"First of all, I didn’t think I was going to reach 1,000 games, let alone, reaching 1,000 points. So that’s something that I’m very proud of to be closing in on."
-- Nicklas Lidstrom
He's just two point away from adding something unique to his collection.
Lidstrom enters Detroit's home game against Los Angeles on Thursday night with 998 points -- two short of becoming the first European-born defenseman to reach 1,000 for his career.
The 18-year NHL veteran is currently eighth on the list of all-time NHL defensive scorers, trailing only Ray Bourque (1,579), Paul Coffey (1,531), Al MacInnis (1,274), Phil Housley (1,232), Larry Murphy (1,216), Denis Potvin (1,052) and Brian Leetch (1,028). He'll be the 74th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point mark
Lidstrom, who has 228 goals and 770 assists -- but just one assist in Detroit's five games this season -- has scored more points than any other defenseman who's ever worn the Winged Wheel and ranks fourth among all scorers in team history. His 80 points in 2005-06 is also the single-season record for most points by a Detroit defenseman.
"When I first started in the league, it was something I never thought would happen," Lidstrom told the Red Wings' Web site. "First of all, I didn’t think I was going to reach 1,000 games, let alone, reaching 1,000 points. So that’s something that I’m very proud of to be closing in on."
The 39-year-old Swede already owns a few firsts -- he became the first European-born winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy when he led the Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2002, and six years later, he was the first European captain of a Cup-winning team when the Wings won again in 2008.
Lidstrom also owns an Olympic gold medal after leading Sweden to first place in the 2006 Games. Individually, he has won the Norris Trophy six times, more than anyone in history except Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7).
"He's exactly the same off the ice as he is on the ice," forward Todd Bertuzzi told the Wings' Web site. "He's quiet, gets the job done and by the end of the night he’s got three points, is a plus-three and he doesn’t say anything after the game. It's just another game to him. He comes prepared each and every day, and to him that’s why he’s been successful and this team has been successful."