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Gritty Holmstrom calls it a career in Motown

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DETROIT -- Tomas Holmstrom called it the best job in the world.

It just wasn't always glamorous.

"Some people may think I've been crazy all those years, taking thousands of cross-checkings to my neck, to my head, to my back," Holmstrom said. "Then having my teammates shooting hundred-mile-an-hour pucks at me."

Holmstrom made his retirement official Tuesday after 15 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, announcing it at a news conference before the team's home opener against Dallas. The gritty winger helped Detroit to four Stanley Cup titles with his hard-nosed play in front of the net. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 2006 with Sweden.

Holmstrom will turn 40 on Wednesday. Last season, he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 74 games -- the 24 points were his fewest since 1997-98, his second season.

"It's been a long career," he said. "I could maybe play one more year, play 48 games, but I want to do something else, too. I'm going to play tennis. I'm going to do so much other stuff."

Holmstrom finished his NHL career with 243 goals and 287 assists in 1,024 regular-season games.

Kings activate Kopitar after rehab from knee injury

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings have activated centre Anze Kopitar from the non-roster list after their longtime leading scorer missed the season opener with a knee injury.

The defending Stanley Cup champions also assigned newly acquired forward Anthony Stewart to their AHL affiliate in Manchester on Tuesday.

Aging Kovalev playing inspired hockey for Panthers

MONTREAL -- Alex Kovalev once said he hoped to play hockey until he is 50 years old.

The smooth right-winger winced a little when reminded of it on Tuesday, which suggests he now finds the idea unlikely. But he still doesn't rule it out.

And after picking up three points for the Florida Panthers in his first game back in the NHL on Saturday after a season in Russia, the soon-to-be 40-year-old Kovalev certainly hasn't lost any enthusiasm for the sport.

"I was laughing the other day with my sons and my wife that I'm playing with a kid (Jonathan Huberdeau) who wasn't born when I won the Cup and maybe I'll get a chance to play a couple of games with my sons," said Kovalev.

Actually, Huberdeau was a year old when Kovalev won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 23, 2013 C2

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