The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Henrik Zetterberg, C, Detroit Red Wings
Key stats: 2G-2A-4PTS in 10GP, minus-4.
Cap hit: $6.08 million annually.
Zetterberg’s poor start to the year is inexplicable. It’s not an injury issue (he’s healthy). It’s not a chemistry issue (he’s had his usual linemates in Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary). It’s not an opportunity issue (he leads the league in shots per game) and it’s not an ice-time issue (he’s playing 20 minutes a night).
So, what gives? How has a line featuring three immensely talented players only mustered 14 combined points thus far?
Zetterberg is at a loss for answers.
“We should definitely score more goals than we’ve done,” he told NHL.com. “It’s not like we don’t have the chances, but somehow we can’t get the puck behind the goalie. It is frustrating. You’ve just got to keep going and doing the right things.”
Zetterberg might be preaching patience, but head coach Mike Babcock isn’t hearing it. He split up the Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Cleary line at practice today, which could actually be of benefit to Zetterberg. Rather than play the wing on the top line, he’ll center Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi on the second. This definitely plays into the hands of a guy that’s put up assist totals of 56, 47, 42 and 49 in each of the last four years.
Check that — it better play into his hands. No. 40 needs to turn things around, and quick. He’s on pace for a career-low 33 points and the Wings are on pace for 88, which probably won’t be enough for a playoff spot.
So wake up, Henrik Zetterberg. Your team needs you.