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Lidstrom passes on Wings’ coaching gig for now

Aug 25, 2014, 10:57 PM EDT

Nicklas Lidstrom Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t had the best of summers, but perhaps that would have been forgotten if former captain and seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom decided to return as a coach. Head coach Mike Babcock tried to make that happen, but Lidstrom wasn’t ready to return to North America.

“It’s true that he called and asked if I was interested in taking one of the spots as an assistant coach for the upcoming season,” Lidstrom told Sweden’s Sport Expressen, per the QMI Agency‘s translation. “I was very proud of the offer, it was really flattering.”

Lidstrom cited a reluctance to move his family from Sweden as the reason why he turned down Babcock, but he’s not ready to close any doors. He acknowledged that his opinion might change in a few years and if it does, there’s a good chance that Detroit will still be interested in bringing him on board.

The former defenseman spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and won the Stanley Cup four times.

  1. polegojim - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    … FOR NOW… is the operative term. Love the idea.


  2. lowenni - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    That would be so cool. He’ll certainly have a place in the Red Wings organization one day, it’s just up to him when that is it seems. Must say I miss having Lidstrom in the NHL, as a player and a person. The epitome of class and what it means to be a hockey player, and he’s also one of the greatest defenseman of all time.

  3. thevoiceofreason99 - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    Who in the right mind would leave Sweden for Detroit, esp if you have a family!

    • rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Have you spent any quality time in either Sweden or metro-area Detroit (much less both)?
      Already in the late 90’s Lidstrom was considering retiring so that he could raise his kids in Sweden. If it were a matter of metro-area Detroit, you’d think he would’ve simply demanded a trade to greener pastures, not flirted with the idea of leaving the NHL completely, no?

  4. rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I have to wonder what Lidstrom would be like as a coach– a bit difficult to imagine him behind the bench getting hot under the collar or pacing around trying to motivate the guys, holding them accountable or anything of the sort. Not that that’s what’s expected of an assistant coach, especially considering that there wouldn’t be much room for him to do that under Babcock, so maybe that’d actually be an ideal situation for him to get his feet wet. Too bad a lot of people expect this season to be Babcock’s swan song in Detroit and I wonder if this at all played into Nick’s decision as well.

  5. hockeydon10 - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    It’s always interesting when we see elite generational talent get behind the bench and become a coach.

    For some of those players the game came so easy and naturally that they excelled on the ice without second thought. Those guys sometimes don’t do so hot as coaches because everything was so easy for them. They simply don’t have the ability to get lesser talented players to do the same things. I think this was one of Gretzky’s weaknesses as a coach.

    Certainly other great players don’t fall into that trap. They can work with players to get every last bit out of the existing natural talent and teach within each players’ limitations.

    I’d have to guess Lidstrom would be the latter. His ability to think the game is what made him the best for so many years.

  6. pwshrugged - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    The man retired largely to spend more time with his family and be back home in Sweden. It’s really not that surprising that two years later, he’s still most interested in his family.

    Maybe once his kids are all grown, he’ll come back, but I suspect he might be happy with the quiet relaxing life.

    That said, I can definitely see Lidstrom in a suit behind a bench one day.

  7. pjblake2redwings - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Wish Lidstrom would come back.. he still have a house here and I’m sure once his kids are 18+ he will come back if the paycheck is big enough

    • adamal17 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      He actually sold his house in Novi. Unfortunately it would be a big move for him any time in the next six years. His youngest is only 11 years old and they all want to play in Sweden to better their chances of following in Nick’s footsteps. Once the younger guy is around 16 or 17 I could see them making the move though…he’ll most likely be playing in league 1 in Sweden by then and traveling just as much as Nick would be.

  8. deewmu - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    He’s been retired for two years, a retirement sparked by wanting to be with his family (older generations) and raising his boys there. When his kids get drafted and pursue NHL, expect to see Lids behind the bench 100% for a loooooong time.

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