The Red Wings are turning up the pressure on Lidstrom to return next season, telling him – and anyone who'll listen – that the 41-year-old defenseman shouldn't retire with such a huge event looming, a chance to play the Toronto Maple Leafs before a world-record crowd of 115,000.
"I'm hoping this game will convince Nick, and with how our team is playing, to
come back for one more year," general manager Ken Holland said. "The possibilities are incredible."
The ever-optimistic coach Mike Babcock is convinced Lidstrom will return.
"He'll be back. He'll be back," Babcock said. "He's too good to quit and our team's too good. I was concerned this year was going to be his last if our team wasn't good enough. Our team is good enough and he's good enough.
"I think there's one more (year) for sure. He's never going to let his skill diminish and he's not interested in playing on a bad team. I know (Tomas) Holmstrom wants to play and he's working on him every day. They're like two kids together."
Lidstrom said he'll make his decision after the season.
"It (Winter Classic) is only one game, but it's an intriguing one," Lidstrom said. "We'll have to wait and see."
For what it's worth, he added, "I think it's going to be an unbelievable feeling to walk through that (Michigan Stadium) tunnel and play a hockey game."
Teammates are hopeful.
"I think this will be perfect." Niklas Kronwall said. "It really gives him another reason to continue for another year. I think it's pretty good timing."
Said Pavel Datsyuk: "He's going to play at least two more years."
Ok, just listened to it. I don't like Cherry too much, especially after he criticized Datsyuk for a perfectly clean hit a couple of seasons ago, but I have to agree with him 100 percent on this issue, mainly because I have been saying the exact same thing, ever since Holland hired his lap dog Mike Babcock. Trade for a guy like Dave Clarkson or Chris Neil, or draft one these good young tough players that also have the ability to score that every other GM is drafting, but do something to make playing against Detroit a little harder, and let other teams know that we have a guy who "can do that too". Steve Yzerman understood it, Scotty Bowman understood it, and Mike Babcock, I think, also understands it, but he's just too much of a wimp to say anything to Holland about it. Yes, he did manage to get Brad May on the roster a few seasons ago, and May did his job, but he was just too old, and besides, he didn't even play in the game against Philli??? That was head-scratching.