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Benched: Red Wings’ Kris Draper remembers the 2008 run to the Stanley Cup

DETROIT – It’s hard to believe, but it was 12 years ago that the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup. Kris Draper was on that team and now he works for the organization. He is benched at the moment as well, so he was more than willing to reminisce about the glory days of 2008.

When Kris Draper thinks about the 2008 Red Wings, he first thinks about that stacked roster.

“The first names that come to mind, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski,” Draper said.

Draper said signing Dallas Drake that year was exactly the boost the team needed. They already had tremendous leadership in the locker room and they were motivated from the loss to Anaheim the year before.

In the 2008 Finals with the Penguins, Draper said that game five loss in triple overtime was a killer.

“In triple overtime, we ended up losing, but I thought we played a heck of a hockey game,” he said.

As the series shifted back to Pittsburgh for game six, the Red Wings were without Chris Chelios, Darren McCarty and Aaron Downey. Draper said he’ll never forget what Chelios said to him pregame.

“The one thing Chelly said to me, ‘this is the last game of the year.’ I remember walking out to game six and those are the little moments you always remember when you win,” Draper said.

Chelios was right, the Red Wings beat the Penguins 3-2. Henrik Zetterberg got the game-winner. It was the Red Wings 11th Stanley Cup and Draper’s 4th. He said he’ll never forget the party inside the visitor’s locker room.

“You realize those are the special moments, guys hoisting the cup, or spraying champagne, or you just have your arm around your teammate realizing you are a Stanley Cup Champion,” Draper said. “After that, we all got on the bus and the on Red Bird and we flew back to Detroit. We were in the hanger there for a long time.”

Those were such good times, Draper knows fans want to get back there again, so does Steve Yzerman.

“Stevie misses it as much as all of us,” Draper said. “We know we’re in a rebuild. Everyone wants to get back to what we’re talking about right now.”

For now, the Draper family is doing their part by staying home and staying safe. Draper ended our conversation thanking health care workers. He said they’re the true champions right now.

“I want to thank all the first responders,” he said. “Times are tough right now. My family thanks them, my family is thinking of them. My message to everyone else, stay home and stay safe.”

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