1,827 regular season and playoff games played.
1,325 total career points.
20 consecutive playoff seasons.
7 Norris Trophies.
4 Stanley Cups.
1 Conn Smythe Trophy.
1 Olympic Gold Medal.
I would say that an amazing resume for the best defenseman of all time. I am now going to say something that I never thought I would say in a million years. I think Nicklas Lidstrom should retire.
It seriously made me cringe typing that last sentence. Without a doubt, Lidstrom (The Jesus) is the greatest player in Red Wing history (yes, ahead of Stevie and Gordie in my opinion). Before you go and get your pitchfork for suggesting Yzerman is not the greatest Wing ever and the whole “Kevin wanting Nick to retire” thing, at least let me explain.
The Jesus has nothing else left to accomplish. Obviously, he wants another cup, but having already won four, including one as captain, I doubt it’s weighing heavily on his mind. He’s already a first ballot Hall Of Fame inductee (yet again, so was Pat Burns, sooo…) and probably should have at least two sections of it named after him. I know tying Bobby Orr for Norries Trophy wins would be cool, but that’s also not a big deal to Nick, just to us fans. This isn’t a Ray Bourque to the Avalanche type movie ending here. Nick has already won everything possible. Why continue and prove my fear of entering Chelios country?
What’s Chelios Country, you ask? Overstaying your welcome until you can clearly no longer play at a competitive level. Also known as after 2008 Chelios. I am nowhere near suggesting that Nick is even close to entering this territory. Before he hurt his ankle this year, he was without a doubt a Norris candidate. I would say he was one of the best defenseman in the game. After he got hurt? He was just good, not perfect. I think it’s obvious he has a lost a step skating, but he still keeps up fine and doesn’t make mistakes. But, sadly, that time isn’t far off, and it might be next year. What if he has another minor injury that causes him to be less than perfect? Or, what if his career ends in the middle of the season because of something stupid by Raffi Torres? I’d rather see him leave with his head held high and on his own terms.
I’d also like to look at this from a team perspective. What if Nick refuses to take a major pay cut? There goes Parise or Suter. Is one year of Nick worth 7 years of a top NHL player? I say no. Ideally, if Nick came back for around $3 or 4 million a season (basically, Stuart’s money), then it might be fine since the Wings would then have the cap space (depending on the new CBA, of course) to go shopping. As much as history and tradition are important in Hockeytown, the future has to be more important.
Don’t get me wrong, if I check the interwebs in a few weeks and see that Nick is coming back, I’m going to smile to hard it’ll hurt then run around faster than Darren Helm can skate. My heart wants Nick to play until I die so I never have to see the Wings without Lidstrom. I was about 8 when my aunt started taking me to games. I’m 28 now. Nick has played for 20 seasons. I do not know Red Wings hockey without him. As much as that scares me, sometimes, we need to try and take a chance.
Okay, I’m done crying now. Please feel free to share opinions or random string of profanities here or on the Twitter device. Thanks for reading.