My life has been privileged, there is no doubt about that. I have been to Europe twice, seen every state east of the Mississippi River, and been to more concerts and sporting events then I can count. On April 20th I had the luck of adding one more piece of history to the list. It was that warm night in Nashville that Nicklas Lidstrom suited up for the last time.
Here are a couple of things to contemplate, Lidstrom played his last game at the ripe old age of forty-one, and still looked better than the twenty year olds playing beside him. Lidstrom played a total of twenty season in the NHL, making the all-star game twelve times. He won seven Norris trophy's (best defensive player), four Stanley Cups, and a Conn Smythe (playoff mvp). Lidstrom was so good that many of his teammates called him "Mr. Perfect," and for the past six years he has been the captain of the Red Wings.
From the fan side, I had a love hate relationship with Lidstrom. With elegance and grace, Lidstrom tore teams apart. Precise stick work and unending hockey knowledge allowed Lidstrom to make fools of even the greatest forwards. More importantly, the man never seemed to whine, he would state his case to ref, but never whine. Unlike some, the man played the game with complete class, you will be hard pressed to find him taking a cheap shot. He was a teacher, a sportsman, and one of the best players of all time.
It wasn't only his on ice play that made him a champion. Off the ice, Lidstrom was a kind and generous man. During the playoff series I made my way down to Nashville early to autograph hunt. Sure enough I got to the Red Wing's hotel right as they were leaving for the stadium. Lidstrom came out and I got the chance to talk with him for a minute. He was a generous man, answered the questions that I posed to him and even signed the puck I had bought for my uncle. Lidstrom was a class act and will be sorely missed.