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Red Wings will retire Lidstrom’s #5 on March 6, 2014

added 2:40pm,

Detroit, MIDetroit Red Wings Senior Vice President Jim Devellano today announced that the Red Wings will officially retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s number “5” in a special pre-game ceremony on March 6, 2014, when the Red Wings host the Colorado Avalanche.

“For a long time, there was no doubt in ownership’s and management’s mind that Nicklas Lidstrom would play his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and that his sweater would fittingly go up into the rafters along with the other all-time greatest Red Wing players – Abel, Delvecchio, Howe, Lindsay, Sawchuk and Yzerman,” said Devellano.

Lidstrom, who announced his retirement on May 31, 2012, completed a remarkable 20-year career in the National Hockey League with the Red Wings.  A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings and a seven-time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League’s best defenseman, Lidstrom finished his illustrious career ranked in the top 10 all-time among defensemen with 264 goals (ninth), 878 assists (sixth), 1,142 points (sixth) and 132 power-play goals (fifth).  He played in 263 postseason games, second all-time among NHL players (Chris Chelios – 266), and 1,564 regular season games, second in franchise history behind only Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe (1,687).

Listrom was Detroit’s third-round pick (53rd overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.  He made his NHL debut with the Red Wings in Chicago against the rival Blackhawks on October 3, 1991.  The Vasteras, Sweden, native collected 60 points (11-49-60) during his rookie campaign and finished as the runner-up to Pavel Bure for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.  Lidstrom was named to the 1992 All-Rookie Team.  His stellar freshman season was simply a prelude of things to come over the next two decades.

Lidstrom spent all 20 seasons of his career in the Motor City, a rare feat in today’s professional sports landscape.  He never missed the playoffs during his career, advancing to the conference finals eight times, the Stanley Cup Final six times and winning the Stanley Cup four times in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.  In 2002, the steady defenseman became the first European-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP despite playing on a team littered with flashy NHL stars such as Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brett Hull, Dominik Hasek and Brendan Shanahan.  He was named captain of the Red Wings prior to the start of the 2006-07 season and led Detroit to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008 and 2009.  He became the first European-born captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup championship with a 4-2 series win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008. 

Lidstrom was recognized as the NHL’s top defenseman seven times over a 10-season span from 2001-2011.  His seven Norris Trophies (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) tie him with Doug Harvey for second most all-time, trailing only the legendary Bobby Orr (eight).  Lidstrom won his first Norris Trophy at age 31 and in 2011 he became the oldest player ever to win the award at age 41.  He holds Detroit’s single-season records for assists (64) and points (80) by a defenseman, ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,142 points and has the highest plus-minus rating (+450) in the NHL since 1991-92, his first year in the league.  Lidstrom was named a First Team All-Star 10 times during his career (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) and a Second Team All-Star twice (2009, 2010).  He was selected to play in 12 NHL All-Star Games (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) and picked to captain his squad in 2011.  Lidstrom ranks in the top three all-time among defensemen in the postseason with 54 goals (third), 129 assists (third), 183 points (second) and 30 power-play goals (first).  He was named the NHL’s player of the decade from 2000-2009 by both the Sporting News and SportsIllustrated.com.

Lidstrom’s durability over his 20-year career is nearly as impressive as his litany of accomplishments.  He missed just 44 regular season games since he entered the league in 1991-92.  Twelve of those 44 games came during the 2011-12 season.  Lidstrom played in every regular season game seven times during his career and played in 80-or-more games 14 times in 20 seasons.  Over his 20 consecutive playoff appearances, Lidstrom would miss just two postseason games due to injury, both in 2009.  He skated in 263 of the 265 playoff games the Red Wings played from 1992-2012.

Lidstrom also found success at the international level throughout his career.  He represented his native Sweden at numerous international competitions and is a member of the exclusive ‘Triple Gold Club’ having won an Olympic gold medal with Sweden in 2006 and an IIHF World Championship title in 1991 to go with his four Stanley Cup championships in Detroit.



Update: The Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, MLive, WXYZ and the rest of the world are confirming.


Update #2:

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w2j2's avatar

That will be the biggest night at “The Joe” since Yzerman was so honored.  Tickets will be hard to get.

Posted by w2j2 on 08/01/13 at 01:45 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I know a lot are liking that it’s against the Avs, but I have to admit I find it curious.  After being told for so long the “rivalry” was dead and only existed in the imagination of the Avs and their fans, this seems to indicate otherwise.

Retire it against CHI, or PIT, or OTT?  That’d have been a statement I guess too.

Just weird to me that they pick Colorado ina year we’re moving East.

Posted by Primis on 08/01/13 at 01:58 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Dammit.  I was hoping his number would be retired against the Cawks on January 22nd, but I shouldn’t be nitpicking.  Anyway, I’m gonna be seriously kerflempt as I was for Stevie Y’s number retirement ceremony.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 08/01/13 at 02:27 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

BREAKING NEWS: In retaliation, Colorado has announced that during their next home game against Detroit, they will retire #24 in honor of Jon Klemm.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/01/13 at 02:58 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think this has more to do with knowing that his kids’ hockey seasons will be over in March than anything else. That’s my best guess.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/01/13 at 03:02 PM ET

Neznarf's avatar

Any one have any idea when single game tickets go on sale? George?

Posted by Neznarf on 08/01/13 at 03:04 PM ET

igrover's avatar

Being so late in the season also means that it will get done after the Winter Classic and the Olympics are finished.  No need to do this when those events are still on the horizon.

Posted by igrover on 08/01/13 at 03:05 PM ET


One less available date for the team to retire 91.  Logjam.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/01/13 at 03:08 PM ET

Crater's avatar

YES! Gonna try to go for sure.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 08/01/13 at 03:21 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

At first, I wasn’t thrilled with the March 6th date, but…

*Obviously, Lidstrom’s kids’ hockey seasons will probably be over;
*The Olympics will have concluded, there will be enough time for the team to recover from the Winter Classic and having HBO follow them around, and the trade deadline probably will have passed on March 4th—with Lidstrom likely in attendance to help the front office in that regard;
*The Wings had such a remarkable rivalry with the Avs, and it’s entirely possible that Joe Sakic might show up alongside coach Patrick Roy to shake hands with Lidstrom;
*The next night, the Wings will play the Devils, so Lidstrom gets to chat with another immortal in Martin Brodeur;
*The Wings will just be home for two evenings, so this isn’t one of those five-or-six-game home swings where the team has to worry about the pressure of playing up to Lidtsrom’s standards for an extended period of time;
*He can always enjoy the team’s trip to New York over the weekend;
*If Lidstrom hangs around, the team will battle the Blackhawks and host the Leafs and Penguins on March 16th, 18th and 20th;
*If he doesn’t, he’ll still be able to take in a couple of Wings games and then enjoy spending some time with Tomas Holmstrom and his friends in Metro Detroit;
*And Easter takes place on April 18th, so he’ll be able to head home and hang out with the fam before bringing the kids over for what I’m sure will be an annual Easter Break trip to Florida.

The timing works out for him, works out for the Wings in terms of taking pressure off the team’s shoulders and eliminating as many distractions as possible, it allows Lidstrom to put his family first and THEN take part in trade deadline stuff, and he gets some free time to visit his pals as well.

It seems like a perfectly-decided-upon game, especially given that the each and every one of the Wings’ four Cups involved battling the Avs at some point!

As for tickets…Right now, the Wings are saying that only people with full-season or 20-game ticket packages will be able to access the game:

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/01/13 at 03:28 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Not an original 6 team, and by no means a rivalry game, but I thought it would have been nice to do it on a night Tampa was in town, so perhaps their GM could have been a part of the ceremony too ??? Just saying.

Posted by Down River Dan on 08/01/13 at 03:53 PM ET

awould's avatar

Glad they didn’t wait too long. Can’t think of a former NHL player more deserving on any team.

Posted by awould on 08/01/13 at 03:54 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

There will be a huge number of retired Wings in the chairs on the ice when he speaks.  They will be fun to see again.
Maybe Larry Murphy will be aloud to go up and give a toast? 
Vlady will be there for sure.
I am getting goosebumps already!


Posted by w2j2 on 08/01/13 at 04:14 PM ET


Great new for a great player. Way to go Lids!!!!

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 08/01/13 at 04:38 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I found a way to go to Stevie’s night…. pretty sure I’ll make it to #5’s too.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 08/01/13 at 04:50 PM ET


They chose the Avs ‘cause it’s probably the only sure win of their schedule around that time.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 08/01/13 at 04:52 PM ET

ClintonVerley's avatar

Tickets are already up to $100 for the nosebleeds on StubHub


Posted by ClintonVerley from Auburn Hills, MI on 08/01/13 at 06:07 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I’m sure the only reason they waited this long was Kenny’s hopes that Nick would come back.  Glad to know #5’s going into the rafters sooner than later.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 08/01/13 at 06:14 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m sure the only reason they waited this long was Kenny’s hopes that Nick would come back.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 08/01/13 at 06:14 PM ET

Kenny wasn’t the only one hoping.  I still held out faint hope for one or two more seasons.

Posted by Primis on 08/02/13 at 01:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Ditto, though I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Once Lidstrom said that he didn’t have the drive and that he felt his skills were slipping, I knew he was hanging ‘em up for good, but I always hoped against hope that he’d come back for the playoffs or take a final spin.

Regrettably, he kept saying that he was enjoying the hell out of being retired and how much he loved being a hockey dad…And in the end, he’s very happy, which is what matters, as hard as it is to know he’s hung ‘em up.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/02/13 at 01:58 AM 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.

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