Posted: 11:27 a.m. Oct. 12, 2010 | Updated: 11:54 a.m. today Detroit Red Wings' Kirk Maltby to retire
By HELENE ST. JAMES
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Red Wings have called a press conference for 5:30 this afternoon to announce Kirk Maltby is retiring.
Maltby, 37, has been with the Wings since March of 1996. Originally a third-round pick of Edmonton’s in the 1992 draft, Maltby has played 908 of his 1,072 NHL games for the Wings. In his heyday he was a member of the Grind Line along with Kris Draper and Joe Kocur, playing a significant role in helping the Wings to Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. He also won Cups in 2002 and 2008, playing fewer minutes but still making a contribution.
Through the years, Draper, who joined the Wings in 1993, has become a close friend.
“It’s been awesome,” Draper said. “We talked about it earlier – winning the Stanley Cups with the Grind Line, it was so much fun. Back in the late 90s when the t-shirts came out and all that kind of stuff – I mean, for role players or grinders or whatever you want to say, to be able to stay in a city as long as both of us have is something that we really appreciate and we know is very special, very rare.”
Draper spoke to Maltby numerous times about making the decision to retire rather than go to the minors and hope to be called up as an injury replacement. Now that the decision has been made, it’s clear just how much Maltby’s presence in the locker room will be missed.
“Talks a lot, sometimes a little long winded – he takes a lot of heat for that,” Draper said, smiling. “We’ll have some fun with that today when he starts talking – however long it’s scheduled for, you know it’s going to go a lot longer than the allotted time."
Maltby may opt to become a scout with the team, replacing Pat Verbeek.
Contact HELENE ST. JAMES: 313-222-2295 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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