It wasn’t pretty, but Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings got the job done on Saturday against the Florida Panthers, a team which the Red Wings had already lost to twice earlier in the season, despite being, on paper, the better team. Zetterberg had a goal in his return. The win comes five short days after the Wings were shut out by the lowly New York Islanders. The biggest difference between those two games: Henrik Zetterberg’s return to the Detroit Red Wings.
I am by no means trying to discount the value of Justin Abdelkader, whom also returned on Saturday night in the 4-3 victory, but simply trying to emphasize the value that Henrik Zetterberg brings to his club. Zetterberg has been injured and out of the lineup since early December, a month that the Red Wings have gone 5-6-2 in.
Though the Red Wings haven’t exactly been stellar with Zetterberg leading the charge, they’ve managed to stay a dangerous team and maintain a healthy presence in the Eastern Conference. While they are not necessarily the elite team that had won four Stanley Cups in a Decade, they are obviously a much more dangerous team with their captain on the ice.
Injuries have been a huge problem for the Red Wings this season, with stars such as Pavel Datsyuk, Danny Dekeyser, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader, Daniel Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss, and of course Henrik Zetterberg all going down for extended periods of time. Several have returned weeks ago, others just recently, and others still with their returns on the horizon, but as the Red Wings stars begin to regain their health and return to form, we can all expect the Detroit Red Wings to begin once again making a push to the playoffs.
I can tell you this for sure, however; despite the relief we, as Red Wings fans, feel every time one of our many star players returns from injury, there is no bigger relief than seeing #40 take the ice once more.
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