Henrik Zetterberg won't be ready to start season; career in jeopardy

Henrik Zetterberg will not be ready for the start of the 2018-19 NHL season. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

We could all see it coming, and on now we’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Detroit Red Wings captain and future Hall of Famer Henrik Zetterberg broke his silence on Tuesday and made it official that his ailing back will keep him out of training camp and force him to miss at least the start of the season.

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The veteran forward made the comments regarding his future to Swedish outlet Sportbladet, which were translated in a tweet by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Missing just the start of the season, however long that is, would really be the best case scenario for Zetterberg who has hinted himself among the flames of vague outside speculation that his NHL career may be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Just last week, Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill claimed Zetterberg wouldn’t be ready for camp — foreshadowing today’s report.

The 2008 Conn Smyth winner and Stanley Cup champion said that his back really started giving him problems in February of last year and that despite the intense workout and rehab regime he’s put himself through this summer, the chronic back issues aren’t getting any better. Miraculously, despite how severe this injury appears to be, Zetterberg suited up in all 82 games last season and hasn’t missed a regular season game in three full campaigns.

He’s spent his entire career in Detroit, and alongside Pavel Datsyuk proved that game-changing gems can absolutely be plucked from the later rounds of the draft. The 210th pick in the 1999 draft currently has 960 points, including 337 goals, in 1082 regular season contests.

Staring down his late 30’s and a victim to a deteriorating back — not a good combination for Hank, to say the least. If it is in fact all over for Zetterberg, he’ll go down as one of the best two-way players of his era.

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