could have as many as 10 players 34 or older, which has already become a sore point with the team.
"Age is irrelevant, this year," the 36-year-old Yzerman said, bristling. "It does mean that this team isn't probably going to be together for years, however.
"Acquiring Dominik and the guys we did shows were trying to win the Cup now. At this stage of my career, I'm thrilled to have guys of that caliber added to this team."
The Red Wings are not an average team throwing millions at future Hall of Famers in the hopes of winning it all, as the Washington Redskins attempted and failed to do last year in the NFL. Colorado, which won the Stanley Cup, was the only team with more than Detroit's 111 points last season.
The Red Wings were regarded as the best team in the NHL after Christmas until injuries to Yzerman and Shanahan contributed to their first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles.
Management decided a shakeup was needed after essentially keeping together the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998.
"Our grace period from winning the last Cup is over, and that's the way it should be," Darren McCarty said. "It's all about winning this year, anything less than the Stanley Cup is not a successful year."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide