Custance on Zetterberg’s first game night as a civilian

The Athletic’s Craig Custance went behind the scenes with Henrik Zetterberg as the Red Wings’ former captain dropped the puck at the Wings’ home opener:

“Coming down today, it felt like a normal game. Same time. Left the house at the same time,” Zetterberg told The Athletic, moments before he walked out in front of the crowd. “But obviously it’s different.”

It’s definitely different.

Zetterberg is told that Justin Abdelkader will be taking the ceremonial puck drop with Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno. It probably would have been Niklas Kronwall but Kronwall is injured too. So is fellow defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Johan Franzen had just been nearby, two blonde-haired little boys following him down the hallway — one in a Franzen jersey and another in a signed Dylan Larkin jersey. These last holdouts from the Red Wings’ glory days, all in suits and nearby to support their fellow Swede.

“This is going to be hard for him,” Ericsson said, earlier in the day. “It’s going to be a big change. It’s going to be good for him to spend a lot of time with his family.”

It’s not easy, but right now they’re having fun. Ericsson and Kronwall stop to chat with Zetterberg as he prepares to drop the puck.

“I want to go out there to hear the cheers,” Ericsson says to Zetterberg, who laughs. Zetterberg says he wants Ericsson out there with him so the cheers are louder. Then the conversation turns to puck-dropping technique.

Continued (paywall)…

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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.