The Skate Podcast: Nicklas Lidstrom talks Zdeno Chara and more on a bonus episode

Matt Kalman
November 05, 2019 - 2:25 pm

Nicklas Lidstrom played his last NHL game at 41 years old, retiring from the Detroit Red Wings after skating in 1,564 regular season games, winning the Stanley Cup four times and the Norris Trophy seven times. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Lidstrom set a standard for greatness and longevity during his career, so it’s no surprise that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would count Lidstrom among the players he would want advice from about playing in the NHL at an advanced age.

Lidstrom, whose new book “Nicklas Lidstrom: The Pursuit of Perfection” is out now from Triumph Books, joined co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman of The Skate Podcast for a bonus episode and he revealed some of the advice he had for Chara when they connected a while back.

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“He asked me how I felt towards the end of my career. And when my ice time was at the top, I was close to minutes a night, or 28, 29 minutes a night. And as I got older my ice time decreased. And that’s one of the things that we talked about, for me personally, I had to accept a role even though I was still the captain and I was one of the leaders with the Wings, I wasn’t playing top, top minutes. But I accepted playing less and being a little smarter too to hopefully have my legs come April and May when you’re really counted on in the playoffs.

“And that’s one of the things we talked about, just being ready to face maybe a little less ice time or a lesser role, but you’re still a big part of the team. And from what I’ve seen, looking at it from the outside, he’s been able to do that.”

Through 14 games this season Chara averaged 21:58 of ice time per game, down more than two minutes from as recently as the 2015-16.

Lidstrom, dubbed “The Perfect Human” by his teammates in Detroit, also chatted about Boston’s would-be perfect person Patrice Bergeron, Wayne Gretzky, what it was like for the Red Wings to get to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals (twice!), who his toughest player to defend was during his playing days and more.