The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/20/13 at 03:48 PM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, former Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom's in Gothenburg, Sweden today to take part in a photo shoot for a clothing line (seriously), and Goteborgs-Tidingen's Johan Skold asked Lidstrom about the role of a "retstickor"--literally translated, a "teaser," or what we might call "instigators" or "shift disturbers"--in winning playoff hockey. Here's a rough translation of what Lidstrom had to say about the topic:
"I think that, especially in playoff games, it's important to have a 'teaser,'" he says when GT/Expressen meets him in Gothenburg during a photo shoot for the clothing brand Bjornklader.
"If you can annoy the opponent or build up your team's confidence by doing certain things on the ice--there's a certain kind of player who can shift the series in a way that favors their own team," he explains.
He mentions that a player like Sean Avery was difficult to deal with but all the better to have on his team. Another is, of course, Tomas Holmstrom.
"It can be decisive in a playoff series to have those kinds of players. They can disrupt the other team so much. In such instances Tomas Holmstrom was no slouch. He was near the goalie, and in their face all the time--and it upset players and it's exactly those kinds of players who are very useful in playoff games."
Something that's been a hot topic in Sweden of late is this season's hockey fights. After 20 years in the NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom played in the North American style of hockey, where fighting's more acceptable.
"I think that as long as the players are willing to fight, and it's a fair fight, I think you can let them do it. Butif somebody falls and the other guy has a huge advantage, the referee needs to come in. but if twoguys want to go, I think they'll get to it.
In the playoff series beween Frolunda [Gothenburg's team] and Lulea there was a big hullabaloo when Lulea's Joonas Vikho checked Per-Johan Axelsson so hard that he had to leave the game. Afterward it was speculated that Vikho would face a tough time at [the Indians' stadium, the] Scandinavium, and might face possible pay-back.
Is it right to send someone out there to show that an action's not acceptable?
"It depends on how it's done. You can't send a player who's going to take a stupid penalty, or do something that harms their team. But you can prove that you don't accept what happened nevertheless. Without taking a penalty. By playing physically.
Nicklas Lidstrom was involved in one of the most extreme exaples of a pure act of revenge.
It was when the Detroit Red Wings met the Colorado Avalanche in March, 1997. Detroit tough guy Darren McCarty jumped Colorado's Claude Lemieux in a revenge attack for an ugly hit that Lemieux made on McCarty's best friend and teammate, Kris Draper, a year earlier.
McCarty became the game's hero. Lemieux had to leave the ice and bloody fights followed each other throughout the game--including one between Peter Forsberg and Igor Larionov.
"It was one of those times. Darren McCarty waited until the following year and took the opportunity. But you can't hurt your team. Especially not in a playoff game. That can eliminate your own team. You have to be selective without players being kicked out of the game," says Lidstrom.
Darren McCarty was given a fighting major plus two minutes for the attack but wasn't kicked out of the game. Instead, and fittingly, he decided the game's result in the end.
"At that time, nobody thought it was unusual that McCarty was allowed to keep playing," says Nicklas Lidstrom, laughing.
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