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Henrik Zetterberg by JPowers65 is licensed under CC BY ND-2.0


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It crushes me when any player is forced to retire due to health issues that are beyond their control, no matter what those might be. Especially when the desire is still to want to play.

Yesterday was a very sad day for me. Together with GM Ken Holland, Detroit Red Wings Captain Henrik Zetterberg announced his retirement from hockey due to a degenerative back disease.

“Obviously it’s very emotional. It’s been 15 years here. Even though I knew I was on my last couple years, I wish that I could play a little longer.”

Henrik Zetterberg

As a former 7th-round draft pick by the Red Wings, Zetterberg is now retiring as the cream of one of hockey’s most illustrious franchise’s crops. He sits in the top 10 of every stat category that exists in the franchise. Hank refused to go down without a fight, playing in all 82 games last season under deteriorating conditions. But that’s just what hockey players do. They fight. And not just only with their fists. To quote our illustrious Editor-in-Chief, Justin Colombo, who is also going through the loss of his captain...

“Hockey players don’t go out with a hat tip, they go out trying to get hat tricks.”

-Justin Colombo

Following in a long line of obvious greats why do you ask would I consider him MY captain?? One of the best things about being a long time fan of team is that you get to go through your phases of being a fan throughout many different eras. Luckily enough I’ve had several of those .

Past, Present, and Future

There are your childhood idols, (I’m looking at you Dino Cicarelli). Then if you’re lucky like me you get to spend your teen years rooting for the Russian 5, Grind Line, and Stevie Y while watching them win consistently. They did go to the playoffs for 25 straight seasons after all. Plus there’s just the long legacy of players to admire. ( **cough GORDIE HOWE cough**)

But then there comes the magic of watching players develop who are basically your peers. It’s a different magic than that of watching the idols of your childhood play. They take a much more human form. They become “yours” because you identify with them on a different level. Sometimes even ones that you are wildly attracted to. I mean look at that beard.

He stepped into a role I’m sure he never saw himself being in and wearing the C and is one of the best to do it. He stepped into the shadows of those groups ahead of him and played beside one of the greatest skilled technicians to play the game in Pavel Datsyuk. Together they formed a duo to be the new face of the Red Wings. Hank has no doubt made a case and a name all for himself though in the hallowed halls of Hockeytown.

The Final Curtain Call….

There is ZERO doubt in my mind that he delayed the inevitable to the last possible moment in making this decision. I’m just sorry that he won’t have a chance to play his way out and us as fans won’t get to say a proper goodbye, at least to his playing days. I’m certain that the Wings will find a way to celebrate him and it won’t be too long until we see number 40 raised into the rafters along with so many other greats!

While we might be despairing about Hanks departure, and although we are still in a rebuilding phase, we have a lot to look forward to as Dylan Larkin steps into a new level of leadership as the face of the franchise. And maybe, just maybe, if the rumors are true…

Stevie Y is coming home!!!

An actor by degree, sports lover by day, and a bartender by night. As a native of suburban Detroit it took moving to NYC for Katie to fully realize her love of all things Michigan and Detroit sports. Feel free to engage her in her love of the coolest city and prettiest state in the country and why she will always root for Ohio State to lose every sporting event ever. No, really I am dead serious about that last statement.

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