Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/27/12
The Detroit Red Wings' year of 2012 will go down in history, but not for something that happened on the ice. Captain Nick Lidstrom hung up his skates after 20 seasons in the NHL, all of them with the Wings. The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner did not take too long to decide his future after the Wings lost in the first round of the playoff to the Nashville Predators. At a news conference at the end of May, Lidstrom announced his retirement. "With my age, just being a little bit older and not having that motivation I've had in the past and not having the drive and fire that I've had in the past not being there for me, made it a harder decision especially saying goodbye to something Ive done for 20 years," Lidstrom said after the news conference. "It's become a lifestyle. Youre used to getting up in the morning, working out, coming down here, skating, traveling with the team and just the competitiveness of playing games. Im going to miss all that too, but if I don't have that fire I can't be to the level I want to be at." Lidstrom, 42, was in the top 10 all-time among defenseman with 264 goals (ninth), 878 assists (sixth), 1,142 points (sixth) and 132 power-play goals (fifth). He also played in 263 playoff games, second all-time to Chris Chelios, who played in 266. His 1,564 regular-season games were second in franchise history to Gordie Howe, who played in 1,687. In addition to winning Olympic gold and a world championship for his native Sweden, Lidstrom was also the first European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP in 2002. Lidstrom and his family returned to Sweden this past summer. He accepted a position as a scout for the Wings. General manager Ken Holland had always joked that when Lidstrom retired, Holland would quickly follow him out the door. That did not happen, but Holland recognized the challenge ahead of him. "Its been 20 special years and my goal is to continue to have the Red Wings compete with the teams in the West, as we all can see youve just got to make the playoffs because theres a sixth seed and an eighth seed in the Stanley Cup Final," Holland said. "Its a challenge to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. We have a lot of pieces in place at good age groups. Weve got a push from below. Weve got some players that are in their prime, late 20s to early 30s, but we do need to get some more pieces." When free agency started, Holland made a competitive offer to high coveted Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter. But Suter and New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise opted to sign together with the Minnesota Wild. Instead, the Wings settled for some other free agents like defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, forward Jordin Tootoo, forward and former Wing Mikael Samuelsson and Swiss League standout Damien Brunner. In a way, the only good thing about the NHL lockout is it allows Wings fans to not have to deal with the reality of Lidstrom's retirement. Last season, the Wings had some highs and lows. One of the highest moments came in February when the Wings set a new record for consecutive home wins at 21. They extended it to 23 before finally losing to Vancouver in a shootout. The lows started when the injury bug hit. Starting goaltender Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericssson, Kyle Quincey, Darren Helm and Lidstrom were all down at one point or another, many at the same time. Lidstrom's injury, originally diagnosed as a bone bruise, was later revealed to be a hairline fracture. The Wings eventually fell out of the top spot in the Western Conference and into a first-round matchup with the Predators, which they lost in five games. The Wings are currently mired in the lowest of lows along with the rest of the teams. The players have been locked out by the league since the previous collective bargaining agreement expired Sept. 15. More than half of the season, 625 games through Jan. 14, have already been canceled, including the Winter Classic, which was supposed to take place at Michigan Stadium on New Year's Day. Time is running out on the 2012-13 season. Commissioner Gary Bettman said if the league and players' union can't come to an agreement in time to play a 48-game schedule, then another season will be lost. Whatever happens, Wings fans will remember 2012 as the year they finally lost one of the best defensemen in history.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker