Detroit Red Wings: Filling the Zetterberg Void

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings will look for someone to step up and fill the void of offensive production, & leadership left behind by the captain for at least start the season.  Quite possibly forever.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg has not committed to calling it a “career” yet.  Zetterberg as all of you know by now will remain out indefinitely.  Z will not be in attendance in a little under two weeks from now when the Detroit Red Wings open training camp.

Henrik Zetterberg will be a substantial “immediate”  loss for the Wings, but it won’t be all bad.  The injury will force General Manager Ken Holland‘s hand, to play a younger player and finally commit to a rebuild.

This news gives Holland an excuse if Detroit is faltering, he will speak to the media about the void Zetterberg has left behind.  Yes, Henrik will leave 50 or so points in the locker room.  That is if he was even able to produce such numbers anymore, that is not a guarantee.

Zetterberg had some telling quotes recently, Per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press;

"“Every time I try to amp up my workouts, I get symptoms again,” Zetterberg said. “Surgery is not an option. Since February, it has slowly gotten worse — things like nerve pain down your legs, disc-related issues. I was able to find a way to get through it, but it has slowly gotten worse. “I need someone to tell me I can’t play hockey anymore.”"

The quotes indeed point to the end of the road for Henrik Zetterberg.  The final comment is quite impressive.  I’m sure Zetterberg is referring to a doctor or surgeon.  His comments remind me of another instance I came across recently I wanted to share.

I have heard in recent weeks regarding the end of athletes careers.  Under different circumstances, of course, not being injured but the battle with father time.  Zetterberg is battling both, a severe injury grouped with father time.

The great Jerry Rice bounced around at the end of his Hall Of Fame football career.  Rice still felt he could be an impact player during training camp with the Denver Broncos, well into his 40’s at this time.

A friend of his sat him down and showed Rice some film from 10 years prior, then from 5 years earlier and one more time from the current training camp in Denver.  Almost right after, Rice decided to announce his retirement from the league.  Admitting he had lost his explosion and sharp route running, being able to stick a foot in the ground and make a cut to create separation.

Understanding, it is a different situation, but as a high-profile athlete sometimes you need someone, a friend to help you make that final decision.

With the hole left in the Detroit Red Wings line-up, we look to who Jeff Blashill will turn to, helping to fill the Zetterberg void.