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updated: 12/30/2011 10:20 PM

Age not catching up with Red Wings' Lidstrom

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  • Duncan Keith (2) tries to knock Pavel Datsyuk's stick off the puck during the first period of the Hawks' game against the Red Wings on Friday night at the United Center.

      Duncan Keith (2) tries to knock Pavel Datsyuk's stick off the puck during the first period of the Hawks' game against the Red Wings on Friday night at the United Center.
    Associated Press

 
 

Patrick Kane is like most forwards in the NHL who can't wait for Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to retire.

"Hopefully he retires one of these years," Kane said on Friday. "I'm sick of playing against him."

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Kane was joking, of course, because the NHL certainly will be a lesser place when the 41-year-old Lidstrom decides to hang up his skates.

Watching Lidstrom play almost 24 minutes a night in every situation for the Red Wings, Kane knows the seven-time Norris Trophy winner likely won't be going anywhere too soon.

"He hasn't slowed down at all," Kane said. "Looks like he has five or six years left in him."

Lidstrom is one of those rare players, with Sidney Crosby and even Jonathan Toews, who draws universal praise from his peers and opposing coaches.

"There's no dropoff, it's pretty amazing," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "If you look back over time, the intelligence level of top-end players, Nick's going to be in that elite, elite class. He's just always in the right spot. He's still an elite player. He eliminates you in ways where the play is over and all of a sudden it's their puck."

Nobody has more of an interest to keep Lidstrom in a Detroit uniform than Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

"I'm a big believer that's why Mr. Bettman changed the schedule, so Nick wouldn't have to travel as far and he'd play longer," Babcock said.

To the point:

Joel Quenneville is a big believer in the so-called 4-point game, which is what he calls the three with the Red Wings scheduled over the next two weeks.

"They're all 4-point games and at the end of the year, you look back and it could be the differential between playing here at home to start (the playoffs), or who knows where it could set you up, that fourth or fifth spot," Quenneville said.

"All these three teams (including St. Louis) are going to be right there at the end of the year fighting for first in our division."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has a different view of "4-point" games.

"That never worked for me," Babcock said. "We all say, OK, it's a big game, and it is, but you get 2 points. You play Nashville and win, you get 2 points. You play Florida and win, you get 2 points, and they add up 2 at a time."

Snap out of it:

Patrick Kane was hoping a change of scenery back to center would help him find a way to put the puck in the net again.

"There's been a lot of stress on trying to get me going here over the past week or so," Kane said. "It's something I'm worried about, something I'm trying to figure out and maybe get hot for the rest of the season."

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