05/31/2012 12:26 EDT | Updated 07/31/2012 05:12 EDT

Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom ends illustrious NHL career

Here is the wire item that appeared in newspapers across North America on May 12, 1991:

Nicklas Lidstrom, a defenceman on the Swedish team that won the world hockey championship a week ago, is passing up a chance for possible Olympic glory to join the Detroit Red Wings next season. The 21-year-old star has reportedly been offered almost $800,000 and a $100,000 signing bonus for a two-year contract plus one optional.

As they say, from small things, big things come.

Lidstrom and fellow first-year player Vladimir Konstantinov scored their first NHL goals on Oct. 17, 1991. The Swede would go on to finish with 60 points in his first NHL season, finishing second to Vancouver forward Pavel Bure in the Calder Trophy voting for top rookie.

Here's something that could be said to define 'cause and effect':

Lidstrom played for two decades, during which Detroit has employed just four head coaches: Bryan Murray, Scotty Bowman, Dave Lewis and Mike Babcock.

He was one of just two captains of the Wings since 1986, along with Steve Yzerman. (The one before? Danny Gare)

But a lot can change over the course of 20 years. Since Lidstrom has come into the league, nine former teammates of his have gone on to induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame: defencemen Viacheslav Fetisov, Paul Coffey, Mark Howe and Larry Murphy, and forwards Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, and Yzerman.

Others like Sergei Fedorov, Dominik Hasek, Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan will be candidates for that honour.

On a more sobering note, three of his defensive teammates have died: Steve Chiasson, Brad McCrimmon, and Ruslan Salei. Jiri Fischer saw a promising career end due to a heart ailment, while Konstantinov's was left mentally and physically compromised after a limousine accident following Detroit's 1997 Stanley Cup win.

Detroit's blue-line before long came to be known as Lidstrom's group. Here's a list of the teammates who were regular blue-line mates:

- Larry Murphy

- Marc Bergevin

- Dmitri Bykov

- Terry Carkner

- Chris Chelios

- Steve Chiasson

- Mike Commodore

- Paul Coffey

- Cory Cross

- Mathieu Dandenault

- Bobby Dollas

- Jonathan Ericsson

- Viacheslav Fetisov

- Jiri Fischer

- Todd Gill

- Derian Hatcher

- Mark Howe

- Vladimir Konstantiinov

- Niklas Kronwall

- Uwe Krupp

- Brett Lebda

- Andreas Lilja

- Brad McCrimmon

- Jamie Macoun

- Danny Markov

- Derek Meech

- Fred Olausson

- Kyle Quincey

- Yves Racine

- Brian Rafalski

- Mike Ramsey

- Jamie Rivers

- Bob Rouse

- Ruslan Salei

- Brad Stuart

- Aaron Ward

- Jason Woolley