Nicklas Lidstrom is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, seven-time Norris Trophy winner, and an Olympic gold medalist. On Monday, he'll become an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He gained respect and admiration from people all over the NHL, and the hockey community at large, during the course of 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.
NHL.com spoke to many people who were associated with Lidstrom during his Hall of Fame career, either with the Red Wings, Sweden, or playing against him. Here is what they had to say:
Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock (Red Wings coach, 2005-15): "I didn't know how hard it was to get the puck to the net on the power play from the top until we didn't have him. I had no idea. I just thought it was automatic. I didn't know you had to play D-zone coverage. When we had him, I didn't know there was D-zone coverage, because we didn't spend much time doing it."
Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray (Red Wings coach, 1990-93): "Very quiet guy. There was never any talk back. If you asked him to try something, he'd try it. He didn't have a big voice in the room, he was just as he is and as he ended up being a quiet leader who led by example. He knew what he wanted to do and he could do it."
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman (Red Wings captain, 1986-2006): "I enjoyed watching them play and Nick is somebody I always had great admiration for. When he became the captain, he didn't change. He just kept doing his thing. He never had an off day. That's what set him apart for me. Nick was so quiet, he just came and he did his job. A practice, a game, a preseason game, a playoff game, he was the same every single day. He made it look so easy every day."
Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill (Red Wings assistant GM, 1994-2013): "I think he played at around 195 to 200 pounds and it was solid muscle. He was in great shape. He looked after himself. He ate properly and trained properly. Guys that were coming at him physically, they were trying to hit him hard and when they did he wasn't bouncing back. He's a strong man, and then he had the smarts to go with it. He knew when to go in and get a puck. Some guys have that knack. Nick would get his stick in at the right time, just when nobody else could do it. It would be a turnover and away you'd go. He knew he had the guy angled the proper way or he knew he'd be able to poke the puck off a guy somewhere down the boards. He was a master at knocking pucks down. A forward would be coming to him, Nick would close the gap, so the guy was going to flip it in, and Nick would knock it down, get it and be going the other way right away. He got his stick on everything."
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden): "For a goalie to have a defenseman that's so calm and mentally in the right place, it calms you down. He's always making good decisions, good reads, and then you got to know him off the ice and it all made sense. He always seemed to be focused, but relaxed. He's a smart guy, and very humble. I think it struck me just how calm he is."
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden): "I understand why they call him 'The Perfect Human,' because that's what he is. Such a pro. Smooth at everything. Nick is unbelievable."
Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (Sweden): "My main memory from him is probably the '06 Olympics, when he scored the game-winning goal in the final. When I was young, it's not that long ago, but the coverage wasn't the same. We didn't get the same info and coverage of games throughout the year, so for me I didn't really watch that much hockey other than Swedish hockey. It was more when I came over here that I realized how good he was and how good he'd been for a long time. I think not only the stats show that, but I think if you ask pretty much anyone who's played with him or against him, they would all say the same thing: He did a lot for the game and he did a lot for Swedish hockey players growing up. Kids like me. That's the reason why people start playing hockey."
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman: "He never looked down, always had his head up. He was moving the blue line with his head up. He never looked down at the puck. That's hard, way harder than it looks. Just to be able to control the puck, walk the blue line, find a lane, take a slapper, and rarely get a shot blocked. He just made everything look so easy. Smooth."
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara: "Such an exceptional player, playing for so long, so many games, so many minutes, so many trophies. He made the best players look average, because he was just so good. Playing against him, you just kind of got caught looking at him, just watching him. He made it look so easy, so effortless. Yet he was always in the right spot, always the right position. If I say if I could be half of Nick Lidstrom, I think I would be overshooting it."
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith: "He was a guy who I tried to emulate early on in my career and take things from his game and learn from him. Not only just his physical attributes and how he played and what he did out on the ice, but also his mental ability, the emotional aspect of the game, how he brought just a poise and calm, steady influence to the rest of the team. There's a lot of things I learned from him, and a lot of the memories I have is playing against him and learning from him every time I could watch him on TV. For me, it's always a work in progress trying to be like him."
New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh: "You can't forget about the process and the little plays that happen more often that are more productive for your team as far as helping you have the best chance to win. That's what I saw from him when I watched clips of him my first few years in the League. You saw how steady he was and how he never put the puck in a bad area. He always put it in an area where his team could get it back or right on the tape of his own player. Those are the little plays that might not get noticed by a fan or show up on the score sheet, but over time they add up to leading to a consistently successful performance."
Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin: "I remember I went after him three or four times and every time I got close, the puck was already gone. He wasn't fun to play against, but he was fun to watch."
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron: "One time we were playing him and we were stuck in our zone for a long time. I was trying to just get the puck out and I just flipped it in the air, and he caught it, just stopped it with his stick. He did that two or three times. I was like, 'How is he doing it?' Those were hard flips. It wasn't just like an easy one and he was catching them and put the puck back in. We couldn't change. It was like, 'I just want to change here, are you serious?'"
Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog: "I was fortunate enough to play against him my first season. I remember coming down the wing and it was Lidstrom and I wasn't going to beat him 1-on-1, so I chipped it in hoping to get it deep and he just knocked it out of midair and got it going the other way. I remember coming back to the bench and shaking my head. I thought I was all good."
San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture: "You would leave a game against Nick and you wouldn't feel tired or hurt, or you wouldn't feel scared to go in the corner with him, but you also left the game most nights probably feeling that you did not get a whole lot accomplished against him. He is one of those players that the game misses."