Zetterberg can relate to decision of Sedins
If anyone can relate to Daniel and Henrik Sedin and their recent decision to walk away from the NHL, it’s Henrik Zetterberg. The Detroit Red Wings captain has not only known the Sedins as teammates on the Swedish national team, but the three are also close friends. Much like the twins, Zetterberg has faced up to the physical toll a lifetime in hockey placed upon his body, and the daily challenges he faces to overcome that toll and be fit enough to continue to play the game.
“They probably went through their fair amount of injuries and played through a lot, especially the last couple of years,” Zetterberg told Detroitredwings.com. “I know Daniel went through some back injuries and surgery. Henrik also battled his serious injuries. And they logged a lot of minutes throughout the years, so I’m not that surprised that they will hang them up. They still want to have a good life after hockey.”
It’s certainly a thought that has crossed Zetterberg’s mind, and will be at the forefront of his thought process after the Wings conclude their season Saturday against the New York Islanders.
At 37, might Zetterberg follow the lead of the Sedins and call it a day?
“Well, for me it’s going to be the same as I’ve been doing the last couple of years,” Zetterberg said. “I will go into the off-season and try to have a good summer, work on my health and hopefully I can come back and be better.”
He doesn’t sound like a guy who’s about to hang up his skates, and it’s interesting to note that since the back surgery that he underwent in 2014, Zetterberg has missed just five games over the past four seasons, and will go into Saturday’s game having appeared in 245 consecutive games.
“Ever since my back surgery that’s been one of the goals, to be able to play as many games as possible,” Zetterberg said. “But in the same way, you want to be able to do something out there, too. You don’t just want to put on the skates. You want to be able to produce and help your team. I felt last year was a good year, and it maybe hasn’t been as good this year.”
He indicated that the disappointment of missing the playoffs the last two seasons will have no bearing on his future with the Wings.
“It’s no fun losing, but I still have a lot of fun playing hockey and being around this group of guys,” Zetterberg said. “Obviously, it would be a lot more fun if we’d still be playing after this weekend. In decision making I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”
So when will Zetterberg make the call on whether to return? He played coy rather than offer specifics.
“I think you just try to push yourself every day and obviously you have a plan on how you will set up the summer,” Zetterberg said. “You want to be able to push as hard as you can and get something out of it.
“Health is the key. If I’m not healthy, it’s over.”
Jared Coreau will start in goal for the Wings in the season finale, and he’s also on waivers.
It’s merely a procedural move. Coreau must clear through NHL waivers in order to be returned to Grand Rapids for the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. It’s unlikely that he will be claimed by another team.
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