So when the 20-year veteran announced his retirement Thursday morning, the NHL fraternity immediately began flooding the Twitterverse with their personal tributes to a player who walked away less than a year after winning his seventh Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman, second all-time behind Bobby Orr's eight. It's part of an incredible mantle that includes four Stanley Cup wins, an Olympic Gold medal, a world championship, and 1,142 NHL points.
But when it came time for Lidstrom's NHL peers to send off the future Hall of Famer, the discussion wasn't about stats but about the class, respect, and dignity exhibited by one of hockey's all-time great.
Here are some of the player tributes that appeared on Twitter immediately after Lidstrom announced his retirement:
NHL Players' Nicklas Lidstrom Tweets
- Viktor Stalberg (@VStalberg)
Seems like it will be a bit easier to play vs the wings next year. What a career he's had! One of the all time greats #5
- Cameron Fowler (@camfowler4)
I want to wish a happy retirement to Nick Lidstrom, my idol growing up and the classiest act in the game. What a great career
- Michael Del Zotto (@MichaelDelZotto)
What a career for Lidstrom. Bobby Orr and him top 2 defenseman to play. #classact #morepatiencethanahospital
- John Carlson (@JohnCarlson74)
Sad to see Nick Lidstrom retire. One of the games all time greats on and off the ice. A guy that everyone can learn from.
- Steven Kampfer (@SteveKampfer47)
Hard to imagine watching the Red Wings without Lidstrom. Guy was my idol and still is as a player and person. #playedthegamethebestway
"Seems like it will be a bit easier to play vs the wings next year. What a career he's had! One of the all time greats #5"
"I want to wish a happy retirement to Nick Lidstrom, my idol growing up and the classiest act in the game. What a great career"
"What a career for Lidstrom. Bobby Orr and him top 2 defenseman to play. #classact #morepatiencethanahospital"
"Grattis till Nick Lidstrom på en första omröstning hall of fame karriär. Det var en ära att jaga du runt isen och aldrig fånga du #legend"
Translation: "Congratulations to Nick Lidstrom on a first-ballot HOF career. It was an honor to chase you around the rink, and never catch you."
"Congrats to Nick Lidstrom on a great career. Made the game look way too easy. Fun to watch even from the bench..."
"Sad to see Nick Lidstrom retire. One of the games all time greats on and off the ice. A guy that everyone can learn from."
"Sad day for all hockey lovers with Lidstrom announcing his retirement. Amazing career by the big #5 He will be missed #legend#thebest"
"Sad to see nick retire. Definitely one of my favorites. One of the best role models for any player. Congrats on a great career. #staygreat"
"Congrats to Nicklas Lidstrom for a great career. One of the best to play the game. #gentleman #NHL #Halfclapper"
"Thnx for all the great memories you've been giving to all Swedish hockeyfans. Good luck in your new life. #BestD-ManEver? #NicklasLidström"
"Not many athletes can retire while still being one of the best players in the game. Congrats to Nick Lidstrom on a great career."
"Lidstrom retiring is the worst thing to happen to Detroit since the colapse of the auto industry. #Lidstrom"
"Nick Lidstrom was the reason I wore #5 growing up and have wanted to wear it ever since."
"Hard to imagine watching the Red Wings without Lidstrom. Guy was my idol and still is as a player and person.#playedthegamethebestway"
"On and off the ice #classy #HOF #alltimegreat"
"Congrats to Nick Lidstrom on an incredible career, was a huge thrill to take the ice against him. Was amazing to watch how he carried himself"
"OMG. Nick Lidstrom can put on a retirement speech. Great player / winner"
"Congratulations on a great career Nick Lidstrom. He was the class of the league. #oneofthebest #legend"
"Lidstrom was a guy every player caught themselves watching in awe mid game. Game's not supposed to be that easy. Was an honor playing vs him"
"Had the privilege of growing up watching and playing against Nick Lidstrom #OneOfTheBest #ClassAct"
"Congratulation to Nick Lidstrom on a legendary career. He is the true definition of a role model and it was an honor to play against him"
"Lidstrom retires after 20 @NHL seasons and showing the way for other swedes! one of the best of all time, proud to be a Swede! thank you"
"Congrats Nicklas Lindstrom 'Norris' on a stellar NHL career. Easy to say our lives as forwards in the Joe will be much easier now"
"I won't miss ya Nick, you're a nightmare to matchup with! But congrats on an incredible career! The game will miss you!"
"What an amazing career for number 5! Growing up a Redwings fan it was a honor to have played a game vs one of the best to ever play! #HOFer"
"What a career. Was an honour sharing the ice with Nicklas Lidstrom aka watching from the bench #HoF #congrats"
"Not much needs to be said about Nick Lidstrom, one of the best to ever play...often imitated, never even close to being duplicated #HOF"
"Nick Lidstrom says he's not at his level anymore and is retiring. Everyone now has a chance out there.Every right winger in the #NHL is happy"
"Congrats to Nick Lidstrom on his legendary career. He made it look so easy ever night out there and believe me it's not.. #ClassAct"
"Still remember my first game against #RedWings ... @teddypurcell16 and I stared at Lidstrom all warm up..great career and a class act"