By: Pat Caputo
This by no means meant as disrespect for Gordie Howe, who many feel is the greatest hockey player of all time, or Steve Yzerman, who certainly earned his ironic status in this town, but three reasons why Nicklas Lidstrom is the greatest Detroit Red Wings player of all-time:
1. Like Howe, Lidstrom played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in Detroit. But Howe played on several Red Wings teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. The Red Wings made the playoffs all 20 seasons Lidstrom was on the team. Yzerman was on several Red Wings teams that didn’t do well early in his career.
2. Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman seven times (only Bobby Orr won it more) and was a first-team NHL All-Star 10 times and a second-team All-Star twice. He scored the gold medal-winning goal for Sweden in the 2006 Olympics.
3. Lidstrom was on all four of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams since 1997, and was the most effective defenseman of his generation against great forwards from Wayne Gretzky to Sidney Crosby.