So, after that I got bought out, and when you get bought out that’s like... I won't say you can't come back from it, you can, but usually you've got one chance. If it doesn't work, you're done. I got bought out on July 1st; I didn't think I would get any contract, nothing. Fifteen minutes into free agency my agent calls me and tells me that Detroit called. They offered me a contract. I had a bad history with Mike Babcock, I didn't want to have anything to do with him. He tried and succeeded in burying me in the minors in my third pro year, but I got out of it. I wanted nothing to do with him.
They offered me a one year deal worth one million. My gut was screaming: “Don't take it, you've got one chance, if it doesn't go well, you're done in the NHL!”
I told my agent: “I don't want to play in Detroit, I don't trust that coach. Call him back and tell him thank you, we'll get back to you. Then my agent told me the GM put a 15 minute timer on the offer. This was July 1st, free agency had just started. I called the GM and told him: “Ken, Mike Commodore here, I like you, you're a good guy. Is it you who wants me or the coach? “. Ken Holland said it was the coach. So I told him that I wanted to play for him, but that I didn't trust the coach. So I called the coach, by now I had 10 minutes left. I called him: “Bab, Mike Commodore here. Please be honest with me, do you want me on your hockey team or not?“ He said he did. I wanted to know if I’d get an opportunity, nothing else. He wanted me, he wanted to play me, he said he'd give me an opportunity.
I hung up the phone, five minutes left. My gut screamed “Say No!” This coach screwed me over nine years ago, I chewed him up in the papers... But I started to think about Detroit, a good team, and about maybe getting the opportunity. I signed the contract, thirty minutes into free agency. I signed thef****** contract faster than when I was a “hot commodity” four years earlier.
I went to camp in Detroit, and got scratched out. I did injure my knee a bit so I missed couple of days in camp and the first four games. I got back as if it was nothing major. I came back, and the team won its first five games. I got scratched, but okay, the team was winning. We lost seven in a row, then I wasn’t even close to playing. Scratch, scratch. Finally, it was mid-November, Ian White got a puck to the face and was going to miss a week, we went on a road trip. A four-game road trip, and I thought to myself that this was my chance. I played three games, no two games, I think, three minutes a night… The only time I touched the ice was when the fourth line was on, and the faceoff was in the neutral zone. I was opening the doors for Lidström, that’s all I was doing, being a cheerleader.
Bab then met with me, said he was calling up guys from minors, and scratched me until Christmas. Then the GM forced the coach to play me; I played fifteen games, I fought, I played the best I could with the ice time I was getting. And then I got traded (to Tampa) because Ken Holland felt bad. He's a good guy. He got me out of Detroit because Babcock was trying to end my career. The GM of Tampa is Steve Yzerman, and I got traded for nothing. Yzerman took me, Tampa was good; we were five points out of the playoffs. Guy Boucher talked with me, and he said that as long as we were close to a playoff spot I'd be playing. If we fell out of the playoff zone, they'd be playing two younger defensemen. I ended playing up 11 games. We were in it, then lost a couple in a row and fell out of it. I played in the last game of the year as a thank you in Winnipeg.
I'm kind of surprised. Also in the interview before talking about the Wings, he had a pretty strange story about what happened in Columbus as well.