NASHVILLE -- With Detroit facing elimination on Friday, coach Mike Babcock was asked once again if this could be the final game for defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the seven-time Norris Trophy winner who will be 42 in a number of days.
First, Babcock was asked if Lidstrom is still bothered by an ankle injury that kept him sidelined late in the regular season.
"The great thing about that is you can ask Nick, so that gets me off the hook," he said. "… I think Nick Lidstrom retires when he thinks he's not a good player anymore, but I think he's been a pretty darn good player. I don't know what could possibly be more fun than playing hockey at a high level on a great team. And I know his wife, so she doesn't want him around, for sure. Why wouldn't you keep playing?"
Babcock was asked a follow-up.
"I say this every year so this is seven years for me I've answered this question," he said. "I always say the same thing: He's too good to quit."
We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.
— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff