Player of the Month
The European Hockey.Net European Player of the Month is awarded to the player with the most oustanding performance over the course of the month
Nominations are collected at the end of each month, then a vote by the site's admin team decides the winner.
February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
The February Player of the Month award winner is not a unknown on the international level. He was the first European player to win the Norris Trophy (top defenseman in the NHL) back in 2001. He won the award for three straight seasons after finishing as the runner-up for three straight seasons. Also he became the first European to win the Con Smythe trophy as playoff MVP in 2002.
Swedish defenseman Nicklas Lidström is a more than deserved winner of this award and fits very well in the list of winners since the start of this award.
The slick skating defenseman won a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, finishing a twelve-year Swedish gold drought. Lidström provided big time on the Swedish defense both offensively and defensively. He ended up with a pair of goals and four assists including the gold-winning goal in the final against Finland.
The Olympic gold medal also saw him being listed in the Triple Gold Club (Olympic Champion, NHL Stanley Cup winner and World Champion).
But there were more record breaking moments for the Swede. He recently passed his youth idol Börje Salming as the Swedish defenseman with most points in the NHL. Salming, who holds 17 years of NHL experience who played nearly all his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and combined for 787 points. He switched teams in his final season to play for the Detroit Red Wings. Ironically the same team Nicklas Lidström was to perform his magic on a regular basis. He is currently in his 14th straight season with the Red Wings and has amassed for 800 points as of April.
Coming off the successful Olympic Games, Lidström continued his great form scoring points in nearly all his games including a pair of four-point games.
The defenseman is not a man that is often to be in the spotlights off the ice. Back home in Sweden most attention is aimed at Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg. Lidström prefers to stay out of the media as much as possible and doesn't get himself in tricky positions either. Instead 'Lidas' has been criticized at home for not performing his best when wearing the Tre Kronor jersey of Sweden. His recent Olympic performance has silenced those pundits however. Other then his Olympic gold he 'only' won a gold medal at the 1991 World Championships. He has yet to win a Swedish championship.
That fact could have the star player return to Sweden before retiring. Several years ago he already hinted no a return to his previous team, from his home town, Västerås. The thought was fuelled by the fact that he wanted his children to be raised in Sweden. Also he owns a sports bar called Bars and Stars in his home town with former Swedish national team goalie Tommy Salo. However when his contract ran out he decided on extending his stay in Detroit. A decision Red Wings' fans did not regret at all.
Lidström's value on the Detroit defense remains massive and there's no age showing in his game yet. The 35-year old is a well respected player in the NHL. Other than all the silverware, perhaps the best possible compliment a player can receive was given by team mate Brendan Shanahan in an ESPN Article by Chris Smith.
Shanahan: "He's the one guy who, if you go around and ask who's the most valuable, every guy will say Nick. If our team could reflect one player's approach, we'd pick Nick's."
With Lidström on fire this season, the Red Wings hope the defenseman can help the team to yet another Stanley Cup victory. For the Swede it'd mean the fourth in his career. A total Sundin and Forsberg have yet to reach.
- March 2007 - Petr Sykora
- February 2007 - Bernd Brückler
- January 2007 - Martin Prochazka
- December 2006 - Martin Kariya
- November 2006 - Pavel Brendl
- October 2006 - Kimmo Rintanen
- September 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- May 2006 - Kenny Jönsson
- April 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- March 2006 - Reto von Arx
- February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
- January 2006 - Patrick Yetman
- December 2005 - Miroslav Hala
- November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
- October 2005 - Tony Salmelainen
- September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
- May 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- April 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- March 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
- January 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- December 2004 - Tim Thomas
- November 2004 - Marian Hossa
- October 2004 - Jukka Voutilainen
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