The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/28/11 at 03:40 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings’ captain turns 41 today, and in light of this fact, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner profiled “The Perfect Human,” who at least sounds like he’s got a season or two left in his legs, family willing…
“I have no control whatsoever over this one (laughs), but I don’t feel my age,” he said. “I still feel younger. I think it helps being part of a team, especially where some of the guys—actually all of the guys—are younger than me. That helps me, that’s the mindset for me. I don’t feel my age, but I’m not going to be like a Chelios (play until he’s near 50), but I’m trying to stay in shape like Chelli did.”
But over the course of Steve Yzerman’s tenure with the Red Wings as a player an executive, Regner duly notes that Yzerman believed the team wasn’t built around #19—it was the concept of a puck-moving defense anchored by #5 that Ken Holland and Jim Nill chose to use as their blueprint for success, and that’s the truth, plain and simple:
“I’ve never felt like I’m what this team is built around,” he told me several years ago. “I’m just one of several good players that make up a good team. I don’t feel like I’m the centerpiece.” Then Yzerman paused and added, “If you look at our team, it’s since Nick Lidstrom has come to the team that we’ve had tremendous talent on the team.”
It’s not surprising that Lidstrom would receive such kind words from a fellow player; it’s downright shocking it would come from Stevie. Yzerman always had an edge to him. He was tough, disciplined and completely focused on the task at hand, which of course was winning. After the Wings won the Cup in 2002, I was interviewing Yzerman in the euphoric Detroit dressing room and I asked him about Nick winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.
“Well, Art, I think you know and I know that Nick has been our best player for the last 10 years or so,” Yzerman said.
He still is, and I hope that Lidstrom will continue to be the team’s best player not named Pavel Datsyuk for at least two or three more years—if not five.
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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.