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Lidstrom looks forward to 'big' events

Alumni game, retirement night has legendary defenseman excited for upcoming season

Friday, 09.20.2013 / 10:00 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Lidstrom looks forward to \'big\' events
Nicklas Lidstrom is looking forward to March 6 when his No. 5 will join the likes of Steve Yzerman's No. 19 in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT Nicklas Lidstrom is excited about the upcoming season.

No, the legendary defenseman isn’t coming out of retirement, however, he does plan to put on a Red Wings’ sweater at least once more.

Lidstrom, who leads the franchise in virtually every statistical category for defensemen, has told the Red Wings that he will play in the Alumni Showdown against alumni players from the Toronto Maple Leafs at Comerica Park on Dec. 31.

“I will be part of that game,” Lidstrom said early last month in a phone interview from his home in Sweden. “I’m really looking forward to the Winter Classic and being a part of something like that again, and to play with some of my former teammates when I played back in 90s and early 2000s. It’ll be exciting. I’m looking forward to the big game too when the Wings and the Leafs lace them up.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to play again.”

The Winter Classic alumni game has become so big over the last few years – particularly among former players and fans – that the Wings and Leafs scheduled a doubleheader to accommodate the demand. The alumni games will be played at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the home of the Detroit Tigers on New Year’s Eve.

The Red Wings announced this month that they will retire Lidstrom’s iconic No. 5, sending it to the rafters at Joe Louis Arena during an on-ice ceremony prior to the March 6 game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Lidstrom will become the seventh player to have his jersey number raised to the top of The Joe, joining Terry Sawchuk (1), Ted Lindsay (7), Gordie Howe (9), Alex Delvecchio (10), Sid Abel (12) and Steve Yzerman (19).

“I’m really excited about that evening too and leading up to it,” Lidstrom said. “I know my parents want to be there and my (three) sisters have been talking about getting off from work for a few days to be there and be a part of it. I’m looking forward to walking onto the ice again, even though I won’t have my skates on (or) sitting on the bench. I’m sure it will be an exciting night for me, and it will probably be an emotional night too. But I’m really looking forward to be back there again.”

One of the coolest customers on the ice during his 20 NHL seasons, Lidstrom has somewhat of an idea of what to expect in March as he had a front row seat to Yzerman’s retirement night in 2007.

“I don’t recall talking to Steve a whole lot about it, though I know that I asked him if he was nervous about his speech,” Lidstrom said. “I thought he did an excellent job through his speech. He didn’t look too emotional when he was out there, but I know that he was.

“I’m really going to go out there and just try to enjoy the moment, enjoy the fans and enjoy the chance to say goodbye to the fans again and watch that jersey go up to the rafters.”

Besides the alumni games and his retirement night, Lidstrom said he’s looking forward to seeing what Daniel Alfredsson can bring to the Red Wings in his final NHL season. Alfredsson, who signed a one-year contract with Detroit last month, has made it known that this season will be his last in the NHL. Lidstrom and Alfredsson have been Team Sweden teammates in several international tournaments, including four Olympics.

“He can be a playmaker, he can be a goal-scorer, he can be that hard worker,” Lidstrom said of the former Ottawa Senators’ captain. “In Daniel I see the total package where even though he has all of the skill in the world he’ll be one of the hardest working guys out there. I see a lot of similarities with him in both (Henrik) Zetterberg and Pavel (Datsyuk). As hard as they work, Daniel is that hard worker too, and if you have a superstar that works that hard it’s going to lift the whole team.

“I think he’ll be a great addition to the team with just the type of person that he is. And then if you look at the things that he brings on the ice, being a right-handed shot, he can play the point on the power play, he can be the playmaker on the half wall. I see him being a great addition for the team.”

It’s that dedication that will help Alfredsson assimilate to the Red Wings’ dressing room and should help him quickly bond with his new teammates in Detroit, Lidstrom said.

“He’ll fit right in and it won’t be a long feeling-out period before he feels comfortable,” he said. “Certainly, it helps that he’s played in the league for a lot of years and a lot of players look up to him, but still there’s that feeling of walking into a brand new locker room. He’ll adjust real well and I know the guys will take good care of him too.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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