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Red Wings fans, prepare for Lidstrom Watch

Just about every indication suggests that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom has at least one or two seasons left in his spry 41-year-old legs, but Lidstrom did admit to missing his eldest son, Kevin (who moved back to Vasteras, Sweden to play hockey) very much, and as such, DetroitRedWings.com’s Jeff Sanford’s kicking off the annual Nicklas Lidstrom watch with the usual Lidstrom take—regardless of what happens on Friday, Lidstrom will sit down with his family and decide what he’s doing after the season ends:

“It’s tough to answer, I hope not,” said Lidstrom, when asked if Friday would be his final game in an illustrious NHL career, which began in 1991. “I want to continue to play in this playoffs and just keep going with this team.

“I’m going to wait until this season is over and make a decision about what I want to do,” he said. “That’s one thing I haven’t put in my mind yet. I’m so focused on playing right now, so that’s something I want to start thinking about when we’re done playing.”

Lidstrom was optimistic about the team’s future, regardless of whether he will be in the lineup next fall.

“Looking at the lineup we have, and looking at the depth that we have and the core group of guys we have that are in their prime right now, I have no doubt they’re going to be a successful team,” Lidstrom said.

So there, no, “Oh no, they’re not a contender, he’s leaving” stuff. I’ll be crossing my fingers, toes and veins, and whatever else I can cross, about Lidstrom’s hopefully likely decision return, and while I’m guessing that he’ll be back, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Wings attempt to convince Lidstrom to stay in Novi instead of moving back to Sweden when his career does end. Lidstrom’s suggested that he’d like to get involved in coaching youth hockey when his career is over, but he’s at least entertained the possibility of working with the Wings in some capacity.

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drimo's avatar

How about coach the defense?  Run the PK.  Seriously.  Would he be a candidate for assistant to Babcock, or would it be too much of a stretch considering how close he is to the players, like Dave Lewis?

Posted by drimo from Cincinnati, OH on 05/05/11 at 05:09 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I’m glad Nick won’t admit to having thought about this before the playoffs are over.  I thought it was pretty dumb of Mike Modano to start talking about it when he did.

I think we all wish #5 could stay forever, but…..

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

If I was a bettin’ man (I don’t bet and I’m not a man), I’d say he hangs it up if the Wings are eliminated early.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 05/05/11 at 07:51 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

He’s had a hall of fame career and has a lock on a first ballot initiation. He could have quit yesterday and still been the greatest defensemen of either a generation or of all time. I wish him lots of luck wherever he ends up. It’s been a lot of fun watching him play, and while I’d love another season or two, he’s earned doing whatever he feels like.

BUT if he does retire, which forwards will Detroit trade away for defensemen?

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/05/11 at 09:38 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

BUT if he does retire, which forwards will Detroit trade away for defensemen?

Hudler, and possibly Flip, to any takers.  Not necessarily for a defenseman so much as to get rid of their unwarranted cap hits and give the Wings some flexibility.  If Lidstrom retires, or even if he doesn’t and we have to move both of the aforementioned forwards to get the cap room, I’d like nothing better than to read on July 1st, “Shea Weber signs offer sheet with detroit red wings”.  Or Drew Doughty, for that matter.  Heck, there’s a number of second tier guys out there on broke teams (Bogosian, Yandle) as that could probably be had for a pretty reasonable offer sheet; short of Rafalski money at least.

Sadly, I don’t expect that’ll happen- nor do I think we’ll get a defenseman back from a forward trade that’s really more than a second pairing guy at best but, even so, the future isn’t that dim.  Kronwall, Stuart, Rafalski (And mind you, I’d love to see him shipped out too, he’s just not worth his cap hit), Kindl, Smith, Ericsson.  That’s not a bad unit.  One more veteran, Salei or Lilja type (Maybe Radek Martinek?) to give depth and give Smith some press box nights for development’s sake and that’s a unit you could win with.

To be honest; I’m not altogether convinced that Meech isn’t a serviceable NHL defenseman.  He, and now Ericsson, are routinely hated around these parts for their error-prone, inconsistant play but what Wing (excluding Datsyuk, Z, Draper and Lidstrom) hasn’t make a ton of mistakes over the last 2-3 years?  We’re an undisciplined team in terms of assignments and attention to detail.  That’s just the way it is, now, and that’s what needs to be addressed far more than the personnel does.  Correct that and I think these young, error prone guys will look good, and the old error-prone guys will return to the type of dominance we expect.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/06/11 at 04:14 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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