The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/14/13 at 11:00 AM ET
This story may have slipped through some radar screens, but the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek penned a really remarkable article about Henrik Zetterberg's leadership while comparing the Wings' undersized but ultra-competitive captain to Doug Gilmour, and Duhatschek's comparison struck one of Zetterberg's teammates, Mikael Samuelsson, as completely accurate:
There was unique pressure on Zetterberg this year because he was replacing the venerable Nicklas Lidstrom as the Red Wings’ long-time captain, but according to Samuelsson, that wasn’t how Zetterberg approached it at all.
“I think he sees it with joy,” said Samuelsson. “Let me see if I can find the right word. It was like a big honour for him. I don’t think he’s changed that much from the type of guy he was, or in his role in the locker room, even if he’s the captain. A great guy stepped down in Lidstrom and (Zetterberg) is still the same guy – and that’s how it should be, I think. The guys have more respect for that – you don’t have to change a whole lot just because you’re the captain. I just take the hat off to him. It’s not like he is super fast or has a super good shot. But he’s a hell of a player, just the way he protects the puck.”
I reminded Samuelsson of another player that fit the description he just gave of Zetterberg - Doug Gilmour, back in his Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs days.
In those days, I used to tease Gilmour all the time – how come a guy with a shot that couldn’t break a pane of glass; who was too small and too slow to play could have such an impact on the outcome of every game. Gilmour always laughed. As with Zetterberg, he often played his best hockey when it mattered most; when the stakes were highest.
“Exactly,” said Samuelsson, who has also been around long enough to remember Gilmour in his prime. He then asked a great question: “How, as a scout, can you see that at a young age? You never know how it’s going to turn out.”
The story continues with Ken Holland re-telling the story of how the Wings stumbled upon Zetterberg, as well as a Babcockian comparison that isn't far off--a suggestion that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk's play and leadership are reminiscent of Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.