The Malik Report
Jeebus monkey, I never thought I’d post a blog post about this, but…I said this on Twitter this morning, and I was right: my father passed away suddenly, I’ve had two major surgeries, battled depression and anxiety all my life, and today…Ranks up there with the hardest days of my life. Nicklas Lidstrom was my favorite red Wing, someone who came into the league the same year I began following hockey, and to lose that presence, to know that he’s going back to Sweden in a few weeks, to stay…
The presser is available via this post, as are several comments made by Lidstrom and the Wings’ brass, and you can watch the entire presser here:
I may be a semi-professional blogger, but you’re reading a Wings fan’s words here, and instead of covering the news stories in an as-they-come-in basis for the next two hours?
Thursday morning, Lidstrom, who played in 1,827 games, including the playoffs, made the announcement, which stakeholders in Hockeytown knew would eventually come, but were hoping it wouldn’t be so soon.
The most decorated defenseman of his era, Lidstrom, who appeared in 12 All-Star games and won his first Norris Trophy at age 31, has decided to retire instead of returning to the Wings for a 21st season.
Last month, after the Wings were eliminated by Nashville in the Western Conference quarterfinals, Lidstrom said that the toughest thing about coming back next season was getting motivated to make the necessary commitment to the off-ice workouts in the off-season.
“I know what I have to do to get ready for a long year,” said Lidstrom, who has been team captain since 2006. “I’m not willing to sacrifice that to have a good summer or take it easy. I know what I have to do and it’s a grind to go through, which all of us do in here. Then you hit the grind of (the) season. It’s a long year. You play 3-4 games every week for over six months and that takes its toll on you too.”
As Lidstrom said in Swedish, and in English at his presser, the motivation was lacking, and he wasn’t going to cheat himself, or his teammates, by doing anything less than playing at 100% percent.
To quote the AP’s Larry Lage:
“My drive and motivation are not where to need to be to play at this level,” Nicklas Lidstrom said, retiring after 20 #NHL seasons in the D
From the Wings:
The Red Wings have posted a link to their presser regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement announcement, and I’ll embed the video shortly.
Fox Sports Detroit, WXYZ, the Free Press, Detroit News, Fox 2 and other outlets are carrying this, as are the NHL Network, NHL.com, TSN and Sportsnet.
Update: Here’s Sportsnet’s feed:
Updated with an interview with Kris Draper at 10:13 AM: From Adrain Dater’s conversation with Scotty Bowman about one Nicklas Lidstrom to news about the Toledo Walleye’s 2012-2013 schedule, newly-signed Red Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok’s agent, Christian Sjogren, telling Expressen’s Peter Ohrling that his client will probably live at Henrik Zetterberg’s house when he finally joins the Wings two seasons form now—Update: Sjogren also told Arbertarbladet’s Magnus Hager Born that Jarnkrok’s contract is worth $900K at the NHL level and came with a $900K signing bonus—a rough translation of what Elizabeth Datsyuk said about her dad from Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov (edit/update: check out Dmitry Chesnokov’s translation thereof)...
I figured it would happen this way: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom has been given a wide berth by the local press corps, but when Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom called him, Lidstrom wouldn’t fib as to why he’s retiring:
Lidstrom: I’ve had a great career
Los Angeles. It was the drive and motivation that was lost. It is, therefore, why Nicklas Lidstrom, 42, made the decision to quit.
He reveals this in an exclusive interview to Sport-Expressen, before today’s press conference in Detroit, where the decision becomes official. This summer, “Lidas” will move home to Sweden with his family.
As Sportsline’s Brian Stubits duly noted, Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom remains ever the polite captain, even in choosing to position the Red Wings to pursue free agents and trades to help fill the gaping hole he’ll leave in Detroit’s defense and the hearts of Red Wings fans, maybe to an extent that the Wings have never been as aggressive before: Lidstrom made sure to choose to hold his presser during the first of two days between Stanley Cup Final games, giving the league more than enough time to shift its focus back to the New Jersey Devils-Los Angeles Kings series and giving the flock of reports that will show up at Joe Louis Arena this morning at 11 enough time to shuffle back to Newark for Game 2 on Saturday.
Here’s a brief survey of what the rest of the NHL has to say about Lidstrom’s retirement, which the Wings’ press corps will undoubtedly continue to focus upon in the days, weeks and months to come, starting with videos from NHL.com:
Updated with captaincy talk at 8:15 AM: The news is still staggering, like a punch to the gut and heart at the same time: at 11 AM today, the Red Wings will hold a press conference to announce Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, and it will air on DetroitRedWings.com, the NHL Network, DetNews.com and FoxSportsDetroit.com (update: TSN and Sportsnet will air it as well).
We don’t yet know whether family issues, a lack of drive to engage in off-season training, simply deciding that, like Steve Yzerman some six years ago, the time was right to step away and encourage the team to transition toward its next generation, fears of a lockout or Lidstrom’s encounter with mortality and an inability to turn away from checks thanks to that damn bouncing puck that hit his right ankle and left a severe bone bruise constitute the reasons why he’s leaving, but Wings fans everywhere understand that Lidstrom’s decision to retire marks the end of the line for one of the best Red Wings to ever suit up for the team, and one of the best defensemen in NHL history.
Here’s what the Wings’ beat writers and Detroit press have had to say about Lidstrom’s retirement, in site-by-site order, starting with MLive’s Ansar Khan’s report about the presser:
Excellent news from Peter Fish on Twitter regarding Red Wings alumnus Shawn Burr:
Shawn Burr’s Bone Marrow Transplant was a great success. He is in good spirits and looking forward to a future without AML.
Updated 9x with Scotty talking about Nick at 5:04 PM: There’s a rumor going around that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will retire tomorrow, and while I’m not convinced of it…The Red Wings just confirmed that something is up:
The Red Wings have called a press conference tomorrow morning at Joe Louis Arena. Ken Holland and Nick Lidstrom are expected to speak.
Cross your fingers, toes and veins, folks.
Update: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness...
The Detroit Red Wings have scheduled a press conference for Thursday, May 31, 2012, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET in the C.C. Olympia Club at Joe Louis Arena. Participants at tomorrow’s press conference will include Red Wings Executive Vice President & General Manager Ken Holland and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
I’m guessing that the Wings will stream it online—actually, the Wings Facebook page is confirming it.
Update: As many sources have suggested, a press conference is a rare occurrence, but RedWingsFeed nailed it here:
RT @WharnsbyCBC: Holland on Lidstrom “I’ll let him make his announcement. He’s earned that right.”
And then there’s this from Nick Cotsonika:
Holland said he wanted Lidstrom to announce his decision. “He’s earned that right.” sounds like Lidstrom will retire.
Holland spoke to Lidstrom a couple days ago, three or four times in past week. “I wanted to make sure that he had all the necessary time.”
Holland on Lidstrom: “I mean, it’s a major decision for him. He’s obviously come to a decision, which he’ll announce tomorrow.”
Update #2: Urgh, per TSN’s Aaron Ward:
According to source,Nic Lidstrom will announce his retirement tomorrow in Detroit. #TSN
Update #3: Per FSD’s Ryan Field:
“@FSDwakiji: #Redwings Nick Lidstrom press conference tomorrow at 11 am. @FOXSportsDet will carry it live.”
Update #4: Urgh, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Forbes’ Robert Laura has been writing a series of articles about athletes approaching and dealing with retiring from playing sports for a living, and over the past week, he’s spoken to Deion Sanders, John Salley, Desmond Howard, Annika Sorenstam, Tito Ortiz, Al Iafrate, Shannon Miller and some guy named Kris Draper about the psychological, financial and I can only smile when reading Laura’s take on Draper’s mindset in the final installment of his series, “Life After Sports”:
By identifying the things that are most important to you, however, you can develop a no-regrets retirement plan and focus your time in the right places.
I asked former Detroit Red Wing Kris Draper what it was like in the locker room after the heated rivalry and all-out brawls they endured against the Colorado Avalanche. He laughed and said, “Those were great times … and it was such a great rivalry because of the how great all of the players involved were.” He literally rattled off eight to 10 players from each team, denoting how skilled each player was and their significance to the team, and how they contributed to one of the all-time great sports rivalries.
While I was hoping for some crazy of off-the-wall stories, Draper’s response exemplifies two of the most important qualities of a champion: respect and discipline. I wish he would have talked more about how so-and-so kicked so-and-so’s butt … but he didn’t. The way Draper respects the players and games more than the shenanigans that take place on the ice is the way people should respect retirement. Retirement truly is a privilege that some people never get to experience. I recommend approaching it with the same respect and discipline you gave to your career, creating a legacy with purpose and meaning.
Continued, and as we all know, Draper is now a very important part of the Wings’ management team, with Laura describing Draper’s responsibilities as follows:
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.