The headline a few years from now will include the announcement that Nicklas Lidstrom’s number will join other Red Wings legends in the rafters.
It’s not an “if” — it’s a “when.”
Lidstrom was the worthy designate of next Red Wings captain following Yzerman, and all indications are that he will follow Yzerman again to the rafters. This weekend’s honor of having an NHL All-Star team named after him is really the continuation of awards that began with a Conn Smythe and a slew of Norris trophies, and will undoubtedly be capped off with a place in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame at some point down the road.
Here in Detroit, we take much of this talent for granted. Lidstrom is naturally a quiet person, and this personality makes this defensive star an undesirable option for the NHL marketing department. While NHL marketing usually draws ire among Red Wings and Canadian hockey fans, Lidstrom has represented the steady hand that highlighted Red Wings power plays and overtime sessions. We enjoy watching his smooth stick handling behind the net as much as we enjoy his shifting at the blue line to set up for a rifling slap shot.
If the ovation in Raleigh over the weekend says anything, it is that Lidstrom is more than Detroit’s treasure. The respect he drew from teammates that he had chosen just days earlier was spectacular. While he may never stack up in popularity among hockey fans with Bobby Orr or Ray Bourque, he will always be Detroit’s treasure.