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<< Sports >>

NHL Hockey Team News

Red Wings say they are ready for the playoffs to start

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

From left to right: Christopher Illitch (President and CEO of Illitch Holdings, Inc.), Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wings Head Coach), Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings GM) and announcer / former Red Wing Mickey Redmond at the Detroit Economic Club.

by Jason Rzucidlo
AmericaJR@AmericaJR.com

Three representatives from the Detroit Red Wings and a sports announcer spoke about the upcoming NHL playoffs at a Detroit Economic Club meeting Tuesday afternoon at Cobo Center.

Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. was the presiding officer at the meeting. Ken Holland, General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings was the first speaker. Head coach Mike Babcock was the second speaker at the meeting. Mickey Redmond was the master of ceremonies at the meeting.

Ilitch says the meeting comes at a great time for the team. Last year, he came and spoke at the meeting for the Tigers. Just days after the meeting ended, the Tigers were winning games and became division champions. This meeting took place with only a few games left in the regular season for the Wings. The Red Wings are in great shape to do well in the playoffs.

"Join the Red Wave. Our fans have been outstanding. Our goal is to turn Joe Louis Arena into an advantage. Our intention is to turn Joe Louis Arena into a sea of red," said Christopher Ilitch.

"I'm here to tell you this group of Red Wings has proved the entire hockey world wrong," he added.

The Red Wings have finished with 100 points or more in the last seven consecutive seasons. Ilitch attributes the success to his players including the Dominator's defense of the net, Lidstrom's leadership, Chelio's longevity in the league, among many others.

Mickey Redmond, a former player on the Red Wings, has been announcing games on TV for the last 21 years. He says that teams who accumulate more than 100 points makes his job easier as a broadcaster.

"My job is fun. I like to use 'Bingo Bango.' Fortunately, no referees in the crowd. Hockey has always been a lot of fun," said Redmond. "Players really love to come to Detroit."

Ken Holland has been the general manager of the Red Wings for the last decade. "It's still sold out every night. Exciting time in the NHL. Exciting home in Detroit," said Holland. The GM is very happy with his team and its prospects are high for doing well in the playoffs.

The Red Wings have been able to make lots of trades with its available payroll, according to Holland. The team acquired Chelios for a chance at a Stanley Cup three-peat. The GM enjoyed his time working with former head coach Scotty Bowman.

Seven NHL teams are expected to go into the playoffs with 100 points or more. The 2007 NHL playoffs will begin in about two weeks from now. Holland says you got to be very good and play your very best to succeed and win.

"I felt we had the nucleus of a good team. We lost Yzerman and Shanahan. Young kids came in and played well," said Holland.

The GM explains how the trade deadline works. From October until the trade deadline, the general manager assesses players and teams for possible trade options. He brought everybody to Chicago and worked the phones. The Red Wings acquired two players during the trade including Todd Bertuzzi and Kyle Calder.

Mike Babcock has been coaching in the NHL for the past 19 years. He attributes the success of his team to his all-star line up of players and their accomplishments.

"They are great people. When you surround yourself with great people, you win. It separates us from the best players on the other team," Babcock said.

Chris Chelios has been playing in the NHL for 23 years. He's played 1,542 games, more than any other player from the U.S. Chelios has won the Norris Trophy three times. "He sets the battle level for our team," Babcock said.

As for Dominik Hasek, "I can't get the guy off the ice. He loves it," said Babcock.

In regards to Zetterberg, the head coach said he "brings it everyday."

Babcock believes that his team can win the Stanley Cup this year. He says that talent is not enough to win it. It's important to do it right everyday. "I think we have a much better team than last year. We have a great opportunity," he added.

The head coach said last year's playoffs were painful for him.

Babcock loves the support of fans at Joe Louis Arena. He says that a long playoff season will benefit the city by creating extra revenue. Babcock said, "I'm real proud to be coach of the Detroit Red Wings."

Ken Holland belives his team would fit better in the Eastern Conference of the NHL. He says road games are on better times. The Red Wings are currently in the Western Conference.

Head coach Babcock believes that tough players are essential to winning. "Toughness in players is important. We kept the players we had." He said it makes it harder for other teams to play the Red Wings and win.

Announcer Mickey Redmond closed the meeting by saying "If you're in the hockey business, this is the place to be."

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland speaks to members of the Detroit Economic Club at Cobo Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock addresses the crowd on the team's high expectations for the playoffs.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Babcock explains why his team this year is better than last year.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Former Red Wing and current announcer Mickey Redmond is the master of ceremonies for the meeting of the Detroit Economic Club.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Current Red Wing players are attending the meeting of the DEC.

 

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