A Home for Stevie

Fine looking gents right there...

When we asked Stevie to join Team TPL as our resident artist some time ago, we did it with the full intention of providing her a dedicated space on the site where folks could come from far and wide to check out her fantastic handiwork without having to scroll through pages and pages of posts. That was eight months ago and still no page for Stevie.

Well, the offseason has a funny way of providing time to do all of the site maintenance and upgrades we put off during the NHL season, and lo and behold, Stevie now has her own dedicated page here on TPL. Stevie: We’re sorry it took so damn long to finally get this up, but rest assured we’ll keep it updated with all of your artistic awesomeness moving forward. As a token of our appreciation, you’ll find a bevy of bronzed and shirtless horsecops with wine, cheese and grapes in your new office at TPL world headquarters. Enjoy.

For the rest of you, feel free to pop on over to Stevie’s new page and relive some of the memorable moments from last year as we continue the slow trudge towards hockey being, you know, played. You’ll also find a dedicated link on the menu bar at the top, so you can get your Stevie fix any time you want.


The Red Wings and Twitter

As if you needed more reasons to join “The Twitter,” it’s becoming a place where it’s safe to both be a Detroit Red Wing and be savvy with the social media. In the past, we’ve heard (and seen Wingspan features) with players and management outright bashing the medium and its forefathers like Facebook — guys like Chris Osgood were especially vocal in their disdain for such a thing (despite the fact that he might have been first in creating an account… which has been inactive for 27 months). Might the attitude have come from not totally understanding the power of the internet, or not totally appreciating the opportunity to interact with fans on a quasi-personal level? Was it not allowed by the organization?

Whatever the reason, guys are starting to come around. I think it’s safe to say that we all hope that the Wings don’t have a borderline outlandish guy like Paul Bissonnette representing the organization and the team we love, as he tweets photos of homeless people or strippers. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to have Q&A sessions with one of the guys… or send a note of good luck to a call-up… or just voice your support to a player that’s eager to hear it?

With the influx of young talent into the roster over the coming years, you’ll very well get your chance. Hell, if you’re on Twitter already, you’re very likely familiar with the newest Red Wing Mike Commodore who — every night — will interact with hockey fans and answer your questions if he has a few minutes.

Below you can all of the Twitter accounts of Red Wings personnel and a sample of their tweets. If you don’t have an account yet, it might be a good idea to hop over and create one — if only to follow these guys and get yourself a little bit closer to the action. Like all good things, there are fraudulent accounts popping up that you should stay away from… and hilarious parodies that are absolutely worth following. But the following list is all of the known accounts of past, current, and future Red Wings:

Defenseman Mike Commodore :: @commie22

Actually its time to move on to a nap. 2 hours of power skating and a 7 mile run puts me to bed. Getting old sucks. #iamnotlidstrom

Future defenseman Brendan Smith :: @bssmith7

Family euchre tournament and I’m going to say that I’m pretty sure my parents hustled other couples growing up after why I just witnessed

Future power forward and past TP:60 guest Riley Sheahan :: @rsheahan4

Miley Cyrus stating she wants to marry a hockey player. What are our chances?

Prospect Trevor Parkes :: @tparkes19

#poooched from a long day of hockey and training, Hittin the hay looking forward to an am coffbanger and right back at’r again #thegrind

Griffin Mitch Callahan :: @emcy2four

Toe nail officially came off. Don’t know when I’ll see you again. How’s yours holding up @DoubleCornDogs?

Red Wing Draft Pick and Winnipeg Jet sympathizer Brooks Macek :: @MaceALace

Tigers game from the owners suite!.. #notbad #LittleCeasers

2009 Draft Pick Gleason Fournier :: @GleasonFournier

Let’s’go wings !!!

Top Wings pick in 2011 Tomas Jurco :: @Jurky13

Done with hard workout with the wings prospects , now is the time for beach 🙂

2011 pick Ryan Sproul :: @Sproully93

Once again bored outta my mind, gotta get the hell back to hockey! #onemonth #bigyear

2011 pick Alan Quine :: @Quiner26

Ladies and beauts @Cecer_83 is now one of us. Jibbs are fixed, flow is flawless all the kid needs is a few follows #biggerribsbettersauce

Hockeytown Legend Darren McCarty :: @D_Mac25

I haven’t swore on the radio yet. Contract extension

Former Red Wing Kevin Miller :: @kbmiller23

Kocur charity softball today 11:30 in Highland!! Come laugh and have fun

Former Red Wing Aaron Ward :: @aaronward_nhl

Congrats Mark Howe on HHOF.Played my first NHL shift w/ him in ’93 w/ Red Wings.Best example of a TRUE PRO to those who ever played with him

Other accounts that are, in some way, associated with the Detroit Red Wings and worthy of a follow include:

Red Wings Feed, for all of your blog post needs :: @RedWingsFeed
:: They also have a list of players if you want to follow them all in one swoop  :: http://twitter.com/#!/RedWingsFeed/drw-players-prospects

Official Twitter Account :: @DetroitRedWings
AHL Affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins :: @griffinshockey
ECHL Affiliate Toledo Walleye :: @ToledoWalleye
Director of Public Relations for the Detroit Red Wings, Richard Bowness :: @rykbonus
Once-Webmaster, Current Beat Reporter Bill Roose :: @RooseBill
Official Red Wings Photographer, Dave Reginek :: @redwingdgr
Ticket Executive and good friend of TPL, Ryan Michaels :: @rwmichaels
Social Media Manager for the Detroit Red Wings, Jake Duhaime :: @jakeduhaime
Director of Game Operations for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Rich Meyers :: @richmeyers
Anchor/Host for Fox Sports Detroit, John Keating :: @JohnKeatingFSD
Reporter for Fox Sports Detroit, Trevor Thompson :: @iamtrevort
Red Wings Beat Reporter for the Detroit News, Ted Kulfan :: @tkulfan
Photojournalist for the Detroit News, David Guralnick :: @DavidGuralnick
Writer for FoxSportsDetroit.com, Dana Wakiji :: @FSDwakiji
Columinist for The Windsor Star, Bob Duff :: @asktheduffer
Writer for The Grand Rapids Press, Michael Zuidema :: @michaelzuidema

HockeyFest 2011

Just how I'd like to see #52's stall: empty.

Join the Detroit Red Wings in welcoming the 2011-12 hockey season by attending HockeyFest at Joe Louis Arena on September 10th from 11am until 6pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids twelve and under.

Included in the ticket price are all-day autograph sessions with current members of the team (including newest Red Wing Mike Commodore who heard about the party on Twitter and volunteered himself) and Hockeytown alumni. You’ll have the chance to tour the Red Wings locker room (which I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and it’s pretty fantastic), snap a photo with the 2008 Stanley Cup Championship banner or the zamboni, ask your favorite players and management team questions and hear their answers, and win a ton of prizes.

The roster of player autographs and appearances will be announced in the coming weeks so stayed tuned or visit the Wings official site for more information (or to buy your tickets).

Predators to buy out Lebda

So, wait... that black rubber thing I have to keep OUT of the net? Oh, you Canadians...

Former Red Wing Brett Lebda has been placed on unconditional waivers with the intention of a buyout coming from his new team, the Nashville Predators. Lebda hasn’t suited up yet for the Preds, who was acquired from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson.

Lebda would have been entering the second year of a two-year, $2.9M deal he signed with Toronto last summer, which sparked one of my all-time favorite tweets, courtesy of The Chief:

Jesus, Toronto. Don’t you have Center Ice?

The Stanley Cup-winning defenseman fell out of favor in Toronto nearly immediately. The massive Toronto fan base originally lauded the Brian Burke signing (even though they like to pretend now that they didn’t), as Lebda was an experienced blueliner who knows what it takes to compete for a championship. However, he found himself in healthy scratch territory, and only suited up in 41 games for the Maple Leafs — his lowest total ever in the NHL, including his rookie season with Detroit.

There’s some confusion as to whether or not the Predators are allowed to buy a player out, since they’ve entered into club-elected salary arbitration with Shea Weber, but another Predators blogger seems pretty sure that this has been in the cards since the trade. Somehow I doubt anyone at the NHLPA will kick up much fuss for Brett Lebda, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. If the buyout is allowed to proceed, he’ll be available to any team that could use his services — with the Predators paying him just under a million dollars spread out over the next two seasons. The team would then carry cap hits of $516,667 and $466,667 in each of the next two seasons.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

Chris Chelios, U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer

Congratulations to former Red Wing defenseman-turned-special management assistant Chris Chelios on being inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He will be joined by Keith Tkachuk, Gary Suter, Ed Snider, and Doc Emrick to make up the Class of 2011.

In addition to playing 1,919 combined regular season and post-season NHL games, Chelios represented his country 11 times, winning a Silver medal at the 2002 Olympics. In total, he was a four-time Olympian, a two-time member of Team USA’s World Cup teams, two-time World Junior, and three-time Canada Cup participant.

Chelios is eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame (for which he’s a first ballot shoo-in) in 2013, as rules stipulate players must be retired for three seasons to be considered eligible.

***Update, 4:56pm***

From the official press release, here is Chelios’ section, as well as some basic information about the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame:

Chris Chelios, Mike Emrick, Ed Snider, Gary Suter and Keith Tkachuk will be enshrined as the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2011 it was announced today by USA Hockey. The five-member class will be formally installed into the Hall in Chicago this fall, with a date to be announced in the near future.

“It’s an extraordinary class,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “The varied contributions to the landscape of hockey in our country is truly amazing and, collectively, this class has positively impacted every level of hockey.”

With a professional career spanning 26 seasons, Chris Chelios is the all-time leader in games played by a defenseman in National Hockey League history (1,651). The second-round draft pick (40th overall) in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft of the Montreal Canadiens went on to win three Stanley Cups and three Norris Trophies, along with a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in Salt Lake City in 2002 and an NCAA national championship with the University of Wisconsin in 1983. Chelios played seven seasons (1983-90) in Montreal, nine in both Chicago (1991-99) and Detroit (1998-2009) and one season in Atlanta (2009-10), amassing a total of 948 points (185-763), which is 10th all-time among NHL defensemen. The Chicago, Ill., native played in 11 NHL All-Star Games, representing three different teams. Additionally, Chelios was a staple in international hockey for more than three decades. He is one of only two male players to represent the United States at four Olympic Winter Games (1984, 1998, 2002, 2006) and captained his final three Olympic squads. He also helped the U.S. defeat Canada to win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and represented his country a total of 10 times on the international stage.

NOTES: The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame elected its first class in 1973. To date, there are 148 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit the Hall’s official web site at USHockeyHallofFame.com … U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey in the United States … The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, located in Eveleth, Minn., is open daily. For hours of operation, visit USHockeyHallMuseum.com or call 800-443-7825.

Photo Credit: George Walker IV, USA Today