DETROIT – Ten weeks after he underwent life-saving heart surgery, Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay is heading to Las Vegas to once again present the trophy named in his honor at the NHL Awards next Tuesday.
Doctors replaced the Hockey Hall of Famer’s aortic valve at Beaumont Hospital in suburban Royal Oak on April 9. And the 88-year-old has been anything but sedentary since.
His road to recovery has featured physical therapy prescribed and monitored by his doctors and sprinkled with a few public appearances around metro Detroit, including the inaugural Matt Dery golf outing last week to benefit the Ted Lindsay Foundation.
“The doctors were phenomenal; what they can’t do today they’ll do tomorrow. My doctors were just great,” Lindsay said in a cell phone conversation Thursday. “The way the things are I can live, probably, forever, I guess.”
Lindsay’s healthy lifestyle, which has always included a physical fitness regimen, is credited for his speedy recovery from cardiac surgery, which was performed by Drs. Marc Sakwa, George Hanzel and Robert Welsh at Beaumont Health System.
This will be the fifth year that Lindsay will preside over the presentation of the Ted Lindsay Award, formerly known as the Lester Pearson Award.
The finalists for this year’s award that recognizes the league’s most outstanding player – and is voted by fellow members of the NHLPA – are Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux.
Crosby, last year’s recipient, is seeking to win the award for the third time in his career.
“Giroux and Getzlaf, neither one of them have won it,” Lindsay said. “So I’m looking forward to meeting them, and Sid Crosby is becoming a friend, which is great.”
The award has great significances to Lindsay, who was instrumental in establishing, and, is considered the Godfather of the original union during the 1950s.
“In my case, with my trophy, I respect the players who play the game and play against these guys to show how good they are,” Lindsay said. “So knowing that the trophy is going to the guy who they think is the best player that means a lot.”
Lindsay will be joined at the NHL’s annual event by Red Wings Mike Babcock and Danny DeKeyser.
Babcock is Detroit’s lone award candidate Tuesday night. He is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach voted by the broadcasters. Babcock is considered a long shot for the award with Colorado’s Patrick Roy and Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper rounding out the finalists.
DeKeyser was invited to join several current and former NHL stars as presenters, alongside some notable Hollywood celebrities.