DETROIT—Detroit Red Wings fans can breathe easy today. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom announced Monday that he will be returning to Detroit for his 20th season with the Red Wings. The captain, in what has become an offseason tradition, took some time early in the off-season to evaluate his options. After discussing the situation with his family, the verdict was what all Red Wing fans were hoping for, the captain will be put off retirement to Sweden and lace up his skates in Detroit for at least one more season.
"At this stage in my career, I have to be motivated," Lidstrom said, during a teleconference with the media on Monday. "I have to be having fun. That's why I am taking it year by year, to be sure I am motivated, and that I am playing at a high level.
Lidstrom has been the Red Wings' defensive anchor for two decades, his legacy cemented by four Stanley Cups, six Norris trophies as the NHL's best defenseman and 11 All-Star Game appearances. He's a candidate for this year's Norris trophy, which will be awarded on June 22 in Las Vegas.
Lidstrom, nicknamed "The Perfect Human" by his Red Wings teammates because of his work ethic, calm demeanor and dedication to maintaining peak physical condition, is arguably the team's core and has continued his high level of play. With Lidstrom, the Red Wings are perennial contenders for the Stanlkey Cup. Part of what helped Lidstrom decide to return to Hockeytown was the stated commitment by GM Ken Holland to maintain committed to winning championships.
"I did have those questions for Kenny," Lidstrom said. "I've never had any doubt in my mind that Kenny is trying to do everything he can to put a good product on the ice, and Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, as well."
With the retirement of fellow defenseman Brian Rafalski earlier this offseason, Lidstrom's return was even more crucial for the Red Wings. "Obviously, if we had lost both, it probably would have been devastating," Holland said on the teleconference. "I just can't imagine the Red Wings without Nick Lidstrom. "I always say that the day he announces his retirement, I will be in an adjacent room, announcing mine."