- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH | Nicklas Lidstrom might not know whom he will pass the Stanley Cup to if the Detroit Red Wings win one more game this postseason, but he’s certainly had plenty of experience being a part of the tradition.

Lidstrom is one of four members of the Red Wings who already have collected four Cups during their time with Detroit and were seeking a fifth championship Tuesday night in Game 6 at Mellon Arena. That, of course, will have to wait since the Penguins beat the Red Wings 2-1 to force a Game 7 on Friday.

When the Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins last season in this building, it was the first time Lidstrom won as the team’s captain, which meant he was charged with collecting the Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

“Last year after winning it and celebrating with all your teammates you’re starting to think a little bit about it and what you want to do,” Lidstrom said. “This time around I haven’t given it any thought, really. It is premature to talk about that. I think that will all take care of itself if you win. Right now we’re so focused on getting another win.”

A trio of veteran forwards who will be in the lineup - Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby - are the others seeking their fifth title with Detroit. Lidstrom and Holmstrom were draft picks, two of many players plucked from the later rounds by the Red Wings’ scouting staff during their era of dominance.

Draper and Maltby were added through trades before the team won consecutive Cups in 1997 and 1998. Lidstrom remains one of the premier players in the sport, while the other three have less impact than they did a decade ago but remain stalwarts in the dressing room on a deep roster.

“I can’t even imagine in today’s world, in the cap world - I don’t know if it’s possible,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of winning the Cup five times. “I know this year I was at the All-Star Game and they were introducing all the Montreal Canadiens guys who, I don’t know how many they got, like 10 [Cups] or whatever. The guys on the bench started poking fun at the [Montreal] guys who “only” had six. There were a whole bunch of guys [on the bench] who only had none.”

Added Draper: “You still kind of get those butterflies floating around just sitting here and talking about it. The one thing I’ve always said is getting this far, getting to this point, I will never, ever take for granted. It’s that special. It means so much to myself, my teammates and everyone associated with it. It’s a lot of hard work, and we’re proud of where we are right now.”

Sykora returns

Once an integral part of the Penguins’ offense, Petr Sykora finally returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the past 14 games as a healthy scratch.

Sykora scored 28 goals last season after signing as a free agent and has spent most of the past two seasons on a line with Evgeni Malkin. He had 25 this year but only two in the final 17 games. He also had yet to score in six playoff contests and hadn’t played since Game 2 against Washington in the second round.

“Petr’s exceptional skill is he can shoot it in the net,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “That’s why he continues to play in this league and probably will continue to play in this league. When you get 25 goals a year, you have something. When he gets the puck on his stick, he puts it behind the goalie.”

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