As expected, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom officially announced his retirement this morning in Detroit. The 42-year-old defenseman said his “drive and motivation are not where they need to be” to keep playing in the NHL, and that his skills have diminished.
“I didn’t want to lose that level of play that I have reached and that’s why I’m retiring today,” he said.
“Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me.”
An emotional Lidstrom thanked everyone from ownership to management to coaches to players to team personnel to the media to arena ushers to fans and his family.
Said team owner Mike Ilitch: “It’s one of the most emotional days in Red Wings history with Nick retiring and all you people showing your respect for such a high-quality individual.”
Added general manager Ken Holland: “In my opinion he’s the best two-way defenseman to ever play the game. He’s the type of player that comes along once in a generation.”
Holland later referred to Lidstrom as the “most valuable player of his era.”
More notes and quotes:
— Lidstrom and his family will move back to Sweden, though he says he’d like to remain with the club in some capacity.
— When asked who might take over as Red Wings captain, he mentioned Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula.
— Ilitch: “Nick has been a Rock of Gibraltar. A solid leader. The word ‘perfect’ comes up.”
— Teammate Todd Bertuzzi: “It’s going to be a very different locker room. It’s going to look weird without Nick.”
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.