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Top 2012: Saying good-bye to one of the greatest

Dec 25, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Nicklas Lidstrom AP

After 20 incredible seasons in the NHL, Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom called it a career in May. Citing a lack of “drive and motivation” for wanting to retire, there’s no doubting he goes down as one of the best defensemen of all time.

Consider: Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy seven times. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 when a Red Wings team loaded with future Hall of Famers rolled the Carolina Hurricanes in five games for the Stanley Cup. Only five defensemen finished with more career points than his 1,216. Along the way he won Olympic gold and a world championship for Sweden.

In all, Lidstrom celebrated four Cups with Detroit, going from an under-appreciated second-pair defenseman during the team’s first title in 1997, to the captain of the team when it defeated Pittsburgh in 2008. The list of what he’s done throughout his career proves to be pretty lengthy.

Lidstrom’s departure, of course, left fans in Detroit feeling forlorn and wondering just what the team would do next without him. After all, not only did it leave a huge hole along the blue line but also a vacant captaincy.

For now (after failing to land Ryan Suter in free agency), the Red Wings have opted to fill Lidstrom’s absence by re-signing Kyle Quincey and adding Carlo Colaiacovo while hoping Niklas Kronwall can play a steadier game. Reality is, there’s no way to replace one of the greatest defensemen hockey’s seen.

  1. blomfeld - Dec 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Tack för minnena kompis ! … och Heja Sverige eller ? :)

    • rainyday56 - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      bonde djävel!

  2. digbysellers - Dec 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Yeah I don’t know what that business means there crab cake…why not just say Lidstrom was the man.

  3. beelza - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    I am too old to admit I have a hero, but if I did, his name would be Nick Lidstrom. A star has been extinguished. The Detroit Red Wings have lost one of their greatest generals. Quietly, humbly and with a single tear the greatest hockey player born outside of North America has walked away and brought close a glorious era. Nick showed that good guys DO finish first, that good guys can still be champions. He redefined the defenseman’s position. The legacies of Orr and Lidstrom sre forever linked, as they should be. A few years ago, I gathered my courage at a function and walked to Scotty Bowman and asked him point blank where he would rank Nick as a defenseman all-time. In Scotty fashion he told me that he would not place Nick above Orr. Just as my shoulders began to slouch, he then said, “But, I wouldn’t place Orr above Nick. Two different eras.” The greatest hockey mind just told me that Orr and Lidstrom are tied. I hate ties, but’ll take that one. Stevie and Nick are gone now. Today, Detroit is Hockeytown in name only, but not spirit. Mike Ilitch’s dynasty has collapsed.

  4. hockeydon10 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Fun fact:

    What the author of this piece called ” an under-appreciated second-pair defenseman during the team’s first title in 1997″ was actually the guy tagged to match up against the Legion of Doom line, not Konstantinov.

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