One of the NHL's all-time greats skates away

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One of the NHL's all-time greats skates away

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- Swedish defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired after 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, ending one of the best careers in NHL history on Thursday. The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner as the league's best defenseman fought back tears as he made the announcement. "My drive and motivation are not where they need to be to play at this level," Lidstrom said. The 42-year-old set an NHL record by playing 1,564 games with a single team. He had put retirement on hold in each of the previous two years by signing one-year contracts. "I've been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. Lidstrom had 264 career goals with 1,142 points. After being incredibly durable for 19 seasons, he missed a career-high 11 games with a bruised right ankle and was out for another game with the flu. "That didn't sway me one way or another," Lidstrom said. "A couple of weeks after the season is over, you start working out. Once I started doing that I didn't have the push I need and I can't cheat myself." He plans to move his family to Sweden and hopes to have an off-ice role with the Red Wings. "Retiring today allows me to walk away with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me," said Lidstrom, whose oldest of four sons went to Sweden two years ago to attend school and play ice hockey. Lidstrom was named the NHL's best defenseman last year for a seventh time, matching Doug Harvey's total and trailing Bobby Orr's record by one. When Lidstrom won his final Norris Trophy last summer, he was a finalist for the 11th time in 13 seasons. Defenseman Brad Stuart, who was his teammate for the past four-plus seasons, said he was amazed at Lidstrom's ability to make the right play on almost every shift game after game. "I've played with great players who made mistakes, but I can't think of one game when I thought, Nick just didn't have it tonight,'" Stuart said during this year's one-series postseason. "He's that same, steady, amazing defenseman every night. I think I've seen him out of breath maybe three or four times in a few years because he's so smart, he gets himself in the right position to make a play." The four-time Olympian also scored the gold-medal winning goal for Sweden over Finland in 2006. He became the first European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup in 2008, six years after being the first from Europe to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP. He has a chiseled body thanks to a year-round workout that includes exercise before practice and after games along with a sensible diet that includes only occasional slices of pizza and fast food. Lidstrom's teammates call him "The Perfect Human," in part because he's as humble as he is successful on the ice. "It's one of the most emotional days in Red Wings history with Nick retiring and all you people showing your respect for such a high-quality individual," Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said at a packed news conference that included a slew of team employees wearing Lidstrom's No. 5 red jersey with a winged wheel.

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Satoransky reacts to monster dunk in practice

Satoransky reacts to monster dunk in practice

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bradley Beal was right. Tomas Satoransky has the best bounce on the Wizards and was the highlight of Friday's open practice evening session as the rookie sent electricity through Siegel Center.

"It was great to have a slam-dunk contest when have your teammates celebrate that," said Satoransky, a 6-7 combo guard. "When you have new fans you want to show off a little bit. That's what happened."

Beal was drafted in 2012 with Satoransky and had witnessed his athleticism in workouts previously. He's probably the only one not surprised but the 2,500 in attendance were.

Dunk contests aren't new to the Czech Republic native who played professionally in Spain before coming to D.C.

"Dunking is one of the reasons I like the game of basketball. I always try some new tricks," he said. "Coaches don't like to see it too much. You can have an injury there so I stop. But I still have some tricks.

"I won all those (dunk contests) in Czech Republic. It's not a big competition there."

The big question is whether or not he's ready for prime time during NBA All-Star weekend. Defending champ Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon are elite in the art of dunks.

"I don't know about that," Satoransky said when asked if he is ready for that kind of challenge. "When I saw the level of last year's dunks it's amazing. They still are much better at least than me. I don't feel like I would have a chance to win it."

MORE WIZARDS: Bradley Beal cleared to return from concussion

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Beal cleared to return from concussion

Beal cleared to return from concussion

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bradley Beal has cleared concussion protocol, according to coach Scott Brooks, and should be available for Saturday's final practice at VCU.

Beal attended Friday's open session but didn't participate. He took an elbow to the head from Ian Mahinmi on Wednesday.

Beal was scheduled to go through a 45-minute workout later Friday.

Mahinmi sat out the night session because of a right knee soreness. He bumped it against a teammate earlier in the week.