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Zetterberg expected to attend Red Wings training camp, won't skate

Detroit hopeful center who has back injury can play this season

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Henrik Zetterberg is expected to attend Detroit Red Wings training camp in Traverse City, Michigan next Friday, although he won't skate, and his teammates are hopeful he will return from a back injury to play this season.

 

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"Part of me hopes that he sees some doctors now and they can come up with some solutions and that we get him to training camp or train the way he wants to and then just be ready whenever that is," defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has been Zetterberg's teammate since 2003-04, told the Red Wings website Thursday.

The 37-year-old center previously said he would miss training camp and the start of the regular season.

"I've only been able to rehab, but no training. I tried, but the pain made it impossible," Zetterberg told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet on Aug. 28. "The tricks I used to dampen the pain in previous summers did not help this time. ... I've not been able to train properly, and I can't play NHL games without being well-prepared, especially not at my age."

Zetterberg, who has been Detroit's captain since the 2012-13 season, was second on the Red Wings with 56 points (11 goals, 45 assists) in 82 games last season, behind forward Dylan Larkin's 63 (16 goals, 47 assists).

"Obviously he struggled training and hasn't felt his back is where it needs to be to be able to play," forward Gustav Nyquist said. "It's got to be a lot of wear and tear and it's impressive what he's done to play all these games."

Zetterberg, who was selected by Detroit in the seventh round (No. 210) of the 1999 NHL Draft, is fifth in goals (337), assists (623) and points (960) in Red Wings history. He has three seasons remaining on a 12-year contract signed Jan. 28, 2009.

"He's been a leader on and off the ice," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "He's not a guy you can just replace."

After having back surgery Feb. 21, 2014, Zetterberg played 77 games in 2014-15 and has played all 82 games the past three seasons.

"That's who he is," Kronwall said. "I think it was a great way for the young guys to see that, him battle through that and still play 82 games. It's pretty remarkable. There were some days, game days, where it was tough for him to get out of bed and he still plays 22 minutes that same night. It says a lot about his character and how much he loves the game."

The Red Wings open their season at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 4.

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