Nicklas Lidstrom opted to end his 20-season NHL career last June. The Detroit Red Wings don’t plan on retiring his number until next season, but his former coach hoped to see No. 5 inside the rink in 2013 – on the back of his returning captain, actually.
According to Sportbladet, Mike Babcock called Lidstrom on Tuesday with the hope that he could convince the legendary Red Wing to play in the truncated 48-game season.
Lidstrom, however, told Babcock he’s too old for this [expletive]. Although not in so many words.
“Yes, he called yesterday and asked if I was keen to come over and play. But I said I'm pretty happy with life and my decision from last spring,” says "Lidas" to Sportbladet.
… “We talked yesterday and the question was whether I was eager to play again. He wondered if his wife was tired of being at home all the time. But she has not tired of me, not yet anyway, haha,” [he said]
When asked about Detroit’s chances this season, Lidstrom said:
“Since there are only 48 games, it becomes a race to the playoffs. It becomes very important to score early. I think there is benefit to the teams that have had players running. Detroit has had a few players who ‘Zäta’ and Datsjuk, and it should try to take advantage of.”
(You may know Zäta by his other nickname, “Curly Fries”.)
The 2013 NHL regular season will be a tidy 48-game sprint to the finish, rather than an 82-game war of attrition. That would seem to benefit veteran players, who won’t have the typical wear and tear on their bodies before the playoffs – even if the compressed schedule will be taxing.
Veteran players like, say, a 42-year-old defenseman who recently retired despite looking like he could play the next 20 seasons …
Alas, no comeback for Nicklas Lidstrom. Which sadly also still means no proper farewell tour.
s/t Linus Hughosson