NHL

Lidstrom unsure on retirement, wants to be mentally ready

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Associated Press
4/24/2012 6:32:36 PM
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DETROIT -- Nicklas Lidstrom isn't sure, or won't say, if he plans to retire or come back for a 21st season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner said Tuesday that his body can hold up for another season, but isn't sure if he'll be mentally ready to play again.

"You have to be motivated," Lidstrom said after the team took its annual photo four days after being eliminated from the playoffs by Nashville. "You have to have the drive and that's something I will think about."

At least two of Lidstrom's teammates and fellow Swedes, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, acknowledge the lobbying efforts to get him to return have begun.

"Like we've been doing the last two three years, we're trying," Zetterberg said. "I think everyone is, but once again, it will come down to a decision with his family."

Lidstrom has put retirement on hold in each of the previous two years by signing one-year contracts. He turns 42 on Saturday and is coming off a season in which he had 34 points and a plus-21 rating that ranked among NHL league leaders.

"How can you quit when you're that good?" Kronwall said. "Maybe that's selfish thinking on my part because I want our team to be as good as it can be next year."

Gritty forward Tomas Holmstrom insisted he's not leaning toward calling it a career after 15 seasons. There's a chance the Red Wings won't welcome the four-time champion back for another year because his production has declined.

Standout defenceman Brad Stuart is expected to leave as a free agent to be closer to his family in Northern California. Forward Jiri Hudler may re-sign after scoring a career-high 25 goals.

The Red Wings were handed a first-round exit by the Predators after back-to-back seasons of failing to get past the second round to the San Jose Sharks.

Lidstrom, though, doesn't think the team needs an overhaul to restore its place as an elite team as it was in 2009, when it was a win away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions.

"Just a couple tweaks," he said.

The Red Wings are hoping to make a splash this summer in free agency. Kronwall hopes they accomplish the goal by using some of their ample cap space to bring in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise if they chose not to re-sign with their teams.

"The last three years haven't been great for us, so changes are going to come," Kronwall said. "Two guys like that are elite players. Suter is one of the best D-men in the league. Praise is one of the best forwards in the league and one of the hardest-working guys, so it would be great to add them."

Nicklas Lidstrom (Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
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