It's over. After 20 seasons, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has retired from the game of hockey. The future Hall of Famer announced his retirement on his own terms Thursday morning in a news conference at Joe Louis Arena.
"The last few seasons, I waited until the end of the season to assess my ability to play another year," Lidstrom said. "Sadly this year, it's painfully obvious to me that my strength and energy level are not rebounding enough for me to continue to play. My drive and motivation are not where they need to be to play at this level."
Lidstrom can still play the game at a high level, but apparently not high enough. It's safe to say that the organization wants Lidstrom to stay on the ice if the words of general manager Ken Holland mean anything.
"I think I've been dreading this since I became manager in 1997," Holland said. "I think I speak for the entire Red Wing organization in congratulating Nick on a great career. It's a Hall of Fame career."
Lidstrom leaves the NHL on his own terms.
"It's not that the tank is completely empty. It just doesn't have enough to carry me through every game at the high level where I want to play at. My family and I are completely comfortable with this decision. Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride rather than have the game walk away from me."
As for his future, Lidstrom said that he's going to be moving back to Sweden with his family. He's talked with Holland about a potential future involved with the Red Wings, but nothing has been decided on that front.
Lidstrom earned four Stanley Cups, seven Norris Trophies, one Conn Smythe Trophy and 11 All-Star Game nods in his 20 year career. He will be missed.