Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010-2011 Player Profiles: Nicklas Lidstrom...

Hey, kids, guess what? Hockey's almost here. That means it's time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing that I've neglected during the off-season. Since I lack the creativity to come up with a new gimmick, I decided to continue the Player Profiles series I did last year leading up to the season. I'll be taking a look at a different player (almost) every day between now and when hockey starts. By my count, there are 12 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:

Nicklas Lidstrom

2009-2010 Regular Season: 82 GP, 9-40-9, +/- 22, 24 PIM
2010 Playoffs: 12 GP, 4-6-10, +/- 7, 2 PIM

Season Highlight: Scoring his 1,000th career point with an assist on a textbook tip-in by Henrik Zetterberg.
Season Lowlight: His goal drought that seemed to last for an eternity.

Lidstrom's numbers suffered a little bit last season, and it spurred talk from the national media about an imagined decline into mediocrity for TPH. Those of us who watch him play night in and night out know better, though. Through all of the Wings' injuries and struggles, he managed to anchor the blueline and keep things in order. Folks like to point out that his offensive output dipped significantly, but those numbers don't take into account the fact that he was the one holding things together during the darkest days of the injury plague. Re-signing him this summer was essential and it makes the Wings a legitimate contender again.

Watching him at training camp this year was fascinating because it's fairly obvious even in drills that he's head and shoulders above the rest of the defensemen. He's still got plenty of good hockey left in him. He and Brian Rafalski have been split up to start the season, and so far Lidstrom has looked good with new partner Kronwall. Then again, he's TPH and there's really nobody he doesn't look good with. Expect more of the same brilliance from him this season. I don't care what the Norris voters say, there still isn't anyone better out there on the blueline than Lidstrom. At camp, we were disappointed to see that he and the Circus line were on the same team because we wanted to see him go head-to-head with the Eurotwins. The consensus was that he was the only defenseman in the NHL that we would trust to be out there marking Datsyuk.

What he needs to do to make me smile: Keep being perfect.

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