Put Your Tears Away

Apparently, it’s sad that Nicklas Lidstrom is retiring.

Sorry if you don’t see me balling my eyes out.

Lidstrom will go down as one of the greatest defenseman to ever play the game and rightfully so. He played 20 seasons , won 7 Norris Trophies, 4 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe and, for whatever it’s worth, has been voted to 12 all-star games. You don’t get named by The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated as the “NHL Player of the Decade” for nothing.

These aren’t gloomy days though. I mean, this isn’t Brett Favre retiring for the 1st time.

Fans love to buy into the narrative of the man commonly referred to as “Mr. Perfect.” That narrative is by no means wrong. However, this thought of a player who epitomizes what it means to be the captain and leader of a franchise seems to entice people more than the actual player himself. It’s almost as if loving Nicklas Lidstrom is proving yourself to be a true fan of the game because he is everything that a player is supposed to be.

If I were that Condescending Wonka on Twitter, I might tweet something along the lines of ‘Oh, you’re depressed because Nickas Lidstrom retired? You must be real hockey fan.’

Nicklas Lidstrom was a great player but, unless I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan, I could care less about his departure from the game of hockey.

The reason Nick Lidstrom is great is because you don’t notice him. He plays the way you would expect the best Swedish defenseman to. Nicklas Lidstrom doesn’t make mistakes. Nicklas Lidstrom just gets the job done. He is classic substance over style.

No one goes to see games because of Nicklas Lidstrom.

He plays the game the right way but it is not anything that we’re going to miss. What, you’re going to miss his unwavering emotionless expression? His outlet passes? His subtle decision-making? His politeness with the media?

There’s no doubt that you have to appreciate how well Lidstrom played the game. Hockey isn’t supposed to be as easy he made it look. Appreciate and love is a whole different matter though.

Unlike the way I imagine Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Denis Potvin and Larry Robinson could, Nicklas Lidstrom rarely put anyone on the edge of their seat. There was no physical presence, no coast-to-coast rushes and certainly no smack talking.

Remind me again, what are we going to wish we had back without Nicklas Lidstrom next season?

Whenever the Detroit Red Wings come to town, fans will still be marking it down on their calendars. The reasons why you watch you the team from the Motor City haven’t left. Pavel Datysuk is worth the price of admission alone. Nicklas Lidstrom? You might even forget that number 5 hasn’t stepped foot on the ice.

Coaches love class over flash but Nick Lidstrom is somewhat of an embodiment of what plagues the National Hockey League. The NHL struggles for ratings because of its severe lack of star power. The league won’t be hurt in the slightest bit without Lidstrom suiting up for 82 games.

The media generated hype surrounding Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement gives people this idea that they loved Nicklas Lidstrom. In reality, Nicklas Lidstrom is about as lovable as a slice of plain white bread.

Of course the “Perfect Human” didn’t shed a tear over his retirement.

Neither should you.

You can follow me on Twitter @paintstheblack and subscribe to Painting the Black to get the latest posts.

Agree? Disagree? You can also E-mail Chris at cross_can15@hotmail.com or reply in the comments section below.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: