Niklas Lidstrom to retire after 20 NHL seasons

Detroit Red Wings captain Niklas Lidstrom announced his retirement Thursday after 20 seasons in the NHL, closing the book on one of the most successful careers in the history of the league.

“My drive and motivation are not where to need to be to play at this level,” Lidstrom, 42, told reporters at an emotional press conference in Detroit. “Retiring today allows me to walk away with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me.”

Born in Vasteras, Sweden, the seven-time Norris Trophy winner (for best defenceman) had 264 career goals with 1,142 points and a 450-plus rating. He won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, and scored the gold medal-winning goal to defeat Finland in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

“I think he’s going to go down as one of the all-time best defencemen ever to play,” Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman, who was the captain in Detroit before Lidstrom, told the Windsor Star. “You have to watch him closely to appreciate how good he is, what a great athlete he is because he makes the position look so easy. He is a special athlete.”

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