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Once blue, Colaiacovo is happy in red

Red Wings' defenseman is excited for season-opener in St. Louis

Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 2:21 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Once blue, Colaiacovo is happy in red

Carlo Colaiacovo signs an autograph for a young Red Wings' fan at training camp earlier in the week at Compuware Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – For four years, Carlo Colaiacovo and the St. Louis Blues tried to emulate the wildly successful Red Wings.

“We always wanted to model ourselves after the way the Red Wings played,” said Colaiacovo, who collected 18 goals and 88 assists in 259 games with the Blues.

Colaiacovo, who turned 30-years-old on Jan. 27, played for three different St. Louis coaches, but last season, once Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench, the Blues took off at midseason, to finish with 49 wins for the first time in more than a decade.

“I have nothing but great memories of that place,” Colaiacovo said. “But I’m in a happy place now, with a team that competes every year for the Stanley Cup. I’m excited about that opportunity.”

Thursday morning was the first time that Colaiacovo skated at Joe Louis Arena as a member of the Red Wings, who open the 2013 season this Saturday against his former team.

“It’s a lot to think about right now,” said Colaiaicovo, who expects Saturday’s game to be an emotional one. “The adrenaline’s going to be rushing pretty good. I had a great years there, have a lot of great memories.”

Now, Colaiacovo hopes that a change in scenery with the move to Detroit will rejuvenate his career that began in the Maple Leafs’ system in 2003-04. But following a head injury, and then knee surgery – both 15 months apart – the Leafs traded Colaiacovo to the Blues during the 2008-09 season.

“I think at the time that I moved on, it was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “It made me start fresh and put me in a position to get to where I am today.”

Health will be a big issue for the Red Wings’ defenseman, but if Colaiacovo can stay in the lineup, there’s reason to believe that he can contribute on the Wings’ third pairing along with Ian White. The two played together in Toronto, so there’s certainly a familiarity that will help.

But getting set-up in the Red Wings’ JLA locker room, and soaking in the atmosphere and nostalgia that’s been home to so many great players – and often visited by legends like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay – is just another step in feeling part of the Original Six franchise.

“I’ve always seen pictures of this room, but to finally be in it … this is one of my favorite arenas to play in even as a visiting player,” said Colaiacovo, who, with his fiancé, toured the arena earlier in the week. “To actually be in the room and be part of the team, I feel pretty special about that. I’m excited. I’ve had nothing but a smile on my face since I’ve been here. I just hope for better days ahead.”

Beginning with a fast start in his return to St. Louis.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
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
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80