DETROIT – Last February, legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom attend a Red Wings’ game when he and close friend, and former teammate, Tomas Holmstrom, took in a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena.
“It feels good to be back, just a different feeling when you’re walking in here and you’re not a player anymore,” said Lidstrom, who stopped by the team’s dressing room after the morning skate. “It feels good to see the guys and a lot of the other people around the team.”
Lidstrom and his wife, Annika, arrived from Sweden early Wednesday evening and attended the shoot-out loss against St. Louis. It’s the Lidstroms’ first time back to the area since the seven-time Norris Trophy winner announced his retirement last May.
“I miss being in the locker room, being around the guys,” Lidstrom said. “When you’re watching the game and it’s the heat of the moment as a player that’s where you want to be. I miss that too.”
Lidstrom said that he’s easing into the new chapter of his life, helping coach his youngest son’s hockey team, occasionally scouting Swedish junior games in his hometown for the Red Wings, and being around his family a lot more.
“Just the every day of being home with the family, helping out with kids’ practices and taking them to school in the morning, picking them up in the afternoon,” he said. “Just the every day things you weren't around for in the past.”
One thing Lidstrom won’t be doing is planning a comeback, either to the NHL, or the Swedish national team. He ruled out both when asked Friday morning.
“It’s fun watching (games) and I know how fun it is playing, too,” he said, “but I also know what it takes to be there and that's something I can't be up to that level of play where I want to be. That was the main reason I retired and why I'm still retired.”
While he has no intensions of ever playing again, that hasn’t stopped the International Ice Hockey Federation from tapping the 42-year-old as an ambassador to the 2013 World Championship in Finland and Sweden in May.
“Being part of this is going to be fun,” Lidstrom said. “As a player, you show up and play the games and then you leave the venue and get ready for the next game. I'll have a chance to be there, see what it's like around the games. I'm looking forward to it.”
Lidstrom also looked forward to driving to the rink with his former chauffeur this week. The two were inseparable during their playing days with Holmstrom usually driving the pair to The Joe on game days.
“The ride this morning was the first one in a long while,” Lidstrom said. “It's fun, a lot of memories, it was a fun ride down.”
The Lidstroms are staying at the Holmstrom Hotel, where Nick thought the accommodations would be, er, better.
“I was expecting a little more hospitality from Homer,” Lidstrom joked. “We had some great times with him and his wife. It's fun being back and it's fun being around Homer again. We were close friends when we were playing and it's good to be back here again.”
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