When Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement before last season, people were somewhat surprised. It was surprising because Lidstrom was still an elite defenseman in the league, but also some thought he might come back for one more season to play the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.
Well he retired anyway and the Winter Classic didn't even happen thanks to the lockout. Have no fear, though. When the game goes on this season -- same bat time, same bat place, same bat teams -- Lidstrom will still be taking part in a game. The Alumni Showdown (click the photo for a short video).
Is this news surprising? Not at all, but that doesn't make it any less excellent. Lidstrom is one of the very best to ever lace up the skates not only in Red Wings history but NHL history. You don't win the Norris Trophy seven times by being average. It will be fun to see him back on the ice in the Winged Wheel, that's the whole point of the alumni games anyway, to see old greats back on the ice.
Lidstrom joins quite the list of former Wings who have already said they'll play. There were so many that the plan is for there to be two alumni games -- hence the title Alumni Showdown this year -- instead of the usual one. Lidstrom joins legends like Alex Delvecchio, Dino Ciccarelli, Ted Lindsay, Igor Larionov, Tomas Holmstrom, Chris Chelios and Mark Howe as in for the games. The Leafs have a pretty strong cast signed up as well.