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‘Roughly Translated’: Nicklas Lidstrom’s Swedish biography, ‘Captain Fantastic,’ comes out this week

Via RedWingsFeed, Expressen's Simon Norberg has penned a preview of Nicklas Lidstrom's biography, Lidstrom: Captain Fantastic, and unsurprisingly, the excerpt-and-interview focuses upon the most painful injury of Lidstrom's career, his lacerated testicle suffered during the Western Conference Final in 2009.

Here's a rough translation of the interview, overview and excerpt:

Lidstrom on why the injury was kept secret

Nicklas Lidstrom's career is an unparalleled hockey saga. Now, for the first time, he tells about the journey in a frank biography.

Among other things, you can read about the injury which hampered him in the playoffs in 2009, which he kept secret.

"I've been asked to write a book for years, and after consulting with people who have experience, I decided to document my career," says Lidstrom.

Next week, the book Nicklas Lidstrom, Captain Fantastic, published by Sportforlaget publishing house, will be in trade paperback.

It's Sport-Expressen's long-time NHL reporter Gunnar Nordstrom, based out of Los Angeles, who's the author of the biography of Nicklas Lidstrom's great hockey career.

Among other things, you can read about Lidstrom's contract dispute with Vasteras IK, about the injury he hid, and additionally Nicklas' wife Annika speaks candidly about life in the United States.

The injury that he kept secret

The most talked-about and most difficult loss of Nicklas Lidstrom's phenomenal hockey career occurred during the playoffs in the semifinals against Chicago in 2009, when a stick slash met an unfortunate part of his body, so his testicle was injured.

He had lightning-quick surgery and missed two games, but was back in the lineup a few days later when the final series against Pittsburgh began.

Lidstrom lost a few pounds in the week after the operation, but the damage could have been even worse.

"I was very swollen right up against the stomach. Doctors at the hospital found that had I had been lightly slashed. It could have been much worse," he says in the biography.

"Received request for several years"

Nicklas Lidstrom has been asked to do a biography earlier in his career, but for various reasons, he declined.

"I've been asked to write a book for years, and after consulting with some who have experience, I decided to document my career," he says.

But the 192-page book is also filled with many strong and private pictures, and not everything is as it seems.

"Some events I have chosen to not take up, when it was about sensitive things that happened around the team."

Contract row over

Another strong moment of his career came in the early years.

Nicklas Lidstrom came forward like a steamroller in Vasteras and made his debut in the end of the 80's in Vasteras IK's first team and was already 18 years old. There were three seasons with the team before, in the spring of 1991, he decided to break the contract with Vasteras, which really could have applied to another season, to go over to Detroit and try to break into the NHL team. But the transition to the NHL team was not entirely painless. The book reveals that for Lidstrom the decision was not popular with the club management, and Vasteras IK demanded a large sum of money to release him.

"VIK had some problems with the economy, and probably saw a chance to get more money at the box office. It was a messy period for me, and I didn't know what to do. I decided to move to Detroit and test the NHL. There was nothing that would get me to change my decision," says Nicklas lin th book.

Planned births

Nicklas Lidstrom's wife, Annika, also is given a separate chapter in the book, where she speaks about her life as a player's wife in the NHL.

Annika and Nicklas had four children together during their years in the United States. Because Nicklas played in so many games, the births were planned.

"Kevin and Adam, the first boys, were born in the spring in the middle of the hockey season, and their births, we were planning their schedule so Nicklas could be with me. Yes, that was nothing unusual," she says in the book.

Was it nerve-wracking for you, Nicklas, that you read the chapter in retrospect?

"It was interesting to read the piece to hear how Annika had experienced our time in the United States, although we talked about it a lot. I was glad that she wanted to write about it, too," he says.

Additionally, "Lidas" is hailed by perhaps the sport's greatest of all time, Wayne Gretzky.

"He was really special. It's not often that you see a player who's as good defensively as he is offensively. He was the first player Detroit sent out on the ice when they had to kill a penalty, and he was the first to be called when it was time for a power play. It's very unusual ,and says everything about Lidstrom's qualities," says Gretzky.

Here's the excerpt as well:

Nicklas Lidstrom had very few injuries during his hockey career. But an injury he suffered could have ended very badly for him.

"I was very swollen right up against my stomach. The doctors at the hospital in Chicago determined to pursue and put me out. It could have been much worse," he says in the biography.

The worst damage of Lidstrom's career came in the playoffs in the semifinals against Chicago in 2009 when a stick blade met an unfortunate part of the body, so that a testicle was injured.

"It happened on Friday and we had a game against Chicago again on Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning and had a fever, sweating, and extreme pain in the genital area. Our doctor gave me some painkillers, which I took with a glass of water, but I vomited them up out at once," says Nicklas.

He was rushed to a hospital in Chicago and operated on immediately.

"I had to spend the night in the hospital and then waited a few days to rest before I could put myself to the test cycle and move around carefully for the first time after the operation."

He missed two games because of the lightning-quick operation, but was back in the lineup a few days later when the final series against Pittsburgh began.

Lidstrom lost a few pounds during the week after the surgery.

"I couldn't eat during the first days and played with some inconvenience in subsequent games. I was clearly inhibited in the final series. It took me a few games to get my strength back, but I tried to struggle on as best I could in the first final meetings with Pittsburgh.

He had a blessing in disguise that the injury was not worse.

"It was very swollen right up against my stomach, and the doctors in Chicago found that had I been passed lightly. It could have been much worse."

Data on Lidstrom's operation was kept secret, and he himself was given a gag order. Outwardly the Red Wings said that it just concerned a "lesion on the lower body" or a "lower-body injury" as it's called in NHL language.

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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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