Lidstrom becomes first European captain to win Stanley Cup
PITTSBURGH -- How Swede it is.
Nicklas Lidstrom made hockey history Wednesday night, becoming the first European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup.
Lidstrom, one of seven Detroit regulars from Sweden, and the Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 6.
"Nick Lidstrom, come get the Stanley Cup," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "It's yours to take back to Hockeytown."
The victory gave Lidstrom his fourth Stanley Cup in five chances. He also won titles in 1997, '98 and 2002 after losing his first shot at winning the Cup in 1995.
"It felt great to be the first guy to touch the Cup on our team," Lidstrom said. "But it felt a lot like the other ones. I'm very proud of being the first European and of being the captain of the Red Wings."
In each of those seasons and many more, Steve Yzerman was the Red Wings captain.
Lidstrom is expected to add to his exquisite resume this summer with a sixth Norris Trophy, a total that would break a tie with Ray Bourque and trail only Bobby Orr's eight and Doug Harvey's seven awards as the NHL's best defenseman.
Despite that, Lidstrom seems to be an unheralded superstar.
Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, though, said no one should feel sorry for the lack of hype Lidstrom generates.
"He's got a lot of titles and trophies," said Bowman, who works for the Red Wings as a consultant and coached Lidstrom before retiring in 2002.
The 6-foot-1, 189-pound Lidstrom beats teams with his intelligence and instincts, a wicked combination that puts him in the right place to make a play or prevent one.
Lidstrom broke Yzerman's team records this year by playing in his 16th straight postseason and his 197th playoff game. He later played in his 201st playoff game, surpassing Jari Kurri's NHL mark among European players.
The 38-year-old Lidstrom had 13 points and his plus-minus rating was among the league leaders in the playoffs. He led all defensemen during the regular season with 70 points and a plus-40 rating.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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