By: Will Burchfield
Team Sweden’s hopes at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey took a hit Thursday morning when it was announced that Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg will be unable to play due to a knee injury he sustained during offseason training.
He was preparing to play in his 14th international tournament and had been named team captain.
Regarding the NHL season, Zetterberg told Red Wings GM Ken Holland not to worry.
“I watched him skate [in Detroit] Tuesday and he was laboring,” Holland told NHL.com. “He told me, ‘Ken, I need a few weeks but I don’t think it’s anything significant.'”
The nature of the injury is unknown, but Holland expects the 35-year-old Zetterberg to be ready for Detroit’s season-opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 13. Zetterberg played in all 82 regular season games last season for the Wings and each of their five playoff games.
For Zetterberg, it is the second straight time he has been forced out of a major international tournament. He injured his back in the first game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and missed the rest of the competition.
“He’s a proud guy and he was training hard,” Holland said. “He wanted to have a good tournament.”
Zetterberg will be replaced on Sweden’s roster by Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey kicks off Sept. 17 in Toronto.