|Holmstrom goes to work in his office -- the crease -- in the 2011-12 postseason. (Getty Images)|
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom made the long-anticipated announcement on Tuesday afternoon that he's hanging up his skates. Holmstrom officially retired with a press conference at Joe Louis Arena.
Holmstrom was a free agent after last season and considered his options for a while before the lockout was put into place, although the options never seemed to be more than returning to the Wings or retiring. The longer it went on, the clearer it seemed what his decision would be, and that was hanging them up.
"It wasn't the easiest decision to make, but it was the right one," Holmstrom said in his announcement. "It's been a wonderful journey and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
"It's been an incredible career Homer has put together," GM Ken Holland said. "He's played the sixth-most games in team history, the fourth-most playoff games. He has the 13th-most points in a Red Wings uniform.
"Huge heart, he's all heart. Great, great teammate, great family man, great role model."
Holmstrom spent his entire career with the Red Wings after being drafted in the 10th round (No. 257 overall) in the 1994 draft. He cracked the Red Wings roster in 1996-97 and didn't look back.
He finishes his career with 1,026 games played with 243 career goals and 287 assists. He will also retire a four-time Stanley Cup champion with his greatest contribution coming in the Wings' 1998 Cup win when Holmstrom had 19 points in 22 postseason games.
What Holmstrom will most be remembered for was his abilities on the power play and his net-front presence. He played like a monster in front of the cage and was a huge threat with the man-advantage all throughout his career to the point that just more than half of his career goals (122 of 243) came on the man advantage.
"When you think about Homer you think about him being in his office in the paint, aggravating the goaltender," Holland said. "Fierce, fierce competitor, went to all the hard areas."
For the Red Wings it's just another loss, albeit not an unexpected one, in a year of change for American sports' most consistent franchise. They said goodbye to sure-fire Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at the end of last season after bidding farewell to other legends from the Wings' heydays such as Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov (and many, many others).
"It's been a fun ride," Holmstrom said. "But we have lots of memories and it's been lots of fun."
What's next for Holmstrom? Well, he's turning his attention to his family for now and being around the house. As for helping around the house? That's not completely allowed at this point.
"I'm not allowed to do any vacuum cleaning or laundry," Holmstrom said. "I'm OK with that."