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.”
Watch the full press conference below: