The Detroit Red Wings have been the model of consistency since Mike Ilitch bought the team in 1982; from the top, all the way down to the players. The Red Wings have amazingly had only two captains since 1986. Steve Yzerman wore the C on his sweater proudly from 1986 through his retirement form the NHL in 2006, and it has been the great Nicklas Lidstrom ever since. With Lidstrom hanging up the skates this spring, the Red Wings are now faced with the daunting task of electing where the C will now be sewn.
To this point all signs, memos, letters, message in a bottles, scripts and other forms of communication indicate that Henrik Zetterberg would be the successor to the captaincy. As one of three current assistant captains, Zetterberg has been a crucial part of the Red Wings success since he joined the squad in in 2002. Z was one of the only Red Wings to play the full 82-game schedule last season, and is seemingly always in the right place at the right time.
As it would seem, his competition would step from the other two current assistant captains, in Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Kronwall. As much impact as these two players have on the squad, I just don’t see them beating out Zetterberg to the throne. As much fun as it would be to add a C to the “I got Kronwalled at the Joe” t-shirts, Kronwall seems to be much more of a supporting piece, especially in terms of intangibles. Zetterberg has to have the edge over Datsyuk simply because of his durability. Not that Pavel is frail by any means, but he has missed 36 regular season games over the course of the last two seasons. Captains generally need to be on the ice; advantage Zetterberg.
All three would be great successors to Lidstrom, but at this point all roads lead to Zetteberg, and in all reality he is probably the best choice.
I’m not sayin, I’m just saying, but I’d wait to buy your new Zetterberg sweater until the new captain is announced. They’ve got some sewing to do.