Datsyuk still can’t believe that Lidstrom has retired

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Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement last month, but Pavel Datsyuk is still coming to terms with it.

“It’s been like a dream. A bad dream. A nightmare,” Datsyuk said during the NHL Awards media gathering. “I keep thinking I’ll see him again soon in [training camp], just like always. I keep telling myself this, thinking it will come true. I can’t believe this has happened.”

Part of the reason Datsyuk is having a hard time accepting the fact that Lidstrom is gone is because of the defenseman’s ability to seemingly defy the aging process. Datsyuk believes that Lidstrom would have been one of the NHL’s top blueliners in 2012-13 if he had decided to extend his career.

All the same, Lidstrom has made his decision and now the Red Wings must move on. They need a new captain and it might be Datsyuk.

“I mean, I don’t know about that,” said Datsyuk. “We had [Steve] Yzerman, and then Nick. Those are two great captains, for a long time. It will be very hard to be like them.”

That’s a point worth dwelling on. The Detroit Red Wings did have Yzerman and, for that matter, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Brian Rafalski, and Dominik Hasek, to name a few other greats that have hanged up their skates. However, the Red Wings dynasty has survived because there’s always been another person to stand up.

This time around they might do part of their healing by acquiring Ryan Suter and/or Zach Parise if they hit the unrestricted free agent market. Either way, moving on without Lidstrom might not end up being a nightmare.