Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NHL Fire in Lieu of the Lockout, Round 1: Nicklas Lidström

By Jason Klau

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Like SBz managed with the NBA Lockout, we will be posting installments of Fire in Lieu of the NHL Lockout. Remembering the NHL for all the good times and players its brought this fantastic world in which we live. And what better a place to begin our journey into the past by looking back at the most fire player of this generation?

The video says it better than anything else. Nick Lidstrom, who retired at the end of last season, will be missed in the NHL.

Arguably the best defenseman of all time, but more realistically second behind Bobby Orr, Lidstrom did it all. For all 20 years of his NHL career, he was the straw that stirred the drink on a team that has seen some of the best players of this era, and has made the playoffs every single year since he was drafted 53rd overall in 1991. From Steve Yzerman, to Sergei Federov, to Dominik Hasek, and countless others, Nicklas Lidstrom was a rock for everyone who put on a Detroit Red Wings sweater en route to four Stanley Cups - the only franchise to win as many in the past two decades, yes, since NL joined the squad.

He was living proof that to be an effective defenseman you didn't have to be a bone crushing, open-ice hitting, physical force. His positioning, stick work and hockey sense are rivaled by few to ever lace up the skates. He is one of a select few who simply make the game look so damn easy.

Twice in his career, he won the Norris trophy for three consecutive years, making up 6 of his 7 total times receiving the award. He was a 12-time all star, with 10 of those being a first team selection. He was an Olympic Gold medalist, Conn Smythe Winner and the first European born captain (Sweden) to win the cup.

It's looking like NHL fans will sadly be missing this locked out season; but if/when the fiasco gets settled, there will still be something missing. The next time the Detroit Red Wings take the ice, there will be a void that cannot be filled, no matter how many octopi face flop to the ice. Maybe it's due to another lockout, or maybe it's because another star is gone. Whatever the reason, this is the end of an era in the NHL.

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