Friday, June 1, 2012

Thank You

Sometimes the simplest sights hold the most weight...

So much has been said of Nicklas Lidstrom in the last day since the stalwart Red Wings defenseman and team captain announced his retirement after 20 illustrious seasons.  There's the milestones, the accomplishments and accolades, and the legacy that he leaves behind--not to mention the honors yet to be bestowed on him in his life after hockey.  A first ballot Hall of Hame induction is inevitable, and the only question regarding the number 5 hanging from the rafters of the Joe next year is how much we all will tear up as we watch it ascend.

I am not going to talk about all these things, as it has all been said.  It has been said well and by many, and I feel my repeating much of that will do no further justice to it.  Instead, in honor of our beloved Number 5, I leave this note of thanks.  I feel my appreciation is the best thing for me to focus on as I still try to cope with the idea of a Detroit hockey club that does not sport the name 'Lidstrom' on the roster:

Mr. Lidstrom,

We have used the moniker 'The Perfect Human' to describe you for some time; and though you would humbly deny it, you are the closest thing I feel the modern hockey era has had to exemplify it.  You are class, you are poise, and you are non-stop heart and determination.  For two decades, you have given your mind, body, and soul for a single purpose: Bringing success to the place you helped rename 'Hockeytown'.

Thank you for your devotion and never giving up on this team, no matter how bleak things may have seemed at times.  You were blessed with a career that saw you in the playoffs every single season, a feat not many players can boast.  Through all the talk from the hockey world about the Red Wings' success coming to an end, there you were as staunch as ever on our blueline staying the course and proving the haters wrong.

Thank you for your great leadership.  Taking up the C of Steve Yzerman would make most men quake, but if there was one person to do it and do it well it was you.  You took that mantle, you bore that burden, and you were exemplary.  Your efforts made you the first European-born captain to ever raise the Stanley Cup, and there were none more fit to earn that honor.

As I conclude, it is sometimes difficult to keep the thoughts of people as accomplished as yourself grounded in reality, but that is the greatest thing about all you've managed to do: You have been real--with yourself, with us fans, and with the media--your entire career.  Fame and success has never gone to your head and you have quietly built yourself a legacy that I assure you will live on in Red Wings history.

Simply put, Mr. Lidstrom: Thank you for being you.  We will miss you.

All the best to you and yours,
Brad Butland