DETROIT — Next season’s Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will include two alumni games and around 100 players from the storied franchises.
“You’ve got two teams that have been in the league forever,” said Wendel Clark, who is among the former players lined up to represent the Maple Leafs. “It’s a great idea to have the second one to open up the option to have more guys to be a part of it.”
Representatives from both teams announced preliminary rosters at a news conference Wednesday at Comerica Park, where the alumni games are scheduled to take place Dec. 31. The 2012-13 editions of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will play the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Chris Chelios and Larry Murphy are expected to appear for the Red Wings at the alumni games, along with Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Howe, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon and Alex Delvecchio.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland also said four members of Detroit’s “Grind Line” — Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Joe Kocur — are expected.
“Four guys on one line,” Holland said.
Clark was ready with a retort.
“It felt like that some nights,” he said.
Clark, Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour are expected to represent the Maple Leafs, along with Rick Vaive, Darcy Tucker, Felix Potvin, Mike Palmateer, Kevin Maguire, Dave Andreychuk, Curtis Joseph, Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis and Jim McKenny.
More players will need to be added, obviously, and Holland said he’d certainly reach out to former Detroit stars like Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom
“Obviously we’re going to ask all them,” Holland said. “Some people we’ve asked. They’re interested. They want to make sure they can clear their schedule.”
Holland also held court for a bit on his team’s offseason, which is off to a tough start after Lidstrom’s retirement and the decisions by free agent targets Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to sign with Minnesota instead of coming to Detroit. Holland didn’t want to give any names of other options, but he did field a question about Phoenix’s Shane Doan.
“I think Shane Doan obviously has to make a decision if he wants to play with Phoenix,” Holland said. “The media likes to create a lot of stories. At the end of the day, players have got to make personal decisions that fit their wants and needs. If and when he decides he wants to leave Phoenix, obviously I think he’d be a player that all 30 teams in the league would love to have.”