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Lidstrom: 'Very emotional day'

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Red Wings will attend the funeral of friend, and former teammate and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon this afternoon in Farmington, Michigan.

Following a 30-minute practice Saturday morning at Centre I.C.E. Arena, many players, coaches and management boarded a charter for a flight to metro Detroit for the funeral.

McCrimmon, 52, was among 44 people killed earlier this month – including former Wings defenseman Ruslan Salei and former prospect Stefan Liv – when the jetliner that they were on crashed shortly after takeoff some 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

“I think it’s real important for our team (to be there),” coach Mike Babcock said. “I’m thankful that we did what we did, because I feel it’s real important.  … It’ll be good for us to be there.”

Known as Beast among teammates and friends, McCrimmon was a Wings’ assistant for the last three seasons. He also played 18 NHL seasons, including three years with the Wings. He was the first NHL defensive partner for current Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

“It’s hard. It’s just such a tragedy,” Lidstrom said. “And it’s just not Beast, but for everyone that went down with the plane. It’s been a different kind of mood in here, but it’s getting back to the way we were before. But today is going to be a very emotional day for us.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill
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