Los Angeles (0-0-0) at Detroit (0-0-0)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Thu Oct 9, 2003
  • TV: ESPN2, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dominator is back, and the Detroit Red Wings are hoping their chances of winning the Stanley Cup have returned with him.

Dominik Hasek and the Red Wings begin their quest for another championship as they open their season by hosting the injury-plagued Los Angeles Kings.

The 38-year-old Hasek, who led Detroit to a Stanley Cup title in 2001-02, came out of retirement to rejoin the Red Wings.

“My batteries are recharged, and I have the fire for competing for the Cup again,” he said.

Detroit has an abundance of riches in net, as Curtis Joseph is in the second of a three-year, $24 million contract and Manny Legace, one of the league’s best backups, is waiting in the wings.

Until a deal can be brokered, Hasek figures to get the bulk of the work. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner and two-time Hart Trophy recipient also won a gold medal as the goaltender for the Czech Republic at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Newcomers Ray Whitney and Derian Hatcher will also be counted on heavily, as the Red Wings no longer have Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov, both of whom were allowed to leave as free agents.

“I think (their impact) will be almost immediate,” Lewis said. “Ray had more special-teams points, more power-play points, than any of our players last year. We ended up first overall.”

When he played at Columbus last season, Whitney tied for third in the NHL in power-play points with 42, and tied for the lead in power-play assists with 34.

Hatcher, a defenseman, brings toughness and leadership to a deep defensive unit that includes perennial Norris Trophy candidate Niklas Lidstrom and ageless veteran Chris Chelios.

“Derian gives us other options,” Lewis said. “He can go hang around the front of the net. I defy anybody to try and move him out of there.”

The Kings will be without two of their best players in the opener, as center Jason Allison and right wing Adam Deadmarsh are still recovering from concussion-related injuries suffered last season.

One of the best playmakers in the NHL, Allison has been out since suffering his third whiplash in a week on January 25 at Edmonton. He played in only 26 games last season, recording six goals and 22 assists.

Deadmarsh suffered a concussion on Dec. 15 and didn’t play again the rest of the season. He had 13 goals and four assists in only 20 games.

An important player that will be on the ice for Los Angeles is goaltender Roman Cechmanek.

The 32-year old netminder—traded to the Kings from Philadelphia in the offseason—had a 33-15-10 record in 58 regular season games for Philadelphia.

Cechmanek’s 1.83 goals-against average was second in the league to Dallas’ Marty Turco, but his unconventional style and erratic play in the postseason caused the Flyers to move him after the team lost to Ottawa in the second round last season.

Los Angeles general manager Dave Taylor believes Cechmanek is a good fit for the Kings.

“His track record speaks volumes,” Taylor said. “We feel our coaching staff will be good for him to work with.”

The Kings begin the season with three road games in four nights. Their home opener is October 15 against Ottawa.

2002-03 STANDINGS: Kings - 78 points, 3rd place, 33 PB, Pacific Division. Red Wings - 110 points, 1st place, Central Division.

2002-03 TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Zigmund Palffy, 37 goals, 48 assists and 85 points; Ian Laperriere, 122 PIM. Red Wings - Brett Hull, 37 goals and 76 points; Lidstrom, 44 assists; Darren McCarty, 138 PIM.

2002-03 SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 14.8 percent (47 for 318), 18th. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (283 for 340), 16th. Red Wings - Power play: 24.1 percent (76 for 315), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (320 for 374), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Cechmanek (33-15-10, 6 SO, 1.83 GAA), Cristobal Huet (2-1-1, 1, 1.76). Red Wings - Hasek (DNP), Joseph (34-18-6, 5 SO, 2.47 GAA); Legace (14-5-4, 2.18).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 10; Red Wings, 3-2. At Los Angeles, Kris Draper and Lidstrom scored for Detroit and Legace made 27 saves.

2002-03 ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 14-18-4-5 on the road; Red Wings - 28-6-5-2 at home.

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