Lidstrom retires in style

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - For sure, Nicklas Lidstrom could have taken the money and played another season for the Red Wings.

And no one would have betted an eye.

But it should come as no surprise that Lidstrom didn't do it. You don't play 20 impressive seasons, all in Motown, and put together a resume that includes four Stanley Cups and seven Norris trophies to want to play and not be at your best.

WATCH: Local 4 catches up with Nicklas Lidstrom

At 42, Lidstrom doesn't believe he can bring it the same way. You have to give him props for that. "My drive and motivation are not where they need to be to play at this level," Lidstrom said Thursday at a news conference, announcing his retirement.

Lidstrom fought back tears as he thanked just about everyone, even water boys and the media.

WATCH: Uncut - Lidstrom announces retirement

For sure, Detroit will miss Nick. He was one of the all time great Wings, top five arguably. It's the end of an era, the Wings won't be the same in the here and now.

Hopefully, Wings fans realized what they were able to witness over the last two decades. Nick was a special player, a bona fide star in the NHL.

MORE: Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom announces retirement

Leyland Respects Cano

It's not often that a manager shows  public admiration for a player on another team. But Leyland can't help but let people know how much he likes Yankees' All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.

In spring training, Leyland went out of way to speak and give Cano a nice hug before the Yankees and Tigers played  in Lakeland. ``I think I have as much respect for Robinson Cano as an opposing player as any player I've managed against,'' Leyland said. ``I just think he's so special. I'm not going to get into some formal dissertation about it. I just think he, to me, is a great, great player.''

In 2006, Leyland was onboard about how good Cano was already. In talking about the Yankees' lineup in that first round playoff series, Leyland described the lineup as, "Murderers' Row and Cano.'' Leyland believes he's a super hitter.

"I've just never seen anybody just a flick on the bat, the ball's in the upper deck,'' Leyland said. He just flicks the ball and it's coming over there like a missile and he does it so smooth, so easy.''

Leyland's love for Cano wasn't in any way a disrespect of any of his players. It's just that Leyland loves baseball and a player who can play it so effortlessly. ``He's playing on that big stage all the time and the guy's just like so calm, so collected. You hate to say it. I don't really pass that much praise out to opposing players. But let me put it this way. When he's playing against other teams in the American League, I really enjoy watching him play.''

You can bet, however, that Leyland hopes Cano doesn't do any damage against his team this weekend.

Tigers Need To Start Winning

Here we are. It's June. The baseball season isn't early anymore. As we entered the third month of the season, the Tigers have to start winning.

It's time the Tigers stop blaming umpires and injuries. That's not why the Tigers entered their three-game series against the New York Yankees Friday night with a disappointing 24-27 record, third in the American League Central.

The Central was supposed to be a piece of cake. The Tigers were supposed to run away with it. Instead, the Tigers haven't played well. They don't hit well with runners on third base and less than two outs, the bullpen has been disappointing and defensively they are below average.

That combination tells you it's going to be a struggle all season long.

A) the division is much better than expected. The first-place White Sox are for real.

B) The Tigers' best three players -- Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder -- haven't been injured and are playing well. That's scary because they still aren't winning like they are supposed to.

The Yankees have been an average team, at best. This might be a good starting point for the Tigers. If they are going to make a move, it's now.

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