Wings surprise Bowman with Cup ring ceremony at Wrigley

December, 31, 2008
CHICAGO -- Leave it to the Detroit Red Wings to add a touch of class to a big event.

Wings GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill surprised Scotty Bowman with his 2008 Stanley Cup ring before Detroit's practice Wednesday. The impromptu presentation was made right at home plate of Wrigley Field.

"That was pretty special, I didn't expect that," said Bowman, who left the Wings this past summer and joined the Blackhawks as a senior adviser. "It's a beautiful ring and, obviously, it means a lot to me."

Holland and Nill figured Wrigley would be a nice setting for the presentation.

"We knew we would see him here, so we figured, what a great time to do it," Nill said. "He's got his whole family here. He's been a big part of our success. It's a neat thing to do.

"He was surprised," Nill added. "It's a beautiful ring, and he deserves it."

Tampa owner in Chicago?
Lightning owner Oren Koules was a keen observer at the outdoor practices Wednesday. We asked him what exactly he was doing here.

"As a kid growing up here in Chicago, I came to Wrigley Field starting at 6 years old to watch the Cubs," he said. "This was a once-in-a-lifetime hockey event I had to come to."

Even though it's a stretch, we figured we'd ask him whether he'd make a bid to host a Winter Classic in Tampa.

"Listen, I'd have to sit down and talk to the ice guys," Koules said. "Raymond James Stadium is an amazing facility. But it's all about the ice guys. It was 80 degrees yesterday in Tampa."

Kane update
Patrick Kane was dinged up in Tuesday night's 4-0 loss at Joe Louis Arena and skated only briefly at the outdoor practice Wednesday.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd be shocked if the "lower-body injury" were to keep him out of such a big game.

"I'm going to try tomorrow," Kane said. "I'm going to do my best to treat it as much as I can today, and hopefully I'll feel fine tomorrow. Last night, my skate got caught in the ice there, an unfortunate play."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville left no doubt. "Patrick's playing tomorrow," he said.

Latest on Lidstrom
Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom skated the full outdoor practice Wednesday and very much looked ready to return after missing Tuesday's game with a bruised ankle.

"The ankle is doing a lot better," Lidstrom said. "They've been fixing my skate a little bit to relieve some of the pressure that was on that point. But it feels a lot better. And I'm hoping I can play tomorrow."

If Lidstrom is back in, some wondered whether 46-year-old Chicago native Chris Chelios would be scratched, but Wings coach Mike Babcock said he wouldn't do that. Babcock said both Chelios and Lidstrom probably would play and the Wings would dress seven defensemen and only 11 forwards.

Next year
Officially, the NHL's position is that it's not certain whether another outdoor game will be played. Unofficially, it's a slam dunk.

"I'd be shocked otherwise," a league official said Wednesday.

NHL Players' Association executive director Paul Kelly, who has a strong voice in whether this game is staged, also is 100 percent behind it.

"I think it should be played every year," Kelly said.

The solid TV ratings and rich corporate sponsorship pretty much guarantee it. It's a huge showcase for the sport, and I think it's clear the game is here to stay.

"The Magic Uniform"
There are so many good stories revolving around the Blackhawks this season, and here's yet another one. The Hawks last month released a children's book, titled "The Magic Uniform," which depicts a young boy's love for his Blackhawks jersey. The book was written by Hawks broadcaster Josh Mora and illustrated by his wife, Allison. The best part: All proceeds go to Hawks charities.





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