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Trainers named Wings' 'Hardest Working'

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT — For 21 seasons, athletic trainer Piet Van Zant and assistant athletic trainer Russ Baumann individually -- and together with the Red Wings -- have convalesced many athletes back to health so they could return to compete again.

But with injuries to six players at once last month, Van Zant and Baumann, who worked tirelessly to get Wings back on the ice, were the team’s stars. For their efforts, Van Zant and Baumann were named co-recipients of the Carthartt “Hardest Working” Player of the Month for February.

Both trainers received their award from Carhartt sponsorship and event specialist Sanja Zarubica during a pre-game ceremony prior to the start of the Wings-St. Louis game at Joe Louis Arena on March 5.

“It just adds to your daily routine,” Baumann said of the Red Wings’ injuries. “You see guys on a daily basis for whatever it might be – massage or stretch, then you have the injured guys that either aren’t skating or aren’t playing and you need to rehab with them with treatments.”

Of the six players injured in February, half have returned to the Red Wings’ lineup: goalie Dominik Hasek (hip), and defensemen Niklas Kronwall (clavicle) and Brian Rafalski (groin).
The other Wings injured in February are defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom (knee) and Chris Chelios (leg) and right wing Dan Cleary (fractured jaw), who was also recognized prior to Wednesday’s game for winning the Carhartt award for January.

Not since December 2003, have the Red Wings been bitten so badly by the injury bug. Then, the Wings were forced to play a stretch of games without captain Steve Yzerman, goalies Manny Legace and Hasek; forwards Steve Thomas, Ray Whitney, Darren McCarty, Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg; and defensemen Derian Hatcher and Chelios.

Cleary was originally scheduled to receive his award from Carhartt during a pre-game ceremony prior to the start of the Wings’ home game against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 10. But a day earlier in Toronto, Cleary, was struck in the face with a puck that required surgery to repair a fractured jaw.

Van Zant and Baumann each received their bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Central Michigan University in 1993. Baumann, who joined the Wings in 2002, earned a Master’s degree in physical therapy from Wayne State University in 1999.

During the regular-season, Carhartt is presenting the monthly award to the hardest working Red Wings’ player, along with Carhartt merchandise. The award 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.

Van Zant and Baumann are the fifth Red Wings’ recipients so honored by Carhartt this season, joining past winners Henrik Zetterberg (October), Chris Osgood (November), Pavel Datsyuk (December) and Cleary (January).

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 Piet Van Zant and Russ Baumann for their outstanding work and success during the month of February and wish them continued success throughout the remainder of the 2007-08 season.

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