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Any Doubt?  The Best Forty Year Old Defenseman In The History Of The NHL

Nick Lidstrom turned 40 today.

from Brian Compton of NHL.com,

Q: You didn’t look like a 40-year-old shooting the puck on your second goal. It looked as if you could play another 10 years if you wanted to.

Lidstrom: I just wanted to make sure I got a lot of wood on it. The puck came perfectly to me there.

read on and watch his first of two goals tonight below…

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Comments

Osrt's avatar

Dear King Lidas,

How do you feel about being snubbed for the Norris in favor of a douchefaux like Green?

Sincerely,

Those who know hockey

Posted by Osrt on 04/28/10 at 04:29 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Nicklas Lidstrom is my hockey hero.  Meeting him in person did not detract one bit from my opinion of him for a simple reason—Lidstrom both possesses the ego to confidently play like one of the best defensemen to ever lace up skates and he understands that, outside of the rink, his hockey-playing talent really doesn’t mean much.  He’s likes talking about hockey and really is a humble guy who knows that he’s very lucky to be playing a kid’s game for a living.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/28/10 at 05:02 AM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

I stated this in my blog last night, but with respect to Orr and Harvey, Nicklas Lidström is the best defenseman to play the game.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 04/28/10 at 09:52 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Posted by George James Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/28/10 at 04:02 AM ET

+19.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/28/10 at 09:58 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I stated this in my blog last night, but with respect to Orr and Harvey, Nicklas Lidström is the best defenseman to play the game.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 04/28/10 at 08:52 AM ET

Considering he’s a combination of the two basically, I don’t see how it’s really arguable.

Show me another player in NHL history both with his shut-down ability AND his point production.

Posted by Primis on 04/28/10 at 10:06 AM ET

Randy from Butler PA's avatar

He is a very special player

Posted by Randy from Butler PA on 04/28/10 at 10:53 AM ET

Avatar

Your headline would have been just as accurate without the qualifier “Forty Year Old”.

Posted by BobS on 04/28/10 at 11:07 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Your headline would have been just as accurate without the qualifier “Forty Year Old”.

Posted by BobS on 04/28/10 at 10:07 AM ET

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was lucky enough to see Bobby Orr play in his prime.

Orr was the greatest defenseman I have seen, Nick is 2nd.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/28/10 at 11:11 AM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was lucky enough to see Bobby Orr play in his prime.

Orr was the greatest defenseman I have seen, Nick is 2nd.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/28/10 at 10:11 AM ET

While I agree…I still have to wonder if—without the knee injuries—Orr could have maintained that level of excellence over a career as long as Lidstrom’s. Not saying he couldn’t—the guy was truly amazing—just wondering…

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 04/28/10 at 11:30 AM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

I’ve not seen Bobby Orr nor Doug Harvey play.  Different eras make comparison difficult.  I will say, Lidstrom is the best “D” man I have ever seen - going back 25 + years.

I respect Paul’s opinion.  But, Lidstrom is the best “D” man of his generation, and aside from Gretzky and Lemieux, may be the best player in his generation - period.  He is a game-changer.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/28/10 at 11:36 AM ET

Avatar

I also saw Bobby Orr play Paul, and I agree he was an awesome offensive player, but I don’t think he was Lidstrom’s peer as a defensive player. It can also be argued that his playing style and hence his stats got an assist from playing on the small Boston Garden rink for most of his career. In addition to his tremendous skating and offensive gifts, I have memories of Orr being a pretty effective fighter, which added a dimension to his game that Lidstrom doesn’t possess. As someone alluded to, durability is a factor. Orr would have been able to play a lot longer had he enjoyed the benefits of modern orthopedics, but Lidstrom is a veritable ironman- you like to have your best players actually playing.
For what it’s worth, my own ‘top five’ list of defensemen that I’ve been lucky enough to see play, in their prime, would be 1.Lidstrom 2.Orr 3.Robinson 4.Potvin 5.Borque
I saw Doug Harvey play in the late 60s with the Wings and the Blues, but he wasn’t the Doug Harvey of legend.

Posted by BobS on 04/28/10 at 12:35 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Great list BobS and I have the same list except as noted previously flip flopping Orr and Nick.

Like you, I saw Harvey at the end of his career and I am just going on by what I have read about him.

Regarding Orr, yes the small ice helped, but when I judge great players, I look at others that played the same position during the same time period, and Orr was the most dominant of that time.  No one came close to matching what he did.

It is a tough decision and one that will be debated forever, I don’t see a wrong answer, just a matter of taste so to speak.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/28/10 at 12:43 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I want to go to Toronto for Lidstrom’s induction. I hope the spacing of the plaques will put him in line with Larionov and Yzerman (although I don’t think that can happen).  Seeing those three side by side again would be great.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/28/10 at 12:57 PM ET

Avatar

I realize that by rating Lidstrom above Orr I’m among a minority, probably all of us Wings fans. I hope I’m not letting ‘homer’ tendencies effect my already contrarian nature. Lidstrom belongs among a select few Detroit athletes (Kaline, Trammell, Yzerman, Dumars, et al) who were superstars both on and off the field/rink/court and who also spent their entire career in a Detroit uniform. Gordie Howe should have been on this list, and it was the bad karma generated by his departure from the organization that brought on the Dark Ages of the 70s and early 80s.
Orr definitely revolutionized the position and the perception of what a defenseman should be. In that respect, he is arguably partly responsible for the inclusion of Green as a Norris candidate at the expense of the far more deserving Lidstrom.

Posted by BobS on 04/28/10 at 01:59 PM ET

SYF's avatar

+19.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 04/28/10 at 08:58 AM ET

That number’s bigger than infinity multiplied by googol.

Even though I’ve followed the Wings since 1980 (like the very first game after the ‘Miracle on Ice”), I’ve not seen Bobby Orr nor Doug Harvey play.  I’ve seen Larry Robinson play on the odd occasion when he was with MTL and LAK and he was one scary guy to play against.  I have wished for that guy in a Wings sweater.

But Lidstrom is on a level too high for some players to attain.  He has the benefit of better medical technology for recuperating from injuries.  He’s extraordinarily keen on taking care of his body and he has the mental wherewithal to avoid unnecessary physical abuse all the while having the ability to continuously improve his game over the years and that requires a mental aptitude and discipline worth emulating.  It is worth passing onto the youngsters coming through the Wings’ system.  The one guy I hope who would benefit from the most from a Lidstrom indoctrination is Brendan Smith because he has the most complementary skill set of Lidstrom.  The only thing left to teach Smith is discipline - the Lidstrom way.

For all of that, I hold Lidstrom as the best defenseman in the NHL.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/28/10 at 03:08 PM ET

Avatar

Best D I’ve seen in my lifetime Orr, Potvin, Lidstrom, Bourque and Robinson. I’ll take Orr at number 1 and Robinson at 5 and agree with any order for the three in between. If I had to rank 2-3, in fairness Lidstrom beats Bourque, but only because he was on a superior team and won more Cups. Potvin he could be beaten just because Lidstrom is an animotronic and playing at the highest level until age 40 whereas Potvin decided at age 35 (coming off of a 19 goal season) to call it a career.

In terms of pure technical ability, Lidstrom just may be the perfect defensemen.  He is just never out of place and always makes it look easy. I may be older than Lidstrom is, but I still look to him to see if I can learn something on D and translate to my own game every time I watch him play.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/28/10 at 04:09 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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