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Lidstrom was great but Yzerman remains Detroit’s captain

Written By: Terry Foster | May 31, 2012

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Red Wings captain and Hall of Famer Nick Lidstrom will go down as one of the top two defensemen in NHL history but he won’t be one of the top two Red Wings of all time.

Lidstrom was great but for the old timers Gordie Howe will be the greatest Red Wing of all time and for just about everybody else their guy is Steve Yzerman who now runs the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lindstrom as many Red Wings fans called him retires as the Red Wings captain but he never was “The Captain.”

Yzerman is “The Captain.” He is the one who tugged at Red Wings heart strings. Lidstrom was never what Yzerman was, not that he was chasing that. He didn’t care. It never mattered to him. Lidstrom simply laced on the skates, did the best he could and let everybody else debate his rankings in this town. He never passed Yzerman. Nobody will.

Yzerman came in when the Wings were terrible. Do you remember The Dead Wings? How about Darkness with Harkness? They used to give away cars at Olympia to draw fans. That’s how bad it was around here. If anybody dared call this Hockeytown when Yzerman was drafted in fourth in the 1983 draft they would have been laughed at.

Only the diehards came to Red Wings games. Yzerman drew the casual fan and the ladies who loved his boyish face and exciting game. He captured this town like no others and will forever be on Detroit’s Mt. Rushmore of sports greats along with Joe Louis, Barry Sanders,  Isiah Thomas and Ty Cobb. Hockey mattered again when Yzerman came here.

Lidstrom might surpass Yzerman in a world view. But not here in Detroit. He was always respected here but never loved like the Captain.

I will know Lidstrom as a great player and a kind and decent man. He was one of those players who gave his time and enjoyed what he did. It didn’t matter how we viewed him. He simply did his job better than 99 percent of hockey players and was a professional every step of the way.

Have you ever heard a scandal involving Lidstrom? Even a tiny one?
So Lidstrom never was the people’s champion. He simply goes out as a champion.

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3 Responses to “Lidstrom was great but Yzerman remains Detroit’s captain”

  1. Randall Says:

    Terry Foster: Captain Obvious!

    Reply

  2. Alex Says:

    Good article, Yzerman will always be my captain and my favorite Red Wing. Nice tribute to both Stevie and Nick. And of course Nick is a champion and arguably the greatest defenseman of all time. However, one line irked me a little bit: “He was always respected here but never loved like the Captain.” I truly believe that Nick was loved almost as much as Yzerman. Yzerman resurrected this franchise and became the most beloved athlete in Detroit, especially in 2002; leading us to a Cup on one leg was nothing short of miraculous. But Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe in 2002. Lidstrom was in the middle of winning 3 Norris trophies in a row in 2002. Lidstrom was far and away our best player for nearly his entire career, even with the flashy guys like Fedorov and Datsyuk, or the fan favorites like Shanny and Zetterberg. Yzerman will always be our captain and I can’t wait until the day arrives that we can welcome him back home. But Nick is leaving, not only our team but our city/state and moving back to Sweden. Many fans, myself included, will miss Nick more than one could possibly imagine. His calm demeanor, his class on and off the ice, his quiet yet dominating leadership, and most of all his charming and warm personality will be missed. We’ve been spoiled as Wings fans getting to keep our favorite players around past their prime and then after they retire when they become “Vice President of whatever” the point is they stick around, we still see Draper, Maltby, Chelios, Ozzy, and even Yzerman until 2 years ago (now we only see him on NHL.com instead of Detroitredwings.com.) But with Nick it feels different, he’s selling his home and moving to Sweden full time, his boys are still young so he’ll probably stay there for quite some time. He’ll be back for his #5 being raised to the rafters and probably for the Winter Classic, but after seeing him on the ice and after the game at least 82+ times a year that doesn’t seem like enough. Nick left the game because he wanted to spend time with his family, in doing so he is leaving the Red Wings “family” with the greatest void this team and us fans have perhaps ever faced. Yzerman leaving was one of the saddest days in my hockey life, but our other veterans were still there, our links to the past days of glory, namely Lidstrom. Then after a couple more years all the other vets left until we were left with Homer and Nick. And since everyone is alike in thinking that Homer’s retirement will happen this summer as well, what happened today is just as sad, maybe even a little sadder, than the great Stevie Y hanging them up. As I said Stevie will always be my favorite Red Wing and one of the greatest to ever play; but Nick might just be my favorite person, who just so happened to be a Red Wing and is definitely one of the greatest to ever play. As Wings fans we were spoiled and now, with the final curtain call of the great #5 we look to the future with more uncertainty than ever before. I wrote this reply to try to explain why Wings fans might love Lidstrom as much as Yzerman, I completely agree with your point that Yzerman has the most special place in our hearts, but I argue that Nick lives right next door and not down the block as you imply. I just want to thank Nick Lidstrom for being the greatest role model any athlete has ever been and for giving Detroit all he had and even though he didn’t go out hoisting a cup like the great Scotty Bowman, he still went out on top. Thank you.

    Reply

  3. David Beckey Says:

    I hear what your saying, but it is like comparing Dennis Rodman to Isiah Thomas, 1 plays defense and 1 plays offense.

    Reply

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