While updates on Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg and his injury struggles have been frequent all off-season long, most of it has been fueled by vague comments and speculation. However, the wait if finally over for an actual timeline on his recovery, if he returns to the game at all. Zetterberg himself confirmed to Swedish news source Sport Bladet that he is set to miss training camp and the start of the season.
Missing that amount of time is all but definite, but that may be a best case scenario for the Red Wings. Zetterberg has insinuated for some time that he may not be able to play anymore. Chronic back pain is the source of his doubts and states in the interview that he has not managed to work though it at all this summer. Zetterberg continues to live in Detroit and work on his rehab, but the outlook is reportedly “bleak”. Zetterberg describes how the pains set in last February, leading to him sitting out most practices, but it didn’t help. The veteran center is no longer willing to take that shortcut approach either, stating that he will “not play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age.”
When last we heard about Zetterberg’s state, it was a report from head coach Jeff Blashill just a few days ago claiming that he didn’t expect Zetterberg to be ready for the start of training camp. Yet, now that this news has emerged from the player himself, it is another one of Blashill’s comments that stands out. The Red Wings’ bench boss speculated that if Zetterberg was not able to take part in training camp at all, that he was unlikely to play at all in the coming season. Since the respected veteran feels he will not be ready until well past the beginning of the season, that would indicate that he is most likely going to be shut down for the entire 2018-19 campaign. A comeback after that would be unlikely. Even though Zetterberg still has three years remaining on his contract, it is starting to feel like he has played his last game in the NHL.