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NHL36 - Lidstrom


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NHL36 will debut the Nicklas Lidstrom edition this Wednesday on the NBC Sports Network right before the Wings take on Montreal. I can't wait to see this special, but I had to giggle when the commercials came on during last night's game against the Blues...

"You've seen him win seven Norris trophies" (Lidstrom scoring with a bullet from the blue line)

"You've seen him win four Stanley Cups" (Lidstrom skating with the Stanley Cup in 2008)

"But you've never seen him like this..." (Lidstrom in his kitchen clumsily trying to pour Cheez-It's into a Ziplock bag)

Really...?

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NHL36 will debut the Nicklas Lidstrom edition this Wednesday on the NBC Sports Network right before the Wings take on Montreal. I can't wait to see this special, but I had to giggle when the commercials came on during last night's game against the Blues...

Really...?

Hopefully we can find it and put it in the video section on Thursday

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  • 2 weeks later...

After watching it, it makes Homer's impending retirement a little bit more interesting: Who is gonna have breakfast with Nick every game day now? Who's gonna drive him to work? And will that change mess with his game due to the change in his routine? I didn't know Homer was such a big part of Lidstrom's routine.

Might be interesting.

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Thanks for the welcome. Glad to talk hockey.

Little scarce down here in ATL, the capital of coughing up NHL hockey teams. Hard to see a game live now. Gotta head to Nashville or Carolina to see my Red Wings play live.

P.S. I don't know if it was intentional, but his last name is LIDstrom. No "n."

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Yep. Detroit native. Lived all of my childhood and early adulthood in Michigan. Mostly in the Detroit area. Got out of there before the economy tanked.

It is amazing how much hockey means there with all of the negativity that exists in that city and area. The Red Wings have been a bright spot, somewhat analogous to the '68 Tigers. They do bring the people of the city together in an area with a long and intense history of racial and economic separatism.

There is no question that the hockey IQ of the average Detroiter is high. My favorite part of going to Thrashers games when the Wings came to town was hanging out by the visitors' tunnel with all the other Detroit fans and talking hockey with people who actually know the game--many of whom were also Detroit natives--during the pre-game skate. Hard to find many who know hockey well in the general population in ATL. Sometimes, I actually enjoyed that pre-game interaction more than the game itself. Guess that's why I do forums.

As Lidstrom said in his NHL36 episode (my paraphrase): It's a great game that goes beyond the stars that play it and the teams that play it. I'm a Red Wings fan, but I put the game higher than the Wings. But there's no question that it's been great being a Wings fan for the last 25 years. Not a bad ride considering when I became a fan, they were the worst team in the NHL. (Yzerman's first season)

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Not a bad ride considering when I became a fan, they were the worst team in the NHL. (Yzerman's first season)

lol, Detroit has done a GREAT job of making the most of their draft picks than any other team I can think of. I can remember a time when Detroit was probably one of the most despised teams amongst Flyer fans. But now, for what ever the reason, maybe Datsyuk, Zetterburg, or Lidstrom they tend to be one of the teams I admire the most.

We would like nothing more than to make this site a fan favorite for all 30 teams, so tell your friends about us.

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I think there are three things that make them this way:

1. They RARELY play dirty. I don't mean physical, although there have been times when I didn't think they played physical enough for sure. But only rarely does someone on the Wings play dirty. Lidstrom's leadership by example has had a lot to do with that. He's not overly physical. He just plays his position better than anyone else, very consistently being where he's supposed to be. Hard to hate a guy like that.

2. Their scouting and development strategies. They were visionaries in scouting the European talent pool and active in recruitment there before anyone else. They drafted from there before it was popular. Nick Lidstrom. The best defenseman other than Orr to play the game. 3rd round pick. They recognized the diamond when it didn't yet sparkle. And because of their salary system (explained below), they also have more time to develop the talent before throwing young players into the game before they are ready. Jimmy Howard is a present-day example of this. Because they had good goaltending at reasonable salaries, they didn't NEED to bring him up too soon. He really developed his game before his start in the NHL. And now he's playing at an elite level. He's just one of many examples of this.

3. Yzerman's leadership and legacy. The Wings were a good team, but they never made it to great in this era until Yzerman FINALLY--and it took him a few years before he did it, and he almost got traded because he didn't--bought into Scotty Bowman's system, basically saying, "OK. I no longer care about my personal stats. I'm tired of losing in the playoffs. I'll do whatever you tell me to do. Just make us winners!" He did it to the point that in the second half of his career, he accepted a lower salary in order to allow the Wings to acquire the necessary talent to complement him and complete the team. He learned the hard way that he couldn't win the cup by himself and without forwards playing defense! Yzerman was not a vocal leader. He didn't say much. He led by example. And absolutely NO ONE played hurt more than he did. Bowman admitted as much after he retired. Once he made that choice, everyone else followed or were booted i.e. Paul Coffey--GREAT player, but didn't fit in with Bowman's system. I LIKED Coffey and didn't like them letting him go. I now see the wisdom of it. They saw the wisdom when they let him go.

Lidstrom learned a bunch from Yzerman. One thing that remains from Yzerman's legacy is that Lidstrom only gets $8M per year. Not a paltry sum, mind you, but for the best defenseman in the league for the last 2 decades? He could easily have been paid MUCH more if he left Detroit, but he realized what Yzerman realized: that if he had a huge salary, they couldn't afford to field a GREAT team. And he wants to WIN. So the rule is (and Marian Hossa learned it) that no one gets paid more than Nick. And just about EVERYONE gets paid less than they could if they shopped around. They've got to decide they want to pay the price to be winners. There is a price to be a Red Wing. There isn't a player on the roster who either hasn't paid it or isn't currently paying it.

And Lidstrom learned how to lead by example too. He is also not very vocal--though he talks a lot more than Yzerman used to for most of his career. I think he learned to be that kind of leader from Yzerman. Watching and learning from his example over the years has made Nick a better captain.

It's hard to not have respect for a team that follows their examples. You can dislike 'em or be envious of their success--kinda like the Yankees of MLB. I think that 2002 season was their most Yankee-like, with talent bought with a very large wallet. That team was so loaded it was insane! But they have continued their success even in the salary cap era, and it's because of these two guys. And the rest of the team followed. And that allows their development strategy the time it needs to work.

Like 'em or not, you can learn a lot about being successful from studying how they've done it.

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@SpikeDDS

nice post btw, I agree with your above points.

The Redwings' organization really did scout well the European players, bringing them over when they were ready for the NHL. However with the new European trade agreement teams can't hang onto their European prospects without signing them to an entry level contract at younger ages. At least that is how we lost Joakim Ericsson, one of the Flyers top goaltending prospect last summer. I think in the future, with the new agreement teams will cause teams be more apt to sign Europeans to a FA contract, which will of course raise or inflate the starting salaries, unless they can come over to the NHL at a young age.

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One thing that remains from Yzerman's legacy is that Lidstrom only gets $8M per year. Not a paltry sum, mind you, but for the best defenseman in the league for the last 2 decades? He could easily have been paid MUCH more if he left Detroit, but he realized what Yzerman realized: that if he had a huge salary, they couldn't afford to field a GREAT team.

I wish this was more present in pro sports in general. Greed kills teams. Really, if invested well, whats the difference between 8 million and 9 or 10 million?

But to a salary cap era team that means a lot. Of course that just a piece of the team building puzzle. Red Wings seem to have it down to a science.

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I wish this was more present in pro sports in general. Greed kills teams. Really, if invested well, whats the difference between 8 million and 9 or 10 million?

But to a salary cap era team that means a lot. Of course that just a piece of the team building puzzle. Red Wings seem to have it down to a science.

Hockey, fortunately AND unfortunately, learned that it was not as important as the owners and players thought it was. Hockey is STILL learning this with the movement of the Thrashers to Winnipeg and with the financial state of the Yotes on the brink--they got a 1-year respite, but I haven't heard of any miraculous turnarounds there. Even the Red Wings, as good as they have been, needed to learn the lesson. They raised ticket prices a couple of years ago at the Detroit economy had tanked, and the result was that a very good team played many home games in front of a half-empty stadium. Now, several times per year, they still give away some tickets for $8 a seat including a hot dog and a drink! They figured it out! The fans drive the league.

It DOES keep the sport humble, which is both good and bad. Bad, because it sure would be good to have more people understand the game--so many here in ATL STILL don't understand it, so they never watch...and now they have no team to watch anyway.

But good, because now even most of the stars of the game know they aren't above the game itself. I see this particularly with the Canadian players and some Europeans more than US players. These guys know that they get to play the game they love and get paid well for doing it. They don't PRIMARILY have the attitude that they are OWED millions of dollars because they are THAT good. Even Cindy...I mean Sydney...Crosby doesn't act like the stars of the NBA do. (I don't like Crosby, but I respect him a heckuva lot more than many of the basketball stars who are full of themselves. And I hope he's able to return, despite my dislike of him. He's still good for the game.)

This is something that the NBA and MLB have NOT learned. Despite the strike seasons. I THOUGHT MLB learned after their strike in the 90's, and they DID...for a little while. But now Prince Fielder just signed with the Detroit Tigers--9 years, $204M! RUfKM?! He's good, but he's not worth $20+M per season. I'm sorry, but NO ONE IS! And the NBA? This strike-shortened season didn't even make a dent, I don't think. I think the leagues will eventually drive themselves to a humbling lesson when people can no longer afford to go to the games. Detroit hockey learned. So did the Tigers a few seasons ago.

The NHL was smart to put a hard salary cap in place. The others should do the same. It's better for the game itself. I say this as a fan of a team that has had it both ways--spending for championship teams and a championship team on an even financial playing field. I prefer it now even more than 2002. The 2002 Cup was bought. The 2008 Cup was earned. I'd be stupid and dishonest if I said I didn't like the 2002 Cup season. But I CAN honestly say that I like the '08 one more.

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@SpikeDDS @hf101 @Digityman

Great conversation, all! Sorry I missed out on it.

Welcome Spike! Real glad to have a new Wings fan to yak with on this site. How did you find us?

I think the salary cap issue, and keeping pay low is an bonus in and of itself. There are only 82 games in a season, and only 20,000 fans who can attend a game. That in itself will keep salaries in check, versus 50K fans for 162 baseball games. Still it seems that hockey players in general tend to be more humble and gracious than athletes in other sports (hear that Avery?) and that's a quality that's largely overlooked.

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