In the tunnel beneath the bleachers at Joe Louis Arena, Kyle Quincey and Ken Holland greeted each other with a warm handshake as the Red Wings began their morning skate before tonight's game against Vancouver.
A career that seemed destined to play out in another city suddenly has come full circle for the highly regarded defenseman who was originally drafted by Detroit in 2003, but was waived in 2008 and claimed by Los Angeles.
"We left obviously on good terms," said Quincey. "I was so fortunate to be here for that Stanley Cup and just watching those guys and learning from guys like Cheli and Schneids and Nick and Kronner and all those guys. It just meant so much to me. Getting the opportunity to come back is so awesome and I'm just looking forward to it."
"Quince will play on the power play and the penalty kill for us," said head coach Mike Babcock. "We'll figure things out over time, who eventually ends up his partner and all that stuff, but him and Ericcson will give us a real good pair and will start tonight together."
During the morning skate, Ericsson was chatting a lot with Quincey, trying to rekindle the connection they once shared in when they played together in Grand Rapids.
"He's been a top-four defenseman with the teams he's been playing with, LA and Colorado," said Ericsson. "He's done a good job there, both on the power play and on the penalty kill so he can play in pretty much any situation out there. He'll be good for us. Even more depth in the back here."
Quincey was officially acquired from Tampa Bay after general manager Ken Holland traded a first-round draft pick to the Lightning. Tampa had acquired Quincey from Colorado earlier in the day.
Quincey was asked if he ever thought he was going to Tampa Bay, or if he always knew it was going to be a three-team trade.
"I was in the dentist chair and I had about fifty messages when I got out of there," said Quincey. "The trade was already made to Detroit before I found out, so that was kind of nice. All of my buddies on Tampa were calling, excited, but I guess they'll have to wait, I don't know."
Also making news today was the official announcement of Todd Bertuzzi's two-year contract extension.
"We don't have a lot of big guys, with skill," said Holland. "He's a big guy with skill. We've got some players coming, but they're not ready to make the team next year, so we like him and we're doing it for two more years."
"When it was presented to me, it was a no-brainer," said Bertuzzi. "I love playing here. I wanted to stay here and it's fun coming down to this rink and winning every night."
Which once again brings into focus the Red Wings 23-game home winning streak, which will be tested against the second-best team in the NHL tonight.
Quincey is suddenly thrust in the midst of this record-setting streak, and it's already been brought to his attention.
"A lot of the people are asking me about Colorado (on) Saturday night," said Quincey. "But trust me, I'm really focused on tonight and don't want to be the guy that messes that up. These guys aren't talking about that. They just want to get the win."
"I like playing Vancouver," said Babcock. "I like the way they play. I like their depth. it's gonna be a fun game and we gotta hold up to our end of the bargain. That's how you get better as a team and it will be a good test for us."