Lidstrom chooses to return to play for the Detroit Red Wings instead of retiring

DETROIT - Nicklas Lidstrom is coming back for a 20th season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The 41-year-old Lidstrom confirmed in a text message Monday that he had agreed to a one-year deal worth US$6.2 million, same as last year. The team also scheduled a conference call with Lidstrom and general manager Ken Holland.

Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy finalist for the 11th time in 13 seasons. If he wins the award for being the NHL's top defenceman — it would be his seventh — on Wednesday, he will match Doug Harvey's total and trail Bobby Orr's record by only one.

He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

The soft-spoken Swede leads with his actions.

He had 62 points last season — surpassing his production from each of the previous two years — to rank second among NHL defenceman and to become the first 40-year-old defenceman with 60-plus points in an NHL season.

Lidstrom's six-foot-two, 190-pound body is chiseled 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.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion decided last summer to put retirement on hold, pausing only because his oldest son started school in Sweden last autumn, and signed a $6.2 million, one-year deal.

Next season, he will lead a defensive corps that includes Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart and a roster that should give the team a shot to earn a spot in a 20th straight post-season berth — a streak that started when Lidstrom was a rookie.

The Red Wings will attempt to acquire a standout defenceman this off-season with at least some of the $6 million freed up when Brian Rafalski retired last month with a year left on his contract.