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Even old hall-of-famers get excited for the opener

Friday, 10.7.2011 / 3:41 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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The Wheel Deal
Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin signs autographs for fans outside of JLA Friday.

A nine-time NHL All-Star and a three-time Norris Trophy winner, hall of fame defenseman Denis Potvin knows a thing or two about opening night butterflies.

Potvin, who won as many Stanley Cup championships as Nicklas Lidstrom, said that he still gets nervous before games. And he retired as a player after the 1987-88 season.

“But everyone will tell you that they don’t mind being nervous before the start of a game,” said Potvin, in town Friday as a color analyst for Rogers Sportsnet, which broadcasts Ottawa Senators games.

“I’m not as nervous. But yes, I’m very excited for the start of a new season,” he said.

Potvin said that he was very much a creature of habit during his playing career, something that continues to follow him into his 18th season as a broadcaster.

“It was always just a routine,” he said. “I have no problem having a nap in the middle of the afternoon, even today. But I think the butterflies come from the nervousness that you may not be able to do even the normal things. And that’s what you have to get over. I mean, you can achieve great things, but you don’t know when that will happen. But you just want to be able to do your normal things, move the puck, move up the ice, or whatever it is that you do.”

Potvin said that he doesn’t have a lot of memories of playing the Red Wings during his career, which makes sense, since he probably only played in Detroit a handful of times, if that.

“They were always a physical team,” Potvin said. “But the thing that the Red Wings lacked in the years that I played in the 70s and 80s is that they really didn’t have the speed and the puck control that they have now. But really the talent started shaping up in the 80s when (Steve) Yzerman showed up, and of course, (Nicklas) Lidstrom after that. Those were not great years for the Red Wings.”

What are Potvin’s recollections of playing for then New York Islanders and then-assistant general manager Jimmy Devellano?

“I love the guy. They had to steal him from our organization to bring him here to finally build a champion,” said Potvin of Devellano, who is created with being the architect to four Islanders Cup titles in the 80s. “He’s just one of the best, and still today, I love him, and I look forward to talking to him whenever I get a chance.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89