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Conners recall road well-traveled

Saturday, 01.7.2012 / 10:48 AM ET / Features
By Zack Crawford  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Conners recall road well-traveled
Scott and Chris Conner
TORONTO – This weekend’s fathers’ trip has special meaning for Chris Conner and his dad, Scott.

For the Conners, the trip has provided an opportunity for Scott Conner to share memories of his son’s hockey development, which involved enrolling in a Chicago high school so  he could play with the Freeze in the NAHL.

“It was hard giving him up at sixteen to go live somewhere else,” Scott Conner said. “And that killed me. It’s paying off now, but there are a lot of sacrifices you make.”
   
Sacrifices such as getting out of work early on Friday afternoons to get to tournaments, missing school activities from dances to graduation and spending hours on Canada’s Highway 401 en route to Toronto were just part of the drill for the Conner family.

But being on year’s fathers’ trip brought back memories of the old days for the Conners, who, after Thursday’s excursion to the Hockey Hall of Fame, simply went back to the hotel, relaxed and watched TV, much the same way they used to.

“We had some good times at the hotels. We had a lot of good times with the people when we came up here,” Scott Conner said. “Chris was even saying on the bus, ‘I wonder if those rinks are still here,’ the ones that we used to go to.”

In addition to the cities and rinks that they frequented, Conner can track his son’s history as a hockey player through the scars he’s acquired, the bones he’s broken and the teeth he’s lost.

In his first professional game with the Iowa Stars – the Dallas Star’s minor-league affiliate – the first game he ever played without a full face cage, Chris turned his head at the wrong moment and caught a flying puck that knocked out a few front teeth. And even though he scored his first pro goal in that game, it was the kind of incident that gets to a parent.

“It hit him right in the teeth,” Scott Conner said. “He didn’t know it happened. He turned around because the puck had hit him in the face, bounced the other way and skated by his teeth on the ice. That one upset me.”

After spending three seasons with the Stars and two more in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Conner moved back home when he signed a one-year contract with his favorite childhood team.

Evidence of Conner’s early ties to the Wings is saved on a video recording that shows a five or six year-old Chris (missing teeth then, as well) featured at a Wings game as a “Little Caesars’ Player of Tomorrow.”

As far as Conner has come, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. After playing his first few NHL games, he called his parents to thank them for everything they had done to support his career. And not long after getting signed by the Wings, he called to thank them again.

“Just the other day, probably his second game with Detroit, he was driving downtown and he did it again,” Scott Conner explained. “I said, ‘It’s good, don’t worry about it, me and your mom would do it again in a minute.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, Dad, but it’s the Red Wings.’ Like a little kid. So it’s great.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59