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TSN’s Hodge wonders why Nicklas Lidstrom never won the Lady Byng Trophy

From TSN's Dave Hodge:

My thumb is up to the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2015, and especially to Nicklas Lidstrom, who "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

Perhaps you recognize those words. They form the criteria for selecting the winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Though the Lady Byng attributes describe Lidstrom perfectly, it is a trophy he never won. Seven times he was the winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the best defenceman in the NHL. Isn't it likely that he demonstrated all the requirements of a Lady Byng winner in at least one of those seasons? How about in all of them?

During his entire NHL career, which spanned 20 years, Lidstrom received 514 minutes in penalties. The NHL's single-season record is only 42 minutes less. Eight times Lidstrom kept his single-season penalty total at or below 20 minutes. For anyone else who ever played defence in the NHL, it was considered difficult to perform well without taking penalties somewhat regularly. Lidstrom was an all-time great performer who seldom needed to break the rules.

Lady Byng voters always managed to prefer someone else, and almost always selected a forward. It was as if they didn't believe what the numbers told them - that a defenceman could excel the way Lidstrom did. Obviously, he didn't need a Lady Byng win to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he should have had several.

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Talking about Fedorov and Lidstrom

Of Hall of Fame-related note:

MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article discussing Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom's respective legacies...

Lidstrom was also as humble, personable and down-to-earth as any superstar in pro sports. Teammates often referred to him as "The Perfect Human."

"That's obviously being sarcastic," said Kirk Maltby, who spent 14 years playing with Lidstrom. "But you know when you're around a guy like that day in and day out and see how easy he makes the game look, it's kind of ... different than a guy like Sergei Fedorov, who goes coast-to-coast for a highlight-reel goal.

"There's games where you didn't even know Nick was on the ice and at the end of the night he'd have three points and be plus-4 or plus-5. Nick, he wasn't a flashy guy but he'd make a great pass or we loved it when he'd be the D-man on a 2-on-1 and he'd almost always pick off the pass if somebody tried to go across the ice.

"We'd always have fun in practice to see if somebody could beat him. He picked off 90 percent more than he missed. He was just a great athlete."

Savage continues with comments from Chris Osgood and Chis Chelios, and MLive's Ansar Khan asked past and current Wings to share their takes regarding playing alongside Lidstrom:

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Red Wings-Stars game-day Tweets and articles; Howard starts, ‘AA’ a game-time decision

Of game-day related note ahead of today's tilt between the Red Wings and Dallas Stars (3 PM EST on FSD/FS Southwest/Sportsnet/97.1 FM):

From the Free Press's Helene St. James...

Jimmy Howard starting, Blashill not sure yet who is out up front and on defense. Mike Green playing today.

MLive's Ansar Khan...

Wings have called up forward Andreas Athanasiou from Grand Rapids. He'll make NHL debut today vs. Dallas.


Ken Holland said "We are banged up. Decision on lineup will be made after the warmup." So there might be someone else hurt besides Ferraro.


Blashill had no lineup info. Said it will decided after warmups whether Athanasiou plays and who's out on defense.


Blashill on Athanasiou: "He can really skate, and I mean flat-out fly. He makes other teams’ defense turn because of how much he can skate."

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

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Andreas Athanasiou Called Up By The Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – The Red Wings today recalled center Andreas Athanasiou from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and placed defenseman Kyle Quincey on seven-day injured reserve.

Athanasiou, 21, has skated in 65 games with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins since 2013-14, recording 37 points (18-19-37) and 29 penalty minutes. He played his first full professional season in 2014-15 and posted the best point-per-game average (0.58) among Griffins rookies, recording 32 points (16-16-32) in a campaign that was limited to 55 games played due to a broken jaw. The Woodbridge, Ontario, native finished 10th on the club in scoring, while tying for fifth with a plus-17 rating and ranking third with two shorthanded goals. Athanasiou finished fifth on Grand Rapids in postseason scoring, picking up nine points (5-4-9) in 16 postseason games. The 6-foot-2, 200-lb., forward led Detroit this year in preseason scoring and tied for seventh in the NHL with seven points (4-3-7) in five games.


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The 1989 Draft

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

The run by the Detroit Red Wings as the most dominant team in the NHL for the better part of two decades gained its momentum in 1989 on the floor of an arena that is no longer in service. It is a tale combining enough good fortune, skill, conviction and intrigue to power a best-selling page-turner.

Looking back on it now, 26 years later, Hockey Hall of Fame executive Jim Devellano, the Detroit general manager at the time, keeps coming back to the same thought about the historic draft that moved the Red Wings indelibly forward.

"I don't think there was a better draft in the history of hockey than our draft, the Red Wings' draft, in '89," Devellano said. "I'm also here to tell you there was some luck involved."

It's all part of the story of how Devellano, the rest of the Detroit front office, and his scouts changed the fortunes for a historic franchise and sketched the blueprint for a two-decade run as the NHL's most dominant team from the draft floor at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minn., on June 17, 1989.


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St. James: Lidstrom, Fedorov leave Hall of Fame legacies

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned two superb stories for the Free Press's Sunday sports section, discussing the legacies of Nicklas Lidstrom....

The last, enduring chapter of Lidstrom’s amazing career unfolds Monday, when he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He enters with four Stanley Cups and seven Norris Trophies, as a member of the Triple Gold Club, and as a player so great even the man who has coached more great hockey players than anyone doubts that there can be another Lidstrom.

“Nick was so consistent and durable, I don’t know if it will ever be duplicated,” Hall of Fame member Scotty Bowman said. “He always played against the best players in the league, and his stats were terrific. He was just a consummate, consummate pro, and he will go down in history for his durability and performance.”

Lidstrom produced 1,142 points in 1,564 NHL games, all with the Wings, all while playing against the best opposing forwards. In 20 seasons, he missed just 42 games, and a dozen of those were in his last year, 2011-12. The Wings never missed the playoffs while he was on the team. In 2006, Lidstrom scored the goal that won his native Sweden a gold medal in men’s hockey at Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. In 2008, he became the first European to captain a team to the Stanley Cup.

“From the minute he played his first NHL game, he looked totally comfortable,” former teammate and Hall of Fame member Steve Yzerman said. “I never saw him get rattled. He never had a bad day at the office, never reacted or acted inappropriately on or off the ice. He was the most low-maintenance player I have ever seen.”

Continuing, and then discussing the legacy left by Sergei Fedorov, split with the Wings included:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Stars set-up; Hall of Fame talk and recollecting Datsyuk’s dust-up

The 7-5-and-3 Detroit Red Wings take on a sudden juggernaut in the 8-and-3 Dallas Stars this afternoon (3 PM on FSD/FS Southwest/Sportsnet/97.1 FM), with the Red Wings hoping to earn a 4-game winning streak in Mike Green's return from a shoulder injury, and the Stars hoping to keep the good times rolling.

When the Red Wings were defeating the Maple Leafs on Friday, the Stars were winning their 2nd straight and 5th of their past 6 games in Raleigh, North Carolina, taking out the Hurricanes by a 4-1 tally.

That's where the Stars' biggest injury question for today comes into play: Patrick Sharp injured himself on the game-winning goal, and he didn't practice on Saturday as a result, as DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski noted in his game preview:

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Prospect news: Walleye drop home opener; Svechnikov continues to pile up points

Of prospect-related note:

The Toledo Walleye finally played their home opener on Saturday, but things did not go as planned as the Adirondack Thunder defeated Toledo 1-0. The Walleye's website posted a recap...

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All about Angela Ruggiero

Angela Ruggiero is one of my hockey heros, and as a rugged, gritty defenseman for Team USA, she won 4 Olympic medals (one gold) and numerous World Championships while blazing a trail for female hockey players. The Free Press's Jo-Ann Barnas spoke with Ruggiero about her hockey career and post-hockey life:

She was in the middle of preparing for it when her cell phone rang. The speech.

It was shortly after 6 p.m. on a recent Thursday, and Angela Ruggiero was about to pursue an enormous challenge, somehow condensing a lifetime of gratitude into a 5-minute speech for Monday night's Hockey Hall of Fame induction in Toronto.

"I've been kind of skimming the different speeches, like Chris Chelios (2013), Mark Messier (2007) and Peter Forsberg (2014)," said Ruggiero, a four-time Olympic medalist for Team USA, who will become the fourth woman inducted. "When Cammi Granato got inducted a few years ago (2010), I was sad that I missed that historical dinner for her. But I've been able to read her speech, and Angela James' and Geraldine Heaney's — the three women who came before me."

A California native raised in Harper Woods, Ruggiero, 35, spent more than 15 years as the top defender on the U.S. women's national team. She helped the U.S. win the first gold medal in women's hockey at the 1998 Olympics.

Her success in hockey gave her confidence to succeed in academics as well: She graduated cum laude from Harvard and later completed a master's degree in sports management at Minnesota. In May 2014 — three years after she retired from the national team — she earned her MBA at Harvard.


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A Hockey Hall of Famer video roundtable

Hockey Night in Canada's George Strombolopoulos spoke with Sergei Fedorov, Phil Housley, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger about a whole bunch of topics over the course of a nearly 9-minute-long roundtable, discussing what it felt like to be called by the Hockey Hall of Fame, at the other end, the draft (for Pronger), the Soviet era (for Fedorov), playing against Pronger, career highlights (mostly winning the Stanley Cup), etc.:

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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.


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