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Camp in question

Kronwall withdrew from World Cup and is now trying to get back for part of Wings camp

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - Niklas Kronwall called himself "iffy" for training camp.

The Red Wings originally didn't expect Kronwall to be at camp at all because of the World Cup but the veteran defenseman withdrew from Team Sweden because of lingering knee issues.

So now Kronwall will be in Traverse City but how much he is able to do is unknown.

"I won't be starting day one at camp with the guys," Kronwall said at Joe Louis Arena Monday. "I'll be skating a lot on my own up there. I don't want to say too much because I really don't know where that's going to take us. But hopefully things will progress and we'll know more in a week or two."

Kronwall missed 15 games last season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last Jan. 18 and then another three games in March after spraining his right knee.

Kronwall, 35, said he's disappointed in missing the World Cup and because he's not going to be ready for camp.

"I'm very disappointed that I'm not farther down the road than I am right now," Kronwall said. "I would have hoped obviously with a few months at home, I would have been a little farther down the road. But in saying that, the biggest thing I was feeling pretty good until I hit the ice again. So right now, it's just about getting the feel on the ice and then go from there."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill said he's not worried about Kronwall missing part or all of camp.

"Once he pulled out of the World Cup our goal wasn't necessarily to have him ready for Day 1 of training camp," Blashill said. "Our goal was to have Nik Kronwall ready to play and be a big impact in our first game. It takes build-up to get there but you don't necessarily need all 2½ weeks to get there. I know Kronner is doing everything he can to put himself in position to feel as good as he can and we're just going to have to manage it as we get into the year."

Kronwall said he has seen improvement in the last couple of weeks.

"Last two weeks it's been pretty good, I'm back on the ice skating," he said. "So it's going in the right direction."

Kronwall said at the end of last season that more surgery would not be necessary.

"I think the surgery that was talked about was something that wouldn't be the best idea if I wanted to play again, let's just put it that way," Kronwall said.

So Kronwall now has to find a way to play with the knee the way it is.

"I don't know if it will ever be pain-free, but hopefully I'll be able to be out there in a position where it doesn't bite as much," Kronwall said.

Kronwall said it's just part of getting older.

"You train a little bit differently," Kronwall said. "But again, this is something guys go through every year so it's not something that's all of a sudden this crazy thing. It's just something guys have to do when they get a few years older, finding different ways to train and move from there."

Although he's a little frustrated with his own progress, Kronwall is excited about the Wings.

"There's been some big acquisitions," Kronwall said. "I think the guys that have come in - like (Frans) Nielsen, I think is one of the most underrated guys probably in the league, extremely smart player. (Thomas) Vanek, just what he brings, what he can bring. We've all seen him over the years, what he did in Buffalo and on the Island. Hopefully he can find his touch again, so to speak, and just kind of get back to himself. Otter (Steve Ott) brings a lot of experience, so it's exciting. Our younger guys took tremendous strides last year, like (Anthony) Mantha, Double-A (Andreas Athanasiou), (Dylan) Larkin. It'll be exciting to follow these guys as well."

NOTES: Blashill said none of the players participating in the World Cup would be in Traverse City, even if their team is eliminated.

"I gave them five days off after they were eliminated," Blashill said. "So that basically puts everybody here at the earliest on that Tuesday back here."

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