Monthly Archives: May 2012

Holland: “He gave us 20 incredible years and you have to feel good for Nick that he gets to walk away from the game on his own terms.”

DETROIT – When Wings general manager Ken Holland heard that his All-Star defenseman wanted to meet last Thursday he had a feeling it was to deliver a decision he wasn’t ready to hear.

Holland was correct.

On that Thursday, Nicklas Lidstrom told Holland that he was going to retire after 20 seasons in the NHL, all of which were spent in Detroit.

A week later at Joe Louis Arena, Lidstrom made it official.

“I think it was a combination of mentally and I started working out, exercising and just the combination of not being that motivated and not being able to do things that I wanted to do and I knew I had to do,” Lidstrom said. “I felt the relief once I made the decision.

“The last couple years, as you get older, were difficult too,” Lidstrom added. “This was even more difficult. With my age, just being a little bit older and not having that motivation I’ve had in the past and not having the drive and fire that I’ve had in the past not being there for me, made it a harder decision – especially saying goodbye to something I’ve done for 20 years. It’s become a lifestyle. You’re used to getting up in the morning, working out, coming down here, skating, traveling with the team and just the competitiveness of playing games. I’m going to miss all that too, but if I don’t have that fire I can’t be to the level I want to be at.”

But Holland wasn’t will to go down without a fight.

“I was a little concerned the decision was a lot quicker than it was last year which set off some alarms for me,” Holland said. “We visited for a few minutes and then he told me he had made a decision to retire. I talked to him about the timing of a press conference, but I told him to take the weekend and get back with me on Tuesday because I told him I was hoping he would change his mind. I texted him Tuesday morning, telling him he was on my mind all weekend and I thought he had one more really good year left in him and we had a lot of pieces in place with him in the lineup and with some moves we could continue to be a contender. About an hour later he texted back and said he was very comfortable in his decision.”

Then he enlisted the help of Chris Chelios, who went paddle boarding with Lidstrom on Tuesday.

“He called me at the GM meetings and told me that the paddle boarding didn’t change his mind either,” Holland said. “For me I just wanted to make sure when Nick was on the podium he was comfortable with his decision. He’s very comfortable in his decision.

“He gave us 20 incredible years and you have to feel good for Nick that he gets to walk away from the game on his own terms,” Holland added.

The seven-time Norris Trophy winner missed 11 games in the later part of the regular season with a hair fracture in his ankle and could never get back to full health when the playoffs rolled around.

Lidstrom, who wound up missing a career-high 12 games this regular season, needed injections before games to dull the pain and it didn’t allow him to play on the penalty kill.

“It did slow me down and that was still hurting when I was playing, especially when you have to do a lot of stops and starts in your own zone,” Lidstrom said. “When you can’t do that, it’s hard to be effective. But I think that it feels so much better now, if I had the determination and the will to do this again, I believe I could still be back up there. But when I don’t have that and if I still try to go out there and play, I don’t think I could play as well as I’d have to.”

The Macomb Daily learned during the regular season that Lidstrom had just finished building a lavish home in Sweden and that his son had told coach Mike Babcock’s son that he was not going to be signing up for travel hockey in the fall.

Lidstrom spent his final six seasons as the Wings’ captain after taking over for Steve Yzerman, who was the longest-serving captain in NHL history.

“We’ve had 20 special years,” Holland said.

Lidstrom, who won his seven Norris Trophies in 10 seasons starting in 2001, is a member of the exclusive “Triple-Gold” club, winning both an Olympic gold medal (2006) and an IIHF World Championship (1991) with Sweden in addition to the four Stanley Cups he won with the Red Wings.

“Seven Norris Trophies, that’s not by accident, he’s just that good,” Babcock said. “We’re going miss having him. He’s been so good and that’s how he wanted to play. It was very fitting he said, ‘I didn’t want to cheat myself. I wasn’t motivated enough to do the work.’ What a message to every athlete.

“For Nick it was always about the team,” Babcock added. “You never had any trouble with Nick as the coach because he was always prepared and motivated. Nick brings it every single day, sets an example for all of us in professionalism and perfection and work ethic and being a good human being and doing it without ego.”

Lidstrom, a 12-time NHL All-Star, became the first European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002.

He led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals appearances in 2008 and 2009 and became the first European player to captain a Cup champion in 2008.

Lidstrom, who was selected in the third round (53rd overall) by the Wings in 1989 and made $6.2 million each of the last two seasons, is one of five Wings who played on all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship teams since 1997.

In 1,564 regular-season games, Lidstrom finished with 264 goals and 878 assists. In 263 playoff games, which is a team record, he totaled 54 goals and 129 assists.

Only Wings legend Gordie Howe (1,687 games) has appeared in more Wings’ games than Lidstrom.

Lidstrom, who was selected for 12 NHL All-Star Games and was named to the league’s first All-Star team 10 times between 1998 and 2011, missed only 46 out of a possible 1,873 games since launching his NHL career in 1991.

Lidstrom’s career plus/minus of plus-450 ranks eighth in league history. He posted a minus rating only once (minus-2 in 2010-11).

Homer next to retire?

DETROIT — And now there is one.

With the retirement of Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom is the last of five Wings who have played on all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship teams since 1997.

“It’s been so much fun, it’s a sad day, but he’s had a great career and he’s played against all of the best players for 20 years, but it’s come to an end,” said Holmstrom, who sat in the second row and watched intently as Lidstrom announced his retirement. “Detroit has been fortunate to have him here and everyone is fortunate that he put on the Red Wings jersey for 20 years.”

The other four players on the distinctive list are Kris Draper, who retired last season, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty.

Holmstrom could be the next added to the list of retirees.

“It’s probably coming soon, I have to figure it out and I really don’t know right now,” Holmstrom said when asked about next season. “I go back and forth and try to figure out my body.

“I’m going to miss him, but it’s going to come down to if I really want to play and if I’ve still got it, those are the main reasons,” Holmstrom added. “I’ll never go anywhere else. I’d rather retire before that.”

Holmstrom and Lidstrom were almost inseparable on game days, from driving to the rink together to eating pre-game meals.

“You look in that dressing room, from the guys that have won the Cup since ’97 and those remaining were Homer and Nick,” Draper said. “A lot of character and a lot of success has left that dressing room. But with that said, there are some great players left in that room as well. They’ve learned from the best. Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom and Chris Chelios showed the way now it’s time for (Henrik Zetterberg), (Niklas Kronwall), (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Valtteri) Filppula to pass it on. That’s how this organization has been so I guess the torch as been passed and they have to go with it now.”

Teammates feel Zetterberg would be good captain

DETROIT – The list of candidates to replace Nicklas Lidstrom as the team’s next captain is short according to Wings general manager Ken Holland – Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall.

All three were assistant captains last season.

“They’ve got the A’s,” Holland said. “It’s hard to think you’re going to take someone without a letter and go past guys with letters.

“It’s hard to think you’re going to bring somebody from the outside to be your captain,” Holland added. “So in all reality, one of our assistants will probably be the captain.”

Lidstrom took over for Steve Yzerman, who was the longest-serving captain in NHL history, in 2006.

After talking with his teammates at Thursday’s press conference announcing Lidstrom’s retirement, it seems obvious Zetterberg, 31, is the logical choice.

“I think Hank always shows up to play, always shows up in the big games,” Kronwall said. “He’s been a leader on this team for many meany years, to me that would be a logical choice.”

“His leadership on the ice,” Justin Abdelkader said. “He’s not a rah-rah, vocal guy. He leads more by example. He’ll say something when something needs to be said but he’s in a similar mode to Nick. There are lot of good candidates, like Nick said. Kronner has really stepped it up. We’ll see. That’s a decision the coaches and management will make.”

“He’s a competitor,” Todd Bertuzzi said of Zetterberg. “He leaves everything on the ice. He works hard off the ice, is a tremendous person. He’s a good guy, he’s a great guy to be around. He has that presence in the locker room.”

“He’s got all the qualities,” Danny Cleary said. “He is the ultimate team player. He’s not concerned about his own personal stuff. He has great work ethic. He treats everybody with respect. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever played with.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock made it sound like the decision on who will be the Wings’ next captain has already been made.

“There was no decision whatsoever,” Babcock said. “We’ll probably announce it in the fall this year and I don’t think there will be a lot of debate. We’ve been thinking about this.”

In 2009, Zetterberg, who has averaged 28 goals and 41 assists over nine season in Detroit, signed a 12-year, $72-million contact, which is the longest and most lucrative deal in club history.

Zetterberg obvious choice to be next Wings captain

DETROIT – The list of candidates to replace Nicklas Lidstrom as the team’s next captain is short according to Wings general manager Ken Holland – Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall.

All three were assistant captains last season.

“They’ve got the A’s,” Holland said. “It’s hard to think you’re going to take someone without a letter and go past guys with letters.

“It’s hard to think you’re going to bring somebody from the outside to be your captain,” Holland added. “So in all reality, one of our assistants will probably be the captain.”

Lidstrom took over for Steve Yzerman, who was the longest-serving captain in NHL history, in 2006.

After talking with his teammates at Thursday’s press conference announcing Lidstrom’s retirement, it seems obvious Zetterberg, 31, is the logical choice.

“I think Hank always shows up to play, always shows up in the big games,” Kronwall said. “He’s been a leader on this team for many meany years, to me that would be a logical choice.”

“His leadership on the ice,” Justin Abdelkader said. “He’s not a rah-rah, vocal guy. He leads more by example. He’ll say something when something needs to be said but he’s in a similar mode to Nick. There are lot of good candidates, like Nick said. Kronner has really stepped it up. We’ll see. That’s a decision the coaches and management will make.”

“He’s a competitor,” Todd Bertuzzi said of Zetterberg. “He leaves everything on the ice. He works hard off the ice, is a tremendous person. He’s a good guy, he’s a great guy to be around. He has that presence in the locker room.”

“He’s got all the qualities,” Danny Cleary said. “He is the ultimate team player. He’s not concerned about his own personal stuff. He has great work ethic. He treats everybody with respect. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever played with.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock made it sound like the decision on who will be the Wings’ next captain has already been made.

“There was no decision whatsoever,” Babcock said. “We’ll probably announce it in the fall this year and I don’t think there will be a lot of debate. We’ve been thinking about this.”

In 2009, Zetterberg, who has averaged 28 goals and 41 assists over nine season in Detroit, signed a 12-year, $72-million contact, which is the longest and most lucrative deal in club history.

Source confirms Lidstrom set to announce his retirement Thursday at Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT — We’ll learn Thursday at 11 a.m. whether Nicklas Lidstrom will return for another season in Detroit or retire.

And according to a source within the organization Lidstrom will be announcing his retirement.

Lidstrom will appear alongside general manager Ken Holland at the press conference.

When Lidstrom, 42, returned for his 20th season in Detroit last year the club did not hold a press conference to make the announcement, which led to speculation that his could be the end of the road for the seven-time Norris Trophy winner.

Lidstrom missed 11 games in the later part of the regular season with a deep ankle bruise and could never get back to full health.

“(I wasn’t) where I wanted to be,” Lidstrom said at the end of the season. “You want to be out there killing penalties, you want to be more in a rhythm but when you can’t do it, it’s hard to get that rhythm going.”

Lidstrom, who wound up missing a career-high 12 games this regular season, needed injections before games to dull the pain and it didn’t allow him play on the penalty kill.

“I felt it during practice a little bit when we were skating but I didn’t want to take too many shots (pain killing) for practices,” said Lidstrom, who turned 42 at the end of April. “Once the games were played it didn’t bother me at all.”

The seven-time Norris Trophy winner said the injury wouldn’t weigh on his decision to return for a 21st year with the Wings.

Lidstrom is a member of the exclusive “Triple-Gold” club, winning both an Olympic gold medal (2006) and an IIHF World Championship (1991) with Sweden in addition to the four Stanley Cups he won with the Red Wings.

He became the first European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002.

He took over the Wings captaincy when long-time teammate Steve Yzerman retired in 2006.

UPDATE: Nicklas Lidstrom has made his decision

DETROIT — We’ll learn Thursday at 11 a.m. whether Nicklas Lidstrom will return for another season in Detroit or retire.

The Wings have called a press conference at Joe Louis Arena where Lidstrom will appear alongside general manager Ken Holland.

When Lidstrom, 42, returned for his 20th season in Detroit last year the club did not hold a press conference to make the announcement, which leads to speculation that his could be the end of the road for the seven-time Norris Trophy winner.

Wings have another Swede in the mix, sign Jarnkrok to three-year entry-level deal

DETROIT – The Wings have signed their second-round pick in the 2010 entry draft, center Calle Jarnkrok, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Jarnkrok, who was taken with 51st overall pick, will be at training camp in Traverse City.

“He has great hockey sense and is very tenacious,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He has a lot of Henrik Zetterberg-type qualities. He’s strong on the puck, never gives up on the puck.”

Detroit also anticipates signing Tomas Jurco, their top pick in the 2011 draft, by Friday’s deadline.

Here is the press release from the Wings.

RED WINGS SIGN JARNKROK TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT
… Selected by Detroit in Second Round of 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Swedish Forward Skated
with Franzen, Zetterberg, Ericsson and Kronwall at 2012 IIHF World Championships …

Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that 20-year-old forward Calle Jarnkrok has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract. In accordance with club policy, no further details regarding this deal will be disclosed.

Selected by Detroit in the second round (51st overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Jarnkrok has spent the past three seasons with Brynas IF of the Swedish Elite League, totaling 76 points (31G-45A) in 132 games played. Jarnkrok registered 16 points (4G-12A) in 16 appearances during the 2012 SEL playoffs as Brynas IF captured the Le Mat Trophy as league champions. The 5’11”, 165-lb. center has also represented Sweden at multiple international events, including this year’s IIHF World Championships at which he recorded one assist and 10 shots on goal in eight games played as he skated alongside current Red Wings players Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Johan Franzen.

Calle Jarnkrok
Center
Born Sep 25 1991
Gavle, Sweden
Height 5.11 — Weight 165 — Shoots R

Selected by Detroit Red Wings round 2 #51 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft

— Regular Season — —- Playoffs —-
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
————————————————————————————–
2009-10 Brynas IF Gavle SEL 33 4 6 10 2 5 1 1 2 0
2010-11 Brynas IF Gavle SEL 49 11 16 27 4 3 3 0 3 2
2011-12 Brynas IF Gavle SEL 50 16 23 39 22 16 4 12 16 12
————————————————————————————–