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Where would Dino Ciccarelli have played in 2001-02 if he came out of retirement?

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06-01-2017, 10:26 AM
  #1
Michael Whiteacre
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Where would Dino Ciccarelli have played in 2001-02 if he came out of retirement?

1998-99 was when Dino Ciccarelli was last seen in the NHL playing for the Florida Panthers as a former superstar scoring machine now riddled with the injury prone label. Long before his injury woes in Florida, Ciccarelli made a name for himself as a superstar scoring machine with the Minnesota North Stars of the 1980s, the Washington Capitals of the late 80s/early 90s, and the Detroit Red Wings of the mid-portion of the 1990s before winding down his career with stints with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

While Ciccarelli missed out on Detroit's back-to-back Stanley Cup winning seasons due to toiling away with the Lightning and the Panthers, there were rumors that after two seasons of retirement due to chronic back pains, Ciccarelli would have came out of retirement at 42 in early 2002 to either play for the Detroit Red Wings (for a second but short stint) or become just another free agent signing in a long line of aging former superstars and overpaid veterans by joining the New York Rangers.

If he were to re-join the Red Wings in 2001-02, I wouldn't be so sure if Ciccarelli would have been allowed to reclaim a top-six scoring role for the Wings since Scotty Bowman was the head coach, so a bottom-six role for him would have been likely as Kris Draper was Detroit's best RW after former St. Louis Blues' legendary superstar Brett Hull, even though Ciccarelli (in retrospect) was a better overall player than Draper. If Ciccarelli played at least close to the level of his prime years, maybe he would have been second best RW next to Brett, bumping Draper down the third line at RW and either Tomas Holmstrom or Darren McCarty would have to rotate as fourth line right wingers. Detroit would have given Ciccarelli the best possible chance at a Stanley Cup in spite of him getting a bit-part role.

In other words, Ciccarelli would have been on Detroit's second line with Steve Yzerman at C and Luc Robitaille at LW.

Or if Ciccarelli decided to come out of retirement and sign with the Rangers, he (if healthy enough to play close to his prime years) would have been their second best RW after Radek Dvorak, thus bumping Mike York down to third line RW and thus Mikael Samuelsson would have had to settle for fourth line RW duties. On the whole, Ciccarelli would have been penciled in on the second line with Petr Nedved at C and Andreas Johansson at LW. However, the Rangers would continue to miss the playoffs.

If Ciccarelli were to re-join the Red Wings, he would have had to settle his differences with Scotty Bowman, knowing that Ciccarelli's body couldn't handle too much regular playing time to the point that he would now be okay with a reduced part-timer role.

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06-01-2017, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Whiteacre View Post
...If he were to re-join the Red Wings in 2001-02, I wouldn't be so sure if Ciccarelli would have been allowed to reclaim a top-six scoring role for the Wings since Scotty Bowman was the head coach, so a bottom-six role for him would have been likely as Kris Draper was Detroit's best RW after former St. Louis Blues' legendary superstar Brett Hull, even though Ciccarelli (in retrospect) was a better overall player than Draper. If Ciccarelli played at least close to the level of his prime years, maybe he would have been second best RW next to Brett, bumping Draper down the third line at RW and either Tomas Holmstrom or Darren McCarty would have to rotate as fourth line right wingers. Detroit would have given Ciccarelli the best possible chance at a Stanley Cup in spite of him getting a bit-part role.

In other words, Ciccarelli would have been on Detroit's second line with Steve Yzerman at C and Luc Robitaille at LW.

If Ciccarelli were to re-join the Red Wings, he would have had to settle his differences with Scotty Bowman, knowing that Ciccarelli's body couldn't handle too much regular playing time to the point that he would now be okay with a reduced part-timer role.
Dino scored 600+ NHL goals but the number of points he CREATED is much greater than his career total because of the number of pp screens and drawn-penalties-converted-into-pp-goals he initiated.

At age 42 he still would have been a powerplay presence. There was no quit in his game. He would get knocked down a half dozen times on a single pp shift and still get up and tip-in goals or screen shots or draw a penalty. I cannot fathom how anyone who saw him play his entire career - as I did having been 12 years old when he was a rookie - could question his HHOF induction. I'm not a big Stars fan, but I respected his game and appreciated what he helped do for the underdog squad back in the 1981 Stanley Cup Finals run.

(Note: Dino was profiled on NBC's broadcast in Game 2 (hours ago) as the all-time NHL leader in rookie goal scoring in the playoffs, just ahead of Pittsburgh's Guentzel this 2017 Stanley Cup postseason. Maybe that prompted this thread?)


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06-01-2017, 10:41 AM
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seventieslord
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- I think Ciccarelli and Robitaille on the same line, especially OLD Ciccarelli and Robitaille, would be a horrible idea. They can't both hover around the crease looking for loose pucks.

- Kris Draper, a RW? The same Draper who took 7 faceoffs per game in 99-00, 12 in 00-01, and 9 in 01-02

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06-01-2017, 10:51 AM
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- I think Ciccarelli and Robitaille on the same line, especially OLD Ciccarelli and Robitaille, would be a horrible idea. They can't both hover around the crease looking for loose pucks.
Dino didn't "hover", he battled.

Luc had quite a different style of play offensively than Dino.

One scuffled in corners, one struggled by the net. One read plays with great hockey sense and one had uncanny eye-hand coordination.

Both buried opportunities and were slow on the backcheck. I'll give you that.

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06-01-2017, 11:01 AM
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Detroit had Holmstrom to do the dirty work in front of the net and he did quite well there. The 2002 Red Wings had the best regular season record and won the Cup. They didn't need another 40+ year old forward who hadn't played competitive hockey in years, especially one with back problems. They had a well balanced lineup from top to bottom, and there wasn't a RW who Dino Ciccarelli would replace.

If you want a feelgood story and Detroit was going to do some good for the elderly, why not sign Gordie Howe to a one-day contract and insert him into the lineup against Carolina for Game 5 against the Hurricanes? Give him one last hurrah.

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06-01-2017, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
- I think Ciccarelli and Robitaille on the same line, especially OLD Ciccarelli and Robitaille, would be a horrible idea. They can't both hover around the crease looking for loose pucks.
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Throw Holmstrom on that line (no center needed) and you have the slowest line in NHL history, but also the best at crowding the net.

In all seriousness, Ciccarelli put up pedestrian numbers his last few seasons in Florida/Tampa. I can't imagine any team signing him three years out of retirement when he'd be 41 years old.

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06-01-2017, 11:21 AM
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Michael Whiteacre
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Ciccarelli's back problems were calcium deposits that got taken care of by 2002 to the point that he was able to skate with Red Wings players for the first time in years in practice while feeling physically good doing it.

But then again, I think in order for Ciccarelli to re-join the Red Wings (like I've said before), he would've needed to truthfully bury the hatchet with Scotty Bowman and either accept a second-line role at best or a bottom-six role at worst. Either way, it would've been great for Ciccarelli to have made an NHL comeback in 2001-02 with his back problems finally taken care of, as well as the fact that the Stanley Cup eluded him, and when he almost came close to winning the Stanley Cup both times, he fell short. First time as a rookie with the Minnesota North Stars in 1980-81 and the second time as an ordinary veteran with the Red Wings in 1994-95.

This time, Detroit would have given Ciccarelli his first Stanley Cup in 2001-02 while N.Y. weren't a playoff team for the whole Dead Puck Era.

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06-01-2017, 11:23 AM
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seventieslord
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Dino didn't "hover", he battled.

Luc had quite a different style of play offensively than Dino.

One scuffled in corners, one struggled by the net. One read plays with great hockey sense and one had uncanny eye-hand coordination.

Both buried opportunities and were slow on the backcheck. I'll give you that.
Yeah, I know, Dino was combative and Luc was not, but other than that I found them very similar - slow skating, opportunistic tip-in and rebound specialists.

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06-01-2017, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
If you want a feelgood story and Detroit was going to do some good for the elderly, why not sign Gordie Howe to a one-day contract and insert him into the lineup against Carolina for Game 5 against the Hurricanes? Give him one last hurrah.
First player to play in 7 decades!

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06-01-2017, 11:09 PM
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Yeah, I know, Dino was combative and Luc was not, but other than that I found them very similar - slow skating, opportunistic tip-in and rebound specialists.
Robitaille could certainly score that way, but boy he could zing 'em in from outside too! Luc often scored on the rush, between the circles, or even outside them. I rarely (if ever) saw Ciccarelli score on a long-shot, though I admit I didn't see him play as often as I saw Luc.

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06-01-2017, 11:38 PM
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[B]

Throw Holmstrom on that line (no center needed) and you have the slowest line in NHL history, but also the best at crowding the net.
Not to mention one of the best defensemen ever at floating the puck through traffic.

Put Dino and Holmstrom in front of the net, and give Lidstrom the puck. Auto-goal.

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06-02-2017, 06:46 AM
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Luc often scored on the rush, between the circles, or even outside them. I rarely (if ever) saw Ciccarelli score on a long-shot,...
Exactly.

It's like comparing a point guard to a center in basketball (the irony of height notwithstanding).

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06-02-2017, 09:39 PM
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I am just trying to remember, but was that even a "thing" in 2001 that Dino was poised to make a comeback? I just don't even remember it being brought up. I'm not sure he fits on the Red Wings by that stage of his career. I honestly think the Red Wings still win back to back if he isn't traded after 1996, but this is 2001-'02 and the Wings already had a couple of guys who were in their early 40s. I don't think he'd be in Detroit.

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06-02-2017, 10:27 PM
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Michael Whiteacre
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I am just trying to remember, but was that even a "thing" in 2001 that Dino was poised to make a comeback? I just don't even remember it being brought up. I'm not sure he fits on the Red Wings by that stage of his career. I honestly think the Red Wings still win back to back if he isn't traded after 1996, but this is 2001-'02 and the Wings already had a couple of guys who were in their early 40s. I don't think he'd be in Detroit.
@Big Phil: Detroit was not the only one who were interested in Ciccarelli, it was also the New York Rangers who wanted to take a chance on him for a possible NHL comeback as well.

The Wings (at the time) had the stars who could make former stars look a bit more productive than their twilight years production. Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and Chris Chelios were all made to look good, even Larry Murphy (as a Wing) looked better with Detroit than he did in Toronto in addition to Mike Vernon, Slava Fetisov, Paul Coffey and Steve Duchesne at various points. They could try and work the same magic on Ciccarelli and it would still work.

Ciccarelli was still a threat on the power play, even at 42 years old. He would've been better than Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren McCarty, Jason Williams and Ladislav Kohn on paper as Detroit's possible second best RW after one of Detroit's biggest FA acquisitions: Brett Hull (formerly of the Dallas Stars). I think the best chance for Ciccarelli to actually go on to win a Stanley Cup would be in Detroit for 2001-02 since the N.Y. Rangers were still a losing team for the entirety of the Dead Puck Era.

Only problem that would have prevented Ciccarelli from re-joining the Wings would be Scotty Bowman. Dino would have had to bury the hatchet and make peace with Bowman if he wanted back in Detroit if it meant they give him a better chance to win the Cup than the N.Y. Rangers would. Nevertheless, I would still have no problem with Ciccarelli making a comeback with the Red Wings anyway.

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06-03-2017, 08:14 AM
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@Big Phil: Detroit was not the only one who were interested in Ciccarelli, it was also the New York Rangers who wanted to take a chance on him for a possible NHL comeback as well.

The Wings (at the time) had the stars who could make former stars look a bit more productive than their twilight years production. Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and Chris Chelios were all made to look good, even Larry Murphy (as a Wing) looked better with Detroit than he did in Toronto in addition to Mike Vernon, Slava Fetisov, Paul Coffey and Steve Duchesne at various points. They could try and work the same magic on Ciccarelli and it would still work.

Ciccarelli was still a threat on the power play, even at 42 years old. He would've been better than Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren McCarty, Jason Williams and Ladislav Kohn on paper as Detroit's possible second best RW after one of Detroit's biggest FA acquisitions: Brett Hull (formerly of the Dallas Stars). I think the best chance for Ciccarelli to actually go on to win a Stanley Cup would be in Detroit for 2001-02 since the N.Y. Rangers were still a losing team for the entirety of the Dead Puck Era.

Only problem that would have prevented Ciccarelli from re-joining the Wings would be Scotty Bowman. Dino would have had to bury the hatchet and make peace with Bowman if he wanted back in Detroit if it meant they give him a better chance to win the Cup than the N.Y. Rangers would. Nevertheless, I would still have no problem with Ciccarelli making a comeback with the Red Wings anyway.
That's some of the most obscure reasoning I have ever seen.

Brett Hull had a 79p in 79g season in Dallas the year before he joined Detroit. He didn't perform any better than he did in Dallas, if anything, he was a bit worse. Luc Robitaille had 88p in 82g, his most points since 92/93, before joining Detroit. His time in Detroit was the worst of his career. Larionov had looked good pretty much his entire career, Chris Chelios played just like he did in the years before with Chicago, maybe a bit worse.

Detroit in 2001/02 stacked up big time on stars who wanted to win the Cup. They didn't even have enough icetime for some of these players, especially on the powerplay, what makes you think that a Ciccarelli who had been retired for years, and who suffered from a significant back injury at that point, would have anything to add to such a team?

He most definately wouldn't have been an improvement over most of the players you mentioned, because those players filled a specific role. Maltby-Draper-McCarty was the grinding line to shut down opponents, he certainly wasn't going to replace any of them. He had nothing on Fedorov, Yzerman, Shanahan, Hull or Robitaille, he didn't have the smarts of a Larionov, he wasn't a young up-and-comer like Datsyuk. Any of the remaining spots would go to players who had the fitness and health to do the dirty work, which is very much the opposite of what Ciccarelli could offer at that point.

Stacking up on stars doesn't increase their output, it does the opposite. It's one thing to have a bunch of stars, but something entirely different to have a crowded roster like that. So many stars playing together means they have to split the icetime, which results in less points for everyone (or some stars having really bad years) even if the team as a whole scores more than before.

Even if Ciccarelli would have been able to play again - which is a longshot at best - and even if he had been capable of filling the role of a powerplay-specialist, the Red Wings had zero need for such a player.

I have never seen any source that even hinted at Ciccarelli having planned a comeback at that point.

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06-04-2017, 08:45 AM
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Michael Whiteacre
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I am just trying to remember, but was that even a "thing" in 2001 that Dino was poised to make a comeback? I just don't even remember it being brought up. I'm not sure he fits on the Red Wings by that stage of his career. I honestly think the Red Wings still win back to back if he isn't traded after 1996, but this is 2001-'02 and the Wings already had a couple of guys who were in their early 40s. I don't think he'd be in Detroit.
So with several posts here doubting that Dino Ciccarelli could re-join the Detroit Red Wings for a Stanley Cup as a part time player fresh off three seasons of retirement after 1998-99, I'm starting to suspect Dino would have joined the N.Y. Rangers for a larger role (more than just a PP specialist in his early 40s) than Detroit and Scotty Bowman would have given to him. Ciccarelli would have been a PP specialist at best for the Wings.

Phil, because the N.Y. Rangers continued to remain bad from the late 1990s and into the early 2000s through the end of the Dead Puck Era, Ciccarelli could have looked like a viable player for them in terms of a larger role, better point production and serve as one of their key players, with Eric Lindros in his only Rangers season as a superstar rather than a forced perimeter player, I guess Ciccarelli would have benefitted from playing with Eric Lindros and have a hot streak of point scoring, much the same way Mark Messier only scored 67 points partly because Theoren Fleury had a hot streak around Christmas 2000 to the point Theo got talked about as an MVP favorite for NYR before he went to rehab, in addition to being subject to trade rumors, especially one for Phoenix's Keith Tkachuk (who ended up going to St. Louis).

The same way Fleury carried Messier to a decent 2000-01 season, I suspect either Lindros (formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers) or Petr Nedved would have carried Ciccarelli for the back half of the 2001-02 season since it was early 2002 that Ciccarelli was poised to make a comeback since he looked good in practice with the Red Wings while NYR and Glen Sather wanted to think about taking a chance on him. Reason why Ciccarelli looked good in Detroit's practices in 2001-02 was because the full extent of his back problems were actually calcium deposits.

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06-04-2017, 09:12 AM
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Why isn't a more plausible conclusion that Ciccarelli wouldn't have come back at all?

Playing until your early 40s - especially for players with chronic injuries - is a rarity. It's not the norm.

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