(AP) -- Prior to the past couple seasons, the Detroit Red Wings have heard every possible explanation for why their long-running playoff streak could finally end.
Adding another year to an aging core and subtracting one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history heading into a lockout-shortened sprint of a season make this one no exception.
Detroit begins its quest for a 22nd straight playoff appearance on the road Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, who are considered a top contender to capture their first Stanley Cup.
Not long after the Red Wings' five-game playoff loss to Nashville - their only first-round exit since 2006 - seven-time Norris Trophy winner and captain Nicklas Lidstrom opted to retire after 20 seasons.
Tomas Holmstrom, who spent 15 seasons as a physical presence in front of the net, recently announced his decision to retire as well.
The 'C' now will be donned by 32-year-old Henrik Zetterberg, who is one of eight players on the roster over age 30.