Certain teams bug the heck out of me and the Detroit Red Wings are one of them. Since I became a San Jose Sharks fan back in the early 90's, the Red Wings have never missed the playoffs and have won four Stanley Cup Finals. In my mind, they're the New York Yankees of hockey.
Which is why you won't usually see this particular Sharks fan cheering for anyone wearing a Red Wings' jersey But Niklas Lidstrom is the exception. Actually, I can't say I've ever rooted for #5. But over the years, it's hard not to respect what he's done for his team and for the sport itself.
See for yourself. Here's a list of his major accomplishments:
12x NHL All-Star (Did not attend 2009 All-Star Game)
10x NHL First Team All-Star
7x James Norris Memorial Trophy Winner
2001-02 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner
4x Stanley Cup Champion
2006 Olympic Gold Medal Winner (Team Sweden)
1,564 NHL Games Played (Most w/One Team in NHL History)
878 Assists (21st in NHL History)
+450 Plus/Minus (10th in NHL History)
So when I read about his retirement on ESPN earlier today, I was relieved, sad, and happy... all at the same time. I'm relieved that Lidstrom will no longer be helping his teammates light up the lamp against the Sharks. On the other hand, it's sad knowing that his amazing NHL career is officially over. The good news is he's retiring on his own terms and there's no doubt he's one of the greatest to play the game.
Enjoy your retirement Mr. Lidstrom. You deserve it!