Zetterberg catch-up post 2: Swedish version

Henrik Zetterberg spoke with the assembled media at Centre ICE Arena early this morning, and shortly afterward, he spoke by phone with scribes from Sweden.

Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman spoke with Zetterberg regarding the conclusion of his playing career, and what follows is roughly translated:

First words: “It hasn’t really sunk in [yet]”

New York. Doctors can’t do anything, the injured back will not get better. Therefore, Henrik Zetterberg is forced to retire.

“I’ve had [the news] for a while, but now that the decision has been taken, it’s a little strange. It hasn’t really sunken in that I’m not going to play hockey anymore,” the Swedish Detroit icon said to Aftonbladet.

A month ago, Sportbladet was able to reveal that Henrik Zetterberg had not been able to train through the summer because of his injured back and would therefore miss the start of the current season.

Now, the more definitive message the world has only been waiting for since then is revealed: “Zata” cannot play any more at all. He is, after 15 NHL seasons and 1,082 prized games, retired.

“Yes, the doctors found that there’s nothing more to do. And although it could be better temporarily, the risk of injury worsens if I continue,” says the soon-to-be-38-year-old native of Medelpad when we reach him in Detroit.

“Then it’s time. The body says. But it’s lasted, hey.”

“Feels Strange”

So what happens, technically? You have three years left on the contract? Is it canceled, or what?

“Well, I’m placed, as I understand, on the long-term injury reserve list, and I stay there for the remaining three years.”

How does that feel? You’ve played hockey all your life, and now it won’t be any more?

“I’ve been feeling this for a while, when it turned out that I couldn’t train at all this summer. But now the decision is made, and everything is as it is, it definitely feels a little strange. It hasn’t really sunk into my thinking that I’m not going to play hockey anymore.”

As you’ve said, you had an incredibly long and successful career. Have you ever thought from that perspective, and can you say what the highlights have been?

“It was mainly in 2006, when I joined the Tre Kronor and won both the Olympics and World Championship, and 2008 when I won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, which sands out. For a hockey player, there is nothing that strikes them, as fighting for a long time as a team and winning the best prize of all.”

And in 2008, you were very good, too, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy, the prize for the game’s most valuable player in the playoffs. You and “Lidas” are the only Swedes to have won it…

“Well, then I had a good year, hey. And it’s clear that it felt special. But at the same time, I’m grateful that I could have had such a long career, been involved in so much and met so many very nice people who became close friends.”

Toughest I’ve been through

What’s the worst memory, then?

“The Olympics in Sochi in 2014, when I had to go home and have my back operated on after a single game. It was the hardest thing I had gone through during my career. On the other hand, I got to play for four more years even after that incident, and I feel grateful for that. They may have not been so good, but anyway…”

Ah, in view of the circumstances, you have been phenomenal even in the last four years.

“That’s fine. Hey, I was able to compete.”

What happens now? Do you and Emma and Love move home to Sweden, or what?

“We’ll stay here in Detroit for this season, anyway. Then we’ll see. Everything is so new and we will await the big decisions and see how we feel.”

Aftonbladet’s Andreas Kack also wrote the following:

“Lidas” tribute to Henrik Zetterberg

“It’s impressive”

His career is over.

Now Henrik Zetterberg, 37, is celebrated by the hockey world.

“He represented Swedish hockey very well in the NHL,” writes Nicklas Lidstrom in a text message to Sportbladet.

Henrik Zetterberg has had an incomparable hockey career.

But now it’s over.

On Friday afternoon, Swedish time, the message came that his injured back doesn’t last for continued play.

“It’s time. The body says so. It’s still been a long time,” he told Sportbladet.

“The best of the team”

Now the tributes flow to the 37-year-old star. One of them comes from the club icon, former teammate Nicklas Lidstrom, 48.

“It’s a pity that Zata has to end his career because of an injury. the team loses a leader on and off the ice. It’s impressive that he’s been the team’s best player for many years, despite his bad back. He has represented Swedish hockey very well away in the NHL,” wrote “Lidas” in a text message to Sportbladet.

Words cannot describe

Niklas Kronwall, still playing for the Detroit Red Wings, was noticeably taken while commenting on it all through the team’s own Twitter account.

“Words cannot describe how much he’s meant for this organization. Not only on but also off the ice. It will feel strange now that he’s gone,” says Kronwall.

Good friend Jonathan Hedstrom, who played with Zata during the lockout season 2004/05: “Thank you Henke for all the enjoyment on the ice hockey sheet. But to me you are a magic mate and a friend. So welcome to the retirement life. Now we will enjoy it.”

Zetterberg is also celebrated by the Tre Kronor’s assistant GM, Johan Garpenlov.

“An amazing player with a tremendous career. One of our best of all time! Only happiness for Zata in his future challenges. Live and enjoy and take care of your family and friends!” writes “Garpen.”

Zetterberg also spoke with Expresen’s Gunnar Nordstrom:

“We will be staying, at least through the winter”

Los Angeles. Henrik Zetterberg, 37, had hoped to play another season in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.

But on Friday he announced that his hockey career is over because of his troublesome back.

“I can’t play any more, so there’s no alternative.”

He is in Traverse City, where the Red Wings are conducting training camp for the season.

“Clearly it’s difficult, even though I felt it was leaning in this direction. I was in New York last week, and I met the physician who operated on me four years ago, and his advice after the investigation was that I shouldn’t play on.”
Henrik Zetterberg is one of Swedish hockey’s greatest stars throughout the ages.

He has a packed track record with a Stanley Cup in 2008, Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008, Olympic Gold and World Championship Gold in 2006 at the top.

“I’m incredibly happy and grateful for the career I’ve had, and everything I’ve had to share with people. The Stanley Cup and the Olympic Gold are amazing tops. I have played well and am very grateful for the successes I’ve had.”
How hard is it to have to be forced to take this decision?
“Clearly, it’s hard, and I had hoped to play for at least one more season. But everything is over and I’ve had a long career.”
Will stay in Detroit
What happens now?

“We will stay in Detroit at least for this winter, then we’ll see.”
Will you be involved with the Red Wings, even if you don’t play?
“Yes, I hope so. We’ll sit down and talk shortly. But that would be fun.”
Is there any hope for Detroit this season without you on the ice?

“Sure, I think we’ll have an interesting team going on. The team has found interesting players in the draft for the past two years. We are in the middle of a generational change, but if we do the right things, we will be fine.”

How is your back in everyday life?

“All right. It’s when I expose my back to stress that the pain comes. So, given that there is a life after hockey, this is the right decision. I want to live a normal life for many years to come, even if I do not play hockey.”

How does it feel right now?

“It hasn’t really sunk in that it’s been completed now. The decision has just become official, so it will take some time before I can understand it properly.”

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.