Detroit Red Wings fans turned out in droves Tuesday to Compuware Arena in Plymouth Township for their first taste of NHL hockey since a lengthy lockout between NHL owners and players that delayed and shortened the 2013 season.
While the NHL season doesn't get under way until Saturday, the Red Wings offered fans a free sneak peek via a "Red vs. White" game featuring the Red Wings roster and prospects from the team's American Hockey League affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.
Led by a go-ahead goal by newly anointed captain Henrik Zetterberg, who was given the captain's "C" at a news conference before Tuesday's exhibition, "Team Red" defeated "Team White," 4-2.
Red also earned goals from the Red Wings' Drew Miller and the Grand Rapids Griffins' Louis-Marc Aubry and Nathan Paetsch. The Griffins' Trevor Parkes and Jeff Hoggan scored for Team White.
The exhibition, offered at no cost to fans, drew overflow crowds and capped the Red Wings' three-day stay in Plymouth. The team kicked off training camp Sunday at Compuware Arena and held practices Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. The team takes the day off Wednesday before resuming camp Thursday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the team was "fortunate" to have the opportunity to play in Plymouth, considering Joe Louis Arena was booked much of the week for auto show festivities. He credited the outpouring of support from fans, noting the arena parking lot was "jammed" with fans well before the game's 6 p.m. faceoff.
The turnout was so great Tuesday that the arena had to turn away fans at the parking lot about an hour before faceoff.