Ken Holland said he's been dreading it every day since he took over as the team's general manager back in 1997.
Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the best players in franchise history and one of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL, officially announced his retirement ending a brilliant 20-year career.
"Today after 20 seasons as a player for the Detroit Red Wings I am announcing my retirement," Lidstrom said in his opening remarks at a press conference on Thursday. "Some point in time it catches up with everyone and diminishes their ability to perform, and something you love and care about passionately comes to an end sooner than what you would have liked.
"The last three years I waited until after the season was over to assess my ability to play another year. I need to let a few weeks go by to get a reading on my body's ability to recover from the grind of an NHL season. Sadly, this year it's painfully obvious to me that my strength and energy level are not rebounding enough for me to continue to play. My drive and motivation are not where it needs to be to play at this level. That's why I feel it is time to retire. I'm aware that some people think my skills have only diminished some, and that I can still help the Wings win games. I truly appreciate their support. When I signed with the Wings back in 1991 I never envisioned myself playing for 20 years. It's been a great, great ride."
The list of Lidstrom's accomplishments is a great one.
- He finishes his career with 1,142 career points, good enough for 50th on the all-time scoring list among all players. He's sixth all-time among defensemen, trailing only Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley and Larry Murphy.
- He won the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the NHL seven times, tied for the second most all-time with former Montreal Canadiens great Doug Harvey. Only Boston's Bobby Orr (eight) won more.
- He was a member of six teams that reached the Stanley Cup Final, winning four of them, including one with the 2007-08 team that he captained. That was the first time in NHL history a European born-and-trained player captained a team to hockey's ultimate prize.
- During the Red Wings 2002 Stanley Cup run he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
- He was a 12-time NHL All-Star and a 10-time first-team All-Star.
- He represented his native Sweden multiple times on the international stage and was a member of the Gold Medal winning team at the 2006 Olympics, when he recorded six points in eight games.
And the next accomplishment that will soon be added to the list: NHL Hall of Fame.
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