Zetterberg won’t pull a Datsyuk, intends on playing out contract in Detroit

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Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said he has no intention of following in the footsteps of former teammate Pavel Datsyuk, who left the organization with one year remaining on his contract.

From the Detroit Free Press:

[Columnist Mitch] Albom: When you signed that 12-year deal (in 2009) did it seem shorter than than it does now with five years still left?

Zetterberg: Well, actually when I signed, 12 years seemed like so long a time. Now all of a sudden, I’ve done over half of it and it’s gone really fast. I thought when I signed it — oh, my God — it’s forever.

Albom: And you have every intention of playing all five years that are left?

Zetterberg: Yes. Yes. But in the same way, I’m human. I know that every year it’s a bigger and bigger battle to get through. We’ll see if my body holds up for five more years. Last year, I played 82 games, which I was proud of doing — maybe it wasn’t 82 good ones, but I played 82 — and so we’ll see. By now, I’m just taking it year by year.  And obviously the next two years are big years — the last year at the Joe and then first year at new building. That’s probably where I’m looking.

Zetterberg further explained his position by juxtaposing his potential return “home” — to play in the Swedish Hockey League — to Datsyuk’s decision to play for SKA St. Petersburg, one of the marquee Russian franchises in the KHL.

“I understand Pavel,” Zetterbeg said. “I think the KHL obviously is a higher level than the Swedish Elite League, and also for him going back to be with his daughter (who lives in Russia) was a big impact.”

There are other factors to consider as well.

Datsyuk was 38 by the time he cut ties with Detroit, while Zetterberg turned 36 just a few days ago. The veteran Swede is also coming off two pretty impressive campaigns, health-wise — he appeared in 77 contests during the ’14-15 season, and all 82 last year.

Zetterberg is also the captain in Detroit, a position he’s held for the last four seasons. That’s a role nobody takes lightly, especially him. Wearing the “C” for the Red Wings is a pretty special honor, especially since only two other players have donned it over the last 30 years– Hall of Famers Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman.