20 years, that's a generation! Many athletes have come and gone in every sport. Few things have remained the same, but for the past 20 years one thing has been a constant, #5 on the blue line for the Detroit Red Wings. Perhaps one of the best defensemen to ever strap on a pair of skates, Nicklas Lidstrom has been a staple in Motor City for his entire career. Question began arising the last two seasons about whether he would stay or go. We knew this day would come, but nobody wanted to see it. Earlier today, fighting back tears at a press conference, Lidstrom brought everything to a close, announcing his retirement at age 42 after two decades with the same team, something that just doesn't happen anymore in professional sports.
Lidstrom leaves behind a huge void that while it can be filled in Detroit this off-season, will never truly be replaced, not just on defense for the Wings, but in all of hockey. It truly is a sad day for the NHL, and on opening night in October, it will be strange not seeing him on the ice. The 42-year old Swede did more in his career than many forwards! Here's a look at his career accolades...
- 7 Norris Trophies (one behind Bobby Orr's record) - Last year Lidstrom won his 7th, and was a finalist for the 11th time in 13 years!
- 4 Stanley Cups
- First European-born player to win the Conn Smythe playoff MVP trophy in 2002
- First European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup in 2008
- Scored gold-medal winning goal for Sweden at the 2006 Torino Olympics
- 1,564 games with the same team (NHL record)
- 264 goals
- 1,142 points
Whether you're a Wings fan or a bitter rival, you've got to admit that Lidstrom was the example of greatness both in the way he played and the class act and gentleman he was off the ice. He plans to move his family back home to Sweden and would like to have an off-ice role with the Wings. You know damn well that if Nick wants to stay with the team in some capacity, he's already got the job.
Until next time, I'm Bryan Kramer for The Blitzburgh Pit Stop saying from a Pens fan, good luck and happy trails Nick, the NHL just won't be the same without you.
BK over and out