Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thank You for Being Perfect Nick!

"The Perfect Human." The fact Nick Lidstrom's teammates referred to him as such says it all. In all reality, that could be all that needs to be said in this post. He was perfect. A shining star on and off the ice.  For 20 years he patrolled the blue line for the Detroit Red Wings. They made the playoffs each year and were among the NHL's best. Direct correlation.  He will be missed.  He can't be replaced.

It is next to impossible to recall all of his stellar moments such as his save in game 2 of the 1996 WCF vs. the hated Avalanche or his series-changing center ice goal in game 3 vs the Canucks in 2002.  Or what about the 4 Cups, countless All-Star appearances, 7 Norris Trophies, the goals, points, staggering plus/minus?  What about the 2002 Conn Smythe where playing amongst a team of hall of fame players he stood out as the best because he was just that good?  You certainly cannot forget how he gracefully filled the shoes of the best leader sports has ever seen in Steve Yzerman after his retirement as the next captain.  How do you fully recall perfection night after night for 20 years?  You can't.

Above all, he is a great person.  He never held out for more money.  He never blew up on the media.  He never whined on the ice or quit on his team.  He never threw cheap shots.  He was driven by team goals and not individual goals.  He never got in trouble off the ice.  He was a leader.  He was truly just as good of a human being as he was a player.  A true class act on all levels.  A rarity in modern professional sports.  His press conference was a sterling example as he thanked everyone from the Illitches to the water boy.  Other athletes could learn a great deal from this man.

Today is a sad day and an uneasy one for the Red Wings and us fans.  We know we can never replace perfect.  But today really should be a day to celebrate the fact that we as fans of the best franchise in sports had the privilege to watch the best defenseman ever to lace them up every single night for 20 years.  He is even perfect in retirement by leaving while he can still perform at a level higher than most and not a shell of a once-dominant player.  In a world of imperfections, we got to witness the exception.  He was ours.  And with him he brought the team, the fans, and the city of Detroit a lot of success.  For that, I speak for Red Wing fans everywhere when I say to our captain: thank you for being perfect Nick!


20 Seasons Played

4 Stanley Cups

2006 Olympic Gold Medal

2002 Conn Smythe (1st European-born player)

1st European-born Captain to Win Stanley Cup in 2008

7 Norris Trophies

12 All-Star Games

1,564 Regular Season Games Played (Second only to Gordie Howe in Red Wings History)

263 Playoff Games Played (Most in franchise history)

46 Total Games Missed

264 Career Goals

1,142 Career Points (Fourth in Red Wings history)

183 Playoff Points (2 points behind Steve Yzerman for most in franchise history)

Career Plus-450 (Eight best in NHL history)


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