Down By Two

The National Hockey League is back.  For the Detroit Red Wings and their fans, it’s the beginning of what they hope is their 22nd straight trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Only this season, the Wings will have to do it without two of their veteran leaders.  Both Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom retired during the extended offseason – both of which are huge losses for the Wings.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Lidstrom formally announced his retirement after last season on May 31, 2012.  The Swedish-defenseman played his entire career with Detroit in which he tallied 1,142 points in 1,564 games.  Lidstrom will always be talked about among the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL.  According to he holds the league record for most games played by a player who has spent the entirety of his career with one franchise and ranks 10th all-time in games played.

During his 20-year career, Lidstrom never missed the playoffs.  He ranks second all-time in games played in the playoffs and first in playoff plus-minus.  During the ’01-’02 playoffs, he won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP.  He’s a seven-time Norris trophy winner and an eleven-time NHL all-star.  He also owns rings for four Stanley Cup championships.

The 42-year-old defenseman also set a milestone for European players.  He became the first European-born player to captain a Stanley Cup-winning team as well as the first to win the Conn Smythe trophy.

He was a leader on and off the ice and considered an elite player amongst his peers.  Lidstrom took over captaincy of the Red Wings in 2006 after Steve Yzerman retired.  Henrik Zetterberg will take over duties as the Red Wings captain for the upcoming season.

Holmstrom, 39, certainly doesn’t have the sort of numbers or career statistical rankings that followed Lidstrom into retirement, but there is no question that the Swedish forward was a huge piece of the Detroit offense.

Holmstrom was a pest that lived at the top of the creases of his opponents.  He was a career-Red Wing and, like Lidstrom, made the playoffs in every year of his 15-year career.  Holmstrom ranks eighth all-time in playoff plus-minus – winning four Stanley Cups with the Wings.

He made it tough for other teams to move him from the front of the net and had no problem taking a puck to the body if it helped his team.  He’s a big presence that the Wings will have to fill on the powerplay and at even strength.

Nicklas Lidstrom was drafted 53rd overall in the 1989 NHL draft by the Detroit Red Wings.
Tomas Holmstrom was drafted 257th overall in the 1994 NHL draft by the Detroit Red Wings.

NHL Regular Season Stats:
Nicklas Lidstrom: 1,564GP (10th all-time), 264G (9th all-time among defensemen), 878A (21st all-time), 1,142 (50th all-time), +450 (8th all-time), 514PIM, 132PPG (63rd all-time), 10SHG (5th all-time among defensemen), 35GWG (12th all-time among defensemen), 4OTG (T-17th all-time among defensemen)
Tomas Holmstrom: 1,026GP, 243G, 287A, 530P, +28, 769PIM, 122PPG (83rd all-time), 39GWG (176th all-time)

NHL Playoff Stats:
Nicklas Lidstrom: 263GP (2nd all-time), 54G (T-40th all-time), 129A (5th all-time), 183P (12th all-time), +61 (1st all-time), 76PIM, 30PPG (5th all-time), 3SHG(T-37th all-time), 11GWG (T-32nd all-time)
Tomas Holmstrom: 180GP (34th all-time), 46G (64th all-time), 51A (114th all-time), 97P (90th all-time), +33 (T-8th all-time), 162PIM (160th all-time), 19PPG (36th all-time), 9GWG (48th all-time)

Career Accomplishments:
Nicklas Lidstrom: Conn Smythe Trophy (1 – 2002), James Norris Memorial Trophy (7 – 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011), NHL All-Rookie Team (1 – 1992), NHL All-Star (11 – 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011), Olympic All-Star (1 – 2006), Olympic Gold Medalist (1 – 2006), World Championships (3 – 1991 Gold, 1994 Bronze, 2004 Silver), Stanley Cup Champion (4 – 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008)
First European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup; First European-born player to win the Conn Smythe trophy; Second all-time in Detroit’s games played; Fourth all-time in Detroit points; Holds Detroit’s single season record for assists (64) and points (80) by a defenseman; Holds an NHL record for most games played by a player who has spent the entirety of his career with one franchise
Tomas Holmstrom: Olympic Gold Medalist (1 – 2006), Stanley Cup Champion (4 – 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008)


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