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Free Press kicks off Nicklas Lidstrom Jersey Retirement Week

Something tells me that between now and Thursday's actual retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom's #5, which will be aired on Fox Sports Detroit starting at 6:30 PM EST (we "spring forward" next Sunday), we're probably going to learn more little, "humanizing" details regarding the "Perfect Human" than we did during the course of his playing career.

Today, the Detroit Free Press essentially kicks off what will be "Nicklas Lidstrom Jersey Retirement Week" with a pair of photo galleries and an incredibly in-depth article (factoid sidebar story included) regarding the recent Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductee's career and legacy. This is more than a, "Worth your time" article, including significant commentary from Steve Yzerman and Ken Holland, but I'm going to skip some of the juicier parts and take note of what Lidstrom's actually doing at present--working as an assistant coach with Vasteras IK's 2000-birthdate team, coaching his son Samuel.

Lidstrom's described what he does as a 5-day-a-week job (I'm sure we'll hear from the Swedish press, too), and here's how St. James frames Lidstrom's return to Sweden (again, Tomas Holmstrom will also be heading home to Pitea this summer) and post-NHL life:

Lidstrom and his wife have spent the past year building a perfect home in Vasteras, where Lidstrom played as a teenager and fell in love. He and Annika were in on every detail of the home by Lake Malaren, including a pool that cozies right up to the lake.

“We’ve been building a house that took us a year, that took the first year we were back here in Sweden to just design,” he said. “There were a lot of decisions to be made that took a lot of my time. It’s been a lot of fun, but also really time consuming to pick everything out. My wife is really interested in interior decorating, but I’ve been in on a lot of it, too.”

Lidstrom spoke on his way home from a charity luncheon, part of his work as a sort-of goodwill ambassador for all. He has done some commercials for a clothing line, served as a spokesman for Sweden during the World Championships and has watched some hockey games alongside Wings scout Hakan Andersson. Mostly, Lidstrom’s love of hockey is nourished by the love of his sons.

“All four of them play,” he said, “so that’s a lot of fun for me. It’s nice to be able to see their games. I help out with Samuel’s team, and the kids really are a lot of fun. In their spare time, they all want to go to open skates and be on the ice with their friends and play pickup hockey. They’re very hungry to learn. They’ll watch clips of hockey on YouTube. They watch the NHL. They always have things they want to know.”

Since retiring, Lidstrom stays in his shape by running and going to the gym and keeping up with his sons. That perfect house was built by the lake because, “I love being on the water, always have,” he said. “I love boating, love tubing. I do a lot of that in the summer now.”

The irony of a professional athlete retiring is that he does so at the latest in his 40s, mere middle age to mortals. Lidstrom is not yet pulling his socks up to his knees, donning cardigans and complaining about today’s youth. If there’s a change, he said, it’s that, “I’m real lazy sometimes, when I feel like being lazy. I leave my clothes just lying around, stuff like that.”

St. James continues at length, and again, this is a must-read.

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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.