Lidstrom gets kick out of visiting Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Don’t think for a second that Nicklas Lidstrom doesn’t miss hockey.

The Hall of Fame defenseman was back in town Tuesday to be honored for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame earlier this season.

Just being around Joe Louis Arena, being around some of his former teammates, he remembered how special it was to put on the Red Wings sweater.

“For me, I miss the camaraderie, the locker room, and being with your teammates, the guys you have a special bond with,” said Lidstrom, who was honored with a video montage of his brilliant career. “But I also miss the game, situations where the game is on the line, and you’re up or down a goal, and that really matters.

“I miss those moments. I miss that part.”

Lidstrom returns to Detroit sporadically during the course of the year, but being back in town for an event such as this was something he won’t soon forget.

“Getting the chance to be back on the ice and look into the stands, I’m looking forward to the game,” Lidstrom said.

This will likely be one of Lidstrom’s final appearances at Joe Louis Arena, an arena he will never forget.

“It’s a special building to play in,” Lidstrom said. “You play in some of the newer arenas and they’re or less the same. This has a special feel to it. It’s been a special place to play in.

“Just how the fans get into the game, when we’re playing well or when we’re winning, you feel the team has some momentum going, and the fans really help you take the next step.”

Lidstrom mingled with the Red Wings during and after the morning skate. Though it was tempting to get on the ice, the strong urge left a long time ago.

“It was harder my first year,” Lidstrom said. “Being retired now, it’s been a few years, and you still cherish the game and watching the games, but not to the point of my first year.”

Lidstrom watches the Red Wings and feels thay are a fast, talented team capable of winning in a parity-driven league.

“They have a very good team, a fast team, but the league is so close now,” Lidstrom said. “When you look at the standings, and you lose a couple of games, you drop and when you win a couple of games you go up (the standings), it makes it real exciting.

“It’s almost like playoff hockey right now, with 20 games left to play, every game matters and every point matters.”

Lidstrom is looking forward to Friday’s alumni game against Colorado — and no, he doesn’t expect anything similar to the brawls during the apex of the rivalry.

“I don’t think anything like that is going to happen,” he said with a smile. “But I’m sure both teams will have a laugh about what happened and talk about the rivalry and how good both teams were.

“We really had some great teams.”