With Nicklas Lidstrom expected to announce his retirement later this morning, hockey fans will immediately begin the “legacy debate,” one that has become increasingly popular among modern day sports fans.
The numbers for Lidstrom speak for themselves: 1142 career points, a career rating of +450, Four Stanley Cups, Seven Norris Trophies, 2002 Conn Smythe award winner, 10-time First Team All NHL, Two-time Second Team All NHL, 2006 Olympic Gold medal.
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
We’re talking about a guy who was legitimately in the “best defenceman in the world” conversation for 10-15 years out of a 20-year NHL career. Lidstrom is one of those guys that was often acknowledged as great, but yet never really acknowledged for just how great he really was. I know a lot of knowledgeable hockey fans understood his greatness, but did you really take the time to stop and realize that you were watching a guy who is undoubtedly one of the best defenceman to ever lace up a pair of skates?
I hope you can answer that question with yes, because it’s often true that you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone. And Nicklas Lidstrom’s ability to make playing defence in the National Hockey League look effortless for 20 years is something that I know I’m going to miss.
Now here are your morning links:
- More on Lidstrom. A fond farewell to the “Perfect Human” (HockeyBuzz.com).
- Anze Kopitar, the Game 1 overtime hero, does it by reaching into his memory bank (New York Post).
- The Devils find a way to cope with their Game 1 loss (Puck Daddy).
- Kings GM Dean Lombardi gives Devil Lou his due (Post Media).
- Kings fans are coming out of the woodworks (Santa Maria Times). Of course they are, it’s called bandwagoning.
- NHL General Managers discuss potential rule changes (Associated Press via theScore.com). It’s hard to keep reading after “penalties incurred in the closing minutes of a post-season game could be “travelled” or carried over to the next game in the series.” I get the intent, but that just seems so bush league.
- Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr both cautious toward upcoming labour talks (Globe and Mail). Remember how much attention the labour situation was getting towards the end of the season in 2004? It feels like we’re all ignoring it this year, but perhaps it’s time to start paying serious attention.
- The “W” word, as in Winnipeg, no longer irks Bettman (Winnipeg Free Press). “What a great story Winnipeg has been. There are no negatives to it at all.”
- Dustin Penner shows why so many Oilers fans kepth the faith (Edmonton Journal).
- Goaltending on Brian Burke’s to-do list (Toronto Sun). Yeah, I would think so.