Niklas Lidstrom Retirement: The End of an Era

Ryan KraftContributor IIMay 31, 2012

This morning Nicklas Lidstrom called it quits after 20 seasons (h/t Sports Illustrated).

One of the best Red Wings, defensemen and players of all time, Lidstrom's greatness will never be forgotten. Referred to by some as, 'The Perfect Human,' Liddy's achievements will never go unnoticed: 12 time All-Star, one World Champion (1991), four time Olympian, one Olympic Gold Medal, four Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe (2002), seven Norris trophies, the first European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup and a NHL record playing 1,564 games with one team.

It's amazing what he did. He was not only an unbelievable player, but an amazing person.

The captain had 20 amazing seasons with the Wings and although many people hoped he would return for another season, Liddy didn't believe he had enough left in the tank to continue his elite performances he would give every game. He said, "my drive and motivation are not where they need to be to play at this level."Β 

This is a very sad day for all of Michigan, one of the greatest Detroit sports players of all time is hanging up his skates. I think everyone would have loved to see him put a Wings jersey on for one more year, but you have to respect his decision and know that he did everything and more that Detroit asked from him. General Manager of the Red Wings, Ken Holland said, "I've been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997."

While this will take everyone a little while to soak in, the Wings will have to move on. They're not only losing their best player, but their captain; their heart and soul of the team; their backbone that keeps them playing at high level, game in and game out.

There is no one who can step in and be the Lidstrom of the Red Wings because like the captain before Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, he is not replaceable. Yzerman, known as 'The Captain,' was a special player that words cannot describe. Lidstrom is now in the same boat.

The Wings will definitely need some players to step up as leaders. While I was suspect of the leadership in the Red Wings locker room this past season, I have the utter most confidence that whoever is chosen to be the Red Wings next captain, if it will be Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall or someone else, will wear the C proudly and do his best to carry on the Red Wings legacy as one of the best franchises in all of sports. Β 

Lidstrom has had a phenomenal career and Detroit will dearly miss him. Although we all knew this day would come, I don't think anyone was really prepared. It is certainly, the end of an era. Next stop, Hall of Fame. We will miss you No. 5.Β 


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