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Red Wings captain Zetterberg has back surgery

Friday, 02.21.2014 / 12:04 PM / News

NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg had back surgery Friday but the club is hopeful the center will be able to return sometime this season.

Zetterberg had to withdraw from Sweden's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics during the preliminary round and was diagnosed with a herniated disk. The Red Wings believe Zetterberg will need eight weeks to recover from the procedure.

A two-month timeframe would bring Zetterberg back during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin would not rule out Zetterberg returning before the postseason and said Zetterberg was expected to start walking Friday.

"It went very, very well," Martin told MLive.com. "They removed part of a disk that was rubbing on a nerve. It was what they thought it was. The recovery process looks very, very positive. … It's a really good sign. They feel confident this procedure will help in the long term."

Zetterberg has dealt with back issues for years; in December he missed 11 games then sat out two in January.

He was healthy enough to make the trip to Sochi but after one game he sat out, telling reporters the pain in his back was "20 times worse" than anything he'd previously experienced.

Zetterberg was on the operating table at the same time Sweden was defeating Finland 2-1 in the Olympic semifinals.

Niklas Kronwall, Zetterberg's teammate with the Red Wings and the Olympic team, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that Zetterberg reached out to him before the procedure.

"[Zetterberg] sent a text and told me he would be sedated during the entire game but he wished us luck and said he wanted to wake up and see that we won," Kronwall told the newspaper. "It feels good that we could give it to him."

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1