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The Malik Report

Is Nicklas Lidstrom’s lockout-shortened legacy still a ‘what could have been’ story?

Until I can ask him whether my hockey gut is right, I'm sticking to my guns in suggesting that the Detroit Red Wings' departing captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, may have displayed his uncanny knack for anticipating the course of events to come, both on the ice and off, by choosing to make his inevitable move back home to Sweden before an inevitable lockout that would have demanded eight, twelve or more months of engaging in the off-season training for which Lidstrom found little remaining appetite.

Especially given that Red Wings fans were also robbed of a prior season-and-a-half of Lidstrom's grace and poise, as well as a season-and-a-half without Steve Yzerman, a season absent Brendan Shanahan and now a season-and-a-third (and counting) with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk playing for teams other than the Wings...Well, let's just say that I read the Hockey News's Brian Costello's list of the ten players who played the most games with one and only one organization wondering, "What if?":

Lost in the shuffle of Nicklas Lidstrom’s four Stanley Cups, seven Norris Trophies, one Conn Smythe and a dozen all-star team berths is an achievement once thought unattainable. Late in 2011-12, Lidstrom passed fellow Red Wings great Alex Delvecchio for most games played with one franchise.

It’s a feat that took 20 years to reach during an era when it would have been so easy to forego. The lowering age of free agency, the growing number of teams and the temptation to hit the jackpot as an unrestricted free agent once made Delvecchio’s standard unreachable – presumably.

Delvecchio spent his entire career with one organization, from 1951 to 1974 and held the record until Lidstrom passed him. Like Delvecchio – and the No. 3 on our list [Steve Yzerman] – things just worked out well in Detroit. There was never any reason to leave.

Continued with the full top 10 list...And I certainly wonder what the 94-95 team could have accomplished in June if it had assembled in October instead of January.

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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.