|Posted on June 1, 2012 at 4:15 PM|
There aren’t many things that can be considered sure bets in sports, but when it comes to Nicklas Lidstrom being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame you can bet your house on it. The Detroit Red Wings defenseman announced on May 31 that he was retiring from the NHL after 20 amazing seasons.
Lidstrom undoubtedly will go down as one of the best defensemen to ever lace on a pair of skates and along with former Toronto Maple Leaf and Red Wing great Borje Salming, is surely the best player to ever come out of Sweden. Many observers felt Lidstrom might play at least one more season with Detroit, but the team’s captain said at 42 years of age and after playing in one of the world’s toughest leagues for two decades it’s time to call it quits. Lidstrom said it’s been a great ride and he can’t thank his teammates and the Red Wings organization enough.
Lidstrom has won just about everything with the Red Wings, including four Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs and seven Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman. In total, Lidstrom suited up for the Wings 1,564 times during the regular season, which is the second-most all time for Detroit behind the great Gordie Howe. He scored a total of 1,142 points on 264 goals and 878 assists for the fourth-most points in Red Wings history.
Lidstrom’s plus/minus rating over that time was plus 450 which is eighth best in NHL history. He also played in a franchise-record 263 postseason games and added another 54 goals to go along with his 129 assists for 183 points and a plus 61 playoff rating. Although he missed 12 games due to an ankle injury this season, Lidstrom scored 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points and had a plus/minus rating of plus 21, which was one of the best in the league.
Perhaps the statistic that best represents the type of player Lidstrom was is his penalty total of just 514 minutes in 20 seasons. Lidstrom, who hails from Vasteras, Sweden, became the first European player to be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 and in 2008 became the first European to captain a Stanley-Cup winning club. He played in 12 All-Star Games as well as being voted an NHL First-Team All-Star on 10 occasions and a Second Team All Star twice.
Lidstrom was selected with the 53rd choice overall in the 1989 entry draft from his hometown ream in Sweden and made his debut for Detroit in the 1991/92 season, making the All-Rookie Team. He also won a gold medal at the Olympics with Sweden in 2006 and was named to the tournament’s all-star team.
Lidstrom said that retiring allows him to walk away from the game he loves instead of having the game walk away from him. He added that he’s comfortable with his decision and even though his gas tank’s not on empty, it’s not where it should be and he isn’t about to cheat himself.
Article written by Ian Palmer
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