After 20 seasons, four Stanley Cups, seven Norris Trophies and one Conn Smythe award, Detroit Red Wing Nicklas Lidstrom has announced that he is hanging his skates up for good.

Defenseman extrodinaire, team captain and the backbone of the Detroit Red Wings has just announced in a press conference at the Joe Louis Arena that he is retiring from the NHL. "The last two years, I waited until season was over to assess if I could play again," the 42-year old said according to the Detroit Free Press. "I let my body recover. Sadly, this year, it's painfully obvious to me my strength and energy level are not rebounding. My drive and motivation is not where it needs to be to play at this level."

After a tough first round elimination against the Nashville Predators in this year's playoffs, this is the last thing that long-time Red Wing fans, like myself, want to hear. "I'm aware some think I can still help the Wings win games. I appreciate that. It's been a great, great ride." Lidstrom said in the press conference. "I take a lot of pride in how hard I worked, in representing my country, and in representing Detroit."

Teammate Todd Bertuzzi says that he is "actually shocked, big time" by Lidstrom's decision to retire, while team owner, Mike Illitch, called it "one of the most emotional days in Red Wing history." Unfortunately the Red Wings must already look to the future, one that -- despite planning to return to his native Sweden -- Lidstrom revealed he would like to be involved with in some capacity.

Before ending his time as team captain, Lidstrom imparted some of his wisdom onto the organization by suggesting who should wear the "C" in his absence." I would think that it is 'Zed' (Henrik Zetterberg), but also Niklas Kronwall has stepped forward and received a major leadership role on the team in recent years. Both are good candidates."

Lidstrom has achieved an incredible resume during his time with the Red Wings and will be impossible to replace. As someone who began watching hockey the same year Lidstrom made his debut in a Wings jersey, I'd like to say thanks for all the memories.