A Legend Calls It a Career

We will never see a player like him again. After 20 seasons in the NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom is calling it a career.

Drafted in 1989 53rd overall, Lidstrom became one of the greatest defencemen of all time. His on ice vision and overall smart play led to the nickname "The Perfect Human." In his career, he played 1564 games, scoring 264 goals, 878 assists for 1142 points. His career plus minus is a whopping +450.

Lidstrom all but owned the Norris Trophy, winning it seven times, including six in sevevn seasons and his last as a 41 year old as a minus player. He has won four Stanley Cups; in 1997, 1998, 2002 (where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy) and 2008 as the first ever European born captain to win the Cup. He never missed the playoffs in his entire career.

Grinder Threads

TCL Predicts The Stanley Cup Final

 

2012 Stanley Cup FinalNew Jersey Devils vs. Los Angeles Kings  Every year, we predict, we project, we try to come up with logical conclusions to what's going to happen in the latest NHL season. Everyone has their opinions, everyone comes up with their own regular season and playoff winners, their own Final, their own Stanley Cup Champions. Usually, those predictions end up being wrong. Sure, you might get lucky with a high seed, but if the playoffs prove anything year-in and year-out, it's that the National Hockey League is absolutely unpredictable. This season has ramped that up to a degree we've never seen before. To give you a brief summary, the fir...

What to Do with Hudler...?

I'm going to begin this little piece by saying that Jiri Hudler honestly did surprise me this past season. Let it be known that I thought his stint in the KHL had wrecked his form beyond repair and that any strides forward he had made previously with Detroit had all been lost.

Then last year rolled around and we got a mostly decent 50-point producer who looked like he had begun to find himself again. A perfect split between goals and assists with 25 each, had Happy Hudler finally gotten his groove back? Perhaps he has, but we now find ourselves at a crossroads: Hudler's contract is up, and he is now an unrestricted free agent. Now it is up to Kenny Holland and the Red wings brain trust to decide if it's worth pursuing an extension for Jiri or if it's time to move on and let Hudler test the waters of free agency.

New Arena in the Works?

I had skepticized about it in my “Offseason Stories,” but I had predicted that we would not be hearing any news about a new downtown arena for the Red Wings. However, today, before the offseason has even begun, sources told the Sports Business Journal. Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings have long been saying that they need a new arena, but attempts to squeeze out what little juice is left in the Joe are apparently nearing their end. Sources said that the Wings intend to develop an 18,000-seat facility.

Sergei Fedorov to be Russian KHL General Manager

A Red Wings and NHL legend has decided to hang his hockey gear up and head to retirement.

After a fulfilling career playing hockey, the Russian legend is making a perfect circle in his career. CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League has welcomed Sergei Fedorov back after 26 years of him leaving to play in the NHL to be their general manager. CSKA Moscow would be lucky to have the former Red Wings star.

TCL writer Rachel Bellono takes you down the road of one of the most successful careers of any Russian-born player.

Riding the Rails and The Hometown Discount

With a two-hour train ride ahead of me, I find myself with an excellent opportunity to finally talk a bit about Nick Lidstrom's future in more depth. To my shock and amazement, I should even be able to have this available to you, the reader, immediately. It seems this rail service has a wi-fi connection I can actually gain access to, which has been a rarity during my stay in the UK.

With time going by quickly as the Conference finals have already begun, the question looms ever closer: Will Nicklas Lidstrom retire? Some say yes and others say no, but the one thing that seems to be constant is the belief that Lidstrom is certainly -capable- of playing another season should he see fit to do so. The problem is, what must the Wings do to make returning to the team look like the more appealing option, and what is Nick willing to do to help Detroit make this run more successful than the last four?

Comparing Ovechkin to Yzerman? Not a Chance

Ken Campbell wrote an interesting yet laughable article for The Hockey News about Washington Capitals' star Alexander Ovechkin's 'evolving superstar status' in which he compares Ovie to Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman.

Here is an excerpt from Campbell's article:

When Steve Yzerman reached the crossroad of his career, he had the option of going one of two ways. He could either continue as a one-way offensive dynamo or he could reinvent himself as a two-way player.

Had he taken the first option, there’s a good chance Yzerman would have never won a single Stanley Cup. Either he would have been dealt from the Detroit Red Wings or he wouldn’t have been able to provide them with the type of play they needed for him to lead them to three championships. Because he chose the latter, not only was he an integral part of three championship teams, but he also cemented his Hall of Fame credentials and his status as one of the greatest leaders and players of all-time.

Thoughts From Abroad: More Off-Season Reflection

I'm currently 33,000 feet above the Atlantic as I write this. I'm going to the place where I first experienced a world that spanned continents rather than merely cities. The excitement is such that I simply cannot sleep, despite the fact that our flight left Halifax at around 11:30PM and gets into London's Heathrow at just south of 9:00 in the morning.

As I shoot through the sky at nearly 500mph, I try to think of things to distract myself from the exhaustion that should be overtaking me. If one thing can drive me to distraction, it is my Red Wings.

As the playoffs continue on without Detroit, the Wings, as it has already been painfully discussed, need to address a number of concerns that led to their quick post-season demise. Some of the thoughts I type here may echo my previous article, but again, I do what I must to stave off the thought of how tired I am while not being able to simply drift off.

Is Puck Possession Dead?

As hockey fans gear up for the Western and Eastern Conference Finals, a few common themes among the remaining teams resonates: trap style play, tight checking, and a reliance on elite goaltending. Every year after the Stanley Cup is lifted, the champs are analyzed as to why they won, and other teams then spend time scouting youngsters and spend cap space on UFAs that resemble the Cup winning roster. The NHL is definitely a copy cat league. For the past five years, teams have been trying to mimic the style of play of the Red Wings, Penguins, and Blackhawks. After all, why wouldn't want you to copy what wins? But take a look at the puck possession-like teams that are eliminated: Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver, Pittsburgh. Both Conference Finals will send shock waves through the NHL, and the Red Wings better be paying attention.

After Mike Babcock's puck possession team lost to the Oilers in '06, their style of play didn't change at the root, however; they were told me be more physical and work harder in the dirty areas. That paid off the next three years by making to the Conference Finals in '07, Winning it all in '08, and coming within 1 goal at a chance to win it all again in '09. Now, it sure seems Red Wing hockey needs to be re-evaluated. Ken Holland and Mike Babcock should be watching every game of the playoffs from here on out. The Western Finals have been settled, and it will feature the Phoenix Coyotes and the LA Kings. These two teams skate hard, trap, are defensively responsible, and heavily rely on their goaltenders to steal games. (By the way, is it not a coincidence that the year Phoenix lets Bryzgalov go they make it this far? He's never been a proven playoff goalie, and probably never will be.) The same goes in the East; The Devils (who are the definition of the trap) are waiting to face either the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals. The Rangers have consistently been a defensively disciplined team with a couple of decent scoring lines, but overall block tons of shots and make things easy for their world class goalie Henrik Lundquist. The Capitals on the other hand, were born a puck possession team when they inherited forwards Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin. Since Dale Hunter took over as head coach, he has somehow got them to play a style of hockey whereby no all-stars are praised, but an entire team can reap rewards from teamwork. Players like Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks, and Joel Ward are laying their bodies on the line for their coach, and Ovechkin is learning a valuable lesson.

International Play Serves As Redemption For Early Exit

Needless to say, the early playoff exit to the hands of Nashville Predators was disappointing to Red Wings fans. Don't fret, there is some glimmer of redemption happening as we speak in the form of international play.

Grinder Threads