Thursday, May 31, 2012
The guy the Detroit Red Wings nicknamed "The Perfect Human" – their captain for the past six seasons and a sure lock for Hall of Fame status – is officially hanging up his winged-wheel sweater and retiring after 20 remarkable years in the Motor City.
Lidstrom made the announcement Thursday during a press conference at Joe Louis Arena, an event attended by coach Mike Babcock, GM Ken Holland, Lidstrom's family and several current and former teammates from the Red Wings.
Lidstrom helped the Red Wings win four Stanley Cups and seven times was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman.
Lidstrom, who turned 42 on April 28, played in a whopping 1,564 regular-season games in his NHL career to put him second behind only Gordie Howe on Detroit’s all-time list. He also piled up 1,142 points, fourth most in franchise history, by scoring 264 goals and adding 878 assists. His plus-450 career plus-minus rating ranks No. 8 in League history and nearly equals the paltry 514 minutes he spent in the penalty box.
Lidstrom's career numbers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are just as impressive.
No other Red Wings player appeared in more postseason games (263), as he never missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also scored 54 goals to go with 129 assists for a total of 183 career playoff points and finished with a sterling plus-61 rating.
Lidstrom also decided 11 postseason games with game-winning goals and became the first European-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (2002) before becoming the first European to captain his team to a Stanley Cup title in 2008.
Lidstrom, who made 12 NHL All-Star Games and was voted a First-Team All-Star 10 times, also holds the NHL record for most games played by a player who spent his entire career with one franchise.
This past season, he also became just the sixth Detroit-based athlete in the four major North American professional sports to play at least 20 years all in the Motor City. Red Wings legends Alex Delvecchio (24) and Steve Yzerman (22), Detroit Tigers stars Al Kaline (21) and Alan Trammell (20) and Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson (20) are the others.