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Abel to Yzerman

Class Dismissed: Live Blogging The Lidstrom Farewell

No summer in history is as pivotal to the success of the Detroit Red Wings as the one that begins in 3 hours.  There are mandates and guarantees have been made.  Signings that were “nice-to-haves” yesterday are now required.  That’s the business side. 

From another angle, there’s this: the greatest defenseman in history is retiring at 11am EST.  In history.  The third greatest Red Wing of all time.  The one guy that most of us have literally grown up watching: gone.

It’s no longer an if or a when.  Now it’s down to 3 hours and it’s a certainty. Nick Lidstrom is retiring and we’ll go ahead and live blog it.

I suppose the appropriate approach to this would be to suggest we fill the comment section with our fondest Lidstrom memories.  Table the collateral effects of his retirement until tomorrow or tonite?  Yes, I’m sure that’s what we should do.

But we won’t.  This is too huge.  Topics to discuss while we wait? I’ve got a few:

—Yes, Lidstrom’s legacy.  Absolutely. I’ll stand behind my statement above. Best ever.  No Canadien(an) writer would ever agree with that or they’d be stoned with balled up Horton’s coffee cups.  But he was and he is. 
—Nearly thirty years of pure class with the “C”. No team on earth has had this kind of leadership for so long.  Yzerman and Lidstrom will be, and should be, considered a tandem of excellence.
—Next captain?  Zetterberg.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that little mystery isn’t solved before 11:30 AM.  Do I agree? Perhaps, though something tugs at me that says Datsyuk is a better choice.  Darren Helm, Herm, will have his time.  Of that I’m sure.
—Suter: thy must be done. Period. And not just him.  Ken Holland’s summer starts at 11 plus however many seconds it takes 5 to say goodbye. This is Holland’s legacy, his Opus.  This summer will dictate the next decade for Detroit.  No excuses. None. February 28th cannot be the constant. It has to be the exception. If not for the impotence of that day, this day may not be happening.  Hopefully Tick Tock learned that lesson.  Suter: a must have.  Parise: if he goes anywhere but home to his house in Jersey, it has to be Detroit.  And, yeah, I want that kid Schultz, too.  It would literally take that kind of movement, on three different levels, to make up for the loss of Lidstrom.

Best ever: gone.  Best franchise in sports: reeling.  Interesting summer ahead? Yep.

It’s a Live Blog, bitches.  Not the one we wanted, but it’s the one we’ve got.

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Comments

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mrfluffy's avatar

Farewell Lidas.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 12:20 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

What composure. I’d say it was amazing, but look at who we’re talking about.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 12:22 PM ET

Bent's avatar

And I am looking forward to seeing what re-establishes it, because it WILL be back.

God point.  This is huge, no doubt about it, but this is still the best organ-i-zation in sports.  Let’s Go Red Wings!

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 05/31/12 at 12:23 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Good that he wants to remain with the organization. Now, make with the clone of yourself.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 12:28 PM ET

Trish's avatar

Very sad day for Wings fans.  Thank you TPH.
Photobucket

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 05/31/12 at 12:32 PM ET

FranzensMouthguard's avatar

how i feel right fuching now

Posted by FranzensMouthguard from Chicago, IL on 05/31/12 at 12:33 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I’d like to punch the boob who asked if he was considering pulling a “Forsberg”.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 12:37 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Well shit.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 12:41 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

—mention of every assistant coach except the current ones
—did he get choked up talking about Uncle Mike? Interesting.  Every positive thing he says about Babcock right now will have impact on Holland’s summer
—“parades.” Plural.  Fuch yes.
—Lots of praise for Holland from Ilitch. Almost deliberately fawning.  also interesting.
—the way he described winning game 4 in 97 at the joe makes me even sicker about game 5 in ‘08
—question that needed to be asked: What would you say to free agents considering Detroit?
—next captain: fil?  no mention of datsyuk.
—Babcock should have been on the dais

and yes, right in the ass.  this hurts.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 05/31/12 at 12:41 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Put on the spot to mention captain candidates.  I dont put much stock in it.  He overlooked Datsyuk at the end but mentioned him earlier as a current red wing that exhibits leadership.

Big skates that will need to be filled by committee.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/31/12 at 12:45 PM ET

jimathor's avatar

Oh Captain, My Captain.

My Girlfriend just asked me why I was so “mopey looking”, I had to explain that, in comparative terms, this was the equivalent of NSYNC breaking up times 1000.

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 05/31/12 at 12:48 PM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

Well, off to nightmares about (lack of) defense next season. Unless it gets delayed by a lockout.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 05/31/12 at 12:49 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

—Lots of praise for Holland from Ilitch. Almost deliberately fawning.  also interesting.

Mr. I does this at every presser, and for good reason. Chief, I don’t disagree with you that this has to be a big and successful summer for Tick Tock, but you are way too hard on the guy. The man is one of the best GMs in the history of the game.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/31/12 at 12:50 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

There’s a part of me that’s still in denial.  Somewhere in my mind I believe I went to bed one night around mid-season and still haven’t woke up from this strange awful dream yet. 

When I went to bed the Wings were number one in the league, they were in the midst of some crazy-ass home winning streak, their best players, Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Howard were all healthy and playing great, and the trade deadline (with all that salary cap room with which to make moves) was still in front of us.

But then there’s this insane nightmare that it all went south.  Our best players were injured and never able to return to form, the team became simply awful to the point of being unwatchable for about two months and the best GM in hockey, inexplicably sat on his hands and watched it all happen.  A playoff loss to a Nashville team that was only slightly above average?  Nick Lidstrom retiring?

Man, I can’t wait to wake up and heave a great big ole sigh of relief that one of this happened.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 05/31/12 at 12:51 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Chief, I don’t disagree with you that this has to be a big and successful summer for Tick Tock, but you are way too hard on the guy. The man is one of the best GMs in the history of the game.

You’re probably right Nathan.  The trade deadline inactivity still has me in a sour mood.  I was literally making just an observation about Ilitch’s comments today, though.  I agree with him. I think Holland’s the best in the business.  But all I want is a Cup every. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 05/31/12 at 12:52 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Watching Nick struggle through that gave me puffy eyes.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/31/12 at 12:53 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Hearing Nick say he the tank wasn’t empty makes it harder to fully accept.
Stevie was well and truly done when he hung’em up which made it far easier to deal with.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 01:00 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I don’t think Chief has been hard on Kenny, at least historically.  KH keeps long range balance of the franchise in consideration at all times.  So last summer we don’t even get in the game for the number one forward, and come away with Ian White.  We give away a first round draft pic to get back a player we had once, and thankfully Kenny did NOT go into a chase for a limited use Paul Gaustad, the wisdom of which has been proven many times already.

So we are in a position with a lot of money and roster spaces, but I don’t see us spending over the top as some franchises will, may not end up with perceived #1 UFAs, which will piss off fans some more.  But after the uncertainty and changes of the next CBA settle down, some of these clubs may not be in as good a position as the Wings will be for long term, consistent competitiveness.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/31/12 at 01:02 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

He even thanked the guys that filled the water bottles throughout the years.

It will be very difficult to replace him as a defenseman. It will be impossible to replace him as a human being.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/31/12 at 01:12 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

It will be very difficult to replace him as a defenseman. It will be impossible to replace him as a human being.

+19

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 05/31/12 at 01:16 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Red Winger you Bastard you’re not making this any easier for me.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/31/12 at 01:19 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

Can’t.

Think.

Can’t

Speak.

Can’t

Work.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 05/31/12 at 01:21 PM ET

Aphaea's avatar

The tears started falling somewhere in the first minute of Lidstrom’s announcement. Just thinking about the emotion in his voice chokes me up. Thanks for everything, Nick. I’d list everything individually, but that would take days.

It will be very difficult to replace him as a defenseman. It will be impossible to replace him as a human being.

This.

Posted by Aphaea on 05/31/12 at 01:40 PM ET

dougie's avatar

I need some mindless escapism today. Might be a good day to smuggle some mini-bottles into a matinee showing of MIB3.

Posted by dougie on 05/31/12 at 01:48 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

The “we didn’t get it done this year for obvious reasons” has me wondering what he was really getting at…...

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 02:03 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

I miss Nick.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 05/31/12 at 02:10 PM ET

Bent's avatar

I thought the same thing.  The reasons don’t seem quite that obvious to me, and I wish he knew what he meant.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 05/31/12 at 02:11 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Seems pretty obvious to me, lack of overall team talent. Ain’t talking about “potential”, or other unquantifiable metrics.

We were playing bottom 6 forwards in top 6 roles.

Posted by dougie on 05/31/12 at 02:25 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

The “we didn’t get it done this year for obvious reasons” has me wondering what he was really getting at…...

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 05/31/12 at 01:03 PM ET

I know I’m kinda like the family member who shows up drunk at the funeral.  We’re all supposed to only say nice things today, but I think Nick was merely hinting at what a lot of us are thinking, and it’s exactly how a lot of us feared this would play out.  There was lots of talk a few months ago about “windows of opportunity” closing and how you can’t just stand there and take a called third strike with the game on the line in your last turn at bat.  But that’s pretty much what happened.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 05/31/12 at 02:27 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Given that Nick is pure class personified, the “obivious reasons” are that they did not play well enough to win. Nick would never blame Kenny for lack of personnel. Nick would never blame the coaching staff for failure to make adjustments. And Nick would never blame injuries.

My favorite TPH memory is the ‘97 final. After all the build-up about Lindros and the Legion of Doom line going up against Vladdy, Scotty plays TPH and Murph against Lindros. Though LeClair had a decent series, Lindros was held to one meaningless garbarge goal with 15 seconds to go in the series.

This is a sadder day than Stevie’s retirement. As others have pointed out, Stevie had nothing left; he could not compete at the NHL level any longer. There was also Pavs and Hank just hitting there prime. It seems like Nick still has another season or two left in him. And there are no young stud defenseman on the roster ready to take his place. But I don’t begrudge Nick; I admire his honesty that he lacks the motivation to put the time in to play at his high level. How many aging stars would have taken the money and slacked off?

I’m very sad that he will not be part of the organization long term. Sure, I think he accepted some position with the team, but it’s clear from his comments to the media that he will be moving back to Sweden to be near his family and to help his local team move up to the Elitersen.

Farewell Nick. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/31/12 at 02:46 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

// sigh //

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 05/31/12 at 02:54 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I am replaying the presser online. Immediately after the “obvious reasons” remark, Nick commented about what a talented core the Wings have. Nick is too classy to make some veiled insult about management or the coaching staff. He was commenting on how the team played. Period.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/31/12 at 03:02 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Hearing Nick say he the tank wasn’t empty makes it harder to fully accept.
Stevie was well and truly done when he hung’em up which made it far easier to deal with.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 05/31/12 at 12:00 PM ET

Definitely, that is why this is harder even though Stevie was a bigger “icon” of Detroit sports. With Stevie retiring, we really had three or four years to see the path that was laying out ahead of him, and with all the knee trouble I think so many of us probably thought it was going to happen quite a bit sooner than it did.

With Nick, there’s never been a severe injury issue. There’s never even been much of a drop-off in his performance on the ice (this season and a couple seasons back maybe he wasn’t up to his usual standards, but compared to the rest of the field, the guy was still the best overall D in the game).

However, that’s kind of what I’m glad about. Sure, it would’ve been great for him to retire “on top” after a Cup win, but even as it went, he retired on his own terms, without any gnarly injuries, and without his ability notably faded. It would’ve been awful to see Lidstrom go out like Draper, Maltby, Chelios, or (likely) Homer… with the team essentially saying it was retire or play for another team.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/31/12 at 03:03 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Lidstrom’s legacy.  Absolutely. I’ll stand behind my statement above. Best ever.  No Canadien(an) writer would ever agree with that or they’d be stoned with balled up Horton’s coffee cups.

Fuch you, Raspberry, I’ve said Nick is the greatest player I’ve ever seen play, and it sure as hell isn’t balled up Tim Horton’s coffee cup that I’m stoned on.  I’ll kick your motherfauxing….  wait….  sorry…. I’m just emotional today, bitch.  Carry on Chief. 

I’ve puked out my stomach and intestines today.  Would someone please puke again on my behalf?  I’m afraid if I puke again I’ll choke on my own dick.  And we all know choking on dick is only allowed in the Penguins’ dressing room.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 05/31/12 at 04:13 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

holy crap v00x, even for you that is legen- wait for it - Dairy.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/31/12 at 08:13 PM ET

SYF's avatar

My memory of which game it was that escapes me now but I do remember it was the ‘97 SCFs and he scored a goal from the point.  He lingered around a little bit on a psychotic puck possession cycle by the Grind Line and he received a seemingly innocuous pass from Kocur, I believe, and he rifled that shot past Hextall.  On the slo-mo replays, I watched him communicate to Kocur, “Here! Here!” for the pass and as he did, his right hand at the knob of his stick made this little shiver.  It was like he was pulling back the hammer on his rifle before he went into the big windup and letting go of his shot.  He knew he had a good shot from the point and wanted it.  Of course, the goal scores and the Wings celebrate.

Crazy that that’s my most favorite memory of Nick.  Not just the Cups he has helped win but that little moment at the blue in a playoff game.

Thanks, Nick!

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 05/31/12 at 08:27 PM ET

Aphaea's avatar

SYF, that was game 4. Nick scored in the last minute of the first period off a pass from Maltby. Those shots from the blue line killed the Flyers.

My family moved the day of the SCF game 4 in 1997. I remember insisting that the TV had to be unpacked and nothing else mattered because it was the Finals and there was no way I was going to miss a second of the game. We ended up watching the game sitting on the floor and the TV perched on an unopened box. I’ll cherish that memory forever.

Posted by Aphaea on 05/31/12 at 09:27 PM ET

SYF's avatar

@Aphaea - LOL.  I had to go back to the VHS tapes I had in storage to find that moment.  Indeed that was the goal I was talking about.  Thanks!

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 05/31/12 at 10:04 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

We ended up watching the game sitting on the floor and the TV perched on an unopened box. I’ll cherish that memory forever.

Posted by Aphaea on 05/31/12 at 08:27 PM ET

Thanks for sharing that very moving experience.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 06/01/12 at 10:31 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com