Dallas Stars fans may have never liked the Detroit Red Wings all that much, but we can certainly have a incredible amount of respect for one of the classiest, most gifted and incredible hockey players to ever take the ice.
Nicklas Lidstrom has been roaming the blue line in Detroit for as long as I can possibly remember. Since around 1998 or so, I exclusively use the curve of his hockey blade on my own sticks. It's tough to imagine hockey without Lidstrom, yet today he announced his retirement after 20 seasons in the NHL.
"The last few seasons, I waited until the end of the season to assess my ability to play another year," Lidstrom said. "Sadly this year, it's painfully obvious to me that my strength and energy level are not rebounding enough for me to continue to play. My drive and motivation are not where they need to be to play at this level."
Lidstrom would continue:
"It's not that the tank is completely empty. It just doesn't have enough to carry me through every game at the high level where I want to play at. My family and I are completely comfortable with this decision. Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride rather than have the game walk away from me."
While I am going to find it fascinating to see how the Red Wings move forward without the cornerstone of their franchise, it's tough to see such a great player hang up the skates. They might as well rename the Norris Trophy after Lidstrom.
We salute you, good sir, and wish you well in the next chapter of your life.