He’s coming back.
What happens in Vegas, apparently doesn’t stay in Vegas, as Nick Lidstrom and Red Wings GM Ken Holland announced that the future Hall of Fame defenseman will return for the 2011-12 season, his 20th as a member of the Red Wings.
“We’re thrilled that Nick has decided to come back and play another year. He’s coming off an outstanding season and in my opinion, even at age 41, continues to be the top two-way defenseman in the world,” said Holland.
Both gentlemen, in town for the NHL Awards, held a conference call with the media this morning. According to Holland, Lidstrom informed him of a probable return late last week.
Lidstrom is one of three candidates for the Norris Trophy, posting 62 points, most by a 40+-year-old defensemen. Zedno Chara and Shea Weber are the other two nominees. The Wings captain is also a finalist for the Lady Byng and Mark Messier leadership awards.
“Coming into this season, I wanted to prove to myself that I could play at a high level and be an impact player for the team,” Lidstrom said. “Proving to myself that I could be that top player was important.”
Reaction is starting to pile up from around the league, but our personal favorite comes from Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney, who tweeted the following.
“A guy like him and the Finnish flash (Teemu Selanne) can’t retire while they’re still completely dominating.
“Holmstrom just fist pumped harder than DJ Pauly D. I wonder if in his last season, Lidstrom will finally have one of this shots be blocked.”
Lidstrom holds the team’s single-season records for assists (64), and points (80) by a defenseman. He also ranks fourth in franchise history in games played (1,494), points (1,108), and has the highest plus-minus rating (+429) since 1991-92, his first year in the NHL. He was also named the NHL’s player of the decade (2000-09) by both the Sporting News and SportsIllustrated.com.
- Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss what Lidstrom’s return may mean for the Red Wings with free agency right around the corner.
- According to Gregg Krupa, Lidstrom’s career is synonymous with the Wings success.
- DetroitRedWings.com has audio from the announcement.
- Our friends at the Nightmare on Helm Street are celebrating Nick’s return.
- The Winged Wheel points out that Lidstrom’s return, teamed with Rafalski’s retirement, opens up a few options.
The Red Wings also made news on Monday by releasing their preseason schedule, featuring games against Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto and Pittsburgh.
9/21 at Pittsburgh
9/22 vs. Philadelphia (London, Ontario)
9/23 vs. Philadelphia
9/25 vs. Chicago
9/28 at Chicago
9/30 vs. Toronto
10/1 at Toronto
10/2 vs. Pittsburgh