-- It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of a Stanley Cup Final Game 7. You're simultaneously on the verge of a dream come true and a nightmare turned into reality.
Pressure like that would crack the psyche and fray the nerves of most men, but when you've been around as long as Red Wings' captain Nicklas Lidstrom
, it's just another day at the office.
"Enjoy yourself," Lidstrom said Friday morning when asked if he gave any advice to his young teammates. "There're not many chances you're going to get to play in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. It'll be my first one and I've been in the League for 18 years. So it's something you enjoy when you're out there and just do your best when you're out there."
It's tough to find something that Lidstrom hasn't done in the playoffs, considering he's played in 234 postseason games in his career, but a Cup Final Game 7 is new territory. Don't expect him to go about his business any differently, though.
"I think it's going to be like any other game," Lidstrom said. "We're going to chat a little bit with (Chris Osgood
), get a feel for what he wants to do as well, but I think it's just going to be the same approach as any other game.
"Stick to your game plan. You've got to keep it simple out there and really pay attention to details."
The Red Wings -- and especially Lidstrom -- have employed an effective game plan for shutting down Penguins star Sidney Crosby
in the past two games. Crosby has just two shots combined in Games 5 and 6 of the series after picking up 1 goal and 2 assists in the previous two games.
Lidstrom is expecting to see the best effort of the series from Crosby and the Penguins in Game 7.
"I think their whole team is going to give everything they have," Lidstrom said. "I think their better players are going to play their best. They're going to be a tough team, tough to handle. They're going to come after us hard when they get the chance. We've got to be patient. I think they're going to bring their best game."
Not only have the Red Wings stifled Crosby of late, but Evgeni Malkin
hasn't registered a point in the past two games, either. That didn't stop the Penguins from forcing a Game 7 with a 2-1 win in Game 6. Lidstrom isn't the least bit surprised by the Penguins' success without their two big guns firing.
"They have a lot of depth and they don't have to rely on the star players to score all the time for them to be successful," Lidstrom said. "That's one of the reasons both teams are here in the Final because we have that depth and we have guys that can step up and score with the third- and fourth-liners."
With only a handful of hours between the morning skate and Game 7, players have plenty of time to think about what lies ahead. The excitement of taking that first step onto the ice. Perhaps a daydream of scoring the winning the goal or raising the Stanley Cup and letting out a scream of joy.
Or maybe it's just another day in the hockey life of Lidstrom.
"I'm going to do the same as I always do," Lidstrom said. "Have a pre-game meal, pre-game nap and come back here again for the game. Nothing's going to change."
And he's not going to lose any sleep over Game 7.
"I didn't have any problems last games," Lidstrom said about falling asleep for his pre-game nap. "I don't think there's going to be any problems for tonight either.
"It's a dream come true to be able to play in a game like this for every one of us."
It only makes sense to get some sleep when you're on the verge of a dream come true.
Contact Dave Lozo at firstname.lastname@example.org