The Red Wings just lost two straight games in Pittsburgh, and while today's Game 5 is not a must win, they must win to avoid a must win.
Hmm. That was a confusing and entirely uninspiring sentence. This is why I'm not a hockey captain. Also, I don't play hockey. The point is that if ever there was a captain's moment, this is it.
When Steve Yzerman captained the Wings, he was The Captain, capital letters, and everybody talked about what a great leader he was. Yzerman retired three years ago. Nicklas Lidstrom wears the "C" now.
What kind of captain is Lidstrom? Not even Yzerman seems to know.
"I'm not around the locker room very much," Yzerman said. "Nick's a very quiet guy. I assume he's stayed that way."
Well, surely he took your advice to heart ... um, you did give him advice, didn't you, Steve?
"Nope," Yzerman said.
Didn't you have any conversations about what a captain does?
"A couple, briefly," Yzerman said. "Nothing specific. He's Nick Lidstrom. Nick's a very bright guy and a tremendous player. There is not a lot that I could say to him that he didn't already know, or that I could offer to him. It was just the natural Nick. You're the captain. You go do your thing. Don't change."
What is being a captain? "Mostly it's on a daily basis, how you conduct yourself," Yzerman said.
Lidstrom is a pro's pro, maybe the most technically sound defenseman in history. His role is to steady the ship, and -- when necessary be a liaison between teammates and coaches.
Lidstrom did a couple of captain things this week that went virtually unnoticed. He told Mike Babcock he thought the team should practice Wednesday, on a single off-day between Games 3 and 4. The Penguins had an optional practice. (The Wings ended up playing their worst game of the series in Game 4, though it is impossible to know if the practice had something to do with it.)
Lidstrom also asked Henrik Zetterberg if he was fatigued from playing more than 24 minutes in Game...