DALLAS – Captain Henrik Zetterberg left Saturday’s game early in the third period and did not return for the crazy finish of the Red Wings’ 7-6 overtime win over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
Zetterberg was involved in a net-front skirmish with Stars captain Jamie Benn early in the second period. During the pushing and shoving, Zetterberg was hit in the head. Benn received a two-minute roughing penalty for his involvement.
Zetterberg finished the period but did not come out for the third. However, it is uncertain if the Wings’ captain was injured on that play or at some other time in the game.
When asked for a status update on the captain’s condition, whether he had a concussion, or if he was injured in the altercation with Benn, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was non-committal.
“I don’t really know,” he said. “I didn’t talk to the (trainers). Let’s just say he’s got an upper-body injury and I don’t know if he’s fine tomorrow or not playing (Monday). We’ll see tomorrow. We’ll practice tomorrow and play the following day and we’ll see where it’s at.”
A few Red Wings players saw a replay of Benn’s action either on the video board above center ice or in the locker room.
“I don’t know if it was once or twice (punched) even, when Benn got his penalty there,” Niklas Kronwall said. “They showed it up on the Jumbotron. Hopefully Hank will recover and we’ll get him back soon.”
Zetterberg’s linemate Justin Abdelkader believes the league will review the play for possible subsequent discipline.
“It’s tough to see,” Abdelkader said. “I saw a replay of the play. Looked like he got punched in the head. I imagine the NHL will take a look at that. But he’s been playing so well for us. Hopefully he’s all right. . We’ll get more (information) as we leave tonight but that’s a tough break. You never like to see that in hockey and especially with Z, he’s been playing so well for us. He’s such a big part of our team.”
Zetterberg, who missed most of last season following back surgery in February, is one of nine Red Wings who have played in all 57 games this season. The others are Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Jonathan Ericsson and Kronwall.
Injuries also forced Helm and Ericsson to miss significant time last season.
Zetterberg is the team’s leading point producer, compiling 15 goals and 34 assists this season. He finished Saturday’s game with 11:24 of ice time on 18 shifts.