It's still sinking in that Nicklas Lidstrom will no longer be patrolling the Detroit Red Wings blue line, winning Norris Trophies and symbolizing the principled professional ideal to which every player should aspire.
The Red Wings captain announced his retirement on Thursday after 20 years, and repeated many of the things he said in this Sport Expressen interview (translated here). But in one of his first interviews after news leaked about his retirement, Lidstrom said:
• He told Red Wings GM Ken Holland last week that he had decided to retire, and didn't reconsider the decision when Holland told him to take a few days before making it official.
• The reason for his retirement (again, rough translation): "I feel I lack the drive and motivation necessary to have the strength to go through the lengthy build-up training and pre-season that awaits the series. Not again, I thought, and then this was the only right decision."
• Lidstrom and his family are leaving Detroit for Vasteras, Sweeden, where they are building a house.
• Finally, on the subject of the captaincy for the Detroit Red Wings, Lidstrom put over two players: "I would think that it is 'Zed' (Henrik Zetterberg), but also Niklas K ronwall has stepped forward and received a major leadership role on the team in recent years. Both are good candidates."
Both were alternate captains under Lidstrom. Sean Yuille of SB Nation Detroit thinks Zetterberg is the logical choice, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone that disagrees.