Why Nick Lidstrom Turned Down Babcock

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As many know, Mike Babcock's assistant coaching staff moved on this summer. Tom Renney left the organization when he was hired as president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. Shortly after, Detroit's other assistant coach, Bill Peters, was hired as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, after three seasons with the Red Wings, working primarily with Detroit’s defensemen and penalty kill units. While the Wings' penalty kill has looked very good the past few seasons (barring injuries to our better defensive players), the defense is something that needs work. So who better to bring on as one of your new assistant coaches than arguably the greatest defensive-defenseman to play the game; Nick Lidstrom?

Mike Babcock had just this though, as he extended an offer to Lidstrom shortly after Renney's departure. A Swedish editorial and interview on the matter says that Babcock told him that "Lidstrom's wife was happier in Detroit than she is/was in Sweden", though Nick didn't buy it. Lidstrom already serves the Red Wings' organization as a talent scout over in Sweden, and says that he makes four or five trips to the States during the regular season to see the team and talk with the front office.

When asked if he might make the move back after a few years his response was "never say never", and that they'll see how they all feel after they've been home a few years. This could be good news for Detroit down the line a ways. He says that the offer from Babcock was "flattering", and that he was very proud to have been offered it. But his kids are thriving in school over in Sweden, so the thought to move back didn't even occur to him.

So the greatest defenseman in the game will remain a scout for the time being, as he's currently being the family man and enjoying his life outside of the game. It was shortly before the offer was extended to Lidstrom that the organization hired Tony Granato as an assistant coach, after he'd been let go from Pittsburgh when they cleaned house of their coaching staff. The combination of those two could have been a deadly combo for Detroit's defense corps, so we can only hope down the line that Lidstrom changes his mind. For the time being, though, the coaching staff for the Winged Wheel looks like they can handle all the potential that their youngsters currently hold.

-Nathan Webb


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About Author

Bleeding whiskey and maple syrup, Nathan is an avid Red Wings fan who fills his lack of interest for other sports with even more hockey. Born and raised in Warren, MI, he's been in the thick of Red Wings culture since day one, and views the game from an analytical and objective standpoint. (@GetThePuckOut89)