*On January 2nd, Versus becomes NBC Sports Net.
The story form Detroit today is one of a return to roots. It's revisiting a storied past. It's getting back to where General Manager Steve Yzerman once belonged.
But the narrative of Yzerman's return to Joe Louis Arena and tonight's game between the Bolts and the Detroit Red Wings has taken a slight turn. It would seem our "Yzerman is Jedi" motto lives on with the report from Bob MacKenzie of TSN that defenseman Victor Hedman and the club have reached an agreement on a contract extension. The terms, rumored through Twitter reports, are 5-years and somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million per season. We'll have the more definitive numers when they become available.
This, ladies and gents, is another Jedi Mind trick. Or at least my perception of one. After John Tavares and Tyler Myers were re-signed before the start of the 2011 NHL preseason (a full year before the end of their entry level contracts), the numbers being paid out seemed to indicate the bar for Hedman was $5 million or more per season in his new contract.
$4 million, obviously, is less. Until full terms are disclosed, I can't say this is a victory or not -- but it's good news to have Hedman locked up long-term at any rate.
Dwayne Roloson returns to the starting role tonight at the Joe in the Lightning's lone trip to Detroit this season, and lone game against the Wings. Roloson has not started in a week (not since the debacle against the Toronto Maple Leafs). It will be Jimmy Howard in net for the Red Wings tonight. The Wings are ultra-hot, going 8-2-0 in their past 10 and are on a five-game winning streak
Also returning to action for the Bolts is Steve Downie. He's had an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the past three games. He could have started Saturday's contest against the Panthers or Monday's game against the Wild, but Guy Boucher kept him out as a precaution.