Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom Talks Legacy, Reacts to Accusations Against Former Coach Mike Babcock

“Mike Babcock was a demanding coach, he demanded a lot from his players,” says Lidstrom of former teammate Johan Franzen’s abuse claims leveled against Babcock.

Nicklas Lidstrom has been dubbed “The Perfect Human,” and rightfully so. After 20 years with the Detroit Red Wings the defenseman has amassed countless trophies and accolades, coming as close to perfection as possible in the sport.

The former Red Wings captain joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about his personal journey and storied career as documented in his new book, aptly titled, “The Pursuit of Perfection“. 

Lidstrom joined the Red Wings when he was just 21 years old. He recalls being nervous during this time, as he had never been to the United States prior to signing with the Wings. Eventually the Swedish superstar would warm up to the city. 

“Detroit is my home away from home,” he says. 

Looking back on those earlier seasons on the Red Wings, Lidstrom commends teammate and then-captain Steve Yzerman, who he affectionately refers to as Stevie. He remembers Yzerman as being a quiet and reserved leader who was always able to elevate his game in clutch moments. 

Lidstrom also holds up former coach, Scotty Bowman, as a major reason for the team’s consistent rise throughout the nineties. He calls Bowman a master coach, lauding his decision-making and player development.

His other former coach on the Red Wings, Mike Babcock, has been in the news as of late after several players accused the coach of verbally abusive behavior. Of the comments made by his former teammate, Johan Franzen, calling Babcock, “the worst (person) I have ever met.” Lidstrom says he feels for Franzen and that he wasn’t aware of the behavior at the time. He describes Babcock as a hands on and demanding coach. 

Click the player above to hear more from Nicklas Lidstrom about his remarkable career and new memoir, “The Pursuit of Perfection.”

Nicklas Lidstrom will be holding a book signing on Tuesday, December 17th at Little Caesars Arena, outside portal 8 between Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit and District Market from 6:00 to 7:15 pm. 


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.