Skip to Main Content

Ciccarelli worked off the ice same as he did on it

by Dan Rosen
TORONTO -- Oh, what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall when Jim Devellano and Dino Ciccarelli started contract negotiations.

"You know, two Italian guys fighting," Devellano told Monday after receiving his Hall of Fame ring beside Ciccarelli. "Boy, I tell you, we had battles."

Ciccarelli said he represented himself for most of his negotiations because, "I'm a stubborn guy and I believed in what I thought I was worth compared to the numbers I was putting up."

Ciccarelli signed with Detroit in 1992, when Bryan Murray was the general manager and Devellano was two years into his current position as Senior Vice President. Devellano, who was GM in Detroit from 1982-90, took over again in 1994 and handled contract negotiations until Ken Holland was promoted to GM in 1997.

Ciccarelli played for the Wings from 1992-96, before being traded to Tampa Bay prior to the start of the 1996-97 season because of clashes he had with then-Wings coach Scotty Bowman.

Devellano said Ciccarelli negotiated the same way he played -- with a tough-as-nails exterior and a never-back-down mentality.

"Well, he was a competitive guy," Devellano said. "He played hard, Dino, and he would do his negotiations with me and we would fight. He was tough, but I certainly never, ever held that against Dino. He was a good hockey player. He was doing what he had to do for Dino Ciccarelli, which is what he should do, and I had to do what was sort of right and what would fit into a team structure so we could afford to operate properly."

Ciccarelli said there were times when Devellano would try to intimidate him, but that was true with all executives he dealt with.

"It's just like playing a game," Ciccarelli said. "You don't back down and you hang in there until you agree with something."

The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997, the first of their four in this generation, leaving Ciccarelli just outside the Detroit dynasty. However, over four seasons calling Joe Louis Arena home, Ciccarelli had 107 goals and 133 assists in 254 games.

He finished his Hall of Fame career with 608 goals and 1,200 points in 1,232 games.

"I was traded (to Washington in 1989) for Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy, so I just wanted to be in the same category of guys that were doing the same things," Ciccarelli said. "It's like any negotiation, whether you're buying a house or signing a contract, it always goes down to the last minute and you're bartering back and forth."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.