DETROIT -- It's fitting that two of the Detroit Red Wings' most accomplished stars, captain Nicklas Lidstrom and forward Tomas Holmstrom, will reach impressive career milestones tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
The 41-year old Lidstrom will be playing his 1,549th game in a Red Wings uniform, which will tie him with legendary Alex Delvecchio for second-most in team history behind only Gordie Howe’s 1,687. Meanwhile, the 39-year old Holmstrom will be playing the 1,000th game of his NHL career -- all with the Red Wings -- which will make him just the sixth player in franchise history to achieve such a feat.
The five ahead of him are Kris Draper (1,137), Steve Yzerman (1,514), Lidstrom, Delvecchio and Howe.
Both Lidstrom and Holmstrom are Swedish, as well.
"It's a real nice night for both of them," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I was bugging Tommy (Holmstrom), saying he missed a game a while back just so he could go at the same time as Nick. They do everything together, so why not do this together? Any time you get a chance to tie Alex Delvecchio, that's a special, special thing. I don't know if Nick wants to hang around long enough to tie Gordie, but good for us and good for them. They've been very important parts of this team and they still are with leadership from Nick and just the drive and enthusiasm that 'Homer' brings to the rink each and every day."
Lidstrom has been good friends with Holmstrom ever since they came to the Wings in the 1990s, so seeing his buddy reach a milestone like 1,000 games is special even for him.
"He's always had bad knees, had some problems with them, but he's always battling through … not just the knees, but other injuries, too," Lidstrom said of Holmstrom. "He's had two hernia surgeries, numerous surgeries on his knees. Seeing him battling through those things and knowing he's in pain … he's icing down both knees after most every practice. Just his determination and his willingness to battle through it to be on the ice, it shows a lot about his character."
Holmstrom feels likewise about Lidstrom tying Delvecchio.
"It's huge for him, too," Holmstrom said. "He's played a bunch of games."