“Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me.”
After twenty years of service to the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidström officially retired from the NHL this morning. In a career in which he won 4 Stanley Cups, seven Norris Trophies (three consecutive), a Conn Smythe, became a triple-gold member (winning Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold, and a Stanley Cup), he is an eleven time All-Star (voted in twelve times), and not once did he miss the playoffs in all 20 seasons.
One of the greatest to ever play the game. A sure bet Hall of Famer. Lidstrom will forever be known as one the the games finests.
Mr. Perfect has played 1,564 games (1,827 including playoffs) with Detroit (the most by any player who spent his entire career with only one franchise), second all-time in games played with one team (behind only Gordie Howe in Detroit), an NHL record for 937 career regular season wins with just one franchise. Named the “#1 European player of all time”, and “#2 defenseman of all time” by The Hockey News, and “Player of the Decade” by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, Lidstrom has seemingly done it all.
Captaining the team from Hockey Town for the last six seasons, the man is a true legend in sports entertainment. Detroit has their work cut out for them now. Players having had the “C” stitched to their sweater include the likes of Howe, Yzerman, Delvecchio; all in the Hall of Fame. It is an exciting thing to know that a player you grew up watching, idolizing, can be there too in just three years.
You ask most players if anything could have gone different for the great Nick Lidstrom, most would agree that he deserved to win the Lady Byng. And deservingly so. But Lidstrom hangs his skates with pride. And we thank him for twenty memorable seasons.
As Pierre LeBrun put it, “His greatness wasn’t just measured by his incredible play on the ice, but just as much by his class off of it.”
The game of hockey will miss you terribly. But, the NHL is better today because of you. The ice will look a little different without #5 skating on it next season. The game will miss you.
Thank you Lidstrom.