Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said Monday he expects to be ready for the NHL season after a knee injury forced him to withdraw from playing for Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Zetterberg was named captain of Team Sweden on Aug. 11 but was removed from the roster Sept. 1. Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin will be the captain when Team Sweden opens the World Cup against Team Russia at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports).
"When I said no to the World Cup, it gives me time to come back 100 percent for the season starting," Zetterberg told the Red Wings website. "We've got plenty of time now. I didn't have that if I was going to the World Cup. Missing camp, obviously it's not optimal. You want to be up there, you want to be with the guys and skate with them. But if I'm not, I will still be up there, maybe not participate as long.
"There's a good chance this was my last chance to play for Team Sweden. And the team we had and just a tournament like World Cup, it doesn't come around that often, so that was a hard part. Anyway, too, it was the only decision to make. It was a tough day when I had to make that call."
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Zetterberg said he tweaked his knee during off-ice training. He did not skate with teammates at Joe Louis Arena on Monday and is likely to miss the start of Red Wings training camp Sept. 23.
"I've got to be able to do stuff off the ice before I go out on the ice," Zetterberg said. "There is a week and a half [before training camp], so there's a chance. But there's also a chance I'm not going to be skating at that time, so just got to play it by ear."
Zetterberg led the Red Wings with 50 points in 82 games last season, but his minus-15 rating was the worst of his NHL career. He said one of his goals entering this season is managing his time on and off the ice.
"If that means working more in the gym or working less in the gym, you got to find your times or find your moments to be fresh," Zetterberg said. "I think that's what's kind of got me the last two years. I ran out of gas. You can't play hockey at this level when you're out of gas. That's one of the things we're going to play around with this year and hopefully it works."
The Red Wings qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th consecutive season but lost in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round. Center Pavel Datsyuk left the NHL to return to Russia, and Detroit signed free agent forwards Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott, and avoided arbitration with goalie Petr Mrazek by signing him to a two-year contract.
"Frans and I know each other," Zetterberg said. "We played back in Sweden. Actually his wife is from my hometown in Sweden, so we know each other. I think it was a great addition, probably one of the most underrated players in the League. … I think we're all pretty thrilled to have him on our team."