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      Nicklas Lidstrom: I wanted to leave the game with pride, not have it leave me

      The Captain said he's comfortable with his decision, 'even though some people might think he can still contribute to the team.'

      "After 20 seasons as a player for the Red Wings, I'm announcing my retirement," Nicklas Lidstrom said in his Thursday press conference from the Joe.

      With his trademark quiet calm, Nick Lidstrom announced he has hung up his skates for the last time. He said it's not that the tank is completely empty after four Stanly Cups and seven Norris Trophies, it's just that he doesn't have enough to carry him through another grueling NHL season.

      "Sadly, it's painfully obvious my strength and energy are not rebounding enough for me to continue to play at this level," Lidstrom said.

      Team owner Mike Illitch called it 'one of the most emotional days in Red Wings history, even though not one tear was shed Thursday. GM Ken Holland simply thanked the captain for his service.

      "Thank you for your 20 years of service to the team, and to Detroit," Holland said. "When you think of Nick Lidstrom, you think class.

      Lidstrom's character on display once more Thursday, as #5 thanked everyone from his family, to Wings' ownership, all the way down.

      "From the ownership, to my teammates, to AL who takes care of the ice, to Frank who fills our water bottles, to Leslie who serves us lunch," the 42-year-old Swede said.

      One of the best defenseman of all time said he would have liked to hoist Lord Stanley, just one more time...

      "That moment when the buzzer goes off and everyone is crowing over your goalie, that's a special moment," he said.

      But, Lidstrom said, he's comfortable with his decision and he's proud of his career.

      "I'm happy I can leave the game with pride, and not have it leave me," he said. "Thank you."