Former Red Wings captains Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom have made NHL.com’s list of ‘Top 10 Captains in NHL History.’
Yzerman, who captained Detroit from1986-2005, ranked No. 2.
Yzerman had established himself as one of the NHL’s great offensive players by the time theDetroit Red Wings named him captain in 1986 at the age of 21 — at the time, the youngest player in NHL history to wear the “C.” He scored at least 100 points in six straight seasons from 1987-93 — but the Red Wings’ success did not match his own until the arrival of Scotty Bowman as coach in 1993.
Bowman convinced Yzerman there was more to success than putting up points, and he became one of the great two-way players and leaders in NHL history. He put all doubts about his leadership ability to rest when Detroit ended a 42-year championship drought by winning the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeating in ’98. He played through a painful knee injury to help the Red Wings win again in 2002.
Yzerman’s 19 seasons and 1,303 games wearing the “C” are the most of any player in NHL history.
Lidstrom, who followed Yzerman and held the title of captain from 2006 until his retirement this past offseason, ranked No. 5.
Steve Yzerman was a hard act to follow in Detroit, where he wore the “C” for two decades and was one of the cornerstones in the Red Wings’ rise to perennial contender and three-time Stanley Cup winner during a five-year span.
But Lidstrom put his own stamp on the Red Wings when he took over the captaincy following Yzerman’s retirement in 2006. Having earned three Cups from 1997-2002, Lidstrom became the first European-born captain to lead his team to a championship when the Red Wings won in 2008. They came up one win short of another title in ’09 despite Lidstrom’s 16 points in 21 playoff games.
Lidstrom led by example (he won the Norris Trophy seven times) and by demeanor (his nickname is the Perfect Human). He announced his retirement this summer after a career that will soon earn him a berth in the Hall of Fame.
Congrats to Stevie Y and Nick on the honor!