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The Daily: Former Red Wings Defenseman Niekamp, Pro Scout Belisle Dead; Mantha ends Goalless Skid

Detroit-born Niekamp played 29 NHL games, all with the Red Wings



Jim Niekamp, ex-Red Wings

In his day, Jim Niekamp was a rarity, a Detroiter playing for the Red Wings. He only did so for 29 games, but was in Detroit long enough to draw an assist on the final goal Gordie Howe scored for the Red Wings.

The Detroit-born Niekamp, who died recently at the age of 76, played on the Red Wings defense in 1970-71 and 1971-72, not exactly halcyon years for the franchise. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the 1972 offseason, opting instead to sign with the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA.

Dan Belisle’s arrival in Detroit was timed much better. He was first working with the team as an assistant coach in 1987 and remained in the organization’s pro scouting department during the glory years of Stanley Cup wins in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2001-02. His work behind the scenes was vital in helping the club make decisions regarding trades and free agent additions.

Belisle, who died this week at the age of 85, coached the Washington Capitals and played four games for the New York Rangers in 1960-61, scoring two goals. Another little-known fact about Belisle – he had a bit part as one of the extra hockey players in the cult classic Slap Shot.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

  • The Red Wings are putting forward Tyler Bertuzzi on IR and recalling forward Austin Czarnik from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins
  • Detroit rallied from a 4-1 deficit but came up short in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres
  • Goaltender Magnus Hellberg is being sent to AHL Grand Rapids for a conditioning assignment
  • Any way you add up the numbers, it comes out to the Red Wings being a better team this season

Red Wings Next Game

Detroit will be completing a season-long five-game homestand on Saturday at 7 pm (ET) playing host to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Red Wings are holding a 4-3 edge in the all-time series between the two teams, with both teams winning twice in four games played at Little Caesars Arena.

Hockey Now Network

Pittsburgh: News that defenseman Kris Letang had suffered a stoke was htting his Penguins teammates hard. Pittsburgh Penguins

Philadelphia: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher believes that the playoffs are still a realistic possibility for his club. Philadelphia Flyers

Calgary: Former Flames forward Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens was overcome by emotion upon his return to Calgary. Calgary Flames

Washington: With former Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha scoring his first goal in eight games, the Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday. Washington Capitals

San Jose: Who are the five most tradeable Sharks? San Jose Sharks

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Islanders: GM Lou Lamoriello was offering injury updates and reasoning behind recall decisions. New York Islanders

Vegas: Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (personal reasons) is missing from the Golden Knights ineup. Vegas Golden Knights

Boston: J.P. Barry, agent for David Pastrnak, is telling Boston Hockey Now that contract talks between his client and the Bruins are ongoing. Boston Bruins

Dallas: The numbers that Stars forward Jason Robertson was posting during November were astonishing. Dallas Stars

Montreal: With the Dec. 18 NHL trade freeze nearing, big decisions are facing the Canadiens. Montreal Canadiens

Colorado: Captain Gabriel Landeskog is back in the lienup for the Avalanche. Colorado Avalanche

Florida: Hall of Famer and former Panthers and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will be inducted in Vancouver’s ring of honor next season. Florida Panthers