It’s a very sad day in the hockey world as star defenseman, Nicklas Lidstrom is retiring. Lidstrom, 42 years old, has played 20 seasons in the NHL, all for the Detroit Red Wings. He has dominated the league in both the offensive and defensive categories. His domination over the years has set the new standard of play for other defensemen.
Lidstrom will go down in history as one of the top defensemen in history alongside Bobby Orr, Scott Stevens, and Ray Bourque. In 1,564 NHL games, Lidstrom registered 264 goals and 878 assists totalling 1,142 points. He finished his career with a plus 450 +/- and only 514 penalty minutes. In his rookie season, Lidstrom was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. He was selected to participate in 12 different NHL All-Star games and was named the the NHL First All-Star Team 10 times. Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman 7 times which is 2nd all time only to legendary defenseman Bobby Orr.
Besides dominating the game and winning individual awards, Lidstrom was able to capture many team championships as well. He won the World Championship with his home country of Sweden in 1991. In his NHL career, Lidstrom went on to win the Stanley Cup four different times (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008). In the 2002 Championship season, Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. Back on the international stage, Lidstrom led his Sweden club to the 2006 Olympic Gold Medal. He is one of only 25 players ever in the history to win the NHL Triple Crown (wining the World Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup in their career).
Lidstrom holds numerous NHL records, many about his European background and age. He also holds many Detroit Red Wings club records including points, goals, and assists by a defensemen and games played by a defenseman.
Nicklas Lidstrom’s legacy will go a lot further than just the numbers he put up and the awards and championships he won. As taking over the captainship of the Detroit Red Wings in 2005 after Steve Yzerman retired, Nicklas Lidstrom defines character and class better than any other NHL player. Lidstrom would work harder to play the game better and cleaner than anyone else. Lidstrom plays his heart out whistle to whistle and never shied down from any battle. He is a model of work ethic, leadership, and high level of play for not only his team, but the entire league. Lidstrom showed an upmost respect for all teammates, coaches, team workers, and even opponents. If a defenseman isn’t trying to be like Lidstrom, they are obviously doing something wrong. Lidstrom would be the first to volunteer in the community, whether it was meeting fans after the game or hosting different events. He took pride in giving back to the community.
Now that Lidstrom has retired, the focus shifts onto the current Detroit Red Wings team. The main questions is: who will the next captain of the Red Wings be? Whoever GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock choose will have a large standard to live up to as the previous two captains, Steve Yzerman (1986-2006) and Nicklas Lidstrom (2006-2012) were great players and exceptional leaders. It will be a tough choice as there are many qualifying candidates but whoever is chosen will do a superb job and will hopefully bring the Stanley Cup back to Hockey Town.
Potential Future Captains for the Detroit Red Wings:
- Pavel Datsyuk – Datsyuk has been on the Red Wings since 2001 and is the perfect model for the club. He has put up big numbers while also maintaining a high level of play and sportsmanship. He is a perennial nominee of the Lady Byng and Frank J. Selke trophies.
- Henrik Zetterberg – Zetterberg has been a member of the Red Wings since 2002 and has also dominated the game. He has been vocal in the locker room and also leads by example on the ice.
- Niklas Kronwall – Kronwall has been a member of the Red Wings since 2003 and is a great shut-down, physical defenseman. Kronwall is filling in Lidstrom’s footsteps as a shut-down defenseman that plays the game very hard. Like Lidstrom, Kronwall lets his play on the ice do the talking.
Only time will tell how Lidstrom’s absence will affect the Detroit Red Wings and who will become the next captain for the Detroit Red Wings.
More to Come..
Follow me on Twitter for exclusive news & content!