The scariest part about Thursday night's loss to the Sharks in Game 7 is that it could very well be the last time we see some of the Red Wings players on the ice or in the NHL in general. It's no secret that a few guys are getting up there in age, and it's possible Thursday's game could mark the end of an era depending on who, if anyone, decides to retire.
The most notable player that will have to make a decision about retirement is defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Just like last summer, the Detroit captain will take some time to think about his future before deciding one way or another.
"I'm going to take my time and make a decision in the next little while, not sure how long it'll take,'' Lidstrom said after Thursday's 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7. "I'm going to take everything into account, whether it's the series or the regular season or just the whole year.''
Fans, the front office, the coaching staff and the Red Wings organization as a whole hope Lidstrom decides to play for at least one more season. He showed during the 2011 NHL playoffs that he can still play at a high level despite turning 41 on April 28. What's more, the Red Wings should once again be contenders for the Stanley Cup in the 2011-12 season, so the hope is Lidstrom will come back and make at least one more run for another title.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he has "no idea" what Lidstrom will decide to do. He, like everyone else, hopes to get at least another year out of Lidstrom, but only time will tell if No. 5's future includes one more season of hockey.