This may or may not be Brad May's last NHL stop.
Now in his 19th NHL campaign and with more than a few appearances in the Rock 'em, Sock 'em series and before league disciplinarians, May is making the most of his latest lease on life.
When Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was looking for someone to "swat away the flies" during training camp, May's name came up.
Since the Red Wings had salary cap issues, GM Ken Holland was unable to make his pitch right away.
May signed a one-year deal worth $500,000. He appeared in the team's last two preseason games and then was send down to the team's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids as the Red Wings played their first two regular-season games in Sweden.
Last night was May's sixth appearance for the Wings as he's being used more in situational roles that require his, ahem, skills. He has three scraps this season, his latest against Tanner Glass in Vancouver Tuesday night. He's also fought Georges Laraque.
"I think it's been different for me at different times," said May. "Just depending on who it is. I think I'm prepared. I know who the guys are. I don't know if I've ever been in a fight and said: 'Boy, I didn't know. Oh, my God he just hit me with six lefts' because I didn't know he was a lefty. I think preparation is the key.
"It's something that's tough to talk about. The moment you start taking about that stuff, you're going to get hit.
"As my grandpappy used to say, you're going to meet your maker one day, so stay humble."
While he's getting back into the role he's most familiar with, May was unsure which direction his life would take this year.
"I went to Detroit's camp late -- with three days left I got invited," said May. "Thank goodness I was in shape and able to play. I've been given not only a nice opportunity to play on this team but contribute, so I'm taking every day as it goes and enjoying it."
As NHL training camps wore on, May never believed it was over for him and kept hoping his phone would ring.
"I never thought it was," said May. "I definitely wasn't ready to give it up, but the phone was not ringing off the hook."
May never considered himself a one-dimensional player, which makes him no different than players who have been slotted into tough-guy roles.
The game is different than it was when he was drafted 14th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1990, more a speed game than a physical game.
"I think that's part of it," said May, 38. "Maybe age is put to you, there's a number. Speed game? I don't care. I'm fast. I still am. Honestly, I have no problem challenging anybody to a foot race or whatever.
"Saying it's a speed game, maybe that's a good thing for a guy like me."
May scored 159 points and had 316 penalty minutes in his last two seasons of junior and in a way, his inner scorer appreciates today's players.
"Boy, are these players good," May said. "It's fun being around here."
Babcock is being about as guarded as he can be as his team continues its road trip and the threat of H1N1 grows.
"The toughest thing when you're in Canada is everybody wants to shake your hand and you really don't want to shake anybody's hand," said Babcock. "I'm washing my hands raw and gargling my throat a couple of times a day. I'm overdoing that, to say the least. For me, I don't want to take anything home to my family. We want to keep the team healthy."