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Alumni Reunion: Red Berenson

Michigan coach was an NHL All-Star

Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 12:00 AM ET / Fan Zone
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Alumni Reunion: Red Berenson
Before he became coach of the University of Michigan's hockey team, Red Berenson played parts of five NHL seasons with the Red Wings in the 1970s.

He’s one of five coaches to win more than 750 U.S. collegiate games, but the only one of that group to have also played in nearly 1,000 NHL games.

A six-time All-Star, including twice with the Red Wings, former center Red Berenson an incredibly accomplished life in hockey having won a Stanley Cup as a player and two NCAA championships as a coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

After graduating from UM’s School of Business, Berenson signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens that began a 17-season NHL playing career with a five-year stint with the Red Wings from 1971-74.

Berenson played for the St. Louis Blues, before and after his time with the Wings. And it was in 1968, that he managed to accomplish a feat that has been equaled just once since when he scored six goals in an 8-0 win at Philadelphia.

Berenson, who recently concluded his 28th season as the Wolverines coach, granted an exclusive interview with DetroitRedWings.com, and here is what he said about his time with the Wings, Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau.

QUESTION: Do you keep in touch with any of your former Red Wings teammates? If so, who?

BERENSON: “I still keep up with some of the guys who live around town, like Mickey Redmond and Nick Libett. I’m also still good friends with Tim Ecclestone, who owns a sports bar down in Atlanta. It’s a really nice place called TJ’s Sports Bar & Grill.”

Q. Which of the current Red Wings is your favorite? And why?

BERENSON: “Well, I love (Nicklas) Lidstrom, and he’s a world-class player and he plays the game the right way. I think there were a lot of questions about him when he first came into the league, but he has really proven that he is the real deal. A great player.”

Q. What was your favorite memory as a Red Wing?

BERENSON: “I think getting traded here (in Feb. 1971) with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio still on the team, and coming back to an Original Six team and playing in the Olympia. Even though our team wasn’t really that good it was still a real privilege to play here.”

Q. Which of the guys you played with was the toughest?

BERENSON: “I would say that Gordie Howe was probably as tough as anybody.”

Q. Who was the funniest?

BERENSON: “Bryan Watson.”

Q. Who had the biggest heart?

BERENSON: “We had a guy named Ted Harris, we called him Harry, and he was one of those players, but I would also go back to Bryan Watson, pound for pound.”

Q. What was your favorite restaurant in metro Detroit?

BERENSON: “It was a steakhouse that I don’t think is around anymore, out on Woodward. I can’t even think of the name anymore, but I know it’s not there anymore.”

Q. How has the NHL changed since you played?

BERENSON: “The rules have changed, obviously, and the players are now full-time players, who condition all year-round with off-ice training and as a result you get bigger, quicker, better conditioned players. The other change is that you have European players now.”

Q. Toughest team (other than the Red Wings) when you played?

BERENSON: “I’d probably say Philadelphia because they were going through that real era when they had the Broad Street Bullies.”

Q. Who did you sit next to in the dressing room?

BERENSON: “Actually, Gordie Howe, lucky me.”

Q. What do you love most about the game?

BERENSON: “I love the skill and the speed, the passion, and the difference. Everybody is different, yet everybody can contribute.”

Q. Who had the greatest influence on your career?

BERENSON: “I’d say Jean Beliveau. I belonged to Montreal based on where I grew-up in Saskatchewan, so I followed the Canadians, and we didn’t even get the games on TV until later, but Beliveau was the type of player that I wanted to emulate.”

Q. What advice would you give to kids playing today?

BERENSON: “The same advice that I give to my team at Michigan: Work hard and have fun.”

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STANDINGS

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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80