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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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MarkK's avatar

Next captain: Helm. Z is offered, but he turns it down in the interest of building and maintaining the next core. (But really, I agree it will be Z)

Datsyuk’s language skills are too much of a barrier for chemistry on this team, especially as we’ll be bringing in new talent through free agency.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 05/31/12 at 10:24 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Amongst the outlets that will televise the presser:

The Red Wings’ website;

The Red Wings’ Facebook page;

Fox Sports Detroit and its website;



The NHL Network.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/31/12 at 10:25 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

My heart aches this morning.  But I have enormous respect for Nick, mostly because he played the game with such class, and he knew when to exit the stage - not an easy thing to do.  As I said on George’s blog this morning, I have never respected a hockey player more.  How fortunate we Red Wings are that he was ours, and only ours, for twenty years.

Hail Nick.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 05/31/12 at 10:27 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

the locker room will seem so normal when he no longer walks into it. what a vacuum in the minds and hearts of this team. The last of the giants from the 90’s and on is going to be absent. Datsuyk is great, but is he a giant like Stevie or Nickle? not sure. Kenny, feel the pressure, the weight of the task before you to sustain EXCELLENCE. Make us happy and proud and hopeful and excited.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 05/31/12 at 10:29 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Alas, the unfortunate but inevitable part of sports as fans:  Our superstars can’t play forever.

Congrats to #5 for a phenomenal career.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/31/12 at 10:42 AM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

I would try to spout some inadequate platitudes about him, but I won’t know how lucky I was to witness Lidstrom until the Wings step on the ice without him.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 05/31/12 at 10:44 AM ET

jimathor's avatar

Can’t he come out and say “one more and I’m done?” Can’t he? He can can’t he? Please?

Also, any news on Homer, surely he’ll be on his way as well?

Sad Times.

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 05/31/12 at 10:52 AM ET

Link_Gaetz's avatar


Not sure if you guys have read that yet, but it’s fantastic.

I’m certainly no Red Wings fan, but it’s always a big deal when one of the all-time greats retires.

Posted by Link_Gaetz on 05/31/12 at 10:53 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

This last season (and the previous two decades) were a gift. I didn’t really expect him to return for this recently concluded season. Z will get the C, Holland will have to get Suter and Parise (and I think he can). The wings can get through this - they did when the captain retired a few years ago.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/31/12 at 10:53 AM ET

Tuba Guy's avatar

I was really hoping a May 31 live blog would be more about SCF than saying goodbye.  The sad thing is that no one knows what this team will actually look like without him. Not even Holland or Babcock.  Mr. Ilitch needs to invest in cloning technology.

Posted by Tuba Guy from Royal Oak, MI on 05/31/12 at 10:54 AM ET

Bent's avatar

I can’t concentrate today, I should have just stayed home.  Would this qualify for a sick day?  I am sick about it, after all.

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

joedaiceman's avatar

Not sure I’d put Nick above Bobby Orr, but it really doesn’t matter. He represented everything that is great about the Red Wings. He set the standard for the culture that makes the Red Wings what they are and will be, and so his leagacy will be more than just his unique ability to ‘float above the ice’. Tomorrow starts a new era and we are damn lucky to have had Nick Lidstrom build the foundation for the future. The foundation that every other franchise wishes they had but will never have,

Posted by joedaiceman on 05/31/12 at 11:14 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Thank you Nick.
That is all.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 11:27 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I don’t like discussing business and free agency right now.

Your uncle was married for 30 years, his wife left him, and in 24 hours you’re taking him to the disco (?) to tap some ass?

Excuse me while I buy a buttload of ice cream.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 05/31/12 at 11:53 AM ET

hockeychic's avatar

I wish I could write some eloquent statement about Nick and what he has meant to me and to the Wings but all I can say is what MOW said above,

Thank you!

I am so lucky that I was able to watch you play for so many years.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 05/31/12 at 12:08 PM ET

slimelord's avatar

:[ thank youuuuuu for everything Nick.

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

Red Winger's avatar

I told myself I wouldn’t get misty-eyed this morning reading the tributes online, or watching his presser.

I make my belly laugh hard sometimes.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 05/31/12 at 12:11 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 05/31/12 at 12:27 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Nick’s skill and class will be missed by all true fans of the game.  Tremendous career and he’s smart enough to head into retirement while still healthy and capable of playing at a very high, if not elite, level.  All the best to the captain.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 05/31/12 at 12:30 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/31/12 at 10:27 AM ET

Whoa, that is a hell of a picture!

Is it just me, or as Nick has aged, has he started to look more “American?” I know that sounds crazy… haha.

Certainly this is a sad day, but also, it’s kinda cool to look back and realize that as long as I’ve been watching hockey, I’ve had the joy to watch one or both of Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom. And while the team may have a hard time being a 100 point, division title competitor next season, we still get to at least look forward to watching Datsyuk and Zetterberg, with some Kronwall hits, and more likely than not, another season with playoff hockey.

It’s hard to say this, but truly when you look at the era of the four Cups, through until today, that is the era of Nick Lidstrom. God bless Stevie Y. for doing the hard work with Mr. I and dragging the team out of the ditch. Stevie built the strongest foundation imaginable, but Nick built the Coliseum on top of it.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/31/12 at 12:33 PM ET

Primis's avatar

My wife and I discussed the captaincy last night on the way home.  She, oddly enough, thinks it should be Kronwall if Stuart also goes, for the sake of stability.  I think it should be Helm.  Neither of us said Z.  I think it will be Z though.  It’s the path of least resistance.

Quite frankly if Nick goes and DET lands Parise I wouldn’t have reservations about it being Parise even, but that’s not the Red Wing Way.

And again, if no Suter there’s not a single other d-man out there I’m interested in (barring by trade of course).

Posted by Primis on 05/31/12 at 12:41 PM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

I think teams can name 3 alternates instead of 2 and a C and I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Wings did that initially. Let the player that wants it show it.

Now I’m home, on my second cider (night shift allows you to drink in the AM with some explanation), and waiting for the online feeds to start.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 05/31/12 at 12:48 PM ET


Well, Chief. when he told the press in Sweden he lacked motivation that was it . . .

I was hoping for a one more year tour, but that’s not him.

It was a great bunch of years.

Now, I hope they are able to do at least close.

We’re gonna see a different system of play for the next couple of years at least.

And a different league.

Posted by bobbo from Romeo, Michigan on 05/31/12 at 12:48 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Fuch a bunch of shit.

But Thanks, TPH. Thank you for everything.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 01:01 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Commence stress vomiting now.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/31/12 at 01:01 PM ET

FranzensMouthguard's avatar


Posted by FranzensMouthguard from Chicago, IL on 05/31/12 at 01:03 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Hey 19. It is indeed an end of an era. Here is to all of the fans of #5. And, to #5. Thank you Nick for everything. All the best to you and yours.

I have been a Detroit Red Wings fan for over 40 years. You are the absolute best D-man, and, one of the best guys to ever play the game. Bar none.


Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! In ’13

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/31/12 at 01:04 PM ET

Bent's avatar

I’m not ready, I’m not ready, I’m not ready….

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 05/31/12 at 01:04 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

It has happened. Sadness.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! In ’13

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/31/12 at 01:05 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Fuch a bunch of shit.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 01:07 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Nothing but class all the way.


Thank you, Nick.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 05/31/12 at 01:07 PM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

Well, officially official. At least I can cry myself to sleep after this.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 05/31/12 at 01:09 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Damn damn damn

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

mrfluffy's avatar

There’s a Vietnamese restaurant down the street…brb as I go kick/kill a small pet.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/31/12 at 01:14 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Goddammit it’s dusty in my office today.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 05/31/12 at 01:16 PM ET

Bent's avatar

I’ve never heard his voice sound so… Swedish.  He usually hides his accent.  He is laboring.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 05/31/12 at 01:17 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

What a great speech.  Why does it still suck?

Posted by RWBill on 05/31/12 at 01:17 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar


Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 05/31/12 at 01:18 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Yes Bent I noticed that too.  He was on an emotional edge.

Posted by RWBill on 05/31/12 at 01:18 PM ET

dougie's avatar

He didn’t swagger through his career, but I think a good portion of OUR swagger took a hit with Lidstrom’s announcement today.

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

Posted by dougie on 05/31/12 at 01:18 PM 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