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: