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Red Wings Icon Lidstrom Named Greatest Swedish Player of All-Time

Red Wings legend Nick Lidstrom was named Sweden’s greatest hockey player.

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Nicklas Lidstrom, ex-Red Wings
Red Wings icon Nicklas Lidstrom was recognized as the greatest Swedish player of all-time.

Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom is the greatest Swedish hockey player of all-time. This will come as no surprise to Red Wings fans who who were fortunate enough to watch his two-decade NHL career in Detroit. But now, it’s official.

During a gala on Thursday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, an all-time Swedish team was named.

The forwards are Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin and Hakan Loob. Lidstrom and fellow former Red Wing Borje Salming form the defense, with Henrik Lundqvist in goal.

Then it was time to name the greatest Swedish player of all-time. And to no surprise of any Detroit fan, that player is Lidstrom.

“On a personal level, it is very big,” Lidstrom said in accepting the honor. “I have won various trophies in the NHL, but this is on home ground, so it feels incredibly big to me.”

Currently Detroit’s vice president of hockey operations, during his Red Wings career, Lidstrom won four Stanley Cups and seven Norris Trophies as the NHL’s top defenseman. He was the first European-born and trained NHLer to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and first European-born and trained NHLer to captain a Stanley Cup winner.

Lidstrom Recognizes Greatness Of Salming

During his acceptance speech, Lidstrom tipped his cap to the legacy of Salming. Breaking in with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1973, Salming became the NHL’s first European superstar. Salming is currently battling ALS. Salming also attended the gala and was fetted by several Swedish hockey stars, including Lidstrom and fellow former Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.

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“He was my idol when I was growing up,” Lidstrom explained. “I played that I was Börje Salming when I was a little boy. Getting to play with him in ’91 in the Canada Cup was a dream come true.

“Then after his career, getting to know him off the ice . . . what a warm person he is, selfless, thinking of others all the time – a humble person. I call him a really good friend.”

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