There’s no shortage of storylines heading into tonight’s Wings-Ducks game at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit will be looking for its 19th consecutive win at home — one shy of the NHL record — while a pair of veterans will set career milestones.
First: Tomas Holmstrom, who will play in his 1,000th NHL contest, becoming just the sixth Red Wing to reach that mark. Not bad for a 10th-round pick (257th overall!) at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, one that’s spent the majority of his career parked in front of the goal crease, taking an insane amount of physical punishment.
“With the amount of games he’s played and the amount of abuse he’s taken, you’d think that his body would have given up on him,” former Wings teammate Kris Draper told MLive.com. “His pain threshold is probably as high as I’ve ever seen with a hockey player, the stuff that he goes through and how he keeps coming back for more.”
Second: Nicklas Lidstrom, who will play in his 1,549th game, tying him with Alex Delvecchio for second place on the franchise’s career list. The only man to have played more games wearing the winged wheel is Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.
“Anytime you get a chance to tie Mr. Delvecchio it’s a special, special thing,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know if Nick wants to hang around long enough to tie Gordie, but good for us and good for them.”
Delvecchio was also full of praise for the seven-time Norris Trophy winner.
“He’s a great hockey player,” Delvecchio said. “To be truthful, I didn’t even know I had any record for playing games. But I can’t think of a better person to [pass him] than Nick.”
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.