DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings alumni are preparing for the big Alumni Showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs which will take place Dec. 31 at Comerica Park, and they're not taking it lightly.
On Wednesday, some of the alumni held a practice at Joe Louis Arena in preparation for the event. Former Red Wings forward Kris Draper said they want to win, no doubt.
"I'm from Toronto, so it's always been fun for me to play the Toronto Maple Leafs. I ran into Doug Gilmore and Tie Domi and they kind of started a little trash talking already," said Draper. "(Domi) is kind of giving it to me about the practices we're having."
The game is part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival which precedes the main event -- the NHL Winter Classic game on Jan. 1 between the current Leafs and Red Wings. Draper's former line mate Kirk Maltby also will participate.
"It's always fun to get out on the ice and skate, and the stands are empty which is probably a good thing today," joked Maltby.
The "Grind Line" will be back together with Draper, Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur all participating.
"I'd rather put Mac (McCarty) out there because Joey (Kocur) slashed me in the arm today and I'm not wearing shoulder pads, so he still doesn't realize how strong he is," Maltby said.
Chris Osgood will play in net but he said he's struggling to get back in shape.
"Felt awful the first 20 minutes. Felt alright at the end," said Osgood. "When I was done playing goalie there was no real aspirations to keep playing, just do it for charity events ... that's all I've really played. So, I gotta get on the ice here so at least I don't embarrass myself completely."
General Manager Ken Holland, a former goalie, also was on the ice Wednesday.
"Kris Draper is putting us through a rigorous training camp getting us ready for December 31st," said Holland.
"Let's put it this way: We played (the Leafs alumni) in one of these exhibition games about six or seven years ago at the Joe here and I think we had about 10-12,000 people. And it started off really friendly, then the game got close and then all of the sudden, everything else starts taking over. They started double shifting. We started getting into the game. There was a few hits back and forth, so I think some of that you can't take out of us. We're competitive and, especially in front of 45,000 people, we're going to want to win the game, and it's going to be fun," said Ciccarelli.
Former Red Wings forward Kris Draper shoots on General Manager Ken Holland, who is a former goaltender. Photo by Dave Klein, WDIV
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