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It’s official: Henrik Zetterberg is the Red Wings’ captain

Updated 12x at 9:53 PM: Zetterberg presser video up, and Khan says only Datsyuk and Kronwall will wear "A's" this year: The Red Wings just made things official. More Tweets and stuff to come between now and the scrimmage at 6 PM (on FSD and WXYT AM):

 

Update: Officially, officially official:

Update #2: More from the Wings:

And aside from this Tweet, I'm going to do inline updates from Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji, who Tweeted the hell out of the presser:

#RedWings Holland: Lot of reasons why next captain -- fierce competitor, bigger the game, better he plays.

#RedWings Holland: Tremendous intensity, goes to all the hard areas, one of best 2-way forwards in the world.

#RedWings Holland: Understands the responsibility of being captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

#RedWings Holland: Z's a role model on and off the ice.

#RedWings Zetterberg: Lucky to have leaders in the locker room.

#RedWings Zetterberg: Together we will carry on the tradition.

#RedWings Zetterberg: Said he's humbled by the honor.

#RedWings Zetterberg: Has a lot to do with guy sitting next to me (Holland, keeping winning going).

#RedWings Zetterberg: Of course it's a very special day,

#RedWings Zetterberg: Kenny actually beat me on golf course and told me I was going to be captain. Called my dad right away and he was proud

#RedWings Zetterberg: I think we've been together 7 years so you get comfortable (w/Babcock). Sometimes he can get mad at me and I at him.

#RedWings Zetterberg: You shouldn't be afraid to speak your mind (to Babcock).

#RedWings Zetterberg: I talked to Nick before I came over here. Just playing with Nick for all my career, just to see how he handled himself

#RedWings Zetterberg: Just lead by example, that's what he did. I played with many good leaders since I got here. Not just Stevie and Nick.

#RedWings Zetterberg: You try to take bits and pieces from all the players you played with.

#RedWings Zetterberg: I was captain in Sweden for Timra for a couple months.

#RedWings Zetterberg: The more you play, the more you learn. I feel comfortable now for this task.

RedWings Babcock: Fierce, competitors, great, great people.

Update #3: The Red Wings' website has posted a Red Wings captains gallery, an article from Bill Roose pondering what awaits Zetterberg, via a conversation with Larry Murphy...

“What I see in him is a player with a lot of poise, composure, the ability to come up big in crucial situations, great work ethic, somebody that the players really respect,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t put him in the rah-rah category, but he’s somebody whose words are meaningful and very affective.”

Since Nicklas Lidstrom announced last summer that he was retiring from the game after 20 seasons – including the last six as the Wings’ captain – the spotlight of speculation shined on Zetterberg as the obvious choice to take the leadership reins.

It was apparent that Zetterberg was being groomed as Lidstrom’s successor when four years ago the Red Wings made a long-term commitment to the former seventh-round draft pick. During the 2008-09 season, the Wings announced that they signed Zetterberg to a 12-year deal worth $73 million, which is the longest and most-lucrative contract in club history.

The trust and respect that the organization and teammates have for him speaks volumes for Zetterberg, who was a virtual unknown in most hockey circles before 1999, when the Wings used the 210th pick in the NHL draft on him. Since the league instituted the amateur draft in 1963, Zetterberg is just the 11th drafted player appointed team captain of the Wings.

Whether or not Zetterberg feels he must reprove himself in his new role as the franchise’s next captain, Murphy isn’t so sure, saying he believes the Swedish center authenticated those traits years ago.

“One of the things that management considers is how will the player deal with it?” Murphy said. “But Zetterberg is a guy that has the stuff, and he’ll take it in full stride and excel in that role. He’s mentally tough and he’ll be able to deal with it.

“For me, I still don’t know how he got picked so low, that’s how I look at it.”

While every captain prefers to lead in his own way, Murphy expects Zetterberg may be like two greats that he played with on Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh and Detroit.

“He’s a guy whose actions speak volumes, a guy like Mario Lemieux,” Murphy said. “Mario was a guy who was very selective in what he said, and in his play he was a guy that would go out there and you could count on him in critical situations to lead the charge. I look at him and I look at Stevie Yzerman in the same sense as they led by example quite a bit. Like Zetterberg, they each had something to say, but they live the game on and off the ice and they’re leaders in that department. Guys really respect that and that’s the type of captain you want.”

As well as an article in which Roose speaks to the Wings players about their new captain:

“It’s a great choice, Wings forward Daniel Cleary said. “The biggest thing for me is that he's so unselfish. He's such a personable guy. He's a star. He's got great talent on the ice, but he's very respectful off the ice and he's vocal when he needs to be and he leads by example.”

When it comes to speaking his mind, the 32-year-old Zetterberg is probably more like Yzerman than his fellow countryman. Zetterberg isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and because of that, coupled with his immense talent, he garners plenty of respect from both teammates and coaches.

“He and I have a relationship where he doesn’t mind getting mad at me and I don’t mind getting mad at him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t have any problem with that. He doesn’t mind standing up for the guys and telling you want he thinks. And I think that’s so important for us.”

Practically every year since winning the 2002 Stanley Cup with a roster comprised by a litany of future hall-of-famers, so called hockey experts have forecasted a decline for the Red Wings. Fortunately, while players like Yzerman, Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille have moved on, Wings general manager Ken Holland has continued to find pieces that have complimented an always strong core of talented players.

The Red Wings’ success is in the numbers. Since the 1999-00 season, they have produced a NHL-record 12 straight 100-point campaigns, while capturing the Stanley Cup three times, the President’s Trophy four times and the Central Division title nine times And Zetterberg has played his part in the Wings’ success since his arrival to Hockeytown in 2002. In nine seasons, the Swedish star has bolted up the franchise’s all-time scoring lists. He’s currently ranked No. 10 in goals (252), assists (372) and points (624), and he’s fourth all-time with 50 game-winning goals, trailing only Yzerman (94), Shanahan (79) and Fedorov (63).

In the playoffs, Zetterberg has routinely ramped up his game, producing 51 goals and 51 assists, and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the 2008 playoff MVP.

“Hank was around Stevie and then he was around Nick,” Babcock said. “I mean, to me, those guys, Pavel (Datsyuk), all of those guys have been around winning. You don’t win by accident. We’re in the playoffs all of the time, we’re had some heart-breaking years where we thought we had a real good time and it didn’t happen. Other years we’ve gone a long way. The reality is you’ve been around winning you learn what winning is about and that’s your best people being your best people and leading in the weight room and leading in off-ice and leading in nutrition department. So the bottom line is he’s seen it all. He’s like a coach on the ice. He has a real good read of the game.”

...

“I think Hank's been groomed to be our captain for many, many years now,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Ever since he got in here, he sat beside Stevie and learned a lot from him. Hank, he's been a captain for many years even though he hasn't had the 'C.' Of course we had Nick but Hank is just as good a leader and he brings it every night. That's what you want from your leader.”

WXYZ's Brad Galli is confirming...

In an announcement Tuesday afternoon in front of his teammates, head coach Mike Babcock, and the rest of the Red Wings staff, the 32-year old became just the third Red Wings captain in the last 27 years.

"It's a true honor. Together we will carry on the tradition," Zetterberg said.

Zetterberg follows in the footsteps of Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom, who led Detroit to a total of four Stanley Cup championships.

"It's a very special day," he said. "Playing with Nick all my career, you just learn to lead by example."

"This has been the evolution of a leader," General Manager Ken Holland said.

Many of his teammates said Zetterberg possesses the qualities of his two predecessors, but he will be heard more loudly.

"Z's gonna be definitely more vocal for us," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "He's been a leader for us now for years and I think he's gonna transition very easily."

As is the Free Press's Helene St. James...

"We're here today to announce the next captain of the Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg," general manager Ken Holland said.

"He deserve it," close friend and alternate captain Pavel Datsyuk said. "He leader in locker room, out of locker room. It's hit to target - exactly right decision."

Zetterberg, 32, takes over from Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired last May.

It's been widely known that Zetterberg was the heir apparent to lead the club, but the team didn't want to announce it last summer, and then came the 113-day lockout.

Instead the press conference came at a time when Zetterberg could be surrounded by teammates, about an hour before the evening's Red and White scrimmage.

The Wings have groomed Zetterberg for the position for years, going back to the middle of the last decade, when they moved Zetterberg's locker next to that of former great Steve Yzerman, who captained the team for 20 years. Yzerman and Lidstrom were both quiet men who knew the best way to lead was to show the way.

It's hard to make comparisons. Nick was unique, like, even like Stevie, they led by example on and off the ice. When something needed to be said, they said it.

"I think for a captain," Daniel Cleary said, "all you look for is you look for the players to respect you, and you lead by example by working hard and being an honest player and treating people with respect. And that's what I know Stevie did and Nick did and I know Hank will."

And MLive's Brendan Savage is confirming...

His appointment was announced this afternoon in a news conference at Compuware Arena, where the Red Wings are holding training camp.

"He's not afraid to communicate," said coach Mike Babcock. "He doesn't mind getting mad at me one bit. He's just not shy about what he thinks. We've had a relationship like that for a long time. We have a good guy who's a real good human being, who loves hockey, who has a mind for the game, he's really good to his teammates and he's demanding of himself and he doesn't mind speaking his mind. To me, that's pretty good leadership. We got a pretty good guy there.''

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall and forward Pavel Datsyuk will serve as the Red Wings' alternate captains. There's a possibility the Red Wings will have a third alternate but that hasn't been announced yet.

In 82 games last season, Zetterberg had 22 goals and 47 assists. In 668 career games with the Red Wings, he has 252 goals and 372 assists.

He was a member of the Red Wings 2008 Stanley Cup championship team.

Via RedWingsFeed, here's the Detroit News's Ted Kuflan's story...

Henrik Zetterberg was officially named the 36th captain of the Red Wings Tuesday during a press conference at Compuware Arena.

Zetterberg succeeds Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired after last season.

"I'm truly honored to be named the captain for the Red Wings," Zetterberg said. "I'm really, really humbled."

The Wings believe Zetterberg , 32, has all the characteristics to be an outstanding leader. He learned under two of the franchise's all-time greats, Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom, the two previous captains.

"I'm sure some of Hank's leadership ideas will come from the time he spent with those two leaders," general manager Ken Holland said. "There's a lot of reasons we feel Hank should be our next captain. He's a fierce competitor; the bigger game the better he plays. We look for everyday players, and Hank competes every day in practice and in the games. He leads by example."

And MyFoxDetroit is confirming as well:

Forward Henrik Zetterberg was named the new captain of the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

Zetterberg succeeds fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom as the Red Wings newest captain. Lidstrom retired in May after wearing the 'C' in Detroit for six seasons following the retirement of Steve Yzerman, who was the longest-serving captain in NHL history when he hung up his skates in 2006.

Zetterberg, 32, is entering his 10th NHL season – all with Detroit – and was an easy choice to replace Lidstrom since he has the respect of not only his fellow players but the Red Wings coaching staff as well.

His appointment was announced this afternoon in a news conference at Compuware Arena, where the Red Wings are holding training camp.

Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL Network has a clip of Zetterberg's speech up:

 

 

Update #5: Fox 2's Dan Miller directs us toward the full presser:

 

 

Update #6: Here's DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's after-the-presser Zetterberg article:

“Of course, it’s a very special day becoming captain,” Zetterberg said. “First, Kenny (Holland) beat me on the golf course and he told me that I was going to be the next captain, it was a few months ago. I called my dad right away and told him and he was real proud. So it is special and I’m glad the day is here and we’re back playing again. And I look forward to getting going on Saturday.”

Zetterberg was introduced at a news conference prior to Tuesday’s intra-squad scrimmage at Compuware Arena in suburban Detroit. He is just the third captain since the 1986-87 season when Steve Yzerman took over the captaincy from Danny Gare.

This, however, is not the first time that Zetterberg has worn a ‘C’ on his sweater. He was captain for a short time back home during the 2001-02 Swedish Elite League season.

“I was captain in Sweden for Timra for a couple of months before I came over here,” he said. “I think I got a little bit used to the media thing over there before I came over here. I think also, the more you play the more you play in those situations as a leader and you learn more and more. It’s all about experience. I feel comfortable now for this task. I learned a lot throughout my years and I’m looking forward to getting the season started.”

...

This week, coach Mike Babcock eluded to his seven year player-coach relationship that he has with Zetterberg, who summed it up by saying, “Sometimes he can get real mad at me and I get real mad at him, but end of the day, it’s just hockey and we figure it out. It’s important to have an honest relationship and you shouldn’t be afraid to speak your mind.”

...

“Just playing with Nick for my whole career here, just to see how he prepares himself, how he handled himself on and off the ice, and just lead by example and that’s what he did,” Zetterbreg said. “I played with many good leaders since I got here and not just Stevie and Nick. There was (Kris) Draper, (Chris) Chelios, there are so many guys that I played with that you learn from. So you try to take bits and pieces from all the guys that you play with and they really formed the player who I am now.”

For Babcock, the three captains that he’s coached during his tenure in Detroit all have the same traits.

“I guess the things that jump to mind for me is fierce, fierce competitors,” he said. “(They’re) Great, great people and guys who put the team first and can speak for the team and treat their teammates right. So those are three things that I would say right off the top of my head.”

Update #7: Very important, from MLive's Ansar Khan:

Update #8: WXYZ's Brad Galli updated his story...

"It's a true honor. Together we will carry on the tradition," Zetterberg said. "It means a lot being a captain and being the captain of this organization."

Zetterberg follows in the footsteps of Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom, who led Detroit to a total of four Stanley Cup championships.

"It's a very special day," he said. "Looking at the guys who have worn the 'C,' it's a pretty special group. Playing with Nick all my career, you just learn to lead by example."

Many of his teammates said Zetterberg possesses the qualities of his two predecessors, but he will be heard more loudly.

"Z's gonna be definitely more vocal for us," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "He's been a leader for us now for years and I think he's gonna transition very easily."

Presenting Zetterberg with the captain's jersey was a foregone conclusion, and an easy decision for general manager Ken Holland.

"This has been the evolution of a leader," Holland said.

And Tom Leyden filed this report from Compuware Arena:

 


More to come, obviously.

Update #9: Here is the full press conference, from the Red Wings' website:

 

 

Update #10: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff adds more context to the Holland-Babcock side of the captain-selecting equation...

The game will go on without Lidstrom and Holmstrom, just as it did when Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan, leaders of Detroit’s late 1990s and early 2000s dynasty, left the team in 2006.

“Steve Yzerman retired and all of a sudden, up front it became Pav (Pavel Datsyuk) and Z’s team,” Holland said. “He’s obviously a big reason we’ve been able to be competitive since ’05. He’s played with two incredible leaders in Steve and Nick. He’s a great player. He plays hard every day in practice. He’s a great two-way player. He sets the tone.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock likes that he can challenge Zetterberg, and that Zetterberg feels confident enough to challenge him. Neither is afraid to get up into each other’s grill, but neither of them ever takes their verbal jousting personally.

“He’s not afraid to communicate,” Babcock said. “He doesn’t mind getting mad at me one bit. He’s just not shy about what he thinks. He gets mad at me, I get mad at him, but no one holds a grudge. We’ve had a relationship like that for a long time. He’s demanding of himself and he doesn’t mind speaking his mind. He cares about his teammates and he’s got a good hockey mind. To me, that’s pretty good leadership. I think we’ve got a pretty good guy there.”

Management made the choice, but Wings forward Dan Cleary insisted had it gone to a player vote, Zetterberg would have swept the ballot unanimously.

“I’m happy 100 per cent,” Datsyuk said. “It’s exactly the right decision.”

Holland, by the way, shot a 73 at Meadowbrook Country Club the day he informed Zetterberg he’d be the next captain.

“It was my best round of the year,” Holland said.

Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji suggests that the Red Wings have a vocal captain in the room for the first time in a long time...

If you recall the Crosby incident -- although Kris Draper was the most furious about it at the time -- Zetterberg spoke out, saying Crosby was disrespectful for not shaking Lidstrom's hand.

Zetterberg also made sure to express his displeasure at the lack of punishment for Nashville's Shea Weber when Weber shoved his head into the glass in the first round of the playoffs last season.

"I thought it was dirty," Zetterberg said after the incident. "I think it was directed toward my head. And if you look at what’s happened over the last few years with all of the head injuries, I don't think that should belong in the game."

Those aren't exactly fighting words, but they are pointed. Zetterberg doesn't hide his feelings.

I would expect a similar leadership style from Zetterberg as he assumes the Red Wings captaincy.

In fact, he might be a little more like Steve Yzerman, Detroit's captain from 1986–2006, before Lidstrom took over. As a rookie, Zetterberg's home locker at Joe Louis Arena was right next to Yzerman's.  Yzerman was a quiet leader, but he wasn't afraid to show a flash of irritation when it was warranted. Zetterberg seems similar in that sense.

Zetterberg is also not afraid to reach out to others. He spoke to Lidstrom before Tuesday's press conference and mentioned many of his current teammates as leaders in the dressing room.

"I think just playing with Nick for my whole career here, just to see how he prepares himself, how he handled himself on and off the ice and just lead by example, and that’s what he did," Zetterberg said. "I played with many good leaders since I got here, and not just Stevie and Nick. There was Draper, (Chris) Chelios. There are so many guys that I played with that you learn from, so you try to take bits and pieces from all the guys that you play with. They really formed the player who I am now."

Update #11: For an outside perspective, here's Sean Gentile's take on Zetterberg being named captain in Detroit and Claude Giroux being named captain in Philly...

Zetterberg replaces Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the greatest players in the history of the game and the first European to captain a Cup-winning team. Lidstrom, in turn, replaced Steve Yzerman, on the game's universal shortlist of best leaders. Only those two have held the position since 1986, and the team has won four Cups in that stretch.

So, no pressure.

“Just playing with Nick for my whole career here, just to see how he prepares himself, how he handled himself on and off the ice, and just lead by example and that’s what he did,” Zetterberg said Tuesday at the announcement, according the Red Wings' website. “I played with many good leaders since I got here and not just Stevie and Nick. There was (Kris) Draper, (Chris) Chelios, there are so many guys that I played with that you learn from. So you try to take bits and pieces from all the guys that you play with and they really formed the player who I am now.”

Mike Babcock has coached all of those guys and seems similarities.

“I guess the things that jump to mind for me is fierce, fierce competitors,” he said. “(They’re) great, great people and guys who put the team first and can speak for the team and treat their teammates right. So those are three things that I would say right off the top of my head.”

Zetterberg, 32, won the Conn Smythe in 2008 after scoring a career-high 43 goals, though his offensive production has tailed off in the years since. In 2011-12, he had 67 points.

Giroux, meanwhile, takes over for Chris Pronger, whose career is likely over because of post-concussion syndrome. Pronger missed most of last season and remains on long-term injured reserve, but his retirement is little more than a formality at this point. He, in turn, replaced Mike Richards, who was traded to the LA Kings in the summer of 2011.

While MLive's Brendan Savaage offers more regarding Ken Holland and Mike Babcock's perspectives regarding naming Zetterberg captain:

"It's really the evolution of a leader," Holland said. "He was runner-up as Rookie of the Year. He was on the third line. In '05-06 during the work stoppage, he went back and led the Swedish league in scoring. Steve Yzerman retired and all of a sudden it became Pav and Z's team up front and then ultimately Nick Lidstrom retired.

"He's obviously a big reason we've been able to be competitive since '05. He's at a good time in his career. He's played with two incredible leaders in Steve and Nick. He's a great player. He plays hard every day in practice. He sets the tone. He's a great two-way player. Pav and Hank, they might be 80 points in scoring but they're 100 points in defense. They're as good defensively as any top player in the world. Steve Yzerman sacrificed offense and it's been passed on from one generation of Red Wing to the next. It's Hank's task and responsibility going forward."

A number of people were consulted before the decision was made to name Zetterberg captain. Holland said he and coach Mike Babcock spoke several times and they also consulted former Red Wings Kris Draper, Chris Chelios and Chris Osgood, who all work in the Red Wings' front office.

There was a short list of candidates from the moment Lidstrom made his announcement to retire. It came down to a choice between Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall – the three alternate captains from last season.

Zetterberg said he spoke with Lidstrom before Tuesday's announcement was made and that he learned what being a leader is all about after playing in Detroit with guys like Draper and Chelios. But Zetterberg is no stranger to wearing the 'C' on his jersey.

Zetterberg was team captain when he played for Timra in Sweden before being drafted by the Red Wings.

"I think I got a little bit used to the media thing over there before I came over here," he said. "I think also, the more you play in those situations as a leader and you learn more and more. It's all about experience. I feel comfortable now for this task. I learned a lot throughout my years and I'm looking forward to getting the season started."

Zetterberg also isn't afraid to speak his mind when he disagrees with coach Mike Babcock. And that's something Babcock respects even though he and Zetterberg can get angry at each other.Zetterberg fits Babcock's description of a good captain.

"I guess the things that jump to mind for me is fierce, fierce competitors," Babcock said. "Great, great people and guys who put the team first and can speak for the team and treat their teammates right. So those are three things that I would say right off the top of my head."

And, via RedWingsFeed again, here's NHL Tonight speaking to Zetterberg:

 

Last update: Here's Ken Holland on naming Zetterberg captain, via the Wings:

 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

BrendonR's avatar

What else can you say?  Z is a perfect fit as Captain.  Here’s to many successful years (and ‘Cups) to come! —Congrats Zata

Posted by BrendonR on 01/15/13 at 05:38 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Atta boy, Z(!)

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 01/15/13 at 05:54 PM ET

Avatar

anyone havea feed for the scrimmage?

Posted by teldar on 01/15/13 at 06:14 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Wooo! I knew this day would come. Very excited.

On another note I always thought Draper would have made a fantastic captain in the way of “Rah-Rah”, but he didn’t get his chance.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 01/15/13 at 06:31 PM ET

Avatar

3 captains in 27 years, one the best leader we’ll ever see, one the best d man the world will ever know, and now one of the best 2 way players to hit the ice. It’s your team now Z

Posted by selke13 on 01/15/13 at 09:40 PM ET

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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.