Is Brian Rafalski mounting a comeback?
Well, he’s planted the seed for one.
The 40-year-old defenseman, who retired in 2011 due to back and knee injuries, has signed with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, the club announced on Thursday.
“I’m just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey,” Rafalski told the team’s website.
Rafalski, who spent 15 NHL seasons between New Jersey and Detroit, recently participated with his former Red Wings mates in the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown. According to Everblades PR man Paul Teeple, working out for the alumni game provided the spark, and things progressed to where they are today — Rafalski joining a club that sits second in the ECHL’s South Division and is the East Coast League affiliate to both the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’ll be interesting to see how Rafalski will adjust to playing professionally again. He was still performing at a high level upon his retirement at age 37, scoring 48 points in 63 games in his final season.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.