DETROIT – It’s an unarguable fact that Nicklas Lidstrom is the best defenseman in Red Wings’ history.
But the Perfect Human – as he’s known to his former teammates – has some work to do now that he’s been passed up by Leonard ‘Red’ Kelly in the postage stamp category.
Kelly, who played 13 seasons for the Wings, between 1947-48 and 1959-60, is among six former NHL stars with their own stamp that will be released by Canada Post this Friday.
It is the second time in 12 years that Kelly has been featured on a Post Canada stamp. He was the subject of a 2002 series: NHL All-Stars that included Glenn Hall, Tim Horton, Howie Mirenz, Guy Lafleur and Phil Esposito.
The latest series pays homage to great defensemen of the Original Six era, featuring Boston’s Bobby Orr, Toronto’s Horton, Montreal’s Doug Harvey, Chicago’s Pierre Pilote and the New York Rangers’ Harry Howell.
The new stamps feature an image of the player in uniform with his jersey number enlarged in the background
Kelly was a member of eight Stanley Cup winning clubs. Only seven players in NHL history have won eight or more championships.
A member of eight Stanley Cup-winning teams, Leonard Patrick 'Red' Kelly played junior hockey with the St. Michael's Majors. In 1947, he became a member of the Detroit Red Wings. Though he was a defenseman, Kelly won the Lady Byng Trophy – awarded to the player best combining skill and sportsmanship – four times and played in 13 All-Star Games. In 1960, he was traded to Toronto, where he claimed his last four Cup titles.
Kelly finished his career as coach with Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.
Lidstrom, who leads the franchise in at least 11 all-time offensive categories, was depicted on a postage stamp in Sweden last year.
Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk appeared on Canadian stamps in 2000 and 2001, respectively.