Wing Commander

Nicklas Lidstrom keeps his team flying high by planting his feet on the ground.

Updated: March 3, 2003, 12:44 PM ET
By By Chris Smith
The question is about a loss. It's a little strange, because ever since Nicklas Lidstrom put on a Detroit Red Wings jersey in 1991, he has done nothing but win. Three Stanley Cups, including last season's, when Lidstrom also snagged the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. Two Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenseman. Seven trips to the NHL All-Star Game.

Yet Lidstrom's teammates and friends all say they're mystified by the inner Nick, about what passion has propelled him from obscure third-round draft pick to irreplaceable franchise foundation. One thing they all mention is how competitive Lidstrom is, how deeply he cares about winning. So there must be a defeat that bugs him. A fluke, an upset, an embarrassment. Is there a loss that eats at him still, he's asked? "No," he says.