McKenzie: Lidstrom or not, Red Wings to spend in free agency

Bob McKenzie
4/21/2012 12:44:08 AM
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It's hard to say if we've seen the end of Nicklas Lidstrom. I don't necessarily think so; Mike Babcock doesn't think he's retiring.

Nick Lidstrom is going to do what he always does, which is take some time off, and when it comes time in late June or early July when it's time to get back in the gym and have to start working again, that's when he'll determine whether or not he's fit to play for next year. It comes down to how much work he's willing to do in the off-season.

He's capable of playing. The level he played at this year, he's still a top five or six defenceman in the NHL. For that reason, nobody thinks he's going anywhere, but it's possible.

If he decided to go, people would say ‘that's it for the Red Wings, their window closed. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are getting older along with a lot of other players on their roster.' Even if Lidstrom left, the Red Wings have something this summer they haven't had for an awfully long time, and that is cap space.

It's almost like the old days for Ken Holland and Mike Ilitch, and there are guys out there for Detroit to target. Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, some big name free agents. The Detroit Red Wings, whether Lidstrom is back or not, are going big-game hunting this summer, I believe.

Staal continues to have biggest impact for Penguins

Jordan Staal and the Pittsburgh Penguins look born again. This series didn't start off very well for the either – everyone remembers in Game 1 overtime it was Staal, a tremendous defensive forward, who allowed Jakub Voracek to sneak by him on to score.

But in this game, just like he has throughout the series, Staal ripped it up. Six goals and nine points. Tonight he ended up with the tying goal before setting up the game-winner with his line mate Tyler Kennedy.

There's a lot of talk about Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby – and rightfully so – but right now Staal is outshining those guys. Even on this night - Malkin had a couple more minutes of ice time than Staal, Crosby had one more minute of ice time – no skater has had as big an impact on this series as Jordan Staal.

Bob McKenzie


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