|(Photo via slapshotcentral.tumblr.com)|
Stanley Cup Champion. Olympic Champion. World Champion. Norris Trophy Winner. Conn Smythe Recipient. All Star. After 20 dominant years, "Mr. Perfect" Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the franchise that drafted him 53rd overall in '89. He was selected after Sundin, Holik, Kolzig, Foote and Zamuner to name a few. He is the most decorated player of that draft and arguably the most important d-man of all time.
I unfortunately did not get to see Lidstrom play as much as I would have liked to, but the little that I saw was enough. He was one of those gifted athletes that read the game with ease. He had "ice vision", as he saw the play develop before anyone else. His offensive instinct was only matched by his defensive prowess. He was the complete package.
Lidstrom's career stats run down like I created him in an NHL video game. From Puck Daddy's statistical tribute to the Red Wings' #5, here's my favourite achievement:
The number of regular-season wins in which Lidstrom took part. He became the first NHL player to appear in 900 regular-season wins on Nov. 11, 2011, in a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Lidstrom was a plus-2.
He is a natural born winner who became the prototype for defensemen in today's NHL. This is a huge loss for the Red Wings, the NHL and hockey in general. It will be strange to see the Detroit lineup next season without Lidstrom. A class act throughout his career, humbly dominating the sport without an ego.
Click here to read an amazing tribute to Lidstrom by Ameridian from Winging It In Motown, an SB Nation Red Wings blog.