Despite remaining one of the National Hockey League's best defenseman, Nicklas Lidstrom has decided to end his stellar playing career.

Nicklas Lidstrom spent his entire 20-year career with the Detroit Red Wings.

"My drive and motivation are not where to need to be to play at this level," Lidstrom said at his retirement press conference, holding back tears.

Lidstrom, 42, is one of the all-time hockey greats. He has won four Stanley Cups with Detroit, where he began playing in the 1991-92 season. He's also won seven Norris Trophies, which is awarded annually to the league's top defenseman.

Lidstrom is one of two players -- Doug Harvey is the other -- to win seven Norris Trophies. Bobby Orr won the award a record eight consecutive times. Lidstrom won as recently as the 2010-11 season.

The native of Sweden has been the Red Wings' captain since 2006. The Swede holds an NHL record by playing 1,564 games with one team. He put off retirement 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 told reporters.

In his final season, Lidstrom had 34 points and a plus-21 rating that ranked among the league leaders. He missed 11 games with a bruised right ankle and was out for another game with the flu.

"Retiring today allows me to walk away with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me," Lidstrom said.