Originally written January 22, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Detroit_red_wings_dc6d
DETROIT Former Detroit Red Wings Kris Draper and Chris Osgood were relaxing in the sauna one day several years ago when Tomas Holmstrom came up to talk. It was vintage Homer, the lovable Swede with the broken English. I cant seem to get out of (coach) Scotty Bowmans dog yard, Holmstrom told his two teammates. Sometimes he sits me, sometimes he doesnt play me. Im always in the dog yard. Draper laughed as he retold the story Tuesday following Holmstroms press conference to officially announce his retirement after a 15-year career with the Red Wings. Were like, Do you mean dog house? Draper recalled. Holmstrom just smiled back at them. Those were the things that Homer did, Draper said. Homer-isms, whatever you want to call them. Thats what made him great. When you walked in the dressing room, you knew something like that was coming out. We called his language Swenglish. No one understood the Swedish or English or whatever. He didnt even realize what he was doing but he was always breaking up a tense moment. You just love being around a guy like that. Hes a piece of work. He broke the ice. Its something you cant put a price on. Holmstrom wasnt a great skater or playmaker or shooter or fighter. He was known for his butt. They should put that behind in the Hall of Fame. When the Red Wings went on the power play, Holmstrom went to the front of the net, planting himself just outside the crease OK, quite often in the crease and doing everything he could to screen and annoy and frustrate the other teams goalie. I think about his office, the blue paint, doing his thing, aggravating the goaltender, aggravating the other teams defensemen, drawing a crowd so the rest of our guys can do their thing, Wings general manager Ken Holland said, describing Holmstroms determined style. Fierce competitor, fearless, went to all the hard areas, paid the price night after night after night. Huge heart. Hes all heart. You can argue that nobody fulfilled that type of role in the NHL any better than Holmstrom did over the last decade or so. Opposing goaltenders will not miss his rear end, and he wont miss the constant abuse he took physically with slashes all over his body. It was what he had to do to play as long as he did in the NHL. Some people might think me crazy all those years taking all those cross checks to my neck, to my head, to my back, and having teammates shooting 100 mph pucks at me and sometimes at the net, Holmstrom said. But I had the greatest job in the world. Three hours before the Wings home opener, Holmstrom capped his career with an amusing news conference at Joe Louis Arena. The official announcement came one day before his 40th birthday. Holmstrom was typical Holmstrom. He kept his former teammates who came to celebrate with him chuckling with a few inside jokes. He told the media that he realized the end was coming a year ago. The body say no, Holmstrom said. You wake up in the morning, stumbling to the bathroom. It takes you forever to get the body going. After a while, that wears on you for sure. Holmstrom said hes spending more time at home now with his wife and three children. Hes coaching his sons on the ice. He wants to play a lot of tennis and even go skiing for the first time in decades. I feel 100 percent better right now, he said. In his 15 years, Holmstrom scored 122 of his 243 goals on the power play and added 287 assists while playing in 1,026 regular-season games. He also had 46 goals and 51 assists in 180 playoff games. Only five players in Red Wings history played in more regular-season games, only three played in more playoff games and only 12 scored more points. Holmstrom was one of the many great European finds by Red Wings scout Hakan Andersson. The Wings selected him with the 257th pick overall in 1994. He made his NHL debut two years later. The highlight of it all, Holmstrom said, was playing on four Stanley Cup championship teams in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. 1997 was the first in more than 40 years (for the Red Wings) and the town went crazy, Holmstrom said. All of the fans on Woodward Avenue, Ill never forget that. They wont forget him either. With his net-front presence and goofy personality, Holmstrom left his mark in Detroit hockey history.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Oakland Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams engage in war of words

Georgia RB Todd Gurley falsely accused of punching student

Russell Westbrook: "I'm the best point guard" in NBA

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor ahead of big game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Harbaugh: Deion Sanders' report is 'a bunch of crap'

Bills bench E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton to start

Report: Jovan Belcher likely had CTE

Carmelo: Leaving NY would be hard after I 'forced my way here'

Twins fire Ron Gardenhire

Jon Lester on Wild Card start: That's why I'm here

Chiefs player penalized for praying after touchdown

Bill Belichick laughs off QB question...literally

Patriots fan fails with American flag face paint

Joe Fauria's new puppy is responsible for his ankle injury

LaRon Landry suspended four games for PED violation

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Rockets GM Daryl Morey fires back at Mark Cuban

The most and least improved hitters of 2014

WATCH: Tom Wilhelmsen dances to 'Turn Down for What'

Michigan student newspaper calls for Brady Hoke's firing

14 amazing stats from Week 4 in the NFL

What in the heck is going on with LeBron James' hairline?

Red Wings News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Chiefs player penalized for praying after TD

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe, Deron engage in war of words

Belichick laughs off QB question

Joe Fauria's puppy caused ankle injury

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor

Jim Harbaugh rips Deion Sanders' report

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Bills bench Manuel for Kyle Orton

The most and least improved hitters

Report: Jovan Belcher likely had CTE

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.