Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star posted this early this morning. A conversation with captain Nick Lidstrom and a bit from Kenny Holland about Sweden, and the real reason they're going over there....
"The only reason we're going is because of No. 5 and the rest of our Swedish players. I know how much it'll mean to Nick to play at home."--Kenny Holland
Holland has apparently never supported playing NHL games over in Europe, but he was willing to cast aside personal opinions and put the interest of his players before his own in this case.
Lidstrom seems to appreciate it:
"It's another thing you can look back at having the chance to play with the Wings in Sweden in front of your own fans. It's something I never thought would happen. It's tough to compare to winning Stanley Cups or Olympic gold, but it's something that will be a good memory for me and my family."
Lidstrom is just three points shy of 1,000 in his career. When asked about the chance to achieve this milestone in his own country, Lidstrom had this to say:
"First, I didn't think I'd reach 1,000 games let alone reaching 1,000 points. It's something I'm very proud of to be closing in on. It would be nice to get it there because a lot of friends and family will be at the games. If not, I might as well do it in Detroit."
The short off-season (long as it may have seemed to us, the fans) has not been kind to teams traveling across the pond to start the regular season in recent years. Not one coach out of the four that started the season in Europe kept their job throughout the entire regular season. Here's your captain's thoughts on the hangover of their trip:
"We'll have a lot of time to get back on to U.S. time. Going over all the guys are excited, not just the Swedes on the team. I don't see it as being a big hurdle with all the days we'll have between games. I always find it easier traveling from Sweden to U.S. getting used to the time."
You better be ready. Those two games in Stockholm may prove more important for reasons other than the fact I'm flying all the way out there to see them. Getting off to a good start is extremely important in today's NHL. Plus they have the all-but-ordained 2010 Central Division Champs Chicago Blackhawks when they get back. Chicago gets two poof games against Florida in Helsinki...I want blood.