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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 - 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
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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

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