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Here comes the inevitable, ‘Is this his last year?’ story about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom

Updated w/ quotes at 8:31 PM: The Associated Press’s Larry Lage has filed the preliminary version of a story about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom that will be bolstered with quotes from the 41-year-old about, well, the inevitable given the possibility that the Wings will play their last game of the season at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday if they can’t rally from their 2-1 series deficit:

Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom insists he hasn’t thought about whether this is his last season.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner jokes he’s gotten good at waiting until after each season is over to make a decision.

A week away from his 42nd birthday, Lidstrom looks as if he could keep playing for years if he chose to continue his stellar career.

More to come on this one via an update in a few hours, and it should be interesting to read what Lidstrom has to say.

Update: As it turns out, most of the comments come from Lidstrom’s teammates, as well as his opponents:

“I don’t try to think too much about it,” [Tomas] Holmstrom said Monday. “We have to enjoy this playoff and we have to win one game to get back in the series.”

Before the first-round series started, Lidstrom reiterated he hadn’t thought about whether this will be his last NHL season. How does he keep that topic off of his mind?

“I’ve gotten pretty good at it the last two years,” Lidstrom joked.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s top defenceman has put retirement on hold in each of the past two offseasons. He signed one-year contracts, after dodging questions about his decision during the regular season. Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart has a stall near Lidstrom’s in the dressing room and is left to guess, like everyone else, about Lidstrom’s future.

“Nobody here knows if Nick is coming back, and I don’t think he knows,” Stuart said.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy last year, putting him within one of Bobby Orr’s record of eight, and was subtly stellar again this season. He had 34 points and a plus-21 rating, a statistic that equaled Nashville’s Shea Weber to rank among the league’s top defenceman.

“He’d probably tell you he doesn’t recover like he did when he was 20 or 25 or even 35,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “But he’s still a pretty good player and important to us.”

continue reading for Barry Trotz and Shea Weber’s takes on Lidstrom’s sustaind brilliance.

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PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

just like Chelios, Lidstrom could continue to play for years.  it really comes down to whether or not he wants to.  there isn’t much left for him to accomplish.  does he still have the fire, the passion for the game itself - for just being on the ice?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/16/12 at 10:19 PM ET

scotts0's avatar

I always felt like when Nick finally retires he would know during the season and announce it during that season so as to not surprise fans in the offseason, “Hey guys, guess what?  Remember the last game of the season?  Yeah, that was my last game.”

Posted by scotts0 from New York on 04/16/12 at 10:25 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I assume Lids will decide before July 1st to give Wings an idea on their Cap Space for any UFAs, etc.  Stuart is already gone , IMO

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 04/16/12 at 11:32 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Stuart is already gone , IMO

he sure is playing like it.

I wonder…if we were to play the Sharks in the playoffs…how motivated would he be to beat them?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/17/12 at 12:57 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.