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Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will return to Wings, signs 1-year deal at $6.2 million

Updated 5x w/ press release—ESPN’s LeBrun says Lidstrom signed for $6.2 million: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, Gunnar Nordstrom was right in suggesting that Nicklas Lidstrom will return to the Red Wings for at least one more season:

The Red Wings got their man when legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom told team officials last week that he will return for a 20th NHL season.

Terms of Lidstrom’s one-year contract were not finalized before today when the 41-year-old captain and general manager Ken Holland got together in Las Vegas. The Wings’ pair is in Vegas for Wednesday’s NHL Award Show, where Lidstrom will learn if he won Norris Trophy for the seventh time in his career. He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

Continued...

Update: According to the Wings’ Twitter account, the Wings will make things official via an 11 AM news conference; the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness and MLive’s Ansar Khan, who says that the WIngs are still talking to Jonathan Ericsson and plan on bringing Brendan Smith up in a Jakub Kindl-like role; via RedWIngsFeed, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun confirms that Lidstrom told Holland on Sunday, and the AP’s Larry Lage confirms as well.

Update #2: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan and Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji confirm.

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, the Sporting News’s Craig Custance and the Free Press’s George Sipple also confirm.

Update #4: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun says Lidstrom signed for his 2010-2011 salary of $6.2 million.

Update #5: Here’s the official press release:

RED WINGS AND CAPTAIN NICKLAS LIDSTROM AGREE TO TERMS ON ONE-YEAR DEAL

...Six-Time Norris Trophy Winner Returns For 20th Season…

Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland announced today that the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on a one-year contract.  In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lidstrom, 41, will return for his 20th season in Hockeytown.  He was Detroit ’s third-round pick (53rd overall) in the 1989 National Hockey League Entry Draft.  The Vasteras, Sweden, native has won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman six times during his career (2001, ’02, ’03, ’06, ’07, ’08).  He is the first European-born captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup championship (2008) and the first European-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP (2002).  Lidstrom is a four-time Stanley Cup champion (1997, ‘98, 2002, ‘08), holds Detroit’s single-season records for assists (64) and points (80) by a defenseman, ranks fourth in franchise history in games played (1,494) and points (1,108), and has the highest plus-minus rating (+429) since 1991-92, his first year in the NHL.  He was named the NHL’s player of the decade (2000-09) by both the Sporting News and SportsIllustrated.com.

“We’re thrilled that Nick has decided to come back and play another year.  He’s coming off an outstanding season and in my opinion, even at age 41, continues to be the top two-way defenseman in the world,” said Holland .

In 2010-11, Lidstrom finished second among NHL defensemen with 62 points (16-46-62) and was one of only two Red Wings to appear in all 82 games.  He is a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman for the 11th time in the last 13 seasons.  Should Lidstrom win the Norris, he would tie Doug Harvey for second-most all-time with seven and trail only the legendary Bobby Orr (8).

Lidstrom currently ranks second all-time with 258 career postseason games played (Chris Chelios – 266) and is second all-time among defenseman with 183 playoff points (Paul Coffey – 196).  His 54 postseason goals rank him third all-time among NHL blue-liners.

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Slumpy's avatar

He played in all 82 games and finished 2nd in defenseman scoring as a 40 yr old.
It would of been insulting to offer Lids anything less than what he made last season.
He’s played his whole career here so I’m fine with his new contract amount.

Welcome back you legend.

Montreal has three good defenseman UFA: Markov 32 yrs old, local boy Wisniewski and 2010 SC Blackhawks SC ring wearer Sopel and steady stay at home defenseman. I wouldn’t mind Kenny signing any one of those three.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 06/20/11 at 02:35 PM ET

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I’d be very pleased with Laich or Cole, I’d also be pretty happy with Fleishmann and if I thought there was a chance in hell that we could sign Richards I might entertain the idea of being very happy, but I just don’t see that happening, unless Kenny neglects the defense to do so and I sure don’t want that to happen.

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 02:40 PM ET

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hopefully holland finds some good stuff to smoke because if he doesnt get rid of hudler and is going to pay ericcson more than 2 million (when kronwall is at 3 million! come on!), I’m not watching anymore. ericsson wants close to 3 million - essentially (fiscally speaking) ericsson thinks hes half as good as lidstrom. let him go, damn near the whole league wants to play on this team, ericsson wants a pay day. just like hudler did. let them both go. they’re not team first, stanley cup wanting guys in my eyes

Posted by diesel44 on 06/20/11 at 02:40 PM ET

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BTW, I think this is why I like jussi jokinen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smx_-Q92Lco

Posted by diesel44 on 06/20/11 at 02:43 PM ET

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I wouldn’t mind Kenny signing any one of those three.

I’d be extremely happy with Wisniewski, I’d be fine with Sopel if Ericsson leaves but not so hot on him if he’s the #2/3 guy and I would be very hesitant about Markov, what with him barely playing because of injuries over the last two years.

My thinking is that if they didn’t offer Lilja a contract after his concussion year, I wouldn’t think they’d be interested in a guy who only played 7 games last season and a total of 52 over the past two seasons.

I’ve also read that all signs are pointing to the Habs re-signing Markov…

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 02:44 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Fantastic news.  A slam dunk,

For the people (or person) who thinks that Lidstrom should have taken a pay cut, in a way, if you look at his contract as a percentage of the Wings overall cap, he actually did.  His contract accounted for 10.4% of the Wings cap last year and will only account for 9.6% of it this year.  And remember, his 2009 season wasn’t all that great and this year he’s coming off a season where he was a Norris Trophy Candidate.

And, for those who think he should have signed for, say, $5 million, instead of $6.2 million, how is that really going to help the Wings? 

I really don’t think they have anything good to spend their money on.  They have Rafalski’s $6.5 million to spend on his replacement.  I don’t think anyone they sign to fit that role will be worth $6.5 million or will be offered that.  I would be surprised if the player they sign made much more than Stuart and Kronwall’s $3.75 million.  Even if we assumed that Rafalski’s replacement was signed for $4 - $4.5 million, given that the cap wnet up, the Wings still have plenty of space.  The problem is, however, that there really isn’t anyone out there.  I like Brooks Laich.  I think he’d be a good fit.  The Wings could use a guy like him, but he’s not a $5 million a year guy.  Neither is Joel Ward, Tanguay, Arnott, Erik Cole and whoever else is available.  So, in essence, the Wings have some money to burn this year.  (I am setting Richards aside for the moment, since I don’t see that happening.)  Since Lidstrom is on a year-by-year basis if his performance takes a hit this year, the Wings aren’t locked into his deal next year.

If you look at all of the defensemen in the league who are currently making more than Lidstrom, I think you will see that even at 40/41, you’d rather have Lidstrom on your team than (at least) half of these guys:

Keith
Pronger
Chara
Campbell
Phaneuf
Timonen
Boyle
Bouwmeester
Redden

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/20/11 at 02:45 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I breathe now.

Thanks, Nicklas.  Really ‘preciate this.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 06/20/11 at 02:49 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

As far as forwards go, I’d take Laich or Fleischmann.  Gagne would be good for a flier if he comes around $2-3. Not a lot of choice out there for Forwards this season either. Lotta older guys who’ve outlived their usefulness.

On the bright side Kopecky is UFA, and I hear Forsberg might want to play along side Pav and Z.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/20/11 at 02:52 PM ET

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Great for Detroit and great for a league that needs more class and sportsmanship.

Posted by Another Habs Fan on 06/20/11 at 02:53 PM ET

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Good to have Nicki Lid back! On another note: Tomas Jurco on Friday afternoon - Let’s hope he’s still available at 24

Posted by Jesters Dead on 06/20/11 at 02:57 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

hopefully holland finds some good stuff to smoke because if he doesnt get rid of hudler and is going to pay ericcson more than 2 million (when kronwall is at 3 million! come on!), I’m not watching anymore

Nice knowing you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/11 at 03:03 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

GEEZUZ - I left the house for a few hours and just found out!  Now my fingernails can grow back.

THANK YOU NICK! 

Why not?  A 20th season, a 5th Stanley Cup, and his buddy Homer still around to deflect those perfectly placed shots into the net.

Life is good.

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/20/11 at 03:08 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Great news for all of hockey, and particularly to all you Wings fans.

Having two of the classiest, most skilled players in the game serve as captain for a span of 25 or so years is such an incredible testament to your franchise in this modern era. /jealous admiration

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/20/11 at 03:19 PM ET

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as i am not a nerd, i don’t know what “trolling” means.

i can’t state my opinion if it’s unpopular i guess. i’m sorry i look at the red wings objectively and don’t blindly support every move they make. i’m a fan, not a fan-boy like most of you.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 03:30 PM ET

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Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 01:30 PM ET

You know, you’ve got a point.  It IS objective to complain that the best defenseman in the business is selfish for not playing for peanuts.

Jackass.

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 03:34 PM ET

tkfergy's avatar

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 01:34 PM ET

Agreed

Posted by tkfergy on 06/20/11 at 03:40 PM ET

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even if he wanted $8 mil a year I’d still want him in the line-up. i’m just saying, let’s be honest and admit it’s kind of a douchey, me-first move on his part.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 03:42 PM ET

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as i am not a nerd, i don’t know what “trolling” means.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 01:30 PM ET

You know trolling is a “nerd” word, proving you not only know what it means, but also how much you’re trolling around (or at least trying to)

Fail troll is fail?

Posted by Zqto from Brazil on 06/20/11 at 03:45 PM ET

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i’m just saying, let’s be honest and admit it’s kind of a douchey, me-first move on his part.

I’m just saying, you’re a douche.

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 03:49 PM ET

calquake's avatar

even if he wanted $8 mil a year I’d still want him in the line-up. i’m just saying, let’s be honest and admit it’s kind of a douchey, me-first move on his part.


As opposed to, let’s say, any other D-man who could hit the market as a free agent and command $8-10mil with his resume.  All I can say is you are entitled to your opinion, misinformed as it may be, but you don’t appear to know anything about the Red Wing organ-i-za-tion and how it operates.  We are all happy as hell Lidstrom has decided to play one more year.  It’ll probably be his last so enjoy it while you can folks, we won’t see his kind pass through the NHL for a very long time.

Posted by calquake on 06/20/11 at 03:51 PM ET

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Garth, you’re the one who thinks playing for 4 or 5 mil a year is “peanuts” and I’M the douche?

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 03:51 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Great news for all of hockey, and particularly to all you Wings fans.

Having two of the classiest, most skilled players in the game serve as captain for a span of 25 or so years is such an incredible testament to your franchise in this modern era. /jealous admiration

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/20/11 at 01:19 PM ET

Nice to see a generous and classy comment from a non-Red-Wings-fan. 

Thanks!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/20/11 at 03:52 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Thinking of getting a t-shirt printed that says:  “Doesn’t play with trolls.”

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/20/11 at 03:53 PM ET

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calquake, i know exactly how it works. aging red wing veterans take significant pay cuts in the twilight of their careers to free up some money to increase the quality of the on-ice product, thereby increasing their own chance at a stanley cup.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 03:54 PM ET

calquake's avatar

calquake, i know exactly how it works. aging red wing veterans take significant pay cuts in the twilight of their careers to free up some money to increase the quality of the on-ice product, thereby increasing their own chance at a stanley cup.

Thank you for defeating your own arguement with your own words.  And if you don’t understand that then I have nothing more to say to you.  Have a great day sir.

Posted by calquake on 06/20/11 at 04:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Excellent point from @bradonweb from twitter:

Adjusting Keith to his mid season contract the average cost for the Norris since 2006 is 7.8 million. Lidstrom is a bargain.

$6.2M for a Norris-caliber defenseman is a significant bargain.  If Lidstrom didn’t believe he could put up a Norris-caliber season, he wouldn’t be playing. 

I simply don’t believe that anybody who would be willing to describe something that Lidstrom has ever done as “douchey” on a Red Wings blog is that interested in actual conversation or in objective analysis.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/11 at 04:05 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

jmb, yes, that’s how it works sometimes.  But here’s the deal.

While Lidstrom is aging and is in the twilight of his career, he is a Norris Trophy Candidate, which means that, age 40/41, he is still one of the top defensemen in the entire league.  This isn’t Chris Chelios playing 6-7 minutes a game as the 6th defensemen or even Stevie Y gutting it out on one leg and playing a reduced role.

Lidstrom isn’t quite what he used to be, but he’s still not very far off the mark.  Go and look at what other NHL defensemen are making on an per year basis and tell me that Lidstrom isn’t still worth $6.2 million.

Also, as explained earlier, there really isn’t much point to Lidstrom taking a pay cut this year.  Realisitically, given what’s out there in the UFA market and the Wings current salary and roster structure, even if Lidstrom took $3 million instead of $6.2, it really would be unlikely to help them win the Cup this year.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/20/11 at 04:07 PM ET

kcameron's avatar

The words “Forseberg playing with Pav and Z” should get you banned from this site.

Posted by kcameron from Portland OR on 06/20/11 at 04:13 PM ET

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thank you, Ajax19 for your thoughtful reply. though i don’t buy the argument (that’s how you spell that,, calquake) that him taking less money would not improve their cup chances this year. more money is more money. every bit of flexibility counts in a salary cap world.

i’m shocked no one agrees with me even slightly.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 04:15 PM ET

perfection's avatar

jmb

wow… the responses to your post are childish and absurd. whether folks agree with you or not.

i actually brought up this very point before last year (with similar, but slightly more respectful responses) - it’s not that Lidstrom isn’t actually WORTH the 6.2 mil, but rather, if he REALLY wants to win a cup that badly, he could have single handedly improved the team exponentially by taking 4.5 or 5 instead of 6. it’s a fair point and of course I’d also take him at 6, 7, or 8 million as you pointed out, so I don’t really understand how making that point makes you a “troll” or a “douche”, but that tends to be the way a few folks disagree around these parts, they are not so much into discussion a lot of the time.

to address your point - i’m just thrilled he’s back and seeing that the cap has raised 5mil plus we surprisingly lost our worst contract in Rafalski, I don’t really think Lidstrom’s cap hit is that big of a deal this season… especially for what he brings to the table. It’s really priceless (which I’m guessing is the reason for all of the reactionary mudslinging). I do think a lower hit could have significantly helped us last year, but hey, Lidstrom has earned whatever he wants. That’s just the facts. But, if you go through his annual salaries over his career and add it all up, the man has made just an obscene amount of money. You have to wonder what his motivations are I guess… which goes to your point. If he’s truly chasing one more cup, a final paycut does seem to be the logical move, but if he’s chasing more Bentleys or Farraris… well, then that’s cool too I guess.

Not sure why simply discussing this subject matter makes one a douche or uninformed? It’s a salary cap game and salaries make a difference. Nobody would fault a player in their prime trying to get their “pay day” because careers are short and you have to get your fortune while you have the chance. But it is extremely common for veterans who have made fortunes many times over to take cuts for the sake of winning or the team or whatever. You could obviously argue that $6.2mil IS a cut from what he is truly worth, but in a very literal sense, it’s not a cut from last year, so it’s at least worthy of discussion. but perhaps your point jmb is simply lost in the excitement of getting the greatest defenseman of my lifetime back for one more (and probably last) year.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/20/11 at 04:19 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

The words “Forseberg playing with Pav and Z” should get you banned from this site.

LOL Sorry, forgot the sarcasm font.

So for you folk who think Lids is being greedy by taking $6.2, never mind the statistical arguments for a moment. But what happens with the NHLPA if he he takes a salary less than that? He’s already well below his value. Taking less could throw the entire FA market out of whack and there would be about 1000 people a bit upset that his actions have at least partly screwed their payday.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/20/11 at 04:30 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Not sure why simply discussing this subject matter makes one a douche or uninformed

Since you’re actually not a troll, I’ll happily discuss this with you.

You are grossly misunderstanding things when you’re calling out the commenters here as reactionary.

But when the first thing you have to say are that he’s selfish and it means he doesn’t care about winning the cup as much as you think he should, my humble opinion is that you deserve to get treated like you have a ballsack for a face.

He could have helped the team MORE by taking less money, but as has been discussed by many of the cooler heads, there doesn’t seem to be a real need to versus many of the other factors at play.  His decision to choose not to be underpaid by $2M doesn’t make him selfish and the idea that he’s made enough money in his career that he should suddenly take significantly less than market value ignores plenty of other things. 

As much as he may “owe” the Red Wings, he also “owes” the NHLPA to not intentionally undercut himself and cause a ripple-effect unnecessary rollback in players’ salaries because he’s gotten to the point where he has simply “made enough money.”  You know why most players in the league don’t attack him during net-front scrums?  Because everybody respects him.  If he takes a $4M salary to be one of the ten-best defensemen in the league, he’s doing his fellow players a big disservice; he’s not even doing it for a particularly noble reason either (since under the same argument that he’s “earned enough money in his career” you could also say that he’s “won enough cups” and should just retire)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/11 at 04:39 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

more money is more money. every bit of flexibility counts in a salary cap world.

Exactly.  There’s the problem.

For sake of argument, let’s say Lidstrom took $3 million, instead of $6.2 million, giving the Wings an extra $3 million this year to work with.

What do you do with this $3 million?

One thing you can’t do is waste it by signing players to long term deals that eat up your cap space just because you have it.  Just because you have more money, doesn’t necessarily mean you spend it.  Long term contracts can negatively impact flexibility in future years.  Just look at next year. Lidstrom, Stuart, Kronwall, Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Hudler and Filppula are all UFA’s.  So, the Wings will either need to re-sign some of these guys or find their replacements on the UFA market.  We’re talking 1-3 Top 4 d-men and a few Top 6 forwards.  Cap flexibility will be key next year.  You don’t want the Wings cap space eaten up by contracts entered into this year “just because.” 

So, unless you think there are one or two guys who would be willing to sign one year deals - to take advantage of Lidstrom’s bargin bin price - or can name some players you think are worth investing that cap space (which will need to be used to address major possible holes next year, like Nick’s potential replacement), then “more money” isn’t really “more money” and any perceived flexibility is all just an illusion that could bite you in the ass in the year’s to come.

Simply put, as stated above, given the Wings current roster and cap structure and the available free agents out there, I don’t think the Wings would really stand to gain all that much even if they did save $3 million.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/20/11 at 04:46 PM ET

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Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 01:51 PM ET

You admit that he’s worth more than he signed for, yet you’re made that he didn’t sign for less.

Yes.  YOU are the douche.

every bit of flexibility counts in a salary cap world.

Of course it does, but that doesn’t make him selfish for not taking MORE of a discount.

Nevermind that he has not, in the past 5 years, made what he’s worth.

aging red wing veterans take significant pay cuts in the twilight of their careers

The thing you’re missing is that these guys who took significant pay cuts took them because they took smaller roles with the team acknowledging that their skills were diminishing.

Nick Lidstrom is very likely to win the NORRIS TROPHY this week.  I wonder how many Norris winners took a pay cut the following year….

I don’t really understand how making that point makes you a “troll” or a “douche”

That’s not what makes him a trolling douche.  What makes him a trolling douche is calling Lidstrom selfish for doing it.  Nick has been underpaid for much of his career and could easily have, and continued to, force the Wings to make him the highest paid player in the league and he hasn’t done that, so to call him selfish and douchey for making $6M instead of $5M makes jmb the trolling douche.

And let’s all take a breathe and realize that him taking $1M less is not going to dramatically change what the Wings can do this off-season.

it’s not a cut from last year

He had a better year this year than last.  Why does that warrant a salary cut?

Posted by Garth on 06/20/11 at 05:07 PM ET

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*sigh*
how am i suppose to argue with someone who spells mad “made” and breath “breathe”?

pointless.

and i’m still waiting for someone to explain what a troll is. from what i gather it’s someone who disagrees with the consensus. in which case i’m proud to be a troll.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 05:11 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

i can’t state my opinion if it’s unpopular i guess. i’m sorry i look at the red wings objectively and don’t blindly support every move they make. i’m a fan, not a fan-boy like most of you.

I’m with you to an extent JMB, but I’m happy as hell that Lidstrom is back.  I would have liked to have seen something more in the 4.5 - 5 million range.  Six would be a moare equitable contract if he weren’t in his forties and on a one year deal.  Most Norris trophy contenders are still in their prime, e.g. Doughty, Chara…  Nonetheless, I’m just happy to have the guy back, even if it does cost six million.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/20/11 at 05:13 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s spelled “supposed.”

Also, “I’m” is the correct spelling of that contraction.

If you’re hip enough to know what a fan-boy is, you’re hip enough to know what trolling is.  Nobody on the internet owes you an explanation.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/11 at 05:15 PM ET

Avatar

by “hip” you must mean nerdy. and no i am not.

Posted by jmb on 06/20/11 at 05:23 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Something else to consider in light of his contract is that Lidstrom, by all accounts, has always intended to return home after his playing days are over.  He will end up losing far, far more of the money he made during his career than all North American players and most European players will to taxes.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/20/11 at 05:26 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Pride in ignorance is an ill-aimed defensive measure.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/11 at 05:29 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.