It appears the Nicklas Lidstrom era in Detroit is about to end.
The 42-year-old Red Wings captain, one of the best defencemen in the history of the NHL, is expected to announce his retirement during a press conference Thursday at the Joe Louis Arena.
The team announced the morning presser with Lidstrom and Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on Wednesday but revealed no other details. Holland was tight-lipped about the subject matter when approached by reporters at the NHL general managers' meeting in New York.
"Nick has earned the right to announce what his decision is himself," Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "From my end, I'm staying quiet."
After the Red Wings were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Nashville Predators, Lidstrom indicated he would take some time before making a decision on his future. Optimists held out hope that Lidstrom, whose contract is expiring, would return for one more season.
But TSN's Aaron Ward, who played with the seven-time Norris Trophy winner in Detroit, said a league source told him that Lidstrom was calling it quits.
Other media outlets, also using anonymous sources, confirmed that Lidstrom will end his 20-year NHL career.
Lidstrom had 11 goals and 23 assists in 70 regular-season games in 2011-12, upping his career totals to 264 goals and 878 assists in 1,564 games. He is sixth on the NHL's career list of highest-scoring defencemen, trailing only Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley and Larry Murphy.
The smooth-skating defenceman from Vasteras, Sweden, was taken in the third round, 53rd overall, by the Red Wings in the 1989 draft.
Lidstrom helped the Wings win the Stanley Cup four times during his storied career and was nominated for the Norris as the league's best defenceman 12 times, winning on seven occasions. His final Norris came after the 2010-11 season.
The 12-time NHL all-star also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2002.
Lidstrom is also a member of the exclusive Triple Gold Club -- Olympic champion (2006), world champion (1991) and Stanley Cup champ (1997, '98, 2002, '08).