Nicklas Lidstrom made his farewells to the ranks of active NHL players on Thursday, a celebration of twenty years of high end achievement, one of the best the game has seen.
Among the many that saluted Lidstrom's remarkable career on Thursday was Bobby Orr, the benchmark of the modern era of the NHL, his career was shortened by injury, so perhaps no one other than Orr truly understands the achievement of Lidstrom through his twenty year run in the Motor City.
A run in which each and every year his Red Wings appeared in post season play, that gives you some perspective into his importance and contribution to the Red Wing dynasty of recent years. A standard of success that few teams and individuals have been able to accomplish in the history of the game.
Joining the NHL's wave of European adventurers in 1992, Lidstrom always handled his career with class, as tough as you could hope to find, skilled and smart, the perfect combination for an NHL blue liner and for 20 years Detroit and the NHL were in the front row for the show.
His departure at the top of his game, (by his own admission he suggests that he was no longer up to the rigours of the lengthy NHL season and playoff runs), sets the end of a remarkable career on his own terms.
He leaves the game with no regrets, the Stanley Cup rings, awards and accolades through two decades testimony to his importance not only to the Detroit Red Wings, but the NHL and the game of hockey.
For Detroit the hole will be large, but for Detroit and their fans, his leaving is to be celebrated, heralded for its many accomplishments. Players may come and players may go, but for 20 years Nicklas Lidstrom was where he should be on the Detroit blue line.
In a city that has had many of the legends of the league, another name is to be added to the roll of honour, of that there will be no quarrel from any corner.
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Detroit News-- Nicklas Lidstrom a perfect Wing to the very end
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Windsor Star-- Wings captain Lidstrom to retire after 20 year career
Windsor Star-- Red Wings' Lidstrom ends his playing days
USA Today-- Retired Lidstrom lauded as 'one of the greatest'
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Globe and Mail-- Lidstrom retires after 20 seasons, 4 Stanley Cup titles
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Globe and Mail-- Lidstrom 'just a wonderful player'
National Post-- Nick Lidstrom walks away from Red Wigs on his own terms
National Post-- Red Wings need to figure out life after Nicklas Lidstrom
National Post-- Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom makes retirement official
Toronto Sun-- Lidstrom won everything that mattered
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Sportsnet-- Great Decision-Maker
CBC-- Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom ends illustrious NHL career