For the first time in 20 seasons, No. 5 is not dominating at the blue line for the Red Wings.
The Blackhawks got their first taste of the post-Nicklas Lidstrom Wings when the teams faced off Sunday night. The future Hall of Fame defenseman retired during the offseason.
"He was a special player through many years," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He was just so effortless and effective and consistent and reliable and dependable that you don't replace a guy like him. You certainly appreciated him even from the opponent's side."
In 119 career games against the Hawks, Lidstrom had 30 goals and 58 assists. The 88 points is the most the four-time Stanley Cup champion had against any team during his NHL tenure that spanned from 1991-2012.
The Wings have been searching for a defenseman that can semi-adequately fill Lidstrom's skates, but thus far haven't come up with a solution.
"We're going to miss Nick," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "To me, he's a generational-type of player — a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I think he's the greatest D-man since I've been in the league for sure, so you don't replace those people."
Hey, Ray: Corey Crawford made his fourth consecutive start in goal for the Hawks — and the second in as many nights — as Quenneville rode the hot hand. Backup Ray Emery hasn't played since Jan. 20 but is expected to see some time on the looming six-game trip that begins against the Wild on Wednesday night.
"We have two days off and (then) we have three (games) in four nights," Quenneville said. "I'm sure Ray will get a game at least."
Red Wings forced to carry on minus retired Lidstrom
Chicago Tribune | Jan 28