Red Wings’ top moments of 2013

The seventh-seeded Red Wings upset the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In a season that almost didn’t happen because of a lengthy lockout, the Detroit Red Wings make significant news on and off the ice in 2013.

They keep their playoff-appearance streak intact, then stick around longer than most experts expected.

During the offseason, they tweak the roster, move to a new conference and make strides toward moving into a new building.

Here’s a look back at the Wings’ top moments of 2013:

1. Back to the playoffs

The Red Wings qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season. At times during the lockout-shortened season of 48-games, it appears that that the Wings’ playoff streak is in serious jeopardy.

But they make a mad dash at season’s end — winning their last four games — to again earn the right to compete for the Stanley Cup.

2. A surprising run

The seventh-seeded Wings upset the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs, and take the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, who eventually win it all, to a seventh game.

The Wings actually take a three-games-to-one lead over the Blackhawks, then force overtime in Game 7 at Chicago before bowing out of the playoffs.

3. Heading East

The Wings become a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. After decades of being one of two Eastern Time Zone teams playing in the West, they finally move where they belong.

Not only will the Wings’ travel miles go down substantially, their fans won’t be forced to stay up until well after midnight to watch road playoff games anymore.

4. New house

The Red Wings announce that a $450-million, 18,000-seat hockey arena — which will be built in Detroit near the Fox Theater — is on the horizon.

The new arena — coupled with a planned, $200-million mixed-use development — is expected to create about 500 new jobs and about 8,300 construction jobs. The Joe is expected to be demolished as part of this plan.

5. Big House Classic

The Red Wings play host to the NHL’s marquee event, the Winter Classic, on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Combined with the Winter Festival at Comerica Park, Detroit is the center of the hockey world to close out the year.

The Red Wings-Toronto Maple Leafs game on New Year’s Day will be played in front of more the 105,000 fans — the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game.  

6. Nill to Dallas

Jim Nill leaves Detroit’s front office to become the general manager of the Dallas Stars. It was going to happen sooner or later, but the loss of Nill could require a lengthy recovery time.

Nill, the architect of Detroit’s drafts, took many key scouts with him to the Stars.

7. Datsyuk re-signs

Pavel Datsyuk, who many speculated would return home to Russia after the 2013-14 season, signs a three-year contract extension to stay in Detroit.

With Datsyuk looking comfortable in the Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout, it looks he might go back there and be on a farewell tour this NHL season. Instead, Datsyuk, 35, will continue to do his magic for the Red Wings for year to come.

8. Captain Zetterberg

For just the second time since 1986, the Red Wings name a new captain. Henrik Zetterberg takes over for the retired Nick Lidstrom.  

It was a given that Zetterberg would be Lidstrom’s successor, but Zetterberg impresses with a nearly seamless transition and his gritty, lead-by-example play down the stretch and in the playoffs.

9. DeKeyser bolsters defense

Agreeing to terms with unrestricted free-agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser fills a hole on defense that might have secured a playoff spot for the Red Wings. In fact, coach Mike Babcock says as as much when DeKeyser suffers a broken thumb in the first-round series against the Ducks.

DeKeyser, a Detroit native, is a hot commodity on the free-agent market after a successful career at Western Michigan, and proves in just 13 games last season that he has the skill and demeanor to be an elite defenseman.

10. Alfredson comes to town

After spending his entire 17-year career in Ottawa, longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson signs with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent.

Alfredsson’ decision to leave Canada’s capital city for the Motor City creates a collective freak-out to the north, and brings a veteran presence and some needed offense to the Wings.