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Officially Verklempt: Watch Nicklas Lidstrom’s presser and join me in going for the Kleenex

Jeebus monkey, I never thought I’d post a blog post about this, but…I said this on Twitter this morning, and I was right: my father passed away suddenly, I’ve had two major surgeries, battled depression and anxiety all my life, and today…Ranks up there with the hardest days of my life. Nicklas Lidstrom was my favorite red Wing, someone who came into the league the same year I began following hockey, and to lose that presence, to know that he’s going back to Sweden in a few weeks, to stay…

The presser is available via this post, as are several comments made by Lidstrom and the Wings’ brass, and you can watch the entire presser here:

I may be a semi-professional blogger, but you’re reading a Wings fan’s words here, and instead of covering the news stories in an as-they-come-in basis for the next two hours?

This strapping 34-year-old bald, fat man with a Jamie Hyneman-meets-Nick Oliveri goatee and an ability to blog through almost anything needs to go and have a good cry. I’ll be back in an hour or two and on the Lidstrom retirement stories like white on rice, but every once in a while, a fan needs to grieve, too. One of my role models in life and hockey has chosen to end his career, and while he will continue to be a fantastic husband and father, and likely a Red Wings employee—and while I do not believe that the “championship window” has closed upon the Wings, assuming that Ken Holland and the team’s management aggressively pursues free agent and trade possibilities…

I’m f***ing speechless and don’t know what the hell to say to comfort anyone right now. This is…This is like losing a part of your heart and your soul. All I can say is this: what a remarkable, remarkable human being we have been privileged to watch play hockey and be a good, kind and decent man over the past 20 years. The team will not fade away because of the examples and lessons he taught them, and because the Wings will be more aggressive than we’ve ever seen them in terms of assuring that the drop-off in the post-Lidstrom era is as small as humanly possible, but things will always be different after today.

I liked the fact that Mike Babcock refused to suggest that the team will do anything other than wait until training camp to determine who the captain will be while speaking to Fox Sports Detroit, I liked the fact that Niklas Kronwall suggested that the players will try to hold some sort of meeting at the end of the month to see where they go from here, and I think that the Wings are handling this remarkably, remarkably well and professionally, to the point that I fully believe they will be proving legions of doubters wrong around this time next season, or two or three seasons from now…

But as a Wings fan, I can’t be that professionally composed, and I hope you understand, because I’m guessing that many of you feel the same way.

At least I got to tell the man, face to face, that he was and is my favorite Wing.

And I can at least promise that we will try to get through this together, this grieving process that will mirror the real thing, by being kind and considerate of the fact that some of us will in fact be angry and pissed off at times, which is completely OK (and we won’t make fun of the people who continue to spell his name LiNdstrom, even after all this time), and that this is going to take a long time for the Wings—and us—to come to terms with.

It’s as cheesy as f***ing hell, but here’s an e-hug from me to you. I’ve gotta take a break here, but I’ll be back when I can spell again.

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Chet's avatar

yeah. i got choked up every time i thought about it, from last night until this morning.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/31/12 at 02:14 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Hang in there, George, It is an extremely sad day BUT the news about Shawn Burr yesterday has put everything in perspective. I wish I would have seen his last game live but I suppose I should take comfort that I got to see his last regular season game live. Just makin’ lemonade here…

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/31/12 at 02:16 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

There’s not one iota of anger in me about this. There’s a mix of emotions, but anger just isn’t one of them.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 02:28 PM ET


I’m not ready for this.  Don’t think I ever could be ready. :(

Posted by The Hair on 05/31/12 at 02:58 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

There’s not one iota of anger in me about this. There’s a mix of emotions, but anger just isn’t one of them.
Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 05/31/12 at 01:28 PM ET

Yup. I can’t begrudge him for not wanting to go through another grind of a season.

Hang in there, George, It is an extremely sad day BUT the news about Shawn Burr yesterday has put everything in perspective. 
Posted by Vladimir16 on 05/31/12 at 01:16 PM ET

It sure does put it in perspective. Speaking of which, how is your pops doing MO?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/31/12 at 02:58 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

goose bumps and tears. calling himself a representative of the city of detroit, was huge.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 05/31/12 at 03:12 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Here’s an e-hug back at ya, George.  I completely understand.  I decided to allow myself 24 hours of serious grief time over this.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 05/31/12 at 03:36 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’m pretty crushed over this too. It had to happen one of these years, so it’s really something we just have to swallow. It’s reality. He’s just done. Brendan Smith better develop quickly.

I just finished watching the press conference and I have to say my favorite part was when he started listing the special teammates he played with, starting with Stevie, Shanny, Hull, etc.

What was most amazing is that until he got to the current roster, he listed ALL hall of famers or future hall of famers (Ozzie I guess is debatable, but a HOFer in my book) and then he threw Drapes, Malts, and McCarty by name right in the middle of that list. All hall of famers and the friggin Grind line! That’s how important that line was to Lidstrom and the team. I really loved hearing that. Only in Detroit will someone nonchalantly speak of Draper, Maltby, and McCarty in the exact same breath as Larionov, Yzerman, Hull, Federov, Robitaille, Shanahan, Hasak and Ciccarelli. It’s amazing. It reminds me of when Babs, who’s clearly not usually known for being the sentimental type, started Drapes, Malts, and D-Mac one final time together when McCarty made his comeback. He did it to acknowledge what they meant to the team and the city and the crowd reacted accordingly. It was really one of those telling moments where you realized Babs truly “got it”. Lidstrom obviously “got it” too. In fact, “getting it” was probably his strongest talent. He “got it” better than most anyone in the history of the game. He will be missed (understatement of the year).

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 05/31/12 at 03:45 PM ET


Speaking of Babs…..was he at the presser…haven’t watched it yet

Posted by Wings9119 on 05/31/12 at 05:02 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

It was Yzerman for the longest time for me and he is still up there with Lidstrom. 1a and 1b. But I remember watching an interview where Yzerman was asked about how much he means to the team and his answer was that Lidstrom was that a lot more important to the team. For Steve Yzerman to say that was huge. And he wasn’t just saying that to be humble or to be the person we all know Yzerman to be. He was very serious and his words were ecoed by Bowman. I found myself watching Lidstrom more and more and was amazed by him every night. It was little things I started to notice, like how he kept the puck in the zone almost everytime. Or how he could almost never be beat wide. I would tell my friends who would say he isn’t as tough on players, or a heavy hitter that I always got more frustrated when an opponet would poke check the puck away, or be in the perfect position so I couldn’t get the puck than get hit hard. You don’t go back to bench after you get hit in front of the net with a cross check and get frustrated. When a player, with ease, just completly stops you with just a tap of the stick or a lift of the stick, that is just the worst in my book. And he did it night in and night out to the best players in the game. I noticed that I started to watch what type of equipment he was useing and how he taped his stick or even tied his skates, because you knew that however Lidstrom did, then it had to right. I might find myself liking other players but I always came back to #5 when I needed to see how to play the game the right way, or how to act, or where I should be on the ice. You could watch a game and even the best players would be out of position some times. Not him. You could count on your hands how many times he was caught up ice in 20 years.  He is just going to be missed. Thank you for everything #5.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 05/31/12 at 05:44 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar

If you get TSN feed with the introductions, Babs is in the audience but not on the dias and he did not speak.

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 05/31/12 at 06:12 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar


Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 05/31/12 at 06:12 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Speaking of which, how is your pops doing MO?

He just had another scan done. The 2 big tumors in the liver shrunk some more, not quite as much as the last time… but still going the right way. He’s still taking chemo & fighting the fight. The oncologist did tell us all to not get to wound up as they can resume growth at any time… but IF they continue shrink he could very well be a candidate for surgery that was ruled out after the diagnosis/prognosis. 
Thanks for asking man.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/31/12 at 06:22 PM ET

SYF's avatar

It’s your blog, George.  I thank you for your words on certainly what is one of the most emotional days for me as well.  First, Stevie Y and now, Lidstrom.

Hard, hard day for all of us but we’re willing to share it with you.

Thank you, Mr. Lidstrom.  Thank you for everything.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 05/31/12 at 07:03 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...join me in going for the Kleenex

I thought that might be the case as I pushed the Play button on the video, but there were far fewer tears than I expected. One reason is I think it’s obvious that Nick really is comfortable with his decision. It was his time to move on to the next phase of his life, and it’d be selfish of us to begrudge him that.

Besides, there were lots of smiles generated by the imagery in that video – from Nick lifting the Cup to the sight of the guy wearing the “Lindstrom” jersey when he won one of his Norris trophies. All things considered, the whole thing was pretty darn upliftng.

And Nick leaving this summer really drives home that this is the Summer of Transition. The “sword” is being passed to a new group of leaders (Z, Pavel, Helm, Nick Jr., Smith, and others). And, regardless of whether or not Suter and/or Parise, wear the Winged Wheel next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Wings of 2012-2013 use Nick’s (and probably Homer’s) leaving as motivation to play the best hockey of their careers.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/31/12 at 08:57 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.


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