Rarely in sports are athletes able to go out on top. For every John Elway, who retired after consecutive Super Bowl wins, there are a thousand players who aren’t as fortunate. If this is the end for Nick Lidstrom, it wasn’t exactly how he wanted to go.
The Nashville Predators took care of business to a tune of 2-1 against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night, closing out their opening round series in five games. Pekka Rinne, who was easily the best player in the series, stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced to continue his torrid play. Rinne was beaten only nine times in the five game series, stopping 151 of the 160 shots he faced.
The Red Wings saved their poorest performance for last, as they looked lost and confused throughout most of the evening. Detroit tied the game late in the second period, and appeared to have taken control of momentum heading into the final frame. That feeling only lasted 13 seconds in the third period, as David Legwand wasted no time breaking the tie before most Nashvillians were back in their seats.
The Red Wings were unable to mount an attack of any substance, and bowed out of this years playoffs with little more than a hearty whimper (think Simba being chased by hyenas, without Mufasa to save the day). This performance was unlike Detroit playoff runs of years past, a performance unlike their captain.
The immediate question on the mind of most Wings’ fans, is whether or not the C will remain attached to the number 5 sweater. Is this the end for the captain? Is this the end of an era? Is this the end for Nicklas Lidstrom?
Fans of the winged wheel certainly hope not.
Mike Babcock said earlier this week that he would be surprised if Lidstrom retires after this season. But is that coach-speak, or is that the truth? Lidstrom is 41-years-old, and isn’t exactly getting any younger. The Captain has nothing left to prove in the National Hockey League, so at this point it all comes down to his desire. Can he handle ending his career with a loss in Nashville? Is he content with his four Stanley Cups, and seven Norris Trophies? Is he okay with his swan song being completely out of tune?
Only time will tell, and based on his lengthy NHL career, time is usually on his side.
Come back Nick. Give us one more season. Give us one more year of picturesque passes and puck-cycling on the power play. Give us one more year to worship you.