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Niklas Kronwall aiming for NHL opener

Red Wings defenseman missing World Cup of Hockey 2016 to rest knee

NHL.com @NHL

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall hopes to be ready for the start of this season after withdrawing from the World Cup of Hockey 2016 to rest his knee.

The Red Wings' season opener is at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 13.

"It was sad to have to make the decision not to play [at World Cup], but injuries are part of the sport," the 35-year-old told NHL.com/sv. "Right now I do not know how it will affect the start of the season with Detroit, but I hope and believe that I'll be ready."

Kronwall, who had been selected to play for Team Sweden, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Jan. 19 and missed 15 games, and sat out three games in March because of a sprained right knee. Team Sweden announced Wednesday that Kronwall will be replaced by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm for the World Cup, which will be played from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 in Toronto.

Kronwall said he had a setback during offseason workouts.

"My knee has felt better and better over the summer, but three weeks ago I stretched a muscle in my thigh," he said. "That set me back three weeks of ice practice. Had I been able to practice those weeks, the chance to play would have been much better.

"I was really looking forward to the World Cup. But the first game is in about two weeks, and as of now I'm not in shape to play against the world's best players, regardless of how much I want it."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is hopeful that Kronwall will be ready for training camp, which starts Sept. 23.

"I talked to Kronwall the other day and he feels a lot better," he told NHL.com on Tuesday. "He's had much better training sessions this summer than he had last summer. He feels his leg is stronger and he's done some things to be more prepared physically for the upcoming season."

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