The Free Press’s Mitch Albom spoke with Henrik Zetterberg on Saturday, and the two discussed the end of Zetterberg’s career as an NHL player:
Do you know how Zetterberg spent the first morning of his retirement? He watched practice. He hung by the ice and saw the younger players zipping past. He watched the scrimmage drills. It wasn’t torture. It was what he wanted to do.
“I spent some time with the trainers here, and with the guys, and seeing the people in Traverse City that have been taking care of us and me for 15 years. This is an unbelievable spot for us.
“It was a bit different today,” he admitted. “Because of everyone that reached out yesterday. It’s been amazing. You never knew that you had that many former teammates and coaches and fans. It’s been very emotional, but still, it’s been good. It was good to be here today, to watch the guys scrimmage.”
And that is that. No press conference. No video package. No parading out the family or the friends. We forget how lucky we have been in Detroit to have three straight Red Wings captains who are the embodiment of low-key, no-ego, hardworking and grateful men. By the time Zetterberg was effacing those traits, we’d grown so totally used to them, thanks to Yzerman and Lidstrom, we expected them.
But that only speaks to how special Zetterberg was. To start a humble trend is to get noticed. To continue it is to live up to a legacy that, by definition, leaves you out of the biggest spotlights.