Found May 31, 2012 on
Red Light District Hockey:
Today, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement. We take a look back on the legendary, illustrious career of No. 5.
On the morning of Game 5 in Nashville last month, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock was asked about his captain’s future. The Red Wings were trailing 3-1 to Nashville in their first-round series, and the elephant in the room was whether or not it could be Lidstrom’s final game in the NHL.
A stern Babcock, half-annoyed by the question coming just hours before an elimination game, said, “This is seven years for me that I’ve answered this question; I always say the same thing – he’s too good to quit.
“I think Nick Lidstrom retires when he thinks he’s not a good player anymore. I think he’s a pretty darn good player. I don’t know what could possibly be more fun than playing hockey at a high level on a great team.”
Later that evening, Lidstrom played over 22 minutes, blocked two shots and doled out one hit. After the final horn sounded on a 2-1 loss, Lidstrom went through the handshake line, had a long chat with Predators head coach Barry Trotz, each congratulating one another, and skated off the ice.
As it turned out, Lidstrom was skating into the sunset.
“It’s not that the tank is completely empty,” Lidstrom said at today’s retirement press conference. “I just don’t have enough to carry me through every day at the high level I want to play at. My family and I are completely comfortable with this decision. Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride rather than have the game walk away from me.”
No. 5 had a helluva career. There’s no question he’ll go down as one of the league’s all-time greatest defensemen. Is he the best? Bobby Orr, among others, may have something to say about that.
But that’s a discussion for another day. This day is all about No. 5.
Lidstrom patrolled the Red Wings’ blue line for 20 seasons. He played in 1,564 regular season games (the most one player has ever spent with one franchise), racking up 1,142 points in the process. He played in 263 playoff games (if you think about it, that’s three extra seasons tacked on to the 20 he played) in 20 consecutive playoff appearances, winning four Stanley Cups along the way.
His individual accolades are as stunning as they are impressive.
No. 5 won a staggering seven Norris Trophies, one shy of Orr’s NHL record of eight. Lidstrom was an 11-time All-Star, won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 and claimed Olympic Gold with Sweden in 2006.
He was the 43rd player to wear the No. 5 for the Red Wings. It’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll be the last one, too.
Watching Lidstrom this season, especially in the playoffs, he didn’t look like the same player and was affected by a nagging ankle injury. And, as Babcock suggested, maybe No. 5 doesn’t think he’s a good player anymore that can help the Red Wings win another Stanley Cup. Lidstrom’s 34-point campaign in 2011-12 was his lowest total since a lockout-shortened season in 1994-95 (26 points in 43 games).
Whatever the case may be, No. 5 is going out on his own terms and you have to respect him for that.
A lot of veteran players hold on for one, two too many years at the end of their career despite a decline in performance. Even if he wasn’t the same player as he was over the last two decades, Lidstrom was still a top ten defenseman in the NHL. Hell, he won the Norris just last season! He could probably play for another five years and be an All-Star.
How many former players can honestly say they retired when they were still one of the best at their position? Not many.
Lidstrom could have elected for one final victory lap, play in the 2013 Winter Classic in Detroit and take another shot at a fifth Stanley Cup.
Instead, he is going out on his own terms.
If there was ever a perfect hockey player, Lidstrom might be it. On the ice, he personified greatness. Off the ice, he personified class. It may be a long time before we ever see another player and individual like him in this league.
Heroes are remembered, but legends never die. Lidstrom is already a legend and will never lose that status.
We applaud No. 5 on an outstanding Hall of Fame career that may never be repeated.
Photo credit: Getty Images
BEST OF MAXIM
Nick Lidstrom is the nicest superstar I have ever met or ever will meet.
We live in these times when the one who boasts the loudest, does the best end-zone dances or gets in the most trouble attracts all the attention.
Lidstrom is the antithesis of that. To paraphrase another superstar's ad campaign, "We were all witnesses."
Having covered sports for almost 17 years...
After twenty amazing seasons in the National Hockey League, Nicklas Lidstrom has decided to call it quits. Lidstrom will go down as one of the best defensemen in the league’s history due to his leadership, ability to win, and intelligence on the ice.
You know you must be pretty good at something when your two nicknames are Mr. Perfect and The Perfect Human. Over his career Lidstrom...
Nicklas Lidstrom is expected to meet with the media on Thursday morning to discuss his future, and it sounds like he's going to call it a career -- a splendid one at that. The longtime Detroit Red Wings defenseman is expected to retire at an 11 a.m. news conference on Thursday morning, according to ESPN.com. Lidstrom, one of the best blue liners to ever play the game, would be...
Sigh. per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
Thursday morning, Lidstrom, who played in 1,827 games, including the playoffs, made the announcement, which stakeholders in Hockeytown knew would eventually come, but were hoping it wouldn’t be so soon.
The most decorated defenseman of his era, Lidstrom, who appeared in 12 All-Star games and won his first Norris Trophy at age 31,...
NEW YORK (May 30, 2012) – NHL Network will broadcast live and NHL.com will stream the Detroit Red Wings news conference featuring team Executive Vice President & General Manager Ken Holland and captain Nicklas Lidstrom tomorrow, May 31, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Before and after the news conference, NHL Network will air NHL 36: Nicklas Lidstrom beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET.
It feels almost sacrilegious to think about what the Detroit Red Wings should do with the money vacated by the retirement of their captain Nicklas Lidstrom with his announcement only moments old, but hockey is still a business so lets … Continue reading →
Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement Thursday, officially putting an end to one of the greatest careers in NHL history. Continue reading →
I am having a hard time recalling a memory of the Wings sans Lidstrom. What was that like? Oh, yes, the Petr Klima era - like I said, it’s going to be strange.
Continue reading →
One more: Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji launches into a lovely column about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s genuine humility and all-out-niceness, which perhaps proves that, occasionally, nice guys do finish first, with the following…
Having covered sports for almost 17 years in Detroit, I have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing some of the top athletes...
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired Thursday after 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, ending one of the best careers in NHL history.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner fought back tears as he made the announcement.
''My drive and motivation are not where to need to be to play at this level,'' Lidstrom said.
Here is what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has to say about Nicklas Lidstrom:
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN STATEMENT ON THE RETIREMENT OF NICKLAS LIDSTROM
NEW YORK (May 31, 2012) – Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, today released the following statement regarding the retirement of Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom:
“Nick Lidstrom’s trademarks were...
DETROIT -- Even a conversation on a paddleboard with Chris Chelios couldn't change Nick Lidstrom's mind -- it was time to call it a career.
Two of the greatest defensemen in NHL history took some time Wednesday to paddleboard on Orchard Lake. It didn't take long for Chelios to realize that Lidstrom was resolute.
After 30 seconds and looking into Nick's eyes and...
The Red Wings news cycle never stops, it seems, and as the Free Press’s Mike Thompson wonders whether Al the Octopus pointed to the rafters to remind Nicklas Lidstrom where he will see his jersey next, and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness offers a Lidstrom career timeline, and, via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner recalls what he believes was Lidstrom’s arrival...
(The hockey headlines from across the web to get your day started.)
Nicklas Lidstrom officially retired yesterday after playing 20 years with the Detroit Red Wings. Team owner Mike Ilitch called it “one of the most emotional days in Red Wing history.” (USA Today)
Some of Lidstrom’s ex teammates shared memories about the now former Red Wing. (Detroit Free Press)
It is hard...