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Draper skates with his heroes in Legends Classic

Sunday, 11.08.2015 / 6:47 PM / Hall of Fame

Tim Wharnsby - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Kris Draper enjoyed plenty of thrills in his 19 pro seasons, but the retired Detroit Red Wings center proved you are never too old to get a kick out of playing the game of hockey.

Draper, 44, participated in the Legends Classic game at Air Canada Centre as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame weekend.

Not only did he score the opening goal in his team's 6-5 shootout win, he got to play alongside two of his childhood heroes, Darryl Sittler and Bryan Trottier -- and against two of his treasured teammates, Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Fedorov and Lidstrom, along with Phil Housley, Chris Pronger, Angela Ruggiero as well as builders Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr., will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday evening.

"It was an absolute honor for me to be part of this," said Draper, now a special assistant to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

1989 NHL Draft defined Red Wings for decades

Sunday, 11.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The run by the Detroit Red Wings as the most dominant team in the NHL for the better part of two decades gained its momentum in 1989 on the floor of an arena that is no longer in service. It is a tale combining enough good fortune, skill, conviction and intrigue to power a best-selling page-turner.

Looking back on it now, 26 years later, Hockey Hall of Fame executive Jim Devellano, the Detroit general manager at the time, keeps coming back to the same thought about the historic draft that moved the Red Wings indelibly forward.

"I don't think there was a better draft in the history of hockey than our draft, the Red Wings' draft, in '89," Devellano said. "I'm also here to tell you there was some luck involved."

Hurricanes rookie Hanifin sees game like a veteran

Sunday, 11.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin doesn't sound like a rookie when he begins breaking down the game he loves.

The fifth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft is a rookie on paper, but his performance on the ice is proving otherwise. Hanifin is also mature enough to realize his limits in the locker room among those who have been there and done that.

"You can tell by the conversations you have with him that he's a very mature boy for an 18-year-old," Hurricanes assistant coach Steve Smith said. "He asks all the right questions and goes through the exercises on the ice on a daily basis without any resistance at all.

Heading to Hall, Pronger could run NHL team someday

Sunday, 11.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Chris Pronger will be one of seven individuals be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

When injuries prevented Chris Pronger from helping the Philadelphia Flyers on the ice, Paul Holmgren found a way to take advantage of Pronger's advanced hockey intellect off it.

A two-season, part-time scouting job started the former defenseman on a path that could lead to him being heavily involved with running an NHL team.

"It interests me, absolutely," Pronger said. "It's something I'm definitely interested in doing down the line."

Pronger's strength, skill built Hall of Fame career

Sunday, 11.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor takes a look at each of the seven individuals who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9.

At a scouting combine in Toronto prior to the 1993 NHL Draft, Ray Shero noticed a tall, lanky defenseman from Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League unable to move the 135-pound bar at the bench-press station.

Shero, at the time an assistant general manager for the Ottawa Senators, remembers thinking the 18-year-old's inability to do a bench press wasn't going to hurt his NHL chances.

Shero was right.

Hall inductees share memories, humor at Fan Forum

Saturday, 11.07.2015 / 5:15 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Phil Housley recalled the hit, being stunned by it, by Sergei Fedorov.

"It was probably the only time I didn't see him," Housley said during the annual Fan Forum Q&A at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Fedorov is most known for being one of the greatest skaters in NHL history, for his fluid motion, for making his white Nike skates look like a blur on the ice. But he could pack a wallop. He could hit. Years and years of the rigorous Russian training regimen made him powerful.

"He reminds me of somebody that just attacks the game," Housley said of Fedorov.

Fedorov also remembers hitting Housley. He called it an accident.

"I hit him, but we both can agree it was his fault," Fedorov said, bringing laughter from the crowd of mostly Red Wings fans inside the Esso Great Hall. "It was an accident because Phil was impossible to hit because he was so smooth. We both understood it was his fault."

That's only a snippet of the memories and stories that were shared during the Fan Forum. It was, as it has been during every Hall of Fame weekend for the past 16 years, an informative, entertaining and hilarious hour with the player inductees.

The five this year -- Fedorov, Housley, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Angela Ruggiero -- participated in the event, which has been a tradition since 1999, when Wayne Gretzky asked the Hall to create something so he could interact with the fans during his induction weekend.

Here are some of the highlights:

Teammates, opponents marvel at Lidstrom's legacy

Saturday, 11.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Nicklas Lidstrom is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, seven-time Norris Trophy winner, and an Olympic gold medalist. On Monday, he'll become an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He gained respect and admiration from people all over the NHL, and the hockey community at large, during the course of 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. spoke to many people who were associated with Lidstrom during his Hall of Fame career, either with the Red Wings, Sweden, or playing against him. Here is what they had to say:

Red Wings were sure of Lidstrom's Hall qualities

Saturday, 11.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer takes a look at each of the seven individuals who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 9

When Nicklas Lidstrom strides to the stage Monday to deliver his Hall of Fame induction speech, Bryan Murray, Nick Polano and Jim Lites might be thinking back to 24 years ago when they weren't sure if he even deserved a contract offer from the Detroit Red Wings.

"We went to the World Championship in Finland in 1991," said Murray, who at the time was Red Wings coach and is now general manager of the Ottawa Senators. "Detroit had already drafted him and wasn't sure if he could play or not. So I went over with Nick Polano and Jim Lites and watched him against the Russians."

New Hall of Famers touched by Bowman's presence

Friday, 11.06.2015 / 7:08 PM / Hall of Fame

Tim Wharnsby - Correspondent

TORONTO -- To get to the Hockey Hall of Fame ring ceremony on Friday, the seven inductees walked up the stairs into the Great Hall and were greeted by an iconic figure.

There, in his Hockey Hall of Fame blazer, was legendary 82-year-old Scotty Bowman. He was in town for the weekend festivities, and once he found out there was to be a ring ceremony Friday afternoon at the Hall, it was a no-brainer for him to attend.

After all, Bowman coached Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom to Stanley Cup championships with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Before that, as coach and general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, he took a chance on Phil Housley when he selected the teenager out of South St. Paul (Minn.) High School with the sixth pick in the 1982 NHL Draft.

Hockey Hall of Fame getting international identity

Friday, 11.06.2015 / 6:00 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TORONTO -- The setting was fitting given the accents of the four NHL player inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Instead of conducting the media session in the Esso Great Hall, surrounded by every trophy and the 375 plaques depicting a drawing and biographical sketch of every honored member of the Hall of Fame, this year the inductees headed downstairs to the new Tisso World of Hockey Zone to do their interviews.

Why the World of Hockey Zone?

"It's a worldly class," said Lanny McDonald, chairman of the Hall of Fame and an honored member.

For the second straight year, the Hall of Fame is inducting a class that has four former NHL players from four countries. It had never happened before last year.

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