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

Holmstrom leaves them laughing

NHL's all-time best net-front player retires after 15 seasons

Tuesday, 01.22.2013 / 8:40 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Holmstrom leaves them laughing

Red Wings centers Cory Emmerton (L) and Darren Helm laugh at the Tomas Holmstrom's story-telling at his news conference where the former Wings' forward announced his retirement. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – The last member of a very special fraternity hung up his skates on Tuesday, closing the book on one of the most iconic periods in Red Wings’ history.

Tomas Holmstrom, the last of five Wings to play on all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship teams in the Ilitch era, made his retirement official during an afternoon news conference at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

“I guess you all know why we’re here,” he told the standing room crowd inside the Olympia Club. “After 15 seasons, four Stanley Cups, Olympic championship, Swedish championship, and millions of memories I’m here today to announce my retirement from the Detroit Red Wings.”

Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty were members of the Wings’ championship teams in 1997, ’98, ’02 and ’08.

In a speech that lasted more than 16-minutes, and was filled with several humorous stories, including his disdain for needles, and pointing blame for his poor skating on equipment manager Paul Boyer, who sharpens the players’ skates, Holmstrom had his audience laughing.

“Those stories he was telling were bang on,” said Draper, who played 14 of his 20-season career with Holmstrom. “That’s how Homer is, yelling at Paulie about his skates, talking to the trainers because he hated needles and he just sat up there and had you guys laughing that’s what we got every day. You just love being around a guy like that every day.”

Holmstrom also used his time to thank his teammates, coaches, front office personnel and Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch for believing in a player who wasn’t the best skater, but endured countless injuries in a 1,000-game career.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it’s the right one,” Holmstrom said. “Some people may think that I’m crazy for all of those years taking thousands of cross-checkings to my neck, to my head, to my back. And then having my teammates shooting hundreds of 100 mile per hour pucks at me. … But I had the greatest job in the world. Now it’s time to move on.”

After 15 punishing season, Holmstrom contemplated retirement last summer. But after 1,026 career games, the man known as Demolition Man for his destructive net-front presence, found it more and more difficult manage the pain.

“I feel like I’m walking better. I sleep better at night. I don’t have the pains and aches anymore when I get up in the morning,” he said. “So it’s a huge difference. It’s pretty nice. I can sleep the whole night and I can rest, and I fall asleep right away and stuff like that. Little things that you don’t think about. It’s nice.”

Holmstrom, who turns 40-years-old on Wednesday, has already open the next chapter of his life, spending time on the tennis court and coaching his sons’ youth hockey teams in Plymouth.

But after a lifetime of playing hockey, Holmstrom said he’ll miss the camaraderie of his teammates in the locker room, on the team plane and on bus trips across North America.

“I love to come to Joe Louis. I spent lots of time here,” he said. “Even when practice was over I’d stay here, talk to the boys and just hang around. I think that’s what it’s all about. I think you play better when you have a good environment like that.”

Holmstrom gained the reputation as the league’s first, and most dominant, net-front player, parking himself in front of the opposing crease where years of abuse from goalies and defensemen eventually took a toll on the Swede’s body.

“I had no problem going to the net, staying around the net, being around the net, taking a beating for the team, and drawing those penalties,” Holmstrom said. “I would do it all over again and that’s the part of my game. I can’t be like Pavel (Datsyuk) and Hank (Zetterberg) and be so skilled. But I think you need a good mix to be a successful team.”

Holmstrom said he didn’t make a final decision on his retirement until the lockout nearly wiped out the season.

“It’s not easy, but for sure I’m going to miss the game and I’m going to miss the boys,” he said. “Sooner or later you all have to go to an end, no matter how good you are. I guess I picked this time.”

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