Found June 02, 2012 on Red Light District Hockey:
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f91353736.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d77bfba49ef878921cc759df4ebac47d057cd0d277a3a6cc4201ac9ad6dcb1316c9d1e7e0b38c36c6

With Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement this week, a debate instantly sparked over who is the best defenseman of all-time.  If it’s not Lidstrom, some will argue for the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, or Larry Robinson.  So, who is the best NHL defenseman of all-time?  Alexander and I debate…

Bobby OrrBy Alexander Monaghan
Nicklas Lidstrom is an icon, a legend, and an all-around class act. As far as my generation goes, he is the best player to ever grace the blue line. But Bobby Orr, he is not.
My father once told me, “I saw Bobby Orr’s impact on the Bruins.  I saw Bobby Orr’s impact on how defensemen played the game for the last 40 years.  Lidstrom is no Bobby Orr.”
Orr is, and always should be known as the best defenseman to ever lace up the skates. Throughout his short 12-year career, Orr simply dominated the competition. In eight of those seasons he earned the Norris Trophy as a top defenseman, but those accolades don’t paint a full picture.
Lidstrom may be known for his cerebral, poised nature under pressure and his superb positioning, but Orr did all that and more. Orr would skate figure eights around his competition, completing end-to-end rushes with ease. And don’t even bother trying to out-skate him, as Orr was regarded as the best skater on the ice on most nights. Compared to his competition, there were very few players like him.
In fact, if you watch the old clips, Orr simply is miles beyond any surrounding player. He completed some of the more fantastic moves of the time, and made it look like a shinny in good ol’ Parry Sound.
Back in 1998 a panel of hockey pundits, led by The Hockey News, voted on the top NHL players of all time, giving Orr the honor of being the second-best player to ever play the sport behind none other than Wayne Gretzky. If that panel was to re-vote today, there would be no doubt that Lidstrom makes the cut. But can you say he’s better than such greats as Mario Lemieux or Gordie Howe?
Orr was just that special of a player. When you think of the most famous picture in hockey, what comes to mind? Chances are you think of Orr sailing through the air after his miraculous Stanley Cup winning goal against the St. Louis Blues.
But that goal wasn’t his only award. Orr won the Conn Smythe twice, the Hart Trophy three times and the Art Ross Trophy twice while also capturing the Calder Trophy back in 1967. For his efforts, Orr sits 11th in all-time scoring among defensemen despite playing 955 fewer games than leader Ray Bourque. Imagine what he could have done with two healthy knees and a body that held up like Lidstrom.
Don’t get me wrong, Nick Lidstrom is an icon and it was a true honor to watch him play the game. If I were to take one of the two in their prime it would be Orr – and it wouldn’t be that close, either. ---
Nicklas LidstromBy Ryan Porth
I can’t sit here and tell you that Bobby Orr isn’t the best defenseman of all-time, but I can argue that Nicklas Lidstrom is the best.
When it comes to Lidstrom’s 20 years of excellence in the NHL, one of the most impressive things to think about is how many times the game has changed over that time.  Lidstrom played in the early 1990’s and dominated; he played in the Dead Puck Era and dominated; he played in the Post-Lockout Era and dominated.
Despite all the changes the NHL has seen over the years, there remained one constant on defense: Nicklas Lidstrom.
When you combine durability, consistency and greatness, there may only be a few other NHLers that were better than Lidstrom.
The most games Lidstrom ever missed in a single season was 12, which happened this past season due to an ankle injury.  As a result to his durability, Lidstrom played in 1,564 games – the most one player has ever played on one team.
Lidstrom’s consistency throughout his career was mind-blowing.  He reached the 50-point mark 15 times in his 20 seasons, sometimes reaching 60, 70 and even 80 points.  And the thing is, he wasn’t considered an offensive defenseman – he did it all in all three zones.  Lidstrom also went his first 18 seasons without boasting a minus rating (in 2010-11, with a minus-2 rating, he still won the Norris Trophy).
That consistency led to his greatness.  Seven Norris Trophies.  Four Stanley Cups.  Eleven trips to the All-Star Game.  Lidstrom finished with 1,142 points, fourth all-time in Detroit’s storied history.
Lidstrom also played in the postseason in all 20 seasons, taking the ice in 263 playoff games (an additional three seasons tacked on to his career).  When you think about it that’s 13 playoff games per year, meaning the Red Wings were consistently going deep in the playoffs.  With Lidstrom in the lineup, the Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup Final six times and the conference finals eight times.
Throughout his career Lidstrom was considered a top-five defenseman, and that’s how he went out this week when he officially retired: a top-five defenseman.  Not many others can say they were one of the NHL’s best defensemen for a 20-year stretch.  For Lidstrom, he did so facing the Wayne Gretzkys and Mario Lemieuxs then, as well as the Sidney Crosbys and Alex Ovechkins now.
On the ice he was a model of greatness and consistency.  Off the ice he was a model of class and respect.  He’s an individual that young defensemen now look up to as a role model or their idol.  When that many youngsters admire your work, when they were toddlers at the beginning of your career, that’s when you know you’ve made an impact on the sport.
Photos credit: Getty Images
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Nicklas Lidstrom makes surprise farewell speech during Red Hot Chili Pepper’s concert

Red Wings’ defenseman Nic Lidstrom announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday. The seven time Norris Trophy winner and arguably the best European born player of all-time, is hanging it up after 20 season with the Wings. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were perfoming at Detroit’s Joe Lewis Arena the same night of Lidstrom’s announcement.  Near the end of the concert, the lead...

Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement speech, in full, from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose

After summarizing the local takes on Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, many videos included, I was kinda staggered to find this from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, and I’m thrilled in a way that this post literally could not fit in because I ran out of room: Here is Lidstrom’s entire statement to the press, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Roose: “I’d...

FSD’s Wakiji: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom thanks the community in remarkable fashion

Holy crap, per Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom bouth a full-page advertisement in the Sunday Detroit Free Press to thank fans! And I quote: A Message from Nick and Annika Lidstrom: This week, I announced my retirement from the Detroit Red Wings and professional hockey. Annika, our boys and I will be moving back to Sweden to be closer to our...

Summarizing the ‘out of town’ takes on Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, and more

As I look at the first couple of sites in my bookmarks and their level of Nicklas Lidstrom retirement coverage…All I can say is this: the local angle was hard enough to cover, and Lidstrom’s statement was much harder to read than the Chairman’s... But by Nicklas Lidstrom’s slap shot, there is no way in hell that any one—or three—people could both cover and summarize...

Nicklas Lidstrom Makes a Cameo at Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert (Video)

One day after announcing his retirement, Nicklas Lidstrom surprised a packed Joe Louis Arena crowd at the tail end of Friday's Red Hot Chili Peppers concert Continue reading →

We won’t see the likes of Lidstrom for quite some time

The feeling was akin to seeing you favorite team overachieve throughout the playoffs and then the hopes are dashed in overtime. There is shock. There is disbelief. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness. But then the first pair of hands begin to clap, and slowly, but surely, the scattered slaps are joined by more and more, building into a crescendo that roars like a freight...

What Lidstrom's leaving behind

Thursday, May 31, 2012: the day Detroit Red Wings fans have been dreading for years. Nicklas Lidstrom has finally hung up his skates.What can be said about this legendary defenseman that hasn't already been said? How about the legacy he leaves behind?Many fans may have guessed it toward the end of this past season. Lidstrom fell to a lengthy injury -- a deep ankle bruise --...

Red Wings overnight report: Nick’s job opportunities, draft/trade targets and audio of me blabbing

After an incredibly busy and emotional week and weekend for Red Wings fans, punctuated by the recently-retired Nicklas Lidstrom being feted by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Friday night and then taking out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press’s Sunday edition, we spent some time talking about the Wings brass’s organizational meetings, the team’s draft strategy, and, mostly...

Nice guys don’t finish first on a regular basis. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom did just that

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...

Detroit Red Wings star Nicklas Lidstrom retires after 20 seasons

Star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired today after 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, ending one of the best blue-liner careers in hockey history. The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman made a very emotional announcement as he said goodbye to the NHL. From the AP: “My drive and motivation are not where to...

Put your tears away for Nicklas Lidstrom

Apparently, it’s sad that Nicklas Lidstrom is retiring. Sorry if you don’t see me balling my eyes out. Lidstrom will go down as one of the greatest defenseman to ever play the game and rightfully so. He played 20 seasons , won 7 Norris Trophies, 4 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe and, for whatever it’s worth, has been voted to 12 all-star games. You don’t get named by The Sporting...

Oh yeah, by the way, Nicklas Lidstrom played the last ‘legs’ of his career on a broken ankle

I heard Ken Holland mention this in passing during several interviews I’m cobbling together at present, and, thankfully, MLive’s Ansar Khan is confirming it: Ken Holland, incidentally, confirmed today that Lidstrom had a hairline fracture in his ankle, not just a deep bone bruise. (cont.) ... But the injury had no bearing on Lidstrom’s decision. The ankle would have been fine...

Are more high-profile NHLers set to retire?

After Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement this week, there has been speculation that a number of other high-profile veterans across the league could be doing the same this off-season. Tomas Holmstrom Lidstrom’s countryman and former teammate in Detroit tells Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News that he has contemplated calling it quits, but has not...

Some welcome relief in the form of…CBA talk from Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall?

In recovering from a sixty-plus hour…Three-day work week…One needs to hear some comforting news as the aches, pains and spring allergies take their toll. I haven’t even had time to truly wrap my head around the fact that Nicklas Lidstrom, my favorite favorite Red Wing, has retired, but, via RedWingsFeed, I’m hearing something that I desperately need to be told right now,...

NHL Stanley Cup Observations -- Game Two

Just a few things that caught my eye ... Can you hear footsteps? The Devils sure can. They'd best use that ability to bail to start saving their sinking ship. This matchup may not be stellar, but the goaltending sure is. Both Martin Brodeur and Jonathan Quick are athletic and reactive, and their hybrid stylings are bringing back the art of twine-tending. It'...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.