–Wings coach Mike Babcock made a major recruiting pitch to persuade Nicklas Lidstrom to return next season, telling him he will be playing for a competitive club that will remain a Stanley Cup contender after making a few offseason changes. Babcock believes that is the determining factor for Lidstrom, who will take his time to decide whether to return for a 20th season or retire. Despite turning 41 on April 28, Lidstrom had a tremendous season and playoffs. He is a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman for the 11th time in 13 seasons and has a chance on June 22 to win the award for a seventh time, tying Doug Harvey. Only Bobby Orr (eight) has won more.

–Mike Modano postponed retirement to sign with his hometown Wings, hoping to make a significant contribution to a Cup run, the last of his Hall of Fame career. Instead, Modano was a healthy scratch in nine of 11 playoff games and is expected to retire. The move didn’t pan out. Modano got off to a slow start, missed 40 games during the season because of wrist surgery and couldn’t get into a groove when he returned. His 40-year-old body couldn’t keep up with the pace.

“The league is really, really close. We got to make some moves, but we got the nucleus of a good team. We got a lot of good players; we’ll see how we can tweak it. We got to figure out a way to get on the other side of this. Find a way to win by one instead of lose by one.” — Wings general manager Ken Holland.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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