Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman announced yesterday that the team has hired Hockey HOFer and franchise legend Nicklas Lidstrom as VP/Hockey Operations, according to Ted Kulfan of the DETROIT NEWS. Lidstrom “will be involved in all aspects of hockey operations for the Red Wings in his new role." Lidstrom said, “This was the right time for kind of the next challenge for me, to do something different. I always kept an eye on hockey and this was a great opportunity for me to do that.” Yzerman felt adding Lidstrom's hockey knowledge “would be a valuable addition” to the front office. Lidstrom “will continue to live in Sweden" and “work with a variety of departments” in the organization (DETROIT NEWS, 1/12). SPORTSNET's Elliotte Friedman noted the "most open-minded thing about Lidstrom’s hiring is that he’s staying in Sweden," as it could mark the first time someone "with such a high-level title ... [is] based overseas." Friedman: "But when you can employ Lidstrom’s brain, you make concessions" (SPORTSNET.ca, 1/11).
EASY DECISION: In Detroit, Helene St. James writes adding the voice of “one of the game's all-time greats” was one of the “easiest decisions” Yzerman has made in nearly two years as Wings GM. Yzerman on Lidstrom's duties said, "He’ll be involved in all aspects of me doing my job and being in charge of running the Detroit Red Wings” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/12).
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Sportsnet's Friedman said of Lidstrom being based in Sweden, “I can’t remember someone with that high a title not being in North America with the NHL team before. I think this is unique and good on the Red Wings for recognizing that if you can employ Nicklas Lidstrom's brain, you find a way to do it” (“NHL Tonight,” NHL Network, 1/11). NHL Net’s Kevin Weekes: “This team has done such an awesome job of recognizing people that add value even when they don't play anymore.” Weekes said Lidstrom has had “such an illustrious career, but also always a very bright hockey mind, very progressive,” and the organization had a “real global grasp of players and staff that they have had over their tenure in Detroit.” Weekes: “With him being headquartered there (in Sweden), that’s a big advantage for them” (“NHL Now,” NHL Network, 1/11). NHL Network’s Brian Lawton: “I’m sure he’ll be over enough to make his voice known. I don’t think he’s a guy that speaks very loudly, but I think people listen when he speaks.” NHL Net's Stu Grimson: “The game has evolved to the point where it’s no longer one man dictates, ‘This is my concept of the game and how I’m going to build my team.’ There is that vision that goes with your president or your general manager, but it takes a ... cabinet of trusted advisors to build consensus” (“NHL Tonight,” NHL Network, 1/11).