On a night that started with the number of the greatest defenseman of all time being raised into the Joe Louis Arena rafters, the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t put the cherry on top.
Nicklas Lidstrom was recognized as one of the legendary Red Wings in a memorable pregame ceremony, but the Red Wings fell to their old rival, the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2 in overtime. In a back-and-forth contest, Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Jurco scored for the Red Wings. Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau scored in regulation for the Avalanche, while Andre Benoit scored the game winner in overtime.
Fans arrived early to take in Lidstrom’s ceremony that brought many Red Wing legends back onto the Joe Louis Arena ice. Speakers included current head coach Mike Babcock, GM Ken Holland and Chris Ilitch, son of team owner Mike Ilitch. As a gift, Lidstrom was presented with an African Safari trip and a new truck. Not bad eh?
After Lidstrom spoke to the crowd in his usual classy and calm demeanor that helped him win four Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal and seven Norris trophies, his number was officially raised and retired in front of an electric standing ovation. Immediately, the crowd started chanting “Let’s go Red Wings” in an attempt to give the current Red Wings a boost in an important home game. Detroit was able to get one point, but couldn’t finish the job in overtime.
A cool gesture occurred during pregame warm ups as each Red Wing wore a Lidstrom jersey. They returned to their real jerseys for the game, but the Red Wings organization did everything right in commemorating one of the all-time greats. The Red Wings did get a point that puts them in a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but getting only one point when fighting for a playoff spot won’t keep the 22-year playoff streak alive.
With that said, I’m sure some fans wouldn’t mind un-retiring No. 5 and bringing him back for the home stretch.