Detroit Red Wings DetroitRedWings.com presented by AT&T
2015-16 Ticket Plans Available Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Goalies rejoice, Holmstrom retires

Wings veteran made net-front presence an art form

Tuesday, 01.22.2013 / 4:30 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Goalies rejoice, Holmstrom retires
Tomas Holmstrom made a living in front of the net where he often took the abuse of opposing goalies for 15 years. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – Goaltenders rejoice!

It was dirty work, but for 15 seasons Tomas Holmstrom did it better than anyone in the history of the sport. In more than 1,000 regular-season games, the Swedish forward was a thorn in the side of goalies throughout the NHL, parking in front of the crease where he made it tough for opposing netminders, who couldn’t see around the winger’s 6-foot, 202-pound frame.

“He took it to an art form,” said Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi. “There are guys that can stand in front of the net and screen, but there aren’t guys that can actually tip 100-mile per hour slap shots coming from every angle. He just took it to a whole new level.”

After 15 punishing season, Holmstrom contemplated retirement last summer. His decision didn’t come easy, but after 1,026 career games and four Stanley Cup championships, the man known by legions of Red Wings’ fans as Demolition Man, announced his decision to retire, which comes eight-months after his best friend Nicklas Lidstrom, retired after 20 seasons.

Holmstrom is the last of five Red Wings to have played on all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship teams in the Ilitch era. The others are Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty.


There isn’t a player in the NHL who hasn’t played through pain. But Holmstrom’s career was filled with years of prolonged discomfort that he carries around in both knees, something that he learned to deal with since his playing days back home in northern Sweden. He had two series of Synvisc injections last season meant to lubricate and cushion his knee joints.

  HOLMSTROM IN PHOTOS

Teammates marveled at his demeanor; how he could play though debilitating pain, yet maintain such an upbeat personality, which was only surpassed by his unique sense of humor.

“Before the games, in the locker room, how he prepared and got the team fired up before games with his Swedlish, mixing his Swedish and English,” newly anointed Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think when you look back it was a lot of laughs before big games. He was the guy that got us ready in his kind of way. If you take away the hockey part on the ice that’s the biggest thing that I will miss.”

Holmstrom, who will turn 40-years-old next Wednesday, scored 243 goals with 287 assists. He also produced 46 goals and 51 assists in 180 playoff games.

Holmstrom started a trend throughout the league, and over time teams have realized the importance of developing strong, agile net-front players, who can screen in front of the crease and battle for rebounds.

Yet, even during the off-seasons he had days where he coped with the pain and discomfort of grinding knee joints, which often had him deliberating his playing future. But once the season came around, Holmstrom fought through adversity in order to achieve team success.

“He didn’t feel pain, he couldn’t feel pain,” Zetterberg said. “Especially back when the rules were different it was a free-for-all on him every game, night in and night out. It’s amazing that he could keep his body together for this long.”

Over the last two season, Holmstrom’s ice-time had dwindled as he was moved to the fourth line and saw less and less time on the power play. The decreased playing time made it difficult to enter a game cold.

“Homer will be missed for sure,” forward Mikael Samuelsson said.

Without Holmstrom and Lidstrom on the power play, the Red Wings will look to forward Johan Franzen and defenseman Niklas Kronwall to pick up the slack in the absence of two legends.

“Homer was a star at what he did. The best in the National Hockey League in my opinion,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But Mule, net-front, is as good as anybody. Mule has been waiting to be out on the first unit since he got here. He thinks he should be. We think he should be too. So it’s a natural fit.”

For all of the dirty work that Holmstrom did, he may likely be missed most as a tremendous colleague, who set a wonderful example for all in the Red Wings’ locker room.

“He’s just a good dude, great guy and great teammate,” Bertuzzi said. “If you can hand one compliment out, it would be that he was an outstanding teammate. He never complained. Always went out there and played probably the hardest 1,000 games ever played. He left with four Stanley Cups and was able to walk out of the rink.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

DetroitRedWings.com is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and DetroitRedWings.com are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 
Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map