Nicklas Lidstrom retires. It's a day that I thought wouldn't be happening for at least a couple of more years. This guy looks so silky smooth on the ice every night that I thought he would play until, I don't know...50?
I watched him backstop Swedish national teams in Canada Cups, World Cups, Olympic Games and any other opportunity that presented itself for Nick to wear the 'Tre Kronor'.
I watched him win 4 Stanley Cups with a great group of talent that surrounded him each time they went to the finals.
As the torch passed from the Yzerman's and Shanahan's, he became more of a leader on the team.
As the new millennium began, Nicklas started to become the dominant defenseman in the league.
Nicklas always deflected any praised heaped on him solely, focusing more on praising him teammates for the great team game that they played.
Still he racked up award after award. 11 NHL 1st All-star teams. 2 NHL 2nd All-star teams. 7 Norris trophies as the league's best defenseman. Conn Smythe trophy winner as playoff MVP in 01-02. 4 Stanley Cups. 2nd most games played with one team in NHL history with 1564 (Only Gordie Howe with 1687 had more).
Finally, he became the first European born NHL captain to hoist the Stanley Cup.
I don't normally heap praise on players that don't wear the blue and white, but in this case, I had to make an exception. When a player that leads a generation of defense men the way Nicklas did, you have to pay homage.
I'm looking forward to watching the Wings raise the number 5 to the rafters in the Joe, hopefully this season. Why wait to do it, nobody is going to wear that number in Detroit ever again.
When it all comes down to it, only one word could be used to describe this man.
Thank you Nicklas.
Thanks for reading, Robert