Detroit Red Wings Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App

  • RSS

Lidstrom's approach in playoffs is same

Postseason must be experienced, not explained, veteran said

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 6:08 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  -
Share with your Friends

Lidstrom\'s approach in playoffs is same
Nicklas Lidstrom will play in career playoff game No. 259 tonight when the Red Wings face the Predators in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s been nearly 20 years – actually a week shy of the exact date – since Nicklas Lidstrom made his Stanley Cup playoff debut as a Red Wings’ rookie defenseman.

While it sometimes seems longer than a few decades since he experienced that first taste of playoff hockey, the messages that Lidstrom received while patrolling the blue line with such cagey veterans as the late Brad McCrimmon and Steve Chiasson, still rings true today.

“We played against Minnesota at the time and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Lidstrom said. “But my teammates were telling me it’s different than the regular-season, the intensity will pick-up, the level of play will be better, mistakes can really cost you, so it’s something that I’ve really learned from.”

The Wings put on a remarkable comeback in that series with the North Stars. Down 3-1 in the series, Detroit stormed back with three straight victories to clinch the opening round. After dropping the first two games to Minnesota, Lidstrom helped the Wings to their first win of the 1991 playoffs, scoring his first career playoff goal – a first-period tally on the power play that beat Minnesota goalie Jon Casey. (Yes, the same Jon Casey who Steve Yzerman victimized five years later in a Game 7 double-overtime thriller at Joe Louis Arena.)

The 41-year-old defenseman, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday later this month, is eight games away from catching one of his former defensive partners for the NHL’s lead in most playoff games played. Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series tonight in Nashville will be the 259th career playoff game for Lidstrom. Only Chris Chelios has played in more NHL postseason games than his former partner.

Still, Lidstrom’s approach, and the way he has prepared both mentally and physically for the playoffs from that first playoff game 20 years ago to No. 259 tonight is relatively the same, the seven-time Norris Trophy winner said.

“It’s a different kind of excitement,” he said. “Now you know what to expect. Back then when you were young you didn’t know what to expect. Your teammates were telling you all about it, but you didn’t know what to expect. I’m still looking forward to it and I’m still looking forward to tonight, and now I know what to expect. That helps, yeah, that helps.”

While he admits that the playoffs are saddled with a different kind of incitement, don’t expect Lidstrom to waver from his daily routines, which he prefers to keep the same and simple.

“I’m approaching it just like I do in the regular-season,” he said. “You’re eating habits don’t change and you’re doing the same things that you’re doing in the regular-season. Nothing really changes.”

There are six players on the Wings’ roster that are awaiting their Cup playoff debuts, though only forward Gustav Nyquist is expected to make his first postseason appearance in tonight’s Game 1.

“You’re going to have your ups and downs throughout the series,” Lidstrom said. “You’re going to have to try and stay even, not to get too hyped when you’re playing well, and when you’re not playing as well find a way to get out of it, so I think you have to keep your emotions intact, that’s the most important thing. … But it’s always fun when you hit the second season, as we call it.”

Defenseman Kyle Quincey can appreciate the nervousness and jitters that a young, inexperienced player feels when he’s thrust into his first playoff game. It happened to him five years ago when Brett Lebda went down with an injury in Game 5 of a first-round series with Calgary. Quincey was called-up from Griffins, who were in Manitoba for an AHL game.

“It was pretty nerve-racking for me playing in an elimination game right away in Calgary with the ‘C of Red’ and it was so loud and double-overtime,” Quincey said. “I just remember (Johan) Franzen’s unbelievable goal and just getting excited every time my name was called to go out there and giving it 110 percent and going a million miles per hour.”

Now that he’s back with the Wings, Quincey is thrilled at the opportunity to be back in the playoffs, after sitting out the postseason last spring with Colorado.

“The biggest thing for me is just getting another chance to win,” he said. “Anytime you get a chance to play, I remember how exciting it was to be playing San Jose when I was in Colorado, it’s just fun being a part of the dance. I’m here again and I’m so excited.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80