Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

On ‘Zetterberg är min favoritspelare’ and living in a hockey bubble

Sometimes doing this job involves living in a little bubble. On game days, like Tuesday, even though I'm not at the rink, I'm up to cover the morning skate, which the Red Wings hold for home games at 10:30 AM, and while I tend to get a "pre-game nap" in, I usually don't call it quits till somewhere between 3:30 and 4:30 AM the next day.

So while I was puttering along covering the Red Wings' morning skate news, following up on that post from 10:30 till about 3 PM, noting stories about Tomas Holmstrom's decision to wear #96, Chris Chelios's coaching aspirations, Ken Holland's stance on when he's going to be ready to make trades during this condensed soup can of a 2013 NHL season, and then watching the Wings play, holding my breath with the rest of you when Todd Bertuzzi took a stick in the eye, writing a quick take, and now, I'm edging toward the end of a Wings-Stars wrap-up and overnight report that I've been working on since I ate dinner at 11 PM (I tend not to eat dinner before games due to the late nights ahead).

Why blather on about this stuff? Well, while spending my day immersed in a little Red Wings news cycle bubble, I missed Wayne Gretzky telling NHL.com's Dan Rosen that Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is in fact his favorite NHL player...

Dan Rosen: Who are the guys you admire in the League now, the guys you can't take your eye off of when you're watching their team play?

Wayne Gretzky: "I think [Sidney] Crosby is the best player and he's just really fun to watch. I really enjoy watching [Steven] Stamkos. I think Stamkos is a really special young man. He's really fun to watch and exciting.

"My favorite player over the last 10 years has been [Henrik] Zetterberg. I think Zetterberg is the best player in the game [at his age]. He's been so physically beat up from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Olympics, all that goes with that, but he's just very special. I think he's the best Swedish player they've ever put into the National Hockey League, and there has been a lot of great ones, from [Borje] Salming to [Nicklas] Lidstrom.

"The guy that I'm a little biased about, but the guy I think has hockey sense to only Crosby and [Brad] Richards in New York is Kyle Turris. His hockey awareness and hockey sense is close to those two guys, and I consider them to have the best hockey sense in the game today. He's going to fit into that category soon."

So I missed that, and got lapped by the Swedish press, which found the story, took it and ran with it, right to Zetterberg himself, who entertained a visit from his parents after the game (according to a friend of mine who took a picture of Goran and Ulla Zetterberg in the Olympia Club before the game--it's not particularly professional to Tweet, make a Facebook mention or a blog post about who's where and who may be attending a game as they have every right to privacy. See also: ignoring strange and probably inebriated Tweets or Facebook posts from players, etc.).

Zetterberg gave Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman nothing less than a figurative "wow" when Bjurman called Zetterberg to inform him of the news (roughly translated from Swedish)...

"Yeah, I don't really know what to say about it...I almost have no words," he says, a little surprised. "Gretzky was my first idol, and to hear the words of one of those kinds of players is incredibly cool."

Zetterberg talked about the Wings' win as well...

"We've mostly had one-goal victories when we've earned two points, so it was nice that we managed to get some goals and win by a decent [4-1] margin," he says. "And it was nice to score a goal as well, especialy on the power play, which hasn't been very successful recently. I get to play a lot [on the power play] and will score goals [there]."

And when Zetterberg spoke to Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom, he gave a slightly more refined answer:

"It's incredibly flattering to hear it from him. Gretzky was my idol growing up," says Zata to SportExpressen.se.

As for the game...

"It was an important victory, and good that we rallied from their 1-0 lead and won the game with a couple goals to spare."

Just as he was against Chicago on Saturday night [Swedish time], Zata was one of the dominant players on the ice.

"It feels good. I had the benefit of playing in Switzerland, so it's been easier for me to get into tempo, so I'm very happy that I went to Europe and played 20 games there during the lockout."

His 2-1 goal on a power play looked to be a set play, with a one-timed shot from the left faceoff circle.

"Yeah, we've got that one well-practiced. The power play is so incredibly important, especially now that we've got a shortened season."

You've registered seven points, two goals and five assists, over the first six games. How satisfied are you with that?

"It's great to get off to such a good start to the season, and I'm really pleased."

Detroit now has some game-free days now before they play again on Friday, at home, against St. Louis.

That means the possibility of eight straight hours of sleep, going grocery shopping for a couple of hours today, seeing the doctor on Thursday and then getting back into the bubble for back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday.

It is what it is, and it's something I work very hard to simply have the opportunity to do given my health, but every once in a while, it's living in a bubble, and things get missed. Sorry, fellow Wings fans. It happens.

Now off to finish the recap.

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Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I think he’s said that before, I seem to remember reading that before.  That’s REALLY saying something to say he’s the best Swede to ever play in the NHL.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/30/13 at 04:29 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

nm I think he had said something to effect of Detroit was his favorite team, he liked their style and Pav and Hank were “off the hook”

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/30/13 at 04:30 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

“We’ve mostly had one-goal victories when we’ve earned two points, so it was nice that we managed to get some goals and win by a decent [4-1] margin,”

Two prior victories, one by two goals and the other in a shootout. So he got the average right!

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/30/13 at 06:01 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.