Comerica Park is the home of the Detroit Tigers. How appropriate, then, that the 2013 Winter Classic will feature a doubleheader of alumni games between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs scheduled for Dec. 31?
"We started out this process with the alumni game of trying to put together a roster of 23, 24, 25 players in Detroit. Ultimately, we reached out to Toronto and felt that we had so many players that we wanted to bring out and honor as part of the alumni game. Toronto's in the same situation. So we decided to have two games," said Red Wings GM Ken Holland at a Wednesday press conference.
He estimated that with rosters around 25 players for each team, that's upwards of 100 former NHL greats for the Wings and Leafs that could participate in the alumni festivities. Which means there's still a chance Bob Rouse gets the call for Detroit, and/or that the Leafs reanimate the body of Syl Apps in order to fill out the rosters ...
The details haven't been worked out yet on these two alumni games at Comerica Park. Which, incidentally, Wings owner Mike Ilitch operates, unlike the Big House where the Winter Classic is scheduled. Hmmm ... two alumni games at the ole ballpark would be a dandy way to maximize revenue, said every cynic in hockey. Keep in mind Comerica was Ilitch's first choice for the Classic.
"We're not exactly sure how we're going to break down the game. That's something for another time," said Holland, who said he grew up a die-hard Leafs fan.
"For me to sit in this stadium and watch all these great Red Wing players and Leaf players on the same sheet of ice will be absolutely incredible."
The announced alumni for the Maple Leafs include: Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, Darcy Tucker, Kevin Maguire, Mike Palmateer, Curtis Joseph and Felix Potvin.
The announced alumni for the Red Wings, coached by Scotty Bowman: Gordie Howe (yep ... perhaps in a ceremonial role), Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Chelios, Darren McCarty, Joey Kocur, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Mark Howe, Larry Murphy.
How they'll play four grind-liners at the same time is anyone's guess …