It's Official: Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom Announces Retirement

Superstar defenseman caps 20-season NHL career in Detroit.

It's official. Longtime Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is retiring.

Lidstrom, 42, lives in Novi with his family during the hockey season and had been debating whether to retire after playing for 20 seasons in the NHL.

Lidstrom announced his decision Thursday during a press conference alongside Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland. Lidstrom was named captain of the Red Wings for the 2006-07 season following the retirement of longtime captain Steve Yzerman.

In his address to the media, Lidstrom thanked Holland for assembling a competitive Detroit team each year.

"I never even wanted to leave Detroit," he said. "I always believed in this team, and this organization and what they would do to win another Stanley Cup."

He also acknowledged Brad McCrimmon, his linemate as a young NHL player and assistant coach during the 2010-11 season. McCrimmon, who lived in Northville, in Russia.

With his retirement, Lidstrom caps a Hall of Fame-worthy NHL career, in which he helped lead the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships while collecting seven Norris trophies, recognizing the top defensive player in the NHL each season.

Lidstrom came to the Red Wings in the 1991-92 season, and Detroit has appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in every season he played with the team, an ongoing record unrivaled in all of professional sports.

Lidstrom said he would return his family to his native Sweden, but wouldn't rule out a future role with the Red Wings organization.

Among Lidstrom's career highlights:

  • Helped lead Red Wings to first Stanley Cup in 42 years in 1997, sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the finals.
  • 2006 Olympic gold medalist for Sweden in Turin, Italy. Lidstrom scored the game-winning goal.
  • Named captain of 2010-11 NHL All-Star Game. Team Lidstrom defeated Team Staal, named after Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, 11-10.
  • Became 14th player in NHL history to play 1,500 games on Oct. 22, 2011. He joins Red Wings icons Alex Delvecchio and Steve Yzerman as the only three NHL players to play more than 1,500 games exclusively with the same team. He holds the record for the most games played by any European-born player at 1,564.
  • 12-time NHL All-Star (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011). Did not play in 2009 due to injury.
  • Conn Smythe winner for MVP of Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2002. 
  • Won World Championship with Sweden in 1991. With a World Championship, Olympic gold medal and Stanley Cup to his name, Lidstrom is part of the Triple Gold Club, an honor shared with just 24 other players.
John McKay May 31, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I'd probably rank them as follows: Howe, Lidstrom, Yzerman, making Lidstrom the best Red Wing in the modern era. SO many runners-up and potential runners-up, though: Shanahan, Hasek, Osgood, Larionov, Fetisov, Fedorov, Delvecchio, Lindsay, Sawchuck, Abel, Ullman, Coffey, Ciccarelli, Konstantinov, Hull, Murphy, Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
Timothy Rath June 01, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Nice list — easy to see that Lidstrom made his teammates better!
Bryan Bentley June 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM
.My Nick Lidstrom story: My son Brandon was a huge Lidstrom fan when he was a child, and they just happened to share the same birthday, so Nick was doing an autograph session about a month before his birthday once, and I took Brandon to meet him. Well, Brandon told me he was going to invite Nick to his birthday party, so I went out and bought a birthday card, and followed Brandon through the line for autographs, and after he signed a puck for Brandon, I was able to slip Nick the birthday card, and with a wink and a smile he signed it real quick on the sly. I slid the card in the mailbox a few days before his birthday, and it was a great memory seeing the smile on his face... :)
John McKay June 04, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Great story, Bryan!
Bryan Bentley June 04, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Interesting that you rank Lidstrom ahead of Yzerman. I might think of disagreeing, but then I would be disputing Yzerman's view as well as your own. I personally will put Sawchuk at #4, and after that it is a bit murky...


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