Wings' Ferraro carries lessons from father

Jul 8 2009 - 7:03pm

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(The Associated Press) Detroit Red Wings second round picks Landon Ferraro and Tomas Tatar meet backstage on June 27.
(The Associated Press) Detroit Red Wings second round picks Landon Ferraro and Tomas Tatar meet backstage on June 27.

DETROIT -- As he took his first step toward a future with the Detroit Red Wings, young Canadian forward Landon Ferraro recalled some of his father's hockey past on Tuesday.

Ferraro, a second-round pick of the Wings in the NHL entry draft, is one of 18 prospects and 32 total players participating in a development camp that runs through Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The last time Landon was at the Joe was 2002, when he watched the Wings eliminate the St. Louis Blues with a 4-0 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Wings would go on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games to win the Stanley Cup.

The loss against the Wings would mark the last NHL game for Landon's father, Ray, a pistol on the ice who scored 408 goals and 898 points in 1,258 games with the Whalers, Islanders, Rangers, Kings, Thrashers and Blues.

Landon said the best advice his father ever gave him was born out of the aftermath of that final loss.

"When you're finally done, like he was after he lost out to Detroit, he said those are the days you really miss," Landon said. "Ten minutes after he had his gear off, he was already thinking about days that he kind of wasted and doesn't get to relive."

It was an emotional night for Ray Ferraro, who was known as the Big Ball of Hate, and his sons Landon and Matt. Ferraro hadn't told anyone he was planning to retire, but his two sons knew it was over. Landon tried to hide his tears under a hat.

The final year of Ray's NHL career was memorable for Landon. He served as a stick boy for the Thrashers until his father was traded to the Blues.

Curt Fraser, who was Ray's coach in Atlanta, is running the development camp for the Wings. Fraser now coaches the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings' American Hockey League affiliate.

"Shows you're getting old when your players' kids are coming to play for you," Fraser said. "I've heard nothing but good things about him and it's great to have him part of the Detroit Red Wings.

"His dad was a pretty darn good hockey player and he competed hard. I'm sure Landon has got some of those traits."

Landon (5-11, 165) isn't a clone of Ray (5-10, 192), but he does display the same fiery spirit.

"It's one of the things I'm most proud of," Ray said. "There's one result that is in his focus and I love that about the way he plays. He gets a little bit on the chippy side, he's physical. He'll do anything to score and I'm really proud of that part of him."

After scoring 13 goals and 24 points in his first full season with Red Deer in 2007-08, Ferraro scored 37 goals with 55 points in 68 games this past season playing on a rebuilding team coached by former Wings defenseman Jesse Wallin.

"He takes a kick in the shins way better than I did and I think that will suit him real well," Ray Ferraro said of his son. "If that was one change I could have made in my career that would be it. You take a two-game slump and turn it into a 10-game slump."

Growing up around the pro game, Landon understands how lucky he is.

"Obviously I was privileged," Landon said. "Not only did I have him, but I got to be in dressing rooms all the time. I got to see firsthand how players get ready for games, a pre-game skate or how they practice and train on an everyday basis. I have lots of people in the hockey world that I can turn to and ask for advice."

After his father retired, the Ferraros moved to Vancouver. Landon's parents had divorced, but they shared custody of the children.

Ray Ferraro remarried in 2004 and Landon suddenly had an American hockey influence in his life. His stepmother is Cammi Granato, who helped the U.S. win gold in women's hockey at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and silver at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

"Obviously the divorce was hard, as it would be for any kid," Landon said. "She's a person I can talk to. It's a really good outlet to have.

"She doesn't try to be my mom. I have a 2 1/2-year-old brother, her kid with my dad. She has her mom role and friend role with me."

Ray Ferraro said Granato lets him know when he needs to back off and let Landon make his own decisions. Landon said his father, now a hockey analyst for TSN, doesn't get involved unless asked for advice.

"He's not one that gets on me if I mess up in a game," Landon said. "But he'll point out things and try to help me out. The only time he ever got mad is when I had a cheap hit. He's big on 'You gotta respect everyone in the game. If you hit someone from behind, you'll get it twice as bad back.' "

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