Nicklas Lidstrom returns Saturday

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Detroit has lost five straight games and seven of their last eight contests, but there’s reason for them to be optimistic on Saturday. After being sidelined for nearly a month, their captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, has returned.

Since Lidstrom made his NHL debut in 1991, he has played in the vast majority of Red Wings games. They weren’t use to having to find ways to win without him for an extended period of time and things didn’t exactly go well. Although it’s worth emphasizing that Lidstrom wasn’t the only Red Wings player to miss a significant amount of time recently, this is still a troubling sign for the future of the franchise.

Lidstrom’s longevity has been amazing, but he’ll turn 42 in April. It’s appropriate to start wondering what a post-Lidstrom team might look like. In the short term though, Detroit could certainly use their captain as they look to bounce back before the playoffs start.