Nicklas Lidstrom’s career was truly historic, and as such he impacted a great number of people in the hockey community, specifically the players. From the opponents he tormented with his excellence, to the teammates who were proud to serve by his side, to the young players who idolized him as they grew up, they were all influenced by Lidstrom’s illustrious career.
Special thanks to @RedWingsFeed for aiding in the finding of several of these quips.
Others offered up quotes to the media.
“Having played with him and watched him closely from his first game in the NHL — people know about it now, but we said it all along — you have to watch him closely to appreciate how good he is, what a great athlete he is, because he makes the position look so easy. He was just a … he is a special athlete.”
“God, I played in the West for 15 years. I would have had a lot more points if I didn’t have to play against that guy. … He’s a wonderful person and guy and leader, we’re gonna miss him. And the worst thing is he could probably be plus-25 by Christmas next year.”
“It’s a real honor to be around someone like that.”
“People buckle under pressure on the ice, but Nick never changed his demeanor. His composure rubbed off on everyone else and we were a better team for it.”
“I heard him swear maybe three of four times in all the years I have known him.And if you think about the game out there and how emotional it can get, that’s just amazing. But that just shows how he always managed to keep his emotions in control.”
“He is the best defenseman I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with and I’ve played with a few good ones. I don’t know if I ever left the rink after a game thinking to myself, Nick just didn’t have it today. He was almost the same every day, the same every day. That is what a great player is. When you’re around that and that’s the kind of guy you have leading your team, it rubs off on you. I think it makes you better.”
“The level of consistency, bangs and bruises, he didn’t miss a lot of games but I assure you he wasn’t feeling 100 percent every time he went out there but he had the ability to work though that and get his level of play. That consistency, to me, being an ex-player, is what really stands out. Being so great so often, I’ve never seen that from any other player.”
“We’ve been getting so spoiled having a guy like that around, being on a team with a guy like that, being on the ice with a guy like that,” Kronwall said. “I think the fans have been getting very spoiled as well. We’ve been taking it for granted, I think, when he’s on the ice, because everything, it’s supposed to be that way. Now he’s not going to be there next year and I think it’s going to take some time for that to really sink in.”
“He had an unbelievable career. Growing up as a young kid I looked up to him. He’s one of the best defensemen in the game. He deserves all the credit he gets and he’s a big reason why the Detroit Red Wings won so many Cups. There were times I’d watch video on him my first year in the league just to kinda see how positionally good he was. Just to learn those kinds of things from him. He’s a real leader and why he’s been their captain for so long.”
“You know you see a lot of guys take big hits, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him take a big hit, he reads plays so well. Him on the power play that’s something that was more of a concern for me. He had a few multi-point games against me I know that for sure. What he did for that Detroit Red Wings organization and the game of hockey is incredible.”
“If there’s anyone that people should want to model themselves after, it would be him.”
“First of all, we’re going to miss him. Putting aside the injuries last year, the guy still played awfully good hockey. After 20 years to continue to perform like he did in his 20th season, in my mind that’s incredible. He was still a superstar, a key player for the team. Off the ice the way he’s handled himself, he’s just class, he’s a classy gentleman. He’s represented our game as well as any payer. To perform the way he did for 20 years, that’s special. That’s a special player.”
“I don’t think there’s any doubt he was the class of our generation on defense. Seven Norris Trophies speaks to that.”
“One of the classiest guys I ever met, and he’s going to go down as one of the very, very best defensemen of all time, no question.”
“The things he has accomplished are remarkable. In my eyes, he’s the best Swedish player we’ve had over here. No offense to Forsberg and Sundin. Just with four Stanley Cups, seven Norris Trophies, that says it all, I think.”
“What he has done so far is unique. Hopefully I can look back after my career and see that I’ve done something good like he has.”
“He is my best friend. He took care of me my first year, helped me get a car, a place, showed me the ropes. We had a lot of laughs.”
“I knew this day would come, but I had hoped it would take another few years.”“I’m very grateful for the years we played together. The high point was winning a Stanley Cup together.”
“As great as he was talent-wise and determination and skill and everything else, he was never put in a bad position. Even when he didn’t have the puck he controlled where that puck was going; just so much fun to watch him.”
“Getting a chance to play with him you realize how special he was to this team and the city. Amazing player and amazing person. I’m privileged to have had the chance to play with him.”
If there was any question about the amount of profound impact Lidstrom had on this game, it’s gone now. These are just some of the multitudes of quotes I’m sure you could find hockey players around the world offering up. That’s not to mentioned the coaches, management, staff, media personnel, and fans that have nothing but the nicest words for him. Lidstrom touched us all in one way or another, and the players, just like you and I, will always remember him for it.