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Lilja named 'Hardest Working' for November

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
Andreas Lilja receives the Carhartt 'Hardest Working Player of the Month' for November from Doug Murphy of the Red Wings' Ad Sales department and Sanja Zarubica, Carhartt's sponsorship and event specialist.
DETROIT — Andreas Lilja might not always receive the recognition that some of the other Red Wings do. But after a phenomenal November performance, his teammates and coaching staff acknowledged his hard work on the blue line.

The tough defenseman, who signed a two-year extension with the Stanley Cup champs this summer, led the Red Wings to an 8-2-2 record in November with six assists. 

The native of Helsingborg, Sweden missed two games at the end of October, following an emergency appendectomy. It didn’t take long for him to recover, obviously, when he recorded career-high performances for point streaks and assists in a single game. For his remarkable efforts, Lilja earned the season’s second Hardest Working Player of the Month Award, presented by Carhartt.

Lilja received his award from Carhartt sponsorship and event specialist Sanja Zarubica during a pre-game ceremony prior to the start of the Wings-Ducks game at Joe Louis Arena on December 1.

During the regular-season, Carhartt has presented the monthly award to the hardest working Red Wings’ player, along with Carhartt merchandise. The award, in its second season, recognizes the player for his hard work and individual dedication to commitment necessary to excel on the ice. The Red Wings’ coaching staff and front office personnel select the monthly recipients.

Lilja recorded a career-high four-game point streak during the month, starting on November 17, when he chipped in on a 4-0 win over Edmonton. However, his best pass came two games later, at Calgary. In the first period, Lilja picked off a break-out pass, rushed into the Calgary zone, and hit a streaking Kirk Maltby with a backhand pass for the tip-in goal. The opening marker helped lead the Wings to a 5-2 victory over the Flames. 

The Swedish defenseman stood out in back-to-back games against the Oilers. On November 17, he recorded an assist, four penalty minutes, five hits, and three blocked shots to finish plus-one on 16:33 worth of ice time. Three days later, in Edmonton, he had one assist, one fight (vs. Sheldon Souray), two shots, two blocked shots, and finished plus-one after playing for 19:07 worth of ice time.

Lilja’s ability to eat up minutes on the blue line was key to the Wings, who have fought through injuries to Chris Chelios, Dan Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen during the month. Lilja leads Detroit with 26 penalty minutes and is second in hits (39) and blocked shots (33).

Lilja is the ninth player so honored by Carhartt since last season, joining past recipients Henrik Zetterberg (October 2007), Chris Osgood (November), Pavel Datsyuk (December), Dan Cleary (January), trainers Piet VanZant and Russ Baumann (February), Johan Franzen (March) and Marian Hossa (October 2008).

For over 115 years, Carhartt has manufactured premium workwear known for exceptional durability, comfort, quality of construction, and fit that you can feel in the fabrics and see in the performance. Established in 1889, Carhartt is family-owned and operated with over 4,000 employees dedicated to providing Best-in-Class apparel for the active worker.

Carhartt and the Red Wings would like to recognize Andreas Lilja for his outstanding work and success during November and wish him continued success throughout the 2008-09 season.

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