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Former Red Wing Nicklas Lidstrom tells Expressen why he ‘turned down’ Babcock’s coaching offer

You may take this article from Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom and Sebastian Mattson for what you will, and what follows is roughly-translated:

Lidstrom on why he turned down Babcock

Nicklas Lidstrom ahd a chance to return to the Detroit Red Wings as a coach--but he declined.

Now the 44-year-old reveals why he turned down the dream job.

"We're doing well here in Sweden after the move, and the children are thriving in school, so it never occurred to me to move back," says Lidstrom to SportExpressen.se.

In June, Mike babcock said that his search for an assistant coach had led him to one of the greatest Detroit Red Wings of all time.

"I called Niklas Lidstrom and offered him the job. I told him his wife was happier in Detroit than in Sweden. But he didn't buy it," Babcock said then.

In a conversation with SportExpressen.se, the Swedish legend now reveals why he turned down the chance to return to the team where he spent 20 years as a player.

"It's true that he called and asked if I was interested in taking one of the spots as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. I was very proud of the offer, it was really flattering," says Lidstrom.

But...?

"We're doing well here in Sweden after the move, and the children are thriving in school, so it never occurred to me to move back now. We moved home the last year for the children to go to school here."

Could it be the case that in a few years you would move back to Detroit?

"You should never say never. We'll see how we feel when we've been home for a few more years."

You've remained in touch with the Red Wings?

"Yes, I help and scout players here in Sweden and will continue to do so."

So it may be Detroit and America in the future?

"I will go over four or five times per season, which I did before. But right now is simply the wrong time for a move back. Maybe we'll change our minds in the future, I don't know."

Do you realize that you've turned down a job that many others could only dream of?

"Ha ha, so far I never thought that."

Babcock told the media in Detroit earlier this summer that your wife Annika thrived better in Detroit, and probably wanted you to move back?

"It was probably something he came up with himself," he joked.

Babcock's one of hockey's most accomplished coaches with two Olympic gold medals, a World Championship gold and a Stanley Cup on his CV. The job as an assistant coach in charge of defensemen went instead to another former player, Jim Hiller, a week later.

It was already announced that Tony Granato, who'd been let go from a similar position when Pittsburgh cleaned out its coaching staf recently, signed on with the coaching staff in Detroit.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

sounds like some confirmation that babcock is an ultracompetitive lunatic…

moving right along…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 08/25/14 at 04:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Smart ultra-competitive lunatic. No harm in asking.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/25/14 at 05:14 AM ET

Chet's avatar

smile

this is just for fun, since lids said no way, but COULD the guy coach?

he understood the game at such a natural, instinctive level. some say the greats just can’t express what they saw, did, nearly took for granted.

i like to think he could, but who knows?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 08/25/14 at 06:28 AM ET

Avatar

Lidstrom always seemed to think the game really well. You could often see him making conscious decisions on the ice, he rarely had to act spontaneously because he knew everything that was going on. Due to that, I think he’d make a solid coach. I think he’d be better in management though.

Posted by dmorley21 on 08/25/14 at 06:49 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Lidstrom really is the perfect human. He has nothing to prove to anyone and is putting his family before his fame and ambition. I can’t love this guy enough.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/25/14 at 10:10 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Due to that, I think he’d make a solid coach. I think he’d be better in management though.

Posted by dmorley21 on 08/25/14 at 07:49 AM ET

Yeah, I agree with your management assertion.  I wonder, if Lids were to be an assistant coach, how/if that would effect Zetterberg’s captaincy.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/25/14 at 11:22 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Lidstrom really is the perfect human. He has nothing to prove to anyone and is putting his family before his fame and ambition. I can’t love this guy enough.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/25/14 at 11:10 AM ET

Exactly. TPH indeed.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

 

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 08/25/14 at 11:46 AM ET

Avatar

In the far future, I’d be interested to see Lidstrom as GM and Chelios as coach, as Chelios seems to have more coaching qualities to me. That’s assuming Blashill doesn’t stick around to end up replacing Babcock.

Posted by dmorley21 on 08/25/14 at 12:52 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Yeah this was never a real possibility, given Lids’ long stated desire to move home after his playing days.  His youngest boy is still quite young so the family is going to remain in Sweden unless the kid(s) convince them they want to return to finish school as a Novi Wildcat.
The school has one of the more advanced curriculum in the state and international studies program.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/25/14 at 01:46 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Lidstrom really is the perfect human. He has nothing to prove to anyone and is putting his family before his fame and ambition. I can’t love this guy enough.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/25/14 at 11:10 AM ET

THIS.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 08/25/14 at 05:41 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I wonder, if Lids were to be an assistant coach, how/if that would effect Zetterberg’s captaincy.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/25/14 at 12:22 PM ET

Meh.

A) Lidstrom wouldn’t get himself involved in Captain type matters and forcibly remove himself from those situations and

B) Zetterberg is a different Captain than Lidstrom…a bit closer to Yzerman. Quiet…yet…there’s a some fire in those eyes and I imagine at times…he speaks his mind louder than a quiet “aw shucks” attitude. He wouldn’t let the players look to Lidstrom.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 08/25/14 at 06:00 PM ET

Avatar

Takes some nerve, or balls depending on how you look at it, to tell someone their wife was better off somewhere else…

Posted by ianfdunham on 08/26/14 at 12:33 PM ET

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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.