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McCrimmon tribute set for Tuesday

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
The late Brad McCrimmon, who played and coached for both the Flames and the Red Wings will be honored before the start of Tuesday's game at the Saddledome in Calgary. (Photo by Getty Images)
CALGARY, Alberta – Before the Red Wings begin the second half of the NHL season they will be guests for a special pre-game ceremony that will pay tribute to their late teammate, coach and friend Brad McCrimmon at the Scotiabank Saddledome Tuesday evening.

McCrimmon, who was one of 43 victims onboard the Russian airliner carrying the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl that crashed last September, also played for the Calgary Flames from 1987-90.

During warm-ups, Flames’ players will wear jerseys with McCrimmon's No. 4 and name on the back. The players’ respective numbers will be displayed on the arms of the jersey, which will then be autographed and auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to the Flames Foundation for Life.

A custom tribute logo – 4 Brad – has been created and will be present on all materials connected to the tribute. Each Flames’ player will also sport a No. 4 sticker on the back of their helmets Tuesday night.

A video-taped message from Wings coach Mike Babcock will also play in the arena during the ceremony.

McCrimmon played for – and later became an assistant coach – for both the Flames and the Wings. He rejoined the Flames’ organization before the start of the 2000-01 season when he was named an assistant to head coach Don Hay. McCrimmon also spent time as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders (1997-99) and Atlanta Thrashers (2003-08) before returning to Detroit where he coached for three seasons.

A former first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, McCrimmon spent three seasons with each the Wings and the Flames in the late 80s and early 90s. Prior to being traded by the Flames to Detroit, McCrimmon amassed 16 goals, 67 assists and a plus-109 rating in 231 regular-season games and won his only Stanley Cup championship as a member of the Flames’ organization.

In Detroit, McCrimmon was the first defensive partner for a young Swedish rookie named Nicklas Lidstrom, who remembered his former teammate as “more of a stay-at-home defenseman, letting me get involved with the offense. He also protected me at certain times when things got heated.”

As an assistant coach, Lidstrom said that McCrimmon used to bring “a smile to everyone's faces. He wanted things done a certain way. He had a gentler side to him. … As players, we saw that.”

McCrimmon left the Red Wings last May to take the head coaching job with Lokomotiv. Former Wings defenseman Ruslan Salei and former golaie prospect Stefan Liv also died on the ill-fated flight.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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