"When I heard yesterday that I could practice with the team, I was so happy about it," Zadina said after Saturday's practice at the BELFOR Training Center inside Little Caesars Arena. "I hadn't practiced with them since a long time ago. I was glad for it at the time. Right now, I just want to get stronger and get better and to get back in the lineup."
Officially, the Wings are taking it slowly with their prized rookie and are optimistic he'll be able to play soon; however, when that will be is pretty much up in the air.
"It was good to have him out there. I think everything went pretty good with the doctor last night," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "And now it's ramping him up back into game shape, with the exception of you don't know how increased soreness is going to happen as he's getting back closer to full speed, but we got to get him going full speed here.
"He'll skate tomorrow and he may skate Monday (a scheduled day off) but in terms of players around him, it's hard. It's always hard in the NHL to get guys back going because rarely do you practice consistently in a row, so we'll see where it goes from here. We'll take it day by day. He's not in tomorrow."
As much as Zadina is eager to return, he realizes patience will be key because rushing back could risk further injury.
"It's up to the coaching staff and the doctors, right? They will give me the green light to go," Zadina said. "Right now, I just need to be a little more patient and get healthy 100 percent. Get myself in shape and feel ready to go for sure … I just want to (spend) most of the time on the ice and in the gym to get stronger."
Zadina broke his ankle blocking a shot in New York versus the Rangers and played the next day, also against the Rangers, in Detroit.
He played 20:29 on a broken ankle because he's a hockey player.
"It wasn't discolored but it was just, like, so huge. I just felt it right away that something's not right. But yeah, we are hockey players. This is what you do (play through pain)," Zadina said. "I felt it since the game in New York. It's just like getting worse and worse. I just try to push myself but I couldn't even walk after. I just said, 'I can't go through that much.' We did the X-ray and (the break) showed up."
Once he was diagnosed with a break, Zadina, who was beginning to find his way on the ice, was disappointed but he didn't become depressed since his road to the Wings has been paved with ups and downs.
"I started last year in GR, I did get up for nine games to show me what I (needed to) do," Zadina said. "That's what I was working on the whole summer and right now I know I can be part of this team. But I have to do my best. So if I do my best and play the best hockey I'm playing, I'm living a happy life.
"Being a rookie with this franchise team, it's nothing like if they send you down it's the end of the world or something. You just have to think about what you need to do better and that's what I was kind of doing. So I figured out what I have to do to get here and I started doing that. That's probably what got me here."
A true sniper, Zadina possesses a hard and accurate shot and as much as he enjoys scoring, he wants to be a complete hockey player, so his game is more than just a shoot-first mentality.
"If I get the huge chance to shoot the puck, I'll shoot it. But if I see the guy right next to me open, I'll do a give-and-go," Zadina said. "It's about having fun and when we're going on a 2-on-1, obviously you shoot the puck if you see you can't pass it. So, if you see an opening, you give it to him and show to people I'm a good hockey player so that we can play together."
In 28 games, Zadina has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points.
Four of his goals have come on the power play and he's notched one game winner. He's minus-13, been assessed one minor penalty, fired off 60 shots with an average ice time of 15:10 per game.
NO BIEGA, GOLOUBEF IN PRACTICE: Only two players outside of Danny DeKeyser (back) and Adam Erne (hand) were absent from practice Saturday -- defensemen Alex Biega and Cody Goloubef.
Blashill said that Biega was taking a maintenance day but is expected to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Blashill said Goloubef was excused because his wife gave birth Friday.
FIRST POINT: It took 14 games but defenseman Gustav Lindstrom finally got his first NHL point -- on Robby Fabbri's game-winning power-play goal no less.
It came at 10:05 of the second period in Friday's 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It was good for him," Blashill said. "He's played good hockey. He had a great speech at the end. A man of few words, which is great. I enjoy that better. He's played good hockey. He still has his ups and downs and I think he's going to be even better as his body gets stronger and quicker, but it was good for him to get that point."
SPECIAL LINEUP: On occasion, the Wings will have some special visitors announce the starting lineup to the team.
That often happens during the Dads trip and did this past January when the moms of Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi and Madison Bowey had the honor of revealing the starters.
On Friday night, there was even more star power as longtime Michiganders and Wings fans Jeff Daniels and Dave Coulier read the starting lineup.
"That was good," Larkin said after the game. "I know Dave from the Joey Kocur softball game every summer. He's just a great guy, a humble guy. Him and Jeff come in and lighten it up. They did a great job. When they started I thought it was gonna be a little long but it was well done, and got us going. I think Tyler was the one laughing at it the most. He's probably the most Canadian guy I know. He really enjoyed that."
Larkin and Bertuzzi were two of the starters announced.
"I loved Dumb and Dumber, so that was pretty cool to see them here," Bertuzzi said. "They did the starting lineup and it was good. They were funny."
Earlier this season when the team was in California and had an off day, Blashill and the rest of the coaches got to visit Coulier on the set of Fuller House.
"I found out they were coming to the game," Blashill said Friday night. "Dave Coulier and I have become friends over the last number of years and I see his prowess on the softball field at Joe Kocur's event. I had never met Jeff Daniels but nice, nice man. I'm a big fan of his. So when I found out they were coming, I texted with Cooler last night and asked if they wanted to do it. I'm not sure our whole team understood 'Strange Brew' but it was a great rendition and it was great. You got to enjoy and that was part of what I was talking about earlier.
"We're playing the Chicago Blackhawks on a Friday night in front of a great crowd, let's go out and enjoy it. That's part of it."