Monday, September 27, 2010

2010-2011 Player Profiles: Kirk Maltby...

Hey, kids, guess what? Hockey's almost here. That means it's time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing that I've neglected during the off-season. Since I lack the creativity to come up with a new gimmick, I decided to continue the Player Profiles series I did last year leading up to the season. I'll be taking a look at a different player (almost) every day between now and when hockey starts. By my count, there are 11 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:

Kirk Maltby

2009-2010 Regular Season: 52 GP, 4-2-6, +/- 1, 32 PIM
2010 Playoffs: N/A

Season Highlight: Scoring a nice goal in his last game of the season.
Season Lowlight: Shoulder surgery that ended his year.

There was a lot of discussion this summer about whether or not Maltby would be back with the Wings again this season. I was sure the Wings would make him an offer, but I didn't know if he would take them up on it or not. His season ended last year with shoulder surgery in what I interpreted as one of the great acts of team loyalty I've seen in pro sports. I'll remain convinced as long as I live that his shoulder could've held out for the rest of the season if the Wings hadn't been facing a cap crunch from players returning from injuries.

Now he's back on a two-way deal for what is almost certainly his farewell tour. He's fighting for a job with younger grinders, and I expect him to spend the majority of the season in Grand Rapids. He's looked good so far at camp and in the pre-season, but I don't think that's going to be enough to earn him a job with the Wings right off the bat. Younger guys have come up and taken over his role and it looks like we're going to be seeing the end of an era this season.

What he needs to do to make me smile: Work hard when he cracks the lineup and keep aggravating other teams.

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