Here’s a good sports story for the weekend. Red Wings’ defenseman Niklas Lidstrom is a player of the type that comes along only once in a generation, if that. He is 41 years old, has been in the NHL for 20 seasons, still plays at an All-Star level, and tonight against My Beloved Capitals he will reach a milestone attained by only 13 other players in league history.
When the Capitals host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night it will mark a significant milestone for Nicklas Lidstrom, who will become just the 14th player in NHL history to play in 1,500 regular season games.
One of the best defensemen to ever play the game, Lidstrom even at 41 remains one of the elite players in the league. He’s a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, became the first European-born player to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs all in addition to winning the Stanley Cup four times.
Stephen Whyno found that of the 18 seasons where his team played a full 82 game schedule, Lidstrom played at least 76 games in each one. That is Ironman-level toughness on par with Brett Favre or London Fletcher in the NFL.
Here is one cool bit of trivia. When Lidstrom scored a hat-trick (that’s three goals in one game, for those of you who don’t follow hockey) in December of last year, he became the oldest defenseman and the oldest player ever to accomplish the feat. It was the first hat trick of his career. Oh, and last year — his 19th — he won his record-tying 7th Norris Trophy (the award given by the NHL to the best defenseman as voted upon by Professional Hockey Writer’s Association).
That’s impressive stuff.